Thursday, May 23, 2013
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My niece, Jessica, is graduating from high school....actually, I think graduation is tonight. My sister, Mary, asked me to make a special bracelet for Jessica as a graduation gift. So here it is....a cool new and bold pattern, photo etched on a 1" sterling silver cuff bracelet. I chose this pattern because it is so alive and bold and has a flair....like Jessica. There is nothing timid about her....I mean that in the best possible way. Jessica is not afraid of new adventures or exploring new territory....and believe me, the girls got style. As I was shaping the bracelet around the mandrel, I tried, with every stroke of my hammer, to imbue the metal with some qualities that I know will come in handy for Jessica as she enters this new chapter of her life. Qualities like: perseverance when all seems lost...patience when everyone around you is losing theirs... confidence that the answer lies deep within and that with some solitude and quietness it will usually rise to the surface....loyalty...the ability to laugh at one's self ...compassion...and a sense of the awe and wonder at how the universe supports us on our journey. What a grand and wonderful adventure lies ahead! Good luck, Jessica....we are all waving our pom-poms for you.
Thursday, May 9, 2013
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TOOLS is another one of the books I had in the COMING UNBOUND: BOOKS AS SCULPTURE show at Northwind Gallery in Port Townsend, WA. This book is photo etched copper with a miniature piano hinge and vintage c-clamps used as a binding. It's a ledger style.....so more pages can be added. TOOLS measures approximately 9" x 5.75" x 2.75".
I am someone who really appreciates tools....I use them....I own them....I gravitate toward them. I especially love tools that have been used over a long period of time....a worn handle on a hammer....a wrench with a beautiful patina....etc. A tool with any plastic parts does nothing for me. It won't be around in 20....50....or 100 years. The saying, They don't make them like they used to," definitely applies to tools.
If you are familiar with my blog at all, you know that I am also interested in photography. Inside the TOOLS book are some of my macro images of tools processed through a blueprint filter. I own most of these tools and my hands, tools in themselves, are the most recent ones to use them. I trust that when I am gone, many more pairs of hands will find pleasure and satisfaction as they grip a well worn handle.
My dad had a basement work shop that held all his tools. It always had a great smell that was part damp earth...oil....and freshly cut wood. He hid the key under a brick just beside the door. Just inside on the left was an ancient ban saw....and there was a large red vise clamped on the work bench....and jars full of mismatched screws and nails. It was never a tidy space but practically anything you needed was there....somewhere....and dad could always find it. Later in his life he got interested in radio control airplanes. He was a pilot during the war and I think that flying the small planes was a fun challenge for him....so there were also bits and pieces of planes and wings and props scattered around. There was a bit of magic in that shop mixed in with the screwdrivers and wrenches and dusty photos of his kids on a shelf. A few of his tools have made their way to me. One that I think of often is still stored at my sister's house in Tn....just waiting until I can get it to it's new home in WA....the big red vise. I think dad would be happy about that.
Here are a few images from the book called TOOLS.
Friday, April 26, 2013
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This is another book I had in the COMING UNBOUND: BOOK AS SCULPTURE show at Northwind Gallery in Port Townsend, WA. It is a small book of haikus. As you probably know, a haiku is a Japanese poem of seventeen syllables in three lines of five, seven and five, traditionally evoking images of the natural world. I love this form of poetry and the natural restraints that come with the parameters. This style definitely keeps one from getting too wordy. You are forced to examine each word....really, each syllable.... and get rid of frills and fluff and distill your intention down to the basics. I have written haikus for years...often tapping out syllables on my thigh while mowing with my tractor, Bliss. I usually jot the haikus down in my sketchbook before I forget them but sometimes I find the requisite three lines written on the back of an envelope....or on a corner of a paper towel....or occasionally written on the wall. Making this book was a good excuse to gather all my haikus from hither and yon and get them rounded up in one location. This HAIKU book is photo etched copper and is approximately 5.5" x 4".
Here are just a few of my haikus....written throughout the four seasons.
Wrapped in wood stove warmth
the steaming water escapes
like small birds singing
like a dancer on tip-toes
along the fence row
I awoke to song
one high note and four lower
birds welcoming dawn
Is heaven above
beyond the constellations
or below our feet?
thwack and dry ripping
the sound of firewood splitting
music for cold hearts
backlit by the sun
three hawks waltz across my sky
their tails glowing red
droplets perch like jewels
an early solomon seal
an uncommon crown
Under my gas cap
a most succulent spider
takes up residence
Three baby chipmunks
surprise me in the woodpile
all of us wide-eyed
Sunday, April 14, 2013
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The Chinese proverb ..."A BOOK IS LIKE A GARDEN YOU CARRY IN YOUR POCKET"... seemed like the perfect spring board for launching myself into my first book for a book show here in Port Townsend. When I was asked by Jean-Marie Tarascio to be part of the COMING UNBOUND-BOOK AS SCULPTURE show at Northwind Gallery, I saw it as an opportunity... and as a brightly shining carrot dangled in front of me... to follow up with some ideas I have had for a long time. I have always thought that etched metals could be a perfect marriage with book arts.....the ability to etch front and back with pattern or words or imagery....rigid and permanent covers....a welcome heft when picked up....the ability to cut (with a jeweler's saw) beyond the natural border of the book...getting to use miniature piano hinges (they are so perfectly proportioned and beautiful and can be cut to any length)... and that glow of metal and patina that cannot be duplicated with paper or hardboard. The GARDEN BOOK was my first attempt for this show. There was a bit of a learning curve and everything did seem to take much longer than it should have but I am happy with the result. The GARDEN BOOK MEASURES 7.5" x 6" and is photo etched brass....giving it a rich look.
I realized while making books for this show that content is as important to me as the etched covers. It wasn't going to be ok with me to just make a blank journal style book. A year or two ago I bought a plug-in program called Topaz Lab to go along with photoshop elements. With this program I can take any of my own photos and send them through multiple filters to get a look that is just different enough to stand out from a regular photo. That difference might be about the texture....the detail....or the color....or all three. The filters just 'art' things up a bit. The images in the GARDEN BOOK are all my own....mostly shot in my yard over the last several years. Here are a few images from the book...all are ink jet printed on Japanese Gampi paper and are attached to Arches Cover paper with vellum pages inserted between.
The other 10 artists participating in this book show are: Renee Bush, Mary-Ellen Campbell, Linda Jarvis, Gloria Lamson, Counsel Langley, Carolyn Law, Jean-Marie Tarascio, Rebecca Welti, Joan Wenske, Helga Winter.
Friday, March 29, 2013
NORTHWIND ART CENTER....PORT TOWNSEND, WA
OPENING: April 5, 2013
Curator: Jean-Marie Tarascio
GARDEN BOOK by Shane Miller
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Noon - Show Opens
5:30 to 8 pm - Opening Reception
1:00 pm - Art Talk
5:00 pm - Show Closes
PARTICIPATING ARTISTS :
Throughout its remarkable history the book has been a means to transporting ideas, messages, and thoughts. It has been an intriguing vehicle for reflection and communication, a formidable object. It has been banned, burned, collected, censored, hidden, sworn upon, quoted, treasured, adorned, discarded, chained, praised, and threatened with extinction.
In the art exhibit Coming Unbound eleven artists explore the concept of "book" as inspiration in unique and personalized ways to convey their artistic messages. For more pictures of the artwork and artists biographies please see Northwindarts.org.
Sunday, February 3, 2013
This past Friday was the opening for the show, SUPER HEROES WE WOULD LIKE TO SEE....at Bainbridge Arts and Crafts on Bainbridge Island in WA. The show will be available for viewing Feb.1-25. I am in good company with the following participating artists: Morgan Brig, Lynn Brunelle, Andy Caro, Linda Costello, Megan Drew, Garth Edwards, Denise Harris, Sandra Hurd, M.J. Linford, Linnea Lundmark, Deborah Peek, Joan Peter and Laurie Lewis.
When I was asked to be part of this show I went quickly from elation (what a fun theme) to apprehension (how to pull this off without crossing the 'too cute' line). For me, being on the 'correct' side of that line is important and necessary. That boundary keeps me in alignment with my vision which usually includes...imagery and words that are somewhat clever, quirky and slightly unusual...a way of seeing the world that is unique but still has a universal truth about it...a nostalgic longing...and some kind of hook that allows everyone (young or old, rich or poor, sophisticated or not so much) to relate to the theme. Yes, apparently I like to put a little pressure on myself.
I originally had 2 or 3 different ideas in mind but couldn't seem to settle on how to proceed. Finally I combined these ideas to make one inclusive piece. I kept thinking about how Super Heroes develop their skills...is there a school for such a thing? So....I decided to create the GLOBAL ACADEMY OF SUPER HEROES. This piece measures approx. 34" tall by 14.4" wide with a depth of about 2.5"
At the very top of the sculpture is a flying boy finial that is photo etched in nickel.
Monday, November 12, 2012
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It's been just over a week since the opening of the LOST AND FOUND show at Bainbridge Arts and Crafts. It was a wonderful opening with lots of people attending .... lots of attention ....lots of generous words .... AND I sold my large piece .... IF FOUND RETURN TO ICARUS and a favorite of mine.... BALLAST FOR THE WINDCHASER. I could not be more pleased. Even with the attention and the sales, the highlight of the evening, for me, was getting to hang out a bit with Ron Ho. Ron is an amazing jeweler .... you can tell by the piece he is wearing. He told Linda and I that he has never owned a piece of his own jewelry because everything always sold. Recently he had an opportunity to buy back the piece he was wearing at the opening and so he did. I think it looks spectacular on him. The neckpiece he made for the show was just as amazing .... meticulously crafted with found objects from around the world including Tibetan keys and an ancient looking ear plug (maybe from Africa) and lots of other goodies. He has such a signature style that you can easily recognize a Ron Ho piece from 20 paces. I own his book .... DIM SUM AT THE ON-ON TEA ROOM and study it often .... beautiful photography and incredibly inspiring.
Ron Ho is a protege of Ramona Solberg. The only reason I am making jewelry at all is because I saw some images of Ramona's work and loved it. Before that introduction to her work I thought all jewelry was stones and diamonds and glittering stuff. Honestly, that type of jewelry has no appeal for me. Romona's jewelry is full of dominos .... found bits .... not shiny things .... the lost .... the found .... the discarded. She put found object jewelry on the map. I'm sorry I never had an opportunity to meet her but from everything I've heard she was well loved, as is Ron Ho.
Monday, November 5, 2012
One of the pieces I wanted to make for the LOST AND FOUND show at Bainbridge Arts and Crafts was a mixed media wing .... actually a wing that Daedalus might have made for Icarus. The Daedalus/Icarus myth has always been my favorite of all myths. I get it that while most people think of it as a cautionary tale about listening to your parents, I believe that Icarus couldn't help himself .... a glorious day .... a chance to show his dad that he was strong and capable .... a breeze ruffling his curly hair .... the lightness of his body .... the freedom of gravity. I think I would have done the same thing .... gotten lost in the wonderment of it all. And my heart has always ached for Daedalus. He made the wing for his son with great care and attention to detail and a tremendous amount of love. His hope and dream was that he and Icarus would escape from exile. On that day they must have both been filled with such hope and were surely quivering with excitement.
Well .... the story of my wing is about the test flight taken a few days before the fateful flight. Here is a newspaper lost and found ad that I included with my Icarus wing at the opening of the LOST AND FOUND show: (click on this image to see a larger more readable version)
Thursday, November 1, 2012
Tomorrow evening I will be at the opening of a new show at BAINBRIDGE ARTS AND CRAFTS on Bainbridge Island called LOST AND FOUND: ASSEMBLAGE. I am one of ten artists participating in this exhibit. The artists include: LINDA COSTELLO, BIL FLEMING, CHRIS GIFFIN, NANCY HEWETT, RON HO, LINDA JARVIS, MICHOLE MADDEN, MARK OSBORN, DEBORAH PEEK and me....SHANE MILLER. KAREN HACKENBERG is being featured in the larger gallery. Her paintings are of discarded mass produced items that are found littering the edges, cracks and seams of our natural world. Many items were found along the edge of beaches here in the Pacific Northwest. Both of these shows will be on exhibit from November 2- Dec.3. The reception is Friday, November 2, 6-8pm.
The image above...BALLAST FOR THE WINDCHASER... is one of 3 pieces I will have in the show. I really enjoyed making this sculpture and was a little sad to deliver it to the gallery knowing that I might never see it again. The body of the boat .... THE WINDCHASER...is an old weaving shuttle. The wood is very worn....a little primitive....and has a great patina. The ballast passengers are stones I picked up on Rialto Beach out on the coast. One of the stones wears a jaunty expression due, in part, to the red waxed linen string attire. The sail is gampi paper printed with one of my photographs of clouds. I remember the day I took the photo....there must have been a strong wind up at cloud level because bits of the clouds were being pulled off and stretched in wisps like cotton candy. Two rear wheels and one tiny front wheel carry the load. This is a simple piece that has a sort of innocence. BALLAST FOR THE WINDCHASER measures 14" long x 9.5" tall x 2.75" wide.
I am so looking forward to the opening tomorrow night. I am always happy when my friend and fellow artist, Linda Jarvis and I share a show. It means we can ride to Bainbridge Island together from Port Townsend and catch up on our lives and on the return trip we get to share notes about the opening....it's always fun. Also, my friend, Chris Giffin, from OR is one of the participating artists. I've been told she is supposed to be at the opening and it will be good to see her. I used to do a large circuit of outdoor shows and saw Chris on a regular basis but since I quit doing outdoor shows I only see Chris every blue moon or so. I am also looking forward to seeing Ron Ho. He is quite a well known jeweler here in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. He was a student of Ramona Solberg and it is easy to see her influence in his work even though his style is his own. Yesterday when Linda and I delivered our work we got to see a sneak peek at Ron's mixed media found object neckpiece. It is so beautiful and so lovingly crafted. I am honored to be in a show with Ron Ho.
Linda Jarvis and I just got invited to participate in a show at Bainbridge Arts and Crafts next June. The title of that show is SETTING SAIL....ARTISTS AT SEA. I do love having these carrots dangled out in front of me....they keep me moving forward as good dangled carrots should. So stay tuned for more boats and sailing ships.