Making a Video!

November 11, 2014

I know I have been rather quiet of late… I am in the midst of my wonderful, new project: teaching online for Craftsy.com. I have been in the pre-production phase for many weeks now. What does that mean? It involves creating a 7 part video first. The video comes down to figuring out what is important to teach, how to say it and show it as well as creating the pieces that show the methods on the way to the end result in at least 3 steps plus the finished piece: so think 4 pieces for each 'chapter' or segment. Wow. That's busy!

We film the video next week! I'm so excited to do this! But here is what happens as an artist: cycles of pure confidence in what I know and can teach but then…a crises of confidence: consuming nervous anticipation that I'll be a total flub on camera. It's crazy. Where does this come from? I know what I know. I can only be me. They can edit, stop, start, reshoot, edit and did I mention EDIT? BREATHE! It'll be fun. REEEEALLLLY!

 
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A Mariano Fortuny original

Isabelle de Borchgrave Paper Fortuny Recreation

 

 

My friend Nan and I went to the Bellevue Arts Museum to see the amazing paper clothing creations by Isabelle de Borchgrave, a Belgian artist. She recreated the clothing designed by Mariano Fortuny totally in paper. Using trompe l'oeil and a variety of papers, wonderful dashes of pearlized/metallic acrylic paint and stencils each creation magnificently imitates fabric. I could've sworn that one coat was velvet but everything is paper right down to the beads on the dresses, hats, boots, shoes, pillows, backdrops, curtains and even the hand bags.<\p>We learned from a Museum docent that the clothing creations have chicken wire in between the lining and outer layers of papers to make them free standing. Then they can be shipped in whole without folding or handling too much. The crates must be huge! We also learned that the diaphanous kimono are made from eye glass lens cleaning paper, a spun bond material that is translucent. This is what is used in the picture for the robe over the under dress. The paper is stenciled with a gold pattern on this piece. Can you believe that this is completely made of paper? Isn't that wonderful?

This was a totally eye opening and awesome exhibit. One if my favorite things was the full size tent created from paper. It was like a Morroccan tent draped with opaque and translucent curtains stenciled with patterns. Gold, pierced 'metal' lanterns were hung inside – all made from paper.

Screens and backdrops were draped around the exhibit creating mystery at every turn. The privacy screens were stenciled with Moorish patterns in subtle colors and reminiscent of rugs. Then in the center rectangle the centers of the repeating pattern element were cut out. In some cases, the edges were gilded or painted a contrasting color. Simple and elegant atmosphere for a really wonderful body of work. As Nan said to me when the elevator doors began to open on the exhibit: Prepare to hyperventilate. She wasn't kidding!

 

My friend Nan and I went to the Bellevue Arts Museum to see the amazing paper clothing creations by Isabelle de Borchgrave, a Belgian artist. She recreated the clothing designed by Mariano Fortuny totally in paper. Using trompe l'oeil and a variety of papers, wonderful dashes of pearlized/metallic acrylic paint and stencils each creation magnificently imitates fabric. I could've sworn that one coat was velvet but everything is paper right down to the beads on the dresses, hats, boots, shoes, pillows, backdrops, curtains and even the hand bags.We learned from a Museum docent that the clothing creations have chicken wire in between the lining and outer layers of papers to make them free standing. Then they can be shipped in whole without folding or handling too much. The crates must be huge!

A Mariano Fortuny original

Isabelle de Borchgrave Paper Fortuny Recreation

We also learned that the diaphanous kimono are made from eye glass lens cleaning paper, a spun bond material that is translucent. This is what is used in the picture for the robe over the under dress. The paper is stenciled with a gold pattern on this piece. Can you believe that this is completely made of paper? Isn't that wonderful?

This was a totally eye opening and awesome exhibit. One if my favorite things was the full size tent created from paper. It was like a Morroccan tent draped with opaque and translucent curtains stenciled with patterns. Gold, pierced 'metal' lanterns were hung inside – all made from paper.

Screens and backdrops were draped around the exhibit creating mystery at every turn. The privacy screens were stenciled with Moorish patterns in subtle colors and reminiscent of rugs. Then in the center rectangle the centers of the repeating pattern element were cut out. In some cases, the edges were gilded or painted a contrasting color. Simple and elegant atmosphere for a really wonderful body of work. As Nan said to me when the elevator doors began to open on the exhibit: Prepare to hyperventilate. She wasn't kidding!

 

Resolution for the New Year

January 11, 2014

Celebrate your mistakes! They mean you're human.

Don't be afraid of making a mistake: you'll not learn anything by doing things perfectly except how to do one thing. Cross pollination can't happen in a perfect atmosphere.

Expand your world and knowledge: make mistakes.

Remember: there is nowhere to go, nothing left to do if everything is perfect. The concept of perfect is a myth.

Creative Focus

December 12, 2013

This time of year brings reflections: reflections on time past, photographs of moments captured in time of things that were and looking forward to what will be. How you feel is where you're focus will be. You know: buy a Prius and all you see on the road are other Prius. That's focus. Unconscious focus, but focus nonetheless. So how do we direct our focus for better results? I know my focus is so fractured lately that I'm continually surprised that I'm getting anything done! It all comes back to awareness…

Gigi Rosenberg has some great advice on creative focus in her blog here:

http://gigirosenberg.com/blog/four-keys-to-making-creative-progress/

So Many Thoughts

August 29, 2012

A small town experience pops into my head all the time lately. Years ago I was in a small community movie theater on an island here in the Pacific NW. The trailers began to play and the picture on the screen was horribly blurry. As my Mom got up to go tell the projectionist to fix it and turn down the blasting volume people started yelling: FOCUS!

Every now and again I hear that in my head: FOCUS!

I hear it when I sit down to blog because I have about 3,000 thoughts go by when I'm trying to remember what it was I wanted to write about… I hear it when I have a few studio minutes to actually create something. I hear it when I find myself staring at a blank page, blank canvas, or my own blank stare, or just getting in the door at work.

Sometimes life is horribly blurry and the volume is blasting so loud that I forget what it is I'm doing. Do you have that, too? Here's me yelling at you: FOCUS!

Make Your Own…Monday

April 30, 2012

It seems I’ve gotten out of my regular blogging habit. That and I’m on the road a lot this year so far. I just got back from teaching in Philadelphia a bit over a week ago and I’m leaving for Florida. This bouncing around has been disruptive to, well, everything. I have one more event after this trip that’s nearer the end of May and then I stay home until August, (back to Philadelphia for Bead Fest!).

I am really looking forward to a good long dose of studio time. It’s like a good drink of water for the thirsty at this point. I do make things in between everything. For example, I was able to start on an experiment for work I’ve had on my mind for awhile now: window jewelry. They have windows In them so whatever you’re wearing shows thru a bit. Then the jewelry always matches! I got the basics of a pin made in my hotel room in Philadelphia one night. I can’t wait to explore that series of ideas more.

This picture is the sunset in Oaks, PA from my hotel window. I seem to collect sunsets from every hotel window so far this year. Something must be percolating there. Either it’s jewelry or a new book that I’m going to make or both, I don’t know…

So in honor of making, I declare it Make Your Own Monday. Check out how to make your own fresh ginger ale! Check out: http://joythebaker.com/2011/06/homemade-ginger-syrup-for-ginger-ale/

 

Shark Infested Holidays

December 17, 2011

I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted. I’ve actually been using my time to create art! Yup. Oh! And funny thing: remember Sharky Shark’s Christmas List right before Thanksgiving? First on his list was was an Air Swimmer remote controlled shark balloon. Well, we went to Thanksgiving at my brother’s house and after a really fine meal, lo and behold, my niece pops out from elsewhere walking behind an actual Air Swimmer Shark! It was hilarious. We imagined talking it onto the ferry and having it swim out of the elevator. Oh that would be funny! So the Monday after T Day I was telling two friends about the Air Shark and showing them pix from my phone. They liked the idea so much that we ended up at Toys R Us and buying two of them. J.T. shark, as my Air Swimmer is known, is living down at ArtWorks, the little art center I run. There are really high ceilings there unlike my house. That’s a good thing and also a bad thing. I was introducing JT to my Monday morning printmakers. I have a bit of a tether on JT because I’m afraid that there might be something up in the rafters that could puncture JT. I was also a little worried that if he got up that high I might not be able to bring him down… Well, the goof got away from me when I was showing the printmakers how he swims and stuff. Then our ancient but steadfast Reznor heater came on and blew JT up above one of the lights! I have a little note on his tether stating: Meredith’s Pet Shark Do Not Tamper:He Bites! Which was very worthy when I have him corralled in the office but out in our Great Room, NOT. The not caught in the chain that the light hangs from. I had quite a time trying to maneuver JT out of that position and once out, trying to being him low enough so someone could grab the tether. She was jumping trying to catch the darn thing and JT was moving along. Good thing the heater wasn’t on at the moment or capture would have been very elusive, indeed. So JT is gently bobbing in my office until his next outing. We’ve found the funniest thing is to have him swim back and forth in front of the windows at ArtWorks. From the outside it looks we’re underwater inside! It’s hilarious. Pictures are coming when I can get my Blogsy app to work…

I was just sitting here mulling everything I’ve done in the two weeks since I got home, (2 weeks already? WOT?). I have taught 3 full day classes, worked my part time job a little more than part time to catch up, attended 3 meetings, did 3 presentation demos in one night, worked on getting my gallery stuff together and haven’t had but one day off in 14. Seems like the magic number is 3 here, too.

Resin charms, Meredith Arnold, 2011

Anyway, the thought strays across my mind like a wind blown leaf: love what you do, like who you are, and it feels profound. Like a deep secret that needs the light of day so all can know it; like treasure nestled in old velvet, hidden in an old jewelry box, long forgotten, but oh, so valuable. What made me think this, I wonder? I was mulling, as I said. One of those mulls was that it seems that the more solid work time I create in a class, the happier my students are with the class. Read ‘solid work time’ as ‘shut up Meredith, you don’t have to prove your value as a teacher by spewing a dump truck of info here! Let them work!’. I’m an information addict and always want to know more so I forget that not everyone can listen and work. I know it’s very frustrating to have a teacher keep blabbing out info and the students dilemma is do I take notes for every golden word or work on the process laid out? It’s really hard to pace information in a class because every class is different but it is easier if you love what you do and like who you are. I heard you say HUH? No really. Think about it. If you’re not continually, unconsciously trying to prove your value as a teacher you can take that step back and work right along with your students. It’s also really hard as an art teacher to just watch everyone else in the room making stuff, get inspired at what they’re doing and then because you’re the teacher, not be able to do anything with that inspiration. You think to yourself: oh I’ll try that when I get home but then after packing up everything in the right order so you’ll find it again and getting home you’re completely exhausted. All the inspiration gets shelved, and all you can do is whatever it takes to hold body and soul together.
If you like who you are then you know that you’ll put the right amount of information out for the student group in front of you without having to prove yourself. Every group is different so the information flow is always different as well. The dynamics of teaching are amazingly complicated when you take into consideration all of the variables: personality types, learning modalities, behavior styles, personal agendas in the room, student self confidence (plays a big role in the room), and the info to be presented, demonstrated or illustrated. If you love what you do then your passion and enthusiasm gets communicated. If you like who are then your personal issues don’t really enter into the information flow equation. This all applies to more than art teachers. Besides life is just plain better if you love what you do and like who you are!

  All of  us artistic types experience “dry” times when the ideas don’t seem to flow and everything feels like slogging through mud.   So the question I pose when I hear about someone kicking themselves for not getting into the studio to do some work is this: 

  Can you work every minute of every day? Do you know anyone that can work every minute of every day?

  Think about that.  As an artist, that’s what you’re doing whether you know it or not. Your mind is always churning, looking at color combinations or shapes, putting things together in a pleasing fashion or processing through some artistic challenge all the time.  Other people go home after work and transition their focus to their life at home.  Artists often go home after work and start thinking about their art or how they’re not doing their art.  Seems to me it’s a lot to ask an artist to be “producing” tangible work all the time they aren’t at the day job – even if you don’t have a day job!  Especially when that artist mind is always in overdrive whether you’re conscious of it or not.

  I say let your mind percolate; sift through thoughts, ideas, juxtapositions or whatever.  Don’t hassle it.  Let it go.  When the time is right you won’t be able to keep yourself from going into the studio or your work area and put your hand to making something.  Especially when it hits you that your “real life” is when you’re making your art!  Get your mind around that thought.  Real life = making my art.  NOT “real life” first, making my art, later.

 Check this out: http://blogs.personallifemedia.com/creative/  These are free podcasts from Eric Maisel about creative obstacles.  It’s worth the 8 minutes of your time to listen to an episode.  There are a number of episodes on creative obstacles that are easy to listen to while you work, walk, drive, or wake up to the day.

  Remember that being a creative personality is a rich experience and not one to be diminished by some wierdly imposed standard that we apply only to ourselves, (maybe so that we can stay disappointed in ourselves and thereby avoid what we really need to do – make art).  We have so much going on in our heads, our feelings and how best to express ourselves that the actual time we spend putting a brush to canvas or pen to paper is the smaller percentage of our time.  I know the feeling of wishing to be working in my studio more than anything else but not being able to get myself in there.  As a group we are susceptible to putting our desire to make art on hold but do not forget that the play we do in our heads is just as important as playing with our materials.

  At the same time it’s important for us to know that making art is a worthy, WORTHY goal when that is what you’re meant to do.  Enjoy the process whether it’s in your head or you’re bringing it out into the world.  It’s ALL good.