You had asked yesterday if you should leave a table in your studio with process work and my answer is a definite YES! In fact, I enjoy seeing this more than the final work because this is where the real joy lives. It demonstrates how we play, experiment, think, ask questions, understand, edit and revise (and then edit and revise again- we are such perfectionists!). Above is a picture of several of my pieces in my exhibition as I was laying them out and arranging into a composition. This took many weeks to decide. I ended up sewing many of these elements together. For folks in Charleston, you can come see these with me at my artist reception TONIGHT. Details are listed below.
Laura, post more pictures of your open studio event throughout the weekend please, even if it is a quick picture on our facebook page or your facebook page. Best wishes for your success at your Open Studio! Cheers!
Charleston Digital Corridor
475-A East Bay Street
~~~~First 25 people take home a handcrafted gift from me~~~~
Here I am in action putting up my work at the Flagship Gallery. It is really nice to see a years worth of creating culminate in one exhibition. Most of this work has been squeezed in between my many life obligations (and joys) such as teaching at the college level, family, roller derby, etc. It is a tricky balance, but creating art is always like that. It feels good to know that through all of this I still stayed true to what I really want to make. No matter what the public says or thinks about this work, I feel that this work is truly in line with what I have to offer as an artist. I wouldn’t have said this ten years ago, but that was before graduate school at Goddard College opened me up. It opened me up to the fact that creating art does not have to live in the traditional sense of drawing, painting, printmaking, and sculpture as many universities, museums, and galleries still practice. In fact the art world is exploding with incredible possibilities in not just materials but also ideas. It is an exciting time to be an artist.
In this work however, I started with a drawing practice for understanding. But let me show you some of the work first….
And to give you a bit of context on my thinking over the last year, here is my artist statement for the exhibition
Mixed Media Artwork by Tina Hirsig
This series of artwork developed over the last year through the simple act of weeding my garden. Noticing the intricate yet persistently strong root systems, I began drawing them as a way of understanding the structures more closely. The patterns I was drawing in the roots became a pattern I was seeing everywhere in cracks in the sidewalk, lightening during a summer storm, groves in the sand as the tide went out, maps, clouds, rivers, etc. Pairing this drawing experience in my studio with a study of the inspiring Japanese worldview Wabi Sabi, I began to have an understanding of the common threads that have woven my artwork together through the past ten years. The impermanence and imperfection of the objects I incorporate in my work reflect the Wabi Sabi view of expressing the beauty that lies in the brief transition between the coming and going of life; both the melancholy and joy.
I have been a collector of discarded objects for a number of years now. Having antique dealer parents I have seen a lot of repurposed and reclaimed items. Collecting is a process of happenstance. The seeking and finding is improvisation at it’s best. Some of my favorites from my foraging adventures have been vintage photographs sold for a penny at a garage sale, weathered stones washed up from the ocean, abstractly shaped rusted metal found on a busy street, books on how to teach from the early 1900’s, hand-written notes tucked in a book sold for 50 cents at a college book sale, abandoned nests in the trees of my yard, old keys piled in a box at the flea market, and feathers collected by my son. Each object has it’s own story to tell. Once discarded, now cherished.
The found objects serve as direct physical connections to the subject matter I study in my work. Arranging and layering these ephemeral items together with drawings and prints, acknowledges the beautiful impermanence of our lives.
This section of the exhibition shows the variety of work included from mixed-media collage to drawing to image transfer prints.
Did you notice that I used PINK in that card? Yep, I have gone over to the girlie side. Well, a little bit. The artist reception is December 6th from 5:30-8:00pm where we will have refreshments, drinks, and a good time. I will update information and post more pictures of the work as that date approaches. Find more information about the Flagship Gallery HERE.
You may remember from our newsletter (you can subscribe on the right side bar) that Tina & I wanted to renew our practice of sending handmade postcards to each other, similar to our squares. She has been great at sending me them as you will see from the two above. I received the first postcard, “renew” and immediately felt grateful as that was exactly what I needed to hear in that moment. Funny how that is sometimes, isn’t it? Like most people I find myself consumed with my ongoing “to do list” and rushing onto the next big thing. I call this my “crazy mind” and know when I get this way I need to make some time to just “be”, to enjoy, to look, to listen, to appreciate everything that is good around me. I recently came across an interview Oprah’s had with Thich Nhat Hanh. For those of you unfamiliar with him here is a description from Oprah.
“He’s been a Buddhist monk for more than 60 years, as well as a teacher, writer, and vocal opponent of war—a stance that left him exiled from his native Vietnam for four decades. Now the man Martin Luther King Jr. called “an apostle of peace and nonviolence” reflects on the beauty of the present moment, being grateful for every breath, and the freedom and happiness to be found in a simple cup of tea.”
I enjoyed this interview on many levels and tried to apply what I had learned about mindfulness to my morning and it just felt great! I tried to pay attention and appreciate everything. It started off with Brett surprising me with coffee in bed which I savored and really tasted. Skye (my sweet cat) was curled up on the end of the bed purring as I gazed out my window to our lush green backyard. As many of you know, she has a tumor and the prognosis isn’t good. I have been trying not to focus my energy on that and to just love and appreciate every moment I have with her. When I do this I am not thinking about the worst that can happen in the future and I am happy. This focused energy manifested into a new body of work I call my “hope series“.
Even making toast this morning became a fulfilling ritual. I actually paid attention and tasted the spices my mom put in the wonderful natural peanut butter she left me on her last visit. Drizzling on the sweet sticky honey made it all the better and I was grateful for my friend Kelley who tends the local bees who create this sweet magic. These simple gestures along with paying attention to my breath rooted me in my morning and gave me a huge sense of peace. This is what I wish for you today.
Much of this last semester was spent on developing a curriculum for my First Year Experience Learning Community class at College of Charleston that brought together Drawing 119 and Biology 112, and I thought I would share my experience with you today.
Interdisciplinary work has always been at the root of my personal work as well as our work together. I feel fortunate that I had the opportunity to extend this to my teaching at the college level. Each week the students read and researched about an artist/scientist such as Hara Woltz, Caryn Babian, Chuck Pell, John James Audubon, and Maria Sibylla Merian just to name a few along with learning the techniques of drawing. Check out a great documentary titled “Between the Folds: the Science of Art, the Art of Science” that speaks directly on this topic, which I showed to students to kick off our semester in January. The culminating project in April for this class was to have an exhibition of the student’s work (framed drawing) alongside two professional artists: Jocelyn Chateauvert (paper sculptor) and Chuck Pell (inventor/artist). These artists came and gave a public lecture during the semester followed by a small group discussion about their work with just my students.
Developing this curriculum with fellow colleague Melissa Hughes (Biology professor at CofC) was one of the most rewarding teaching experiences I have had. It was worth the numerous extra hours of collaborating and organizing of how she incorporated art into her biology curriculum and how I incorporated science into my drawing curriculum. A big focus was how to learn to ‘see’ the world around us. What do you think the difference is between ‘looking’ and ‘seeing’? This was the core question through the whole class.
We were fortunate enough to claim an excellent exhibition space for this show in the new science center on campus that had previously had an exhibition about the moon. Here are a few pictures of us hanging the show.
We made the decision to exhibit their process work for the final drawing alongside the framed completed drawing.
The exhibition before the opening with Jocelyn’s paper sculptures intermingled with the students work on the wall….
Our subject for the drawings were the taxidermic birds from the biology department so we included those in the exhibition as well.
The opening celebration on April 20th….
I could not have pulled this off if it were not for the numerous people that helped even when it seemed that the wheels were coming off the wagon at some times. We hit many bumps along the way but we rode it out with a firm grip on the wheel, you might say. My husband, Chris Korey, who is the director of the First Year Experience program as well as our peer facilitator Tanya (pictured second on the right) stepped it up when my colleague Melissa Hughes had to take a leave of absence and guest speaker Chuck Pell could not come to town at the last minute. Thanks everyone!
The artwork has now been moved to the library on campus where it will stay until the Fall semester. Here is a brief (sort of) description of the final drawing assignment.
Thanks for hanging in there and reading this long post. It was a great experience of collaboration for me. For those of you who are in Charleston please go see the work at Addlestone Library on Calhoun Street. It is exciting to see the freshmen students rise to the occasion with these excellent drawings.
“Learning to See in the Arts and Sciences”
The artwork on exhibit is a culmination of a semester’s conversation about the common creative practices between the Arts and Sciences.
Biology 112 at the College of Charleston is an introduction to biology that includes evolution, basic plant and animal anatomy, basic concepts of physiology (from cells to organisms), and an exploration of the relationship between structure and function in plants and animals. Students begin to experience the method for thinking through questions scientifically and test out methods during lab class.
Drawing 119 at the College of Charleston is an introductory class to the basic Elements and Principles of two-dimensional composition through observation drawing. The Elements of Art (line, shape, texture, value, color, space/perspective) are applied by using the Principles of Art (unity, balance, pattern, rhythm, contrast, emphasis/focal point, proportion) to give each student milestones for developing their visual language.
Making the leap from introductory information and fundamental skills to applying these with novel thinking, questioning, and understanding the world we live in, is where the heart of a creative practice lives.
This semester in the “Learning to See in the Arts and Sciences” students were challenged to explore creative processes that the sciences and arts have in common. Each week the students researched and wrote about professionals who are crossing the boundaries of a science/art practice. Such examples are John James Audubon, Mark Dion, Hara Woltz, Jocelyn Chateavert, and Chuck Pell.
After a tour of the John James Audubon portfolio in the Rare Book Department of the Addlestone Library, the students created 50+ preliminary drawings of the taxidermic bird collection housed in the Biology Department. Research about wingspan, geographical location, beak shape, foot shape, color, behavior, etc., the students began exploring their own visual voice in a final drawing composition. While some chose the straightforward approach that John James Audubon took, others took a more expressionistic approach. It is their first attempt at the ‘leap’.
Joseph Cornell has long been an influence of mine. I was just asked recently by a student what artist has most influenced me and his name was the first to come out of my mouth. I wrote about seeing his work in person HERE in Chicago and the affect it had on me. Then I ran across this short audio clip from NPR’s Studio 360 about how Johnathan Safran Foer has also been influenced by Cornell. Foer is one of my favorite authors, so to see these two come together made absolute sense in my mind. Listen to what Foer had to say….
Lately in my studio I have had a clear line of thought/inquiry I have been following. Roots have been preoccupying me. Their delicate strength is intriguing. The immediacy of my pencil on paper has felt refreshing after spending the last year laboriously working on my sculptures. I have also rediscovered my love of collage (or what we today call mixed-media….but all this work is really coming from the tradition of collage).
All of this work is sewn together so there is no need for glue. The antique photos are part of the collection given to me by my parents (who are antique dealers). I am particularly interested in the photos of the women. There are so many untold stories in women’s history.
These two works will be for sale at the annual ReNude art exhibition at Redux Contemporary Art Center in Charleston SC on Wednesday March 21st, 6-10pm. The proceeds benefit Planned Parenthood and the artists not to mention there is going to be great food and music at this party. What could be a better event? This political season certainly seems to be revving up on attacks to the rights of women (just look up what Arizona is proposing about birth control) on all fronts so let’s support an organization that supports women’s health. The wonderful people who volunteer to put this exhibition together have raised over $30,000 over the past two years. I am thrilled to be a part of it this year.
I have more drawings to share with you, but will split this into two posts so the ReNude exhibition if fresh in your mind and you will write it on your calendar right now. See you there!
My schedule this semester has been busier than ever. I am fortunate to have Mondays and Fridays for my solitary studio work but have been struggling to squeeze inspiration into only those two days of the week. As I have mentioned before, inspiration and an art practice just don’t work like that. I have finally given myself permission to not create anything if that is where I am at. Although I am committed to making these studio days reflective in some way whether it is reading, writing, researching, or getting outside in nature to gain some much needed perspective on life.
I have started reading this book and feel that it is really hitting on a nerve in my work. One provocative question he asks in the beginning of the book is “What would our lives be like if our days and nights were as immersed in nature as they are in technology?”. The book is supported by scientific research, anecdotal evidence, and the author’s personal stories. He says “By tapping into the restorative powers of nature, we can boost mental acuity and creativity; promote health and wellness; build smarter and more sustainable businesses, communities, and economies, and ultimately strengthen human bonds”. I have had those restorative experiences in nature and am letting it lead me through these harder creative times I seem to be experiencing.
I have started weeding my garden. There are a lot of weeds. I have been very neglectful. Once I had gathered a rather large pile of weeds I started noticing the roots. These roots were intricate, fluid, complicated, purposeful, and seriously interesting to me. I brought them up to my studio and have been drawing them ever since. This has lead to me thinking about arranging these drawings with torn paper, setting them in epoxy resin, using photo transfers of their images, using sepia drawing ink with a calligraphy pen (these achieve amazingly delicate lines- just like the fine haired roots), as well as pencils and charcoal.
Root Study with Drawing Ink (detail view)
Completed Piece...not titled yet
I am not sure where these are going, but then again I really don’t care. This is what an art practice is supposed to be….. following something that makes me curious and learning through the creating. There is so much freedom in that.
ps- sorry for these no-so-great photos, but I can’t afford a new camera at the moment. I suppose you can view these photos as a ‘sketch’ of my current working studio practice.
As the last day of summer slipped away yesterday I am reminded of a favorite phrase I once heard from another Mom: “the days are long and the years are short”.
My boys return to school today bright with anticipation of a fresh start to the new year. The first day is always full of this optimism and joy at getting new books, wearing brand new shoes, hearing what they will learn about this year, and most importantly seeing their friends again. As the week progresses the work load they are expected to carry will set in and they will not have the optimism that they have today. Isn’t that true for all of us though? Starting something new is always exciting because the reality of it has yet to be lived. I created this altered photo as a tribute to a great summer spent together. I know these moments are fleeting with my boys and want to enjoy every single minute with them.
This past Spring I was busily working on my sculptures and have recently had them photographed by Leigh Webber. I have learned the hard way that paying for excellent photos will always help you down the road. I have been taking these photographs and talking with local gallery owners as well as applying for exhibitions out of state. I am really thrilled with how they developed.
“Keepers of the Oldest Memories”, 2011
I have been very attentive to honing my craft of assemblage, image transfers, and wood working. I began this series thinking it was about my visceral response while in nature. Being in nature, or should I say feeling a part of nature, has always inspired and directed new work for me. It actually was not until I was almost finished with the ten new sculptures that I realized, in fact, that these have always been about my inquiry into learning in our contemporary society.
It was just that being in nature put all of my thoughts into perspective. In nature I can more easily see the bigger picture of life. I can distinguish what is important and what is not when I stick my toes on the edge of the vast ocean, dip my paddle into the endless rivers here in South Carolina, or walk among the ancient live oak trees. I came to realize that nature is my muse for speaking about what really matters. This understanding led me back to my thoughts on education. Education has always been an integral part of my practice as an artist (another important aspect that Laura and I share). I have been a teacher for over twenty years in a variety of settings for ages 0-85.
“To Touch the Moment With All Our Senses”, 2011
How could all these experiences with other people NOT affect my art practice. It was in graduate school where I realized how much more rich my work could become if I delved deeper into this. My own trial and error at developing the craft of teaching, explaining (which often changes depending on who I am talking with- even with the same lesson), interpersonal skills, and creating engaging lessons has the end reward of witnessing another person understanding and learning. It is an incredible process and one I enjoy greatly. Now that I am teaching adults at the local university I am gaining experiences that are deepening my art practice in a number of ways. I believe that is why this series of new work has proven to come back to my original question I had three years ago “What do you know?”.
I have witnessed a wrong turn in education. It has been a slow turn so I think many people have not noticed we are headed toward a dead end. It relates to standardized testing. Standardized tests not only minimize a person and what she/he knows, they have major problems such as gender bias and racial injustice (to only name a few).
“Changing the Notion of Aging”, 2010
So, what do I do as a teacher? Most of us feel powerless and just ride along. I, for one, can’t keep riding. I see a loss of creativity and critical thinking for the students and the instructors. I see a future workplace that is in demand for creative thinkers (think of all the information we have gathered through science….now we need some creative people to start connecting the dots) and an education system that is squashing it. Standardized tests are ruling who goes to college, funding, policies, broad labeling of schools, and teacher quality. It is a fact we need improvement in our education system, we are educating more people than ever before in history, but gathering data through a one-size-fits-all method just won’t cut it.
These sculptures certainly voice my opinion on this subject where otherwise I feel pretty insignificant voicing my opinion to the politicians. Perhaps seeing these ideas played out in artwork will do double duty: 1- give voice to an important issue in education 2- demonstrate to the community that art is more than a pretty picture, art is about ideas and conversation.
If you don’t think this issue affects you, think about the people who will be working for you in the next ten to twenty years. Will they have the skills to critically and creatively work through your business problems, work effectively with other people, and contribute to the community as a whole?
“Tranquil Wise Counsel”, 2011
I still feel that I have more work to do on this topic and clearly it is something that will be ongoing in my visual art and teaching practice. If you want to see more check out my website. The link is on the right side bar —>
I will be heading out of town to see some family and will be in touch here and there as we head north. Otherwise Laura and I will be back with our regular posts when I get back. Hope you are all enjoying these warm days! I appreciate you reading about my work and stopping in here at our blog.
I seem to write an annual post about being an artist and parent this time of year. HERE is last year’s post. I suppose I’ll make this an annual post. On the verge of spending a lot more time with my two young sons I always start to plan how to maintain my studio practice. I am primarily the caregiver in the summer given my hours as a teacher while my husband works full time (although he does have a very flexible schedule) but lately my schedule has changed and I have picked up some hours teaching at Redux Contemporary Art Center and Trident College.
This summer in between teaching and parenting I must squeeze in the time for a regular art practice. This is always a decision. I often hear people say they do not have time for their art practice and I know how that feels having a life full of responsibilities to a job (outside of being an artist), household, people, pets, garden, local organizations, reading, politics, etc (you can come up with a list of your own I am sure). In the beginning I always felt defeated by how little time I do get for my art in the summer. I want to be realistic of course, but I don’t believe the choice to stop working is the right one. I have done this and it has taken me months to get the gears going again. So, again, I say this is a decision.
I always have grand plans at the beginning of the summer and I usually get to perhaps 20% of them. That 20% is better than 0%! Sometimes I fall into the trap of saying “so many other people have so much more time than I do (insert whiny voice)”, but I now say f-that. I always have my mornings to write ideas, my evenings to be with my work, and the in between times to sketch or add a piece or two to a sculpture. These small movements forward are important and I now know they define and inform my practice as a whole. As a good friend told me “you must see your practice for the forest and not the tree”. Yes, when I think of twenty years from now and how I might look back at this time I have a feeling I will realize how raising my children and teaching are such an integral part of my process and that an ebb and flow of productivity is a natural element of that. And guess what….that is what I create art about! My work is all about being a woman, mother, and teacher.
Another important point is how acutely aware I am that to live in this century and have the right to even be an artist and mother is pretty amazing. It was not too long ago that this conversation would not even exist because women artists were not taken seriously by the general public. THAT is a great topic for another post.
My point in sharing all this is that so many mothers and fathers out there have this struggle and I wanted to say don’t stop working over the summer. Find a small thing that you work on every day or maybe it is just once a week. Maybe it is a time for reading that book on that artist you have been wanting to learn more about or some literature on contemporary art or seeing (taking the kids) to an art exhibit every couple of weeks. It is a great time to reflect and think if there really is no time for getting your hands dirty in the studio.
This summer I plan on developing a series of drawings I have been thinking about for the last few months. It will be a series about my experiences as a mother I can tell you that much, but I hesitate to expand further since I never really know where my thoughts will end up once I get into the work. I plan to work on this early in the mornings (I get up faithfully at 5:30am when I have a quiet house and nobody needs me) and tucked in between moments during the day (this is my first summer with my studio at home so I will be interested to see how much I do get done). I don’t work at night because I am just too tired and my creative brain just isn’t there.
I hope this helps all of you out there rethink the potential of summer if you are caring for young children. It is a great opportunity to take a deep breath with your children, spend some quality time with those you love, get things in perspective, write, read, and make the most out of pockets of time during the day. Everyone has pockets of time, it is just deciding to use them to your advantage rather than letting them slip away with the summer heat.
Image created by Tina using the Warm Sun texture as one layer in Photoshop
Dear Laura and friends,
I have been taking some tutorials with Kim Klassen about using Photoshop and have learned many many tricks. Thanks Kim! She is trying a new feature “challenge” of having people post their artwork created in Photoshop at her website and I thought I would link up our blog with hers. Please go over and check out the work she is doing. There are incredible possibilities using her “textures” with the photos you have captured. You could also create your own textures out of paint and collage, scan into the computer, and use in Photoshop. It blows my mind with the possibilities of how to use this in my own practice of image transfers in my sculpture and collage/drawing art work. I have a whole new series of work happening right now in the studio that incorporates some of Kim’s techniques. I will have the work photographed in May and will post the pictures then.
I took this photograph one day recently when I was headed out to Folly Beach. This hawk was perched up there, I suppose looking for a snack in the marsh. I turned my car around, parked on the side of the road and did my best to capture it before it flew off. It was watching me because a moment later it flew away. I like how the power lines add to the composition aesthetically and metaphorically.
Head over to Kim’s website to see what other people are creating. Enjoy!
I have a few projects cooking in the studio this week. One is a postcard I am sending out tomorrow. I did a quick ten minute paper assemblage from an antique text and created a gesture drawing of this banana tree bloom I picked from my backyard. I really did want to do this postcard this week and opted for one that was quick and easy given my busy schedule. The frost got it before any bananas were able to ripen but I think the bud is elegant.
This one goes out to Avis G. Good things come to those who comment! Our postcards often go out to those who comment or sign up for the newsletter. I hope you like getting some hand crafted mail Avis.
Another project in the works (actually it traveling through the US postal service as I type this) is my next installment of ourTwo Artists, One Surface project….
Laura and I actually started this together when she was here a few weeks ago so I feel like I am cheating a little bit. Our project never happened because we ran out of time, but I really like our initial thoughts about the work. We copied random quotes from our blog, whipped them up in Photoshop and printed them on antique text pages. The photos are also from the days we spent together.
I thought it was great that Laura used this image of the coffee cups in her Vision for the week. Have fun with it Laura. I can’t wait to see how you complete this one. Here is another sneak peek….
Keep in mind everyone that we have big plans to exhibit these pieces of artwork and perhaps have some sort of publication available at that time about this project.
Well, that is what I have been up to in the studio, in between teaching and parenting, the last few days. I also have been enjoying Kim Klassen’s Photoshop class and will leave you with one of my photographs I altered. Spring is on it’s way!
About once a month Laura and I will be posting a “working table” of what is happening in our studio work. I will do that in the pictures below but FIRST I want to post a few pictures of this newly created hand-crafted postcard. We have been creating these postcards for the past few months as a gift to our readers and subscribers. I am now going to be picking from our newsletter subscriber list. You can sign up if you would like.
I have been sending antique book pages through my Epson printer to see what would happen.This process produced a “wow” from me when it came out of the printer. Not sure how I will utilize this yet, but for now I created a postcard with a few of these prints (torn and re-assembled of course).
Postcard for Millie
A friend took this photo below. I think the piece is finished, but I am sitting with it awhile to see if I need to adjust anything. Once I feel it’s done, it’s off to be professionally photographed and then out to the world.
The doors are meant to be opened by the viewer. Inside are delicately etched pieces of glass, soil, and maps. I etched this glass with my trusty DREMEL tool.
…and in case you are wondering what the new work is about here is an excerpt from my artist statement
…This series of work is an inquiry into how we seem to be less connected to our humanity by becoming a more developed society. Being in a historic age of science and technology, that attempts to quantify anything it can get it’s hands on, I wonder about the experiences I have that go beyond what “knowledge” can tell me. I wonder how I balance my intuitive connection with the natural world while enjoying the comfortable suburban life I am living….
This new series of work is really keeping me humming in the studio. Any thoughts on the work or suggestions on materials, don’t be shy~ let me know by leaving a comment.
Your post Laura on the new year inspired me to write down some of my thoughts. I have been thinking a lot about the direction I am heading in this year and have many plans to redirect my job and studio work to become more in line with where I want to go as well as sprinkle in a lot more FUN. With a recent near-death experience of a close family member, I have begun to think about how I shouldn’t wait one more day to experience the things I am dreaming about. Why am I holding out? I know this is cliche… but if not now, when? What I really need is a heavy dose of assertiveness. Easier said than done. I resolve to do the uncomfortable action of putting myself out there with confidence. I have many plans, but will have to wait on spilling all my beans before I have cooked them a bit. I will share this experience over the next year…even when I fail or get rejected. This is all part of my new assertive self (gulp).
One project I have been working on over the holiday break is my sketchbook for THE SKETCHBOOK PROJECT. This is due January 15 and of course I waited until this week to start it. I had the idea months ago it was just a matter of actually doing it.
In a previous exhibition of my work I created a ‘wishing line’ in the middle of the gallery where people could write a wish on a piece of canvas and then tie it to the line.
I was surprised so many people participated. Reading the wishes are very moving. Some folks left some real heartfelt thoughts and others left something that made me laugh (always appreciated). Over the last year I have been thinking about how to continue this wishing line and along came the Sketchbook Project. My sketchbook is about the wishes. Each page highlights four wishes (I scanned them into my computer, printed them out, and pasted that into the sketchbook). The lucky few people to look at the book first will be able to write a wish directly into the sketchbook. This whole experience has inspired me to get these wishes back out into the community. I could probably approach various business to see if they would host it for a month, but I am still thinking about how to balance this idea with the numerous other ones I have planned for the year.
One last thought about this new year- I came across Ali Edward’s BLOG that hosts her “One Little Word” project. I am a big fan of this idea. My word for this year is STEADFAST.
Next time I write about my studio update (Laura and I will be doing these two times a month) I will be talking about this piece of art. It already looks different from my work today in the studio.
Lastly, I need to say how grateful I am to have my son Aidan in my life. It is his 9th birthday today. I am a better person knowing you my little sweet.
My postcard series is now featured in the Laura TWO Tina Etsy shop. I have been inspired by our postcard project and the personal connections being made and reignited. I have always wanted to create a project with the numerous antique photographs I have acquired from my parent’s antique business, and now here it is. These are for sale so check it out in our shop. I wrote about this series of work HERE.
I also wanted to point out an opportunity for everyone to submit a piece of “Cherished Mail” to NPR. They are looking for submissions for a future story. “NPR wants to see your most cherished mail: a postcard, a love letter, a care package. Upload images to Flickr.com, tag them NPRpostal, and tell us its story. If you’re a new Flickr user, leave us your link in the comments. We’ll feature some on NPR.org as part of an upcoming Postal Service series.”
Laura and I will be submitting some of our first postcards that started our collaboration back in 2006. The submission costs no money and it is as easy as uploading a photo to Flickr. Let us know if you submitted something- you know we enjoy hearing about connections through the mail.
“Wabi connotes rustic simplicity, freshness or quietness, and can be applied to both natural and human-made objects, or understated elegance. It can also refer to quirks and anomalies arising from the process of construction, which add uniqueness and elegance to the object. Sabi is beauty or serenity that comes with age, when the life of the object and its impermanence are evidenced in its patina and wear, or in any visible repairs.”
I collect and collage objects (natural and artificial). My collections of weathered stones, rusted metal, books, or antique objects found in thrift stores or roadsides serve as direct physical connections to the subject matter I study in my work. These weathered artifacts are a tangible link from my past, growing up with antique-dealer parents and to my present as a visual artist reflecting on culture. Working with found objects enhances my ability to create this personal and physical connection in ways that just drawing onto a flat plane cannot.
In writing this post, I wonder if this idea of wabi sabi has touched other artists (and non-artists) as something of beauty. Perhaps others may think of it as an ugly mess. I will leave you all with a few photos from a walk I took recently downtown Charleston. Are these a moment of beauty or not?
Today I am set in my studio to work with my Dremel tool and thought I would share the process. Many people, men and women alike, are afraid to use the tools that have the potential to cut off your finger or cause other bodily harm. I have been one of those too and it certainly is understandable. Cutting off my finger is not on my to-do list. BUT this Dremel tool is easy for the beginner. You can hold it in your hand just like a pen to cut, sand, drill, carve (into wood, metal, plastic, shells, glass, etc), and a whole list of other fun things. Let me take you through the process in pictures….
Some of my work in progress that I have used the Dremel tool
Here is what I want to cut- a window out of this small panel
This is the back of that same panel
Secure the panel to your workspace with C clamps (it is not fun to have the piece of wood you are cutting fly off the workbench). I put scrap wood where the C clamp comes into contact because when they are tight they can leave unwanted indentations.
Put some safety glasses on. It is not cool to wear a patch on your eye the rest of your life because you got a splinter in your eyeball. Might as well put in some ear plugs while you are at it.
I have to say it was hard to take a picture and cut at the same time, but here you go.
Next up- sanding the rough edges with the Dremel sanding bit as well as hand sanding for the finer touches.
That cut out panel might go into the final piece like this with some sort of assemblage, image transfers, and drawings whipped up over the next few weeks.
My Dad would be so proud! Except that he does not read blogs because he is still on dial-up.
How lucky I am that I have the opportunity to listen to Sera Beak talk tonight in my little town of Charleston, SC. I am fortunate to have been included in the impressive list of artists for the exhibition RealEyes, which will be having an opening reception right before Sera speaks. This is all happening at 103 Logan Street in Charleston starting at 5:30pm. The combination of these artworks, the mingling of Charlestonians, and experiencing the conversation with this “spiritual cowgirl” is adding up to an enlightening evening. As she says in her book…
“You are not here to play it safe. You are here to start fires.” – The Red Book
Here is her description of her talk tonight. I believe there are still tickets available. GoHERE to register. This is all sponsored by the INCREDIBLESophia Institute.
Soul Fire: A Talk and Conversation with Sera Beak about the Feminine Divine
“The loss of soul connection, loss of connection to our femininity, may be the real cause of our anguished condition”
- Marion Woodman
Most of us our only acquainted with the upper half of the Universe, our masculine Spirit, and this planet is suffering as a result. It’s time to go downtown with out divinity and get up close and personal with the Universe’s other half (and some might even say “better half” depending on what’s going on in their lives), our feminine Soul. Our divine feminine Soul holds our true purpose, that which will unleash our creativity, jump start our red hearts, set our eyelashes on fire and help us be of greater service. Our soul is extraordinarily essential to recognize, embrace, and share for our entire planet’s evolution, but reacquainting ourselves with our Soul is not always an easy process. In this fiery, humorous and intimate talk, Sera shares invigorating research from her forthcoming book, Redvolution: Unleashing the Red Hot and Holy Feminine, and her personal story of learning how to voice her Soul and walk her divine feminine talk.
I received my sketchbook in the mail the other day for the sketchbook project and wanted write up and update on some ideas I have brewing for it. Find the first post HERE. Last Fall I had an exhibition titled “Wish”. Part of that exhibition I asked viewers to write and hang their own wish in the gallery. Many people participated and wrote profound, funny, heartfelt, and sometimes inappropriate (which ended up in the funny category) thoughts. To honor this project and continue the line of inquiry, I will be extending the wishes into the sketchbook. My line of inquiry into doing this came from my curiosity about who the audience is for my work, what the audience has to say (so often a visual artist misses this piece which I am still wondering how to capture), and what would be on people’s mind in this type of intimate, personal, and mostly anonymous action. What would be important enough for you to sit down and write a thought in the middle of your day? Why?
I am looking into having some sort of widget-thingy on my website where people can leave wishes if they would like once the sketchbook is on view this coming Spring. If anyone has any ideas about that I would love to hear it.
This project is not due until January, so I will post some updates as I move forward.
Enjoy your Thursday
Some wishes from the wishing line:
…will post more wishes in the next update…
wish to go forward well, right, and whole
I wish for Americans to rediscover the art of public civic discourse
peace and love for Marc
I wish for a cure for cancer
I wish my chess game would not cheat
I wish/ ich wunsche langes gesundes ceiben fur meine eltern. Uno gutt sei mit uns. Gesundaeit/ Liebe/
I wish for a family ♥ of my own ♥
I wish that Mark Sanford is humiliated utterly, totally and completely
Long and happy life together for Matt and Christy
Abundant Health, Wealth, and Wisdom HH
I wish for a Happy, Adventurous, Love Filled Life.
Equal rights for all citizens
A wish for a reignition of my passion
I wish for health, happiness, and success for my adorable nephews- Mark and Paul
I wish those you are ignorant can learn to be tolerant and love the earth and others
I wish for a healthy and happy baby
I wish my family to know they are loved, always KM ‘09
I wish for continued health for our family
I wish health and happiness for my children
I wish many beautiful trips to enchanted places for everyone I know so far and in the future. Isabelle I2D2
Today I am posting some information on a group exhibition I will be in at the end of this month. It looks like an incredible group of artists and I hope to see you all at the opening on September 30th! ~Tina~
Below is the pdf version if you would like to print it
I always enjoy before and after pictures. I am now moved in to my home studio and wanted to share some thoughts and photos with you all here. It has been a long journey of construction, permits, electrical re-routing, water heater moved (and then broken), stairs added, insulation installed, drywall assembled, painting (in-laws came to the rescue and helped for this massive chore), and endless organizing. PART 1 and PART 2 of these posts can be found by clicking on the words.
Putting everything back that we moved for the construction as well as making places for all my studio and teaching supplies has been overwhelming. Not to mention that our entire house is covered in fine dust from the workers sanding the drywall. It sounds like I am complaining, but the time spent on these tasks has been more than expected when what I really want to be doing is sinking my hands deeply into my work. It will all come together eventually and have started working in the studio even though it is not completely set up.
I DO want to thank my whole family for helping to move this process forward, especially my super patient husband. It would have not been as fun without the support and laughter through it all.
So far, I am VERY glad to have my tools and workshop supplies in my garage below my studio. Before I had two workshops – one at home and one at my studio in North Charleston, which was often frustrating with the flow of my work because I would lack supplies when I needed them (always saying ‘damn, that’s at home’ or vice versa) and would need to stop in the middle of an idea. I felt elated yesterday when I consolidated all my tools, hardware, wood, sandpaper, and stains. Seeing it all together just reinforced my decision that the home studio is the right choice for me.
Today I set off to continue my new series of work. I have made a goal to complete thirty new pieces by the end of this year. BIG plans are in the works and having this home studio brings me comfort, convenience, and inspiration. Here are a few pictures of the space set up so far…..
Books and supplies are always on hand. I put all my knitting yarn in the tall case with drawers we used to use for CD's.
I got the idea of putting my flat file on casters from Laura. I am using it as a working table that I can roll into the center of the room.
The "wishes" from my exhibit last fall surround me as I work on the couch. A wonderful inspiration!
This table was built by my Dad to fit into our first tiny apartment kitchen in Somerville MA. Now it fits perfectly in this nook.
Hope you are all finding inspiration in your creative spaces!