“And Now for Something Completely Different”…Sort Of
What started out as scary but possibly short has turned into what I half jokingly call living in captivity. Seven months later, I now call it living under house arrest.
It got me thinking about Galileo…
The funny thing is that if I woke up tomorrow in a pandemic free world, by some unlikely miracle, I probably wouldn’t grab the car keys and run somewhere just for the sake of being free. Plan trips to England and Italy? Sure! Pop up to New York for a few days? You betcha! Run to a nearby coffee shop just because I could? Nah, I’ve got too much to do around here.
Maybe it’s not discovering a new moon orbiting Jupiter, but, like Galileo while stuck at home, I’ve certainly made the most of this time that I hope never comes around again and has some vague hope of ending in a year or so.
Shiny Online Workshop Syndrome – Because We’re Never Finished Learning
The great silver lining in the cloud of living under house arrest is that suddenly a million things I want to study are available in my studio via my iPad. In addition to my own contributions in that arena, I’m seizing every opportunity to learn from my peers at my own pace and without agonizing over which tools to pack.
I’ve spent huge chunks of zen-time drawing, painting, gilding, and illuminating after studying one-on-one with one of my all time favorite teachers and friend, Heather Victoria Held. It was under Heather’s guidance I launched into creating illuminated miniatures some years backu.
In giving them my own twist, I nest my hyperrealistic subjects in swirls of gold leaf, gold gouache and stylized foliage. My new exploration, with Heather’s magic midwifery, is to stylize my tiny critters and explore a more enchanted world. Who wouldn’t want to escape into the realm of improbable butterflies and cute puppies right now?!?
I finished up Metalwerx’s Makers Symposium last week, which I was honored to sponsor. For two weeks I learned all manner of tricks and decided on some equipment and tools I had no idea I needed but really do. To say the event was unbelievably cool is a vast understatement! Congrats to the entire staff and the presenters for sharing their studios, tips, tricks, insights, and love of metal and stones!!! If you missed it, for a short time you can still sign up for the recordings.
Prior to that I spent one hour every weekday for three weeks watching UK, signwriter and showman Joby Carter wield a paintbrush to create fantastic letters and exquisite scrolls. Being a spiral queen for decades, I’m no stranger to achieving the beauty of the compound curve, but it’s amazing how much one can up one’s game by going macro. I didn’t draw my designs along with Joby at quite the same scale but certainly way way bigger than I would ever do them in metal. Joby’s might also be the bawdiest classes online with the Zoom chat consisting of constant lines from Monty Python or Black Adder (Baldric, yes, Zoom classes, a cunning plan indeed!) but they were a refreshing break from what are often super serious lettering classes from my calligraphic peers, and the humor was always in good fun, if not entirely in good taste, and never aimed at anyone. Thanks to Heather Held for telling me about this opportunity.
Granted, I might be a tiny bit tired of watching other people talk and not having as much opportunity to participate in naturally flowing conversations, but my screen time has been well worth it. I spent much of this week in the quiet, paintbrush in hand. Soon, however, I’m back at learning more.
Coming up on the horizon are the following classes and events, which may still have some space. Some of these have minimal experience requirements, so please consider joining me while there is still room! Hope we’ll be in class together, and I’ll see you there!
Stamp Making and Stamping – Virtual Workshop with Matthieu Cheminee at Metalwerx
Yeah, ok, I’ve made/produced tools and stamps in the thousands, but when is the last time I made any cool texture tools for my own work? Probably in the early 2000s when I wrote an article on stamp making for Art Jewelry magazine. Besides, I want to learn how Matthieu creates positive and negative conforming stamps, and there is no one better in our field at creating beautifully complex, stamped patterns on sheet silver than he is.
The Brody Series, virtual at Ardington Academy
Brody is the creator of The Secret History of Writing, a stunning BBC documentary that aired recently on Nova under the titles A-Z: The First Alphabet and How Writing Changed the World on PBS in the U.S.
It was under Brody’s guidance that I began what became my award winning book, Giving Voice, so I didn’t have to think twice about signing up.
The Passionate Pen from Heather Held – Virtually from my own local calligraphic guild Friends of the Alphabet via Ontario, Canada
Heather’s talent for both wielding and teaching pointed pen scripts is simply unsurpassed. I am forever indebted to her for opening up whole world’s to me and reminding me that the critics in our head (and sometimes in our ears) need to shut the hell up in favor of our making work that makes us happy.
In the Making: Crafting the Future
Thursday, November 5, 2020 from 7:00-8:00 pm EDT – Virtual at North Bennet Street School (Free but with limited space)
Join a conversation with Crafting the Future, an organization that works to diversify the fields of art, craft, and design by connecting young BIPOC artists with opportunities that will help them thrive. It’s about time more people in fine craft address the lack of diversity in our field rather than giving it lip service! Kudos to Crafting the Future for helping all of us to take action. Please join in!!!
And while I’m on that topic, congrats to Metal Arts Guild of Georgia for launching their new program The Bronze Smiths, committed to paying homage to our ancestors who passed down the original metalsmithing craft, to branching out deeper within the community to those who might not otherwise have the opportunity and to planting seeds for a future generation of metalsmiths.
And while you’re at it, don’t forget to sign up for democracy!