Where are you?

Normally this time of year I am in Portland, Oregon at the Local 14 Show & Sale. This year I am not. For all those who are concerned it is because of something bad I assure you it is not. It is because of something good! I had a terrific show at Art in the Pearl, in Portland. I have very little inventory left.

I had September to restock after Art in the Pearl, but September was booked with other business that kept me from my workbench. Also there was a trip to Peoria, Illinois for a show artist/director conference. I gave 2 presentations as well as learned a lot from my fellow directors. It was great fun.

Afterwards I hurried home to ship promised work off to a gallery in Austin, Texas: Art on 5th. Now I really have nothing left. My goal for the next month is to complete a bunch of commissions, enjoy Fall in Central Oregon, keep biking, and watch the snow fall in the mountains.

And a bit of random humor. Maybe my life in Central Oregon is sheltered. While traveling I encountered a vending machine that offered a wide selection of items that I had never seen before in a vending machine, together. I was going for the M & M peanuts.


Vending machine




Vending machine choices















Carla

FoxGlassworks.com

glass tiles

Dave (the hubby) and I like to do things ourselves. Its a point of pride. We have an eclectic background of skills to bring to any task. We've been teachers, outdoor instructors, special ed director (Dave), parents, small business owners, community organizers. I have considerable skills behind a sewing machine, Dave carpenter skills, and a life time spent with a master gardener. What we don't know we like to figure out.

Plus both Dave & I are artists; me a jeweler, him a glass tile person. I sell at shows, he works with architects, designers, contractors, & owners to make his custom tiles. He's my sous chef in jewelry, I'm his sous chef in glass. And both are part of a wonderful group of artists and arts advocates producing a fine arts show, Art in the High Desert, in Bend Oregon. We figure out tough things all the time.

But, no matter how bold and brave, trained or experienced, inventive, sometimes it is best to NOT do it yourself.

With the help of some talented people we have created a new Fox Glassworks website to showcase Dave's work.

Our fine children pushed us off this cliff by contracting with a favorite web designer and friend, Keith Buckley to put together a tease of what a new website might look like. Keith then went to work on us asking for photos and words and some idea of what we wanted the website to look like, how to navigate around it.

What looks so easy once done is in reality a series of interconnecting decisions. We struggled, we thought, we tabled it, and then our kids would remind us that they had a stake in getting it up. We could do this, we thought.

Then we had our best idea and we turned to more experts for help. The best decision of all.

Tom Hassler and his stylist Trisha spent a weekend with us photographing a variety of jobs scattered through-out Central Oregon. We added some of our fortunate shots from jobs out of the area burned them to a CD and faithfully sent to Keith. He still had questions. How was he to use them? What words did we want with them, where on the site should they go?

Oh. Wasn't that all required of us? Pretty pictures and a great product. As good as Keith is, he couldn't read our ultimate needs and intentions from our mass of photos. Ellen Santasiero proved to be just the person to help us, move beyond this. She writes the words for websites. Short, elegant, to the point, words. She sat down with us and asked many thoughtful questions to guide her words and ultimately the Fox Glassworks website. Her focus became our touchstone.

And so it went. Questions asked, answers struggled for, decisions slowly made. Ideas tried out, more photos taken, ideas considered refined or throw out. Friends finally got into the picture urging us to finish it as they were eager to see it up share with their clients. Thanks Martha.

Finally after several days of me learning way more about how domain names, dns numbers, and web host addresses work, I received a magic email from a very helpful tech and viola! Keith published the new website.

Check it out. If you find any boo-boos tell me. Its okay, we know we have a tweaks to do. But enjoy its' elegant navigation, Dave's wonderful tiles and installations, Ellen's words, Keith's web design, Tom's photos, our kids kick in the pants. FoxGlassworks.com

Thanks to all who helped with this. You're the best. Below are just a few of the glass projects Dave has worked on.

Master bath counter DRR


Powder RoomDRR


Brasada Men's side


cmf-head-avatarCarla

Running a show

Arghhh.

Time's short and I too busy. Two or so years ago some artists and art advocates in Bend decided that the West Coast in general and Bend in particular needed a really wonderful show. What's more we realized we had all the skills to put one on. And so it started.

In 2 weeks the 2nd annual Art in the High Desert will come to Bend. Its a lotta work. We are an all-volunteer group.  Which makes it a bit crazy to work this hard. But we all agree that it is worth it. But today, for now, Arggghhh. Why do I have the good ideas I do? I'm way too busy. Our whole team is working hard, on their own art, and each of their show jobs.

Last year was our first year. We could have picked a more auspicious economy during which to start a show...but we like challenges. More important, the city of Bend, and central Oregon love fine art. They came out and bought last year, and they tell us they will be back again this year.

So while my life is filled with little details, final advertising pushes, (I even get to be interviewed on a local TV staiton) here are some images from last years show, taken by our photog Tom Hassler, aerial photograph by Matt Verdieck.  Enjoy the view, come and visit us this year. We have great artists coming again, don't miss them.

Carla

AHD_08 Along the river


BearAHD 2008


Long Day AHD _08


Aerial AHD 08







Rain-Cherry Creek, Colorado 2009

What's worse for an art show artist-a raging wind storm or torrential rains? I'm not sure. But last weekend at the Cherry Creek Art Festival in Denver, we had the opportunity to deal with the rain.

Our daughter, Sarah, was in the Cherry Creek festival. So on the way home from Des Moines, we stopped in Denver to help her set up her booth, and I stayed on as her assistant while Dave flew home to the dogs and our other life.

Fortunately he hung around for Friday of the show. We needed all hands on deck. The Rockies are known for their afternoon thunder storms, so we weren't too concerned as the dark clouds rolled in, nor even when show staff came to warn us that a rain and thunder storm would hit in 20 minutes. As per the show's suggestion we had not set the tent in the gutter, the tent was a light dome and had weathered several storms with nary a leak, and we were Oregonians, we are the rain.

Be careful what you don't worry about. Cherry Creek had a huge rainstorm on Friday. We were fortunate as the river/gutter we were by flowed on without overwhelming the booth. It came thorough the booth but we made an island of plastic boxes in the center, hiked up all the stuff we didn't want wet and rode it out. Other artists were not so lucky. If their booth sat at the confluence of 2 drainage areas water rose a foot in their boothes. Some art was lost. One artist's tool box floated 2 blocks away. It was eventually returned by another artist.

And so it goes. Life in a 10' x 10' retail space....

On the road again

The last few weeks have been non-stop work preparing for the Des Moines Art Festival. Its a great show, wonderfully-organized, one of the best in the country. It has to be for 2 people from Oregon to travel the 1700 miles to get here. The best part is seeing the wide-open country and antelope, the worst was being eaten by mosquitos at a campground in Rawlins, Wyoming, that sat on the edge of the freeway.

We had chosen to camp our way across the country to save  money. KOA's seem a good idea as they are clean, have showers, readily available. The one in Rawlins meets all that criteria. But it was set between some apartment buildings and the freeway. Our fellow tent neighbors lost something around 10 pm and spent the next hour opening and closing every door in their car repeatedly. But it was the mosquitos that finally undid me. I started to think real hard about camping being a good idea. And I use to teach outdoors for a living.

Grand Island, Nebraska's KOA sat in a grove of trees next to a corn field. Perfect, until the mosquitos came out again. Once we had eaten and been eaten, we plugged in the computer and a small fan and sat in our tent seeing a thunder and  lightening storm bear down on us, while watching Jon Stewart and drinking cheap wine. The silliness of the situation tickled us. Laying in a backpacking tent, watching a thunder storm fly at us, while viewing a TV program on our computer. Man has camping changed.

View from our "window."

Thunder storm moving in










Booth photos…arghhh

The room sounded like it was full of pirates. Another booth photo had come up on the screen and jurors groaned…..arghhh.

Artists understand what I am about to talk about, for my non-artist readers, an explanation is due. When we artists want to be in a show we just can’t add our names to the list. We must apply and be juried in. The application process usually involves answering a few questions, sending images of one’s work, and a booth photo of how one’s booth looks. Once the applications are all in a jury will review and score them. The highest scoring artists are accepted in the show.

It sounds so simple, but continues to mystify us artists as we apply to shows with our great work and don’t get it. WHY!? is always the question. Part of the answer is Booth Photo!

Jurying circa 2008


I recently had the opportunity to sit through a jurying for a show. I was not a juror but an observer.

What struck me and everyone else in the room was the poor quality of many of the booth photos. Many artists booth photos were just plain awful. Why did they waste their application fee by using such a poor quality booth image?

Well, actually many of us know.

Booth photos are a pain to get. We artists realize we need one in the dead of winter, as we are starting to fill out applications. Our booths are packed away and we try to figure out if we even took a photo of our booth last summer. Or do we have a decent shot from a few years ago, hopefully after we changed to our new work or redesigned our booth. Yeah, I have one...I remembered to take one...now where is it?

This wasn’t a fussy jury. A simple shot of the booth as it would look at this show was all they wanted. It didn’t have to be professionally shot. For emerging artists or non-show artists images of their work as a grouping was acceptable.

Artists without a good booth image had handicapped themselves and their application. As artists we never want to give the jury a reason to say NO to our application. In many cases the artists had done just that with their poor booth image.

The Don'ts:
Images that did not show the artist’s work in situ. Booth images shot with camera phones, shot with the sun coming directly into the camera lens, out of focus, with a turned over coffee cup and other debris in the booth. Images of booths with art work totally unrelated to the work the artist was jurying. (What would they show up with if accepted or is that even their booth?) Booths with the side walls pulled back so only the blue porta potties show, not the artwork. A particular irritant to this group of jurors was the booth images with the names of the artists on the booth, despite the show’s prospectus asking that NO names be visible. Images with people in them, more often then not the artist, happily selling his/her work. Or so many people that one can’t see the booth. The jury saw one side of a booths, a partial corner, the grass and roof of the booth, while the artwork was hard to discern. Heavily photoshopped booth images, were commented on, and disparaged a bit for being too overworked. A screen capture of the home page of a website with an explanation to the jury why no booth photo, was not well-received. Neither were scanned images of photographs or slides, that looked dirty, dusty, and out of focus.

The Do's:
The booth had been cleaned up of misc debris, people, signage, names. The shot was clear, in focus, correctly exposed, and showed the jury how the artist’s work would present at the show. The photos shot at a shows were just as well received as those shot in a photog studio. The jury saw no need to set-up a special shot in a studio setting. The best ones showed similar work in the booth as was being juried.

Moral of this story:
We artists need to be out there shooting our booths all summer long to get the best booth image we can for next year’s round of applications. It is must, so juries can say YES to our applications.

Click for more info on booth photos from Larry Berman...

sm-booth-photo-composite

cmf-head-avatar Carla

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

There are many kinds of artists. Some feel once one is an artist in any media, one can take on any other media….be it photography, graphic design, or web design. I have found that being creative in one area does not necessarily translate to another.

My jewelry photog, Gary and I, struggled yesterday to get a shot of a pair of earrings just right. Actually I struggled. He had done his job, mine was to "style" the earrings into a pleasing arrangement. He took the photos, we evaluated each shot on his monitor and I continued to tweak, as he adjusted the lights.

I am often asked if I take my own photos. I always snort "No" But why not? My father was a photographer, I learned at his knee. I have a friend who is a professional commercial photographer who willingly shares his tricks. I’ve seen Gary shoot my work many times.  I can certainly get a camera that has the capacity to take the images. But as I "styled" my jewelry and Gary rearranged his lights, I knew without a doubt that I shouldn’t be photographing my work. It's not within my creative suite. Its not within my studio set up, I don’t have the years of working in the field.

Consider when Michael Jordan left basketball to play baseball he had a short and unstellar career. Joaquin Phoenix is a great actor, but it remains to be seen if he can be a great singer. We’ve all designed or seen designed the MSWord business cards and/or brochures, that could be titled "Fun with Fonts". I’ve certainly designed my share of bad over-done graphics. But I learned my lessons the hard way & I don’t do graphics nor am I designing my website.

I recently, had the opportunity to observe a jurying for an art show. There are some wonderful artists out there, its damn exciting to see their work. But not all artists are photographers. And as the jury commented several times, "What were they thinking?" What indeed. They didn’t further their own carefully crafted work, with their poor photography.

As my photog sez, it’s not what camera you use...that’s just the recording device. In photography it’s about the lighting. And I am convinced, that is a skill that must be developed over years. As a jeweler I can tell you its not the metal and the bling, its how its put together. The fact that I am a creative person doesn't mean I should take on ALL creative projects that come my way.

I am best at being a jeweler. I’m at home there. I am a poor photographer, a font frolicking graphic designer, and a clueless web geek.

I don’t always have the time or money for it but I have learned to hire, barter, beg, pay-over-time, whatever it takes to get the right creative professional for the job I need done. In the long run it is cheaper and saves more time.

This blog entry is for my Photog-Gary Alvis, WebGuy-Michael Hamilton, & GraphicPeop. Thank you for being so good at what you do, so I don’t have to.

Coming soon:  Thoughts on jury & booth images. The good, bad, and the GAWD AWFUL.

cmf-head-avatar Carla