Sunday, May 9, 2010

Highway Hotshop

My first glass blowing lesson!

Josh Dopp invited me to my first glass blowing experience today at the mobile studio, Highway Hotshop. I've been looking forward to doing this for a while, and to having a little first-hand knowledge of what it takes to make a work in glass. What a great day! Josh and Adam, partners in HH, were both on hand to demonstrate, instruct, guide and assist. They are each talented artists individually, and a great team in sharing this mobile glass experience.

After my tour of the set-up (glory hole, furnace and annealing kiln), Josh demonstrated a couple of pulled glass flower forms. Then I got to try my hand at it, and was impressed with the strength and steadiness of hand it really takes to make even the simplest forms. The guys accurately describe it as trying to do that old trick of rubbing your tummy and patting your head at the same time, and they're right - remembering to constantly turn the pipe, balance the molten, moving glass on the end of it, and then affect its shape with one hand holding a new-to-me tool. So I made a few lesser versions of the glass flower, and enjoyed it (once I lowered my expectations!). Eager to see them when they come out of the kiln tomorrow. Definitely not the graceful works that Josh made, but I'm pleased.

Next we spent time on blown forms. My first piece, a humble globe, survived me well enough to achieve a small spherical form, with a nice array of colors. My second work, a small glass, with provide me with many happy glasses of juice from its colorfully organic "Shmoo" shape! I'll post pics when I get the works back.

The tools used to shape the glass

I'm going back tomorrow to do some more work, and will probably forego flowers for a few more blown pieces. Maybe a second cup, or a nice ashtray.....

Here are some pics of Josh making a glass with a nice optical twist from the use of a mold:

Josh Dopp starting his glass form

Opening the mouth of the glass

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Ceram-A-Rama Gala: A Really Progressive Affair

Last night was the 4th gala (bi-annual) for the ASU Art Museum's CRC, or Ceramics Research Center (curator Peter Held). I always enjoy this gala; it's my favorite arts event of the year. The progressive event (a new idea this year, I thought it worked well) started with the silent auction at the CRC in Tempe. I helped stage the artworks earlier this week, so knew in general what was up for auction, but there are always pieces I didn't discover the first time around. Plus I love seeing other people's reactions to the work, seeing if my favorites are getting the bids I think they deserve!

Ran into lots of friends and caught up with people on changes in Cervini Haas Fine Art. Bidding was moderate with people still being cautious in this fragile economy. But lots of great items were snatched up, and some of the works that didn't sell last night are going to be left up at the CRC for further bidding - stop by and you'll be amazed at the great ceramic works available! You can also view the remaining pieces online at the CRC's website.

Here are some highlights:

Sandra Blain, "Urban Facade 3" (I love this piece!)

Sam Chung, "Vase" - his new works are really smart.

Farraday Newsome, "Dark Blue Bowl w/Oranges", a classic piece.

Jason Hess, "Seven Tall Bottles"

Jill Oberman, "Inhale"

Jeff Reich, "Yucca Fields". Jeff's new cube series is simply amazing!

Triesh Voelker, "Stacked Jar w/Lid"

Sherrie Zeitlin, "Bird Talk"

Patricia Sannit, "Orbit"

Maren Kloppmann, "Pillow Vessel II"

After the silent auction closed, a bus shuttled us up to Scottdale's Optima loft community, where the live auction took place (A Progressive Affair, get it?). Everyone seemed to enjoy seeing the property, which I think we've all admired from afar. Especially its stunning landscaping draped from the penthouse balconies. Cocktails, h'ors d'oevres, chatting, and perusing the live auction items....... you know the drill.

Live auction table at Optima.

(L - R) Chris Staley, Takashi Hinoda, and a print by Akio Takamori.

(L-R) Jason Walker, Richard Cleaver, Karen Karnes and Kate MacDowell.

The Kate MacDowell was definitely my personal favorite, although it was too unsettling for some. Entitled "First and Last Breath," the work showed a mother rabbit nursing her newborn babies while wearing a gas mask - preserving her own last breath. Intricate, beautiful details, elegant sadness.

The guest of honor was Jun Kaneko, who joined us, along with his lovely wife, at the auction. He generously donated both a sculpture and a drawing, both of which were outstanding. The drawing was extraordinary - I'd have taken it home in a heartbeat, but I left my cash in my sock drawer....

Some of the other exceptional works were the intricate pieces by Jason Walker and Kurt Weiser, plus a very nice grouping of Feelies by Rose Cabat and a triptych by Susan Beiner (which generated some very excited bidding early on in the event!).

Cabat's "Feelies"

Beiner's "Synthetic Stems"

The Karen Karnes vessel being circulated amongst the bidders.

Congrats Peter, you pulled it off again.

Friday, February 19, 2010

LA Visit

Last weekend was a quick trip to Los Angeles to see painter Chiyomi Taneike Longo. She's gathering her work to be shipped down to Ensenada, for her first retrospective exhibition. Sponsored by the United States Consulate General in Tijuana and ADC Contemporary Art Gallery in Los Angeles, Japanese American artist Chiyomi Taneike Longo exhibits a retrospective (1995-2010) of her mixed media abstract paintings in the Sala International of Ensenada’s Centro Estatal de las Artes (CEARTE). This is going to be exciting!

I brought the work to ADC Gallery, and enjoyed seeing co-owner Marisa Caichiolo again. She is so vibrant and dedicated to her work - I can't believe everything she accomplishes! I got to see their new space for the first time, which is beautiful. Located on Factory Blvd, the complex has a wonderful courtyard that they use to its fullest, having special performances each opening night.

Marisa and I also talked briefly about about collaborating, so stay tuned! Am very excited by this prospect!

There will be about 60 of Chiyomi's paintings in this exhibition. Every nook and cranny of ADC is filled with plastic-wrapped paintings, and there will be more work being driven down just in time for the opening! There are some exciting new works that will be featured:

"Resurgent #3," 2010, oil/acrylic/charcoal on canvas diptych 52"x100"

"Reflection #3," 2010, oil/acrylic/charcoal on canvas diptych 48"x108"

(And yes, these two delectable works are for sale....)

The next morning, I met Chiyomi and Al Longo in our usual spot: Marukai Pacific Market on Redondo Beach Blvd. in Gardena. The most amazing Japanese market, with a huge selection of tiny restaurant kiosks to graze from! We usually spend several hours there, starting with coffee and pastries and moving on to lunch..... very decadent.

A PS: Went to the Tucson Gem & Mineral Show at the beginning of February - fantastic! I only went to one bead show and the African Art Village, and that was overwhelming enough. Don't know how the diehards hit all those shows! Picked up some beautifully-colored seed beads and some unforgettable jasper, and was inspired overall. Hope the shows were profitable for all.

There was a booth that had tons of African and Afghani silver; was fascinated by this shirt. It was traditional-looking, but notice the zipper that runs along the hem! Probably caught my attention as I'm anticipating Kate Cusack's participation in March's Art Jewelry Trunk Show.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

More DBG

My second week of tai chi was as good as the first, and though I'd planned to leave after class and "be productive," the garden had other plans for me. Class was moved to a building deep within the garden, so I had to give in and wander along another pathway after class, enjoying the fresh air and smells of plants and dirt after yesterday's serious rain. The birds seemed particularly happy too. I've included another of Alan Houser's sculptures in this photo journal, and the stunning-against-the-blue-sky Chihuly, also.

The leaves of the cottonwoods were just dancing on the breeze - we don't get that kind of leaf-rustling in AZ very often.

Alan Houser, "Embrace"

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Desert Botanical Garden, Tempe AZ

A great way to start the new year has been taking a Tai Chi class held in the DBG - but the best part is that it gets me to the garden every week! As if the class wasn't relaxing and rejuvenating enough.... another hour wandering amidst the gardens is amazing. Sometimes I can find a path that hides me from view of any other humans - I get to pause in a secluded spot and watch quails, lizards, and the ever-amusing cactus wrens.

The plants in the garden are works of art - some of them even remind me of some artists that I work with! Looking forward to my next class this Weds.

A beautiful place to wait for Tai Chi class to start......

This giant yucca reminded me of CA artist Randy Strong's glass sculptures.

Artist Alan Houser has a joint exhibition of his work at DBG and The Heard Museum in Phoenix. Love how this sculpture juts skyward just like the yucca behind it.