Sunday, May 17, 2015

My Experience at the Tour of Artist's Homes and Studios

This weekend I was at Michelle Wyles' studio with the Yakima Pottery Club. The weather was nice and quite a few people visited. 

half of my work for the show, happily set up in the shade

My daughter was with me the entire time and she managed to stay patient and mostly enjoy the 6 hours of the show, though I had to bribe her with the promise of a book to get her to help me pack up at then end. She brought her own work and set it up on the end of one of my "tables."

my daughter's plate seemed to have been designed for containing roll-y grapes

My daughter's patience started to wane at the end of the the show. Earlier she had taken over the money purse and declared herself in charge of sales and making change for purchases. She also kept a runny tally in her head of sales to that point. Unfortunately, sales were slow enough that she had no trouble with this task. 

the pea hens/guinea fowl were SO noisy (and right across from us)

My studio is getting fairly full and I had made some functional work earlier in the year as an experiment, so I priced everything very low with the intent to sell well, make some money without a commission and clear out the studio. I was a little surprised that $10 and $12 bowls didn't sell, though people admired them, and I only sold a handful of $5 handheld sculptures, though people expressed how much they liked the work. My daughter, too, was surprised. She expressed her reaction with this question "Why do people say they like the work but they don't buy it even though it's really cheap?"

I did get some work done on a planter

This was a reminder to myself to say "no" to events like this and June's Art Fest. I decided about a decade ago that I liked making my own work and teaching, but I've never much liked making work that will sell. And I've never been a big fan of the effort it takes to sell the work at a fair or similar setting.

and I started a small sculpture during the show

I used to assume that if the work is well made and interesting, and people say they like it, they must not be buying because it is too expensive. Saturday was an experiment, I lowered the prices to the ground, and I did not see a jump in number of sales or total money taken in from sales, though the complements continued fairly regularly. If I were spending the entire day (about 9 hours total, though I haven't unpacked the car yet) doing a show like this to get a verbal boost to my ego, maybe it'd be worth it, but that's not why I make the work. I'm looking forward to the start of my summer studio hibernation (next month).

Friday, May 15, 2015

Tour of Artists' Homes and Studios

Tomorrow, 10am -4pm, Larson Gallery's Tour of Artists' Homes and Studios.

I'll be with the Yakima Potter's Club at Michelle Wyles' Home. Come see us. I'll probably bring some small work and maybe a few bike pieces.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Mural Project, Yakima/Morelia Sister Cities, Latin Music Festival

Monday is the Latin Music Festival at Yakima Valley Community College. For the festival, the Yakima Morelia Sister Cities organization brings in musicians from Morelia, Mexico. For the past few years, they have also brought in a visual artist from Morelia to demonstrate for or work with our students. 
the mural in the early afternoon, a lot of paint was already applied after just an hour and a half

This year the artist is Jóse Luis Soto, a mural artist who works with groups of people in Mexico and other places to paint or create mosaic murals. Soto met with some YVCC students and faculty on Wednesday, did a presentation on the history of Mexican murals on Thursday, and spent Saturday afternoon with a group of students and community members at YVCC to begin painting a mural based on a Dada poem the students had written on Wednesday.

one of many sketches used to plan the mural

The students brought in sketches of imagery based on Yakima, the sister cities relationship and the poem. The painting incorporated these sketches and other imagery that developed during the day. 

painting on the mural

There was a lot of progress made during the four hours on Saturday and students painted alongside several children who enjoyed being involved in the process. Monday the YVCC students will continue painting the mural and may even make some adjustments to some of the children's contributions.

several kids got involved in the painting process (and were happy to be included)

I came to watch the process and to report on it for my blog but our other two full-time faculty were involved in painting and photographing the mural process. The finished mural will become part of the Larson Gallery's permanent collection and may eventually be on display in the YVCC library in Grandview.

the mural at the end of the day Saturday

If you would like to see the mural in person and see the mural painting process, visit Palmer Hall on YVCC's campus Monday, May 4 starting at 9am. The painting is up now, but the painting process will begin around 9am and continue through midday.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Upcoming Yakima Events


    Thursday, April 30, 2015 at 6:30pm in the Parker Room of Deccio Hall on the Yakima Valley Community College Campus, visiting artist Jóse Luis Soto, a muralist from Morelia,
Michoacán, Mexico, will discuss the history and evolution of murals in Latin America. FREE.

    Tuesday, May 5, 2015 from 5-7pm at Larson Gallery on the corner of Nob Hill Boulevard and 16th Avenue, the YVCC Department of Visual Arts will be hosting its annual Student and Faculty Exhibition, featuring work made by students in YVCC art classes in Spring, Summer and Fall 2014 and Winter 2015. Work includes sculpture, pottery, painting, drawing, photography, prints, and mixed media. FREE. Open to the public, awards at 6pm, there will be snacks.

Next Thursday:
    Thursday, May 7 from 12:30-1:30 in the HUB on the Yakima Valley Community College Campus, join us for the annual spring clay sale. Featuring inexpensive work created by students and faculty at YVCC during the previous quarters. Get some handmade ceramic dishes or sculpture for your mom for Mother's Day!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Weekend Trimming and Planting

This weekend I didn't have to go to Seattle for the first time in three weeks, so I got some garden planning and planting started and I did a little bit of studio work done. 

plates just off the wheel

I threw some plates last weekend after I got home from Seattle. I trimmed them during the week and loaded them in a kiln this weekend. It isn't quite full so I'll probably fire it next weekend.

lidded piece and plate (on a terrible homemade bat)

This afternoon my husband was painting the back wall of the studio with a spray gun. He needed my help to periodically fill the spray gun container, so I brought some clay out and make a quick planter shape. We planted part of our garden this weekend, but I wanted another large planter. I figured it would be cheaper and easier for me to make one than to buy one.

my studio
I used some Arleo Sculpture clay from Clay Art Center. This was the first time I'd used the clay and I love this one. It feels just like my raku/sculpture body from school. It is fast and workable, but the surface stays pretty rough, which means it might not be the best choice for my sculpture. My daughter came out to work with me but she didn't like the clay. She said it was too hard, but I'm guessing she meant rough.

my daughter pointing out a flaw in my interior surface

We ended up spending a nice afternoon in the yard together, though our activities were a little unconventional. 

paint, clay and a clump of dandelions my daughter wanted me to put in the clay

I didn't want to spend much time on the pot, so I coil-built it fast and pressed some acorns around the rim for decoration. I want to keep the pot outside in the garden area, so I probably won't do a lot as far as glaze decoration.

The pot mostly done. It probably took an hour to build if you count the interruption to go get more paint from the store.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Storefronts Installation in Seattle

Last week I installed some work in a window on Mercer Street in Seattle. The installation is part of a group of works by different artists installed in windows in the South Lake Union area as part of Shunkpike's Storefronts program. The work will be up through July. You can visit anytime, since the work isn't in a gallery, it's never closed (it is also never open).

my installation for Storefronts

The work is in a window on the south side of Mercer between Westlake Ave and Terry Ave. You can see the work from the car, if you're driving down Mercer. This weekend my family went to see the Pompeii exhibit at the Pacific Science Center and I pointed it out on the way there and on the way back. There is a second, larger installation to the east of mine if you're not sure where to look.

a view of Mercer street in front of my window

All the artists will be giving short talks and answering questions about their work on May 7 for the First Thursday Art Walk. I'll be going first, at 6pm. (For those of you in Yakima, May 7 is also the day of the clay sale at YVCC--you can buy your mother's day pottery from 12:30-1:30 in the HUB).

a view of my window from the parking garage

Installing the work was a challenge. My window is accessible through the parking garage, but I had to bring my own ladder. The window is pretty tall, about 10 feet, so I also needed a ladder inside the space. On the second day of installation, I brought two ladders. On the first day I climbed up the ladder into the window, then pulled the ladder up after me. 

I had to lift the work up into the window before I could climb in, it was a strange setup for planning

I'm not great with ladders and heights, so this was not my favorite part of the installation process. At one point both the woman in charge of all the windows and the woman next to me borrowed my ladder and left me stranded in or out of the window.

the long view down while I waited for the return of my ladder

Later, I knocked one of the pieces off the wall with my knee on the way down the ladder after doing adjusting the light at the top of the window. The piece broke, but luckily didn't knock anything else off the wall. I had extra work and was able to adjust the installation so that the missing piece wasn't a problem. Additionally, the piece that I knocked off the wall was and older piece. This piece was originally made for a similar installation I did several years ago. Those pieces had fairly small openings in the back for hooks. More recently I have been careful to create large openings in the back of wall pieces to accommodate large headed screws and/or L-hooks. 

"humpty" after it's fall
I had two days (during my spring break) to install the work. I probably could have done it in one, but there were a few things I didn't know about the space ahead of time. I actually learned quite a bit about this particular installation process. Next time I would just plan to paint the whole wall before I began. For some reason the person before me only patched the holes but didn't repaint. I would also bring a stool, two ladders, an extra light, a sanding block and an extension cord. 

the view up into the window during install

The particularly nice thing about a two-day installation is that I can have ladder-breaks. These are 10 minute walks that acrophobics take every time they install a couple screws up high. After 10 minutes on the nice solid ground, my hands have dried off and I have stopped shaking. 

The installation in progress before the fall (see how hard it is to read my name on the window)

The two day install also allow me a trip to Lowe's and a fabric store (don't go the Jo-Ann's in Renton, BTW) to collect all the things I forgot the first time.

After a trip to Jo-Ann's, the black fabric makes it easier to read my name, and hides the ugly paint-spattered plywood floor

The show is going to be up for quite a while, which means a bunch of people should get to see it. It also gives me a few more "shots" at getting the photography correct. During the day, photography outside the window is ridiculous, since the bright sun makes the photographer's reflection more visible than the work. 

look, it's me and a white truck

On the first day I stuck around until sunset, but my phone and camera batteries both gave up right as I started to take pictures. Even so, the shots I got had car light reflections instead of bright sky reflections. This week, I borrowed a polarizing filter from a friend, but I didn't have time to stick around until sunset, so the reflection of the clouds is darker, but the work is still hard to see.

pretty clouds

I plan to stick around after dark in May to try to take some more pictures with the polarizing filter. In the meantime, I have a few shots of the individual pieces. I took these from inside the window, so no reflection to worry about.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Installation Preview, Spring Break Base, and New Work at Oak Hollow Gallery.

This last week I installed my work in a window on Mercer in South Lake Union for the Storefronts Program. It will be up until July, so I'll write about it later.

my installation (in progress)

Before I left for Seattle, I finish a base for another piece that will eventually have a bike wheel on it, maybe even a tree. Right now it's just a base. 

base in progress

I also fired some work for my installation and took some functional stuff (mugs and plates) to Oak Hollow Gallery.

base in progress later