Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Piece A Week #13. Really Week THIRTEEN?

Ominous. Week 13. I am not one to give in to superstitious numbers, black cats, or what the moon is doing...ok, yes, what the moon is doing (it is Void of Course right now btw).

Week 13. A week where I injured myself on Monday and can not do any of my usual creative work. I tried...but I do not have the ability to grasp things in my left hand...important in metal work, wire wrapping and even beading. Tried it all. Even tried to lift my camera the other day, can't quite get the left arm to work right for that either...ok.

Well, now what?

(For those who don't know, I tripped, bounced and did an amazing slide while running along the American River Bike Trail...lots of skinned skin...and a left arm that, while nothing is broken, is extremely strained. Lifting, grasping etc., is coming back in very slow increments...)

Anyway - I am about to take a huge turn in another direction...get kinda motivational, kinda philosophical, kinda in your face about something.

Over the past few weeks I have had conversations with females - of all ages - who poo-poo the idea of cooking a delicious meal JUST FOR HER SELF.

"Oh no....I only cook for others, there is no point in cooking for myself..."

That is the biggest piece of molarky...and one that I will instantly get in your face if you say the same to me.

Why you should cook solo meals:

1) "Cooking is the ultimate act of self-appreciation." (click HERE to read the whole Washington Post article).
2) How else are you going to practice? If you practice on yourself first, you will have more confidence when serving others. (this goes a long way with all kinds of .... things.)

Sure, I have my favorite "pop in the microwave" foods...there is a place for that - but it is an amazing thing to give to yourself an amazing meal. I believe it is a sign of incredible self-maturity AND unstoppable self-worth.

I think there is a difference in the food when the cook has this confidence and love of cooking versus someone who just follows a recipe. Big difference.

Not unlike an art class...there are individuals who just make what the instructor makes - and there are those who learn the technique and then make something different.

Those that just follow to say...mmmmmm there is no "soul" in the food. It tastes fine...maybe even GREAT...but food with no soul doesn't make you "moan." (this applies to many other ... things.)
I think that food served should make people moan with wonder.
Like a great piece of art will make people stop in their tracks...
A beautiful piece of jewelry will make people gasp.

So...cook something for yourself. Keep working with the ingredients until you can make yourself moan.
This works for many other ... things.

Once you KNOW you have a great plan for that fresh basil and garlic, because you have made it for yourself first...

Then share it with someone else.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Piece a Week #12: It's a Twister! It's a Blob! It's really kinda ugly :D

Sometimes I take chances. Sometimes it works and I am pleasantly surprised and sometimes it "works" and I am humbled by how much I need to learn. This next piece is one that I probably would not "share"...I would tuck it away under "that was fun, I learned a lot - mostly, I learned how much I don't know."

Thursday was wild and stormy and FREEZING in the studio. I made some messes with things just because I was moving too fast (to get OUTTA the studio), got discouraged and decided to move into the dining room.
I pulled out the container with polymer clay and started to play.

One of the things that people do with the clay is to make "canes". This is where you take various colors of clay, stack them, roll them and then slice off pieces. Like making a jelly roll then cutting off the pieces. Anyway, you take the pieces and do amazing things with them. There are all kinds of patterns one can make depending on how you build your cane.

So I did this and found myself attracted to black, blue and a little red. Roll, layer, roll the layers...slice.
Now what? I felt the black and blue whirls were like the weather outside, so I ran with it.

I smooshed the swirls onto a piece of black, then added the blue and red lines and dots. And smooshed it a little more. Baked it...and here you go. An extremely primitive tornado.

Take a look at how beautiful this work can be...

The artist is Caren Goodrich. These pieces are made from mokume gane slices  Check our her blog "The Bead Bunny."

I will be spending some time there absorbing some knowledge! :)
I have some ideas...just need to know how to make it so!


Friday, March 18, 2011

Piece a Week #11: Something New and Intimidating and Without a Teacher, OH MY! (by Lisa)

Somewhere in the middle of my "40 in 15 Day Challenge", I read an online tutorial on chasing and repousse.

I was particularly fascinated because this technique usually requires a pitch pot.

Pitch pot
I do not have one of those.

The tutorial uses a bench anvil, cardboard and neoprene rubber. I can do that! I did some price comparing online and found a 12x12 piece of 1/4 inch neoprene for $14.00 from Grainger. Ordered it...and then waited.

It arrived.

And now it is waiting for me.

I am intimidated.

The last video I watched on chasing and repousse, the artist tells the camera (thus me), that is takes many, many years to do this technique...and if you make a mistake THERE IS NO CORRECTING IT!! You have to KNOW HOW TO HOLD THE TOOLS!!


And then I stumbled across this video (this one is long, but is art in itself...) Not only do I love Hiroyuki Shimokura's work, it just seems so peaceful. His concentration. His inspiration. And again...lovely work.

I admit I am writing this BEFORE I have even tried one hammer-stroke.
It is 9:19am.
I will come back to this after doing SOMETHING!

10:30am.  Ew. That didn't work.

10:47am. Hm. That worked.

10:50-11:26am. Thinking about what worked.

11:30 Eat a cheese sandwich. Have coffee.

1:03 This is what I came up with.

I decided to go easy on myself. Do "my style" with a little more movement in the metal. The leaf is copper with a design imprinted via the rolling mill. Then a piece of silver wire. Torch. The wire leaves an imprint while the silver spreads over the piece. Some hammering and repousse. A gentle repousse, if you will. Buffed it out and applied a light flame to add the patina.

In summation. I used the repousse technique for adding to the overall effect rather than doing an entire piece where the chasing and repousse defines the piece. That will come in time. More practice and having the right tools.

The picture isn't very convincing! But there IS more shape and movement. Anyone who has seen my recent "leaf" series and hearts know that they are very "flat." Both of these pieces have more shape. A nice addition to what I do.

...and I already have another idea to work on.

Peace. :)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Piece a Week #10: No Perfect Circle/It's Complicated (by Lisa)

The center piece was once a "perfect" circle.
Then, some news came my way.
The perfect circle had to go.
It seemed to take on the look of a cave entrance...or a gaping hole.
That is how the news I received made me suddenly I had a gaping hole in my life.

I added chains.Chains are difficult to work with...they tangle and knot up. Like life.

Life is messy and tangled and knots up.

A case of art reflecting life.

(Rest in sublime peace, my friend. You have left a gaping hole in my life...but I will do my best to fill it with beauty, grace and generosity. Those qualities that radiated from your being.)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Piece a Week #9 - Braiding (by Lisa)

I have been doing something interesting this past week. Right before I fall asleep I think to myself; "Wake up with new ideas to try, solutions to problems and helpful realizations."

I have to say that every morning I seem to wake-up with some kind of new realizations.

I'll start with a realization...then a solution...then introduce my Piece a Week for this week...

When one is in the performing arts...many of your friends will attend the show/concert/reading. Why? Because individuals are entertained. Friends know that when they go to a play/concert/reading/poetry slam that they will spend two hours being entertained, and probably have a very cool party to go to afterwards.

This is not the case for attending a visual art gallery event.

You have to stand there...and think of witty things to say. If you don't really get, or like, your friend's work...painting, photography, sculpture, wearable art (jewelry)...then you are in an even more uncomfortable situation. The situation is even more acute if you can not afford the art that your friend is making.

When I was twenty-something, one of my jobs was at The Academy of Art College (now University). I worked in student records and served as the receptionist in the art gallery. One of the "perks" was to attend the gallery receptions.

Those gallery receptions were very boring.

A lot of people standing around coming up with witty things to say.

My next job was at the American Conservatory Theater. Opening nights were MUCH MORE exciting...with a loud and drunken opening night party after the show.

Much more interesting.

So....unless individuals are really REALLY into the art scene...or there is some amazing food and wine being served...friends will probably not show to a gallery reception.

Although I do have one artist friend that dresses as a huge chicken and guzzles beer during his receptions. That usually draws a crowd!

Helpful tip: if you are not into going to an art reception...keep your artist friend in mind for a possible brunch the next day. Artists miss their friends. :)  The only reason we invite friends to opening night receptions is to have a chance to actually SEE you and to show you why you haven't seen US! But hanging out the next day or two is cool too! :)

[changing the subject...this will only mean anything to metalsmiths!]
Use a touch of baking soda in the tumbler. This will ensure that any acid residue (from the pickle) is cleaned and neutralized on your metal work.

[changing the subject again]
Kick up copper wire work...braid it and add some is the results:

I took some copper wire, braided it and melted silver on it...what you are looking at is a peek at a necklace and another peek at a bracelet. I also made a ring and a pair of earrings that are braided...

These pieces will make their debut at A-RARE-Ity on March 12. We are the featured artists for the 2nd Saturday Artwalk. We would love to see you there...but...are open to meeting for brunch or coffee something...!!