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art theory

Right. So I’ve done a lot of metal casting, and tried using that knowledge for glass casting. Any of you metal casters out there will look at this wax and know it’s good to go for ceramic shell casting. All you glass casters out there will look at this wax and die laughing at me. And NO, it didn’t make it through the annealing process. So really, this is a visual joke for a very small handful of people. What an art nerd.

Okay, so we’ve had a visitor for the past few days, an artist, a glass blower just like hubby. Actually, he’s a former student of his. It was really great having him around for a few days! He’s from the Cayman Islands, is a fly fisherman, and a musician. He is moving further west (not much further west, just a hop, and the middle of the country is just, just, SO DARN BIG) so he can be with his girlfriend while she goes to grad school. He’s just had a successful show, with good gallery representation, so he’s not teaching for a bit and is focusing on his work instead. He’s also done a lot of glass casting, which is what I’m all about. I know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that if I tried being part of a glass blowing team, some one would get hurt. I am clumsy. Glass casting, though, that’s another kettle of fish.

These are cast in ceramic and glass.

I love shoes. I love making molds of shoes and then casting them in different materials. I met my husband through my desire to cast my old orthopedic baby shoes in glass. I was teaching at a university near his, and through students, found out about the glass program where he taught. I started teaching myself how to cast glass. It took eight attempts to get three single shoes. The frustration really got to me after a while, and I started casting things in slip instead for a little immediate gratification.

I'm not done yet...

From our visitor, I found out I was having such a poor success rate with my castings because of a temperature differential between the top and bottom of the kiln. It creates a lot of stress on the glass as its cooling. I also know some of my mold mixes were a little iffy. I have one I really like now, and he’s fixing the kilns at school, so that’s AWESOME because now, I can use them too and finally cast the most immaculate wax I’ve ever made to date.

This is a wax. It was made from a three-piece plaster mold that I made around the original shoe. It didn't come out of the mold looking like that.

The image above this one shows a shoe that made it through the whole process. However, it has some air bubbles and junk in the glass, so I want to do it again–using different glass and a different method of getting the glass into the mold. I can do that now thanks to our visitor!!! YAHOOO! This is a couple of big inches!

This gallery contains 42 photos.

I think separating spiritual belief into categories is like separating body/mind/spirit–kind of a silly thing to do. I mean, why the heck did we create those splits in the first place? It isn’t efficient!  And then making one brand of spiritual belief better than another is like saying chocolate ice cream is better than cookie …

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Here is proof that not giving up works and why everything will be okay. I have dyslexia and ADD, and at the ripe age of 48, taught myself to knit. I spent 40 years telling myself I couldn’t do it. HAH! I was wrong!

This is a shout out to all you young artists going through the hoops, attending the university, the art academy, the graduate  program. You’ve spent A LOT of time attempting a marriage between images of your work and descriptive phrases. In an original way that is still academic, intelligible, and poetic. With references to your inspirations, a bow to your art heroes, and a quick nod to where you see your art in the pantheon of art historical and critical theory. If, like me, it ends in tears and feeling trite, unoriginal, and deflated, all I can say is this.

At this point, if you can’t write well about what you make, it’s okay. If writing about your work is an absolute painful struggle, but it’s necessary to write about it to keep making it; do it anyway.

And if you’re making things that look like souvenirs, you’ll get over it after a while. The absolute, most important thing of all, above words, above popularity, above intellectual opinion of others, is that you simply keep making. Just keep those hands and that brain and heart all moving together, and everything will be okay. It really, really will.

Besides. Art is visual communication. It says what words alone can’t. The image above is proof of that. To me, the total, heartbreaking irony of this scenario is visual image and object makers MUST write about what they’re doing. Yes, we are responsible for understanding why we make what we do, and for whom. But putting pen to paper about it, as the maker, is difficult.

Difficult, like asking a writer to draw a good self-portrait.

Carry on, you superhuman, you.


they stay

artists who could have left but didn't

big INCH is coming to you from Anderson, Indiana; dedicated to all the young artists who could’ve moved somewhere else, and didn’t.

20 years ago, Anderson was an economically thriving place, with its own factory(s), university, shopping malls, etc. When the factory(s) began closing, the whole town shriveled. Since the current economic decline, this all ready depressed area is convulsing. Many of the local schools and businesses have closed, and all sorts of abandoned, decaying buildings are found throughout town. The University is still here, though, and it provides some jobs for the local people as well as a constant flow of youngsters moving through the place. The University is run by a liberal (yes, liberal) Christian denomination, and consequently, a lot of young activists become acquainted with the reality of poverty by simply living here while attending college.

Theory marries reality, and consequently, this town serves as an example of why, if you are so inclined, it isn’t a requirement to leave the country on a Mission Trip or join the Peace Corps to help the needy, work on a community development program, or start business initiatives. Why go? We have it right here! So, many graduates stay and help keep things afloat. Watching these intelligent, energetic young people fore-go their dreams and ambitions for a few years to help the community around them is an incredibly beautiful, awe-inspiring thing. It’s taught me quite a bit, and as I grow older, one of the best, most hopeful things in my life is learning from the younger generation. It gives me courage.

I too, chose to stay. This is my home, I won’t run away. I am an artist. Currently, I’ve read about the politics behind the Arts and Crafts movement in England and am working on unfired clay pieces that are being left as gifts in different parts of Anderson, the “Seeds: Pass It On” project.

big INCH focuses on the potential of things, using what ‘s available, and creating beauty. Aren’t those the basic ingredients of any culture? “If not here, where? If not now, when?” I mean, Paris didn’t become Paris overnight…