10 November 2006

Coming together

DJ and Alex. Photo by Jeanne Adams

We've been working on the gallery, getting ready for the Open House coming up on Dec. 2nd & 3rd. I must admit that DJ and Alex have been doing most of the manual labor - painting and moving stuff around, and figuring out how to set things up. Art is sitting waiting to go up. I've spent my whole career doing production graphics, where you're usually trying to fit as much as possible into a very small space. So when it comes to a giant space like a big blank wall, I just get overwhelmed. I'm working on it. We're enjoying this project, things are falling into place, and we'll offer some social art during the open house... maybe clay since we've been wanting to make some molds, or bookmaking... or both!

08 November 2006

When a long line is a good thing

photo by Jeanne Adams

I walked up to Newbegin Center last night a little after 6 to vote. "Oh, no, look at that line", I said. The man next to me said quietly, "That's a good thing tonight." well said. Someone else said, "I've lived in this town for 30 years and out of all the people here I only recognize two people." The weather was good and the people were pleasant. A young man behind me was catching up with an old school friend he hadn't seen in years and they were talking about the service and college and work. I had brought the kids and dog with me for the walk and Thunder was busy meeting people, a man in line had a little conversation with Thunder, asking the dog who he was voting for and apologizing for not having a treat . A very nice evening on Main Street.

Time is relative

in the studio...

Alex is making stenciled art and has picked up a few commissions for Christmas. He's making some school folders, and stenciling photos of kids onto vinyl records. This Einstein clock is one layer, I like the 3 & 4 layers stencils he's done, it's really amazing work. Speaking of work... You should see him create. He turns into a tornado! Pieces fly, he's all over the place, the studio is chaos and then -boom - something cool appears like magic from the madness! He's a lot of fun to hang out with when he's creating - ideas fly all over the place!

06 November 2006

Thunder and Max

Thunder and Max. Photo by Jeanne Adams

These two are the welcoming committee. Thunder (dog) and Max (cat) are both 3 years old and grew up together. They're not much help sometimes when I'm trying to get something done. Both of them startle me when they jump up on the work tables. Both of them like to knock things onto the floor. They steal my chair and my lunch if I leave either for too long. DJ calls Thunder the Artful Dodger, because he's such a thief, stealing any manner of thing, including pens off the desk, to entice you to play. Both like to take naps on the desk.

Sometimes it's non stop fun and excitement. Max will swat Thunder if he gets out of line. Thunder will push Max off his spot on the bed. Max knocks cat food off the cat table onto the floor so Thunder can have a treat. Max learned to sit up and beg, because I used cat food as kibble to train the dog. Max will bring live mice in the house so Thunder can chase them. Both can jump up on anything - including kitchen counters.

Thunder is overjoyed to see everyone. He's got quite the fan club. I have clients who bring him biscuits and stay to play with him, and he's regularly inquired after at the convenience store next to my house. "Where's Thunder?" Sometimes I make a date with an acquaintance to let our dogs play together and at soccer and soft ball the kids know him and love him up.

Believe it or not, it's taken me three days to get this photo! I get my camera ready, aim.... and Thunder goes from groggy to excited in a second flat - jumps from the chair, and gives a big stretch - he knows that when I pick up my camera I'm usually going out the door, and usually to take him for his walk.

The animals are great teachers. Naps are good... and so are treats. If I'm blocked, I'll stare at something with the cat's "I could care less" attitude - and notice more details. I try to imitate Thunder's way of just being him: I try to show how thoroughly happy I am when someone walks in the door, for instance (minus the jumps and licks of course!). I'm learning how to be quiet and enjoy hearing the good things people say. I like how the cat sets his limits, but how he sets them aside sometimes too.

Most of all, I like how everything about them says, "right this minute, life is good".

05 November 2006

Swirly Girls

Photo by Jeanne Adams

One of my favorite things to do is to make art with other people. I call it "social art". Yesterday DJ and I worked on the "Swirly Girls"(c) . The swirly girls and us go back a few years, when we learned how to solder copper wire together, they were created from original art created by DJ at Leslie College..... while she was in class, while pursuing her Master's Degree in Expressive Therapy. Happily, she got her Master's and we have swirly girls.

There's something wonderful that happens when you make art, it makes the weight lift from your shoulders. Sometimes, working with DJ, we have long, long silences. I treasure these silences. We're engaged. It's not the long awkward silence that feels like it must be broken. Sometimes we stop and watch each other work. Usually we break our silence with, "Want a coffee?"

To make the swirly girls, we recycle copper wire. Some of this last batch came from the latest remodeling done in "this old house". A plastic coating covers the wire(s) and it's stripped using a knife. The copper wire is shining and clean as it is pulled from the usually dirty coating and wound like garden hose. Pieces are snipped and twisted to form the "girls" and the pieces are tied with thin wire at the joints. Flux is a gray paste that is brushed deep into the crevices of the wire. A propane torch is lit and directed at the copper wire to heat it, then solder is melted into the crevices. It's not difficult, but there is a definite method to the madness. The swirly girls end up very strong.

We ended up with 14 swirly girls almost completed.... we're pulling together to have our first ever studio open house the first weekend in December. It won't be the first time we've sold art together, we've had a couple of art parties and I even had an Art Yard Sale once - but that's another story! -- Jeanne