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


  1. thank you, once again, for taking me on your adventures! how interesting & exciting!

  2. I found one of the Infinity planets at Josh's GOH talk! I'm still up in the air about it, as you might be able to tell. ;-)
    I loved seeing your work again, and your piece deserved the blue ribbon.