Monday, December 24, 2012

Use your hands.

"It is a tragedy of the first magnitude that millions of people have ceased to use their hands as hands. Nature has bestowed upon us this great gift which is our hands. If the craze for machinery methods continues, it is highly likely that a time will come when we shall be so incapacitated and weak that we shall begin to curse ourselves for having forgotten the use of the living machines given to us by God."

Mahathma Ghandi

Friday, December 7, 2012

Drawing Notes Dec. '12

The end of the semester is a little too intense for much drawing but here are some from my last few notes...

Henri says that this means its a Fact.

One Love.

For all of you theater buffs... 

Very large art donor... 

Old woman's face. (No, Jim, I didn't trace it.)

Painting the night sky... (2nd version. Inspired by you, Abigail.)

Wobbly cup (and some pertinent info about boards of directors) 

Saturday, December 1, 2012


Networking is essential to successful and satisfying work, especially for artists. Artists are often of the mindset that they are islands, plagued with the difficult task of doing it all themselves.

While self motivation and alone time with your craft are essential, collaboration and networking seem to be underrated in the minds of individual artists. Done right, networking can boost not hurt your artwork and mind set. In the words of Bill Withers, we all need someone to lean on. Help, encourage, and love and ask for it too. It may not shape up the way you expected, but great things are born from those situations.

This is a short but helpful article on networking. She focuses on women, but the basics are true for all.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Nothingness is useful...

We throw clay to shape a pot,
But the utility of the clay pot is a function 
of the nothingness inside it.

- Tao Te Ching
(pot by me!)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Creating during Graduate School

There is an elephant in my room. But its not grad school. Unlike this picture, the elephant in my room has been creativity. I was trying to ignore it. I was trying to pretend to be solely an academic. The elephant grew. My focus in Arts Management classes is on papers, projects, readings, and tests... as it should be. But recently, struggling with the lack of creative time, it was suggested that I find some sort of collaboration or accountability to try and help make the time.

Fortunately, around this same time, a fellow visual artist in my program and I started to share about this issue we both face. As we talked, we naturally began to collaborate and compare "notes," spurring each other on to draw and create. Our mediums and styles are so different. He works primarily in metals and his drawing style reflects the engraving principles in which he trained. It is inspiring to see his work and watch him create.

While it would be great to use this inspiration towards some interesting collaboration and work in ceramics, I don't have consecutive days to devote to pottery. Certain steps in the pottery process require consecutive days. So, until I get a handle on that, I've been drawing and creating in mixed media. While a bit rusty, I think I'm getting into somewhat of a rhythm. I'm trying to do anything with composition, color, and line, easing myself back into the world of creativity.

It is amazing how I try to be an island, and yet, how, over and over again I am shown that it is along side of others that we all really thrive. The act of reaching out, both to seek help and to support someone else, is essential, especially in the seemingly solo world of art and craft creation.

 Recent work in completed/progress:

Leaves and Leaf Stems, Book pages and Maps,  Paint and Paper.

Urban Population Map of the DC Area

Detail: Stack of stones. Each of these is labeled with location and date.
Detail: Stack of sticks. Each is labeled with location and date. 

Smooth round stones painted with acrylic paint.

A commission for Robin. Slate garden sign. 

Mini Chairs.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Time for more notes of a visual sort!

Perfect world according to my prof: Development and Marketing get married. 

Prospect research... Find them donors!

America might be headed off a fiscal cliff... 

Men. On necklaces. I want one. 

Organizational growth

A potter.

A strongman.

Wait. What?

Thursday, October 18, 2012


I am struggling ... I haven't thrown pottery on my wheel for over a year now. My Masters program, which is incredible and going to be a huge boost for me, is a business program.... Arts Management. Thats my priority as it should be. I need to have that forward thinking mind set.

But the lack of studio time is starting to wear me down. I am so enthralled with people and with learning new things... I am completely distracted by the new world here and I've lost the artistic orientation. I do love people but I am so in need of that alone time... I feel depleted.

Any thoughts? Advise? Readings? Words? Ways for a people lover to just say no?

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Class notes... sort of.

School started again!

Enjoy some doodles from class...

Fundraising class... can you tell? :)

Hardworking Picasso man.


Holding something crinkly. 

Fancy birds get the worms. 

Matisse inspired interior. 

His shoes. 

A fisherman finds an old friend.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Bikes in Madrid

Sustainable living is a topic of conversation around the globe... green is definitely the color of the decade. In this hue, bicycle shares, lanes, and shops are popping up all over the place as people seek an auto alternative, green-style. And, after reading Shop Class as Soulcraft,  the bike is looking much more attractive as a material possession that I can actually manage. (Read the book, its a good one.) 

Friends of mine, Reid, and his wonderful wife, Clara, live in Madrid. They are starting a very cool project. He called it a "project/space/shop dedicated to urban cycling..."

"The focus is practical, simple, and if possible cool-looking bicycles and accessories, coupled with a full-service workshop and strong focus on making available practical information for potential cyclists to make it easier to make the switch to a bicycle."

See the work in progress with a simple but inspiring video featuring obvious passion and skill.

The following is a translated excerpt from their business plan. So cool!

Buena Suerte, you two! 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Handmade. Local.

This video is beautiful. I love to watch the crafters' hands as they do what they do best. Plus, I'd like an old bike like that.

Stephen Kenn : Inheritance Collection from Process Creative on Vimeo.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Oh, that Sound Looks so Delicious!

I had the privilege of studying at an intensive fellowship program last year on the Eastern Shore. While there I wrote an essay and performed an experiential event of cross-sensory artistry. Sound complicated? Well, we humans are complicated!

The essay's foundation needed to be a question. My question: How can I, an artistically minded individual, properly and effectively bridge the gap between art and the non-artist? What is the missing piece that seems to be making that gulf wider and wider? How can I act not only as a translator but a motivator, a motivator to the non-artist to feel intrigued, accepted and enriched by all that art and beauty can offer?

The year was rich with discussion and I want to present you with some things and include you in my eventual findings.

Think about art. Does that word make you excited? Bored? Angry? Confused? There are so many controversies around that word. Lets step away from that word for a moment.

Think about a creative friend of yours. That one crazy friend whose brain just seems to endlessly come up with ideas, whose hands seems to make something out of nothing or something beautiful out of junk. Or that one friend who has incredible skills in decorating or throwing a themed party. What do they add to your life? They add interest. They add that other element that enlivens you. Those sorts of experiences make you feel something for which, at times, there are no words.

This brings us to our SENSES. We have 5 specified ones... Sight, Auditory, Touch, Taste, Smell. But there are more. What does it mean to have a sense of history, a sense of family, a sense of fear? We absorb an intense amount of nonverbal information. Not only that, but our senses play off of each other and change the experience. Smell connects to memory, sight to stomach, sound to taste...

Art is this multi-sensory experience ... like intense intellectual reading, conversation, or lecture, it brings us into another realm and makes us grow. Art plays upon our memories, our visions, our senses. Art is and always will be a part of us. I've written on this before (Touch, Language, Fluency) but am so intrigued by this idea that I want to keep revisiting and testing it out.

Here are two short articles about our senses crossing over each other and changing the whole experience.
Smells Like Bethoven  from the Economist. (Thanks to JJ)
What does Sweetness Sound Like? from the Food and Think Blog at the (Thanks to RCA)

I hope this idea wakes you up, if not to art, to the crazy awesome world we live in. Eventually, I think, you will begin to appreciate art's place ... a strong tool for waking you up and pulling you up. And the arguments about what it is? Just another bee in your bonnet.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sketches from Germany and Prague

I just returned from a fascinating trip to Berlin, Dresden, Leipzig, and Prague. My class, Museum Insights for Arts Managers, toured the cities and interviewed museum directors and curators. The resulting thoughts are still settling but here are some quick sketches among my pages and pages of notes from the trip. Descriptions are under each little sketch. 

The floor in the Neues Museum on Museum Island in Berlin.

A trip through the country-side. 3 different trees.

Steep A-line roofs. Tiny concrete dwellings.

A. Mucha and the Slovak Epic. Spanish Synagog details.

Raffael's Madonna and cherubs are so famous. The exhibit we saw in Dresden showed his work as well as pop cultural references to his work through the years... Including this funny cartoon of ladies studying his painting in the early 1900's.

The Alte Museum in Dresden had HUGE paintings. People were tiny in comparison.

Laying on the grass in the Teir Garden in Berlin looking up at a beautiful black and white tree.

Museum Island in Berlin. This is one side of the Bode Museum.

We met two local potters... this one I saw through a basement window. She was a character... swirls and squiggles follow her wherever she goes, I think. She wore a thick handmade dress over pants and a hand-knit sweater and stocking cap... She matched her whimsical pottery.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Salvador Dali on What's My Line!!! Hilarious!Especially around 6:55....

Drawing Life

Matisse. A video for the museum of modern art in Brisbon. Short and beautiful.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Little Vintage Inspiration

The 1920's....

Fashion: Keep your eye out for the clips of the woman around 1:55-2:10... Talk about back in style!
Motor Car Designed for Women: 1:10
Liberation from a prison of Hair: 2:12

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

“He’s a Good Fellow, and ’t will all be well.”

“Listen again. One Evening at the Close
Of Ramazan, ere the better Moon arose,
In that old Potter’s Shop I stood alone

With the clay Population round in Rows.
And, strange to tell, among that Earthen Lot
Some could articulate, while others not:
And suddenly one more impatient cried—
“Who *is* the Potter, pray, and who the Pot?”
Then said another—“Surely not in vain
“My Substance from the common Earth was ta’en,
“That He who subtly wrought me into Shape
“Should stamp me back to common Earth again.”
Another said—“Why, ne’er a peevish Boy,
“Would break the Bowl from which he drank in Joy;
“Shall He that *made* the Vessel in pure Love
“And Fancy, in an after Rage destroy!”
None answer’d this; but after Silence spake
A Vessel of a more ungainly Make:
“They sneer at me for learning all awry;
“What! did the Hand then of the Potter shake?”
Said one—“Folk of a surly Tapster tell
“And daub his Visage with the Smoke of Hell;
“They talk of some strict Testing of us—Pish!
“He’s a Good Fellow, and ’t will all be well.”

found here