Wednesday, July 04, 2018

On The Spirit of Immigration and Independence

The few blocks of 55th street where our townhouse is located is a grassy public walkway rather than paved road, which leads to the section of the Harbor Park known as The Point.
It is here on the grassy street, what we refer to as our front yard, that we’ll take our blankets and chairs and set up the vintage beanbag game as picnic headquarters, where family and friends can come and go throughout the day to take a break from the festivities happening at the park across the road. It is from this vantage that we’ll sit under the stars to watch the celebration of our country’s independence by way of fireworks tonight.
The grassy walkway leads directly down to the center of the point, passing between the Civil War Museum on the left and Public Museum on the right, to a fountain monument of Christopher Columbus standing atop a globe, looking very much the proud conqueror.
One freezing day a few months ago, I set off to walk the dog down our regular route on 55th to her favorite place to go, just past the museum parking lots on either side of the sidewalk in the grass. As I glanced ahead I caught sight of that monument and was startled to see it crumpled forward, as if a crowbar had capped it at its knees- a few people were standing around looking at it.
My initial reaction was swift- no matter what my opinion of erecting a statue to honor the “discovery of America” in that overly glorified way we were taught in grade school, I could not feel anything but disgust at the thought of vandalism. But closing the distance from our block to the point, I was relieved to find that no such act had taken place. It must have been some sort of strange mirage. Not a single person was at the point that day, having been too cold to visit the lake.
Curious now, and a little shaken, I walked the dog all the way to the statue to have a look. I’d never bothered to stop and read the plaque paying tribute there before, and I was pleasantly surprised to read these words:
“The spirit of the Immigrant Statue of Christopher Columbus is dedicated to immigrants from countries around the world who have traveled under difficult circumstances to Kenosha, Wisconsin, and America with the hope of building a better life for themselves and their families. Columbus was chosen to depict this select group of people because of the vision and courage that he displayed in 1492. He proved his theory that by sailing west, he could circumnavigate the world, thus he prevailed over the conventional wisdom that this feat could not be accomplished. Many of the immigrants of times past and today have demonstrated courageousness by leaving their homelands under difficult circumstances…”
My breath caught in my throat as I connected the words to the destruction in my vision and I knew what it was telling me; The spirit of immigration has been broken. The shining beacon of freedom and opportunity for the poor, tired, and huddled masses, has become a subject of division.
As the events of the past few months unfolded, I hear those words on repeat inside my head. “The spirit of immigration has been broken...the spirit of immigration has been broken…”
Last week I heard an interview on NPR- something about agriculture, that I only half listened to, but one factoid caught my attention; that America’s agricultural system was in danger for the lack of diversifying crops and the selective breeding of certain varieties over the years. The commenter used apples as his example, astonishingly in the 1800s, there were thousands and thousands of varieties grown in the US. Now, something like a mere 200 remain. He went on to explain about how this selective growing of a targeted few varieties resulted in the extinction of thousands, without which all are in jeopardy of failing. I’m not much studied on the nuances of biodiversity, but it made me think of how purebred dogs are in such high demand, yet often these pure breeds have a higher incidence of health issues and disease.
Biodiversity, as explained by the google dictionary, is the variety of life in the world, the very thing we rely on to eat, breathe, and drink. Without such diversity of animals and crops, humanity can not survive. How then, can we ignore the selective exaltation of certain groups of people in this country and not understand the precarious position this leaves us in as a whole?
If variety is the spice of life, the lack of it must be pretty bland and extremely dangerous. As an artist, I shudder to think of a world where everyone looks just like me.
Yesterday I saw a woman wearing a shirt that said “This land is my land” in very large bold letters. She was accompanied by a man who had the look of someone that used to be referred to as a skinhead. These days the popular term is white nationalist. As someone who is very familiar with creating worst case scenarios in my head, I know the fear that can drive this kind of thinking.
There is a disease eating at the root, the very heart of America. It has to do with the fear of losing our identity. As we close ranks and shore up out of self-preservation, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. The more exclusive we become, the more we lose the true sense of who we really are. God created us in his image, male and female- his image isn’t one man over another, his encompasses us all as a whole.
Today we come out en masse to celebrate, not as opposing teams of red or blue. Today we are all on team red, white, and blue. As the song goes, yes this land is my land, but this land is also your land. It belongs to you and me.
Happy Independence Day to one and all.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Just The Wax - Nothing But The Wax

Just The Wax and Nothing But The Wax

Join me in studio for an Encaustic Wax Intensive workshop weekend, featuring tips and techniques designed to ignite your creativity through the use of hot encaustic wax medium.

Day 1 will be demo heavy, with plenty of studio time for you to practice. The basics of setup, safe practices, and simple techniques will be covered early so even the novice to the craft will feel comfortable as we launch into the exciting possibilities that the medium presents in both a traditional and non-traditional application.

Day 2 will find us expanding the scope and potential of the waxy medium with more demos and plenty of studio time to practice what you've learned and the freedom to interpret to your own style and preferences.

Registrants can sign up for a Saturday or Sunday only option, but the full weekend is recommended to gain an understanding of the depth of the encaustic medium's potential. Demos will include layering, incising, accretion, embedding paper elements and objects, applying surface design, underlayers, texture, color, fabric, 2D and 3D application and more!

Embed paper or objects

Incise lines and details

Discuss and explore alternative substrates and foundations

Each one day class will be jam packed with tips, ideas, and techniques that are sure to inspire, while leaving you with plenty of hands on working time. Projects can be customized and break out demos may be given for requested techniques as time allows.

See details and registration information below:

Explore accretion and layers

Where: My studio in Racine, WI
When: Saturday August 25, Sunday August 26th 2018 
Time: 10:00 - 4:30 

Supply List:
 2" deep (or more) 4" or 6" canvases
Several flat and/or cradled panels - up to 12" on either side
Personal collection of collage elements, fabric, and alternative materials such as cardboard, tea bags, and found objects
small cardboard or chipboard box
toner based photocopies for image transfer (reverse image if text is included)
2" hake or encaustic paint brush 
disposable gloves
baby wipes
supplies or material you are interested in combining with your wax

Just The Wax Encaustic WS

Thursday, May 31, 2018

SOLD OUT—-Ephemera Pack Presale!


Please read the description thoroughly if you are uncertain what an Ephemera/Paper pack for collage and mixed media art would contain.

Due to the length of time it takes to gather the material, separate it, sort it into piles, prepare it and collate, pack it into individual packs, etc., I typically only offer these packs for sale once a year and have a limited quantity to share. 

The items you will receive will be similar to what you see in these photos and description, but these photos were taken during a previous purge.

This listing is for one pack of ephemera and collage material for you to use in your own mixed media work.

Each pack contains all unique, original items culled from my own studio, items that I use in my own work every day - which represent over a decade of hunting and scavenging for material. 

No reproductions. Thus, each pack may be similar in nature but will contain unique items. The majority of the material is 40-100 years old. A few pieces are new or newer vintages. Packs are 125+ individual pieces of material in a range of sizes, from scrap to full page to multiple page spreads.

Please read the description carefully to understand what the pack you are purchasing contains. I am unable to do special request or customized packs.

Each pack includes a ton of book pages salvaged from at least 60 different sources including or similar to: 

Vintage Fiction
Antique School Books - Grammar and Secondary School
Foreign Language
Old Legal, Government, and History
Typing Manual
Cook Book
Health Books
Science and Geography
Children's Books
Patent Applications
Year Book
First Aid

These pages will include:
Many images and/or engravings - each pack contains unique original images and will be different then what is shown in photos, but of the same quality. 
Sheet music and pages
Sections of large maps, or full page maps from books.
Some items in the pack may have the previous owners handwriting or doodling
Several are from the mid to late 1800s

The pack will also include items such as: 
Tissue paper or sewing patterns
Vintage Lined notebook, graph, or stationary papers
Pieces of handmade or mass produced paper that I purchased for it's compatibility with vintage papers
Signmakers letters or numbers 
Scraps of Book Covers or spines 
Greeting Cards
Magazine pages
Photographs- may be color or b&w, portrait and snapshots, people, scenery, animals, or inanimate objects, Polaroid or antique, school photos or wedding, etc. 

The pack will include a bag of small items such as:
Negatives or Slides
Antique Playing Cards
Miscellaneous scraps and collage bits too yummy not to include

All of the material in the packs are original. Most is 40 - 100 years old and as such may be worn, torn, aged with patina, stained, spotted, wrinkled, crinkled, written on, taped, cut into pieces, or just generally perfect for collage. These are the very imperfections that I seek out when I shop for new material to use in my work and I hope you will enjoy and embrace them too!

SOLD OUT! Thanks for checking!

Friday, May 25, 2018

October Mini Workshop/Open Studio

Brushmaking/Mark-making and Open Studio Time
Get the best of both - a workshop in the morning and open studio time in the afternoon to perfect a new technique or work on a project of your own choosing, with my tools and some supplies available.

Saturday morning instruction will focus on the art of brushmaking - making beautiful objects to collect and use. Two different techniques for crafting brushes from found materials will be taught with supplies included!

Sunday morning instruction will focus on the art of mark-making - use the brushes from Saturday if you choose, plus a variety of other mark-making tools and supplies which will be available to use in the class. 

Spend afternoons continuing to perfect and practice these techniques or work bring another project to focus on and enjoy the community vibe and energetic atmosphere while you create.

Early Bird Pricing-Save On Two Days!

Select Dates

Thursday, May 10, 2018

On SOFA 2018 and Acting On Your Dreams

Hello dear friends!

If you didn't catch it in the last newsletter, or over on Facebook, I have some exciting news to share with you! I have been invited to participate in SOFA Chicago Expo (stands for Sculptural Objects and Functional Art and Design) held at Navy Pier in November each year.

To participate in this show has been one of my long term big career dreams. I’ve been attending as a spectator for the past ten years and every year I take note of specific galleries that I believe my art would fit, dreaming of one day maybe being repped by one and then maybe I would get to see my own art in such an outstanding show. But it was not even on my radar to expect such an opportunity to land in my lap this year!

An international gallery who has exhibited at SOFA since 2000 sent me an email inviting me to show my work with them for this years exhibit- and as a fun little extra, when I looked at my past catalogs to see who they’ve brought before, I found that I had bookmarked their page in the 2010 catalog. Maybe I had a premonition. Maybe it was a prayer I said and long since forgot about, but there it was, a little paper flag waiting to remind me.

Though I am receiving the invitation as a high compliment and affirmation of the work that I’ve done to achieve a level of professionalism in my art, it does require a monetary commitment for the booth fees from me.

I reached out to some of the past artists who have been hosted by this gallery in previous shows and received positive feedback, so I feel comfortable with the terms, but as an artist/entrepreneur every bit of extra has to be earned. There are no funds in the coffer right now for the unexpected, even though the unexpected is this thrilling.

I thought about it long and hard and realized I can’t let myself down by not trying. I have worked hard through so many challenges to get to this point. My heart yearns to see this dream come true.

So I’m going to do everything I know I’m capable of doing to try. I’ve discounted some of my work, and will continue to push registration for my studio events, and find other creative ways to raise the funds, because that’s what us creative types do. When push comes to shove, we buckle down and do the work and give each other a little cheer along the way!

Will you help me? I’m offering a discount on the art in my shop at this link to the tune of 25% off. There are currently multiple pieces from two different series available there. The discount will be calculated on checkout when you enter the discount code: SOFA2018

If you aren’t in the position to buy art, but want to help, can you share the link and discount code and maybe give me a little shout out?

With so much gratitude and love~Thank you