Saturday, October 30, 2010

Studio nests and altars

Some artists work in pristine open spaces or so I hear.
I don't know any such artists. My friends seem to have
studios and work spaces filled with bits and pieces of
work and life. "You work in a nest" is how folks have
described my space. It is true my studios have almost
always been upstairs, perched amidst the trees. Here
is a short photo tour of where I work. You'll notice
I didn't make any attempts to clean up before inviting
you in. You're getting a look at reality. My studio is
in the house where we live. It used to be on the third
floor next door, but there was a house fire, so I moved
the studio into our house. As our children grew up and
moved out, my hubby and I took over their bedrooms.
My main studio is in a room at the top of our stairs which
we divided into 1/3 and 2/3 for three children. I've
left it divided.
So here we go, climb our stairs with me:

and walk in - that is a mirror between the two spaces.

My work table is straight ahead along with shelves,
bins of leather, inventory, and a shore photo titled "the
aesthetics of chaos"...seems appropriate!

This is the wall I face when I work:

The poster is of :"The Tate by Tube" - given
me by one of our daughters when we were visiting
my costume designer brother in London in 1989.
The shelf I face when I work contains this small studio
"altar" - each item has a story and special meaning.
I find that most people and perhaps especially artists
gather small "altars" whether they call them that
or not. My studio walls have some other altar areas.

Below is the right side of the workspace. Upper left
shows the opening to the larger part of the divided room.

I have a fondness for images of older women!

Turn around (carefully it's a small space) and you'll see
my view outside facing the street. I haven't repainted
since our daughter slept here when young.

To demonstrate how long we've lived here. That oak tree
in the background was a tiny seedling that we let grow
instead of pulling it out. Years do fly by!

Walk around the wall, into the larger studio room. There
used to be loft beds in here, but now we just keep a single
bed for extra sleep space for friends and family. The window
straight ahead looks out on our greenhouse where I spray
paint and do felting. Yes, that is a big 4'x5' nest perched by
the window. It is connected to a long mythic folk tale I am

This is the reverse side of the work table wall - The costume
designer figure is a tribute to my brother. He died of AIDS
in 1990 along with so many other creative friends. I like
having photos of him in the studio..spurring me on.

To the right as you walk in is a wall with shelves with beads
and miscellaneous tiny things waiting until their creature or
figure calls them!

The wall is filled with tickets from shows, photos
of friends dear and lost, a favorite redwoods photos,
event buttons and a bit of everything else.

The greenhouse is down the hall. You can see it
is a multi-use space. There is some Swiss chard
growing in there now plus herbs drying.

I use the far end. Someday we might even finish the
space! My husband's business is creating beautiful
wood and glass sunrooms....only he finishes the ones
for other people. Old story of the shoe maker and his
children...Of course I could paint the walls if it
bothered me.

Finally - one last piece of equipment: my
kiln in our basement:

There you have it. The aesthetic chaos from
which my creatures emerge!
Hope you have enjoyed the tour...
Next week...images of new work for NYC!

Journey on! Wendy

Friday, October 22, 2010

Myth in Metal at Paradise City Arts Festival: Robert Alan Hyde and Mark Groaning

As promised last week, more mythic work from the
Paradise City Arts Festival, only this time in metal.
First,Robert Alan Hyde :
Robert is on the right in the photo above. This was the
first time I met Robert and saw his truly astounding
work. Arlo Guthrie has referred to Robert as a "living
master". I was drawn to his sculptures such as this

and to his mythic masks:

Here is a quote from Robert's website:
"With torch, steel, copper and brass, Robert sketches a
unique vision- blurring the boundaries between reality
and fantasy.His forms, founded in his acute observations
of humans, animals and nature, are shaped with masterful
skill— enlivened with enchantment and imagination."
Definitely check out his website to see the amazing range of
his work and vision. And if you can, see him and his work
in person at the November Paradise City Arts Festival show
in Marlboro:
Robert won "best of show" for his sculpture in the
sculpture garden in Northampton.

Another metal sculptor at the show with imagination
and vision was Mark Groaning:

A visit to Mark's website:
will show you all the materials he uses as both a painter
and a sculptor....expressing himself "as the Universe
moves me to do so." There is a cool video on
his website demonstrating the range and fun.
I, of course, focused on his dragons climbing and
soaring in Northampton:

Mark will be also be exhibiting in the November
Paradise City Arts Festival show in Marlboro.

Inspired by all the amazing individuals and art in
Northampton, time to get back to my work - a new
dragon and evolving new species. My next exhibit:
The American Craft Show NYC Nov. 19-21:

Journey on! Wendy

Friday, October 15, 2010

Mythic creatures at Paradise City Arts Festival - Lisa Hey and Jillian Barber

It was gorgeous weather last weekend in Northampton for the
Paradise City Arts Festival. Crowds and sales were up from
last year, so the atmosphere was positive and energetic.

Snarval, the dragon was there...looking for other
mythic friends. We definitely found some!

Lisa Hey, who was exhibiting for the first time at the
Paradise City Arts Festival, had a booth not far from
mine. It was filled with mythical felt sculptures.

Lisa's magical one-of-a-kind sculptures are created
completely through the time consuming process of needle
felting, using the sturdy built up felt as the armatures.
Her blending of story, mystery and vibrant color is a wonder.

I loved the rabbits with antlers! They reminded me of some
of the characters in the tales my Dad used to tell!
To learn more about Lisa, her process and work, go to her
Etsy shop at: Or better yet, go
see her in person at the next Paradise City Arts Festival show in
Marlboro, MA in November. Info
She told me about a wall piece she was working on for
that show which sounded astounding!

Shows are also about connecting with old friends.
Jillian Barber, and I used to show at the
same fairs years ago, but our paths hadn't crossed lately. Jillian
is both an award winning photographer and ceramic sculptor.
Fortunately we were able to reconnect last weekend. Jillian's
booth was filled with wonderful ceramic mythic creatures as well
as masks and other sculptures.

Her ceramic sculptures are intricately carved often
with textures of antique lace and shells, then painted
with under glazes and fired multiple times. I especially
loved these two creatures:

But it wasn't just women bringing along the myth
at this week's post will lift up two male
artists who added to the magic with their metal

Journey on!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A new series of figures begins -come to Northamtpon to see!

This coming weekend I'll be exhibiting at the Paradise
City Arts Festival in Northampton, MA. Details at:
The image above will be found in one of my new figures.

"Where do you get your ideas?" is a question I am often
asked. Usually I cannot pin point the source or kernel of
an idea. Often I just start playing with materials
and creatures emerge sometimes with complete stories.
I have found if you open yourself to the creative energy
swirling in the universe, it has a way of finding its
way of becoming manifest. Other times I sense when an
idea is brewing and am intrigued to see how it will evolve.

Such was the case after I saw this costume in the
Museo del Carnaval in Montevideo in April.

The human face peering out from the center of the over-sized
figure jostled loose the phrase "The eyes are the window to
the soul"...It sunk in and wouldn't let go. Then, I went to
the exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts here in Boston, "the
Secrets of the Tomb 10A". The eyes painted above the mythic
doorways to let the spirit of the departed pass through pulled
me in. I've also done a lot of thinking about how children
just want to be "seen". They want you to look in their eyes
and see inside. I realized eyes were definitely going to be
important in a new series of figures brewing.

I began playing. This was the first figure which began
to take shape:

The stone in the head and belly came from the beach in
Uruguay (as did the three stones in the three headed creature
shown in the last blog post.) I found the "eye" lying on my
shelf - part of a pin I had purchased long, long ago. I also
found the sack of crystals I bought when exhibiting at the
Boskone 47 nesfa convention last February. Here is the
finished head:

And finally the rest of the body...with the eye
peering out from the belly through beading...

What exactly is the figure's story, or even its name? I'm
still working on that, but I know it is just the start
of a series. Stay tuned...and if you're in the Northeast
please consider stopping by my booth #616 at the festival
this weekend in Northampton to see this new figure, its
three-headed friend, other creatures and leather books
and, of course, Snarval, the 6-foot leather dragon!

Next week I'll share some images from the Paradise
City show!

Journey on!