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Posts Tagged ‘Folk’
You are reading an installment of a Field Guide to (50 Little) Birds. Everything that goes into a bird or whale is intentional and deliberate. This guide is intended to allow folks to understand my work at a deeper and more meaningful level.
The guide is decided into four sections.
The Back Story will explore inspirations, motivation and philosophy.
Before I Begin will contain discussion on research and design.
The Stuff They’re Made Of will look into the materials I use and how they are chosen and procured.
A Distressing End will look at my finish techniques.
This entry was prematurely published. Check back later for completed work.
Photos of 12″ Sperm Whale. I’ve another on the bench as well as a similar but much larger (24″) one.
Posted in a Field Guide to the (50 Little) Birds, Bird References, Creativity, Education, Field Guides, tagged art, artists statement, bird, carve, carving, field guide, Folk, folkart on December 5, 2012 | Leave a Comment »
I have the same dream that many artists have–to quite the day job and spend my time making stuff people want to buy.
There is no question that there are enough people out there to consume any product. If Chia Pets or the work of Thomas Kincaid can make it so can 50 Little Birds. I’ve never questioned this. The problem is getting the word out to the right people at the right time in the right way.
A couple of years ago I discovered Alyson Stanfield. Alyson, among her many talents, consults artists in order to enable them to reach their markets effectively. I’ve wanted to take her online classes, but never seem to have an extra $100 when here classes are listed.
So I did the next best thing and bought the books.
First I bought The Relatively Pain Free Artists Statement. This book outlines three weeks of writing activities that will lead me to writing a powerful, concise and effective artists’ statement. Most artisist have to write a statement, from time to time, and it’s hard to do well. Most of the time something is dashed off and the job is done–often poorly.
The second book I’d Rather be in the Studio is a practical approach–consisting of a lot of reflection and writing — to beefing up communications and PR and sales so that enough work is generated to allow an artist to spend time in the studio creating.
Both books are excellent. Like any self-help book my success lies in my own self-discipline and willingness to really do the work.
Today, in her blog, Alyson suggested something that I already saw emerging from completing the activities in her books. It seemed obvious– after all I’ve spent nearly every day for thirty years in a classroom. I need to teach people how to look at and how to appreciate my art.
Last night I had a conversation with two art loving friends (an activity I had to complete for the Relatively Pain-Free Artists Statement) and this need was apparent. These ladies both have my work in their collections, but as we talked and they learned more about why I do things the way that I do they were clearly developing a clearer appreciation for what I do to create a piece.
Every procedure, every color choice, every material and every found object is deliberate. There is thought, design, method and madness in everything that goes into my work. Over the next week, or two, I will visit some of these aspects of 50 Little Birds and the madness behind them. It is my hope, that with a few field marks in mind you will be able to examine my work a different way.
I was banished to the studio today while Julie cleaned house. First I cleaned and put things away and then I carved this. I spent much of my childhood in New England where sperm whales are iconic. I remember doodling them in grade school. (I wonder what my Indiana teachers thought of my schooner, friendship sloop and whale doodles?)
Formal portrait and Etsy listing to follow.
The current edition of American Craft Magazine (December 2012-January 2013) features and article reflecting upon Wendell Castle as he turns 80 years old. He has been challenging furniture design conceptions for over fifty years. I first learned of his career thirty years ago form the (then black and white) pages of Fine Woodworking.
Somehow I missed his Ten Adopted Rules of Thumb until now. These are the kinds of words I wish I had been wise enough to write. Though I’ve never articulated list such as this, I do live by many of these words.
1. If you are in love with an idea, you are no judge of its beauty or value.
2. It is difficult to see the whole picture when you are inside the frame.
3. After learning the tricks of the trade, don’t think you know the trade.
4. We see and apprehend what we already know.
5. The dog that stays on the porch will find no bones.
6. Never state a problem to yourself in the terms it was brought to you.
7. If it’s offbeat or surprising then it’s probably useful.
8. If you do not expect the unexpected, you will not find it.
9. Don’t get too serious.
10. If you hit the bullseye everytime, then the target is probably too near.
Wendell recently updated these. I will share those soon.
See his work here.
My creative process always begins with a massive search for reference material. A few years ago this process began in a public library where I would pile up books, locate inspirational photos and drawing, photocopy them and return to the studio with a thick fold of ideas. I’ve also amasses a few hundred books of my own for the same purpose.
Of course this all changed with high speed Internet.
Until a few days ago, I searched he web and downloaded photos to my computer (now an iPad) and referred to them as air designed and drew. Mather problem was that these image had no order–no rhyme or reason. I could have organized them into neat folders and labeled sources, but the truth was that I didn’t. I wanted to get to the drawing, design and carving. I ended up with thousands of images and no idea where they came from.
A few weeks ago I began to explore Pinterest, in earnest, and discovered that it is the neat, simple solution to the artist amassing collections of images.
Now I browse the web through Pinterest. When I find a reference photo that speaks to me I “pin” it to a virtual bulletin board. I can visit it later and I will be able to follow it back to it’s source.
The benefits are amazing:
- The image is stored somewhere else. I’m not dedicating my memory to store it. It won’t be lost when I have computer failure at my end.
- The images are linked back to their source. For my work that is often a museum or auction house with important and reliable documentation.
- The boards are really, really simple to name, re-name, organize and re-organize.
-The photos go with me and my iPad. I want to sketch at work, before a show, on the road? No problem.
- The very best is that my ideas and resources are available to collectors, clients and other artists as I post them. You want to know what I’m interested in making today? Follow me on Pinterest. It gives you an opportunity to visit my creative process from before the beginning. It gives me an opportunity, too, to gauge the interest of other collectors and artists.
I was always told (I knew THEY were wrong) that Pinterest is only for women looking for recipes and cut and paste “craft” (I am on the verge of writing a nasty essay about the mis-use of that word!), but it is so much more. It is what you make it. Give it a try!
Visit 50 Little Birds at Pinterest here and explore and follow.
Enter the coupon code “SHOPHANDMADE” to score a 25% discount on any item at the 50 Little Birds Etsy Store. I’ll activate the code sometime after Thanksgiving dinner and shut it down shortly after my leftovers are eaten of Saturday night. That’s two full days of holiday shopping goodness! As always, shipping is free!
To begin shopping visit the 50 Little Birds here.
Pass it on and tell a friend!
I made a quick dash into Indianapolis’ brand new West Elm’s Grand Opening to get a sense of the store and to see my work on the shelf. It turns out that my birds weren’t on the shelf, but displayed on a book covered desk near the check-out. The desk space featured three other Indianapolis Etsy vendors.
It’s a beautiful store and there is much to see. I’m sure I can pick up a few Christmas gifts there over the next few weeks!
They’ve takes our work with Etsy tags that include our hometown and the name of our Etsy shop. My birds were also tagged, by me, with specific information about the work, contact information and my Indiana Artisan label. I am thrilled that all of my tagging and branding remained with the pieces.
The newly enlarged and redesigned Fashion Mall is trendy and beautiful. Attractive and comfortable seating has been added throughout the mall including outdoor areas.
Make trip to visit this beautiful new store. It’s a great addition to Indianapolis.