Studio Musings

Thursday, March 13, 2008


One of the fun side benefits of being here is the artist references you pick up along the way. Some of the names I already knew, (though I might have trouble remembering it at first) like bead artist Mary Ellsworth. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find any of her work on the internet.

And some are completely new to me, like biologist Ernst Haeckel. A contemporary of Darwin, Haeckel appears to have been quite the character, but he was recommended because of his rather fanciful drawings of undersea life. Rendered with the precision and attention to detail of botanical plates, the details are at times fantastic visions of life under the sea. I've managed to find a number of his plates online, and have downloaded them to my computer so that I can refer to them later, as I don't really trust the internet connection here - it's a bit iffy.

I've also been directed to take a look at the work of Louise Bourgeois. I was visiting the wood studio and looking through Chris's portfolio and mentioned that one of her dysfunctional chairs reminded me of an elegant spider. She asked if I was familiar with Louise's work - she does gigantic bronze spiders among other things. I wasn't, so I had to look her up in wikipedia.

I don't know Chris's last name, I'll need to ask her and see if she has a website I can link to as well.

Oh, and this evening I went to a slide show by Naomi Dalglish and Michael Hunt, co-conspiritors in Bandana pottery and the instructors for "Wild Clay, Precise Fire", one of two clay classes this session. It was a great presentation about their background, their studio, and their work. Michael traveled to Nepal and Korea to study traditional pottery techniques, and makes these ginormous clay pots called Onggi, which are traditionally used in Korea to store food such as kimchi. They focus on working with local clays, and their class is all about learning to use local clays to their best advantage, both in its natural form and in clay mixes. At least that's my take after the slide show, and a visit to the class studio.

And a couple of times now, David has read to us in class, once an essay he wrote and then from a picture book by Frank Babb, called "Art Can't Hurt You". We spend a lot of time stitching between demos, and these were both interesting additions, food for thought, interesting and entertaining.

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