14 March 2010

Dragon Mosaic

Finished the glass work on the Dragon mosaic last night. Still need to put the hanging hardware on it and finish the edges.

12 March 2010

Dragon Mosaic

Last night I had the mosaic class at my house. I'm thinking that I will have more of them there. I think that what I will do is have the beginning mosaic class at the Winona Arts Center once a year. Then the rest of the year I will have an "open" mosaic studio at the house. I'll pick two nights a month and people can come, make a small donation for supplies and resources, and make mosaics for a couple hours.

If I wasn't really teaching, but there as a resource I would not ask as much of a class fee. And I would work on my on mosaics during the session - except for the time I spent helping others.

That's how it went last night, except of course there was no fee since it was part of the workshop they had already paid for.

I got a little bit closer to finishing the Dragon:

09 March 2010

Art in the Mall

Fine arts move to the mall | Minnesota Public Radio NewsQ

I'm trying to decide what I think about this.

I think I'm okay with it. If the Winona Mall got more foot traffic it might be a good thing to do here; there's some empty storefronts.

If art is to be relevant it has to be in front of as many people as possible. It needs to have a bit of mystery, but it also needs demystifying too. That's a contradiction, I know, but it's also somewhat true.

I suppose the biggest problem with this idea is the diffusion of  the idea of Art, the blending of Art and consumerism. But isn't it already blended? I don't know many artists who don't like it when they sell work. We're producing for a consumer society already...

It might be that something like this mall project could get people talking about what Art really is...

Art is more than what has historically been labeled Art. It's also less than what has recently been labeled Art. By this I am referring to two tendencies - the tendency for people to consider only painting, drawing or sculpture as Art, and the tendency to hold as Art many objects that were created as illustrations, or functional pieces.

At what point does an Artifact become Art? Is a 2,000 year-old sculpture, originally meant for worship (maybe), Art because it's 2,000 years old? Because it's a sculpture? Or is it even Art? Does placing it in the Museum make it Art? What about a mural on a church wall? What about a vase? Or a textile?

I don't limit Art in terms of what is or is not Art. I do think that there are some qualifiers in regard to quality of the workmanship, but my definition of Art can encompass a great many things beyond drawing, painting and sculpture.

I have come to believe that art is giving ideas shape; art is the conscious use of creative imagination, and is in no way limited to the traditional forms historically imposed, but encompasses and includes a great many  things.

When I say shape I am referring to a form in which the work can be received. This description can and would include conceptual artists, performing artists and their works – it seems to me that the definition works equally  well for any art form, any medium, any discipline.

Taking the position that art is giving ideas shape, that it is the conscious use of creative imagination, allows us to accept as art a wider range of “ideas” made manifest than what the historical, European, male authority has designated as “art.” My idea of what art is has been, in part, formed by the fact that my practice includes
much that has been considered utilitarian craft by many art historians.


Just a quick update on the Dragon mosaic. Haven't had much time to work on it, but it's getting closer to being finished. I'm hoping that I have enough of the dark lapis smalti to finish it. If not I'll be visiting the Smalti.com booth at the upcoming American Mosaic Summit.

Who am I kidding? I'll be visiting their booth anyway...

One Tiny Mosaic

I had a jack antenna ball (from a Jack-in-the-Box fast food restaurant)... now I have a mosaic antenna ball.

02 March 2010

Dragon Smalti Mosaic

I am really enjoying working with the Mexican smalti. There really is nothing like it for color and texture. It's harder to work with than the other glass that I've used. It is much easier to make a bad cut. It would be nice to take the advanced hammer techniques workshop at the American Mosaic Summit, but I weighed the choice of taking one workshop or coming home with $220 more glass and other supplies. Supplies won.

The hard thing about getting more proficient with the hammer and hardie is that you end up wasting so much smalti and smalti is so expensive. That's probably why the workshop is so expensive; they know you're going to chew through a bunch of smalti.

Here is last night's progress on the Dragon.

01 March 2010

Dragon Mosaic

Made some progress this weekend, but not as much as I'd hoped.
Spent some time:
  1. with daughter #4 and her partner, playing our favorite board game, Arkham Horror, a game based on the stories of H.P. Lovecraft. 
  2. going to a friend's 70th birthday party - in an art gallery. Very cool. 
  3. doing way more work than I wanted on a website that I'm working on for a local group.
  4. clearing the ice from the roof of the side entrance at the Winona Arts Center. The ice was melting and causing a leak. Will need to get back up there and fix the roof soon.
  5. and doing the household chores that I tend to let slide when I'm more interested in doing art than doing chores (which is almost always...). Didn't get much of that done though...

Anyway, here's where I'm at with the mosaic:

Need to finish soon, the next mosaic is clamoring to get out of my head and become something real.