Saturday, February 14, 2015

2015 Valentines

I'm calling the subject of my Valentine this year an Oceanic Astronaut. 

I'm a tiny bit obsessed with this brave and iconic being. The explorer wears a moon nimbus and carries a light through an oceanic (I definitely mean that in both senses of the word) sky/sea. The diving weight on the cover OA is a heart.

I suspect I will be doing more with this subject. Lots more. It's healing to me in some pretty "other" ways. (I'll give the clinical research-proven explanation in my next post.)
The sentiment is wide open for my Valentines to choose how they want to receive such a big message. What does it speak into your heart?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

More gifts from the sea

My friend gave me two of her old rings for a face lift. She's the best kind of patron (and person) for her willingness to trust the process. She allowed me to work without a clock (she gave me the rings several months ago) and to work with whatever the metal wanted to do.

I cannot find a detailed photo of the denim lapis I set inside the first ring I worked with. (I stole the photo to the left off Sydney's facebook...and yes, that's a Valentine spoiler, too). When I look at the piece now, I see some very feminine lines (as O'Keefe would say, this is not a conscious decision)...and I like it all the more. Pairing those lines with a gentle, healing, expressive blue (again, not conscious) just makes so much sense. This piece is a disarming yet bold statement. Perfect for its wearer.

The second ring was "supposed" to have a bronze topper for a mixed metals look. After making a mold twice and firing the kiln a few times only to have the starfish crumble three times, I decided the starfish didn't want to be bronze.  I actually got very far with one of the bronze pieces---it was soldered and all---just tried to bend the metal one tiny way and it cracked. This, you can imagine, is very disappointing and feels like failure. I remember closing the door on the studio that day...months ago.

A few weeks ago I found and purchased a silver starfish (it's cheaper than using silver metal clay). On Sunday afternoon I turned to my scrap pile and found the base circle (*now on the ring) and discovered it matched pretty well with the starfish. I slightly domed both, soldered on the starfish and then soldered the ring to the base. It went as smoothly as it possibly could have, and just like that, it was done. This is a solid ring.

*The circular base for this ring was created on a Saturday back in the fall. Andria was over and the studio doors were open. I'd spent a lot of time making this base for another piece. I was trying to set another friend's sapphire on top of it. I burned through two baskets before deciding the setting just didn't look right together anyway. I remember telling Andria it would work out for some other piece---and I also think Andria would tell you I was totally annoyed and frustrated and disgusted with the amount of time I put toward all of it that day. The best laid plans of mice and men.... The metal will tell you what it wants to do. Trust the the the process.

It was always supposed to be as we now see it.

Sure looks like failure....

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Port-iful Actions

Andria and Me (We had a blast!)
Cody in the door.
The WSU ceramics students made phallic shakers. (Guess who's body?)

Scottie and his girlfriend (Oksana, from Moscow)

Chris Gulick and Mark Walker performing Oh the Places You'll Go

Me and Isaac

Look at that shadow! We lit this piece with a flashlight in a mic stand.

Me and my girl

Abby and Chloe interact
My neighbor Kimmie took her selfie, along with several others who interacted with the piece.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

One more piece of Turquoise

For this piece I kept the silver around the stone simple and created a fine silver flourish (cast from an antique button) with a pearl (I brought it back from China in 2007) to top off the bail. Very pleased if I can say so. Satisfaction!

    Here they are all together, for scale:

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Turquoise and Green Turquoise

It has been nice in Kansas this week! What do I do? I say yay for cross-ventilation and fire up the torches!

Today I paid for a private lesson with my cadillac torch. Barb Vogt graciously agreed to come over and teach me how to use it, change tips, check my gauges, etc. I've had the torch for four years now---and been scared of it ever since I filled the tanks. It's different than the torch I learned with so there's a definite learning curve. (I'm already learning by doing/behind the curve, and today alone I charred up one bezel and a thin sheet of silver figuring out how very hot my tiny flame actually is.)

But truly, in the past I have just been more concerned with blowing up my studio. Barb says, "It's easy!" Now I am quite confident it IS easy to operate and it's all going to work out, so that leaves me feeling hopeful. (There are days I think I should just cash in on the jewelry stuff...but that's when I go to painting...and when I think I should hang up my brush, I go to I guess I do need both options.)

Here's what I made today---from old and new silver, for my Aunt Korrene who owns the stones and gave me the silver. Yahoo!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Interactive Dream Art

This little white-out bunny came to me in a dream.

This little white-out bunny-in-the-shadows has so much to say, I'm not sure how to honor Bunny's story! I don't even know how to name it or what to call this art piece. 

I mean, I know what I would call Bunny. I know what Bunny means to me today. (Who can know what Bunny will mean to me tomorrow?)

This little white-out bunny is actually pure gold and quite massive. Whatever it is or becomes, it will be in its own walled off space in the gallery, encountering and healing beyond me.

The rotating top and interchangeable disks are rimmed with gold leaf. (Those who know my work will see the circle and the square all over this, too.) I lined the top and shelves with soft, white felt.

Chloe helped with the overall vision. Cody (and Dad) made my sketch come alive. Even down to the pass-through shelves. 

 The interchangeable disks (lit from one side only) in order:

The deep shadow-play on these things is intentional, mesmerizing and clarifies with each disk. You really must encounter it in movement, experientially.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Final Friday Port-iful Actions

Cody and Chloe have helped me make a sleeping dream I had a few weeks ago come true.
Please come interact with my dream, and let it speak to you, too!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Collaborating with Chloe

Chloe and I have put our heads together to work on a submission for this show which is sure to be another fantastic show curated and sponsored by Kylie and CreativeRush.

While working on other ideas for the show, I had a simple, beautiful dream. I recorded the dream exactly like this: "Moving light source on round paper white pulp raised dots". In the dream I watched what was supposed to be a pure white surface dance with shadows due to a moving light source. I also heard myself saying, "Viewing, Doing and Experiencing"---something I say quite often in my office (3 ways of change).

I shared the dream with Chloe. Through some discussion, we arrived at rotating the round source, not the light. (I really like this idea more symbolically, and yes, I could spend hours meditating on the significance of the light source moving in my subconscious.) We are also going to use multiple round source textures. Chloe suggested using records for surfaces, a record player for rotation and using something like the symbol display racks at Midwest Drum and Percussion (Matt Jansen is searching for one of these---or at least he sent a "thumb's up" to my request.) for artful display. We have 6 more days to do this and get the idea submitted. The one thing that is sure to stick, though, is the stark white and shadows. More to come on this one....

Speaking of collaboration, remember when I received this commission? Since weather affects the marbling, it is going to be months before I can attempt it again. Knowing this, I finally just gathered the test papers and gave them UJ for Christmas. While gathering the papers, I showed Chloe the "face" I saw in the misprint on one of the papers (something I cropped out of the photos). Chloe asked if she could have it. Last night she came out and floored me with what she had added (see above)

I just finished reading another book about Klimt. I have to say, Chloe (unintentionally?) nailed the abstract reality of Klimt's confused multiple planes on one canvas. I don't even know what to say about where this creation might lead me and or Chloe. I have been contemplating drawing lessons---a desire that is only growing. Now it is just a matter of finding a teacher. Wouldn't it be something if Chloe would teach me?

Sunday, January 4, 2015

An update on Chloe and Mason

What follows could be considered the closest thing I get to writing an obnoxious Christmas letter (at least it's not written in 3rd person). Please keep in mind I mainly write this blog to document my process in time. You are welcome to read and resonate with it, but remember it is not necessarily written for you. It is my hope that some day my children and grand children will read this when they move through similar spaces as a parent and or when they actually care to know how I experienced such things. My own mother recently commented on how each generation moves through similar transitions, just at different intervals (hello, systems theory). It IS a crying shame I can't ask my grandparents about transitioning their kids to college now, isn't it? I would love to know what they were thinking and how they handled it.... 


My kids are growing up right under my nose. So is their love of art, which is just fascinating to me. It would be easy to take the credit lots of people assign to me and Cody regarding their success, but I know the truth. The truth is, both kids continue to come in to their own with the arts, largely the result of their own process, with the support of extended family, friends, and aid of amazing strangers and teachers in the community.

Just yesterday Chloe told me she "made the mistake of" telling some people around her high school that such-and-so handed her the City Arts Council award in October. When this man gave her the plaque he said something about judging her bunny for the regional Scholastics show---and that he wanted her to know he would be watching for her Senior portfolio this year. Of course people might assume and comment on how she is earning awards because of who she knows (and because of who her parents know*)(**), but that would be incorrect. The Scholastics show is blindly judged. She is earning awards because her artwork is really that good.

I haven't mentioned it, but aside from winning a Scholastics national gold medal and being published in the subsequent catalog and journal, her bunny (Nature Burn Nature) ended up being printed in the Scholastics calendar. This means that out of 344,000 pieces of nationally juried and submitted art, Chloe's drawing was 1 of 12.
(Photo taken before she added the smoke. This bunny is still traveling.)
Chloe has moved from a space of making art because it is demanded of her for a grade, to making art because she loves it. Seriously, what more could a parent wish for?!? The navigation of this space has been difficult at times for me and Cody to witness as well as difficult to parent through. One of my greatest fears as a parent is that either of my children would lose their love for the arts because of such demands. (Ask Cody what a fight I put up when he wanted to put both kids in formal music lessons.)

The overall adjustment of transitioning Chloe to college later this year is enough of a whole body rattle! Cody has made funny comments about her being a Royal Tenenbaum. (We all know and love the Tenenbaum kids not in spite of, but rather for the vortex their natural gifts spawned. What the heck is supposed to happen when your street credit supersedes the stability of your personality/leg stability?) Watching Chloe powerfully navigate this last year, tells me my girl is gaining strength, and will be just fine.

The fact that Mason is a drummer has never been surprising or more fitting for him. He does his own thing, sets his own beat, more and more often now. His iPod plays (we both take a curious look when Cody loads new songs onto it) demonstrate this reality. Lots of Radiohead, Four Tet, old jazz, new jazz, etc. He has received formal instruction for years now, and (somewhat to my surprise***) his love of playing music continues to grow. He is actually looking forward to marching band (so far his love for drumming is actually trumping the early rising, uncomfortable shoulder harness and uniform part) next year. He has said he would only do jazz band if it were an option....

He also continues to talk about pottery even when he is not throwing. I think the rhythm and hand involvement must be part of the natural draw for him. He talks about looking forward to high school because he will finally have "free access" to a wheel and kilns. I can see him throwing with his earbuds in...though he will certainly have to cut his mop (surprising point of contention) or be able to tie it back by then.

Given the chance to create anything in his Art II course this year, Mason hand built a plain white toilet with working lid. (Did I forget to mention he has a quick wit and he loves to laugh?) When he told me about the toilet, I immediately thought of DuChamp's Fountain and rushed to show it to him. Were I given the opportunity to build anything, with the chance to use the confetti glaze I saw on multiple pieces in his class, I'd make the busiest, tackiest thing ever. I think the toilet piece it is telling of Mason's strong (it has always been there****), personal aesthetic. He is peaceful and kind and loving, and yet he is also unafraid to be bold, like his dad. Watching him strike a Timpani is most thrilling.

So, due to natural process, both kids are cultivating strong, personal aesthetics that simply cannot have come from me and Cody. They are both already outgrowing their parents in formal instruction and talent---something I have always known would be easy for anyone to do. What I have also always wondered about and sought to foster, then, is their LOVE and appreciation for the arts. Sometimes I fail miserably at this*****, and sometimes I am better at this (again, see ****). I am highly aware of their process and have a great desire to support them through it. It is an honor and a privilege to parent these two. Few things in life bring me such pure joy.
My prized Christmas present from Mase this year. What could be more difficult than a watercolor self-portrait?

He said he wants to drink hot cocoa from it and store the marshmallows in the tank part. He did not appreciate it when I added a squished up tootie roll to the bowl.

(*Anyone who really knows me and Cody will think this assertion is hilarious. Yes, we know some people---but we're both so bad at playing that game, being associated with us might actually hurt our kids' credit. We're both publicly awkward with our art, we both have such little formal training. Well, maybe "stage" Cody is not awkward but he is himself, which isn't always popular. Neither of us has ever been able to disingenuously kiss ass. Trust me, we have both wished at times for this special talent.)

 (**Because of the public attention Chloe has earned for her memorable bunny, and because of her seeking a job at the Wichita Art Museum, she did earn the nomination for the Wichita Art Council award. She is meeting and receiving attention from artists and patrons in Wichita. It is possible some people will now recognize her hand, but even that started with her own merit.)
(***Lessons and public recitals killed my own love of music at times.)
(****You want to see me go all Mama Bear, ask me about this one. It started when his pre-school teachers told me they were "concerned" because he "doesn't like to color"....)
(*****Chloe has paved the way for Mase on this one. Especially when she told us she was "not going to submit a themed portfolio" to Scholastics and all I heard was not going to submit a portfolio. Yikes. She got the hammer on that one...for a while. Don't worry, though, the girl is naturally strong-willed---and she has cut her teeth within the safety of home, something I hope only helps her throughout college and life.)