Sunday, December 28, 2014
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On December 13th I was invited, along with Carolyn Terry and Chele Shepard, to give a talk at the Sherry Grover Gallery that is housed within the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art. This is a beautiful space within the museum that houses Cynthia Sears' private collection of artist made books. With the gorgeous cherry display cases and some of the best examples of artists made books in the country, it is easy to find inspiration here. Cynthia Sears, seated at the far end of the table, suggested this gathering and encouraged us to talk about artist made books that we have in progress. It was such a fun event and a reminder to me that even if you had a whole room full of book artists, everyone has their own perspective ... of experience that led them to the subject matter ... of materials they like to use ... of techniques that work best for them ... etc.
Chele, wearing glasses in the middle of the photo, talked about a book (three small books actually) that use microfiche as pages ... this is one of her favorite materials for building books. In this type of book, stencils are often part of Chele's language. Another style book Chele makes is as personal as you can get. Using her daily journal pages (a big stack ... many years worth) as the basis for the work, Chele types them into the computer and then uses various software to scramble the words so that they are disguised in a code-like way. Sometimes this code is printed on top of the hand written text making it all 'not quite readable'....but almost.
Carolyn Terry, for years, has wanted to create a fictitious journal type book. She has a project in the works about a woman biologist/explorer who lived in the late 1800's. Within the journal will be sketches and drawings of observations and letters, written and received, that will help carry the story. To make everything seem as real as possible, Carolyn is researching and experimenting with aging paper... early envelope construction ... and even practicing penmanship that resembles examples of writing from that period. A second book Carolyn has in progress will be an ABC type book with beautifully illustrated alphabet pages that represent words borrowed from a military dictionary. Carolyn has chosen a harsh dichotomy on purpose ... one sure to stir conversation ... and to make the complacent uncomfortable.
(this photo courtesy of Laura Silverstein)
On a lighter note, I talked about a small book I am working on titled I WOULD GIVE TO YOU THE MOON AND STARS. This book will have an etched metal brass cover and is in the shape of a cutout hand. I won't say too much about it here because in another month it will be on display at Bainbridge Arts and Crafts for their February show titled THE MOON AND THE STARS. I will blog about it when that show opens. On the end of the table you can see a few of my books. Cynthia was kind enough to take my Oak Leaf Haiku book, the Garden Book and THE CLOUD COLLECTOR out of the display case so I could show them and talk about their components. I also told my story of how I came to book arts through the back door ... via metal sculpture and my narrative art boxes. Actually, that seems like a whole other topic for a blog entry ... maybe I will write about that soon.
Anyway ... a good time was had by all. A big THANK YOU to Cynthia Sears for organizing this event and to all who came to hear our stories and in turn shared their thoughts and kind words with us.
PS...just a note that Carolyn, Chele and I meet every month, along with our artist friend, Victoria Mournean, to talk about book arts ... art in general ... painting ... upcoming opportunities ... inspiration ... how to get unstuck when we find ourselves stuck ... and so much more. Carolyn and Chele are also musicians and occasionally, at the end of the meeting, we are treated to a little fiddle or accordion music sometimes accompanied by a stand up bass ...... sheer bliss.
Monday, October 20, 2014
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October 3rd was the opening of, OFF THE WALL...CONTEMPORARY SCULPTURE, an exhibit at Bainbridge Arts and Crafts. I am so pleased to be a part of this exhibit with my narrative box titled THE CLOUD COLLECTOR. This box is photo etched copper, brass and nickel with a framework of cherry. It measures 11.75" wide by 9.5" tall by 2.5" deep ... with the doors closed.
The young woman in the cockpit, etched in copper, is from a vintage photo. I love it that she looks adventuresome in her leather helmet ... goggles ... and bi-plane ... and totally up to the challenge of collecting samples of clouds.
I've been focused in on clouds for the last few years....really, since I found a pair of sunglasses on the side of the road. These sunglasses....my magic sunglasses... have such good polarization that the clouds and all their details really pop. I could watch the clouds all day.
In thinking up a piece for this show, I remembered that, for a while now, I've wanted to make a box about collecting clouds. It was a little bigger challenge than I expected. I have many cloud photos that I have taken over the years ... that wasn't the problem. What I forgot about was how elusive clouds are ... and how all their edges are soft ... wispy even ... and how tricky that would be to etch in metal ...hard metal ... where all the etched lines have a hard crisp edge. Even the clouds that I printed on the transparencies, that would eventually find their home inside the varied glass bottles, were a challenge. I really wanted just clouds and no sky in the bottles and after many frustrating printing sessions realized that clouds, with no sky for contrast, really were nothing but white with a hint of grey ... or on a transparency, that meant clear and a hint of grey. Not so much what I had in mind. Finally I settled on printing the bottled clouds with some sky ... some contrast ... and I added some wisps of cotton in each bottle to help soften all the edges.
Open the doors and more of the story is revealed. This is where the collection is kept. The bottles, with their cloud samples housed inside, are lined up and numbered. Corresponding sample numbers, dates, latitude, longitude, and pertinent notes are all logged into the cloud ledger. If nothing else, THE CLOUD COLLECTOR is organized.
On the inside of the left door is a description of the various clouds ... high, mid, and low level clouds ... and the characteristics of each.
The sample numbers, dates, and latitude/longitude for each cloud are all pertinent to my life ... memorable events in memorable places. It's a subtle way for me to put part of myself into this piece of art ... without being 'in your face' about it.
I had a revelation while working on this box. It has taken me all this time to understand that I am THE CLOUD COLLECTOR ... I am THE TIME TRAVELER ... I am THE YOUNG ENTOMOLOGIST. It's funny to me that I never realized it before.
Saturday, September 13, 2014
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It's been a couple of weeks now since the Port Townsend Studio Tour and it's time to post some images and say a few words. It was a spectacular and beautiful weekend ... GreyBird Barn looked spiffy ... the property was clean and trim ... the apple trees were full of apples as if they knew this was their time to shine ... there was a wonderful sense of camaraderie among the participating artists ... and there were lots of guests checking out the scene. This sale is always the perfect time to reconnect with friends ... clients ... and to make some new connections. It was also a perfect time for me to share my almost completed loft studio space in the barn. It's been a long time coming. I spent a lot of the weekend trooping up and down the stairs ...pointing out special features in the loft ... and sharing my enthusiasm for this remarkable space. You can learn more about the loft in the previous post.
There are a few people I want to thank. Pulling off this event would be so much harder without a little help. A big 'thank you' to Carrie Ehrhardt for always coming through with some delicious home made cookies for our guests ... and to Wendy Jarvis (Linda's sister) and Bob Snow (Donna's husband) for helping us on clean up day before the sale ...and another huge 'thank you' to Bob for parking cars for us for two days. He was so good at it that he's putting it on his resume. I also want to thank Melinda Bryden and Northwind Arts Center for organizing this event ... with over 30 studios on the tour this is no easy feat. And last, but certainly not least, I want to thank the artists of GreyBird Barn. It's always such a pleasure and a treat to spend time with you all and to share our visions ...our processes ... and our passions with each other.
REMEMBER TO CLICK ON AN IMAGE TO ENLARGE
Linda Jarvis with Diane Haddon ... a fabulous assemblage artist and dear friend.
Donna Snow demonstrating her collage process.
Lots of people gathered around Shirley Moss and her hand made chain jewelry.
Linda Jarvis, Steve Parmelee ( another fabulous assemblage artist), and me ... Shane Miller.
Lynn Anju (a friend, jeweler, and past participant of GreyBird Barn) giving a look that only she can pull off. You can just make out Loran Scruggs in the background. She was a new participant this year and we all so enjoyed getting to know her and her wonderful tin and bottle cap creations.
Linda Jarvis and our dear friend, Zo.
Diane Haddon and Shane.
Zo and Shane
Jay Haskins visiting with Donna Snow. Jay is an integral part of Northwind Arts Center.
Bob Snow taking a much needed break from parking cars. He's a Mac guy (you can tell by his reading material) and we teased him about setting up a genius bar in the cupola that has not yet been mounted on the barn .... he could answer all kinds of Mac questions during the sale.
A couple of kids, Jupiter and Lola, (you've just got to love those names) checking out my tractor, Bliss.
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What is it about barns and lofts and spaces for creating. Whatever it is, I am completely captivated by it.
I've had my barn for quite a few years now ... it was originally built back when I was making steel outdoor garden sculpture. It seemed a better solution than to continue paying rent in a storage space ... which I did for years. The year I turned 50 and felt done with grinding and cutting steel, the barn became a storage area and stayed that way for a few years. Over time I began doing my work as a jeweler in the barn ... no heat ... no insulation. One winter I even set up my 10' x 10' show canopy in the barn and heated the space with a propane heater. I could raise the temperature a few degrees but overall it was not very successful. In the fall of 2010 my friend, Ron Myhre, a fine craftsman and builder of gypsy wagons and treehouses, helped me put in 2/3 of the loft. It was a vast improvement and I moved my jewelry making into this space. It was still unheated and uninsulated but it felt doable. There were some cold winters and some days when I could not force myself into the barn to work. Then in 2013 the sale of my family's pasture, back in Arkansas, gave me the means to continue working on the barn. It was manna from heaven and felt so appropriate that the proceeds from the sale of that pasture ... the same pasture where, as kids, we rode horses ... would now help me improve my barn. Ron and I started working on the loft again that fall.
My goal was to have an insulated and heated workspace and also open up the possibility of teaching some workshops. I've also wanted to live in a barn my entire life .... so maybe I would include a space where that could be possible one day. There is still a bit to be done....the floors need to be stained ... and some trim put up .... a little more paint here and there ....and the entire downstairs is yet to be insulated ... but for the most part the loft is ready. Now it's time to create ... and dream up new art projects .... and to revel in the privilege of getting to hang out in this incredible space ... I feel so lucky. I've even been sleeping in the loft since the night of August 22. I love it ... the morning light streaming through the windows and casting shadows on the opposite wall ... the vaulted corrugated ceiling ... the feeling of being in a treehouse up level with the leaves .... what's not to love?
The barn footprint is 24' x 30' and the loft measures 16' x 30'.
So here are some images of the loft project in process and the finished space. Remember you can click on any image to enlarge.
Here you can see the beginning of framing in the jewelry studio....the south facing 1/3 of the loft.
These are the stairs leading up and the north facing end wall.
Ron hanging the sliding barn doors that separate the jewelry studio from the rest of the loft. This makes it possible to only have to heat the area I'm working in. I am heating the jewelry studio space with a Dickinson Marine propane boat heater....the P12000 ... made to heat up to a 36' boat.
Lots of chaos with several ladders, extension cords, and saw dust.
The last panel of galvanized corrugated ceiling goes up in the jewelry studio. This metal, when new, is too bright and shiny for my tastes so I treated each piece with apple cider vinegar and a 3M scrubbie pad ... and a lot of elbow grease to tone down the shine.
The triangle above the sliding doors is made up of salvaged windows ... all different styles and types. A few of these windows I have carried around with me for years waiting for a chance to use them. The sections without windows will eventually be filled in with glass. The big center window opens so I can have some cross ventilation in the summer.
By the time we got to the center section I was able to borrow some scaffolding from my friend, Chuck Iffland ... a remarkable artist and sculptor. The scaffolding made the ceiling sooooo much easier,
This is the beginning of the chevron wall on the north side. The step through window will eventually lead to a small deck up high on the same level with the leaves of a big leaf maple and a view of a wonderful forest. Eventually there might be a screened in porch section where I could sleep in the summer.
The north end finally gets it's ceiling.
Many times Ron had to use his climbing gear to get on the roof. Eventually there will be a cupola with a window on each side.
This is the finished product looking south toward the jewelry studio. The center 1/3rd of the loft will be about book arts ... a place to print and assemble ... a slightly cleaner section than the jewelry studio.
My pencil sharpener and vintage toy truck collection in one of the leaded glass windows.
Heaven on earth!
A great cabinet for holding all my paper goods.
This is the trap door leading downstairs ...with hand rails attached. Eventually there will be a railing around the opening. This door is a heavy sucker and I still have to work out a system of compound pulleys or a counter-weight for raising and lowering it.
I love these vintage enamel warehouse lights ... they really finish off the look I was going for.
Sunday, August 3, 2014
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SAVE THE DATE
PORT TOWNSEND OPEN STUDIO TOUR
AUGUST 23-24 HOURS: 10AM TO 4PM
Mark you calendars ... fill your car with gas ... put on your comfortable shoes ... grab some cash and a visa ... and prepare yourself for a couple of days of exploring the art scene in and around Port Townsend. It's time for the 16th ANNUAL STUDIO TOUR. Be sure to check out this link to see examples of each artists work and directions to each individual studio. We are #11 on the list ... GREYBIRD BARN GROUP. Brochures with the art studio listings and maps are also available at the Northwind Arts Center, 2409 Jefferson Street and other locations, as well as the Visitor’s Center.
The artists of GreyBird Barn invite you to come visit us .... have a cookie ...and just hang out for a while. This year we are shifting our dates from our usual show in October to August 23-24th so that we can be in the good company of many other studios open on the same weekend in our area. At GreyBird Barn there will be five artists showing their work and demonstrating their individual processes.
Linda Jarvis ... 3D mixed media assemblage
My passion is observing the amazing and beautiful essence of wildlife and depicting them in nature or often in humorous situations using mixed media. Additionally I use found object, giving them a new purpose within mixed media sculptures.
Shane Miller ... photo etching
I have worked with metal for over 20 years and most recently have been using the process of photo etching on sterling silver jewelry and 3D photo etched narrative boxes. I am a story teller by nature and there always seems to be a narrative running through my work.
Shirley Moss ... jewelry chain making
I feel making handmade chains is a meditation in metal.
Loran Scruggs ... tin can sculpture
I am interested in joy. Color is joyous for me, so I use printed tin cans for their color and glint. A lot of my work references childhood and play, for myself play is a time of being in the moment, no past or future worries, a time of joy. I hope that my work puts an amused smile on people’s faces, for when we smile we are in the moment, engaged, attentive and happy.
Donna Snow ... mixed media collage
Since I was a kid two constants in my life have been the urge to draw and the urge to tell tall tales. Eventually both desires merged into what I call narrative collage: Find old images and cut, paste and over paint them to make a new “story” — often preposterous and humorous. And some are slowly emerging into art books.
Watch for our signs just outside of Port Townsend. Off of Sims Way/HWY 20 take Frederick Street east to Otto Street. Turn left on Otto and follow signs to the bottom of the hill. Turn left into driveway where a friendly crocodile sculpture greets you.