Friday, January 28, 2011

Interstitial arts and preparation for Florida symposium: Lovefest2011

As mentioned in my last post, on Sunday, Jan. 16, the Board of
the Interstitial Arts Foundation met at our house for an all day
planning meeting. Since we are scattered across the country,
our monthly meetings are teleconferences, but we try to meet
face to face at least once a year. Pictured above from left to right:
Ellen Kushner, Delia Sherman, Larissa Niec, Katya Pendill,
GeoffreyLong, Erin Underwood and below myself and Felice
Kuan with Deborah Atherton - via paper drawing and iphone.
It is a fascinating group to work with as you can see if you go
on to the IAF website and click on "about" and "team":
We spent the meeting visioning IAF's future and elected
Larissa and Felice as new IAF Bd. President and Vice
President. (Ellen and Delia, co-founders of IAF decided
it was time for them to step down from offices. )
I joined the Board in 2006 with Ellen and Delia's
encouragement after discussions at Mythic Journeys in
Atlanta. I've loved being pushed to think outside the craft
show/art box and have learned a great deal about the world
of writers, use of technology, and realized more than ever just
how many creative individuals seem to thrive in the interstices
of art! The IAF does a good job of encouraging me to explore
realms outside my comfort level -those places where learning

Next weekend in Winter Park Florida I will be venturing
into such a world. I'm participating in a conference
organized by Florida based Gladdening Light called;
Lovefest: A symposium of Art and Faith
As you will see if you click on the link, they have invited
progressive Christian theologian, Marcus J. Borg
to lead the conference. In addition, four artists have been
invited to participate to share our views of the
interconnection of art and spirit. Painter,
Diane McPhail, textile artist, Sonja Weber, singer
Virginia Shenck, and I will be on a panel moderated
by Jan Richardson Saturday
afternoon. Later, each of us will present a 1 1/2 hour session
exploring our creative journeys through image, movement
(Sonja uses yoga) and song (Virginia) reflecting on sacred
influences, mentors and inspiration.

I've been reading a lot of Borg to have a frame of
reference for the conference. Since I quickly saw that
understanding the metaphors underlying stories
was crucial to his view of religion, I knew this is someone
I will enjoy getting to know. On Sunday he will talk about
"Thin Places" - where the worlds of reality and non-material
reality meet and the veil between is lifted. It has occurred
to me that it is in those thin places that many writers,
singers, dancers, artists thrive...not unlike the interstitial
spaces the IAF talks about. As I look over my life and
my work, I realize it is in exactly those thin places that
I feel most at to spirit and material reality
at the same time.

When trying to explain my art, I often think of
Isadora Duncan's quote: "If I could tell you what it meant,
there would be no point in dancing it."...but next weekend
I will try to use both words and art. I'll definitely report back
in my next blog post.

Journey on!....Wendy

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Arisia and a ribbon for Wudaineon

Jan. 14-17, I participated in Arisia "New England's largest and
most diverse Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention" This year
it moved to the Boston Waterfront Westin from the Cambridge
Hyatt providing more space...but also some rather confused
participants trying to navigate the hotel..and some surprised/
startled sedate hotel staff confronted by costumed attendees.
(Not as high a percentage in costume as at Dragoncon. But
quite a few none the less. Attendance is around 5000.)

You never know what you might come across at these cons.
I was intrigued by this sculpted "Cast Iron Theater" piece by
Hilary S. L. Scott set up between the art show and dealer tables
area. See if you can guess what it is actually made of:

For a glimpse into the world of the imaginative soul (a
former professor of political theory) who created it
and MANY other cool things, check out Hilary's website: He's located in Somerville MA .
I'm definitely going to try to connect with him!

I set up at the art show as I did last year. When I went to
pack up unsold items on Sunday evening, I was surprised to
discover a big blue ribbon next to Wudaineon the gentle
dragon. It was for "Best 3-D" art piece. Wudaineon
seemed very pleased!

This year, I was a panelist for various panels: "Interstitial
Arts: A Discussion"; "Fostering Creativity"; "3-D Art Basic
Materials and Methods (covering electronic and physical
3-D);"Paths for Professional Artists" and I led a "Working
with clay" Crafts for Adults workshop.

One of the fun aspects of being on panels, is learning about
new materials, ideas etc. Well known illustrators and animators
Brianna and Frank Wu were on the 3-D art panel. It was
fascinating to see the programs and technology they work with.
(Of course it convinced me more than ever that I like to use
physical materials. I couldn't imagine sitting at a computer for
the hours necessary to do computer animation!)Brianna and
Frank are working on a video game for an ipad based on her

Jen Hunter was assigned to help out for the clay sculpting
workshop and via emails before the show, convinced me that
folks might want to create something they could keep. That
led me to investigate paperclay. I knew that fantasy artist
Forest Rogers ( sculpts with paperclay.
and wanted to see what it was like to work with. I bought two
varieties from the site: I purchased
some of their "creative paperclay" and the slightly harder
"diamond" version. Participants seemed to like the feel
and manageability of the paper clay and the detail it could
handle. It air dries to a hard surface which can be easily
painted. You can add to a piece already dry by putting on
a bit of moisture and adding more paperclay. I still cling to
my preference for natural clay...but always good to learn
about new materials. Might try some out with the after
school kids I work with. Here are two sweet items made
by participants in the workshop:

It's fun to experiment outside your field. The mini boot
(1.5"x 2.5") is by writer Delia Sherman ( )
and the head by writer Sarah Smith ( )
At Arisia, I picked up Sarah's new book The Other Side of Dark,
a historical mystery involving the old Pinebank mansion in
Jamaica Plain, MA. I had the treat of reading the manuscript
before publication so was especially pleased to see it in its final
book form. I definitely recommend it as an intriguing read!

The Arisia staff ended up providing self-hardening clay as
well so some participants sculpted with that. Bears seemed
a theme for one table. The woman's shirt seems to help
explain their choice!

For those who just wanted to strickly "play" I also
provided some of my low fire white clay...

Glass artist, Josh Simpson was the Artist Guest of Honor
this year at Arisia. I've exhibited at shows with Josh for many
years and know that besides being an amazing artist, he's
a great story teller and photographer so I made sure to
take some friends to his lecture on Saturday night. He talked
about his Infinity project. For 25 years he's been placing
or getting friends and others to hide small glass planets
around the globe hoping to mystify future archeologists!
(Check out his website for a full story of the project: ) He ended his lecture with photos sent
that day by his wife, astronaut Katie Coleman, from the
International Space Station where she is on a long duration
mission. We marveled at how technology keeps families
together even out of our atmosphere...and saw how gummy
bears are eaten in space!

On Sunday the Interstitial Arts Foundation Executive
Board met at our house...more about that in my next post.

Journey on! Wendy

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Happy New Year -First Night Parade

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! May 2011 be filled with adventure,
fun, and peaceful quiet moments for reflection...

For several years now I've co-facilitated a project with
Hawthorne Youth and Community Center in Roxbury leading
up to participation in Boston's family friendly First Night
Parade. This year as last I collaborated with local artist
Lisa Lee. We work with the after school kids on Wednesdays
all Fall and lead community workshops on Saturdays.
Participation with HYCC on First Night has been a
neighborhood tradition for many years. I really enjoy the
multi-generational aspect of the community involvement.

This year our project theme was "High Flying Flags".
The challenge - what material would be 5 year old to adult
friendly, hold up if rain or snow and offer good canvases for
creative energy. After considering everything from ripstop
nylon to interfacing, we settled on room darkening shade
material - light,easy to cut,no hemming, waterproof, and
impermeable so that designs could be created on both sides
using paint,pen, markers, stitching, lots of glitter and glue.
Here are some of the kids starting their flags:

The idea was to have the flag in some way represent
the individual making it...Some kids opted for nods to
national origins,others names of their school , their
passions or tributes to special people who had died.

Some children went for the simple,

others really delved into the
this young lady who LOVES layering.

Lisa and I made flags too..She likes asparagus and
motorcycles. Mine, of course, needed a dragon:

The nun from the convent up the street who also works
with the kids, made this beautiful one.

Besides the individual pieces, we always make a large banner
or other art piece for the parading. This year kids and adults
helped create a two sided 4'x9'banner. The First Night parade
is always about LOTS of glitter and sparkle and hot glue!

On New Year's eve afternoon, we set at the Hynes auditorium
and put on finishing details:

And after months of creation - we march!

I forgot to say the kids also decorated plastic capes...
a favorite of the boys:

Fortunately this year the weather was warm. We were 48
strong in the parade!

We're already thinking about First Night 2012..Lights?
Pinwheeels? Proposals are due in April!

But next up for me is participation in the Arisia
art show and panels there : -
Boston Westin Waterfront Jan. 14-17.

Journey on! Wendy