Monday, February 4, 2013

Phase 6 – start with what you know and build from there (or practice, practice, practice), intro

Phase 6 was inspired by an unexpected opportunity I had this week to test out some framing on Miniature #39, which will be in the “Open Small Works”exhibition at the National Association of Women in the Arts Gallery in New York beginning Feb. 6th. I’ve been wanting to increase my woodcraft skills (though this wasn't quite the scenario I had in mind - I made 3 trips to local framers before giving up). While there were other options, I decided that framing is becoming an important element of the work (like in the carnival piece, the black scroll work piece, and the mini salon). Making the frame would give me a chance offer more of a transition between the internal space artwork and the space of the viewer; so, I gave it my best shot (I’ve decided to call this style “Baroque Minimalism” (haha)). I haven’t done much carpentry due to my (reasonable) fear power tools, but I tried to put to use the skills I already have - sanding, applying spray coats evenly, and identifying things that have "repurposing" potential (the piece at the bottom is a part for chair railing from the hardware store; it cost less than a can of soda.) Now that I’ve built a frame (and it wasn’t too scary), hopefully I'll improve with practice.

Speaking of practice, and in keeping with phase 6, I also re-worked this piece this week. I wasn't happy with it, but had sort of forgotten about it until a friend mentioned the temptation to rely on momentum to prop up less-than-ideal technique. When I started this piece, I was so excited to be using the letters in the background that I neglected the figure a bit, but I’ve practiced since the first go round (on the black scroll work piece), so I gave it another shot. I also have some new tools - I cut the edges with patterning scissors - a good tool for me to connect manual activity with a technologically assisted way of reproducing a pattern.

Other projects in the works – I mentioned last week wanting to limit my focus geographically, and I tried putting that into practice -  made this card at a local crafts night, joined the local arts association, and applied for some regional fellowships.

I also paid a visit to one of my favorite places - the Met. (Earlier this winter I wrote an article stemming from my love of the Met's late nights - Friday and Saturday). This time, there were exhibitions on both winged figures and birds (My heart be still!) - and speaking of hearts – I continued working on the new piece on panel (it’s got a ways to go, but here are some snippets).

It’s been a while since I posted about a home project, so I included a recent mini-project – covering the step stool with pretty contact paper that was in the house when I moved in. I’m still thinking through the issue of what qualifies as a “waste of time”? I worked on this early Saturday morning, when social expectations for productivity are low, and I was listening to an audiobook for school while worked on it. Still, it's hard to justify cheerying a step stool (and harder still to justify continuing to think about it afterwards); on the other hand, it's something I see every day, and I’d much rather see little flowers than black plastic…;)
Myōchin Munesuke (Japanese, Edo period, 1688–1735)
  Date: late 17th–early 18th century, Accession Number: 13.112.20
from the Metropolitan Museum's exhibition "Birds in the Art of Japan,"