Thursday, June 11, 2015

Glassblowing Adventure!

Hey Art Fans!

Just landed back home from spending a few days in Newport, RI and wanted to share a great little place where you can have a fantastic experience, while you have an artistic adventure!

Thames Glass is one of those places you stumble upon and never want to leave. I could stay for hours watching the artists make amazing pieces of work out of molten glass.

Our family and a friend ventured over to give it a try during one of their "make your own" classes and the results left us happy! We were helped out by Shane, who is a talented artist and master instructor. He was able to help our soon to be 10 year old daughter make two stunning ornaments and she had a blast. She was so inspired and hooked on the process, she is asking for a glassblowing birthday party this year.

My wife also tried her hand at making an ornament and her results were pretty good also!

Finally, this one is mine. I am so thrilled with the way this turned out and want to explore the art form more and more. It is one of those things that is an easy addiction and the only limit is the depth of your pocket!

For me, I think the new thing when I travel will be finding a glass blowing shop to make and bring back a little something to remember the trip. For this one, we were close to the ocean, which is my favorite place to be, and this ornament will remind me of watching the waves break.

If you are in Newport, RI please stop by and tell them I sent you! I promise you will not be disappointed! They have items ready for purchase that will make you happy to bring home, if you don't have the desire to make your own!

Be well and happy, until next time!

Monday, June 1, 2015

21 Cents That Chain Us

Hey Arties,

I wanted to share a little more about this art piece and how it came to be. This past year, I offered an after school art class and had 12 students from the ages of 7- 12 sign up. The class was about finding your inner visionary and we discussed some of the artist featured at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore. If you have not been you should check it out.

Anyway, I wanted the students to push themselves to create "something" out of trinkets and left over pieces of things others had abandoned. I wanted them to connect with the material and put something on the canvas that represented them as an artist.

This led me to lead by example. About the time the class was taking place, there was a great deal of media coverage about the Michael Brown shooting. I learned that young black males were 21 times more likely to be shot and killed by police than their white counterparts. This is not OK with me.

As I went in front of the students every week, I would bring this canvas with me so they could see it transform into the final piece of art. We talked about the two Statue of Liberties in the background and how we divide ourselves. We talked about the bubbles we all live in and how that keeps up from seeing other people and learning from them as we also teach them about ourselves.

We talked about the history in the country when it comes to racism and how we all must do better and that it all starts with each of them.

There was one young man, who upon seeing this final canvas looked at the other kids and said, "We have to change all of this! We have to make things better for everybody."

It made my eyes water and my heart full that this group of 12 kids could see the meaning behind the work and were unafraid to embrace the work that needs to be done to make a difference.

The art they presented back to me was unbelievable, complex, funny, deep and meaningful. I will carry the images of them presenting their work to their parents with me always and see their faces as they told their stories.

As for me, this piece is hanging on my wall and it has become one of those pieces I am finding hard to let go. I am sure the right person or organization will come along that fits into the message it conveys. If that happens, I will sell it or donate it and move onto the next piece in the hopes it speaks as deeply to the kids as this one.

This was constructed using a bunch of different things, but the outside edge of the canvas is framed with construction strapping. I liked the way it looks and will be using it again on other pieces.

I hope you like it.