Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Ode to wonderful students

Yes, these are my students (missing Becca who sneaked out before I could snap this photo). Some more advanced in the lampwork skill but mostly beginners, they took my Melting Through Glass week-long workshop at Snow Farm this past August. You can probably tell that their aural predisposition continues beyond this moment and that they are all as cheerful, friendly, and simply wonderful all the time including when they pose for a photo. Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Arizona, Texas, New Jersey and Massachusetts - these states couldn't have been better represented. Yes, I mean that for the one from Texas as well! ;-) I miss you all!!

 Thank you for coming together as a community that grew together every day with knowledge and laughter, and yet each individual managed to express herself by making distinct, unique and beautiful beads.... Check them out below. The beads are lying on top of one of our teaching aids and the adorning flora was carefully selected by our flower specialist who made sure that we always had beautiful local flowers to be inspired by while at the torch. All the beads and the display for our Gala event (organized at the end of the week to show student work in all the classes on campus) are products of my students' love for glass, creative energy and great camaraderie. The majority of the beads on display are by my students who had never made beads or melted glass ever before - amazing, isn't it?!!

And here we are at work: glass rod in hand and flame on.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Shamanka - Female Effigy - will be showcased in 1000 Beads (Lark Crafts)

Shamanka, detail
I'm thrilled that Shamanka has been accepted into the book titled, Showcase 1000 Beads, juried by Kristina Logan. I'm looking forward to seeing this publication which is due to come out in January 2014.

Even though she is to stand on her own in this book, Shamanka continues to be a proud member of the series in collaboration with Sue Getchell.
To read more about our collaboration and inspiration, visit my earlier posts.

Do let me know if you'd like a signed copy of the book by e-mailing me.

Monday, April 29, 2013

I'm back from teaching two classes at Snow Farm with great memories and new friends.

Just back from 10 days at Snow Farm teaching lampwork glass to people with interesting stories and engaging ways of telling them. They come to learn new ways or perfect the ones they’ve already developed (whether in previous classes or self-taught) and to express themselves while gathered in a community permeated with and lifted by creative energy. I thrive in this energy myself as it is simply irreplaceable and much needed for our daily survival!

I taught two classes. In my first class we spent three days having Fun with Hollows, and in my second class we focused on Glass Beads & Buttons.

The week-end intensive workshop was about learning how to blow hot glass into hollow glass beads and vessels, and how to create unique shards to decorate a variety of surfaces. The blowing was probably what excited my students the most as it is quite complicated: one has to be able to understand and apply several skills at the same time. The intuitive feel that drives this process connects mind with body, and we see cool magic happening in front of our eyes. And you should have seen those eyes!! As the ball on the end of the pipe was getting bigger, so were the eyes. Accomplishment felt differently each time, but the joy was pure and very motivating each time.

The week-long button class stayed unbuttoned all week. Four of the eight students were complete beginners. They all opened themselves up and stayed curious and excited throughout while taking on quite a rigorous approach to practicing everything they learned. By the end of the class everyone had an abundance of glass beads & buttons - and even a couple of beautiful marbles.

In addition to wanting to share my passion and knowledge of lampwork, I have to admit that my absolute favorite aspects of teaching are:
  •  Meeting and making new friends.
  •    Seeing my students throw themselves into this process and then watching their identities unravel while getting to know glass, the lampworking process and the work they make.
  • Witnessing a profound drive for self-expression being realized in techniques that require hard work and a lot of attention.
  • Sharing in the pure joy of holding one’s glass beads and being able to pass that joy onto others.

I will be teaching one more class this season at Snow Farm, Through the Melting Glass: Introduction to Glass Beads. We will spend an entire week learning about soda-lime glass and many different techniques to create and decorate shapes  - all the while learning finding and learning more about ourselves, which is not only rewarding but empowering as well. I'm certain that we will have both beginner and intermediate students in our class which makes the learning experience so much richer!

So, let’s make more friends and definitely more beads! Looking forward to seeing you in my classes.

Below are a few photos from my week-long class. Enjoy and please share them with family and friends.

Diana made this bowl in a raku class the week-end before
and then filled it with glass beads, buttons and a couple of marbles
 in our week-long lampworking workshop

My students at work creating beautiful glass objects
infused with creative energy and colorful stories...

I don't have a soundtrack to include with this photo
but if you were there, you'd've been talking & listening, laughing & sighing -
sharing in a close social landscape of this wonderful community.

Everyone in my class would agree if I said:
Barbara worked very hard to understand & develop a skill  in this medium,
and, OMG, did it pay off!! She took home beautiful beads!!

Janet is making a hollow bead and Brenda is applying
glass frit to the surface of her bead for instant beautiful design.
The intensity of concentration is self-evident while I'm pretty sure
that ABBA was providing us with background rhythm & melody.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Effigies, launched

And - YES- it took a village!

Sue Getchell and I have worked very closely and yet very independently on our distinct yet interrelated formulations leading to a series of three sculptures (so far), inspired by the Paracas Female Effigy (see previous post). We also owe thanks to Janet and Celeste.

Thank you, Celeste, for guiding our research about the Paracas Effigy and helping us discover significant anthropological narratives regarding its civilization of origin. The sociocultural and artistic values of this piece are deeply interconnected: symbols of snakes depicted on the body take on meanings of power, light and darkness, present and future. Through discovery, our project of creating effigies evolved into imagining these people in their roles, shaded by today's understandings: a shamanka, a noblewoman, and a shaman.

Thank you, Janet, for nourishing my spirit and for taking on the task of identifying the style of the braids on the Paracas Effigy and weaving them carefully into these intricate contributions to the Female Effigy: Shamanka.

And here she is:

And here are the two collaborative pieces. Meet Female Effigy: Noble Woman and the Male Effigy: Shaman respectively.

Read below to shed some light on the meaning of this series in our artist statement.

Imagine an effigy as your only portal to understanding a long-gone people - their ways of living, beliefs &  values.
The Female Effigy Jar (MFA Boston, Ancient Americas) that inspired the series of effigies created by Liliana Glenn & Susan Getchell, lampwork glass & fiber artists respectively, is attributed to Paracas (Peru), 200-1 B.C.
The Paracas Effigy is known to depict the burial style in which the body was wrapped in many layers of intricate, ornate, & finely woven textiles. Its most prominent features include (1) the opening of the jar which signifies the mouth of the depicted individual and (2) snakes symbolizing power and  life after death.
After much research, Glenn & Getchell interpreted and executed a series of effigy sculptures re-imagining ways of living in a society, the roles individuals took on as its members. Looking back informs the artists’ own understanding of modern life;  land & time are only superficial barriers to valuing artistic expression.

We are very excited to have had the opportunity to work together and are looking forward to continuing our work in this series.
The chance to apply to a publication provided a great impetus for the values we both hold dear i.e. always learning about the world: past and present, ourselves and each other, the media we seek expression in and the connections to many communities in which our identities are always evolving and thriving...

... as are yours.
Stay in touch!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Making of the Female Effigy Jar

 I bet you've had that experience when you're walking down the street and your eyes are suddenly summoned to an intriguing view of a person whose face, hair, other body parts and expressions excite your sensory buds to an extent to which your mind's eye starts wondering, wondering about that person's story. However, it rarely lasts... the wonder, unless I'm able to make a connection between that physical expression and my emotions, my feelings, my experience... 

When I first saw this sculpture, I couldn't walk away from it without coming back, and again, in awe - it spoke to me of pain and despair, and it frightened me. This is when I decided to read about it.
As I knew more I felt even more with each dive into its history. The insides unraveled into scrolls and scrolls of experience in my extended family, my eyes stirring at the hands of my grandmother and her mother's sitting in front of a loom, carefully placing each thread, one in front of the other as if they are her children who, if placed just right, will eventually unveil themselves and their role in this tightly spun piece of social fabric.

It is no wonder that, after many years since their passing, I wrap my memories of them and their influence in my life in images and objects like this effigy and many others included in the Ancient American Collection at the MFA. I feel the connection to the people who buried their dead and insisted on having something less biodegradable to remember them by. The objects they created were appropriate expressions in their times, and yet, two thousand years later, they transcend and arouse emotions that I understand and feel really deep inside me. These are words, images, narratives and gestures that unite us all across time and land.

So, here I am, in my studio creating while connecting while channeling the aesthetic appeal of this piece. From raw emotion to tight design, while seeking direction, which aspects am I invested in as a maker? 

And, remember, this is a collaboration... But more about that in my (previous and) next post...

So, here are a few pics of the work I've done. They are beads in three categories which will then become components of one sculpture: a face, a body and footing.

I went ahead and assembled one sculpture for which I designed an etched brass component and the hemp braids were skillfully woven by Janet. This piece is still evolving.

Stay tuned for my next post where I will introduce you to Sue's contributions.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

New work and new connections

A few days ago, during a visit to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston I saw the Female Effigy Jar (Paracas, Early Horizon (late phase), 200-1 B.C.). I was inspired by her origins, history, cultural significance and objet-d'artistic existence amid a multiplicity of archaeologically meaningful counterparts of the Pre-Colombian South America. I haven't stopped thinking about her since.

Even though I prefer to claim spontaneity when it comes to visiting the MFA - I am a member after all - I had a reason to go this time. You see, there's a call for submissions to Lark Crafts for a publication to showcase 1000 beads. All media are welcome and the juror is Kristina Logan. 

What a great opportunity to let imagination run loose, articulate questions and develop ideas out of issues and circumstances that wash over me like waves quite often but always retrieve into the ocean of life and living thus remaining untold and yet always there!

This is also a chance to seek opportunities for more conversation and connection with a fellow creative person whose work I like and whose process I would like to learn more about.

Sue designs and hooks rugs in addition to felting large and small. I have enjoyed her company, as well as her business over the years ( thank you, Sue! ), and I asked her whether she'd be interested in working with me on submitting to this publication. We've already met and talked; she's as excited about the Female Effigy Jar as I am. 

So, will the Female Effigy Jar come to being reincarnated and present itself as a bead? If so, the circumstances surrounding its rebirth will be different and yet omnipresent. We are two women living and creating in the 21st century and we are on a quest to learn more about ourselves, each other, our media as means to shaping a connection with an ancestral past.

You're welcome to be a part of this journey. Connect with me and us here.

Message from Sue:
I feel so honored to be asked to bring my experiences to the table and create a joint project. Hard/soft, cold/warm are just a few of the characteristics that this endeavor will bring to light. Who are we connected to when we work separately on the same piece; past, present, both?