Friday, January 27, 2006

Grant Wood's American Gothic

Art comes to Town-
There's a lot to commend this community to the world. There are advantages to living here. But, I also have to admit that there are disadvantages as well. Not to this community in particular, but rural communities in general.
There just aren't any museums or truly cultural events here. It's just impossible for the children in this area to ever have a field trip to an art museum, a science museum, a trip to a symphony concert or opera. Our kids tend to go to places like the local amusement park because it's loosely based on life 100 years ago.
To address this, the music teacher at the primary building (k and 1st) has a Culture day. In the past, it's focused on a particular country and the students rotate to different stations. This is a day when cooperation between the teachers and volunteers are at it's highest. It takes lots of people to make something like this happen. I've been there every year, helping in, typically, the messiest areas, but definitely the art areas.
This year, she's doing, "The Museum of Arts and Sciences". She's asked me to create the art gallery. Typically, the art teacher would be doing this, but we have a new teacher this year and she didn't want to have anything to do with it. I'm happy to do it.
I'm doing it as I would like to see our art system in this district work. I am asking for help from all the other art teachers. I'm asking for participation from local artists. I'm taking this as the opportunity for the students to see art and objects they might not get to see in real life.
I'm planning on setting this up as I've seen major museums do, art from different cultures around the world. Objects from Asia, Europe, Africa, the Americas, as well as art from different time periods, including "famous" art, and then having local artists too.
I'm seeing how many pieces I can gather that are "copies" of famous art work. I know our local art guild had a challenge called, "inspired by the masters" in which the members had the ability to try copying a famous artists work to try to learn from the process. I am thinking a few of them would be willing to share theirs for that day. I asked one member about sharing some work, and she just handed over a $500 piece of art to me for this!
I'm making some copies myself here. I'm trying to do it cheaply a quickly, so I'm painting on foam core, and trying to come as close as possible to the oils. (yeah, right!) Hopefully, mixing a few of these in with the great art the locals do and the real objects from the different cultures, it will all look very convincing.
I asked the HS teacher if his students could make a mummy case for this project. I think it would make such an impact. As I was talking about the direction I want to go in, he mentioned wanting to bring his students over for it. Wow! That's what I wanted to hear!
I feel strongly about all this because I was raised in a rural area and never had the opportunity to visit museums. The first Museum I went to was the National Museum in London, a few days later, I was in the Lourve. The next museum I attended was the Met in NYC. I went from nothing to the Best. Since then, I've been to the Toledo art Museum, the Cleveland art museum,
the Chicago art institute and several other smaller museums around the country. I can't describe the feeling I get when I see a work of art that I've only seen in a book, or something so incredibly old, or something so unexpected.
I'd like this to be an example of cooperation between schools and community. I want this to be the best first chance a kid has to see some of these type objects. I want to use the friendships I've built over the years to make this the very best.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

I think experimenting is essential to discovering new ways to express yourself. I think either I have something (an altoid tin for example) and want to see what I could make from it. Or I have an art idea and I try to decide how to make it happen.
Today's experiments were a bit of both. I've been focusing my time lately on making some boxes. I had a candle holder that I thought I could work into a box design, sort of a pedestal for the box. Then, I thought it would be interesting to combine glass with it. So, I found some small pieces that fit (trimmed them a bit) foiled them and tried to solder them. I ran into problems right away. The stand was coated, it was gummy and didn't want to get off, not that I was sure I could solder that metal in the first place. I ended up with a big mess (kind of smelly too). I spent today with a failed experiment as the only result.
I still have the box and it's fine as it is. I don't have to have it on a pedestal, or I might find one I like better.
I still have a silver pedestal I'd like to play with and I have other box shapes I'm enjoying too. Right now, as my mind ponders my next quilt, this is a nice break. It's still fabric, but it's playing with it in a 3-D application, a different sort of game for my mind.

New Computer-
So, today we made a mistake about the time Delaney's basketball game started. We ended up there way too early, so, since there's nothing else to do, we went to Walmart to walk around. Well, Delaney's shoes needed replacing, so we did that. All of the kids have had a growth spurt, but this one went from a size 5.5 to 7 in a couple months. She's only 9 and is already wearing ladies size 7. Anyway, then I looked around at the craft section. The 4-H group has found a project leader for scrapbooking, and both girls signed up for it. I was browsing to see what's available locally.
This is totally off the topic, but I have a weakness for paper. I have quite a bit of different sorts stockpiled here because of it. There's something about a stack of new blank paper that just gives me a little thrill. I even love buying a package of computer paper. So, I saw some interesting mulberry papers there in the scrapbooking aisle that I was tempted by.
I saw some nice glass beads there that called to me, so I bought those.
My husband tracked me down to ask if I wanted a new computer. Well, how am I to answer that question? I really don't know anything about the hardware of a computer. I know how to use it, what I want to do with it, maybe some possibilities of things I'd like to get around to doing with it, but that's about it. So, I basically didn't say anything.
We went to the basketball game. I don't know if I've talked about this here, but I absolutely detest sports! I had a weak moment and allowed Delaney to sign up for it. So, I grind my teeth and watch and try to look like I'm enjoying it. She did well. Her team did well. My husband was , well, he's like this strange being these last few weeks. He's proud of her playing, he works with her on skills, he keeps track of what she does in the games, he calls his DAD and brags about her.
Yikes! He's like turning into a sports person or something!
Anyway, after all that excitement, we came home. I said, "well, if you think I'd notice something if I had a new computer, then ok". The next think I know, he told me he needed to check on his stores. That was fine with me, I was planning on some experimenting with some art ideas here at home. The next thing I know, he's calling me from Springfield and says he's bought me a better computer than we were looking at earlier at Walmart. I should start saving stuff I want to keep.
Well, I had some issues with that, so I wasn't far along by the time he came home. So, he hooked up something and cleared my HD onto it. Within a couple hours, he had the new computer up and running and everything I was saving back on the new computer. I have to say this is the smoothest transition I've had switching machines.
I do notice things are working much quicker. I'm still settling into my new "home" and I've yet to try some of the cool features I have now. I have an internal cd/dvd burner again. That cleared one thing off my desk. I have a tower again. That allowed my printer to sit back on the desk again. I have a new keyboard with some nice shortcut buttons too.
I have a new computer!

Friday, January 06, 2006

Getting back to work

The holidays are over and it's time to focus on the next goals I've set. I've been thinking about what sort of goals I want to accomplish this year. I've been thinking about a "master plan".
I think I have a good plan to decide on. This year, I want to try entering national quilt shows.
Every year, I hear about people getting in, or not, and thinking, "I'll try that" but forget to check on the deadlines of the shows when the next show's information gets posted online. So, step one was really paying attention to when those show's deadlines really are.
Another confusing thing is how many categories or size limits, etc... There are. It varies from show to show. This one has to be at least 80", and they mean that as width times height. Others give a size meaning total inches, other still say it can only be this long, but as wide as you want, others say it has to be this size period. So, basically, you have to make a quilt FOR each contest specifically.
Some shows have categories. That can be a problem at times. Sometimes it's easy, of course. It's a pieced quilt, an applique' quilt, or what have you. But, in the case of one I've done recently, It's a pieced AND applique'd quilt.But wait, it's even better. It's painted and embellished. It's couched and beaded. It's printed too. Luckily, in this case, there's no categories!
So, the application was mailed today and now I am at the mercy of the jurors who say if I get in or not. My goal was to get into this show. Not to win, just to get in. Not that winning wouldn't be cool, but I think, getting into the show is a good step forward for me.
Thinking about everything at this point. I met the goal of wanting to enter a show. I met the goal of actually making a quilt and getting it done. I met the goal of doing the paperwork involved. I met the goal of sending it off in the mail.
That's about all I can do to make this happen, it's in someone else's hands now. I can only sit and wait to find out if these jurors like the work or not.
That's a whole other can of worms to open. If I don't get in, does that mean my work isn't good or that these people didn't like it? I've heard tales of one jury turning a quilt down and another picking it, not only in the show but a prize winning quilt. So, that's a bridge I'll have to cross when the time comes.
In the meantime, I look towards my next step towards my goal. The next opportunity to make a quilt to enter in a show.