Thursday, October 18, 2007

Oh What a Difference a Base Makes...

Some of you might remember "Beane", that Chaney "Chasing Rainbows" I offered on my mailing list a couple of weeks ago...welperoo, his new owner was gracious and allowed me to make him two brand new bases, this rock wall (shown) and a more basic one (not shown). I thought he needed something with a bit more stability, but now I realize he also needed "oomphf". Good thing that dawned on me before he leaped his way home! But I've come to an uneasy understanding with my aging brain: Better late, than never! But, thinking about it, if a piece needs a base, that base becomes an integral part of the whole. It must complement and further the design, rather than simply serve a purpose. And besides, it's so very refreshing to sculpt and paint something other than a horse-shaped-object! Grass-whooo hooo! Rocks--yes! And this project did force me to find a terrific supply for local Plexiglas rods,, and perhaps they ship.

But things have been good, though it's been a crazy couple of weeks--Hubby is home and I'm thrilled! So much more content and happy. And productivity has gone through the roof...when I'm happy, I create. But it's strange--with all my years of being single and independent, I would have thought myself a bit more tolerant of his absence. But golly, when you have a soulmate, and he's gone, there's a tangible, painful hole that cannot find solace. I'm rather shocked at how forlorn I was, but then again, what a blessing, too. To realize this now, rather than live oblivious to the good stuff in one's life. And speaking of good stuff--he also brought home piles of Wisconsin cheese and sausages! Hazzah!

And thank you all for your well-wishes about my surly spine! They are very much appreciated! And I'm glad to report that my back is doing a bit better, well, it's at least allowing me to be more active and agile, but that's not saying much. It sure would be nice to feel my left foot again, so I'm hoping the neurologist can give my disc a stern talking to. A good ol' Come-to-Jesus meeting. At least give it the stink-eye--I'm simply not that flexible!

But on another front, Christmas came a bit early for me, thanks to a certain sombrero-wearin' guy--I got the new PJ Harvey album "White Chalk" and the new Siouxsie album "Mantaray". If they aren't playing on my iPod in a mantic loop, they're buzzing in my head. Music--the gift that keeps on giving!

And speaking of buzzing--I had a good time with the dremel this week. Aaah...the acrid smell of burning plastic and the fierce whirrrr of the dremel, as bits of hot white pumice bounce off my glasses. Some ask why I still customize plastics when I can create my own originals. And that's a good question! Really, why bother?

To be honest, I enjoy this sort of "collaboration". I always learn something new from each sculpture, or rather, from each artist. And having to blend with the work of another is a very good exercise that helps me see things from another point of view, which feeds back and improves my own original work. I also use customs as maquettes, as studies for my own originals, since I'm able to work out designs or approaches in smaller bites, with less invested. I believe one of the most important things for an artist is to continue growing and exploring, and these "quick" collaborative studies are very useful to me for that purpose. And really, in the ever-rising sea of castings, creating something singular is still a kick! "Choppers" do still have their appeal to me!

But you can see how much I change, even on what I consider "minor" or "moderate" alterations. One of my hang-ups are legs--I like to see crisp, clean legs, which usually means the legs on plastics need to be redone since the plastic-injection molding process doesn't allow a whole lot of detail. I also have a hang-up on symmetry--the piece has to be bilaterally symmetrical, otherwise I want to pull my brain out. Yet, again, this is something the plastic-injection process seems to hose up, sometimes alarmingly. So something seemingly simple becomes quite a production. But lots of learning is won, so it's all worth it.

However, I do have to admit that perhaps the fumes went to my head on this fellow (above). He used to be a Stone Standing Arabian, but clearly in another life! In order to transform it into a Pintabian mare, a lot had to go. OK...everything had to go! This piece is actually a very old commission I've taken up and restarted again (yes, KM--this is your girl!), and the unceasing patience of her owner shall be rewarded with a far better piece than I could ever have created years ago. And I haven't done a show-type in ages, so this will be a fun piece to create. An ironic challenge. A nice rattling of my cage. Plus, I finally got to use the font "Aliens ate my mum"!

So on that note, I leave you with this: "Let's you and I conjure together. You watch me and I'll watch you and I will show you how to show me how to show you how to do our marvelous human tricks together." ~Courtney Milne


Friday, October 5, 2007

Willy Wonka for Your Cones n' Rods!

Or in other words--eye candy galore!

You may recall that I created ten claybody customs on the Collier and Limerick mini molds, then sent five to Lesli and five to Joan, to glaze at their whim. Welp...Joan has completed two more of these fellows, #5 and #10, which you can see as bisques in the photo album of my yahoo mailing list (you'll have to login first).

And as you can plainly see...she's done it again! I'm frankly continually amazed at how much wonderful "stuff" and precision she can pack onto such tiny pieces with glaze. From one who knows (and who is still struggling), underglaze isn't the most obliging medium, especially for such tiny things. Yet somehow Joan can coax this tricky substance into luscious shiny confections, while at the same time, make it seem so effortless. If I can achieve just half of her ability with this medium in my lifetime, I'll be thrilled!

So indulge yourself with a good heaping gander at what she just whipped up!


And #10:
Both of these pieces will go on eBay soon, so stay tuned on my mailing list and Joan's mailing list for the auction announcements and links.

And I gotta tell you that it's been such a treat to see what Lesli and Joan do with these wee ones! The creative synergy between us is always inspiring, and new ideas spring into my head when we're together. The possibilities and challenges seem endless and exciting! And I so enjoy sculpting in the earthenware clay. It feels like nothing I've ever used before--like soft butter that begs to be cajoled and crooned into new delicious shapes! And when dried and hard, it can hold the tiniest of details, yet smooths to a silken finish with a damp brush. It's been such a pleasure to create these ten pieces, I'll most definitely be creating more!

And then after all this, to see them finished by such skilled hands...well, it's a thrill! Seeing how another artist interprets your piece can put such a fresh spin on your own perceptions, that it creates a kind of positive feedback loop that compels you to leap forward.

So after this ocular feast, I leave you with this thought: "Be out of your cell. There are infinite possibilities, infinite ideas, infinite approaches." ~Alev Oguz


Monday, October 1, 2007

It's odd how life works. Just when you're dizzy on a creative high, it forces you to switch gears...sometimes grinding them as you swerve down the road of life. And I guess it's my turn for Toad's Wild Ride!

About two weeks ago, I pulled my back out, but this time it looks like I've actually herniated a disk. I wish Nature would figure out this business of walking upright! A tail would help--yes, a tail would be nice. Something with a tuft on the end, perhaps.

So I've been stumbling about, like some cheesy B-movie Igor. But, I'm doing a lot better and should be working full bore soon. And I've been keeping busy working on the Winter edition of The Boat, for RESS (, and I do enjoy writing and fiddling about with editorial nit-picking. But I need to make a date with a neurologist, though. Ugh.

Yet to compound my insufferable self-pity party, my hubby is out of town and I miss him! So this oh-so-lovely buggy-eyed toad pretty well depicts me, at this point.

I actually made this handsome amphibian for Laurie. I mean...who else would appreciate such a thing!? I found it, dusty and forgotten, on one of the bazillions of greenware shelves in this wonderful, crazy ceramics mecca referred to in hushed tones, Treasure Valley Ceramics, located in Wilder, Idaho ( Family run from what seems like the last ice age, this place is like the Winchester Mystery House of ceramics stores, full of assorted kitsch and curiosities in clay. I love it.

But anyway, as I wait for my hubby's return, I shall keep this image of him close to my heart....OLE!

So how can I possibly stay whiney and wretched with this image burned into my retinas?

A sense of humor can get anyone through just about anything, I think. And so I shall pop in some MST, Red Dwarf, Black Adder, Monty Python and SouthPark and have myself a good snort and cackle!

And so, giggle with me at this:

"Artists ought to walk a mile in someone else's pants. That way you're a mile away and you have their pants." ~Joseph P. Blodgett
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