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 :-)