Monday, February 19, 2007

Today's Small Miracle

The temperature climbed above freezing (by 2 degrees).

Friday, February 16, 2007

This According to My Algebra Teacher

Three things that you should never do:

-Tug on Superman's cape
-Spit into the wind
-Divide by zero

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Outta Luck?

My Lucky Bamboo is dying... what does this mean?

Am I just a bad plant parent or is the universe trying to tell me something?

Monday, February 12, 2007

My Graphic Design Professor Reminds Me of Willy Wonka: in a good way

This is not to say that my professor is out of touch with reality in the way that Willy Wonka is (because she seems really grounded), but she really does remind me of Roald Dahl's character.

She wears very strange glasses, think owl-eyes with silver triangles by the ears. She wears brown boots with black pants and green sweater vests.

She does asides on herself. She is unabashedly honest and in your face about what she thinks. She is very smart and a genius at what she does. We'll be talking about a topic or a piece and she'll make a grandiose/philosophical comment that will take you aback, then the class will start talking/arguing about what she said for 45+ minutes... we won't get anything done but you'll look back on the class and know that it was really some of the most effective time that you've ever spent in a class room.

The Hands of the Artist

I've been thinking about this for a while... and a lot lately because my hands are killing me from carving the plaster.

Why do so many artists today seem hell-bent on removing the craft from art? It's like no body wants to get their hands dirty anymore... and in my opinion, that's the best part. You get to play with paint and clay and paper and glue. When did taking the time to use your hands become uncool?

I mean, jewelers have computer programs like CAD/CAM that do a lot of the design work... THEN, based on CAD/CAM images, there are machines (like lathes for wood) that will actually cut the mold out of jewelers' wax for casting... Human hands are not involved in the process at all except for the fingers that use the keyboard and mouse.

There are so many artist studios around the country where artists just take the time to make a sketch or mockette, then he or she hands the drawing/mockette over to an art director, design team, fabrication house, or apprentice for fabrication. I know that as part of the Post-Modernist movement, a lot of artists were working against the idea that you needed to have skill to create an impressive work of art... but come on, where's the fun in that?

I mean, you walk into any Kay's or Zales around the country and get a mass-produced bracelet or ring or pendant than any number or women or men can own... and those pieces aren't considered art. But that's my point. They aren't considered art because no one had to think very hard about the design (movement, flow, negative space, etc.) or how to fabricate them, they're basically a bunch of settings jammed together and set with as many gemstones as possible. These are things that machines created with the help of humans.

Without the hands, all art will eventually look the same... there will be no connection between the creation and the mind, no physical link at all. The computer can only show you so much before it all becomes a blur of grey, unsubstantiated and uncreative. A computer is a tool... but our minds are the greatest computers and our hands are our greatest tools. Take them out of the picture and what have we left? And if art is supposed to be a labor of love, then where's the love in that?

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Sculpture: carving project

Right now, we're working on carvings in sculpture.

We made mockettes out of clay, then cast proportionally sized blocks of plaster for the final pieces.

Right now... my tools consist of a mallet and chisel. But later we'll be moving onto rasps and sand-paper.

And, I swear that somehow my sculpture will end up looking like my mockette. I don't know how yet... but somehow, somehow it will happen.

Dietrich's Canoe

Okay, so Dietrich is a sculpture professor at Edinboro... and he's building his own canoe. I was lucky to get some pictures of it because I was in the studio when he was working on it.

It isn't quite finished. If I can get a better picture of it, I'll post the new picture later.

Dietrich said that he was building a canoe to avoid working on his own sculpture. BUT, I mean, stick that thing in an art gallery and just tell me where to sign. I think it's gorgeous.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Sue Amendolara

Okay, since I've shown you my first jewelry fabrication piece, I thought I'd introduce you to my jewelry professor: Sue Amendolara (aw-men-doe-lar-a). There are two jewelry professors at Edinboro: Cappy (my advisor) is one and Sue is the other.

Okay, so honesty, Sue's aesthetic is a lot closer to my own than Cappy's, although I respect them both as artists very much.

The piece shown is entitled "Flower of Life" and is one of Sue's later pieces... her earlier work is much different from a materials standpoint (she used a lot of other materials besides metal: plexi-glass and ebony... and she used a lot more surface treatments, like texturing and Mokume Gane (marriage of metals)). Although what her earlier work has in common with her later work is an affinity for organic shapes and clean lines (but in my opinion, her later works are more successful solutions to these problems).

Anyways, she's a really nice lady and awesome teacher... during our critique on Thurs, she had a lot to say to students who thought their pieces hadn't turned out very well... telling them that it's never useful to put ourselves down because we're always changing and always learning. She said that metal is one of those mediums that takes time to get used to, gets familiar, but is always going to be challenging. She simply had a lot of positive things to say to everyone: I really appreciated her attitude, although I'm not sure if I'm getting it across here.

To me, she seems like one of those people who takes art as a philosophy as well as a life style and life choice... but that's not to say that she takes herself too seriously. She just seems very level-headed and knowledgeable. I hope that I can be as helpful to budding artists some day if I ever get to where I'm going.

To learn more about Sue and her artwork, visit

Today's Small Miracle

I got a 100% on my first college level Algebra exam.

Amendment to My List of Favorite Birthday Gifts

-Matt sent me a copy of Ivanhoe AND the cutest birthday card ever.
-Andrew sent me Imogen Heap :)

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Jewelry Fabrication: cold connection piece

Here it is, kids! My first ever assignment as a metalsmith in training!

This first picture is of my sketch book, and the second picture is of the finished project... from my brain to you :) Our critique was today, and I turned it in today.

It was made with bronze (the "gold" metal), copper (the "pink" metal), and a little bit of sterling for the flowers and petals. Also, the tree trunk and Japanese lantern are of copper as well. The tree trunk has a hammered texture and is patina-ed with Liver of Sulfur, and the lantern is engraved and patina-ed with ammonia fumes. And the way I got the path onto the bronze was through sandblasting; I covered the sky and the path with masking tape and then sandblasted the grass, and that's how I got that effect.

Now, the whole point of this assignment was cold connecting, i.e. connecting the pieces without using any heat, which means no soldering or melting, etc. So, what we did was create our own rivets using wire (you can kind of see the rivets in the flowers, and those little "gold" dots on the lantern are rivets). First, you take the two pieces that you want to rivet together, then you tape them together so that they don't move while you're drilling them. You drill holes through both pieces for the rivets to go through (making sure that the drill bit you're using corresponds to the size of wire you're going to use to make the rivet, meaning that the bit and the wire have the same diameter). The you thread the wire through both pieces, snip the wire to the appropriate length, and file both sides of the wire flat (so that you get a nice round rivet). Then, and lastly, you hammer both sides of the rivet to flatten it out and make both ends larger than the hole you drilled. TaDa! You're pieces stay together.

And that's that... this piece was a lot of work, but also a lot of fun. AND, I only broke one saw blade the entire time :) Go me :)

I'm so proud of it. I hope that you are too.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Mostly Because I Thought My Blog Needed a Picture of My Dog

Today's Small Miracle

My internet is moving way too quickly. It's freaking me out... but I hope it lasts.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

The Art of Gary Spinosa

Gary Spinosa is a sculpture professor at Edinboro, and he had an art opening on Wed., the 31st at Edinboro's Bruce Gallery.

Now, as far as I can tell, there are two gallery spaces at Edinboro... the Bruce Gallery which is a university run space that hosts professor showings as well as artists' work from around the country, etc... AND the Bates Gallery which is a student run gallery, students submit portfolios and are juried into the space by their peers for shows that occur a week at a time, meaning that there is a different student exhibit every week during the semester.

So, anyway... I went to the Bruce Gallery opening Wed. night. I loved his artwork so much that I bought myself the show catalogue as a birthday present.

His pieces ranged in scale from pocket objects to slightly monumental (one piece standing at about 10 feet high)... and there were also a few paintings and drawings. BUT, the point is that all of his pieces felt old, felt precious, like mysterious, devotional objects that were meant to be prayed to and touched.

His imagery revolved around ancient iconographies (at least from my point of view)... I felt like if you walked into an ancient Egyptian or Incan (etc.) temple, you might find pieces very similar to the ones that Spinosa created (except for 3 portrait busts of Christ... interesting, but by far my least favorite part of the show).

Also, a lot of his work felt funerary... or guardian like, maybe both at once. But the point is, all of his work feels peaceful, in a very deep-seeded and stirring way... it all goes back to the idea of devotional objects for me. The pieces are like meditations in and of themselves, layered with images, but so simple in and of themselves... and that was they're most seductive quality: they're simplicity. My favorite piece of the show (or at least the piece that I was drawn most strongly to) was entitled "The Dog of Sorrow," and it is, as the name implies, simply a dog sitting on its haunches... but the look on its face, like someone in mourning. I can't really describe it but to say that it made me feel, just feel... and I think that's what art is really about.

To learn more about the exhibit or see more images from the show, visit The Philosopher's Stone webpage on the Bruce Gallery website (where I found the images shown above).

My First Post as a 24 Year Old

a list of my favorite birthday presents:

-i got to talk annie AND dabney on the phone on the same day!
-both jackie AND andrew wrote on my facebook wall on the same day... my favorite gifts are the ones that say, 'i'm thinking about you'
-my mutti called and sang happy birthday to me (okay, so actually, she sang happy birthday to my voice mail... BUT, that's almost better because I saved it and now I can listen to it any time i want :)
-uncle bob's they'll-kill-you-they're-so-good-brownies
-the day after my birthday was a reading day so i got to sleep way in and then sit around
-rosencrunch & guildenpop, if you don't know what i'm talking about, i hope that you can one day find out. it's like cracker-jack on speed.
-the fact that mutti bought me two birthday cakes, even though we only ate one
-the complete metalsmith awesome! a bench guide for all serious jewelers :) we all know that i'm very serious
-thundercats, ho!