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

Turn Milestones into Stepping Stones: SEND A KID TO SUMMER ART CAMP!!!

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Won’t you enrich the lives of a deserving child by giving them and their families the gift of art and culture?

It has come to my attention that on April 4th I will turn 55.  Even more shocking is the fact that on April 6th, Bill and I will have been married 25 years!  Do you know what this means?  This means something grand must occur to mark these tremendous milestones.  What do two people  whose lives are so full and blessed with an embarrassment of riches beyond our wildest dreams need?

WE NEED TO SEND KIDS TO SUMMER ART CAMP AT THE MONTCLAIR ART MUSEUM!!!

In 2012, I taught pre-teens a 2- week clay class at MAM SummerArt Camp.  What I learned is that I am not the best teacher for anyone less than 20 years of age.  I also learned that the camp was in desperate need of economic and cultural diversity within the student body.  Minimalism is a great genre, but not when it comes to filling a class with students.  Creativity begins when cultures, races and others of diverse life experiences collide.

Bill and I have created a scholarship fund to accomplish this mission.  A gift of $900 will send 1 child to camp for 2 weeks.  To make things even more fun for them they will also get a lunch box, a gift certificate to a local art supply store and a 1 year family membership to the museum.

Imagine  if 90 people sent $10-  BINGO, a child’s life is changed!

The folks at MAM have made it really easy to donate.  All you need to do is click on a link:

montclairartmuseum.org/donate

Enter the donation amount on the first page (under the donation amount you can check a box in case you want to make the donation in honor or memory of someone, pretty cool..)  Just after entering your credit card info enter the coupon code SUMMERCAMP at the bottom and it will earmark your donation for the camp.  DON’T FORGET TO ENTER TO COUPON CODE!  Please do not delay, as the selection process for student applications is fast approaching. Please help turn our milestones into stepping stones for a budding artist.  Give them a chance to grow and create in a spectacular, nurturing, fantastic place.  Help add “let’s all go to the museum!” to their list of fun things to do.

Please share this post with as many like minded people you can think of, help SummerArtCamp go viral!

Session II Session I Exploring Pottery

 

Almost Spring Studio Tour, 2016

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Studio gremlin (made by Chrissy Callas) in his little hole just waiting for me to make a mis-step

One way to gauge the productivity of a studio is how messy it is.  Everything falls by the wayside (and onto the floor, against the walls and on every available surface) when a series is in process.  There is just no time to dilly dally on such frivolities as cleanliness or organization.  Work just has to get DONE.  Add teaching, firing student work, delivering work, attending opening receptions, deadlines for upcoming shows and life in general into this mix and soon enough you can’t swing a cat in the studio without causing an avalanche.  My studio (lovingly referred to as the clown car is no exception.)

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Don’t trip- the studio looking like the inside of a goat’s stomach as I glaze ware.

I have the great fortune to have been invited to submit new works into two upcoming shows, The Montclair 10 Returns and the Montclair Art Museum Annual Faculty Show.    I also have been blessed with having work selected in several group shows:  Sacred Spaces/Holy Places at Nails in the Wall,  Art Connections 12 at The George Segal Gallery, and Viewpoints at Aljira Center for Contemporary Art.  In addition to this and my regular teaching gigs at the museum, I will be teaching a 3-day raku workshop, Raku Rodeo at Peters Valley Craft Center during the weekend of June 3 – 5, with a 1-day teaser demonstration there on May 1, 2016 both of which I needed to make ware to fire, and do a few raku firings for practice.  I’d better get cracking!

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At the opening reception for Sacred Spaces/Holy Places at Nails in the Wall Gallery

 

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With my work 162 Moses di Michelangelo at Art Connections 12 reception, The George Segal Gallery.

In my last studio tour post I had just  embellished and altered forms in porcelain and raku clay off the wheel for firing.  After painful consideration I decided to multi-fire the porcelain in oxidation and raku fire the raku clay forms.  At the time, the thinking was more from self preservation than aesthetic calculation- just in case all the raku ware blew up or failed I would still have enough finished ware from the electric kiln to meet my exhibition obligations.

Pushing the Envelop:

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Multi-fired porcelain bowl with luster addition.

My firing processes always have an element of risk.  I am constantly pushing the envelop way beyond what is good for me and my ware.  Whenever I hear a fellow potter, especially a mentor say, “Never do this, it won’t work” I take it as a call to arms.  Bruce Dehnert, the wizard of the Peters Valley ceramic studio told me never to bisque fire my raku ware above cone 06.  It will explode in raku.  It just won’t work.  Bill McCreath, my uber mentor professor from my masters program at Montclair State bisques raku ware even lower, to cone 08.  This bothers me.  Raku ware is stoneware that can go up to at least cone 6.  The logic is it has to be fired low to keep its pores open enough to absorb carbon and withstand thermal shock.  I get that.  But I can’t stand how porous it is post firing.  It leaks and sweats if filled with water, has an unpleasant feel about it and makes a nasty low pitched “ping” when tapped with an index finger.  I want a finished piece that is as water proof as possible, doesn’t leak or sweat and has a nice substantial vitrified feel and sound when tapped.  So I bisque fire to cone 1.  (gasp)

Unleashing the Gremlins

Firing the Porcelain:

 

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First glazing to cone 6 in oxidation, so far so good

As I loaded the green ware and programed the kiln to cone 1, a little gremlin of doom appeared on my shoulder whispering, “gonna fail, gonna fail!” over and over until the damn ware came out of the kiln.  As I mixed up the cone 6 glazes the little bastard said, “glaze won’t stick, glaze won’t stick!”  While grinding the dichroic glass I selected into frit to fuse in the next firing he said, “all gonna fall off, fall off!”  This torture continued until after the luster firing (I had to do a few of the pieces twice which made him really  happy, the jerk.)  I must say I am very pleased with the results. It isn’t often that things come out as planned.

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The Raku Event:

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First sign of spring: the raku kiln!

The gremlin was dancing a jig as I dragged out the kiln.  “Not enough propane!  Not enough propane!” he giggled as I hooked up the tank, not remembering the last time I used it or filled it.  The first load were vases with my favorite raku glazes.  “Bottoms blow off! Bottoms blow off!” it squeaked as I stacked the first load, “Gonna drop ’em, gonna drop ’em!” as I pulled each one out.  “You’ll burn down the house!  Burn down the house!” when a stray ember went down the driveway (I stamped it out.) For some reason, all pieces in this load (each placed in its own can) was covered in a yellow tar like residue similar to the nicotine that covers the walls of old French cafes.  This made gremlin boy really happy but it was nothing a little elbow grease couldn’t cure.

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Since I used my luster glazes on 3 pieces, I decided to put those in a separate 2nd load and “steam” them in a “smokeless raku” process, where instead of placing them in cans of combustibles, I stood them each on a piece of paper then wrapped them in a wet newspaper covered with a wet towel until cool.  “Won’t stand up!  Won’t stand up!   You’ll burn yourself, haha!”  Happily, these came out just the way I wanted them.  Nyah nyah nyah little gremlin!

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Every piece survived despite bisque fire to cone 1, take that kiln gremlin, kerPOW!

Now that they are all done I have the happy quandary of figuring out which one goes into what show.  I love this kind of problem.

Gallery Crawls Fall 2015/Winter 2016

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November 12, 2015, inside the Grand Palais for the Paris Photo 2015 exposition

This posting will continue my reporting on what I saw and did in Paris last November as well as catch you up on what I’ve seen lately.  To review, the purpose of the Paris trip was for my husband, photographer Bill Westheimer to attend Paris Photo 2015 at the Grand Palais.  I was along for the ride.  I love looking at art.  I love critiquing art.  I love learning about art.  I love meeting fellow artists and when it comes to international creative events such as these, I love the people watching.  Its where art, fashion and artists collide.

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View from the stairs to the mezzanine. It’s as if Paris Photo is inside an enormous jewel box!

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So much to see, where do I begin?

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As night fell the venues glowed

In my opinion, there was no better location than Paris, no better venue than the Grand Palais to hold this event.  It was as if all the images displayed were slides tucked inside an enormous glass and green steel jewel box.  The structure itself was worth the visit.  I have been told, more than once by Bill, that the purpose of the visit was reconnaissance- for him to see what is out there and who is representing it; to make lists for future reference.  It was NOT the time and place to shop work.  Ok.  Got it.  Message received.  I would keep my eyes and ears open and my mouth shut.  We went twice:  once to breeze through, say hello to a few friends working in the booths and get a lay of the land.  The second trip would be a longer more day long affair, going from booth to booth, taking notes and gathering info.

To execute this feat I realized I needed something to do, some sort of individual purpose other than being the supportive spouse to keep me occupied, engaged and quiet.  So I bought a notebook and a pen and I set about reviewing the work,  the space, the food and what people were wearing, like an undercover reporter for a lets pretend magazine.  In addition to planning the activity it was also necessary to plan attire.  My very first entry in my Paris Photo notebook was:

11/12/15

How to attend an all day exposition:

-Dress in layers:  wear comfortable shoes & clothing; carry a light weight shoulder bag to put things in and hang things from, like jackets and scarves;

Immediately locate and use the bathroom;

-Put some cash in your pockets (wear clothing with lots and lots of pockets)

-Carry a cellphone, pen and little notebook.

-Keep your mouth shut if the reason you are here is for someone else;

-Carry lots of business cards in case you are here for YOU;

-Eat a good breakfast that will give you energy and not slow you down;

-Dress stylishly; to be noticed, in case you get separated from your party; (it pays to be tall by birth but alas I am not)

-Pick a meeting point and a time to meet your friends in case you get separated (meet you by the food every hour;)

-find a place to sit the minute you get cranky (this is important;)

-Don’t try to make dinner plans with every person you run into that you know;

-Try not to get jealous of the success of others on exhibit and don’t come from a place of low self esteem;

Don’t monopolize the time of your friends working the booths;

-Network over lunch;

-Drink alot of caffeine;

-Don’t start drinking until early evening;

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Some hand outs I picked up at the booths and my ever present notebook.

Thus dressed, fortified, informed and debriefed I made my way around the exhibits.  Here are comments I made in my notebook:  NOTE:  My comments will appear in italics

Yves Marchand & Roman Meffre, “Rivoli Theater, Berkley USA, 2013:

Jacob Aoe Sobol, “Boy in Novosibirsk, Russia, 2014;

Polka Gallery, Paris, booth A52

 It’s hard for me to view photos like these because I want to know the story behind each one and they aren’t there, they’re just works of art;

Gitterman Gallery:  Herbert Matter, “Untitled” 1939-43William Larsonsending images and text through telephone lines in the 1970’s!!!

Grids of photos:  Bruno Roels (A palm tree is a palm tree is a palm tree)

Appropriation:  Sherrie Levine: “After Man Ray Man and a Woman 2005”

Man Ray’s photo of a nude descending a staircase by DuChamp, 1920.

Delphine Balley- staged murder scenes “Les Choses de la Vie” at Suzanne Tarasiere booth C37

My favorite and I don’t know why:

Garry Fabian Miller

Winged Hawthorn- The Hedgerows of Homeland & Haying Down, Dartmoor Spring & Late Autumn, 2011″ at Ingelby Gallery

Katarzyna Mircsak (Polish) “Tools of the Crime Series, 2012″ at Eric Franck Fine Art booth C40

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Amazing people watching. I just loved her hair and her whole look.

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These women won the hair category of the people watching awards.

It was an amazing couple of days and we were so glad we went.  Going to Paris for Paris Photo has always been a dream, and all of a sudden it was a wonderful reality.  Ironically, we were there on November 12, 2015, the day before the shootings and bombings in the Bataclan and in the cafes, where many young spirited fun loving people had their lives cut short for no better reason than they were out living their lives in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Ironically even more, since I remember feeling so free and so spirited at the event, thinking to myself, “isn’t it wonderful that we can be out in large venues again without fear of terrorism?”  Oh my.  Like all other public venues in Paris that terrible day, Paris Photo was shuttered and closed early.

February, 2016- my first visit to the new Whitney Museum of Art, New York City

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Yes, can you please tell me, why was art in the 1990’s so bad?

If you know me you know I am not really a fan of the Whitney.  I never liked the architecture of its original location on Madison Avenue.  I tried, I really tried to like the artwork they have presented over the years.  I give them points for exhibiting works by Marilyn Minter, and I never tire of seeing Calder’s Circus, but everything else usually annoys or confuses me, and it’s one of those deals where they actually want you to feel that way.  Whatever.  The Whitney is one of the few museums in New York City where I don’t have an annual membership.  I rather choose to get in free by flashing my museum employee id from the Montclair Art Museum where I teach.  This magical perk is a thrill.  So far I’ve gotten in everywhere except The National Museum of Play in Rochester, NY (the nerve!) and the Denver Botanic Garden (even though the employees thought I should as they sadly made me pay.)

So when the Whitney moved downtown into a new light and airy structure with outdoor terraces on every floor with a killer view in all directions, designed by Renzo Piano, while flashing my employee id I gave going there another chance.

Oh well.

At least Calder’s Circus was still there, this time given a place of pride front and center instead of being tucked into a hard to access mezzanine like at the old location.

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Calder’s Circus

We started at the top floor and worked our way down, beginning with an exhibition of works by Laura Poitras: Astro Noise.  To preface, I try to be as objective as possible in consuming another artist’s work.  I realize that a strong negative reaction is just as successful as a positive one; artwork is not made with the sole purpose of making the viewer smile or feel loved.  Rather, a very important part of making art is to bring difficult subjects often swept under rugs out into the open and visible to the masses.  A critique of the exhibit by me would not be fair as my reaction to it is strongly subjective as the artist is delving into the surveillance, interrogation and wrenching cultural shifts brought about by the attacks on September 11, 2001.  Having seen the second plane slam into the World Trade Center from my seat on the commuter train then being in lower Manhattan as the towers fell, smelling the burning, hearing the screams, seeing people covered with ash running for their lives, then being evacuated to New Jersey are forever seared into my psyche.  They are now part of my DNA, like it or  not. Anytime I view or experience video footage, audio clips, photographic montage of that day bring on horrific nightmares, so I need to consciously avoid venues like this.  So, after viewing a couple light boxes in Disposition Matrix, I waited for Bill in the hall.

I must say that most works on the lower floors blurred one into another, except for a fabulous abstract film I enjoyed enormously entitled, Synchromy #4 Escape by Mary Ellen Bute which she made in the 1930’s.  It is an abstract cartoon set to classical music.  Just a few squiggles, lines and a few geometric shapes in primary colors on a black background dancing to the music.  I loved it.  Having been raised on Disney’s Fantasia it’s just what I see in my head when I hear classical music.  The rest of the floors were kind of a bust for me.  There’s just so many times I want to see a Jeff Koons. Don’t even get me started on the art of the 1990’s.  I just don’t see the point of it, other than the fact that is coincided with the commodification of art and the market was suddenly driven by investors looking to make a buck rather than a collector wanting something of aesthetic value.  But hope springs eternal, I like DuChamp’s Fountain don’t I?

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Breakthrough and A New Assistant

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Not a bad weekend shut in the studio, for a change!

As the saying goes, “don’t give up just before the miracle.”  All the clay I touched for the past month wound up in that endless cycle of wedge, throw, reclaim, wedge, throw, reclaim.  Sigh.  Whether my efforts made the clay just a boring blank cylinder with no spirit, or a structural failure, everything just kept going into the damn bucket.  In bygone days, when I was young and had more ego than brains or skill, I thought every single time I touched clay had to be a masterpiece.  Runs like this would be crushing and I’d leave the studio and walk away from clay for a good long while.  Now I just persevere.  I realize that nothing worth creating comes easy.  There is no antidote to this situation but hard work.  I also realize that my absolute worst day in my studio as a full time artist equals my best day when I was stuck in an office driving a desk for 23 years at a job I had grown to loathe.  Audio books and a new puppy helped too.

Enter Mel.  Our teenage Treeing Walker Coon Hound who we adopted on February 2, 2016.  Mel was rescued from a neglect situation in West Virginia, fostered while he got shots and neutered then sent to a kennel in southern Pennsylvania to adopt out.  We managed one week without our dear Petey who died with us here at home then we realized the house was too empty and clean, the studios too quiet and our lives without that happy canine chaos that gives us our energy.   He’s a big white warm soft bundle of love requiring us to change his name from Boomer to Mel, short of Marshmallow Pie.  He’s very good in the studios, he even has his own cubicle.

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Mel , our new studio assistant, in his studio cubicle reporting for duty.

After about a month of fruitless labor, things started happening.  More shapes were coming off the wheel to be put in the wet box instead of the reclaim bucket.  I wasn’t happy with them as is, but no matter.  I kept throwing.  All of a sudden I could see shapes for my commission project that had me baffled and clueless for months;  I could see sculptural infrastructure that could be assembled from forms coming off the wheel.  Suddenly these cylindrical forms, so lifeless and lackluster were blank canvasses for me to alter and add texture to make them come alive and sing.  Hmmm!  All of a sudden I’m dragging out my Haeckel books and hunting for ideas, making slip and filling my decorating bag.

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My current treasure troves of ideas and inspirations

 

And suddenly, here I am, breaking through to the other side, busting out from craft into art.

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Functional forms given spirit and life

 

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3 plain bowls demanded to be assembled and turned into a sculpture

Glass was happening in the studio too.  My students are wonderful.  They make thoughtful, deliberate, creative work.  They are putting alot of care and effort into making elaborate creations so output is slow.  I took advantage of the empty kiln space and made some work of my own.  Aside from incorporating it into sculpture I don’t work with glass as a primary medium, but every now and then it’s fun to make a tray.  It’s straight forward “what you see is what you get” manner helps clear and calm my mind in between elaborate clay projects or when working in clay is more of a wrestling match than a productive, fun pursuit.

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Jewelry bits, trays and coasters are nice palate cleansers in between clay projects

Now when I sit at the wheel I feel more back in the saddle.  Glazing here we come, yee hah!

Waiting Any Minute for the Big Breakthrough and an Exciting Opening Reception

Every once in awhile I go on a downhill slide in the studio.  I hate to refer to it as a losing streak, but sometimes that’s how it feels.  It’s the time where I’m the studio on a daily basis working away fervently with visions of cranking out lots and lots of great work, but in reality all I have to show for my efforts are clay spattered clothes and a full reclaim bucket.  Sigh.

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After an entire day of throwing, all I got out of the deal was 1 anemic bottle and a meh bowl….Sigh.

Used to be that I’d get really down on myself and discouraged. What the hell is wrong with me?  Why can’t I make great work like everyone else?  I’m a terrible potter, what was I thinking?! And on and on.  Now I just shrug and keep going.  What else am I going to do?  Besides, usually when I hit the creative skids like this, it’s usually before some sort of big breakthrough, either with an ongoing series or a new technique or new depth of range to my artistic voice.  So here I sit, behind the wheel, covered in clay, listening to my audio books (humor to keep my spirits up) like Charlie Brown stepping up to the mound.

Another factor in this creative trough is that sadly, we said good-bye to my most beloved studio assistant, Petey Pie Westheimer, who died of cancer at home last Wednesday.  Good bye my sweet clay dog!

Petey in his final week in the studio. God speed my dear sweet boy!

Petey in his final week in the studio. God speed my dear sweet boy!

But then I attend an opening reception of my work and all is forgiven.  In this regard, the opening reception of Sacred Spaces Holy Places at the Nails in the Wall Gallery in Metuchen, NJ did not disappoint.  Nails in the Wall is a bit of second home to me and my artwork.  The gallery is a very good fit for my work as their themes slant towards the sacred with components of social justice.  Linda Vonderschmidt-LaStella, who runs the gallery is an amazing soul.  She is a huge supporter of every artist she takes under her wing and a big booster of the art scene in the town of Metuchen.  She creates a lovely vibe for the receptions with wonderful food, music and talks by the artists, even some via Skype or video.  The gallery is located on the campus of the church of St Lukes, so there is lots of foot traffic.  I particularly enjoy that many of the people who come into the gallery do not consider themselves art collectors or art appreciators.  Interacting with these folks allows me to see my work and the work in the show with fresh eyes.  I love answering questions and explaining the motivation of my work to them.

Posing with "Holy Innocents" a the opening reception

Posing with my 3 sculptures a the opening reception. L-R: “Holy Innocents,” “Hotei Hideaway,” and “Hotei Hideout.”

I had the good fortune of having 3 of my works in the show, Holy Innocents*, a multi fired stoneware sculpture with 14K gold, Murano glass and acrylic inclusions, Hotei Hideaway**, a raku fired stoneware sculpture with resin inclusions, and Hotei Hideout,**, a wood fired stoneware sculpture on a carved cherry wood base with glass and resin inclusions.  I enjoyed spending the afternoon at the reception, catching up with Linda, her wonderful husband Nino and the other artists in the show, many of whom I have been in shows with previously.

*statement for Holy Innocents

**statement for Hotei Hideaway and Hotei Hideout

Studio coming and goings, January 2016

7 blank canvases screaming for decoration.

7 blank canvases screaming for decoration.

Being away from my studio for long periods of time feels like holding my breath underwater for way too long, only instead of my lungs, I feel like my soul is going to burst.  Life has had me out and about, selling at holiday craft fairs and on line, spending time with friends and family for the Christmas and New Years holidays, resuming my teaching gig in glass fusing at the museum, and doing the big time suck known as working on the computer.  I finally got to throw some clay around last week.

Usually even though I’m away from clay, projects are fermenting in my brain.  I’ve been trying to work out another sculpture for my Ex-Voto series in my head, with not alot of luck.  So I just went into the clay bin and got busy on the wheel.  Sometimes that’s all it takes to get unstuck.  I took a workshop over the summer and was so impressed by everyone else’s prowess at the wheel that I resolved to hone my skills a bit, so my first exercise was bottles using 3 to 5 pounds of clay.  It was fun and I got 7 out of 8 balls for my troubles, not bad for a long drought.

I put them in the wet box and let them keep to ponder the next step.  I have some new raku glazes that I think would look great on a bottle, but, these were just too plain, like blank canvases begging to be painted!  So I saved a couple and decided to spice up the rest.  I’ve got a glaze pallet of really wild runny glazes that break and change color depending on where they run and pool, so I broke out my texture tools, made some slip and went alittle wild.

The barnacle fairy visited the studio yesterday.

The barnacle fairy visited the studio yesterday.

I’m excited for the next step and my wheels are already turning for more forms and styles.  I hope to raku or luster strike fire as much as I can, because I’ll be teaching a raku workshop at Peters Valley the first weekend in June and I want to practice.  It’s so nice to be in the clay again, I feel like my soul can breathe again, phew!

Like I said, I’m teaching glass fusing again at the Montclair Art Museum Yard School of Art.  I have a wonderful group of students this winter, a mixture of returning students, advanced, intermediate and beginners.  It’s a thrill to see what they do with the glass and I try so hard to fire everything with care.  I have a gremlin that lives in my kiln that loves to play tricks on my firings, from sprinkling kiln wash on the glass ware while it’s molten to over or under firing very reliable firing schedules.  I’m happy to report that rather than ruin my student work, the little scamp only ruined 2 of my own trays.  I swear I could hear him giggling behind the kiln when I lifted the lid.

The kiln gremlin attacked my cheese trays- blisters and bubbles where sparkles should be, little scamp!

The kiln gremlin attacked my cheese trays- blisters and bubbles where sparkles should be, little scamp!

Finished student work, at least they escaped the mischief of the kiln gremlin!

Finished student work, at least they escaped the mischief of the kiln gremlin!

Student work about to be slumped into dishes and trays.

Student work about to be slumped into dishes and trays.

Oh it’s great to be back in the studio, it’s going to be a wonderful new creative year!

 

Exhibition announcement: Sacred Spaces Holy Places, opening reception rescheduled for January 30, 2016

Due to the impending snow storm the opening reception has been rescheduled. See you on the 30th!
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I am pleased to report that I have 3 sculptures in the upcoming show, Sacred Spaces Holy Places at the Nails in the Wall Gallery in Metuchen, New Jersey. These sculptures are dear to me and I’m honored to have them included in such a fine venue in the company of phenomenal works by very talented artists. I would love to see you at the opening reception and would love to hear your comments about my work.

E-publicity

Hotei Hideout, 2008 For more images and statement go to: http://lisagw.com/sacred-art-/buddha-and-hotei/statement and http://lisagw.com/sacred-art-/buddha-and-hotei/view/340 and

Detail, Hotei Hideout, 2008
For more images and statement go to:
http://lisagw.com/sacred-art-/buddha-and-hotei/statement
and
http://lisagw.com/sacred-art-/buddha-and-hotei/view/340
and

Musee de la Chasse et de la Nature, November 2015

No cheating! Can you tell which one is the human in this picture?

No cheating! Can you tell which one is the human in this picture?

 

Musee de la Chasse et de la Nature

One of the things that is a curse and a blessing regarding not speaking a language well, let’s say, moi une belle fille Americane who is not all that fluent in French, who finds herself in Paris, is when I visit a place of interest and have no information in my native tongue, I can 1) miss the whole point of the place; and 2) make up all sorts of stories much more interesting than the text provided.

Such is the case of my visit to Musee de la Chasse et de la Nature at 62, Rue des Archives. For those of you who don’t know me, I am the sort who can burrow into my studio or in front of my computer or wander off into the woods for days on end, emerging only to eat, use to the bathroom or have my husband Bill drag me somewhere. I’m very glad to have Bill in my life. He rescued me from a life as a hermit, recluse, and creature of habit. He is my activity director and usually never disappoints. With him I am never bored.  Bill takes his job seriously and makes it a point to seek out places and things that satisfy my sense of curiosity that slants towards the bizarre, unusual and more than dips into the grotesque. Well, our foray to Musee di la Chasse et de la Nature did not disappoint on all counts!

I loved this place. I could live in it. I could decorate my house with every single item in it. It has my number, it is my best friend, I was at home! I knew I was in for a treat the moment we stepped into the very unimposing building, in fact, we weren’t even sure we had arrived. Beyond the street door was a courtyard straight ahead with 3 enormous beehive type structures that were later determined were ovens relating to one of the exhibits. Given they had a striking resemblance to kilns, I immediately broke into a trot. To the right and left in this square little vestibule were doors with very little markings. We went right and found ourselves in a small, bare lobby. Assuring us we were in the right place we were told to go through some double doors and down a hallway, past a set of open stairs with amazing iron worked handrails and chandeliers.

Check out the amazing ireon work on the light fixtures, scones and bannisters in the stair hall.

Check out the amazing iron work on the light fixtures, scones and banisters in the stair hall.

At the end of the hall we found ourselves in a darkened room being watched over by a very nice man who looked official and smart in a uniform that I realized wasn’t a uniform, just smart French apparel. He handed us a card in English that didn’t seem to refer to anything. I just barged in. What lay beyond this door were rooms filled with curiosities, taxidermy, artworks both old and contemporary, and all sorts of bric-a- brac related to flora, fauna and hunting. O.M.G!

This museum is the best representation of the intersection of art and nature that I have ever seen. Some rooms were decorated with comfy sofas and furniture that upon first glance seemed to be “don’t you dare touch” armoires, but in reality were cleverly and expertly crafted please touch cabinets of curiosity with compartments and drawers each containing artifacts, moving images, paw prints and other paraphernalia pertaining to a specific animal, like a wolf in one, a moose in the other.

One of the amazing cabinets of curiosity of the Grey Wolf. Those 2 circles under the words are for you to look through and see a really cool video of a wolf strolling through a make believe forest.

One of the amazing cabinets of curiosity of the Grey Wolf. Those 2 circles under the words are for you to look through and see a really cool video of a wolf strolling through a make believe forest.

Another room was filled with all sorts of bizarre specimens in glass jars, yet another a room of taxidermied baboons playing cards. Presentation of specimens is elegant, grotesque, whimsical, tongue in cheek, a surprise at every turn. What I found especially attractive was that intermingled among the artifacts were contemporary artworks made to mimic the collection.

These are all tureens. Care for some soup?

These are all tureens. Care for some soup?

I took this picture because the dog on the right looks like Petey, especially when he's in the process of trying to take my arm off.

I took this picture because the dog on the right looks like Petey, especially when he’s in the process of trying to take my arm off.

I know this is all pretty gruesome and heartbreaking but at the same time it's completely fascinating, sort of like a train wreck.

I know this is all pretty gruesome and heartbreaking but at the same time it’s completely fascinating, sort of like a train wreck.

Check out the painted ceiling. Is that a gnu over the window??

Check out the painted ceiling. Is that a gnu over the window??

I know, I'd rather see him moving around in a zoo (I'm too chicken to see one this close in the wild)

I know, I’d rather see him moving around in a zoo (I’m too chicken to see one this close in the wild)

What do you think they're trying to catch with this????

What do you think they’re trying to catch with this????

Pretty cool contemporary sculpture in the collection.

Pretty cool contemporary sculpture in the collection.

Clever way to display your Aunt Bessie's jewelry...

Clever way to display your Aunt Bessie’s jewelry…

Very cool very large porcelain sculpture!

Very cool very large porcelain sculpture!

So please do visit this wonderful museum. I have made up all sorts of stories about it. There was a room at the end of the exhibit that explained who founded the collection and created the museum. I could only gather with my 3rd grade elementary school level of French comprehension that the items were collected by a man who held a high level position in whatever the French equivalent is to the US Department of Interior, and created the museum and donated the items after his tenure, for the enjoyment and education regarding what the glorious natural world has to offer us.  The elegance and placement of these objects side by side with exquisite artworks, to me, reflect how precious our natural environment is and in a way, how sad it is that it is housed in a museum where it is safe from human destruction unlike what is going on outside its walls all over the world.

Without the help of electronic translators, I think this says that Francois Sommer and his wife Jacqueline created the Foundation of the Hunt and Nature to promote hunting that is respectful of and in harmony with nature.

Without the help of electronic translators, I think this says that Francois Sommer and his wife Jacqueline created the Foundation of the Hunt and Nature to promote hunting that is respectful of and in harmony with nature.

Ok, how close did I get to the real meaning and purpose of the place???

 

 

I’m Having a Jewelry Sale!!!

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Was $42.00 now $31.50 until January 30, 2016 To purchase go to: https://www.etsy.com/listing/199676110

Treat yourself to one of my fused glass jewelry items during my 2016 Winter Jewelry Sale!!!!  Enjoy 25% off selected items in my shop.   Browse my jewelry categories and select a nice bauble to drive away the winter blues.  Earrings, pendants, bracelets/earring sets, belt buckles and more!  Shop today while supplies last!

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