Friday, May 26, 2006

Open Studios: After

Inge models "Lorgnette for a Fish Goddess" while Corrine and Linda look on.

Whew! Open Studios was a week ago. I don't have my studio back to it's usual messy state yet. The preparation was hard work, putting things back is almost as hard. But it was fun. I got to talk to lots of people. Some people came to see what I was working on. Some people came to ask questions about tools or other art processes. I know some artists don't want to talk about how they work, but I really enjoy it.

The question I get asked most often is: "Do you make money?" No, not really. I often make back what I have spent, but not always. This year I sold a few things, but not quite enough. I am doing some of the things "they" suggest to make money. I have some cards with images of my work that I sell for $5 and under. I usually put out what is left of the jewelry I used to make, and sell it wholesale. (I didn't do that this year - see below.) But I'm not a business person. My main focus is to show people the work I love, and to get to talk to other artists about art. I feel Open Studios was very successful this year. People came to tell me how much they like what I do, that is wonderful. Some people expressed an interest in workshops, that's great. And we talked about art and tools. What could be better?

Yes, I did have a little melt down on Friday. I couldn't find a mirror I usually put up near the jewelry. I was tired and so frustrated. I didn't have to have the jewelry out. It seemed the best thing to do was to let go of that part of my plan.

I added an Open Studios 2006 photo tour to my web site.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

It must be true

My fortune from last night's fortune cookie.

Progress so far on the studio clean-up. I'm checking the book sizes against the height of the shelves. You can see the lovely and expensive set up I'm using. Those are 1 and 5 gallon plant containers, de-spidered, I promise. And some old boards across the top of them. This is actually an easy-to-transport set up. I used it at the Book Arts Jam two years ago. I will throw some sheets over the top Friday night. Our two adorable, but rambunctious, cats can uninstall (de-install?) for me in 10 minutes flat.

I was hoping to have time this week to run some errands and do more gardening. Monday when I was packing up stuff in boxes, I was afraid I would be done early and have nothing to work on. So I put all my collage stuff together in one box, easy to get to. Hahaha! Silly me, I hope to have it all together by Saturday.

Here's what I used for my reminder email (I included an image of the dinosaur book):
"The excitement is building! Well, I hope yours is, I’m running around, pulling art out of closets right now. My new work includes a book in a dinosaur and an explosive volcano book with a hammered copper cover and collaged pages. I will also have the maquette for my big project, 7 Extinction Events, on display. There will be a tube rivet demo at 1 pm both days. Tube rivets are a more versatile grommet. You can use brass, copper or silver tubing in various sizes. They can be applied to paper, book board, plastics and metal. (Mailing List Special Treatment: If you ask me, and if things aren't’t too busy, I’ll repeat the demo for you at other times.)"

I think it's a little more interesting than the first one.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Check this out!

I struggle to write anything about my work. I know the content so intimately I can't see it through other people's eyes. And of course I think visually, how can I put that into words? Last week I was re-doing a few things on my web site and I added a new Artist's Statement. It formed in my head as I was working on the web site. Maybe because I was looking at a lot of pictures of my work. I also left the old statements there. All together they might say something. I am not even sure.

Then I had to write an announcement for Open Studios. When I read the "entice me" entry on Allyson Stanfield's blog (February 13), I thought "Well, that kind of hyperbole isn't me. I am more straightforward. I am not attracted to anything where everyone who is anyone will be there. I don't care about being anyone." This is an interesting blog, in general, I just didn't go for this particular entry.

Then Jim sent out this announcement for Open Studios. I think it's fantastic. The Zymoglyphic Museum is in our driveway, and I do see it on a regular basis. But after reading his announcement I want to go out there and see it again. I think it's much better than the examples Allyson has in her blog (imho, as they say). It has humor, it describes the new work, it has a picture (very important to me - and I didn't put one in my recent, bland announcement).

I asked him how he did it. He says he removes himself, he steps back and writes as the museum staff would. I wonder if this isn't an approach that would work for me? Write as a gallery would? Or cop ideas from something someone else has written about you. I'll have to send out another announcement soon, people have been telling me I should have included a photo. I guess I have to work on it.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Open Studios: Before

We will be doing Open Studios in San Mateo on May 20 and 21. This is a big-deal event for me. It takes weeks of my art time to prepare. I'll send out postcards and email announcements. I have to clean off my big work table and set up as much of my work as I can fit in the space. Some years I clean off the top of a long cabinet for additional display space. I planted nasturtiums and poppies in the vegetable garden months ago. (I hope they bloom.) Every year, as the date approaches, I think "what was I thinking? I don't want to do this again next year."

After Open Studios, and after the mess in my studio is restored to it's rightful place, I change my mind. There are lots of good things about this event. It's always fun to talk to other artists. I like seeing the work displayed, instead of in boxes in the closet. Because I'm not in any galleries right now, I also value the exposure. I usually get new students for workshops. That's a lot, right?

My husband, Jim, will have the Zymoglyphic Museum open. Because there are two of us there is the Companion Effect. If it rains, or when it's slow because of Mother's Day, we can at least hang out together and complain to each other.

I do have a list of things to do. Things get added to it every year, but I always ignore parts of it. This year I'm going to bring in fresh flowers from the garden and hang prayer flags in the tree outside. The floor will be dirty, everything is always dusty, there will be piles of papers and collage materials hidden under my worktable. It looks like an artist's studio, slightly tidied up. I think it will be a wonderful two days. If you're in the area and can come by to say "hello," please do.