- Long time no write. At least, not writing in here. In the process of building the new website–KarenTiede.com, after owning the domain name for two years and paying for hosting for four months. My work has outgrown PittsboroPenguins.com and it’s time to move, which means as much of a reorganization of files and pictures as would be involved in a physical move. I have decided against at least one physical move of the studio itself because it felt like more of a distraction than a step in the direction of more and better production, but the same has not been true for the website. It’s overgrown and even I have trouble finding my own work, or where to put new art. Maybe I’ll buy a real blogger program one of these days. (2011 update–Ha! that took three more years!)
Off to Russia soon–traveling with my family on the occasion of my new nephew’s adoption. First time out of the country since the trip to Antarctica in 1999, which indirectly started this whole adventure in art, and the parallel is not lost on me. Need to plan an artist’s itinerary. Soon after that, a week-long painting course with Bob Burridge, also expected to shift my skills and perspective (based on two short classes with him in November of 2004). Art could be very different very shortly.
Artistic turning points since the last entry: Bob Burridge classes, Studio Tour, introduction to blues and an end to musical anorexia, first visit to the Smithsonian Craft Show, hoop dancing. In that order? I think so. We could throw in Match.com, but that’s a bit outside the scope of an art website so you’ll have to ask me privately about that.
Bob Burridge–8 hours of instruction and I get that I CAN paint, and that with a bit of practice, I can probably manage to stay conscious for a entire week of his teaching. Sign up for his class at Jerry’s Artarama in August 2005; make a decision to paint 500 small paintings to work on some of my own stopping points. By now, I’ve painted 150, which is better than nothing. Sold two and given away quite a number to good reception.
First year on the Chatham Studio Tour. Modest success.
Blues–Run up to DC over Easter visit my sister and take an evening with Bob Margolin, Mookie Brill, Bobby Radcliff, Billy Wirtz, and Joe Orr at the State Theater. Something shifted inside; no clue what how or why now and not before. I like this music. How did I make it to 46 without knowing that? (Progressed moon into Taurus and 5th house could have something to do with it.) CD collection has doubled since; almost all blues. Unfortunately for my art, I find a new way to spend weekends–Delbert McClinton at the Eastern NC Blues Festival, Abe Reid and Keith Frank (ok, Keith is Zydeco) at Shakori Hills (and catch the bug for hoop dancing at the same time); Abe Reid and the Holmes Brothers at the Carolina Blues Festival, plans to blow off Caldwell County in favor of the Durham Blues Festival.
Chatham Arts asked me to show at ClydeFest, so I had the weekend of the Smithsonian Craft Show free for the first time since I started carving (not having to prepare for the three-day Sanford Pottery Festival). ClydeFest was rained out near enough, but going up to the Smithsonian turned out to a very useful lesson in what it takes to show at the best venue in the country. My chainsaw carving as it stood at the time is never going to make it.
Talked to some artists who were very encouraging and helpful; saw others whose production gave me chills (ie, wouldn’t mind taking $80,000 of orders but not if it means doing the same thing over and over). Interesting to note that any exhibiting artist who cared to give me much attention recognized me as an artist studying the venue, not a craft shopper. Somewhere in the drive home and then the next day’s trip to Greenville to hear Delbert, I started thinking about making rustic furniture and other forms of art; the idea of adding my jewelry and textile work to this site shows up.
Nothing like seeing 120 different artists and their work to give a girl insight into her place in that community. I am not a production artist. I have made a few iterations of pieces that sell well–the fish, for example–but I’m off to something new pretty fast after that. Maybe if I ever “get good,” I’ll be happier about cranking out one form of art. Maybe not. Maybe I would be better served to find a different model for making an income from my creativity. Still working on this problem as I write.
Aspects: Increasing trouble with my hands suggests I’m not going to be making a living from a chainsaw. I am not interested in doing enough strength training to be able to handle big wood consistently. Tired of hauling my work around the county only to haul it home–chainsaw carvings need to be sold out of a shop, not a 10×10 booth (I bet I’ve noted this before in this blog). So I’ll take the painting class and I showed up to a free Dona Kato demonstration and that left me inspired to play with polymer clay again. The dining room table is covered in clay tools and I have to clear the ironing board of in-progress paintings if I need a crisp shirt (my friends may have noted I’m in more knits than normal…).
Finally (?), hoop dancing has caught my attention in a way that I can’t remember anything doing, exercise-wise, in a while. I saw Spiral and Beth dancing at Shakori Hills and walked away thinking, “I HAVE to learn to do that.” Lots of people were carrying hoops but only Beth and Spiral were dancing; found out later that Spiral had just taught a workshop and sold hoops. New dancers weren’t up to hooping in public so soon after learning, and I understand that now. A bit of web research and a few weeks later, I found a class in Chapel Hill, and now I’m a hoop dancer, too. Professional, too–just had my first paid gig!! at the BRAC party in Goldsboro, NC. (Base Realignment and Closing–Seymour Johnson AFB was NOT on the list.) My friend John Hogan, working the party as Ubi the Clown, suggested bringing my pile of hoops down. I tossed them out on the grass and started dancing to the Country band, and within 15 minutes, the hoops were all in use. At the end of the party, the Coastal Federal Credit Union event sponsors gave me a picnic basket because “You worked so hard! You never stopped dancing!” It’s not Burning Man, but it’s a start.
(Dancing is as demanding of studio space as chainsaw carving, as my newly broken living room lamp will attest. Need to solve the “loud music for dancing, outside, sleeping young children next door” concurrency problem. Or maybe change the lamp.)
Church is almost out so it’s time to eat and get to carving for the rest of the afternoon. Hope it’s not another year before another post.