Art Diary. A weekly wrap-up of art activities. For earlier posts, search under the category Art Diary.
Let’s say hello and do some Art!
Saturday, September 15 – Today was the day to find out if my brainstorm on how to store my clay work so that I could pack for a show without stress was really any good. And I am happy to say it was. At tomorrow’s show I will take two six-foot tables and I chose my inventory to fill that space. I took about 30 tiles, a box of small tiles, and all my current figurines. They fit into these boxes:
I am thinking I might want to make a little more clay work after all for this fall season. However, in all of my following clay shows I will have no more than an 8-foot table to work with. I probably don’t have to worry. Still, going through my things, I did have a little itch to make some more figurines and tiles… So we will see.
Sunday, September 16 – We spent the day at the Pennridge Gallery of the Arts outdoor show. It takes place along Main Street in Sellersville, PA, about 25 mile from our house. Sellersville is a town that began its existence in the middle of farmlands but now, decades and centuries later, is now being touched by suburbia. The show is part of the town’s efforts to showcase its downtown features.
We arrived a little before eight AM and got into line at the fire house. This show’s set up routine is elaborate but works well. Artists arrive first, pick up space assignments, and proceed into the street a few cars at a time. We unload and move out the cars so that the next group can get in. We are arrayed along one side of the road. Here is how it looked first thing in the morning. Foggy. And loads of very helpful high school volunteers to assist us in unloading and set up.
The two volunteers are in front of our location – you can see the table’s end.
Crafters arrive later on and go through the same process, setting up on the other side of the street. Meanwhile, we artists are waiting for visits from the judges. The show officially opens at noon but people come early.
Here are some booth set-up images.
And as the day went on and the crafters came in, so did the sun.
Some shots of my set-up in final form:
The day was very hot, humid, and sunny. More like July than September. We had good crowds all day. These shots were taken just as the show opened. Soon the street was filled up.
I had wondered how my clay work would be received – this is the first time the figurines have been shown. The answer is, it went well. I had really good sales.
I also wondered if I had brought the right amount of work for my set-up. Once again, I was very happy with how it looked. Not too crowded, but with a good selection of price ranges and choices.
And, I was thrilled to win a prize – first place in my category, 3D. This is the first time I have ever won an award for my clay work. It was given for this tall figurine.
Friends stopped by to see us – shout out to John G, Missy, and Bill F, plus art friend/fellow show exhibitor Joan. I was also flattered that one of the judges came back and bought some tiles.
Here is a photo, courtesy of my friend John G, with me and two other award winners – by some strange luck, we were all booth neighbors. On the street, it was Mandy in the sunglasses was doing her first show; then me in the white shirt; and then Barbara in the blue shirt, a veteran like me. Three different mediums: painting, clay, printmaking.
In shows, you and your booth neighbors become friendly very quickly – it’s just how it works – and if you keep doing shows, you can build up friendships that last for decades. Another thing I like about doing shows!
All in all, a really good day. I was happy and grateful as we headed back home.
Monday, September 17 – Today I unpacked the clay, since I won’t be doing another show for a month.
I decided I definitely do need to do some clay work – I feel I have plenty for my next show, which is a small one, but I need something more for the November-December run of shows. So I rolled out some clay and cut some shapes. I have some ideas…
but some of them will have to wait until the clay stiffens up. I did make some people today.
I’m giving thought to my population. I sold a lot of puff people (the three-legged ones) this weekend. After some thought, I decided to make a modest number of them, since I have a couple of shows this fall that attract a craft, holiday shopper looking for lower prices. I don’t really like making puff people; I’ve created hundreds of them in the past (the kind that looked like this:)
and I don’t want to make them any more. I am thinking I will choose clay shows more judiciously next year, leaning toward more a more art crowd (or I hope to), but for this year, well, I’ll do a few more puff people, yes, I will.
I am hoping to do a few more really tall large women figurines.
Like the one you see in the above photo, but even a little taller. That’s my goal, after I get this cylinder people group finished up. I do want a variety of sizes for that group, and you might notice I have given some of them modest-sized head wear. I might try some more of that kind of thing.
Tuesday, September 18 – I got to work on all that clay I had rolled out. I knew that I had maybe given myself a lot to do – and I was right. At times I overdo things with my enthusiasm.
Early in the day, I rolled these tall cylinders and set them up so that they could dry a little. They are too wet to stand up on their own right now and cannot be worked.
After lunch – I had decided to do some sgraffito tiles, so I started the process of coating them with black underglaze. Meanwhile the cylinders were ready to be handled.
After some time, here is what they became.
I then put the curvy-shaped pieces together (see the earlier photo above of clay rolled on the table), gave it a bottom, and ended up with a vessel.
I forgot to take pictures of this process, but it is the same as making a box – you slip and score the edges and put them together, with the additional challenges of fitting along the curves. Once the joins were made, I reinforced them with a coil of clay smeared along the interior (like caulking a joint). Then I put the bottom on it, following the same slip score procedure. And then I had a vessel. What to do with it next, I did not know. So I set it aside and did sgraffito tiles.
By now the clay vessel thing was drying up. I decided in the pressure of the moment to do sgraffito on it, too. By now I had lost hope of any inspiration, but I had gone to the trouble to put the vessel together, so…I slapped a couple of coats of black underglaze on it and got to work. I had to move faster than I wanted to because clay was drying fast – so I just carved. The flat sides got scenes and the curvy ones got a simple design.
All right, I think I salvaged this poor thing. I remembered why I like working with tiles so much – doing sgraffito is hard on an upright object. And it is never good to be in a hurry. Anyway, I’ll fire it and then I will glaze the interior, so that it could hold water and be a vase. Whew.
Wednesday, September 19 – I finished up the gesso work on those 18″ x 24″ boards. Now I have a whole group ready to go when I want to paint.
In the afternoon I got the idea to work on some tiles. I got out four commercially-made 4″ x 4″ terracotta tiles, painted a couple of coats of black underglaze on them, and got to work using the Chinese brush. I wanted to do a version of the sgraffito work, where the background envelops the figure rather than starting from the figure itself. I kind of did that, and kind of did not. I need more practice in thinking this way and planning better. Well, I think they turned out ok and I’ll be trying this again.
Here is a progress set of photos; though I didn’t get photos from the very beginning, you can see some of how things went:
Thursday, September 21 – I worked on tiles again today. This time I applied four different underglaze colors as the first coats. Then I used black to mark out the main figures. Then I did more colors on top.
I am feeling my way, but experimentation is what will teach me. Here are the results.
Friday, September 21 – It’s been a busy week. My body and my creativity needs a rest. I gathered my paintings to have them ready to be packed in the car for tomorrow’s show. And I made a price list. That was pretty much it!
I think I’ll finish cleaning up from this week’s activities and then sit on the sofa and read.
OK, that’s it for this week! Thank you for coming along with me.