Thursday, February 28

Art Therapy

Here's a handy 4 minute BBC video about the perceived power of art therapy, as well as the issues these programs face.

I believe fully in Art Therapy. Even if it can't cure cancer it has created many wonderful artists, especially through army based programs. You may not have known that last tidbit, but the army's art therapy programs really helped to revitalize the North American art scene (or at least the glass art scene haha) after the second world war. I'll offer some more information about that impact after I get in touch with one of my teacher's about the subject.

I know what I think, but what do you think? Is art therapy helpful to people on all walks of life, or is it just the equivalent of the 'miracle pill' that never makes you better?

Monday, February 25

How To Make Your Own Silkscreen!

Of course there are many, many tutorials online for how to do this, but I just have to add my own.

I wanted to make my own screen because a 24" x 24" screen is ridiculously large and impossible to use when you're working on a 1" x 1" scale.

You Will Need:
1 Picture Frame (with a flat surface ideally)
Screen Mesh or a Gauzy Curtain (I purchased screen mesh from Screentec in Mississauga, ON)
Staple Gun
A Helping Hand

Step One

Take your picture frame apart, being sure to take out any metal bits. If there are any broken splints of wood they'll tear the screen, so cover them with some electrical tape.

Step Two
Place the frame over your mesh and cut an at least one inch border around it.

Step Three
Like when you stretch canvas, you want to put a staple in the very middle of one of the picture frame sides. Then you flip the frame over, pull the screen taut, put a staple in the middle of that side, and continue on to the other two sides. As you repeat this process you staple out towards the edges, pulling as you go. This assures the screen will be as taut as possible.

Step Four
Trim the excess fabric if it's in the way, but don't cut too close to the staples, or it will end up fraying out.

When your silk screen is complete you can apply pictures to it in many different ways!

(If you need to expand this page, "Read More" is located under the Tweet button. Have to get that fixed.)

Thursday, February 21

Marc Petrovic's Birds

Since we have been talking lately about different ways to educate the public about your working process, I thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to show off the crazy thing that Marc Petrovic does.

That is an amazingly realistic bird, sitting on top of the sheet of glass it was made from.

You can trust me when I say that creating that fused sheet of glass would be a lot of work. Too much work for me.

I still can't fathom how those wings become wings.

And for those who are interested, here's a 23 minute video of him making the bird (you can skim through it of course):

So, now that  you know what I'm talking about - I think displaying the fused sheet with the bird makes it that much more amazing, because you can start trying to imagine how he made it into a bird. If you have absolutely no idea how he did it you can just brush it off and walk away, but he's given you hints to get your mind going - ingenious!

Are there any other working processes that could maximize the finished piece by being politely displayed with it?

Monday, February 18

82 Bananas

When you get into something, get really, really into it.

Saturday, February 16

Bangkok Art and Culture Centre

The Bangkok Art and Culture Centre is an amazing 11 storey building that features galleries, gourmet cafes, create-your-own craft shops, niche bookstores, and even a pop-out bike shop! I'm not even sure how a pop-out store works, but I'm loving it!

I really wish I had something like this nearby to hit up, it would be much more entertaining than the usual mall! Apparently there's a few of these venues out there, so I wonder why I've never heard of them before now?

I also think that the 'mallesque' atmosphere of the art centre presents culture in a way that would be very attractive to children and young adults. After all, the stuffyness of some museums can really kill the atmosphere, don't you agree?
The official article I checked out was here on Nation Multimedia.

Do you think 11 storeys is a bit excessive, or should North America start taking some notes?

Monday, February 11

Rezoning Buildings as Studios?

I hopped into my local auto shop today to get a metal mold welded together - I don't know if all mechanics will do this, but my dad happens to be old friends with the owner, so he was willing to help me out. While I was there I started looking around the shop and realized, "Damn! An old auto shop would make an amazing studio!" And, in fact, I think in my lifetime I have seen quite a few closed down auto shops.

I realized the space is pretty damn large, too large for just a kiln casting studio, even if I was running workshops. So I figured, if anyone was about to start a glass co-op, the building would easily fit a kiln shop, hot shop (glass blowing and hot casting), flameworking, and a cold shop. It would suck to have an open space between everything, because a cold shop is really damn loud, but if everyone cooperates they can pick official cold shop days and times, so that the majority of use, when people are in there for hours, doesn't interrupt everyone else.

When you need some extra ventilation, or the day is just really hot, you could also just throw open those beautiful glass garage doors! Speaking of, glass garage doors would be great for natural light, and amazing to let the public peek in while they're walking by! Now all I need to do is figure out where you'd put a safe zone so the public could come inside and take a gander, and we'd be all set!

A co-op glass studio like this isn't in my future, not as far as I know, but it's still nice to think about it.

Would an auto shop work for anybody else? Would textiles artist's enjoy it, or is something more homey better for that? What other buildings would be amazing if they were rezoned as studios?

Friday, February 8

Bring Informative Material To Shows!

I don't just mean pamphlets, cards or web links that will help connect the public to you. Nope, this is a friendly suggestion that artists who are participating in shows bring materials along that will help educate any interested customers!

Some ideas;

Experiences: A pamphlet for the local school that you attended, or some workshops in the area (even ones you run), could help create a whole new artist, or at least produce a little bit of appreciation for your craft.

Outsourcing: Having your favorite welder's card on hand could make a world of difference to an artist that's struggling to find a good one! Keeping your supplier secret from other artists won't stop them from eventually finding it themselves, it will just produce an unnecessary negative experience, so share and share alike.

Leads: When someone asks where your awesome handmade wallet came from, why not produce a card and send a little business to a fellow artist (that you clearly like).

Collaboration: Whether the card you share belongs to you, your welder, or your textiles friend, networking can help produce unique, collaborative art!

Knowledge: Did you read a book that really influenced you? Why not keep it on hand and let an interested party read the back description, or leaf through a couple pages and see if anything catches their eye; that book might change their life. At the very least, make sure you remember the title and author (I always forget), so you can pencil it onto the back of your business card.

Can anyone think of other types of useful information that would be relatively easy to pass on?

Saturday, February 2

There Are Polyculture Farms, Are There Polyculture Studios?

When you think about the idea of local farms, what comes to mind?

For me it's a polyculture farm, as opposed to the industrial giants that plant giant monocultures (of say, corn) so that they can successfully fill all of WalMart's thousands of orders.

Assuming the information I've been reading is correct, a polyculture farm - one that has different types of produce and different animals - can;
Check out these healthy grasses!

-Be healthier for the environment
-Be more nutritious for consumers
-Produce a higher quality of food,
-Avoid the use of pesticides
-Act as it's own ecosystem
-Support local businesses
-Make for happier animals

At least, all of these things seem to be true of Polyface Farms, which is the particular farm I have been reading about. If you read about how this farm operates (say, in The Omnivore's Dilemma), you might come to the conclusion that this is the ideal way to farm, and wouldn't it be great if everyone had local farms again?

At least, that's the conclusion I came to, and thanks to a friend I have started wondering, is there such a thing as a craft polyculture? A complete studio ecosystem? I'm thinking about it more before I write out my answer.

Is there any way artist's materials and practices can help support each other?