Friday, January 29, 2010

A dragon creeps into life!

This week instead of a lot of writing, I thought I’d share some process photos.

These are images of the large commissioned dragon I’ve been working on. As I explained in an earlier post, I’m working in our dining room since things are a bit too cramped for this size beast in my studio. Looks like it is going to end up around 9 feet long.

- A photo of the underlying allow wire armature

Here I am “wrestling with the beast” trying to get the arch of the neck I wanted. You can see some of polyester wrapping and muslin covering beginning to be stitched on. Leather and textiles to follow. (Aside comment to any of my children reading this - yes, I am standing on the table,but I was being careful! Dad brought in the ladder you gave me!)

A couple photos of the process of designing the spokes - First cut out in brown paper and pinned on. In this photo you can see that I'm playing with the idea of a rider. I'm not sure the customer is expecting one, but I like the story element by putting on a rider so will offer it.
Tray shows some of the wet-formed spokes. The spokes are one of the final things to get stitched on.

This last photo shows initial working on the head. And yes, for those who know my work, I am using one of the last large pieces of the "Legendary Stump" - check out the Legend of the Stump Critter on my website, if you don't know the story. I'm actually using two pieces of stump which involves using some taxidermy materials. More on delving in that world of suppliers...on the next post!

Enjoy! - Wendy

Friday, January 22, 2010

ARISIA - exploring new worlds

Wow, a week slips by quickly when life is full. (Maybe posting every other week is more realistic than weekly?) Last Friday I set up at the art show of Arisia - New England’s largest and most diverse science fiction and fantasy convention Set up on the 16th floor of the hotel looking over the Charles river. Not a bad view as you can tell from the photo!. Of course I had to restrain my figures (and myself) from just flying off into the wild blue yonder. There was a wide range of art including paintings, sculptural work (favorites: steam punk sculpture by Butch Honeck - won best of show)and “Portal” by Tamara Gurevitz), jewelry (including Kendra Tornheim’s keys) costumes, and more. This year’s artist guest of honor was: Sarah Clemens . Panel discussions were primarily on the first and second floors, with vendors set up in rooms on the 3rd floor. So took effort to check out the art show on 16. Next year Arisia is moving to the Westin Waterfront where there will be more space. Since I wanted to attend panels, I chose not to be in the art show instead of being a vendor. My aim was to let folks see my work who don’t regularly attend the fine craft shows I do. Sales in the art show were via quick sale or silent auction slips. Most items purchased were lower end, but not exclusively. I opted to bring mostly med/large pieces to show range of work rather than consider what items might actually sell. I have had one post con order which pleased me. Next year’s artist guest of honor is glass artist Josh Simpson which could pull in more of the craft artists I know.

Once set up, I was free to attend panels. This post would be much too long to describe all possibilities since scheduling begins Friday evening and goes night and day through Monday afternoon, but here is a brief list of some of the panels I attended: Filk 101; Movie Year in Review, Non-Standard Fantasy, Tools for Digital Art, Interstitial Fiction:Dancing Between Genres; Inherent Darkness of Fairy Tales, Creature and Character, Faeries of Color: Tales of the Fae beyond Europe, Myth and Folklore in Fantasy, Kick-Ass Moms (in fiction). Sat. eve I stayed around for the Masquerade since I had missed it at Dragon*Con (fun costumes and skits - tiny kids to experienced performers...not quite as many extraordinary costumes as at Dragon*Con...though I did like the “Mother Nature” costume with decorated pg. belly), went to readings (by Shira Lipkin and others) and attended the Carl Brandon Society ceremony where awards were given to Andrea Hairston (for her novel, Mindscape) and to Nnedi Okorafor for The Shadow Speaker. They also read from their books. I had connected with Andrea during earlier panels and will definitely stay in touch. I’m reading Mindscape now (love hearing Andrea’s voice as I read) and look forward to picking up Nnedi’s books - Zahrah, the Windseeker as well as The Shadow Speaker and seeing how she integrates some of the elements of the Nigerian folks tales her parents and grandparents told her. In Zahrah there is a flying girl - so naturally it is high on my reading list.

Other people I enjoyed getting to know at Arisia : Daniel Rabuzzi (on a lot of the myth and folklore panels. I picked up his new book: The Choir Boats) and his wife and master wood carver, Deborah Mills . Oh yes, I also attended the Arisia corporate meeting, representing the Board of the Interstitial Art Foundation. The IAF applied to Arisia for a grant to help with the publication of Interfictions 2 and our outreach. It was awarded, and a check written right on the spot!

All in all......a very full and energizing weekend...brimming with creative energy, challenge, and fun. Not long ago, I had never heard about the world of Cons - never guessing it was so extensive and pervasive - literary , sci fi, fantasy, faerie...and on and on. Just shows what stepping outside one’s box can reveal! I’m still sorting out which if any make sense for me. My favorite “con” type experience still remains Mythic Journeys 04 in Atlanta put on by the Mythic Imagination Institute:
That was where I felt most at home. I’m still hoping another such event will occur.

After the con (and an equally intriguing Art Salon held in a house up the street on Monday) I returned to my dining-room-dominating dragon!...Next post, back to the dragon!!!

Peace and onward, Wendy

P.S. - All the artist above have websites. I'm still trying to figure out how to
put links into my please google them yourselves until I figure all this
out! Help with this anyone??

Friday, January 15, 2010

First a 4' dragon, now on to 8'!

Last February a couple in Baltimore asked me to create an eight foot leather and textile Asian dragon for them - to wrap around the outside of the metal spiral staircase that goes from their bedroom to their work loft in their condo near the Inner Harbor. I had broken my wrist badly in early February so wasn't able to begin immediately....or even soon. Turns out the Drs. were correct - it does take 6-12 months for complete recovery. Wrist and hand are strong and so my dreams about this dragon are becoming manifest. I started by making a 4 foot one of leather to work out some ideas. I wet-formed rawhide for spokes and claws. I took it to
Dragon Con and to other shows in the Fall. The image here is of four foot long Zaltana, the dragon.

Now on to the 8 feet creature! Some issues:
I had to convince my leather supplier to bring in the leather I needed - by offering to purchase almost the entire order shipped from Japan. It's finally in the studio.
I had to create a work space - my studio is far from spacious. It's in two small rooms formerly occupied by three of our children, now grown an leading their own lives. So I've taken over our dining room. Guess we won't plan any dinner parties for a while. (House is too chilly for that anyway!). Wire armature is around 8 1/2 feet long. Creature stands on our dining table, just allowing me to move around it.
I still have to decide on exact textiles I will be using for it's belly (some brought back from Asia by the couple for the project.)
Early next week will make the large rawhide spokes and claws. I'm working on the wooden parts of the head. Asian dragons have BIG heads! I'll probably make ceramic eyes.
I plan on doing considerable beading.
Finally, I have to make sure I can actually transport it to Baltimore....hopefully at the time of the American Craft Show in Baltimore in late February....
Stay tuned....I'll share images along the way!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A New Decade - a New Blog!

Welcome 2010! A new decade - a time for new starts, new promises and new adventures.

And - Welcome to all the family and friends who have encouraged me to face this brave new world we coexist in and walk down more electronic pathways by adding a blog to my website

My hopes for this blog:
To connect and interact more closely with those who find themselves on similar paths filled with myth, story, and art which lives in between traditional categories. (I hope to get some good conversations going.)
To share bits of wisdom acquired over the 40 + years I’ve been in the profession of making and selling my art.
To allow those who have taken different roads to glimpse the wonder filled, and often bumpy road we navigate.
To give insights into the way my work is created, where and from whom I find inspiration and challenge.
To share information and stories from shows, adventures and travels.
To let folks know of the pieces or stories I’m working on.
To encourage creativity in all fields, not just artistic ones
To demonstrate the joy and importance of working in ones community to support the arts.

My promises:
To post a blog entry once a week, if possible. (A bit more frequent to start...but I’m trying to be realistic - I do prefer being in my studio to typing at a computer.)
To respond to comments, questions, thoughts stirred up by my blog

My questions::
What would you like to see on this blog?
What questions do you have about my work, or supplies (I’m glad to share sources!)
Other thoughts?

Thanks for joining me on this journey. Here we go!...Wendy