There is no snow on the ground but this is the most joyous holiday I've had in years. In Tacoma and in the surrounding areas, there are many talented artists and I couldn't help but buy some of their wares. The ceramic cups were all made by different artists at Seward Park Clay Studio where I took the life size bust class. The glass molded cup was made by local glass artist Oliver Doriss. Our apartment is watched over by this wire man year around. I hope all of you have wonderful holidays!
As I type this, mine and my classmates' busts are drying in a medium sized gas kiln. Here we are loading the pieces, very carefully, into it. I mostly stayed out of the way because of my lack of experience with the process. I was impressed with how careful everyone was with every piece, making sure each one fit by measuring the pieces and the space in the kiln. The sculptures were mostly dry but not bone dry in case some part broke. If the pieces were bone dry it would have been almost impossible to fix--fortunately only one finger came off. These sculptures will dry slowly in the closed kiln for about two weeks or until bone dry. Then they will be fired slowly,to prevent air bubbles from expanding and shattering the pieces, over about 16 hours. It will be a high fire so that the pieces will be able to be put outside. I don't plan to keep my sculpture outside but the high fire will make it more durable.
I have learned to window shop instead of actually laying out money, like many people do. Its so tempting this time of year to buy too much because of all of the stores advertising 'deals'. I was reading one of my favorite blogs M.M.E's newest posts about how to save money during this holiday season. Window shopping on etsy is one of my favorite ways to virtually shop and not spend any money. I've got a couple other ways that I like to save money and also support local artists. 1) Shop at local craft fairs. You will find quality and handmade goods that will last longer than mass produced items from the mall. 2) Have a clothes swap party with friends or a material swap with other artists. Items from someone else's closet always looks more interesting... 3) Use newspapers and old fashion magazines to make paper chains to decorate a tree or mantle or the rooms in your apartment. Here are the artisans whose work is pictured: Asian Tea cup and tea pot rings set by charlieccbb, Fiesta ware miniature tea set by paulaspatchwork, mini fruit by minihandmade bathroom set 2 pieces-Patchwork Collection by yevgenia, wood fired creamer and sugar pot by ippuku
I had this quote re awakened in me this morning by my boyfriend about seeing objectively and being aware of what was around you, that the world is a cornucopia and has everything that you could want. " Do you have doubts about life? Are you unsure if it is worth the trouble? Look at the sky: that is for you. Look at each person's face as you pass on the street: those faces are for you. And the street itself, and the ground under the street, and the ball of fire underneath the ground: all these things are for you. They are as much for you as they are for other people. Remember this when you wake up in the morning and think you have nothing. Stand up and face east. Now praise the sky and praise the light within each person under the sky. It's okay to be unsure. But praise, praise, praise." by Miranda July from the story collection 'No one belongs here more than you' The beauty of faces, of leaves that fall on the street has been in my thoughts as I hear news of friends losing their jobs. We seem to need to remember that opportunities are all around if we can only see them and shape them into something that works.
I can almost say that my piece is finished and ready to fire. Here are pictures of the hands and torso at first cut up and in the process of being hollowed out and then fully formed and re attached. I used 6 bags of clay to make this piece and then peeled away most of it. If I hadn't hollowed it out, it would have weighed about 100 lbs. Also, there were hundreds of air pockets that would have expanded and blasted the piece to pieces! It was an almost meditative process to take away the clay and to scrape the inside of the body. The torso started to remind me of a building made of stucco. I included a picture of the inside of the body just to give a feeling of what it was like. In the pictures you can also see some of the other interpretations of the bust. I truly enjoyed working side by side with these other students and the atmosphere was fantastic, positive, and curious. Most everyone was older than me and had lived varied lives, from working as a butler to whispering to animals. For anyone interested in the figure this is an amazing experience.
I finally went out and got a new digital camera--a Canon PowerShot G11! This isn't an ad for this company but I'm really happy with it. I understand the wheels and buttons and its not too big and it can take decent pictures in low light. Also, now I can take better pictures of my artwork which right now is the flat drawings I've been scratching into clay. I also took pictures of the life size bust I'm making in my sculpture class. I will post pictures of the notes I've been taking each class as well. I've learned so much during this class and so any questions you have about the process I'll try to answer.
I'm still slacking on posting pics from my life sculpting class and all I can say in my defense is being blissed out by others' work. I'm enjoying my own art process but I find that I like to look outward sometimes too. Ideas are bubbling up for my Halloween costume too...I want to be a dragon woman this year. Here is some truly wonderful jewelry made by etsy artisans....I hope they inspire you too. The artists are: Anatomical heart pendant by billyblue22, Anatomical Series Art Print by jodypham, Bangle bracelets sterling twig set of 3 by stratussilver, Blue Flash Labradorite Gemstone necklace by TheJewelryChateau, and Foks Brooch by celapiu
I am planning to do a whole post on my awesometastic sculpture class but here are some of my favorite Halloween type items from etsy. And the artists are: Druzy sphere by GlimmeringGems Full Moon Rising by ImagineStudio Lacy heart red leather mask by TomBanwell Square bone ring by ardent1
Another wonderful etsy artist that I met in the chat room, Musetypes, makes these incredible drawn and etched necklaces. I have never seen this technique used in this small format. I think that you will enjoy these pocket masterpieces.
1) How long have you been selling on etsy?
I’ve been selling on Etsy only since mid March, but my wife has had a shop there almost three years. She’s the one who encouraged me to set up shop.
2) Do you have advice for etsy newbies?
Being a relative ‘newbie’ myself, I really don’t have any sales advice, but I will say this. Create from your heart, do your passion and live your highest creative potential.
3) What are your fave etsy shops and why?
Of course, my wife’s jewlery shop www.mataharijewelry.etsy.com. Her passion comes through in all her creations and inspires me to keep going. So do her sales. Being college art school trained myself, I’m attracted to more traditional art shops such as: www.HelenGotlib.etsy.com, www.kmencher.etsy.com, & www.Rudolfkurz.etsy.com. These shops show some true artistic skill, creativity, and devotion to the craft.
4) What are your fave pieces in your shop and why?
That changes all the time. The custom portraits of a customer’s grandmother and great aunt I am very fond of. The fact that someone would trust and pay me to capture a relative, and that they really liked the results mean a lot to me. My Hand Drawn Clay Scrimshaw Nudes and Portraits really excite me because the capture a naiveté and expressionistic quality that I’ve been trying so hard to achieve in my work.
5) What plans do you have for your shop?
I am currently working on a series of twelve digital pen and ink drawings of Victorian women. A departure from the jewelry, getting back to what I love: drawing. I will be selling these as reproduction u-prints. Delivering a digital file that the customer can either print on their printer or take it to be printed.
6) How long have you been creating art?
I’ve been a non-selling artist all my life. I’ve never really put much energy into the selling thing. My art has always been a means of personal expression and a way to feel connected to life. Right now, it’s an adventure to see what is possible, as far as sales go and where working in a more commercial field takes my art.
7) Who are your art heroes?
Kandinsky, Jasper Johns, Edward Hopper, Egon Schiele, and Whistler
8) Where do your ideas come from?
It’s also here that my wife had an influence on me. She’s passionate about vintage things, particularly Victorian era. So, I spent a lot of time on-line looking at and collecting vintage posters, sheet music and photographs. I’m a process oriented type of person. So, a lot of the challenge and intrigue comes in figuring out ‘how’ to do something, like the Etchings on Clay, the Clay Scrimshaws, and the Brass Etchings.
9) What do you do when you have a creative block?
Look at other shops. Look at vintage material and go to the art museum.
10) What other interests do you have that feed into your art? When I’m not drawing or making jewelry, I make a living designing and drawing 3D high tech tools and products on the computer. I also enjoy gardening, cooking and playing with my two pet ferrets, Luigi and Sophia.