Monday, November 20, 2017

Ukulele Mama! and other stuff

A discarded ukulele case makes a perfect altar for my Ukulele Mama sculpture, made from paper clay, glazes, and acrylic.  The background is one of my clay monoprints.

While making her, I was influenced by my decades of living in San Diego, close to the Mexican border and its pervasive imagery of the Virgin of Guadalupe.

Ukulele Mama is the first piece I finished after returning from our Southern road trip, and she has a little bit of Nashville attitude as well.  She floats on a cloud made from one of my mother's vintage handkerchiefs.

In the top of the case is a ceramic lilly pod, made from paper clay, oxides, stains, and glazes.

The lilly pod was dipped in paper clay slip.  The pod itself burned out in the

kiln, leaving the ceramic mold of it's shape which could then be stained and glazed.  Shining down from the top of the ukulele case, it is a source of light, warmth, and protection.

Ukulele Mama continues my exploration of combining clay monoprints and 3-dimensional mixed-media work.  I finished Garden of Eden, below, shortly before we left on our road trip:  

Garden of Eden again uses one of my clay monoprints as background.   The objects are all paper clay with glazes and stains, except for the bird's nest and eggs, which are the real thing. 

I'm looking forward to some quiet studio time over Thanksgiving weekend to make some new clay monoprints.  I give thanks for that opportunity.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Ashville, North Carolina - I never thought of it as a pit stop...

Our whole road trip's schedule got messed up on day two, by a rutting deer leaping into the passenger side of our car in a suicidal frenzy.  Fortunately, we were unhurt and the car was still operable so we carried on with the vacation despite our trauma.

We still had from 2:00 - 5:00 pm in Ashville last Sunday, which happened to be the weekend of Studio Stroll in the River Arts District.  There were many more than 50+ artists.  This sign was just for one of many warehouses filled with studios in the district.

Artists were demonstrating their techniques:

It is always exciting for me to see other artists work spaces, especially when it is a medium I don't work in myself, like this glass and mosaic artist:

I met Lynn Bregman Blass who is a fellow former Californian, and is also a psychotherapist as well as artist.  I was very taken with her work, including, as well as her encaustics.

Here she is amidst an installation hanging from the very high ceiling in her studio, made from "scraps" from the visual history project.  We have much in common, including knowing that sometimes the "scraps" are the best part.

There was also an exhibit of vintage theater posters, of which this was my favorite:

I only made it to a portion of River Walk, but enough that I got the flavor.  A lot of folks were out enjoying the stroll:

Fortunately, there was also time to get to Blue Spiral I Gallery in the downtown arts district, a large gallery with museum quality work.  I could have easily spent much more time there, but they kicked us out at closing.

This was a very poignant exhibit, portraits of the faculty of this legendary experimental college that was founded in 1933 and closed in 1957.  

Robert Rauschenberg:

Helen Frankenthaler:

Willem De Kooning:

Cy Twombly:

Robert Motherwell:

It was an entire wall of these 12" x 12" portraits. (There wasn't time to take more photos because of the gallery's closing.)  Seeing all their faces together made a deep impression.  Intellectually I had known they were all at Black Mountain over the years, including John Cage, Merce Cunningham, et al.  But seeing their portraits in that location, in the beauty and isolation of the mountains, made it alive and real and brought them present.  

It may have only been a pit stop, not as long as I would have liked to be in Ashville.  But seeing the wall of portraits of the Black Mountain College faculty was a connection with the real Ashville, a reminder of why Ashville is such a mecca for all the arts today.  With that, it was time to get on the road again.