Gallery Crawl, January 2017: The NY Ceramics and Glass Fair

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Last Thursday I had the distinct pleasure of visiting the Bohemian National Hall for my first experience ever of The NY Ceramics and Glass Fair.  It seemed like a no-brainer that this should be on my list of things to do.  I also had the pleasure of riding the newly opened 2nd Avenue Subway for the very first time.  The 72nd Street stop was just around the corner from the venue and I enjoyed viewing the colorful mosaics at the station.   It was exciting to ride the gaily decorated train through the clean tunnel to the bright and cheerful stop.    I had never been to the Bohemian National Hall, located on 73rd Street. It’s a beautiful building and very much worth the visit.

A mosaic in the 72nd street station stop of the 2nd Avenue Subway

A mosaic in the 72nd street station of the 2nd Avenue Subway

My first stop was  to attend a lecture, The Feminine Clay given by Shannon Stratton.  It was a thought provoking presentation of contemporary interpretations of the figurine  featuring the works of artists Coille Hooven and Chris Antemann, both of whom have works currently on display at The Museum of Art and Design (MAD.)  I enjoyed the lecture immensely as I had seen the MAD exhibits and adored their works.  I particularly enjoyed the thesis of the subversion of the classic figurine for feminist interpretation.  What made it an even bigger treat was that Coille Hooven was in the audience and took questions after the lecture.

Onward and upward to the 4th and 5th floors to view the works on offer in the booths.  In addition to the impressive selection of antique glass and ceramics, several contemporary artists displayed their works, 3 of which particularly impressed me.

I could have spent the entire day visiting with beadwork artist Leslie B Grigsby and her beadwork sculptures.  She uses taxidermy forms to create lifelike animals out of hundreds of colored glass beads.  I will never complain again when I am in the midst of adding texture to my sculptures with the point of a pastry bag.  Leslie has me beat hands down in the intricateness department.  I had so much fun visiting with her, she treated me like a long lost friend and let me hold and handle a couple of her sculptures.  She told me that it takes so long for her to create each one, that when she’s done they are like her pets and she has trouble seeing them go out of her studio and into the world.  Her sculptures are so gestural and lifelike that I can see why, each has its own personality.

Leslie B Grigsby with one of her beadwork creatures

Leslie B Grigsby with one of her beadwork creatures

Leslie's artist statement

Leslie’s artist statement

A fawn beadwork sculpture by Leslie B Grigsby

A fawn beadwork sculpture by Leslie B Grigsby

After leaving her booth I made my way to the booth of Hideaki Miyamura.  His booth contained vessels with stunning satin lusters.  I was drawn to them as iron to a magnet.  At first I thought they were blown dichroic glass and I spent quite some time looking at them up close to determine that they were indeed ceramic.  I asked Hideaki if the glazes were the result of fuming and he told me no, they are porcelain fired to cone 13.  Huh.  I have never seen glazes act that way at that high a temperature.  Another penny into the bank known as all the things Lisa never knew that never cease to amaze her.

Stunning creations by Hideaki Miyamura

Stunning creations by Hideaki Miyamura

As I left Hideaki’s booth, my lusterware antennae began to quiver.  I was picking up a vibe that glaze nirvana was close by.  I followed the signal and hit pay dirt (stoneware to be exact) when I came upon the booth of Michael Wainwright.  His platters and vessels share my form sensibility and his use of platinum and gold are what I hope and dream I can someday achieve if I ever stopped being a cheapskate and forked over what these materials cost.  I fell in love with one of his crystalline free form platters.  To me it looked like a giant slice of a precious mineral.  I am so thrilled with my tray.  We had a very pleasant chat before I snatched my tray and scurried home like one of Leslie B Grigsby’s squirrels with a prized nut.

Clay artist Michael Wainwright

Clay artist Michael Wainwright

Michael's booth

Michael’s booth

My beautiful crystalline tray made by Michael Wainwright

My beautiful crystalline tray made by Michael Wainwright

Overall it was a wonderful time.  My only regret is that I didn’t revisit the Fair to attend the panel lecture Buy, Sell or Give? What Happens When the Kids Don’t Want It? that included friend Ulysses Grant Dietz, chief curator of The Newark Museum.  I have attended many of his lectures and they always delight and inform.  Sorry I missed you Ulysses, next time!

 

Being a Light for The Ghostlight Project at The Public Theater

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It takes a long time for me to process momentous issues. I do not leap into action easily, and when I do it’s usually to jump to the wrong conclusions or put my foot where it does not belong. I’m over feeling guilty about not going to Saturday’s Womens March in Washington. I am not a large herd animal. I would be a liability. I would be the one suffering from a panic attack who has to be given oxygen and carried off in an ambulance from getting extreme claustrophobia standing shoulder to shoulder with a million people. I prefer to hide in my studio and throw clay around and pray for the safety and strength of my sisters on the front line doing the dirty work. Yes I am a coward in this regard.

But my small still voice told me to go to The Public Theater to Be A Light and participate in The Ghostlight Project.

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I downloaded my sign, printed it out and pondered what I am and what I fight for. In this regard I am an American Patriot, someone willing to defend their country. I really don’t want to fight. I’d rather work with, but for the purpose of this exercise I decided I’d fight for dialogue and compromise.

The way I see it, we as the great nation of The United States of America have steered off course and are headed for very dangerous waters. We’ve stopped listening to each other. We only surround ourselves with people who agree with us. We have no desire or energy to have a dialogue, find the common ground then work to arrive at it, i.e. compromise. These days we are all or nothing. We are no longer united. The only way we’re going to turn this ship around is to grab the wheel and pull together.

Call me a dreamer. Accuse me of hallucinating, but this is what the small still voice is telling me.

And that’s why I took my little sign and my flashlight and stood on the steps of the Public Theater, and sang a song and wiped my eyes and left my sign pinned to a board along with the hopes and dreams of strangers.

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And sang a song

And listened to a speech

And hung up my sign

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What is Your Dream?

MLK mug by Roberto Lugo

MLK mug by Roberto Lugo, necklace by Jean Belanger, sweater by Grandma

Today we honor Martin Luther King Jr.  As I contemplate his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech on this day of remembrance, this is my dream:

I have a dream that instead of fighting for justice, equality and liberty for all Americans; we work together for it, peacefully, and in the spirit of compromise.  We must re-learn what compromise is; we must re-learn how to respectfully listen to opinions opposite of ours; we must re-learn the art of creating dialogue to find the common ground.

What is your dream fellow Americans?

OUTRAGE: Artists Respond to Trump

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GO AWAY

 

In 2012 I began making ex-voto tokens.  Little hearts with messages on both sides.  The front had the title of the category of the message, the back, the individual message.  Each message is a prayer for something I wanted or something I got and was grateful for.  Mainly, the prayers covered issues that weighed heavily on my heart that were too big for me to solve.  In creating them and their containers, I hoped to take their burden off me and kiss them up to God.

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One very unexpected category that came up almost on its own was GO AWAY.  The tokens practically made themselves.  I figured, what or who is on Earth right now, that if they only went away, the world would be a much better place?  I banged out the messages then set out to envision the urn to put them in.  Unfortunately that urn took an awful lot of time to execute.  I had to figure out the design, the engineering, the science and the lighting.  It took 2 years.  I made the urn in 2014.  I thought that by then those issues going into that urn would be stale and irrelevant and even better resolved by that time.

Little did I know!  Inside the GO AWAY URN, from 2012 are:

Newt Gingrich, Election campaign super pacs, Church in politics politics in church, Obama Birthers, Donald Trump, Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, Chris Christie, Rudy Giuliani, Julian Asange, Dominique Strauss Kahn, Anonymous Hackers, Al Qaeda, Taliban, Suicide Bombers, Christian Conservatives, Ultra Liberals, Violent Video Games, Facebook as a replacement for social interaction, Peta, Israeli Palestinian conflict, E.L.F., Tea Partiers, N.R.A., Political obstructionists, Radical Muslim Extremists, Health insurance companies, Snooki and Religious Extremists

Aside from Snooki, not much has gone away, and not only are not much in the jar are resolved, those in bold are not only still around but about to run our country.  Sigh.

That same year (2014,) I decided to comment on how social media was influencing people, especially politicians, especially the governor of my fair state, Chris Christie.  I made ECHO CHAMBER.

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This piece is an illustration of how certain politicians can surround themselves only with people who agree with them.  They hold “town hall meetings” where the audience is hand picked in advance, and if anyone else attends and expresses an alternate point of view they are rudely heckled and shouted down, if allowed to stay and speak at all.  It also is a reflection of how social media has put us into gorgeous little boxes of our own points of view; where algorithms hand pick what we see and digest as “news.”  All of our values are constantly reverberated back at us.  That was disturbing to me back then and now that hacking and fake news has been revealed as influencing this last election it is more relevant than ever.

I have had the extreme privilege of having these 2 pieces included in an on-line show, OUTRAGE: Artists Respond to Trump, curated by artist/activist Patricia Dahlman.  When I reviewed the works in the show I wondered how mine wound up among such amazing and provocative artwork by such incredible artists.  I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks my style is a little out of place, bordering on the side of elegance.  But like writer Flannery O’Conner, I try to bring weighty and distateful subjects to my viewer gently through beauty or humor.  Once they approach my work I then clobber them with the message.

Please take a look a the works in the show.  They truly are amazing.  They express my every anger and every fear.  I am astounded and beyond impressed that these artists were able to turn out this phenomenal work in such a short time.  Me?  I’m still processing my feelings, unable to express most of them.  I’m abashed, grateful and very dismayed that my 2 pieces, made years ago are relevant to this tragic turn of events in our collective history.

 

An Artist’s Role in Troubled Times

MeinmystudioThere is the idea that art is not a ‘legitimate’ type of work; that it is a frivolity best saved for spare time, etc; or a luxury for the wealthy. But for artists who have a vision that they are compelled to share, art isn’t a frivolity or luxury- it’s a necessity. And for society, art is also a necessity, although this may not be realized by many. We are the spirit keepers, the mirrors, the candles. And we need to become our own best friends- to believe in ourselves and what we do. And stick together, rather than compete with one another.  – Agnes Martin

For those of you who do not make art full time, Agnes is right, it isn’t a frivolity or luxury, making art for an artist is a necessity, a bodily function if you will, like breathing.  When tragedy occurs , especially on a global scale,  artists respond.  It’s what we do.  We make art to express collective sentiment, or to mark the event, or to raise money for those impacted.  Artists are active participants in change.

For some of us American citizens, the results of the recent presidential election is a tragedy of serious magnitude.  People are afraid- of deportation; of destruction to the environment; of violence caused by racial, gender and sexual prejudice; of certain rights in place being repealed; and of having all that our country has done to progress dismantled.

It is a time for us artists to hunker down and figure out a way to respond.  Usually when faced with a catastrophe, my creativity goes out the window for a good long while.  It’s as if all my creative energy goes elsewhere.  Within me is an ominous radio silence, like the quiet before a tornado when all the birds stop singing and the air is completely still.

The day after the election had me metaphorically face down on my shield.  I was devastated.  I felt all the fight drain from me.  Meanwhile on social media I watch all my artist friends spring into action.   There are calls to action, conferences, symposiums, calls for entry for themed shows, calendars for organized protests, all within a week after the election.  I seem paralyzed.  I feel as if I’ve been through so much that it’s taking me longer and longer to bounce back.  What can I do to help support those willing to be on the front lines?

I thus retreat into contemplative mode.  By quiet contemplation and prayer I seek out the small still voice that will lead me where I need to go and tell me what to do once I get there.  And that small voice is telling me right now that alot of healing and peace making is needed right now.  Comfort and healing is a major thread in my work, has been for  years.  This I can do.  As I pray for healing and comfort to those suffering, and for wisdom and peaceful hearts for those now in charge, I leave you with who I am as an artist and how I respond to times like this through my work:  come inside my work and rest.

 

Springtime in One Artist’s Life

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If you think my desk is a mess you should see the studio

Ever see The Wizard of OzYou know that scene where Dorothy, the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion and Toto come upon the Scarecrow after he’d been marauded by the flying monkeys, where he says something like:  “my legs are over there, my arms are over there and my stomach’s over there?”  Well that’s what it’s been like for me since I last wrote.  I’ve been a little busy- too busy to post, sorry.  But it’s all good: a demo here, work in a show over there, a few pieces to drop off and a few to pick up; an annual event to orchestrate, teaching one class, getting ready to teach 2 more, firing away, even sales and a commission thrown in the mix.  These are the times where all the recharging of batteries an artist does by going to museums and galleries and communing with nature for inspiration comes in handy, we need that fuel the same way our bodies need fuel to get us through all this creative activity.

Not in any particular order (though I’ll try) allow me to let you behind the wizard’s curtain:

The Fundraiser:

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Lots of thank you cards to write! Everyone was so generous!!!

For the past several years Bill and I have supported an effort to fund summer camp scholarships at the Montclair Art Museum where I teach.  It means alot to us that as many children from diverse backgrounds are able to attend the camp to ensure a rich mixture of ideas, cultures, energy and creativity.  This year we sent out a call to friends and family for contributions in honor of our 25th (!!!) wedding anniversary and my 55th (gasp!) birthday.  The results exceeded expectations and were quite humbling.  In about a blink of an eye we had enough contributions for 3 full scholarships.  At this point we have enough for 9.  There is still more coming in.  To say we are thrilled is an understatement.

The Priest Project:

Every year since 2008 I orchestrate an event between The Restoration Workshop of Our Lady of Lourdes Church (my parish) and the Archdiocesan Offices of Clergy Personnel in the Archdiocese of Newark.  We call it The Priest Project.  In essence, with the help of clergy we restore and distribute the effects of deceased and retired priests to the candidates for ordination each year.  We obtain biographies of the deceased and retired priests and try to pass along to the candidates as much information as we can.

This event requires acquiring effects, identifying and executing repairs, meetings to figure out who restores what and gives them to whom, compiling spreadsheets, the logistics of going to and from the event, taking pictures, adding subtitles, printing out and compiling records of the event into a book.  Alot of work, but all done joyfully.

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The Demo:

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I had the good fortune of being asked to perform a raku firing demonstration at Peters Valley on May 1 as part of their open studios.  Please read my previous blog post all about that, it was really really fun!

Teaching Glass and Clay:

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Student work in about to go in the kiln

Can I tell you how much I love my students that I teach at the Montclair Art Museum?  I teach them glass primarily.  When I wanted to teach clay they happily all signed on board for that adventure.  So we are having a split spring session:  4 weeks of fused glass, 4 weeks of clay with a raku firing on the last day.  My students are so cheerful and easy going.  They get along well with each other and make my experience pure joy.  I really enjoy firing their glass work.  In a way it’s how I get to collaborate with them- to try to fire their work to the best of it’s ability by me being at the best of my abilities as I load and program the kiln.

Clay class will be a bit like the candy manufacturing scene of The Lucy Show, as 4 once-a-week classes really isn’t alot of time to teach several students who have never worked in clay before to make enough work to then bisque, glaze and raku fire.  But I tell my students the object of the class is to relax, have fun, learn something new and be creative in a supportive environment.  If we follow those tenets we’ll be fine.

Filling the Kiln:

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Not enough for a second load, ack!

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Got to make some of my own to fill up the space…

Firing glass in a clay kiln can be tricky as glass is finicky and a vertical kiln with no elements in the lid means the temperatures within are uneven for that purpose.  I have found that glass does not like to have a lot of open space around it.  If there is not enough work to fill the kiln, that means to stay on schedule I need to add some stuff of my own.  Add one more thing to do to the list.  Also add the finish work, photographing and uploading to the Etsy shop in an attempt to sell it to the work load too.

The Sales:

Throw into this mix the happy delirium involved with packaging up sales on my Etsy shop and finally finishing a commission that took way longer than I would have liked to. Ca-Ching!

Preparing for the Big Workshop:

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“The Peters Valley Pile” keeps growing exponentially

Like the light of an oncoming train, the 3 day Raku Rodeo workshop at Peters Valley is fast approaching.  I’m trying not to think about it too much so I don’t make a run for it.  I just make my lists of things to do to prepare and chip away at it every day.  So far I’ve created all the hand outs, glaze recipes, slide show and am now in the process of gathering materials and creating “the pile” of stuff to pack and bring.  I like to itemize all that stuff onto a spreadsheet to minimize forgetting some key component or leaving something valuable to me behind.

The Shows:

Last Sunday I picked up work from Sacred Spaces Holy Places in Metuchen and prepped and dropped off work for Visions of the Vanguard, a show of work by the faculty of the museum.   The Montclair 10 Returns show will be on the Montclair Gallery Walk tomorrow, so block out time for that.  The show closes that weekend so block out time to pick up the work on Sunday.  There’s my piece Echo Chamber to pack and drop off for the SMI VIewpoints show at Aljira in Newark (they put my piece on their promo, OMG!!!) Oh and look- the opening reception for Visions of the Vanguard is June 2nd as part of their Free First Thursday Nights, on the same day we depart for Peters Valley!  Since it’s in the evening that means I’ll be dropping off and settling in at Peters Valley that morning then driving back here for the evening’s reception then departing again to Peters Valley to hide under that bed until morning when the workshop begins.

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Echo Chamber made the cover of the gallery announcement! So pleased!

Like I said it’s ALL GOOD.  One thing that keeps niggling the back of my mind is that in addition to having enormous gratitude for all these great things happening in my more than full time artistic career, I am extremely grateful that my art career is not my sole source of income.  Those who know me know this is my second career and through my previous career and other good fortunes I can live an amazing life without worry of supporting myself only by teaching and selling art, because I can’t.  I don’t get paid a living wage from either.  Even though I began this pursuit in 2008 I am still what one would charitably refer to as an “emerging artist,” which sometimes feels like a breach birth.  I have no idea when or if indeed I will emerge and emerge into what and where I have no clue.  All I know is that I am an artist, working full time.  For me, creating does not feel like a choice, it’s like a mandate, or a function to sustain life that has to be done, like breathing.  I worry constantly about other artists out there like me who need to make art but unlike me need to make a living at the same time.  Please help these artists survive.  Support your local artists!

May Day May Day!!!! Peters Valley Open House and Studio Tours

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May Day can either mean May 1st,  a day to celebrate or  May Day May Day a distress signal.    Thankfully in my case it was a celebration, as in my line of work it could have gone either way.  Yesterday was the Open House and Studio Tours event at Peters Valley Craft Center and I was asked to fire the raku kiln as part of the festivities.

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Sharon Pflug-Moench (left) and I (right) doing the heavy lifting at the Peters Valley Raku kiln

 

Knowing my schedule would only permit me to make enough ware for 1 or 2 loads I reached out to teacher, potter, and good friend Sharon Pflug-Moench to make ware and join me in the effort.  She did not disappoint.  We had enough work between us for 6 loads, a full day of firing fun!

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Sharon aka Lucy and me, aka Ethel with the ware waiting to be fired

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Caught Instagramming- red handed!

Sharon and I are the clay version of Lucy and Ethel.  We’re soft-hearted tough cookies.  We work well together.  We get into scrapes.  We generate alot of laughs. To temper us and provide support were my husband Bill and her husband Paul- Ricky and Fred, although none of us could decide who was who of that pair.

True to form, like every other time I have raku fired at Peters Valley, it poured rain all day long.  You can set your watch to it.  You want rain?  Call me, I’ll either schedule an outdoor picnic or a raku fire at Peters Valley.  I’m so used to it I don’t think I’d know what to do if the sun was shining.

Joining us in the ceramic studio were director Bruce Dehnert, his wonderful wife Kulvinder Dhew, and fellow potters throwing on wheels, including Linda Garrabrandt of MudSlingers Pottery Works.

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Kulvinder Dhew arranging Bruce Denhert’s work for sale, while Linda Garrabrandt of MudSlingers Pottery Works throws clay in the background

Visitors came and went and pots went in and out of the kiln.

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Vases fresh from the kiln “steaming” until cool to the touch

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I was nervous about firing hot and fast in a kiln set up differently than my own, but it’s alittle like riding someone else’s horse:  the basics are the same I just had to learn its nuances and how to get along with it.  Everything worked out fine and the kiln saints and devils smiled upon us.  The pieces survived the firings, the glazes came out great and the humans came out of the experience unscathed, just filthy, tired and wet, but very very happy.

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In terms of kiln saints, I brought the heavy artillery: St Michael the Archangel, Pinocchio and the little devil who, if the sun were shining as he is solar powered, would be dancing a little jig

I had the good fortune to meet many people touring through the studios, show my work, eat a great meal from a food truck (fish tacos with the most divine fries!) and even get interviewed by a reporter at the NJ Herald.  Look at me, I wound up the lead article in their on line edition the following day!

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For my next Peters Valley trick I will be teaching the 3-day raku workshop Raku Rodeo the first weekend in June.  Get out your umbrellas and galoshes and come fire with me!

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Let’s All Go to AIPAD

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Hanging with the works on opening night

AIPAD is an exciting event for Bill and I.  Unlike Paris Photo, Bill has work in it – at Charles Schwartz Ltd. Charles is a dear, dear friend who collaborates with Bill in camera obscura projects, in particular, Visions in the Dark.  I met Charles in the 1990’s when he hired me, during my former work life as a construction consultant, for the installation of his camera obscura .  During this process I told him that he just had to meet Bill and they have been fast friends ever since.

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The gang’s all here at booth 415- right to left: Charles Schwartz, Bill, and Charlse’s wife, fabulous artist Nancy Drosd.

Charles Schwartz Ltd occupied booth 415 at AIPAD.  Bill was there to lend a hand and to explain his current works, 3D printed geometric shape series entitled ElementaryBill’s work is a meld of very early photographic process with cutting edge technology.  This current series involved making tin types on colored metals by placing geometric shapes he created with his 3D printer directly on the metal, or something like that.  I think scanning is involved too.  Anyway, hard for a mere mortal like me to describe, best to have him on hand to explain it.  Also on view were sculptures Lumix and The Silver Circle from his Gutenberg series, which involve objects and texts encased in 3D printed sculptures. (Ask him to explain them too.)

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Bill with works from his “Elementary” series at Charles Schwartz Ltd booth #415, AIPAD.

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Bottom shelf far right and middle shelf far right corner: works from Bill’s “Gutenburg” series.

What I like about AIPAD is it’s home turf for me.  It’s local so I can bring clothes just for the opening reception and really rock my inner disco queen.  I can change into my heels and leave my sneaks under the table with my purse at the booth.  I don’t need a notebook to keep myself busy.  I know some of the other exhibitors.  I don’t have to be on my best behavior, I can wander around and fetch food and drinks for Bill, Emma and Jenny (who work for Charles) and leave and do other fun things elsewhere when I get bored.

The opening reception was really fun.  I decided the occasion warranted a very busy outfit:  my father’s necktie skirt.  These were neckties he wore in the 1960’s, waffle weave, crazy- pattered silk and synthetic paragons of psychedalia that my grandmother flattened out and sewed together.  Some of them had naked ladies tucked into the lining at the point, which Grandma, probably in a fit of propriety, tore out and discarded, sigh.  The waist band was also a tie, one of his skinny silk ones.  The skirt has seen me through high school dances,  twirls under the disco ball at Studio 54, a couple Halloween parties and many a gallery opening.  It has had such a peripatetic life that the closure promptly tore off when I fastened it just before leaving for the reception.  A large safety pin was deployed and we were back in business.

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Shedding the Nicole Miller rain coat and about to put on my silver shoes to complete the “look.”

Complementing the skirt was my silver embroidered Mandarin style blouse I picked up at a flea market in Portland, Oregon, a silver foam motorcycle type jacket from Ibiza (on sale) vintage bamboo and glass chandelier earrings from Love Saves the Day (mentioned recently in my personal blog:  https://notesfromajerseygirl.wordpress.com/2016/03/03/another-nail-in-the-coffin-trash-and-vaudeville-moved/ )  a pair of really busy tights from the Reebok store on Union Square, my silver “tranny fence climber” pumps I picked up in a thrift shop in Provincetown, MA (everyone should have their heels broken in by transvestites, they have such nice wide feet) and to top it all off a really busy candy wrapper patterned Nicole Miller silk raincoat and vintage Donna Karan sunglasses.

Thus outfitted, I made my way to the reception.  That outfit made me friends.

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Comparing outfits with photographer and style consultant Mahlot Sansosa

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Photographer Henny Garfunkel on the other side of the camera. Don’t you just love her look?!

Photographer and style consultant Mahlot Sansosa grabbed me for a picture.  Jill Krementz took some photographs and included us in her New York Social Diary coverage of the event!!!   I  simply ADORED Henny Garfunkel’s entire look and followed her around until I got up the nerve to ask for a picture.  There was an Asian woman wearing the most divine pink wool skirt suit with matching bowler hat with darling purse and shoes, but she moved too fast to snap a pic, drat!  She had by far my favorite outfit.

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Other cool outfits seen during the event.

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Oh, and the art photography was pretty good too, 😉  This is my 3rd AIPAD event and without a doubt I found it to have the best fine art photography, both vintage and new that I have seen yet.  The works were aesthetically pleasing, told amazing stories and not derivative in the least. Go to the AIPAD website and have a look for yourself!

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These works by Simone Rosenbauer captured my eye at Paris Photo.  I had more time to enjoy them at AIPAD’s Laurence Miller Gallery Booth.

 

 

 

Gallery Crawl: Quebec City, Musee des Beaux Artes

On our last day in Quebec City, thus fortified by our hotel, Le Vincent’s hearty breakfast, we set out by cab for the Musee National des Beaux Arts du Quebec (MNBAQ.) Note we set out to walk it the day before, but after riding straight up the funicular then hoofing up 310 steps we didn’t make it in time before closing, drat.

When I realized the museum housed only collections of native artists, my eyes rolled, uh oh. But I was pleasantly surprised by not only the quality of the art, but the exquisite manner in which each installation was curated and displayed. The building itself was very interesting and in no way detracted or distracted from the art, which seemed very at home within its walls.  Another aspect that impressed me was its accommodation to families with small children.  There were alot of people pushing strollers and little ones toddling around.  Once a city jail, part of the museum was comprised of small brick cells.  Several held attractions paralleling the exhibit within the same space:  The Art of the Miniature, showcasing Inuit art.  One  cell had faux skin rugs, another plush toy stones to form into cairns.  Another had a table and chairs.  There were little ones enjoying the main exhibits as well.  It lent a really fun atmosphere to the galleries.

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A little art appreciator checking out works by Alfred Pellen. She was so cute I had to take her picture (with Dad’s ok of course)

Besides works from contemporary artists and retrospectives, there was a gorgeous collection of indigenous art sculptures carved from stone, whale bone and walrus skull.

There were 3 retrospectives on view when I visited and I was extremely impressed in the way they were curated.  Not only were the exhibits arranged in a chronological and historical fashion as to evoke the creative development of each artist, but the exhibition spaces themselves and the manner in which certain works were displayed echoed each other.  I felt that I was completely immersed in the work of each artist as I trolled through the spaces.

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Take a look at how the space reflects this work by Jean Paul Lemieux

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The drama of this image at the beginning of an exhibition of the works of Jean-Paul Riopelle reflects the drama of his paintings

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The bold hanging of this massive work heightens its exquisite drama

Works of 2 other artists I absolutely enjoyed were by Alfred Pellan, The Wide Awake Dreamer and David Moore, aLomph aBram.

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aLomph aBram literally tucked up inside a turret accessible via a narrow spiral staircase

 

In addition to being impressed by the museum and its collections in situ, I am also impressed by their website and programs.  Check out the video suggesting how to view art as a family, and also their artwork rental program, CPOA.  My visit was one of the highlights of my stay in lovely Quebec City.  It was perhaps one of my favorite museum experiences that I’ve had recently.

Studio tour on the road: Quebec City, Verrerie Coquelicot, Jean Belanger, artiste verrier

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Jean Belanger, artiste verrier in front of one of his large and impressive glass wall pieces

When traveling I never know where my feet will lead me, but so far it’s always been always to the best places. Especially when in foreign lands I send up a little prayer as I embark on my journeys to be guided by angels to places I need to see and people I need to meet. My short weekend trip to Quebec City was no exception, for it is where I walked through the door of an artist’s shop and met artiste and verrier, Jean Belanger.

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Some of Jean’s work on offer in his lovely shop, fused glass, stained glass, blown and slumped glass objects

To regard Mr. Belanger as a verrier does not do him justice- yes he is an artist and craftsman in all glass disciplines, but also a sculptor, welder, 3D printing artist, t-shirt maker and poet, in other words, a Renaissance man.

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My favorite piece, a very colorful, thick and substantial fused glass table on feet he designed and welded himself.

What was lovely about stepping into his shop was his willingness to talk to us- about his process, his work, his history as an artist, his successes and struggles. He welcomed hearing about us, our art, our projects. When we left I felt as if I added another friend and partner in the pursuit of creativity. This does not happen often, and when it does I look up to the sky and thank my angels.

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T shirts, mostly sporting profound and topical quotes

Visit his shop in person or on line:

Verrerie Coquelicot

Jean Belanger, artiste verrier

515 Rue de l’Eperon

Quebec, Canada G1K 6S7

(418) 692-1555

http://www.verreriecoquelicot

jeanbelanger@verreriecoquelicot.com