Monday, November 21, 2011

Creative synergy....American Craft Show NYC - Woodrow Nash,Njee Dorsey and others

 During our recent Italian adventure, I thought a lot about
artistic synergy... about what it must have been like
during Renaissance days in Florence with Michelangelo,
Brunelleschi, Ghiberti and so many others working, competing,
and challenging each other.  The air had to be thick with
creativity. (I love that 27 year old Michelangelo just saw
that large block of "flawed" marble and asked if he could
carve it...and David emerged...and reading that Brunelleschi,
designer of the dome of the Duomo in Florence, was originally
trained as a goldsmith!) I thought about the atmosphere
of the early 1900's in Paris with Picasso, Diego Rivera,
Cocteau, Modigliani and so many others interacting. The
ponderings helped me understand why I still enjoy and find
the energy to do art shows.  We go to sell and present our work,
but we also show up to be a part of that synergy.  Many of us
work in our own studios. We don't hang out together at a cafe
in Montmatre, but we do come together at shows.

For over 40 years now, shows have been an important part of
my artistic life.  They are the gathering places of community
where we connect and meet and are places of challenge,
creative competition and inspiration.

I promised images from our Italian venture and will post them
soon.  But before that - I want to share images and websites
from some of the artists who were present at the American
Craft Show NYC this past weekend who inspired me to
want to work harder than ever to create vision and perfect
techniques.(Check out the show's website to savor all the

The image above is of Woodrow Nash with one of his sculptures.
His website: explains the vision of 
this extraordinary artist and is filled with images.  Definitely
check it out - you won't be disappointed!

Another artist I enjoyed meeting was Najee Dorsey:   Najee hails from Atlanta.
Here is an image of his booth:
I wasn't surprised to hear that he regularly participates in New Orleans
Jazzfest.  He's one of the juror's for the Congo Square art this year.
He incorporates bottle caps in some of his collage paintings.

The show had a wonderful range of work.  Take for instance
Ben Joyce's Abstract Topophilia inspired by aerial maps:
Ben's website:

And the sculpture of self-proclaimed "outsider" artist: Pierre-Henry Guerard:

Born in France and living both in France and Morocco, Pierre Henry's
studio is now in Brooklyn.  His website:

And for still more contrast, the intriguing abaca paper illuminated
sculptural lighting of Robert Ostermeyer and Riki Moss:
Their website: Riki,a long time ceramic sculptor,
is  exploring the possibilities of paper sculpture, lighting and even has a
published novel. What did I say about creative energy swirling?

Shows offer a chance to meet new friends, to reconnect with old friends
and often foster thought provoking conversation.  Of course another
fun aspect is seeing  my  creatures  "find" their owners.  This afternoon
I delivered two pieces to a customer who runs a small neighborhood
cafe. He said as soon as he saw the pieces, he knew they were meant to
go home with him. He has done a lot of things in the business world,
but at this point in his life is focused on building community via
running the cafe(bakes brownies every night, and up at 5AM every
morn to get everything ready) and offering reasonable rental housing.
We talked about the importance of being "present" wherever one lives.
His familyroots go back over 100 years in the neighborhood...seems
like a very good new home for those Star Wanderers!

Wishing everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving surrounded by family
and post, some of the Italian venture images.

Adventure on!   Wendy

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Adventures and first and second honeymoons

As I mentioned in my last post, I've been off on an adventure
delightfully off the grid for three weeks wandering in Italy.
After 46 years together, my husband and I decided it was time
for a second honeymoon.

Below is a photo of our vehicle for out first honeymoon,
a 1947 school bus which had been converted into a camper.
(It was still yellow and black) We were married in Palo Alto,
CA, drove up along the California/Oregon coast camping on
 the way. Then we headed East to Boston for graduate school.

Hmm I look a little younger!

Only it was a bit more of an adventure
than anticipated.  To make a long story
short, after 7 breakdowns we  called
the couple who hired us to drive the bus
East and they agreed we should
abandon it in the Wisconsin Dells.

Here is Jon,  also looking rather young, changing
a  tire. We were given the spare at our reception!

One of our breakdowns was in Haugan,
Montana where  we waited two days in
the snow for a part for the bus... and
visited its Silver Dollar bar. Someday
we'll have to go back to see if we can
find our  names next to the silver dollar
we gave them.  The Lincoln Silver Dollar
bar is still there in Haugan.

We eventually made it to Boston (after an additional breakdown
of a new rental van) and figured having  survived the honeymoon,
we ought to be in good shape for a long term marriage. Which, as
it turns out was a good prediction . The honeymoon was also a
good predictor of all the car trouble we would have through
the years.

So back to our decision to have a second honeymoon -
Jon studied in Florence, Italy, with Stanford's program
winter/spring '62-63, then hitched hiked around the country
for another 6 weeks and has  wanted to to return ever since.
I studied in Tours, France,  with Stanford Spring/Summer '63
and stayed in Paris with a family Fall '63. Our group had
traveled to Italy. (Jon and I  hadn't met yet.) We'd thought
about returning to Europe together, but somehow life
had involved travel elsewhere. Recognizing we weren't
getting any younger and that no new grandbabies were
going to be born this Fall, nor other major family events
happening, Jon looked at my show schedule and began
to plan.  He secured a flight via frequent flier miles and
then started researching agriturismos and B&B's where
we could stay for a reasonable price. We opted against
camping this time and chose a  smaller vehicle:

We rented a Fiat 500 which we started calling our
“Topolino Grigio” (little gray mouse). It's the car on the right
Although a couple times, we wished we had the one on the left!
We brought along a GPS whom we named Matilda. She didn't
always appreciate the detours we chose, but she kept our stress
levels down. Jon enjoyed the car and did all the driving, which
definitely kept my anxiety down.

Our plan - to spend most of the time in Tuscany and
Umbria, revisiting some of Jon’s favorite places in Florence
and exploring the medieval hill towns; then drive down to the
Pulgia region so I could see the trulli, magically looking stone
structures which I was sure must  have been designed by elves
or dwarves.

For quite a while, I have been aware of the influence  my studies
in Europe had on my artwork, but this trip made me realize the
depth of influence.   Mythic creatures and figures and their stories
are omnipresent -  in sculpture, in paintings, in frescoes on walls,
on  ceilings. The sound of  vehicles and footsteps on the ancient
streets  and stairs sing out tales. The  intriguing doors - small,
large, and huge ask you to imagine the tales of all  those who
have walked through  them or  lingered behind.  The dimly lit
alleys, narrow  streets, brick  arches  between buildings,
gateways leading in and out of walled cities, towers overlooking
the countryside, cities perched  on one hillside after another call
out stories.

In my next few posts, I will share some of the images of our
trip, artists I met and more of my thoughts.  This was not a trip
to seek  inspiration or with a specific agenda.  It was mostly just
to “be” together, to wander, to meander, to discover.  But of
course, it is just such times that can often stir up the most insight
and surprises.

But before writing more... I'm off to participate in the American
Craft Show NYC at the Javits Center this weekend.  All info   My booth in #166.
If you're in the area, please drop by!!

Adventure on!  Wendy