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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Onward Ideas, California Reality, Part 1

a favorite photo from my last time in California

Last year I taught a spray painting workshop at California College of the Arts and had a wonderful experience with all the great students there. At that time Marilyn de Silva, chair of the metals department, invited me to be a resident artist at the school and we began planning. Now I'm very pleased to say I'm going to CCA in October for three weeks!

talking with a student at CCA

As a resident, I will get a dedicated studio space with the grad students and have access to all the tools and equipment in the metals studio. I will give weekly critiques and/or demonstrations and give a public lecture. I'm looking forward to talking with students one on one and in groups about their work and I imagine all those sessions will make me better at communicating during critiques.

As for the work I will make, I'm working on ideas for an installation, of course. I'm questioning how I can translate my jewelry techniques and experience into a different form and I'm planning to use techniques I can't do in my own studio. I'm moving around ideas of repetition, accumulation and layering. I'm contemplating creating volume through multiples. I'm wondering about combining metal with other materials on a larger scale. I'm thinking about establishing a feeling through the creation of a space. Three weeks is not a lot of time so I will try to develop a (flexible) plan before I arrive and aim to use the limited time to my advantage.

demonstrating how to use spray paint on metal

I'm also looking for a place to show what I make. Perhaps there is a space at CCA that will work? It could be indoors or outside. Or, I wonder if there is a space in Oakland or San Francisco? I know it's probably too short notice to find a gallery because they schedule shows months in advance, but I'm asking around just in case. If you live in the Bay Area maybe you know of a gallery or space that might work for me? Please leave a comment here or send me an email (atavern@gmail.com) if you have any suggestions.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Onward Ideas, A Complete Thought


Making thoroughly considered jewelry is the challenge of my upcoming class at the Penland School of Crafts. In a few weeks I'll head up the mountain to teach "A Complete Thought" during Session 7 and I'm busy putting the finishing touches on my lesson plans. I'm also busy developing a challenge for my own art practice: I would like to create something while I teach. I don't really make my own work while I'm teaching because it's hard for me to separate the making mindset from the teaching one. However, I do believe it's good for students to see their instructor work and I like the idea of talking about my process as I make something right in front of them. So, I'm thinking about creating an installation or series of installations using simple, predetermined parameters while students work independently. I would like to treat these pieces as large-scale, ephemeral sketches that echo and complement what is happening inside the classroom.


The class will happen August 24-30 and students will work on one piece of jewelry during that time. As they work, I will ask students to really consider the piece from all sides, placing equal importance on the front and back and creating jewelry that has a presence both on and off the body. Since my interests are leaning towards installation and sculpture, and I'm thinking about ideas so much, I'm looking forward to sharing fresh thoughts with my students as I lead them through the process of creating their own new works.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Guest Star #137…Sol LeWitt


With all this talk and thinking about ideas, I knew Sol LeWitt was the right choice for today's GS post. I mentioned him last week in a post about my new work, relaying a quote about ideas that is important to me: "[the] idea behind the work supersedes the work itself." LeWitt's exploration of things like volume and repetition through lines and geometric forms, often on a huge scale, are very appealing to me. The ideas are simple, the scale can be massive, and the accumulation of lines manipulated in all sorts of ways is inspiring to me. But, what really gets me is this idea about artworks, that the idea is the most important part. Recently, I began reading about LeWitt's use of instructions--eventually his ideas led him to writing instructions for making his work, believing that with clear directions, his work could be recreated by anyone anywhere. This is an impressive idea to me, too, and leads me to think about the importance of the following: trusting in one's ideas, accessibility on a large scale, and the connections that art creates between people.

Instructions for Wall Drawing 305




See more of my favorite LeWitt pieces on Pinterest.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Onward Ideas, Thinking About: Texture


Every so often I post a "Thinking About," a short paragraph and several pictures on a theme I've noticed in my daily observations. There have only been a few so far: whitewhite addendum, atmosphere and abandoned spaces. Lately, texture has been on my mind and I realized the other day while taking a photograph of a favorite tree variety, the "smoke tree," that similar textures keep catching my eye. Like a flash, different images raced through my mind: a Tara Donovan piece I saw in NYC a few weeks ago then the cover of the new Gus Gus record which I have been listening to a lot immediately followed by the image of a giant, tinsel-covered creature I pinned to Pinterest months ago. That very night I went home and found a mineral with a similar look in my news feed from geologypage.com. The collection of images hitting me all at once really made me stop and think. The softness and the spikiness, the billowing upward and outward movement, the individual elements and their accumulation…there is so much to study and consider here. Since I'm developing ideas for sculpture and installation right now, these themes are the places I need to focus on and begin with.


smoke tree near my studio

Gus Gus record cover

Troy Emery, Golden Beast, 2012

Powellite


And with that, I'm going to try to write more "Thinking About" posts. It's always good for me to deliberately consider what I'm noticing, write it down and then share it in a public format. 

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Onward Ideas, Etsy Adjustment


Etsy is fun and I love my little shop there, but I don't spend as much time maintaining it as I could, or should. In September I'm going to introduce some new designs and have a short sale to promote them along with a "new," revamped Etsy shop. I want to rewrite the item descriptions, make my listings consistent in content and retag most everything. I'm in the process of designing new pieces now which is always, always fun, and challenging, and I'm getting pretty excited about the designs. How about some great new basic earrings in my Line Drawing Collection? Or, maybe a new design element in History Repeats? And, even better, a brand new color palette in my Regal Graffiti Collection that reflects the way I see Iceland? I say "yes" to all, and more. In the meantime, I've added a bunch of pieces you've seen before here on my blog and on Facebook, but not yet on Etsy.

Please file my "New Etsy! Sale and Such" in the back of your mind. It's coming in September and details will follow in the coming weeks.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Onward Ideas, The Hustle


I'm on the hunt for new shops to carry my work and I'm focusing on boutiques and indie design stores instead of galleries. Years ago, my collections could be found in shops around the US, but in 2010 I retired all those designs and shifted my focus to one-of-a-kind and limited edition jewelry. This change brought new spaces in the form of galleries, and with them, consigning instead of wholesaling. Selling one's work is challenging for all sorts of reasons, but selling mainly on consignment brings extra challenges: investing in materials and time, and then waiting for the work to sell. In the current economy, consignment is especially hard and I'm beginning to realize I have to find wholesale accounts again, and say no to additional consignment.


My "new" production collections seem like they could work in all kinds of places so I've been spending hours on my laptop searching for shops. I visit websites and Facebook pages, looking for an overall style or aesthetic that is similar to mine by examining the kinds of things the store currently carries. I also check price points to be sure mine will fit. Then I start emailing... My goal is to contact 100 shops by this Friday and then to contact 100 more in August. I like challenges like this so it's been fun to work on. I'm also keeping my expectations low, understanding that, realistically, I will be lucky if I even hear back from a few.

I will continue to make my one-of-a-kind and limited edition work, too, and plan to keep all my current galleries. I'm fortunate to have my work in all of these places and feel honored to be in each one.

Finally, if you know of a shop where you live where you think my work could be, please send me a message (atavern@gmail.com) or leave a comment. I would love to hear from you!


Thanks for reading. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Onward Ideas, Drawing Iceland



I've got a lot of ideas these days. I always have ideas really, but lately it feels like I have more than usual. The focus of my studio practice and average work day has shifted again and now I'm devoting more time to my business, planning classes and lectures for the fall, and designing new collection pieces, among lots more.

One of my big ideas involves Sunday and devoting it to making new work. Yes, I get to make work a lot, but not daily. As a small business owner, I juggle lots of different things every day and spend a lot of time in front my computer. So in an effort to create more studio time for myself, I thought of this Sunday studio idea.



I started my first Sunday with a new project that focuses on drawing Iceland. I selected some favorite pictures from Iceland, choosing ones that represent moments in which time stood still for me. I made these images black and white, cropping a few of them, and then printed each on 8.5" x 11" copy paper. I hung these on the wall and spent time just looking at them. Then I wrote down all the different ways I could think of to make marks using the lines in each composition. (The line of the edge of an iceberg, for example). Next I placed tracing paper over each image and then traced the lines I see. Drawing is a scary thing for me so tracing is a great way to get going and make marks in a seemingly effortless way. By the end of the day, I had 10 drawings and I will take them farther next Sunday.




In the coming days I will fill you in on many of the other ideas I'm moving around that I mentioned above. I'm excited for future plans and projects!

Thanks for reading.