Monday, December 27, 2010

Happy New Year!

Here's to a year of making great art! 
Hope your project drawer is full of great ideas and inspiration!
Here's to whittling some of this down, too!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Its Time to Sign Up for Classes

The metals and jewelry classes are up for the Mesa Arts Center. I'll be teaching 3 shorter enameling sessions, and a weekend workshop on hammer stone setting for cabochons. Check out my Classes page on my metals site for info or go directly to the MAC website here.

My approach to teaching is technique based and not project based so I'll teach you what you need to know and it's up to you to decide what to do with that information. Although I'll be covering the basics in the first class at least, if you are past that point, you can work at your own pace and you don't have to sit in on the lectures unless you want to.  To me, these kinds of classes should be tailored to the student body so I like to accommodate technical requests, etc.  Just let me know!

Also, if you are interested in glass, Ingrid Donaldson will be teaching at MAC this spring and she's got some pretty nifty classes lined up.  Check out her art here.

Registration is now and there are lots of great classes scheduled so sign up!

Weeeelll, not a lot going on in the studio at the moment....

It's the weekend before Christmas and I'm having to sacrifice studio time for wrapping time. I've got gifts to get out to Texas and I'm not quite done. I'm sure many of you can empathize!  I am making some felted clogs for the boys and I'm nearly done with clog set 2 and I've got a lace scarf for my mom I still have to block. I'll try to take photos of the process this week.

I find the holidays really stressful. So, in order to bypass the stress and deadline that everyone and their dog seems to be trying to meet, I've been thinking about implementing gift giving for the New Year rather than Christmas. The only people in my circle who are religious are my sister and brother in law and they learned long ago not to expect presents from me to ever arrive on time.  For example; my niece's birthday presents for October are going to end up going with the Christmas box (again) this year. (hangs head in shame)

So think about it.  Maybe we could start a new trend!
(Although considering how late I tend to be getting gifts out, maybe I should aim for Chinese New Year....)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Raku Enamel

I had a student request in my enameling class this semester to see what raku enamel was all about. So in the last couple of classes, we found out! I had done raku in ceramics as an undergrad but I wasn't sure how that translated to enamels. Well, I was surprised to find out the two processes are basically the same. I was lucky to find a section in one of my enameling books, The Art of Fine Enameling by Karen Cohen, on the subject. The article in the book was written by Jean Tudor and I followed her instructions loosely while experimenting/ demonstrating.  This was definitely a learning experience for me as well! Since then I also found an article written by Jean Tudor on Raku Enameling for Glass on Metal. You can also read about Jean's experimentation with raku enamel on her website. The text at each link is basically the same but Jean has some updates at the end of the article.

So here's what I did:
I made two samples- one had a coat of Hard Fusing Clear already on and the other I sifted the green enamel directly on. Jean wrote that the green transparent enamels yielded the strongest results so I just started with them to try and make sure I got some kind of result!

So here are the two examples. On the left is the sample with a clear coat down first and the 4 enamels shown above sifted in a mix. To the right is one coat of the Nile Green over bare copper. You can see how pale the color is. I applied a second heavier coat of these colors to each piece before doing the raku.

The trick to getting the iridescence to come out is to cool the enamel in a reduction atmosphere. So what is a reduction atmosphere? A reduction atmosphere is where the oxygen has been removed. How does one accomplish this? Usually by putting something like newspaper, leaves, sawdust, any organic material that can safely burn, into a container (with a lid), igniting the material then putting the lid on to allow the fire to burn up the oxygen until it burns out and smokes.

Wikipedia explains: "This reduced level of oxygen causes incomplete combustion of the fuel and raises the level of carbon. At high temperatures the carbon will bond with and remove the oxygen in the metal oxides used as colorants in the glazes (enamels in our case but they are both glass). This loss of oxygen results in a change in the color of the glazes because it allows the metals in the glaze to be seen in an unoxidized form."

The green transparents contain the most copper oxides and will do that cool raku thing the best. It is important to get the enamel piece (make sure it is good and hot- do not under fire it in the kiln) into the combustible material as quickly as possible in order that it is hot enough to ignite the material. In order to accomplish this, I have a pair of pliers handy at the kiln and everything set up and ready to go. As soon as I can get the fork out from under the rack when the piece comes out of the kiln, I pick up the pliers, grab the trivet and dump it with the piece face down into the pot with the combustibles.  If something goes wrong and you have to futz with getting it off the trivet,etc. it's usually too cold and the material won't ignite. If this happens, put the piece back in the kiln and try again.

So we are at the kiln ready to go

It's on fire!

Ready to see what we got

It's so incredibly hard to get a good shot of the results because the glass is so shiny, but here we are. On the left- 2 coats of Nile Green over bare copper, no raku. On the right, 2 coats of Nile Green that went through the raku process. You can see a little of the copper on the surface. The Nile Green gave a softer coppery shimmer to the surface.
On the left, 2 coats of the 4 green mix, un-raku'd (sp?). On the right, 2 coats of the 4 green mix after the raku process. This thing is just coppered to within an inch of its life.

 Why is the surface so bumpy, you ask? Because the glass went face down into the combustible material while it was still molten. You can't escape this and if you put the piece back in the kiln to try and smooth it out, you'll lose the iridescence. Think of it as a bonus textural element.

This last piece was pretty darn impressive in terms of the dramatic change in the glass but to my eye, it's just too much. Jean Tudor writes about the judicious use of this technique and I agree. I think this technique will be most effective when used in moderation. But I'm looking forward to adding it to my repertoire to teach and I know I'll continue to experiment- judiciously :-)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Fair etiquette and the raku post

It was a busy weekend and I didn't have a chance to get on the computer at all and I also I realized the enamel raku post isn't ready because I really want to do another set of samples and include shots of what the enamel color looks like naturally with an identically sifted sample of what the raku process does to the color. I will make those samples in class this Wednesday so I apologize to my class for not having this ready. I hope that you will still feed me for our last class!

But I did go to the Tempe Mill Avenue Art Fair on Sunday and I thought I would share some fair "etiquette"  for those of us (I include myself here) who frequently like to check out an artists' booth because we see something that catches our eye technically or creatively but we aren't intending to actually buy.

So here's here's my approach based on my years of being both a vendor and a visitor of more craft fairs than I can count: As much as these artists enjoy people who enjoy their work, first and foremost they are there to sell. They need to make as much money as humanly possible in a very small amount of time. When I approach an artist's booth, I look to see how crowded it is and how serious people look.  If the booth is crowded I stay to the side or wait a while. If someone comes in who looks like they are shopping while I'm in the booth, I move to the side and let the artist do their thing.  If the booth is slow, chatting and asking questions and such is great but I try to break it off as soon as potentially paying customers walk up.
If I am planning on being a paying customer- I throw all this out the window of course :-)

Of course one always have to assess the actual situation and do what feels appropriate then.  These are just my suggestions but I think they make sense.  Hope this was helpful!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Design Philosophy

It's been a busy couple of weeks. This post isn't very long but it is one I think very important. It's about design. I may have talked about this before, but it bears re-iterating.  How does one go about designing? How does one pick the best design for the idea/ stone/ etc?  Well, here's how I go about it. This technique goes back to my undergraduate days. My metals professor, Thelma Coles (she's had the most profound influence on how I go about making art than anyone else), required us to keep a sketchbook of our designs, which was graded at the end of every semester. Thelma required that I do at least 10 alternative sketches of every single design/ concept I came up with. I don't know if she required this of every one else but I really think she tailored her requirements to best serve her students.  At the time I thought this was an impossible task. I couldn't possibly come up with 10 designs per idea, but being a dutiful student, I started trying. And to my astonishment, I came to really like it. I had to sit and really think and focus and then really explore every concept and record that exploration.  I will tell you now design #1 was rarely the design that proved the best.  So I challenge all you artists out there if you aren't doing it already, make at least 5-10 variations on any design you do for a month at least and see where it leads.  I still use this approach for 99% of every thing I make and it has served me better than I could have possibly imagined.  So here's an example of what I'm talking about:

So here's the piece in progress- main soldering done (stone is just sitting in place- not set) and the general sanding/ shaping is done but that's it. You can see how white the metal is- that's the unpolished fine silver surface coming up.

This was the first page

Second page
As you can see, the designs are pretty similar but there are subtle differences and this is really where one can make or break a piece.  The devil is in the details, as they say :-)  After looking over the designs and construction considerations, I picked the upper right design, which of course was one of the last. I've opted to use some kum-boo on the textured background to play off the yellow in the stone and that's not on the piece yet. I still have to solder my maker's mark plaque and the findings on the back and then the soldering will be done. Once the piece is sufficiently sanded and then depletion gilded, I'll do the kumboo (stay tuned for that how-to post soon) then tumble the piece to burnish the surface and work harden the metal again (another post waiting in the wings).

Occasionally I just wing it and don't start out with a design at all, I just pick a stone and play around with scrap and shapes that look interesting and work intuitively.  I've been doing this metals thing for over 20 years now so I've had a lot of practice being 'intuitive', keep in mind. I know my material and I know my style. But it takes me 3 times longer to create a piece that way than it would if I'd just sat down for 20 minutes and worked all that stuff out on paper. Undoing something in metal is waaaayyy harder than scrubbing the last paint layer off your canvas, so whenever you can plan out your construction strategy, let's just say it makes for a lot less stress in the studio and way less scrapped metal.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Goings on

Ingrid and I took a workshop at MAC with Michael Healey a couple of weeks ago on how to photograph your 3d artwork. It was really helpful and I not only learned a great deal about optimal setup and equipment, I also found some new features on my camera that I hadn't known about- go figure.  Since I actually do product photography as part of my job at the Heard, my main goal in taking this class was to learn about what equipment I need to request for the budget next year as well as optimal setup and how I can achieve better quality images in camera so I don't have to do quite as much Photoshop work to get the pics ready to upload to the online shop. So here's Michael's basic setup:

Michael's set up
He sets up a good solid wood board on horses then has a bar across the back with a photo paper roll (he uses a light gray) which then gets pulled down in a nice arc and taped to the front of the board. He usually uses one light which is just over and in front of the set up. The trick to getting a dark fall off going up the image is to put a shade structure up over the set up so light hits the piece but not the background as it goes vertical. Very clever. He also has the background a good distance away from the piece so depth of field is just on the work which allows the background to just fade into non-detailed darkness, which is also very clever.

An example of how Michael's photography looks with this set up

My set up at work involves a gifted piece of black photo paper (I need to get with my boss and see about ordering some rolls- they aren't that pricey) and two lights with umbrellas. I turn the lights completely up facing the ceiling and that causes the light to bounce back off the ceiling and the umbrellas to diffuse the photo area. It reverses my light to dark though so the floor of the set up is dark and the vertical wall gets lighter.  I'm sure I can rig something up to mimic Michael's set up but it may have to wait until after high season because I'm way too busy having to get product online right now to take time out to mess with the set up.

my set up
Looks a bit on the minimal side, doesn't it? Amazingly it gets the job done 9 times out of 10.  One thing I also learned in Michael's workshop is that he can spend quite a bit of time problem solving the set up to get the very best quality shot he can. And he does and it looks amazing. On any given day I may need to put anywhere from 10-40 pieces on the web and that's on top of processing orders, taking phone calls and emails that are all over the place topic-wise and preparing the content to go online as well.  I have to have a setup that is sort of a one size fits all, which is not optimal, but I'm amazed that I'm doing as well as I am considering all its shortcomings.  Here's an example shot:

This was shot in my light tent, which I don't like but it's not bad, eh? I'll have to take a pic of what my light tent looks like but here's what Michael uses for a light tent:

Michael's home made light tent- pvc and a vellum-like heat resistant photo film used in theatre
The only reason I don't like my light tent is because they designed it with velcro as well as zippers and the velcro is constantly shedding little white fluff all over my black paper! Apart from that, it's okay. Here's a typical example of a product shot not in a light tent. You can see how the background gets lighter and the "floor" is dark.

Another issue with my set up is that I don't have time to measure for optimal depth of field so I just have to crank up the depth of field as high as possible to accommodate the different sized pieces and different focal lengths I need to get the shot. I can't back away from my setup by more than 4 or 5 feet, so the background is almost always in focus. That makes for additional grain in the image no matter what the ISO but for me right now it's unavoidable. Here's the other side of my office/ studio:

Michael's class was really great and also allowed me to see that I was doing some things as well as I could so I've stopped beating myself up a bit on the struggle to get good shots. Even with all of his expertise and the right equipment, he still struggles with getting the best shots possible.  And for you jeweler's out there, he says that's the hardest stuff he ever has to shoot! I think he's planning on teaching it in the spring (it's a weekend workshop) and I highly recommend it if you need better shots of your work for shows or galleries and you need to take them yourself.  If you can afford not to have to take them yourself, I recommend you hire  Michael because he's really good :-)

About equipment: the product shots you see here that I took were shot with an old Nikon d40 with a Nikkor ~17-55mm lens. My lights are tungsten lights. The camera ISO is set to 200 and to Aperture mode. I have the white balance set to incandescent +2, which means tungsten on this camera. I adjust the exposure rather than the shutter speed to bracket because that's faster. I do not have an external light meter. Every image is brought into Photoshop CS4. The most common adjustments outside of cropping and sizing for the web are levels and selective color (using layers). I also do a lot of background fuzz cleanup with the patch tool.  BTW, sizing for the web means reducing the dpi to 72, which is the highest resolution for the web.  You do not want an image that is 300 dpi ever to go up onto the web. It just hogs memory and causes the whole system to bog down. I also bring the image width and height down and compress all jpegs for web viewing. The quality is usually between 60-80%.

My personal camera is a Nikon D300 and my main lens is a Tamron 17-55mm, which I love. All the other photos as well as just about any photo you see here or on my design website was shot with the D300.  My next big purchase for photography is going to be a tripod over a flash. I learned another thing in Michael's class, keeping the ISO down makes for better photos but that also frequently makes for longer exposures. I need a tripod for a lot of the work I really like to do.  As of my research right now, I'm leaning towards an RRS ball head with quick release plate and I'm pretty sure I'll get that but the legs I really want are from Gtizo and they are quite pricey so I may go with an Induro set for about half the cost. I think they'll work out just fine.  That little gift to self will have to wait until after the holidays though :-)  Sigh, something to dream about....

Saturday, November 13, 2010

I just can't resist

I stood in line this afternoon to meet Red Green at an Ace Hardware all the way across town in Litchfield Park.  The 20 seconds of actually meeting him was totally worth the hour in line :-)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Whole lotta goings on, no pics yet

Well, it's been an eventful week. The same weekend as the All Souls Show I took a photography workshop from Michael Healey at the Mesa Arts Center on photographing 3d artwork, which was really great.  My main goal was to glean information to make my photography at the Heard go faster and better and I think I accomplished that objective. Unfortunately, I discovered that a different setup would help tremendously but there's no money in the budget to get one until next October.  I also discovered that I'm doing a lot of things right, too, so that was nice to know.

Last weekend, after having all the other October weekends booked, I promised Mike that I'd clear the schedule for him so I did.  Polly really could have used some more help at the Day of the Dead event Sat/Sun at MAC and I felt really bad about saying no but I'd already promised Mike I wouldn't work yet another weekend.  However, Lynette took over creating the project for demo/ hands-on and they all (Holly and Jonathan) worked their keisters off to make it happen and by all accounts it was a great success.  So Saturday I don't actually remember what went on during the day but we did go to Whole Foods and get fixin's for dinner and Mike grilled a duck, which was incredibly delicious along with eggplant from the garden and we also had polenta and salad. Sunday we had a lovely lazy morning and then went for a hike at South Mountain in the late afternoon. We got home just in time to hand out candy to the trick-or-treaters and spent the rest of the evening doing piddly stuff to get ready for the week.

And now back to work...  Friday night was First Friday and the Phoenix Center Metals Show so I had to see that then I went out with a good friend to catch up on life for a couple of hours, which was wonderful.  This Saturday was the Heard's Weaver's Market where Navajo weavers come from all over the region to sell their rugs directly. I worked the morning as the shop photographer, talking to the weavers, taking photos of them with their work and taking photos of the event in general, then I had to boogie back to Tempe to see the last few minutes of a Saturday art show that my step son was in (his mom is at ASU doing a teaching certificate and she and I guess other art ed students taught  these several weeks long Saturday morning kids art classes and this was the final day/ show for what the kids had done), pick him up and then go run errands. Today, Mike and I have to start hashing out the design of the kitchen for the new house (I've put a time limit on that because we tend to end up in a heated argument... anyone else ever done renovation know what I'm talking about? :-) ) then I'm headed to the studio for hopefully about 6 hours to get some much needed/ desired work in!  Woohoo!!!  I've got several pieces in process and one older piece I want to redesign.  I had thought I might go down to Tucson for the All Souls Procession tonight but I just don't have the energy.  I've got to plan ahead for that kind of thing....

And this morning I finally wrote back to the Midwest Metalsmiths about possibly doing a weekend workshop for them next year. They asked about painting enamel but I also suggested the hammer stone setting class.  Thank you Andrew!!!  I hope we can work something out.  I so love to teach and it would be fun to go somewhere new.  I'll keep you posted!  Next week I expect to have some photos of my adventures as well as pics of what I'm working on in the studio.  I'll try to remember to repeat this then but if anyone ever has process questions about a piece I show, please feel free to ask it. In addition, if there's anything technical you'd like me to address, please let me know and I can get photos together to talk about it.  Have a great week and make some art!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

On another note....

This blog is about my shenanigans as an overall artist, not just in metals so I'm thrilled to share that I got into my first photography show!  The show is: All Souls Procession 4th Annual Photography Exhibition Competition. It was curated by Terry Etherton, who is a big name in photography (I did not know this until I looked him up) so that was cool and out of about 128 submissions, only 25 were picked, so that felt pretty good as well.  The opening was October 22 but it's running through November 7 in conjunction with the All Souls Procession in Tucson. You can learn more about the show and the Procession here.

Both pieces were digital collages of original photos I took in Flagstaff at the memorial of an old friend of my husband, Maria Ruiz, who died suddenly from an embolism, I believe. She was only 49. I had only met her once but liked her instantly. She was warm and welcoming and funny and just a great spirit. The turnout at her memorial, which was held at her cafe in Flagstaff was a testament to the tremendous love she inspired. The theme of the show was not only the All Soul's Procession but about honoring the dead and I hope I did her justice.

This time lapse video was sent to me by the organizer who compressed the
opening night reception into about 10 seconds

At the opening with my photos

Tribute to Love

Soul of Southside

Arrowmont- chapter 5, conclusion

Thanks to Jodi, I have burned discs of pics for my students and they are ready to send off so I don't feel guilty about finally showing their work here.  So the topic of the class was Introduction to Painting Enamel.  What is painting enamel you might ask?  Painting enamel is basically very finely ground enamel which behaves like paint in the application process but does contain glass so it glosses when fired.  There is traditional painting enamel, which consists of ceramic pigments which are mixed in fairly specific proportions with a finely ground white or clear enamel (it has the consistency of baby powder or confectioner's sugar) and then can be mixed with either oil or water as a binder.  Thompson enamel has developed a painting enamel that behaves like water colors and also a painting enamel in an acrylic binder.  I prefer the watercolor and traditional mix varieties myself. The advantage to painting enamels is that #1, you can mix colors to make new ones, which you can't do with regular 80 mesh enamel and #2, you can create tremendous detail. I had used painting enamel as an embellishment for my cloisonne images but I'm now hooked on working immediately with the painting enamel to build the entire scene.  I will talk more about the technical aspects of painting enamels in another post.

Everyone in the class had basic enameling experience or more but no one had worked with painting enamels.  Here's what we did (keep in mind this is all jewelry scale. I don't think any one of these pieces exceeds a 2 inch maximum in an direction and most are definitely smaller than that):

This was my example piece- watercolor enamel

This was the piece I worked on during class although I finished the eyes at home. I worked from a photograph-
watercolor enamel (the photo is a little washed out)

Jodi- These were done with oil based painting enamels. She discovered it requires a lot more paint to build up color on a dark ground but it can be worth it because the contrast can be quite nice.

Liza- Liza went for an abstract series or earrings using oil based painting enamels. This photo really washes them out.
They were much more vibrant in person.
Marti- a portrait of her daughter from a photo- in process. Oil based painting enamels.

Marti- oil based painting enamels (I think)

Marti- oil based painting enamels
Mark- Mark and Pat were the most accomplished painters among us and it shows! Oil based painting enamels.

Mark- I think this one might have been the water color enamels

Mark- Mark tried lavender oil instead of our mystery "painting oil" that Thompsons supplies with the kit.
He found it is much runnier so it does washes really well.
Pat- oil based painting enamels over clear rather than the traditional white ground.

Pat- oil based painting enamel over clear. Pat applied some painting Titanium White to the top of the koi and it caused this bubbling effect, which I've encountered myself with Titanium but don't know what's causing it. It worked for the piece fortunately.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Arrowmont- chapter 4

Okay, here are some shots of the studios and my students- all wonderful people and very talented! Many thanks to Jodi, Marti, Mark, Liza, Debbie and Pat for making my week such a joy :-) The studios in the main building are huge! There are two classrooms on either side of this hallway, where the faculty work for the season is exhibited. I did not have my act together to send a piece to the show unfortunately (such is life!). I did take quite a few shots of the work so if I get them sized, I'll include them in a future post.

The schedule went like this: ~7.30-8.30am breakfast- class started at 9. Lunch from 12-1.30 then class until 5pm. Dinner was at 5.30-6 and slides at 7pm or so. Then students could opt to go back to the studio until 1am or do whatever they liked.  Many of my students worked most nights and I was usually there until 9-10pm although one night we went to a local restaurant/bar for Trivia night and another night I went to the Aquarium. So the week was intense to say the least.  One thing I liked about Arrowmont's schedule, which most other places like this don't do, is class actually starts after dinner on Sunday night. This few hours gives the instructor time for the introduction phase of the class- passing out handouts and giving the students an idea of what to expect for the week.  This way, we can just launch right into demos and working on projects first thing Monday morning.  I also like the fact that they don't expect people to leave on Friday (we were able to work right up until 5pm) so Friday dinner and Saturday breakfast are included in the pricing structure. It's nice because the place doesn't just die on Friday night and people have a chance to socialize and relax after the intense schedule of the week.

Arrowmont has a wonderful program of work study on top of their elite residency program.  The residents do not have to teach unless they want to, they don't work for the studios, they get a stipend and they have semi-private studios in which to work as well as group housing on campus.  It's quite a plush gig and I for one applaud Arrowmont's support of emerging artists in this fashion.  This is not the norm because most places just don't have the budget to support their residents in this fashion even though I know most places would like to.

The Work Study and Studio Assistance programs allows interested individuals to come and work to maintain Arrowmont (everything from grounds keeping to janitorial- there are full time people in charge of coordinating the work) and in exchange they get room and board and then get to take a class on their off duty week.  The time frame can be just a few weeks to many weeks depending on the individual and the needs of the campus.  It's a pretty cool gig as well.  I have to say everyone I met there in any capacity: work study, studio assistants, residents and full time employees were wonderful and everyone seemed really happy and excited to be there.  It was such great energy from everyone!

Two last things about Arrowmont before I sign off for this week. The food was really good.  The kitchen does a phenomenal job of cooking for everyone and if you have special/ weird dietary needs like I do, they will bend over backwards to help you.  I did bring gluten free bread and bagels with me b/c I knew I wouldn't be able to find much of that stuff in such a remote area. I was able to stash the bread in the fridge in the kitchen and just go in and get it anytime I needed.  I don't eat red meat or non-organic chicken so they fixed fish for me.  They also always have a vegetarian option at every meal.  It is so important when going to a place like this that the food is good.  People are having a very intense week and have paid quite a pretty penny to be there and to be able to relax over good meals for a little while each day is really wonderful. And-coffee is available alllllll day!

Lastly, the rooms/ bathrooms were really clean and comfortable and the grounds were beautiful!  Thanks so much to all the Arrowmont staff for such a wonderful job!!!  Okay, I'm done gushing :-)  Enjoy the pics and next time I'll finish with what we actually made. I know I promised something like that this week....sorry.  Next time- definitely!

The door on the right was my classroom

The metals studio- and yes, it is as big as it looks!
Individual benches in the middle, soldering stations to the left and more open work areas on the right.
Anvils in the foreground.

This is the hammer room which is a smaller room between the metals studio
and the glass/ enameling studio. The door to the right goes into the enameling studio.

The studios have catwalks for visitors to see what's going on in the classes
without disturbing them.  This was my class hard at work.
A few people were still out at lunch when this shot was taken.
My messy table is in the lower right corner.

Jodi and Liza with Marti in the background
My student Mark and Donna who was visiting from the bead class

Catwalk looking down on the bead class across the hall

Just one of the wood studio rooms. The wood studio is an independent building built about 10 years ago-
beautiful gallery entrance and multiple equipment and teaching rooms

This is one of the studios in the wood building- the class was Extreme Pens.
They were doing miniature wood turning for pen blanks. It was pretty cool.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Last weekend was kind of busy- got to spend a good chunk of Sunday in the studio and while I was gone, get this, my wonderful hubby cleaned out the fridge and vacuumed the house then grilled us a fabulous dinner of barbecued chicken, corn on the cob, garlic bulbs and salad!  What a great way to start the week! 

I've got photos from Arrowmont ready, just haven't had time for a thoughtful post to go with them so I'm planning for Thursday- Saturday to get that done.  Just FYI.  I've got some other topics already lined up- using a rotary tumbler may be the next one but we'll see.  There's lots going on art-wise to post!  I can't remember if I mentioned it, but not only do I work in metals, I also do photography and digital art so this blog is also going to be about that and other art happenings I get mixed up in.  I discovered how hard it was to keep one blog going so rather than have different blogs for different topics, I'm just going to spill my guts here.  After all, none of us are one dimensional people or artists, right?  Hope you find it all good :-)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Arrowmont- chapter 3

Well, I'm taking a little aside from what actually went on in class and including some photos this week of the surprisingly good aquarium that is literally across the street from Arrowmont.  Don't let the fact that the aquarium is a Ripley's Believe or Not franchise discourage you because it's accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and is really quite impressive.  They stay open until 11pm so it's easy to walk on over after slides one evening if you've decided to take a break from working late in the studio and check out the denizens of the deep.  I went with Chad Alice Hagen, felt and fiber artist extraordinaire, who was also teaching that week.  If I hadn't been teaching myself, I'd have wanted to take both the fiber and bead classes that were being offered on the other side of the hall!  Next week, I will show you what we worked on in class and what the studios looked like but for now, enjoy these piscine pics!


A Sawfish- amazing creature!

Sawfish mouth and gills- looks like eyes but they're not

Jaws music, please

Squid couple

Random fish but such a clear shot even through the thick glass, I couldn't resist including it

There were lots of fish....

Chad Alice Hagen in the Penguin Pod- This was neat. You crawled through a tunnel and popped right up
in the midst of the penguins and they weren't disturbed in the least,although there were idiots ahead of us
banging on the plexiglass to try and get the penguins to do something.
Sometimes I wonder who really belongs in the cage.....
Penguin Feet- I don't know why this picture is so small....