Monday, September 15, 2014

Just touching base with a little Show & Tell...

Just a quick Hello to my faithful followers and to let you know that I'm alive and well out in the real world!! It's no secret that I cope with life much better when I dwell in the "creative realm" so when I'm temporarily needed elsewhere it can be quite a challenge for me!! All I can do is, do my best... to quote a very wise Sailor man named Popeye, "I yam what I yam and that's all that I yam!"  I guess I'll just open up a can of spinach and get on with what needs to be done!! (Now, I really am aging myself!)

So... Here is another quickie Show & Tell  to tide us over until I'm artistically back in action!

The original sculpture to the left is titled "Family Tree". (Stands approximately 17" tall & 3" in diameter.) It was created with Dove porcelain and airbrushed with a celadon green under glaze before being sprayed with a clear gloss glaze.

The most challenging part of working with porcelain (in my opinion) is the drying process. Each piece needs to be dried very slowly to prevent any cracks from forming. This is where patience truly is a virtue!! It's not uncommon to keep a piece covered for weeks, only removing the plastic covering for brief periods at a time every day. The key is to have it completely bone dry before attempting a bisque firing. There's nothing more heartbreaking than to have a piece that you've poured your heart & soul into, only to have it blow up in the kiln!! I'd like to say I'm always correct and I've never lost a piece but that's not the case...remember in a previous post when I mentioned my bag of deadheads! On the other hand, there is nothing more exciting than opening a kiln and finding that perfect piece, just the way you planned it to be!! Working with clay is not an instant gratification art form...but the challenge definitely has it's own rewards!!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

He's full of it... Personality, that is!!

Mr. Flutterstein
Another quicky "Show and Tell"... To the left is my favorite jazz musician, Mr. Flutterstein!

This sculpture is a combo of mediums, bead weaving and porcelain clay. Mr.F's head and collar are made of Dove porcelain, he was actually part of a full sized sculpture that had broken. I always remove and save the heads of all my works that get damaged (some of my friends find it a little odd that I have a bag filled with what I call "deadheads"!!) after all, they are too full of personality to be tossed away like garbage... So, I gave him a new body to shine in!! I created his figure by weaving seed beads onto an armature that I built and embellished with antique buttons for shoes. He stands about 11 inches in height. I gave him that lean bohemian look of the 50's... I can just imagine him playing at a poetry reading in a coffee house in Greenwich Village!! I've never been able to part with him... it's not very lucrative when an artist can't part with their creations... I wonder if the phrase "Starving Artist" is a result of this habit?!?

On another note... 
As they say, "the best laid plans of mice and men..." Every now and then "life" seems to get in our way and we must set aside our own plans and focus elsewhere!  For a brief time, I will be doing just that... regrettably my blog posts and artwork will have to be put on the back burner for now! Hopefully, I'll be able to make some small posts along the way until everything gets up & running as usual... not to mention that my trip to Venice for my mosaic workshop is just around the corner!!   
I'll have plenty to say & blogs to write... until then, Ciao!!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Got Stress? ...try basket weaving!

Just another quick Show and Tell for today... When you are a "Jane of all Trades" you can't let any medium pass you by without giving it a try! 3-dimensional art appeals to be because I love keeping my hands busy as well as the feel of textures of all kinds... I'm simply tactile by nature!! I decided to try my hand at Basketry. I'm really not that attracted to functional things but I made an exception so that I could learn techniques that later I could adapt to my more sculptural creations. There is a marvelous local basket maker that started giving lessons in order to share her 30+ years experience in the craft. I usually tend to just research most mediums and jump in on my own to teach myself as I go. Taking her classes took me out of my creative comfort zone at first (I have trouble with people telling me what to do "artistically") but in the end, I was glad I didn't do it on my own. Economically it was a wise decision, my instructor had an abundant selection of supplies and tools to use that were included in the class fee. If I had to purchase them on my own, it would have been a costly investment for something that I might not want to ever do again!! Now that I have learned the technical basics of a few different styles, I have been able to see how I can proceed with creating baskets in what I like to call "Jan Style"!!  This is the perfect time of year to be out gathering "natural" supplies needed to make the baskets that I'm envisioning myself to create. Winters in Northeast Washington can be quite long, leaving plenty of time for ART... with this in mind, instead of dreading it, I'm looking forward to that first snowfall!!

Below are some Baskets that I created in my classes.
(I guess functional things can be useful!!)

Basket Trio - all natural reed w/ hand dyed reed accents
Hanging Basket - red willow handle w/ lake tullies

Hanging Basket - natural reed w/ hand dyed reed accents