Thursday, June 11, 2015

My First Juried Show!!

I cannot begin to tell you how PSYCHED I am for my VERY FIRST juried exhibit!  In December, I believe, I came across a "call for art".  If you're not familiar with this, it's when an organization posts an invitation to artists to submit their artwork for a proposed exhibition.  Think of it as a job posting, asking people to submit their resume for a job.  So anyway, I saw this call for art for an exhibit tentatively entitled "Mindful: Exploring Mental Health through Art" hosted by Society for Contemporary Craft...and took a chance by submitting my "War Within" sculpture.  At first, disappointment because my sculpture was not accepted...BUT, joy and bliss because it WAS accepted for their companion exhibit, "Community Voices".  OH HAPPY DAYS!
Here's is a little bit about the Mindful exhibit from their website:
"One in four adults lives with a mental health condition, yet this common illness often remains hidden behind a wall of secrecy and isolation. Mindful: Exploring Mental Health through Art  – Contemporary Craft’s latest socially engaged art experience – breaks down societal stigmas and offers an opportunity to encounter and understand mental health through the lens of contemporary craft. Featuring a series of exhibitions, innovative community engagement and education opportunities, and a diverse series of programs and events, Mindful reaches beyond the gallery walls to examine creativity’s role in mental health, resiliency, and compassion."

 Since February, I have been exchanging several emails with the interns at Society for Contemporary Craft ensuring that everything is squared away.  Filling out a bio, recording an audio portion, sending images of my hands in clay, etc.  The show will be on display September 18 through December 7, 2015, at the studio for Society for Contemporary Craft, 2100 Smallman Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15222.  Here is the blurb from the SoCC website about the upcoming exhibit:
"Community Voices is an exhibition of stories and artwork by ten artists whose lives are affected by mental illness.  For some, mental health challenges impact them directly while others have loved ones living with mental illness. Each piece in the exhibition depicts a personal journey of tension, resiliency and hope. Community Voices is a testament to how making art can heal and transform the mind.
Featuring audio and video components to further enhance the powerful narratives of the participating artists, Community Voices will be on view in the SCC Studio display cases September 18 through December 7, 2015."
This opportunity is HUGE for me!  It really validates my sculpting.  Not to mention it being a HUGE honor.  This is my 2nd year that I've really been focusing on my sculpting.  I submitted my application for this show on a whim and wasn't really expecting to be accepted but hoping above all hope that I was because of the topic, mental health.  This piece, "The War Within" really exemplifies the struggles people with mental health issues face regardless of if they are a Veteran, active duty Soldier, or someone with no military affiliation.  

All that said and done...if you're in the Pittsburgh area... I encourage you to go to this amazing show, and then report back to me on what you thought!      

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Haystack and Combat Paper...A GREAT combination!

If you follow me on Facebook and Instagram, you know that I attended a week long workshop at the Haystack Mountain School of Craft in Deer Isle, Maine.  It occurred the week before the normally scheduled workshops begin for the summer, aka "Pre-Session". Our group wasn't the only one there...the other group was the volunteers who do the maintenance at the facility to keep it in tip top shape for all us crazy artisans.  So I'd like to take a quick minute and say THANK YOU to the Haystack staff and all the volunteers!  Y'all do an amazing job! 
From 24 May through 30 May, a group of 21 Veterans who are also artists congregated at Haystack for an amazing week of fellowship, creativity, and inspiration.  This workshop was hosted by a group called Combat Paper NJ (headed up by the talented Dave Keefe), which is a sub-group of the original Combat Paper Project organization headed by Drew Cameron out of CA. 

Combat Paper is still a relatively new movement/project/organization, having just been established in 2007.  But what IS combat paper you may be asking yourself?  Well, it's paper made from old military uniforms!  This is a brief quote from the Combat Paper Facebook page that sums up what Combat Paper is
"Through papermaking workshops, veterans use their uniforms worn in service to create works of art. The uniforms are cut up, beaten into a pulp and formed into sheets of paper. Participants use the transformative process of papermaking to reclaim their uniforms as art and express their experiences with the military."
 The old and retired from service uniforms are cut up into small pieces that are roughly the size of a postage stamp.  These pieces of cloth must be free of seams and anything else "holding" it into it's prior form.  Once 1 pound of material has been cut and processed, it is ready to be placed in the "beater" (seen above.  The green motor with the yellow surround).  This device then macerates the uniforms, breaking them down from these small square pieces of fabric into individual fibers.  The uniform is mixed with water and 100% organic fibers (since the uniforms are essentially plastic, i.e. polyester, organic material is required for the paper making process to work).  All these components are then processed through the beater to make a lovely pulpy slurry which is then poured into the black tubs.  Screens are used to "pull paper" sheets from the slurry.  These sheets are then pressed flat onto a polyester sheet and left to dry.  Roughly 24 hours later, a fresh piece of paper is dry and ready for some art.  If you do things the conventional way.  But by now, y'all should
know I don't do things the normal way. :)  Dave helped me pull a sheet of paper and he pressed it flat for me...but that was where the conventional method stopped and my crazy sculptor brain picked up.  I had brought some wire with me because I wanted to create an armature and sculpt with the paper pulp (which did NOT work.. ha).  I took the wire and coiled it into different sizes.  I then ripped up this wet pulpy barely paper sheet and wrapped it around the coils.  An abstract sculpture if you will.  I had fun with a medium I was unaccustomed to and was able to create some really different items.  I also created some fun and funky jewelry with the copper wire I had.  I made my own components and links for the charm bracelet, then made a spiral to house the combat paper for the earrings.  The charm bracelet has pieces of uniform as well as pieces of combat paper strung on the chain, effectively creating the charm bracelet.  However, my first creation had a little more to it then that.
  I still created the coil...but was inspired by two similar but equally different ideas.  The first being geological core samples, showing the history of a place or event through time.  The second, being an image I remember seeing of broken pottery shards held together in a metal mesh wall ... I wish for the life of me I could remember where I saw the photo so I could share it... but alas..I cannot.  In my metal coil/spring, is the "core" of combat paper.  In the very bottom is the finished product - the paper.  In the middle is dried paper pulp.  Above that, the small square cut outs of the uniform.  And at the very top, are larger sections of uniform that are uncut and may still have some of the seams sewn in. Very monochromatic, but very telling of the process itself I do believe.

The week culminated in an art show and poetry reading at the Haystack Community Center.  There was plenty of time to create, but also plenty of time to just chill and relax.  While it may have been a workshop, it was also very much an art retreat, and I loved absolutely EVERY minute of it!  It was a time to meet new folks with similar goals, even if our art was created from a wide variety of mediums.  A time to recharge and enjoy the beauty that is Haystack.  AND, I personally used it as an opportunity to scope out the facility to see if I would be willing/able to participate in a ceramics based workshop.  and GUESS WHAT!!  I CAN!!!  There IS a handicap accessible cabin that is next to the chow hall.  The ceramics workshop is just down a small and not very steep set of steps.  Perfectly do-able!!!!    And with that, I shall end this post with some pictures of me thoroughly enjoying the sun and having my toes in the water. :)  TTFN my friends.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Jewelry Design Challenge - Summer Lovin'

WELCOME to my first ever design challenge!  And THANK YOU for being my guinea pigs! hehehe
 Before we get too far into what this entails, I'd like to invite you all to sign up to receive my newsletter pertaining to ceramic jewelry.  You can do that HERE.

Now on to the details!
I will be creating a very limited edition set of components (may even make them into a kit...GASP!...stay tuned to see what I decide...) at only TEN to giveaway for this design challenge - a very exclusive opportunity for sure!  Since this is a giveaway there are a couple of requirements to be met in order to be entered for a chance to win. Nothing to difficult but very important…so please read carefully and be sure you can meet the requirements before entering to win.
  • You MUST create something with the kit you receive. You can add items from you own bead stash, or create more than one design but you must use the components in the kit in your design(s).
  • You MUST have a blog. This design challenge will have a reveal date and blog hop so we can share what everyone created. As part of your reveal post we will also ask you to share links to other participant blogs, a link to the ACM blog (where you can check out some other amazing component artists) and to each artist shop who contributed components for this kit. I will provide the list of links prior to the reveal date.
  • You agree to pay a small fee of $2.50 to cover shipping the components to your doorstep.

So now you’re asking…how do I enter to win? Super easy! Comment on this post with your blog AND email address…it’s that simple! Want an extra chance to win? Of course you do, what was I thinking to even ask? For a second entry, share this post via social media and comment a second time on this post with a link to where you shared it…easy peasy!  Who will be the first brave souls to enter to win??  No one will know exactly what is being won until you're notified...but I WILL be posting teasers here, at least one more in my Jewelry Designer Interest list newsletter (which I would like to encourage you all to sign up for), AND on my Facebook page. 

Now after you’ve commented, shared, commented…it’s time to wait…I know, no one likes to wait…but we must! Winners will be chosen at random on Saturday, July 4, 2015. All winners will be notified via the email address provided in their comments (if you are hesitant to leave your email in the comments, you can email it to me as well by clicking HERE.). I will also post a list of winners on here AND on the ACM blog. Kits will be mailed Monday, July 6, 2015, as long as all winners addresses for mailing have been received. Reveal and blog hop will be held on Saturday, August 1, 2015.
That's all there is to it....I think... If you have any comments, suggestions, or questions, leave 'm below in the comments!  I can't wait to get this ball a-rolling!

Time to Revitalize this Blog!!!

Ummm...WOW!  I cannot believe that I've neglected my blog for six months!!!!!  As many of you know, winter is notoriously hard for me health wise, so I could say that was partly to blame...but the reality of the situation is that I had no motivation to write.  I had all kinds of ideas for various posts that inevitably occurred while I was getting ready for bed.  By the time I woke up, I'd forgotten what I wanted to write about.  If I'm being honest with myself...just a bunch of excuses.

Well, last month I had a swift kick in the pants in the form of the Art Business Academy hosted by Jason Horejs of Xanadu Gallery.  A lot of what we've been discussing has been quality and consistency in your  artwork.  This also plays into every other aspect of running an art business.  One of the tools mentioned is ToDoist.  OMG.  Talk about a life changer!!!  It's a great to do list to help stay on track and I have found already that it is helping me greatly with staying on top of the administrative tasks.  As part of this revitalizing my digital imprint, I started two separate newsletters.  One newsletter is just for my sculpting and one is for my ceramic jewelry side of things.  You can sign up for the newsletters by going HERE for the sculpting one, and/or HERE for the ceramic jewelry one.  If you opt to receive the newsletter for ceramic jewelry, you will notice that I'm running my first ever Jewelry Design Challenge!!!  I'll write more on that later.  This post was more of a re-acquaintance with writing.  An item I can now check off my list on ToDoist. ;)