Saturday, June 6, 2009

And another thing...

BTW, the new body of work is for a show coming up in November.  I am a member of Carolina Designer Craftsmen and will be creating a Masterwork.  Haven't figured it all out yet, but the topic will be the connection between humans and companion animals.  When I plugged in "companion animal," Chet Baker's image came up. Not the jazz musician, but his canine namesake, a Boston Terrier owned by Julie and her family (or perhaps he owns them, it's complicated!).  Hope neither is offended by the search engine results--the four-legged Chet is really part human--has his own language and a better wardrobe than I do.

Funny--growing up in the late 50s-early 60s, lots of people had Bostons but, until last year, I hadn't seen one in ages.  What's been great with Julie's blog is she has photos of Chet from all angles--more than once, I have stopped dog owners to ask if I could photograph the top of their pooch's head, etc.  That's the thing about sculpture--it's 3-D.

Possibilities for the Masterwork include therapy animals, unconditional love, etc.  I think this will be an exciting journey!

A single step....

Wow--my first post--a toe-dip into the social networking pool.  I've been thinking about doing this for a while, but couldn't seem to get started.  Then, surfing the Net (do people still say that?) for images for my next body of work, I ran into Julie Zickefoose's blog.  I've never met her, but can tell you she is a Renaissance woman--most knowledgeable naturalist, wonderful artist, eloquent writer, amazing photographer, musician (haven't heard her perform, but it's bound to be good...the members of her group, The Swinging Orangutans, sure look like they're having fun), devoted mother to two human and a non-human (but almost!) children.  Check out her blog and you'll see what I mean.  You can get there from here (Julie, hope you don't mind my sharing!): 

Anyway, Julie's blog has been so much fun to read, I was inspired to get started on my own.  No doubt there will be a lot of refinement and changes as I learn the mechanics.  Whereas my husband is the technology expert, I sometimes think I was meant to live in an earlier era....before electricity, and flush toilets (for example, I don't know if the above link will work)...but I digress.

If I may provide a little background--not to brag or yap forever, but in hope that some of this will resonate with many of you.

Formally trained as a zoologist, with a strong background in anthropology, I am enjoying a second life as a clay artist.  (This seems to be a common occurrence--I've run into so many scientists-turned-artists!)   As a teen, I used to dabble--draw, doodle, even painted a little in oils and acrylics.   I adored my middle school art teacher.  One day, upon seeing my clay sculpture, she said, "You know, you really aren't very good."  That shut me down for many, many years.

Lessons learned:

1.  It's amazing the impact a thoughtless remark can have on a child or young person--I think my brother and I were very sensitive children, but I see this a lot, even today.  I am grateful to that art teacher for helping me to become an encouragement (I hope and at least try to be) to my students.  The little ones are pretty fearless, but I've seen the hesitation and self-doubt in kids as young as 8.  As for adults, fearful of mistakes, we can spend a lot of time staring at the clay before making that first mark in that wonderful, squishy, and most of all, forgiving material.

2.  Don't believe everything someone tells you.

3.  Trust your own inner wisdom. (Still have trouble with that one!)

I'm having the time of my life, getting my hands dirty doing the very thing a well-meaning "expert" told me I was not good at, and sharing my passion.  It doesn't get any better than that.