Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


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Blow My Mind Glass Art-The Dale Chihuly Exhibit

This year the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) hosted a wonderful exhibit of glass artwork by Dale Chihuly. I admit that I have not been a big fan of Chihuly’s artwork in the past. I was familiar with his work, primarily the large glass chandeliers. While those are fantastic pieces, in general, I haven’t been taken in by his work.

Earlier this year I started experimenting with more abstract artwork in polymer clay, such as my polymer clay focal disks. The more I played with these shapes, adding various protrusions and projections, I found myself more drawn to Chihuly’s work. I found a deeper appreciation for his sensual shapes, sinewy spikes, and amoeba like disks.

I also learned a bit more about Chihuly’s past. How he lost sight in one eye due to a car accident. That he had studied glass making with the masters at Murano in Venice, Italy. And how water has provided great inspiration for much of his work.

When the MFA announced plans for the Chihuly exhibit, I couldn’t wait to see it. I think this is the first time I’ve ever gone to an art exhibit twice. And each time I found a greater appreciation for it.

Please enjoy these pictures taken during my two visit to the Chihuly exhibit.

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Puppetry & Storytelling Exhibit

Earlier this year the New Art Center in Newtonville, MA had a wonderful little exhibit: Extraordinary: Puppetry, Storytelling, & Spirit. The exhibit featured puppets, marionettes and characters created from a variety of materials. It was an interactive exhibit that allowed visitors to manipulate several of the puppets and invited children (of all ages I assume) to create and play with hand puppets and put on your very own puppet show.

Here are some pictures from the exhibit.

First up: Puppets from Bread & Puppet in Vermont (did that sound redundant?)

 

Bread and Puppet

 

Next, paper dolls on rods in a slide theatre. These were fun because you could move the dolls and create your own story.

 

Slide Puppets

 

Jeff Sias’s “Victor Contained” is a puppet theatre contained in a vintage RCA television.

 

Victor Contained: TV Puppet Theatre

 

Here are marionettes by Donald Saaf and Julia Zanes. The marionettes are part of the Bluebird Theatre.

 

Bluebird Theatre Marionettes

 

 

More Bluebird Theatre Marionettes

 

Next are amazing puppets made by Ashley Bryan. Bryan crafts his puppets from detritus he picks up on walks along the beach. These puppets are homely and magical at the same time.

 

"Odion" First of Twin

 

 

"Oinwokhu" Second of Twin

 

 

"Natambu" Man of Destiny

 

 

"Babutu" Peacemaker

 

And last, Tolu Bommalata shadow puppets from India

 

Shadow Puppets from India

 

 

Tolu Bommalata Shadow Puppet

 

This was a fun exhibit because it brought out the child in everyone.

Do you remember the first puppet you ever made? I think mine was either made from a sock or a brown paper bag.

What is your favorite shadow puppet to make with your hands?


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Happy Birthday…To Me

And to everyone else celebrating their birthday today!

When I was a kid, I loved celebrating my birthday. I think I still have an old home movie of one birthday party where we played “Pin the Tail on the Donkey.” I remember the dizzy feeling after being spun around and the annoyance at being way off on where I stuck the donkey’s tail. And presents. I loved getting presents. It reinforced my little kid ego. I was the center of attention and who doesn’t like that at that age?

My worst birthday was when I turned 25. I was in grad school. I was cranky and the day passed without much fanfare.

30 was great; a surprise party at a local restaurant. I was blindfolded on the drive to the restaurant. That was almost as dizzying as being spun in circles to play a birthday game. I still have my “Youth Fairy’s 30th Birthday Wand.”

And now in my 40’s, I find myself once again relishing birthdays like I did as a kid. I don’t care about getting presents (really, what more do I need?) I simply enjoy the day, whether spent with friends, family, or quietly on my own. In fact, I think I’ve enjoyed my 40th decade the most.

Apparently, October 7, 1963 was on a Monday. I was born mid-morning. I always use that as my excuse for not being an early-riser. I am reminded of this nursery rhyme:

Monday’s child is fair of face,
Tuesday’s child is full of grace,
Wednesday’s child is full of woe,
Thursday’s child has far to go.
Friday’s child is loving and giving,
Saturday’s child works hard for a living,
But the child born on the Sabbath Day,
Is fair and wise and good in every way.

The number 7 has widespread significance. It is the number of days in a week and the number of traditional planets in astrology. In Christianity, it is the number of virtues. In Judaism, it represents creation, the planets and the seven heavens. In Buddhism it also represents seven heavens. For the Chinese it represents the seven stars of Ursa Major. And Native Americans associate the number seven with the Dream of Life.

I expect today to be pretty low-key. A visit with a friend. Maybe yoga class tonight. A phone call from my mom, who usually sings “Happy Birthday” to me over the phone. On Saturday we’ll celebrate with a visit to the ICA for the Charles Ledray exhibit and dinner in the North End.

 

 

Happy Birthday Everyone!

 

 

 



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Artist Demo, Art Exhibit and An Interview

Artist Demonstration

On Sunday, June 13, I am demonstrating how I create my artwork in polymer clay at Fruitlands Museum as part of Fruitlands 2010 Artisan Series.

I will show you how I create my Klimt and Craze Collage patterns as seen on my business card cases, perfume pens and wine bottle stoppers. I will also demonstrate how I sculpt both my primitive and more realistic spirit messenger heads. To help me explain the sculpting process, I put together this storyboard.

Head Sculpt Storyboard

The demonstration runs from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm

I will also have free mini-bookmarks for people who stop by and a listing of my current workshops.

Art Exhibit

Sunday will be a full day. After my artist demonstration, I head over to the Nashoba Valley Winery for my art guild’s artist reception. The Bolton Artisans Guild has a new exhibit, Summer Dreams, on display at the winery. Summer Dreams captures the colors and memories of summer in the several mediums, including photography, fiber, polymer clay, paper, watercolor, and jewelry. The exhibit runs June 6 to July 5, 2010. The artist reception is Sunday, June 13, 3:30-5:00 pm. Light snacks and a wine tasting will be provided.

An Interview

Last Monday, I was interviewed by the Bolton Common for their Uncommon Conversation feature article. The interview appeared in this week’s edition and is available to read online here.


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New York, New York-Tim Burton Exhibit

This past weekend we took a quick trip to New York. We visited MOMA for the Tim Burton exhibit, caught the theatre production of “Fela! The Musical,” and visited The Frick Collection.

The exterior entrance to the Tim Burton exhibit included a time line of his work written on the wall and his name on the wall in big black letters with giant black and white arrows pointing you to the exhibit….

…where, after they took your tickets, you walked through this facade:

The first room inside the exhibit was all black with black lighting. On display were some of Tim Burton’s paintings on black canvas, a merry-go-round like sculpture that reminded me of “Beetlejuice” and the infamous Oogie Boogie in a glass display case.

The exhibit featured costumes worn in “Edward Scissorhands” (on a Johnny Depp-like mannequin), “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “Sleepy Hollow,” “Batman,” and “Planet of the Apes.” Several of the claymation characters from the Oyster Boy series, Corpse Bride, Nightmare Before Christmas and Mars Attack are also on display. I had great fun looking at these pieces for their materials, construction, and size. It was stunning to see Jack Skellington and all the heads that were sculpted for each facial movement and expression seen in the movie.

The exhibit also includes a lot of Burton’s early work, including super 8 films from high school and college, a composition assignment from his early years (really, who keeps schoolwork from junior high and high school?), lots of sketches that lead to formal ideas for movies, work from his time at Disney, and even a handwritten note to Johnny Depp regarding the character development of Edward Scissorhands.

And, of course, where any music was playing, it was by Danny Elfman, Burton’s longtime music partner.

Outside the exhibit on the basement level were posters from many of Burton’s movies, his large Polaroid prints, and a theatre showing select movies. On the main floor, we were greeted by this blue, bulbous character:

One of my favorite series of drawings, however, was a study Burton did using the numbers 1-10. Using ink and watercolor, he created 11″x15″ drawings for each number and included a little poem or verse about each number. For example, in his drawing for the number one, one is lonely and sad, but by the time Burton drew number 10, number one was happily paired with zero and now one was two.

Burton also has a great way of taking simple phrases, idioms, and interpreting them in his drawings.

It was great fun to witness to Burton’s creative process and to see the development of his work over all these years. What struck me was how he creates these complex looking characters from very simple shapes that become distorted or inverted or stretched. It was also great to see the number of young adults and school age kids attending the exhibit. Remember how you felt as the “odd ball” in school? The kid who was different in dress, interests, or perhaps just not the social butterfly? Burton’s work and his background seems to reach all of us “odd balls” on some level.

Other sites at the MOMA:

Performance Art by Marina Abramovic

I admit that performance art is one form of art that I usually don’t get. I’d love to see the grants people write to get funding for these events. But that is the beauty of art; all the forms and the freedom to enjoy or not. Below is one of the live “performances” Abramovic was doing during our visit to MOMA.

Abramovic is in red. The other woman is a visitor to MOMA. Apparently the “performance” was to sit across from Abramovic and to stare at each other silently. On the 6th floor was another live installation that included naked people sitting on chairs. We didn’t get to the 6th floor.

We did visit the 4th and 5th floors which house some wonderful paintings and sculptures, including “Starry Night” by Van Gogh, the American Flag by Jasper Johns, Rothkos, famous splatter paintings by Jackson Pollock, a wheel sculpture by Marcel Duchamp, Andy Warhol’s Campbell Soup can series, and these bronze sculptures by Henri Matisse

The first two sculptures at the far end, created over three years, were realistic representations of “Jeanette.” Here Matisse worked with a live model. The three remaining sculptures were broken down into more abstract components as a representation of the face. Matisse said he was organizing the head into simplified chunks to “reveal the essential qualities” of his model.

It is hard to tell from this picture but the line of large noses made me laugh. I also felt good knowing that even Matisse had an appreciation for large noses and that my sculptures shouldn’t feel too embarrassed by their large proboscis.


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Joseph Wheelwright’s Tree Figures

On Saturday, Eric and I spent some time walking the trails at Fruitlands Museum. Here we took in nature and art because Joseph Wheelwright’s sculptures on are display throughout the Fruitlands property.  You can read more about Fruitlands here

Joseph Wheelwright is a master carver of stone, trees, bones and other natural materials.  He works in Boston and Vermont and received his BA from Yale and his MFA from RISD. His website doesn’t explain much about his process in creating the tree figures.  My understanding is that he tends to use trees that have either been uprooted or have their roots exposed. The tree is then removed from the ground and taken to his studio where a transformation occurs.  The root ball (or some variant of it) is preserved and serves as the figure’s head and/or “hair.” You can visit Wheelwright’s website here.

Here are pictures of the figures on display at Fruitlands. They are quite fascinating. In the first picture, you’ll see a woman coming down the trail toward the figure and a small child staring up at the tree figure. This gives you an idea of the height of Wheelwright’s figures.

Cherry Figure

Cherry Figure

Jaunty Hornbeam

Jaunty Hornbeam

Oracle

Oracle

Oracle is a pine tree and was, appropriately enough, placed between two large pine trees just off the hiking trail.

Under The Oracle

Under The Oracle

Sometimes, the photographer’s timing and the lighting are in sync. I was thrilled with the way the picture below turned out.

Hornbeam Dancer

Hornbeam Dancer

Doesn’t it look like she is playing with a ball of light?

Smoke Jumper

Smoke Jumper

This tree, another hornbeam tree, really did look like it had survived a fire.

Smoke Jumper's Face

Smoke Jumper's Face

Shiva

Shiva

Dragonfly On Shiva

Dragonfly On Shiva

These last two figures can be seen from Prospect Hill Road as you drive past the entrance to Fruitlands. From the road they look rather imposing and scary.

Pine Man

Pine Man

Under the Pine Man

Under the Pine Man

Pine Man's Face

Pine Man's Face

Predator Tree below looks the biggest and scariest from the road. Walking up to him, he didn’t see so big and scary.

Predator Tree

Predator Tree

On second glance, however, his face is a little intimidating. A face, as they say, that only a mother could love….

Predator's Face

Predator's Face

Joseph Wheelwright’s Tree Figures are on display through the fall of 2010 at Fruitlands.


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20 Hour Challenge: Fits and Starts

Well, last week started out good as I found myself focused and ready to work in the studio. By the end of the week, I was focused more on business related activities.  I’m certainly in the studio for 20 hours; unfortunately I find myself unable to create art for an entire 20 hours. The reality is that when you have a small art business, a good chunk of time is spent on the busy-ness and not the arty-ness.

So, how did last week turn out: 24.25 hours total  = 7.75 hours on arty-ness and 16.5 on busy-ness.  Friday was Art Day at a friend’s house.  Because we hadn’t seen each other in so long, we spent the day talking and sharing art but not making art. So, I didn’t have any hours from that day to add to the arty-ness of the week, but the day still fed my creative soul.

I mentioned last time that I needed to eliminate some of the email newsletters I receive.  To that end I unsubbed from the daily Enneagram Thought and Oprah’s book club newsletter (apparently I became a subscriber when I participated in the webinar she did with Eckhart Tolle last year; completely forgot about that one.) I’m on the fence about a couple other newsletters and need to make a decision on their fate as well.

I also decided to consider my reading and meditation time as part of my preparation for working in the studio. It really does help me get my day started in the studio.

So along with the usual business stuff, I’m happy to say that I created the content for and sent out my August newsletter, updated my websites (though I didn’t publish the updates yet), and visited Skyline Boston to look at booth displays for the October Paradise City show.  And on Saturday, Eric and I visited the Peabody Historical Society to check out the Historical Interpretations exhibit. Here is Belle on display:

BelleOnExhibitDisplay

And on the art front, I started doodling. Now doesn’t that sound productive?  Actually, it is because doodling is another way to clear your mind. I found this beneficial during the week when I started to feel a little stressed. I sat myself down, created a doodle, and the tension seemed to melt away.  Here are some of my doodles from last week:

Doodle81009

Doodle81109

Doodle81209

Check out these sites for more insight and inspiration in Doodling: SueDoodles and Mildly Creative

Remember those cat heads? They are starting to take on a little life of their own. The gray one has put in a request for a black and white striped suit. And the one I called a “demented rabbit” isn’t so scary now; though he does look more like a horse crossed with a rabbit.  Maybe Darwin would say he saw something similar on the Galapagos Islands.

CatHeadsColor

Finally, a few wholesale orders rolled in so I have started working on business card cases, ink pens, and perfume pens.  To see what I offer in these lines visit here and here.