Thursday, March 27, 2014


Last weekend our 6-10 year old class had the opportunity to participate in QuestFest. QuestFest is visual theatre showcase for hearing impaired, deaf and ESL audiences. Earlier, the Open Minds Art Club facilitators (including me) had a great training session with them which was 90% wordless. We played games, but had to figure out the rules to the game through pantomime. Exceedingly challenging! How to tell a story through visuals, movement...body language! It was pretty darn awesome and we took that information and created a Human-powered Carousel for the performance. They all had fun, we got oodles of compliments and I feel pretty accomplished!

The first image is from my camera, which I strapped to my jelly bracelets in the hopes of getting the 'inside experience' of the carousel. In the second image, you can see that I am actually playing the part of the middle mechanism.

And it was good.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Firestarter II

Firestarter: Angry + More is finished!
(Please note that uploading to blogger significantly screws with the brightness and color. This isn't really what it looks like, color-wise)

I really enjoy the way it turned out, imagery-wise, however I am still working on flattening this bitch. As a piece of paper, it is certainly behaving as such. I have tried everything in my arsenal and a few others', and still, this thing won't behave. It's time for some creative thinking about how these will be displayed. Normally I would mount the paper on canvas or a board, but since it's not flattening appropriately, that assuredly will not work in this situation.

I have issues with all paper pieces (90% of the work I make) when I display them. I hate the idea of them being behind glass, I always want to give them more physical weight (I think it helps with metaphorical weight) and they are never archival-y sound; they are never pure watercolor pieces. I use polyurethane to yellow and age them prematurely. My own aesthetic and process inherently make this difficult, but I want it the way I want it. But this flattening issue may be the worst I have ever dealt with. As a perfectionist, this stupid poster paper may be my undoing. I am seriously irked.

HOWEVER, to put it into perspective, I have seen some hella crinkly paper work clipped up on gallery walls, all blowin' in the wind, so I think I can at least do better than that. This will be my submission to the Things That Scare Me invitational at HCC for the Columbia Festival of the Arts, so something awesome must be done! Stay tuned...

ETA: I like this oddly reminds me of the past and the present simultaneously. I have been listening to this song fairly heavily lately.

Monday, March 10, 2014


My students at Howard Community College this semester were lucky enough to participate in The Empathy Project at MICA. As per the parameters, they each wrote 500 words about an experience with empathy and they also created new art from old art pieces and recyclables. They were to buy nothing new.

This was a very difficult, ephemeral concept for them to contemplate, especially within the first few challenges I gave them of the semester. I told them that they should concentrate on the materials they were using, and that the act of touching someone else's art with your hands was a form of knowing them, and could be considered a form of empathy, depending on how sensitively the art was utilized and 'handled'.

I was really pleased with the results, considering I personally tacked on a few more challenges for them within the project. I requested they work collaboratively, and create life-sized, in-the-round figurative sculptures. No small task. However, working together and speaking to one another while building was really the best thing for them. They were able to learn from each other, they were able to flex their thinking/problem-solving muscles.

We ran into a snow day, so a few sculptures are smaller than others...and the first 2 of these are from my Sculpture I students, Ingrid Nuttle and Charles Kendall, whom I had collaborate in a different way; they switched pieces at the end of their first day of working! I also required their participation in the exhibition at MICA.

Here are some of the students' pieces and a few long shots of the rest of the gallery. Please keep in mind that they had between three and seven hours to complete this work! I say "bravo" my 3D peeps!

The Empathy Project is created by Paul Rucker, Robert W. Deutsch Foundation Artist-in-Residence and Research Fellow in MICA's Center for Race and Culture, and curated by faculty member Marcus Civin of MICA's Curatorial Practice program. The project is supported by the Center for Race and Culture, M.F.A. in Curatorial Practice, M.F.A. in Community Arts, and the offices of Diversity, Graduate Studies and International Affairs.

Sunday, March 9, 2014


I have started the first piece in my series, Spitfire! Actually I'd say this is almost done...for the time being. I had some physical and psychological difficulties with this...actually with the text application. Partially it was my nerves, I started having visceral reactions every time I tried to place the tiny slips of paper, cold sweats, shaking and a mini-crying fit before I got it I know it's important.

The printmaking did not take the way I would have liked and got smeary in areas, despite my earlier tests. I switched it and ended up just collaging the words. I do like the effect. I was going for symmetrical enough to trick the eye, but not absolute, and still retaining the feel of my hand in the piece. I think the marriage worked on this one, but I'm not sure what I'll do for the rest.

Tentatively titled, Firestarter: Angry + More; here are some WIP shots...

Incidentally, I was recently invited to submit a piece for an exhibition this summer, Things That Scare Me at Howard Community College. The exhibition will be up during the month of June as part of the Columbia Festival of the Arts. This might just be the one!