Thursday, April 24, 2008

ArtFest! Day 3

By the third day, I was exhausted. I was in a class with L.K. Ludwig, supposedly taking mica and wire mesh and found objects and image transfers and using them to create a wall hanging.

Did I mention we got to walk on the beach? And that it was really, really cold? And that I took a lot of pictures?

I played with the very cool techniques she showed us, and made a bunch of different little things, but not a wall hanging. Here's one of them - made with a copy of an older bird-on-the-beach photo, a feather, a rock, and some wire mesh:

And yet the thing I did in that class that I really felt the most excited about was this photo of beach gleanings, arranged on the windowsill in the classroom:

And - Yowza! In the "completely random" file, I got mentioned on the Italian Recycling Website, Re-Creazione !! Or at least, my recycled bike inner tube jewelry did - how cool is that?!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Artfest! Day Two

I've been home from Artfest for about a week now, and I'm still integrating all that happened there . . . it was truly a wonderful event! And integrating has taken long enough that I haven't been blogging . . . though I have been spending time in the studio, and even working in the yard! Yummy . . . I had forgotten that yardwork really can be enjoyable, especially with mild sunshine and a double-dosing of effective non-drowsy allergy medication!

My class the second day was with yet another teacher that I had never heard of but came to love, Melissa Manley. She is a jeweler and sculptor, and our class was called Paper Ruins. It combined something I am familiar with - shrines - with something that was a stretch - working small - and a new skill - casting Paperclay. Perfect! We created our own molds, molded our Paperclay, and constructed our tiny shrines using matchboxes as a focus. (I kept thinking about Dayna and her upcoming Matchbox Shrine class!) Here are two that I worked on as they appeared at the end of class:

And, on the way back to the hotel that night, one of the wings broke off of the shrine on the right . . . Realizing how tough it would be to reattach it convincingly, I improvised:

It was a great problem-solving exercise: how do I take an accident and make it work in my favor? I ended up adding the orange elements, including the funny plastic chicken feet, and I think the whole piece actually ended up being more interesting.

I also ended up making a few minor changes to the other one:

At home this past week, I've been working on a cigar box to hold the second one - it's encrusted with little bees and honeycomb . . . This coming week, I've got to get back to work on a pay-the-bills kind of project, and it's going to be tough to get my head back into it.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Artfest! Day One (and a half)

Wednesday morning I woke up with a luxurious feeling . . . I was going to have my morning coffee, throw a few things the car, and then drive up to Port Townsend, Washington for my very first ArtFest ever . . . Four Hours Later, I started panicking: the car wasn't loaded. Not even close. Even though I was driving - meaning I had my entire truck available to me to fill with stuff - I was having a very hard time deciding what to take. It's like any trip - you can really get by with little more than a clean pair of unders and a toothbrush, but there's a compulsion to fill at least one suitcase with stuff, just in case . . . I ended up leaving later than planned and with more than I needed, but that means more to share, right?

Let me just say that ArtFest feels different from other multi-teacher mixed-media art retreats I've attended. I arrived just in time for the evening orientation and almost immediately, I felt really welcomed and I felt a real sense of community . . . even though I still haven't been able to touch bases with some of the blogger artists I had hoped to meet live and in person (Hi, Leah! Hi, Jen! Hi, Judy!) I have met a host of other wonderful people. Even though there are a LOT of people, the Secret Introvert feels very safe here.

Maybe it's the proximity to the ocean. Or maybe it's just Teesha and Tracy Moore's laid-back, friendly attitude. Either way, I freakin' love it!

My very first class was with Bee Shay - Shadow Boxing. I love making niches and shadow boxes, and I felt like the minimalist aesthetic of the class would be a good stretch for me. What I didn't count on was what an amazing and delightful teacher Bee was. She kept an easy, positive atmosphere in the room while sharing a lot of wonderful techniques. Here she is demonstrating:

And I definitely gave the whole minimalist thing a shot - here are three pieces that I finished today:
I used stuff from Hannah Grey's online shop in each of these: beetle wings, dried starfish, weasel bones . . .

And this one, I ended up giving to Bee because she really worked with me quite a bit on the design of it, and she loved the weasel skull so much!! And I know I'll be using this niche technique in the future . . .

I'm not staying at Fort Worden (though the food and accomodations are MUCH nicer than the last time I was here a dozen years ago). I'm staying in at a lovely little B&B called The James House. Much of the wood and hardware in the house is original - check out this doorknob and faceplate on the door to my bathroom . . . and I'm in the cheapest room! And there was a poached pear for breakfast. Yum.

I wonder what they're making for breakfast tomorrow? Did I mention that I love traveling?