back from the edge

Yes, I've been MIA - a rather deep, dark depression overcame me for a few months and I withdrew from life for awhile. But, the fog is lifting and I'm working again on some projects - YAY!

Last month was my annual trip to Artfest - my artgirl Sarah came and hung out at Casa Enchy for a few days around the event and we had great fun, including a side trip to the Mecca for all beaders - Shipwreck Beads.

As is always the case, there were good and not so good experiences at Artfest - most importantly I had a great time with my art girls at Camp Runamuckus and met some new friends and had a lot of laughs. Sure there was art mafia drama - there always is - I don't understand the point of it all - it reminds me of middle school antics. "I won't talk to you because she said that you said . . ." or "she stole my technique" or "that was my idea and she stole it". Folks, I've been on the round earth for a very long time and let me tell you, there isn't much that's new - sure there are some innovative uses of products and sure some people do some very clever things but paintings of sad girls with big eyes and titled heads have been in and out of vogue before and gluing a bunch of found objects together has been around for nearly half a century and when it comes down to it, I just don't understand why more people can't be happy to share and nuture one another. There are lots of women who I know have my back, who are willing and eager to share ideas and encourage one another - but then, there are the others.

It was one of the "others" that got me really thinking HARD about art and craft and who I am and who I am not - She said "I used to really admire your work but now that I know your politics, I don't like it anymore" - huh? I thought about this statement on and off for a few months - my politics? I thought a lot about my public self and my private self - about whether or not my private self should be kept a secret in order to be 'successful' as an artist. I know lots of people who present a pleasant facade at all times - they don't say anything controversial, they are all kumbaya and sweet - they post photos to their blog of beautiful little areas of their home made all soft and fuzzy with photoshop and never say a word about how they 'feel' about anything important (or perhaps they just don't think that there are issues that are worth mentioning) and that works for them but I don't think it works for me - I see too much in the world that is ugly and cruel and if it is my 'politics' to speak out about these things be they related to domestic or foreign policy and simply the way people I know treat one another, then so be it. My politics - particularly with regard to social issues and government are a vital part of who I am - and in turn, what I create.

So that's what has been on my mind as of late - big thoughts - big issues.
Anyway - back to Artfest. I took some fun classes - I didn't really learn much of anything but I did use materials I purchased years ago and never used so that's a good thing in itself.

The first day I took a tin working class with Liesel Lund who is an extremely kind hearted person and a great instructor. I liked her a lot. In this class I did learn something - how to use that little jewelers saw without breaking a bzillion blades. This is what I made - pretty cute huh?

The 2nd day I took Melissa Manley's class - I liked this class too - I particularly liked the way that Melissa explained some of the process - she reminded me of the Alton Brown of jewelry making - drawing little pictures to explain how the metal particles accept the solder - I love that stuff. I wasn't able to do the actual soldering in the class because of the height of the table set up and my arthritis issues but I watched Sarah a LOT so I think I'll be able to do it myself at home where I can set things up at a height that will work for me. This is what I made in this class - again - pretty sweet.

The last day was a class with Lynne Perrella that was interesting. Though I haven't worked with paper in years as I've mostly transitioned to fabric, I was drawn to the class description because of the bright colors and the technique used to apply them. Though we didn't have much time to actually work on our pieces, I got the basic idea of how some techniques were done and will apply them on a different substrate soon. My piece is far from finished and I don't think it will actually get finished because it was really just a learning piece - I might cut it up and reuse it bits of it elsewhere. But here it is. See - she's just rather floating in the air - I can forsee it taking several hours to finish her - she tacked up on the studio wall now looking at me - we'll see what happens with her.

This year, for the first time, I entered some pieces in the gallery show at Artfest and even though the gallery was only open for a very brief period every day, I even sold one. The theme this year was fairy tales.

So you may be thinking "yeah, yeah, yeah - where are the bead?" - they'll be back soon - I promise.