What a hand I have been dealt…

deck aces

You can see they are not your ordinary deck of playing cards. Aren’t they exquisite? A friend at the ceramics studio brought them in to show me. She purchased them in Russia, maybe 25-30 years ago. The suits are the four seasons, and they look so  – regal? unique? archaic? 

clubs

hearts

 

diamonds

spades

Chalices! Suns! Ravens! Wheat! Snowflakes – how very Dr. Zhivago… How thrilled was I when Ann GAVE me the deck! I may have squealed with excitement. The originals I will keep intact. I plan to use them in collages – color copies for image transfers. And perhaps reduced in size – resin pendants? Yes, please!

I am currently working each day at my annual ceramics summer camp. Today was the first day – and i am trying to get back into the swing of everything. Blogging, listing on Etsy… I apparently needed to check out for a bit there over the last few weeks. But I am fine, here, busy, and have  a lot going on! I will keep you posted – here, FB, Twitter. Care to follow along? Please do! Wait til you see what other treasure I just got – for free! It has enough materials to keep me busy for years! Curious? Come back tomorrow!

 

 

 

 

 

Catching up… and creative undertakings

Where did last week go? I lost a few days in a pollen induced haze of headaches and general lethargy. It is amazing how fantastic “Normal” feels after running  on depleted energy stores. SO last week-  no posts. Oops. 

This week – there is a lot going on. Meeting today with the amazing M. Carol Mauer to finalize our plans for a ceramic finger labyrinth class. Should be wonderful. More on that ASAP. (It will be soon, in Wilmington, DE)

Last week recieved the foundation for a fantastic journey that I will be undertaking over the next year. 

Sketchbook

 

The Sketchbook Project – artists from around the world sent a slim paperback sketchbook. Choose a theme, and create! The completed books will be exhibited in Brooklyn, San Francisco, Austin, among others – with corresponding exhibits overseas in Melbourne and London! At the exhibits the books are out to be seen, read, examined.  All of them. I am thrilled. I selected “Encyclopedia of…” as my theme. I am thinking Goddesses – of course! I am glad they are coming to Philly so I can see the show – and hopefully my sister will see it in Austin! I need to get planning… Perhaps an A to Z of goddesses… There is still time to sign up if you are interested. 

And glazing. And weeding. And enameling. Let me post this now, and i will tell you more later – promise!

 

 


 


Sharing the love – my resin workshop

I love the resin. ( I use ICE resin by Susan Lenart Kazmer. I have tried others, and I do like ICE the best.) I love the clarity after it has cured. I love the silky, slightly sexy texture. I like what it does to antique paper. I like embedding things into it. I like its strength. And I haven’t even tried casting it or coloring it…

Last Thursday I taught a resin workshop at my Art Studio. It was an interesting mix of people: potters, beaders, a porcelain pendant maker, a photographer…all willing to give it a go. I don’t think any one had ever done resin prior to class, although many knew of it, and were intrigued. 

my demo

I did not realize Marsha was taking this picture – I had started the demo, and if you have ever met me you know I talk with my hands…Quickly it would seem. 

Patience

I was making a point on being patient. And posing, for the camera…

student work1

The students started with closed bezels. ( I really like the Patera findings from Nunn Design.) We had National Geographic magazines, decorative origami paper, and the like – but the vintage postage stamps may have been the best! Such clear, colorful images at just the right scale. 

student work 2

student work 3

student work 4

The last picture shows you a few of our open back bezels. I love the transparency of resined paper when it is not sealed. Charms, shells, micro beads – a plethora of inclusions, including a dear departed canine best friend’s teeth. We had one or two leaks on the open bezels, but the resin all came out perfectly! Some of the women were showing off their creations in the ceramics studio today. I was so proud! We are already talking about having another session in the fall. Join us if you can!

 

A to Z: E is for Eclectic

 

1: selecting what appears to be best in various doctrines, methods, or styles
     2
: composed of elements drawn from various sources;
Greek eklektikos, from eklegein to select, from ex- out +legein to gatherFirst Known Use: 1683

Its a word I like. Eclectic. There is an artistic air there, a little bit left of center, not the norm. And I really like the synonyms: Magpie, motley… When I was in college, studying art and education, I was already taking a more diverse path than many of my fellow art students. While they were concentrating on mastery in one medium… ( not to get philosophical, but do we ever achieve mastery? Then what else would there be to do, if not grow, learn and evolve…) I was developing proficiency in many mediums. (My words, not the college’s.) I was headed to the classroom – what better breadth of knowledge than a plethora of skills and experiences? Yet being such a Jack-of-all-trades was frowned upon. It was implied that I lacked the requisite focus or skills needed to make it “out there”. The jester, in his bells and motley tunic often juggling many balls – the artist, working in different materials, tending to many projects at once. I like the Jack of all trades metaphor, and while I continue to strive to be  a master… I think I am making progress.
Artsfest booth
( My booth set-up for Artsfest 2010)

This entry was going to be “D is for dilemna” but it is resolved now, and “Eclectic” is a better fit. I recently applied to one of my regular festivals, in the fall, in a city where we used to live. The entry categories, always a dilemma at festival time…Am I a ceramics artist? No. That brings to mind functional wares when seen in the event program. And I am definitely NOT a potter. (No offense meant. I just am not into function.) So I write in “Mixed Media” if it isnt already a listed category. I have tiles to bring, shrines, maybe clay, maybe in tins or boxes. Could bring collages… Then there are the pendants. Clay really is the unifying element in my work. When you see my booth all set up, decaorated, ready for business – clay is 90% of my offeriengs. Many pieces are not purely clay, but incorporate found objects, mini books, collages – hence the Mixed Media moniker. My pendants are clay. They are partnered in motif with my tiles. I work in symbolic images and icons – would you like to wear that raven? Or hang it in your house? 
ravens in kiln
pendants
This show tightened up their guidelines. Unless you are juried into the jewelry category, you may NOT bring any jewelry. I emailed for clarification. And sat with the dilemma for a while. Do I take only tiles and shrines? Or do I apply for jewelry? If I apply for jewelry, the competition is stiff, but I could possible have an opportunity to take earrings, stamped metal, resin, some of my new work. Here is the deal-maker: If accepted for jewelry I CAN bring tiles and shrines as well. (But not the other way around) SO I went for it. And as I write this I haven’t heard back yet if I am accepted. Please think good thoughts for me, lets put the idea out there in the universe  – the first show I ever did will also be the show at which I debut my jewelry officially. There is a karmic balance to that, don’t you think? 
wishing well
I have made a wish. Here’s wishing you well, also!

 

BTW and The Sketchbook Challenge

I was listening to a podcast recently, and I am sorry to not give credit, but I forget which one… ( Craftypod? Craftcast? Art and Soul Radio? ) But the artist was musing on electronic social networking. For an artist working in solitude in the studio, chat groups, discussion boards and the like are a great way to combat the alone-ness. Sharing ideas, posting pictures, discussing materials and techniques all feed and fuel the creative machine. I do a bit of this. Facebook is my social network of choice, I dont tweet often… but  I love Flickr. And this year I have become involved in 2 Flickr groups that I find highly satisfying, keeping me linked to my colleagues, and seeing what else is going on out there…

The first is BTW – Bead Table Wednesday. Created by Heather Powers of Humblebeads, it is a peek into your space, on your table, that day. No tidying, no glam shots, just “What are you working on today? ” Over a hundred members, crafters, professionals, glass, polymer, wire, clay… a diverse group. Here is my BTW shot this week: ( Yup, a day late. )

BTW waiting for resin

Miscellaneous pieces waiting for resin. The lockets are almost done – The outsides have elements added, the insides were resined with items, and the inside cover has vintage dictionary text, the last element. The deep open bezels  – I won them at Art Bliss  last Sept. I have found shells that fit inside…

This picture is tough to see, I know. Some of the stamped copper components have been antiqued and not polished, making them dark and moody. These pieces will all be pendants with gemstones and charms, ready for RenConII: THe Mythic Faire in a few weeks. 

copper components

 

The other group, I found in January, a wee bit late. Called the Sketchbook Challenge – its so simple it is brilliant… A group of collage and mixed media artists decided to create a group. Each month a theme is posted, work in your sketchbook as inspired by that theme, and share your pages via the Flickr group. Each month there are posts by the host artists, and a give away of materials from the sponsors. And it is free. For me it is the perfect mix of incentive and relaxed schedule, of freedom, personal interpretation, and community. Again – it is a group ranging from novices to professionals, with support not competition. A few years ago I was working on an artist’s journal – and by that I mean a journal of art, collage, doodles, paintings not my normal journal of reference notes, planning sketched, project ideas, article snippets… That artist’s journal – I was doing a 2 page spread weekly, and it was a very rewarding experience. When it ended I attempted another, but the spark was gone. I think the Sketchbook challenge is rekindling that spark nicely…

February’s theme was “Opposites”. I was thinking large/small and one/many. 

Feb sketchbook  FEB detail

Is is refreshing to just play. To not wonder if this will turn into an idea worth pursuing, just to make marks and use materials, and play. It actually makes my art work time more productive…

A to Z: Collage

1. a : an artistic composition made of various materials (as paper, cloth, or wood) glued on a surface b : a creative work that resembles such a composition in incorporating various materials or elements 
   2
: the art of making collages
   3
: hodgepodge <a collage of ideas>
Collage. From the French “coller” – meaning glue. 
Braques. Picasso. Schwitters. Matisse. Rauschemburg. Bearden. Nick Bantock. Joseph Cornell. Lenore Tawney. Kara Walker. 
When I was teaching middle school – I always taught a Matisse inspired collage project, it was one of my favorites.  In poor health, and advancing years – Matisse leapt artistically into collage – “drawing with scissors” as he called it. And while my style of working with “various materials glued to a surface” is very different – this picture brings me happiness and inspiration without fail!
Matisse
So I am working on new collages for an upcoming show… and began documenting the process this (oops. last) week. Before I begin the actual collage, there are sketches, research, reading, themes, symbols… I am currently doing a series of 9 small (8″ ) pieces. They will hang as a unit – and are thematically related – the Muses of Classical myth. During the research phase, I hunted for images of each Muse. I like to incorporate found images – providing they are free of copyright restrictions… I want to work with the Muses as they have come down to me through art, history, and culture. They are not my original construct, and I want to acknowledge their classical context via found images. I am one of a long line of artists representing the Muses – for thousands of years… 
The images have been photocopied, and transferred to canvas or paper. While I like to use found images I always alter them to make them my own. I feel they need to have the marks of my process on them; and I find a copied image too perfect; sterile. The transfer process is by its very nature imperfect, and I work back into the image with ink, paint, pencil…
So starting out, I create a composition with large background sections of paper/color. This series is unusual for me. I am trying to create a cohesive composition overall, yet have each small canvas read well individually. 


 Collage layout

Collage layout 2

When I am happy with the interplay of color, texture and pattern, I trim the papers and tweak the arrangements. I will be collaging the sides of the canvases to cover the canvas and eliminate the need for frames. The canvas transfers are very hazy with paper residue at this point; they will be cleared up and enhanced soon. 

Collage layout refined

The following shots show the  series at approximately 65% complete. I have glued the base layers down. I use a mix of 50% PVA archival glue and 50% Jo-Sonja’s medium. The Jo-Sonja’s is very thin and permeates the paper well. I have glued down the focal images of the Muses. The canvas images have been accented with washed of ink and/or acrylic. I deepen the background with color to create interest and more contrast on the image. I have also begun to add additional papers into the compositions – fibers, patterns… and supplemental images transferred on as well. 

midway

The next picture shows you a detail of one 8″ collage. The yellow cording is antique, and will be stitched through the canvas where you see it tacked down now. The lyre image was transferred into mulberry paper – which goes almost transparent when collaged on with Jo Sonja’s medium. Allows me to “print” right on the collage surface. 

Muse in progress 1

Another detail: stitching to be done, antique lace medallion affixed with gel medium. 

Muse progress 2

The process takes up the whole of the studio. The 9 canvases alone cover the main work table, and need to remain together. I want to work on them simultaneously to maintain continuity. The small bare space of table showing is where I actually work. 

collage work table

The table behind me is a catch-all. Coffee, water, lace, ribbons, inks, extra photocopies… When I am working on collages there is very little room for anything else!

collage zone

Note: this “C” entry was supposed to be Feb. 18th. Hmm. It is currently the 22nd. Sigh. Will try to get the alphabet caught up. But I was busy collaging!

 

Fortitude…

Main Entry: for·ti·tude
Pronunciation: ?fo?r-t?-?tüd, –?tyüd
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Latin fortitudin-, fortitudo, from fortis
Date: 12th century

1 : strength of mind that enables a person to encounter danger or bear pain or adversity with courage

A little dramatic, perhaps. I am not in pain, nor danger. I am four days from installing my first solo show at the local arts co-op – The Newark Arts Alliance. But have I mentioned I am out of town this weekend? So really two days away… Today is a day filled with lists: to do lists, lists of work to finish, clerical matters, newletters, blogs, price lists, artist statements…<sigh> So it is a day when I am tapping into my inner fortitude – where did I put that? Right…

Here’s the important info you need to attend my fabulous, inspirational show:

Ariadne collage

(Ariadne: Mistress of the Labyrinth, mixed media collage, 16 x 20″, 2008)

Myth and Nature; transformed

Mixed Media Artwork by Jennifer Davies-Reazor

Newark Arts Alliance – 276 E> Main St Suite 102, Newark De 19711

May 4 – 29th. Artist Reception Friday, May 7th – 6 -8 pm.

Hours: 11 am – 3 pm daily. Thursday 11am – 7pm. Closed Monday.

Really – must get to the next task on the list. Busy day, and I am prepared to make it a good one! Hope to see you next week!

Frenetic…

Main Entry: fre·net·ic
Pronunciation: fri-?ne-tik
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English frenetik insane, from Anglo-French, from Latin phreneticus, modification of Greek phrenitikos, from phrenitis inflammation of the brain, from phren-, phr?n diaphragm, mind
Date: 14th century
“Inflammation of the brain” – that discribes the state of affairs here rather well. I am in full on frenzied production mode finishing – well, starting AND finishing new mixed media work for my first solo show. I have clay drying – hopefully to be fired and glazed in time. I have shrines awaiting interior installments. I have lined up blank canvases primed (pun intended) for paper, paint and glue.
studio shot(You can just see the shrines in the foreground on the left. And two labyrinth themed colalges on the work table, very near completion.)
Please save the date: Friday May 7th at the Newark Arts Alliance here in town. The reception is from 6-8 pm. So there are finishings artwork lists, and reception/organisational exhibit lists…
And icing on the cake – my friend Cooky will be here from San Diego! WooHoo! She is the owner of The Shepherdess – bead and fiber store extrordinaire – in Old Town, and an incredible mixed media artist/jeweler in her own right.  Coming for her first East Coast visit to my humble abode, she is drafted to help hang my show! Hee Hee. But she is also here on business and she and I will be attending MD Sheep and Wool Festival over the May Day weekend. So lets get this artwork prepped early – there is fun to be had; wine to be drunk, fibers to be fondled…
I digress. More on the show in the coming days/week… I need to get back to the studio. “Inflammation of the brain” – yes, that does sum it up…