Thursday, July 31, 2014

Onward Ideas, California Reality, Part 2

another favorite photo from California,
this was taken somewhere between Healdsburg and San Francisco

"This is How I Remember It" opened in 2011 and now, three years later, I'm thrilled to say I'm returning to Velvet da Vinci in San Francisco this October! My gallerist, Mike Holmes, and I have been talking for awhile and finally decided to host what we're referring to as "a conversation with Amy." On October 18 I will give a lecture about my latest body of work, "I Live Here Now," and will have a selection of the pieces on hand. Then I will follow my talk with a casual question and answer session.

After my exhibition at Four in Sweden, I realized I wanted more people to see it and this special showing came from those thoughts.  "I Live Here Now" is the most personal work I have made and, I believe, the strongest. I really like the idea of having a dedicated conversation about the work, something engaging and warm. I'm excited for the opportunity to share "I Live Here Now" in the U.S and honored to have this chance at such a great place. Mike and I are still working on the details and I will tell you more as the event develops. Please mark your calendar for October 18. I would love to see you at Velvet!

Since 1882, Since 1976 from I Live Here Now

Mike and I hanging Collected Memories from This is How I Remember It

standing in front of the completed installation

Thanks for reading.

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 ( 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 Friday #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 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


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 ( 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.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Guest Star #136...Ragnar Kjartansson

Der Klang der Offenbarung des Göttlichen 
(The Explosive Sonics of Divinity)

Yesterday I mentioned a Sol LeWitt quote that's always with me and today I have another concept to share with you that I also hold onto quite tightly, this time by Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson. Kjartansson uses performance, sound, time, painting, drawing and more to convey emotion and the duality of drama and the mundane in his multi-disciplinary works. One of his concepts involves the repetition and layering of sound to produce a sculptural feeling or presence within a space. This idea, creating something tangible from something that cannot be held, fascinates me.

Take Me Here by the Dishwasher: Memorial for a Marriage

A few weeks ago, just a day or so after I got back from Iceland, I went to the New Museum in New York City to see his exhibition, "Me, My Mother, My Father, and I." One of the pieces, "Take Me Here by the Dishwasher: Memorial for a Marriage," was a looped scene from a movie his actor parents starred in years ago, paired with 10 live musicians playing the same song over and over. The film clip and music played during the entirety of the museum's opening hours every day. The lyrics of the song were the lines his parents spoke in this particular scene. I sat in the space for 45 minutes, closing my eyes occasionally, and listening. I watched the musicians move about, too, and later walked around the space to observe from different viewpoints…and I could feel this thing happening…the repeated music took on a solid form. It had weight, it had dimension, it had angles and in-between spaces. It became sculptural and I was in the middle of it. It felt amazing.

This idea of sculptural sound is just one of the reasons I admire Kjartansson's work. I am also very interested in how he uses sound, time and performance as materials on their own and in combination with things like paint and pencil. His ability to convey emotion is also important to me, and ultimately, I admire the way his work immerses me and causes me to forget where I am while making me keenly aware of space and what I am experiencing.

Guilt Trip

A Lot of Sorrow

You can see more images of my favorite Ragnar Kjartansson works on Pinterest. You can also read about another Kjartansson piece I saw while I was in Iceland here.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Start of Something

May 6, 5:14pm, an image from the series "The Sea for My Birthday" (work-in-progress)

Sol Lewitt, one of my favorite artists, believed the "idea behind the work supersedes the work itself." I read this a few years ago when I saw his retrospective at Mass MOCA; it got me then and has been hanging around in the back of my mind ever since. I thought about these eight words a lot while at SÍM and now I find myself holding onto them like the things I pick up off the ground while walking. It has become a precious statement to me and one that I think I understand and can't even begin to understand at the same time. I think the most significant thing I learned at SÍM was the importance of ideas and how acutely interested in them I am. I also realize my own ideas feel elusive to me, just out of reach. It feels like I'm on a path to find them but they keep changing position, making them harder to find. It's a strange and exciting place to be. I really have no idea, for lack of a better word, where I'm going right now. There are glimpses and moments, but so much remains unknown.

Here's a list of things I'm thinking about which I posted last month
 along with images of the work I made during my residency:

(changing) perspective
creating a feeling
giving pause
light and shadow
anything and everything can be a material 

arrangement of found objects

sketch of one of my found objects

Thanks so much for following me while I was at SÍM. I look forward to sharing more with you as I continue to move forward. 

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Collected and Captured

My souvenirs are not store-bought tokens or t-shirts. Instead, they are bits and pieces of detritus or various natural objects I spy on the ground as I walk. I found many souvenirs in those three months in Iceland, the pieces becoming arrangements in my SÍM studio and an ever-evolving source of inspiration, remembrance and comfort. 

Some of my most-prized finds are three porcelain forms probably used in electronics. (top image) I was told you can find these washed-up on the beaches and was lucky to find one last year while walking in Blönduós. Then one day in May, I set out on a mission to look for them in Reykjavík. I walked along the coast in the west of the city and was very pleased to find not just one (which I would have been completely happy with), but three. The last one I found was labeled "champion," an appropriate word for how I was feeling in that moment. 

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Question and Answer

English version of the interview

I was interviewed by SÍM for their recent newsletter and it was published just days ago. I was asked about my projects and about how the residency was affecting my work:

Q: What are you working on at the SIM residency?

A: I am working on ideas…I'm reading and researching contemporary artists and various art movements to discover more about myself and the work that I make. I am also thinking and writing. I take a walk almost every day just to think and observe and I take photos as I go. Finally, I am spending time closely examining my photographs and short videos, giving them more attention than I have in the past. I think something interesting is happening with them and I am trying to pay attention.

an image from the series "11 Minutes" 

Q: Do you feel that the residency and or Iceland is affecting your work?

A: I feel that the residency and Iceland are affecting my work in a positive manner. SÍM and the surrounding landscape provide time and space and both are exactly what I need at this point in my artistic life.

a still from a video I made in Höfn, southeast Iceland

In addition to the questions and images that appear in the newsletter, I was asked a few other questions and gave SÍM a bunch of images to pick from. Here's some of what was not included, including the images I have posted now:

Q: First impression of Iceland/Reykjavík?

A: When I stepped off the plane for the first time last year, I felt simultaneously excited and at ease. It felt like I was coming home.

Q: First word you learned in Icelandic?

A. fullkomin (translation: perfect)

rope arrangement from Fieldwork Presentation #1

Q: Where‘s the energy in Iceland?

A: It's everywhere but I feel it most when standing in a moss-covered lava field or when looking at a glacier.

Icelandic version of the interview

You can read the interview and view the entire newsletter here

Thanks for reading.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Space for Time

For someone accustomed to working constantly and producing lots of things consistently, my deliberate choice to slow down and shift my focus at Sím was challenging. I spent three months there and in all those days I had nothing but time; time to think and process, time to read and write, time to look and rest. I remember sitting in my studio and struggling to relax into this time, though. It was hard to feel good about not making anything. I felt uncomfortable and found myself feeling guilty at the end of the day when I had nothing tangible to show for my efforts. But, I was persistent and I told myself it was ok.

When I arrived at Sím I had a typed list of goals and plans, which I promptly deleted. I tried to go about my day with as little structure as possible, finding the right times to do certain things according to what I felt like doing versus what I should be doing. I read without taking notes and I stopped reading if the topic was not interesting. I also stopped reading to go for long walks when the weather was good.

And I found a way, sometimes awkwardly, to balance my ambition with a slower-pace and to find productivity in a different way of working. I developed ideas and intentions for new work and I dove deeper into why I make art. I did end up making things including photographs, videos and even a full scale-project, but all were made with a very different intention: I made them just to make them. I realize my time at Sím, and in Iceland, was luxurious and precious, and I believe it will provide more than I can possibly imagine in the future.

The pictures posted here are just a few I took around the residency.

Thanks for reading.