Thursday, August 19, 2010

Joan Rasmussen and Wendy Hill at Ann Arbor

At each show in which I participate, I hope
to meet artists I have not encountered on the
road before. Two such artists I had the opportunity
to find on the "path" this year in Ann Arbor were
Joan Rasmussen,
and Wendy Hill,

Joan's booth was just a couple down from mine:
She creates articulated figures full of humor and fun
by combining original ceramic elements with found objects.
I loved the way she used chalk to write the
descriptions on the walls!!

Here are a couple closeups of fun, colorful pieces:

Joan calls her studio "Sum of its parts Studio". She
writes: "as a native of New York City, one of my
earliest realizations was that we are one of many. My
approach to art and the figure incorporates this awareness.
With each new piece I draw upon a limitless resource of
characters encountered. Often, the end results are
compilations of traits or features from persons with whom
I’ve crossed paths; sometimes real, sometimes imagined,
and sometimes I’m unsure."

One look at Wendy Hill's booth at Ann Arbor
and you'll immediately understand my attraction
to the work! It is filled with wings, myth and mystery.

All the images were drawn and carved by Marvin, who
sadly left this world in 2003. Wendy's contribution was
the printing and hand coloring with watercolors. Together
they sold their limited edition fine art block prints at shows
for many years. Happily for us, Wendy continues printing
and coloring and bringing them to the public. Many
consist of intricate assembled hand colored pieces.
Here is a favorite..with wings and central face.
(My apologies for my reflection!)The pieces in the booth
were beautifully framed. All are full of story!!

The title of this is "She climbs through"...hmmm
to what? to where? I was definitely tempted by
this piece:

Check out Wendy and Marvin's website for many more images
and themes!

I hope everyone has had a summer filled with
savoring art!

Journey on! Wendy

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Felt and Sculpture at Ann Arbor - Miriam Carter and Kimberly Willcox

One of the best aspects of doing art shows is connecting
with artist friends and checking in re life and art.
Many of us have grown up together as a craft community,
participating in the same shows for 20-30+ years. I
love seeing the artists I know come up with new ideas,
push creativity a bit further. In turn I return from
shows more committed than ever to strive forward myself,
stepping even deeper into the sea of creative energy out
there and seeing where it might take me. We also check in
with each other personally. Since we live scattered around
the U.S. and beyond, shows are the one place we can touch
base in a non virtual way. Facebook, blogs, emails and
phone calls are great, but for me, none can replace the
importance of being in a person's physical presence.

Two of the artists I was able to talk to a bit at Ann Arbor
and whose work I admire fantastically are Miriam Carter
and Kimberly Willcox.

Miriam and I have known each other for many years, but over
the past couple years have connected on a deeper level of
spirit and art. Here she is at Ann Arbor:

I've had the opportunity to spend some time with Miriam in
her amazing woodland home in New Hampshire, appreciating
the care she has put into the home and landscaping and
just sharing time. She comes from a long family tradition
of felting. Her scarves, hats, and garments are a gorgeous
fun sensuous treat!

Also, Miriam has been my felting mentor. Her teaching and
encouragement to "play" helped me learn all sorts of
hand felting techniques some of which have been incorporated
into my work. An example - the nuno felted silk wings and
"flames"of this phoenix I created, titled "The Rising":

Kimberly Wilcox:
was also in Ann Arbor. The imagery, tactile perfection,
and imagination of kimberly's sculpture amaze me
more every time I see her work. Kimberly describes
her work as a "contemporary spin on primitive form".

Kimberly writes: "My ideas stem from the world around
me, a blend of conscious and sub-conscious imagery."
She works in many media, but at Ann Arbor she exhibited
her three dimensional figures from transformed materials.

Hopefully the snapshots above will encourage you to check
out her website. The stories and explanation of her
sculpture are definitely worth savoring as well as the
excellent photos. Unfortunately, while at Ann Arbor
Kimberly and Kevin received a call informing them that
their Florida workshop had a bad fire. A lot of us have
experienced fires over the years, so we know the
challenges this presents. We artists are a resilient
lot, and know they will get through this as they have
other disasters, but our sympathy goes out to them.
They have posted a way to help on their website.

Next post - two new-to-me artists I met at Ann Arbor

Journey on! Wendy

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Stories and dragons at Ann Arbor Art Fair

Snarval and I drove to the Ann Arbor Art Fair
where we shared conversation and stories with customers and
other artists July 20-24. The Painted Room by Elizabeth Erdrich
on CD helped with the 14 hour drive there and The Magicians by
Lev Grossman on the way back. My booth location was under a
huge tree and thanks to a nearby flower bed, I was able to
open one side altho I "technically" did not have a corner.
For the first time,I had the show provide the tent for me.
The tent was sturdier and more waterproof than the one I would
have borrowed from a friend. Since I don't do many outdoor
shows, I do not have one of my own right now. Images below are
two versions of the booth. The wind picked up requiring the
phoenix and other winged creature to be moved. They enjoyed
flying around, but not everyone loved them jumping into their

I asked folks who visited the booth to share any ideas they
had about Snarval's story. Water dragon, fire dragon, lava
dragon were species suggested. Considering how much water we
experienced during the show, I'm leaning toward water variety.
We had rain 3 of the 4 days, with torrential downpours two eves
closing the show a bit early. Gee, wonder why I'm not too partial
to outdoor shows. I thought about removing Snarval from the
booth one night, but decided he would protect everything.
Seems he is a good protector since the 60-70 mile/hr winds
didn't develop either night they were forecast. The tornado
siren went off requiring us all to seek shelter one eve, but no
tornado arrived. Weather the first day, Wednesday, was
beautiful and nicer on Saturday than expected with clear skies
to pack up. So all in all not bad..another show survived!

I love engaging folks at shows and Snarval certainly drew folks
into the booth. One young person came up with the idea that
perhaps Snarval used to be a hot dog, went into a time machine
and came out a dragon. Another thought perhaps as a lava dragon
he was burned and needed a mask over his head. There seemed to
be a predominance of people who felt Snarval was a he rather than
a she. One young man had a discussion with me about bi-gender
snails. Another storyline offered was Snarval had been evil and
shooting fire inappropriately so a wizard made Snarval's head full
of holes so he could not breathe fire any more. One child was
sure he could explain the look of Snarval's head. It was obvious
that Snarval had gone into a log and become stuck. You have to
love what thoughts attending art fairs stirs up!

Speaking of stories and storytellers, I met some wonderful ones
at the Ann Arbor show. Two of my nest dwelling story nurturers
went home with story creators. One of the major reasons
I still go to shows is to see the creatures which leave
leave my studio find their friends. As I have said before,
once I've finished a piece, I know it belongs to someone else.
My job is to help that connection. I'm a strong believer that
art objects have an energy of their own and reach out. Seeing
that connection occur is magical.

Because I was at the show by myself, I wasn't able to wander
and savor all the art of the 4 simultaneous shows in Ann Arbor.
The show is beautifully run with lots of volunteer help,
offering short breaks,water,glasses and ice, but I still
had to stick pretty close by. But I was able to discover
a couple new (to me) artists whose work I love, and
connected with a couple long time friends. Next posts
will be about those artists.

Journey on! Wendy