Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday Final

Today is the last day of class and students have all day and all night to work. My students have challenged themselves in a big way so I imagine many of them burning the midnight oil this evening. It's exciting to see so many of them working at the edge of their skill set, pushing themselves to get it done and done well. I realized yesterday that one of the the best feelings is seeing a student do something awesome. I might get more excited than they do.

We began our day with a last walk along the fire road and then I gave a scoring and folding demo, which is my favorite technique to teach. Now everyone is quietly working, trying to get their pieces done by tomorrow's all-school show and tell at 11am.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Working Away

A few images of student work in progress… in sterling silver, stones, twine, rusted steel wire, fabric, mica, felt, seed pods and more.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Midweek Wonderful

Today marks the half-way point for my class "A Complete Thought" at the Penland School of Crafts. It's been a busy time in the metals studio with daily walks in the morning, two demonstrations a day, independent work time, one-on-one sessions with me and nightly artists talks. 

We began on Monday with a day devoted to process. We took a walk and observed and then looked at all sorts of sculptural jewelry in a PowerPoint. I lead the class through a thinking and writing exercise and a hands-on jewelry making project. In the afternoon we talked about the elements of sculptural design and the basic steps of artist process. Then for the rest of the day, students worked on ideas for the piece they want to make now and individually met with me to ask questions and review plans. 

Yesterday I demonstrated bezel setting and later talked about using alternative materials, showing them a number of easy low-tech methods. I also described how I use spray paint. My bezel demo was the most challenging demo I have ever given. Everything that could go wrong did and I struggled, but, as I explained to my students, I felt it was a good thing. It was very real. Anything can happen while making ones'  work and problems inevitably arise, even when you have a lot of experience. 

So, it's been a wonderful time already. I have a great bunch of hard-working and fun students and I am enjoying every minute of just being at Penland. Today we will be covering tab setting and pin stems and students will continue to work on their individual projects.

one-hour, sculptural necklace by one of my students

Thanks for reading.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Guest Star Friday #140… Helen Frankenthaler

The Bay

Helen Frankenthaler has been important to me since 1996. I took a sculpture class in college and one of our assignments was to make a piece based on a painting, interpreting a 2D work as a 3D one. I had learned about Helen in my art history survey class earlier and especially like the painting, The Bay. I chose this piece for my project and made a big sculpture with a layered wood base painted in a similar light green with billowing blue painted fabric above. I loved that piece and wish I had a photograph of it because it's long gone. Learning about this painting and creating that assignment were pivotal moments for me as a young artist. I began thinking about all art as 3-dimensional, even drawings and paintings, and, little did I know then, I also started to realize just how important emotion in art is to me. Today I'm still inspired by Helen's work with its saturated and stained color, amorphous forms, and graceful, visual movement. Each composition presents an opportunity to pause, to focus on color and shape and how it makes you feel, and then drift a little bit to another place.




See more of my favorite Helen Frankenthaler works on Pinterest.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Summer in a Small Village

It's summer in Upstate New York, but it hasn't been hot and humid like I remember it was when I was a kid. Lately, it's been "cold" and overcast, which I actually love. Gray days and thunderstorms are two of my favorite things. There are some bright, sunny days, though, and the landscape is lush with layered sounds of birds, crickets and tree frogs.

See more images on Flickr and on Facebook.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Hot Off the Press

I just got these beautiful posters for my upcoming show at Cherry Branch Gallery. The design is by my friend and graphic designer, Brandon Dawley, who has been designing for me since the beginning. I hung some posters around town which felt rather nostalgic since most communication for events like this tends to be solely online these days. The show opens September 6!

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Going Up

I found a space for the installation I will create while I'm a resident at CCA: an elevator at Velvet da Vinci. An elevator! When I was trying to find a place for the installation in the Bay Area a few weeks ago, I contacted friends and colleagues for ideas including Mike at Velvet. I wasn't thinking about Velvet for this piece, however, just looking for recommendations. When Mike replied, he suggested the elevator that leads from the main gallery to the upstairs offices. I was curious from the start and the idea just made sense the more I thought about it. Now, in addition to things like accumulation and emotion, I'm thinking about movement and transition, confined spaces and limitation, and solitude. The elevator in general is loaded with meaning and symbolism and this particular one has beautiful natural light streaming from a skylight, its surfaces are well-worn, and it's located in a place I know and love. 

The installation will open on Saturday, October 25 and will be on view for a week. 

Thanks for reading.