Monday, June 23, 2008
The t-shirts showed up! You can see me with Jane up there, showing them off. They turned out really well and I kept seeing more and more people running around campus today wearing them.
Also found out today that the people who fund the scholarship I received will be on campus Wednesday evening and wanted to meet me. Not sure if I should be nervous or not, but at least I'll get to thank them in person.
Tonight one of the TA's for a class, New York artist Erica Rosenfeld, gave a demonstration where she was cooking with hot glass. She was also wearing cherry earrings, a red apron, and pink cat-eye glasses, but I think that happens to be part of her glass-blowing persona. We watched her and a team of people blow a big bowl and then place it on some fresh molten glass from the kiln. Then they poured water in the bowl, added a colander with greens, and slapped a lid on it until the bowl eventually broke. She tossed them with sauce in a different bowl and promptly served them. Fun to watch, and possibly to eat (I didn't partake).
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Just throwing up some images from around campus. The view of the hot shop and other buildings every morning when I head down to the lodge from the dorms; a shot of our (Tom's and my) messy dorm room; a tree-house; "Founders" totem pole; and random forest view.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Bedazzled in Prison: The Musical occurred last night. Since it was the theme of the Student Auction/Party, everyone was trying to put together a costume. Jane and I wandered down to dig through the costume area in the metal shop early, and managed to find some things to throw together. She ended up being a gilded sheriff with a bedazzled hat and I bedazzled a leather vest and made a mug shot card to put around my neck.
Even though I had my camera with me, I didn't end up taking any pictures during the event though. :(
I'll have to steal some when people put them in the student folder. It was good times! The auction was really fun, and the party afterwards lasted until the wee hours of the morning, moving from the lodge to the hot shop, where everyone was dancing by the light of the gloryholes. (They have awesome speakers in there too.)
Last night was the Student Auction and Party. I had made some monoprints (see above) based on the chipmunk I did for the t-shirt contest, and together they sold for about $100. They managed to raise about $8,000 last night. Half goes toward scholarships and the other half toward supplies for the campus.
I did end up buying a couple things, one was a print in the silent auction for $10 and then I managed to snag a glass sculpture for $40 during the live auction too. Which was fortunate, because there were lots of good things, but most of them were $100 or more. There were definitely some steals though... If I come back, I'm going to have to make sure I have some cash available. As much as I hate to think of art as an investment most of the time, it would be a great place to start or add to a collection.
I've been having a TON of fun in the print shop. I was in there most of the day today working on some pieces inspired by basketry designs from my tribe. Good times!
Thursday, June 19, 2008
We took a field trip on Tuesday (if I neglected to mention it already) to Seattle to check out James Nowak's studio on Capitol Hill which was SUPER-COOL!!! I want to live there. There is a shot of him with his assistant (who was pretty hot by the way), and also a close-up of James working in the "gloryhole". Yes, you heard me right. I guess there are a lot of fun terms in the glass world. Good times.
Afterwards, most everyone piled into Tom's van for a trip to Uwajimaya. I rode back with our teacher and a couple other folks instead, seeing as how I can go to Uwajimaya whenever I want to normally. Sounds like I missed out though, Tom just happened to have a didgeridoo in his van AND Katie just happens to be able to play the didgeridoo! He really does have a magic van...
Anyhow, the third photo is a shot of my desk. No, not all of that wine is mine. But somehow it all ended up on my desk. Any time we get the chance to leave campus we always seem to migrate back with various bottles of alcohol. We have fun in the evenings working in the studio, drinking wine, listening to French pop from the 1970s. I will treasure these memories forever. Also, the last photo shows some candy that Jane picked up at Uwajimaya called, "Crunky." (I'll leave that one alone.)
And did I mention that we have a theme for our student auction/party on Friday night? A super fun theme, in fact. "Bedazzled Prison Uniforms: The Musical." How do you dress for that? One of the students in our class got her hands on a Bedazzler, and there were rumors that the kitchen staff went to the Wal-Mart in Mount Vernon and cleaned out their Bedazzler supplies (nine of them). I promise to bring my camera with me tomorrow night. I just need to make sure that I don't get drunk and lose it in a bush, which happened to a student at the last party.
Just opened up my email this morning to find a forwarded message about "Prince Waleed of Saudi Arabia's" diamond-covered Mercedes. Supposedly it is his 38th car. It cost $4.8 million and you can pay $1000 to touch it.
There was a little note at the bottom saying, "Remember this when gasoline costs $5.00 a gallon. You paid for this one." I'm not entirely sure what this is supposed to mean. That I should stop driving so that Prince Waleed can't afford to buy a matching Mercedes covered with emeralds? That I should ruminate on this car when I am filling up my tank at the gas station and become insanely jealous?
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Slept in this morning until 11:30, which was GREAT!!! Got up, took a shower, did some laundry, and it was suddenly time for lunch. After lunch I was in the print shop all afternoon and had a really fun time. Don't have any images of what I've been working on, but they are inspired by things I was doing a few years ago, such as the red/black acrylic painting at the top and the oil pastel drawing below it.
It seems like ever since I went back to school I've been so focused on design that I've really moved to working with grids and straight lines and don't very often do projects that aren't somewhat rigid. I was hoping that my time here would let me develop more fluidity and introduce some organic elements into my work. If I'm able to successfully combine my art and design, I think I'll be there.
Also, we had a slide show tonight by the de la Torre Brothers (Einar and Jamex) that was really cool. Their website is also super slick, although it has less work on it than we saw earlier. I'm so excited to be surrounded by such great artists, both teachers and students!
Monday, June 16, 2008
Every session here at Pilchuck they have a t-shirt contest. Inspired by the chipmunks that frequent the campus, I decided that I was going to draw a chipmunk for my entry. My desk is near Jane's and she suggested I add an eye patch (a la Dale Chihuly, founding artist) and then Gyun came by and said she thought he should be blowing glass. After a small pile of tracing paper, some scanning, and digital coloring, I was left with my lovely t-shirt design.
Tonight, anyone who wanted to enter posted their submission on the fireplace at the lodge before dinner. Voting was open while we ate, and the winner was announced before the regular evening slideshow. I got first place! This means that they will be printing them out and selling them in the school store. And I think I get a free shirt for winning.
Our instructor, Cork Marcheschi, told us he is "teaching [us] how to win" open calls for public art. I figure this is a good sign? I have to start somewhere!
So in the photo above (you really should click on it to see it in all its glory) this terrible hat that looks like a Barbie/My-Little-Pony horse combined into one mind-blowing object. And yes, you heard me right, it really is a hat.
I first met this hat on Friday when a group of us was digging in the costume pile for the party being thrown by the TAs. Jane modeled it for us, and someone, somewhere has photos of that. I forgot all about it until last night when I had wandered over to the hot shop to see if my cast glass pieces were out of the kiln yet. There it was, sitting in a lawn chair right outside the shop.
Immediately I scurried back to the studio to grab my camera.
I may not be very good at remembering to carry my camera with me, but I did know that it was important to document that hat. How did it get there? (The hot shop isn't particularly close to the metal/wood shop where the party was.) What tales can this hat tell? Who the hell made it?
Generally I feel pretty content with my life and what I have. Unfortunately, the internets conspire on a regular basis to make me want things I don't own. (Television usually has the same effect on a larger scale, which is a big part of why I don't have one.)
I was randomly reading an article about Comparing the iPhone's 'true' price that I saw advertised on MSN's home page. Their tactics worked on me! I clicked the link, read the article, and thought about how nice it would be to own a shiny new phone with lots of features. The fact that I would be spending about $2000 over the next two years for the phone and plan actually seemed like it wasn't too bad. Until I realized that if my phone happens to last two more years, I would only be spending about $780.
Don't need it. It's pretty, but I don't need it.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Pictures of the studio in the Flat Shop where my class works (showing Katie, Jane, and Micah, respectively). As you can see, the wine and beer can be important ingredients for some. There was a wild costume party on Friday night that was really fun. I wore a weird curly wig and silver pleather jacket that was way too small for me. I felt like Howard Stern, but people told me the effect was more like the guitarist from Slash.
Didn't stay for the jell-o shots, but some folks had a REALLY good time! There were tales of people passing out and curling up for the night in the metal shop, library, etc.
I can't believe I've spent five nights here already. It feels like I just arrived. Got to do sand-casting and enamel painting yesterday, and today I slept in late and worked on drawing and photoshopping images for our project.
Weather has been great too, which helps a lot. Of course it does have some unintended side effects. Like the surprise when one of the gaffers stripped down to nothing and was spread out on a picnic table right outside our studio. It certainly feels like art camp...
Friday, June 13, 2008
Above is the view looking west from the top floor of the lodge. It's good stuff!
Spent the morning in the print shop playing around making monotypes. It was totally like art therapy. I loved it and will be signing up again and again and again while I'm here. This afternoon I was (surprisingly) motivated and productive. I managed to Photoshop some images for my public art proposal and start on drawing some chipmunks for our t-shirt contest. Almost everyone else spent the day watching a master glassblower who was on campus. I probably should have investigated it, but I know NOTHING about glass.
For that matter, I know nothing about fabrication in general. All of the people I'm surrounded by in class have created all sorts of amazing things and know how to build stuff. Glass, neon, metal, jewelry, painting, etc. So I'm going to try and catch up a little! Did the printing today and will be sandcasting hopefully tomorrow. And on Monday I had an offer to learn how to weld that I think I'm going to take up.
My iPod made it onto the stereo dock this afternoon when it was the only one nearby that was available. I was a little embarassed because I haven't listened to it in months and months. Probably since last summer. And I had no idea what was on it. The only really bad thing was that there was more Janet Jackson than I would have preferred.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Well, I'm out in the wilderness. We had chipmunks running around in our studio today, across the floor, under tables, on tables, in and out of open backpacks. I've noticed a few ants in my dorm room and I'm at the point where I don't care. They don't seem to be interested in biting me, so I'll let them wander around freely as long as they stay off of my bed. If they want to crawl on my blankets, they will do so at their own peril. Luckily, they are pretty tiny and only appear occasionally.
Today we got to trudge around in the rain between buildings. I know that June is usually not quite as great as I always seem to expect, but I can definitely tell it is colder than usual. My class is going to be more focused on the process of successfully submitting for public art proposals, so I don't know that I'll get a chance to work with glass. I probably could seek it out, but don't know if I'm going to or not. I will, however, be playing in the print studio for sure! Making monotypes looks fun, and there are is a slew of ink colors to play with!
The artist-in-residence that I was excited to meet and see working isn't here after all. Instead, he was replaced (for reasons unknown to me) with Marcus Amerman, another Native artist that I am familiar with. Both Amerman and the other artist (Rick Bartow) were included in my curatorial proposal I made as my final for my "Contemporary Art History" class, so I'm not really too disappointed. Just talked to Marcus at dinner too, and he seems really cool. He'll be showing slides of his work tonight after dinner, which ends in about 15 minutes.
Speaking of dinner, they do feed us really well here! Although I hear that the food is way better this year than in the past.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Before I shut down my laptop to pack it up I'll throw up one last post. Saw a brief thing on Slate
in Kausfiles (Mickey Kaus' weblog):
Venti Snooty Latte: A new threat to social equality--the frequent-customer snob. The NYT's Ron Lieber doesn't just want freebies for his repeat Starbucks patronage. He wants something more:
Rewards are nice, but recognition is better. So if I'm one of Starbucks's best customers, I want to have elite status, as I do on American Airlines. I want shorter lines, better freebies, special seating (Aeron chairs, preferably) and electrical outlets reserved just for me and my laptop. [E.A.]
A creep, no? It's one thing for Starbucks to give Lieber free wi-fi and discounts. It's another to reward him by undermining the essentially egalitarian experience that's part of the appeal of a good American "third place." ...
Gross. I already find Starbucks annoying enough that I generally avoid it. Which luckily, I am easily able to do since I live in Seattle. There is a veritable plethora of coffee alternatives in this city that serve espresso that is MUCH better than Starbucks, such as Vivace, Cafe Ladro, Top Pot, Herkimer, and Bellino to name a few. Several of those places are also within walking distance of my apartment (lucky me!) and NONE of them has a velvet rope or VIP section. I'm really not feeling this sense of exclusive individual entitlement that seems to be permeating society today. Is everybody turning into Paris Hilton or something? Do people really believe that driving a luxury vehicle makes them a more worthy person?
I certainly enjoy nice things and tailored services as much as the next person, but I don't think these things are necessary. Nor do I expect them from such regular things as getting coffee in the morning. Or afternoon, or evening. I'm not against Capitalism, but I do have a problem with Consumerism. Blech!
Today I'm leaving for two-and-a-half weeks for a session at Pilchuck Glass School. I'll be stuck up in the forest in Stanwood, WA the whole time. Forced to do nothing but work on art. I'm still a little unsure about what the class I'm taking is about exactly. The instructor's letter did little to clear things up for me, but I do know that it has to do with the public art process in one way or another.
I'm always struck by how I seek out things like this and then dread them when the time comes. Not that I think it will be bad, I'm sure this will be a great experience for me. Yet, I strongly dislike being thrust into a new and unknown environment all by myself. It's like starting a new job or the first day of school. I find it amusing because it isn't as if I'm resistant to change at all, in fact, I thrive on change! Probably it has to do with my worrying nature. Who will my dorm roommates be? What if I snore and keep them awake and they hate me? Will my art be good enough? Are the other students going to look down on me because I'm studying design? Too many worrisome questions that I need to just let go of.
And of course, I leave later today but I still haven't packed everything. Terrible, I know. I should get to it. Bryn got me a flashlight last night, so there's one thing to check off the list! I will get to meet Rick Bartow though, he's an artist in residence during this session and I truly admire his work. I'm sure I'll look back on this post at the end of the month and laugh at my nervousness.
Saturday, June 07, 2008
I don't know whether Rush Limbaugh is still particularly relevant anymore, but I ran across an article on Media Matters entitled Limbaugh Called Brazillian Indigenous Tribe "Savages" that caught my interest. The article itself was brief, and seemed to bristle by his use of the word in our current politically-correct climate. Knowing that I was going to be entering a war zone, I decided to take a look at the "comments" section. There was a lot more going on in there, with people arguing that the terms "savage" and "primitive" are correct. And then there were people offended by Rush's use of the term. Bitter diatribes ensued.
Although I accept that "savage" and "primitive" are still used in academic circles, I do think there is a difference between a researcher using the term to describe a culture (whether dead or alive) and Rush using it to support his arguments for colonialist beliefs. Still, I have less of an issue with Limbaugh using the word "savage" than I do with the content of pretty much anything he has to say. He just seems like the original version of Ann Coulter.
I hadn't thought about it in ages, but I remember reading a haiku written about Rush Limbaugh back when I was in high school. (10-15 years ago!!??!!) I really wish I remembered who wrote it and where I read it. For some reason though, I can recall the haiku in its entirety:
Limbaugh, Limbaugh, Limbaugh, Rush!
Lay off the donuts.
I will admit that I've never been to an actual strip club. Sure, I've seen a topless spectacular, spectacular in Las Vegas, but that isn't the same thing. I've never really had a strong opinion one way or another. I've always figured that it seems like the dancers can make a lot of money, and if they don't mind, why should I? My only direct (known) experience with a stripper was someone I knew (dated, actually) in high school who went on to become an exotic dancer. She would fly down to Las Vegas regularly also, and ended up pregnant at 20 by a 17 year-old guy who had told her he was 22. (They got married and I lost track of them after that. There's an unsurprising rumor that they are divorced floating around.)
So I've read a few articles lately about the Colacurcio's strip club empire locally and how they are under investigation. Although I'm not trying to be the morality police, and I don't think all strip clubs are evil, I doubt that most of them are very positive places to work in or that most women would actually be cut out for such work emotionally and intellectually. Nicole Brodeur wrote an article yesterday for the Seattle Times (Stripping Can Be Easy Money--For Club) that gave an example of a dancer who walked away from a 6 hour shift with $57 after having paid $120 to the house. Somehow it doesn't seem so glamorous OR well-paying for her. This girl started dancing at 20, is now 27, and says, "Dancing is all I know." Doesn't sound to me like she's being empowered. More like exploited.
The other article I ran across this morning was in The Stranger's food review section. Discomfort Inn tells of Lindy West's visit to a Deja Vu lunch buffet. And I think she sums it up when she says, "Taken separately, I am in support of the existence of strip clubs, buffets, buttholes, orange chicken, and sunny Tuesday afternoons. But even if I were into ladies—here's where my PhD in Grandma rears its head—there was nothing sexy or empowering about this commodified, artificial intimacy. Was there? It just made me feel lonely." I think the lunch buffet at Deja Vu is one set of snacks that I will pass on. The article was funny, but the reality of her experience is depressing.
Friday, June 06, 2008
Oil prices keep climbing scarily high. I was kind of excited yesterday when I was able to get some gas for $4.19 a gallon instead of the $4.37 they are charging a couple blocks from my house. There is a dearth of articles talking about how the oil prices are only going to go up, up, up! Examples from Slate are: Gas Bubble: Oil is at $100 per Barrel, Get Used to It and Gasoline is Cheap: Four Dollars a Gallon is Outrageous! We Should Be Paying Much More.
Therefore, I was rather excited to find an article today from Fortune (via CNNMoney.com) entitled Why Oil Prices Will Tank that offered some hope against the projected permanent $5 or $10 a gallon gas prices. Whether it turns out to be true or not, at least there is someone who has a decent argument against the spike. The author compares the current state of the oil market to the housing market and has some really good points.
Although it is difficult to have to pay so much more for gas personally, I really worry about people working low-paying jobs who have to commute. Looking at all of the high-priced residential projects that keep popping up in Seattle makes me wonder who is going to be able to afford to live in them. And even if there are enough people to buy all of these condos and the influx of people to the city creates more jobs, a big portion of those jobs will be service oriented and low-paying. Meaning that the people working for $10 an hour in and near the city are more likely to have to commute from a more affordable community.
I'm anxiously awaiting the light rail that is coming in soon. Soon! Maybe? (Better than a monorail. That was a cool idea that seemed more romantic than realistic.)
Thursday, June 05, 2008
As you can see from the above photo, the old QFC, Bartell's, Taco Bell, small house, and four story apartment building that formerly lived on this block are no more. Now they are busy hammering up all the concrete foundations, which is giving me a headache since this is all happening outside my window. But there's more... Amazingly enough, when I snapped this picture, I also captured a shot of the elusive "Urban Seattle Reindeer" that is an endangered species never before captured on film. It is known to be attracted to construction sites, used coffee grounds, and dalmations. There is also a strange orb visible in the photo. Obviously I caught a ghost in the shot too. Can you believe it? Two mysterious beings in one simple photograph? I've contacted the Weekly World News and am currently in negotiations to sell them the rights.
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
Also saw Sex and the City movie today. I wasn't sure what to expect based on what I'd read about it. Figured that I would enjoy it okay, but it was actually much better than I was expecting! As the show has aged and turned into a movie I really think it is less about sex in the city and more about friends in the city. I'm not ashamed to admit that there were a couple moments while I was watching that I cried a little. But hey, I freely admit to liking girly movies anyhow. They make me happy. I can't handle horror, and most suspense movies drive me up a wall too. If I'm paying to escape the real world for a couple of hours I want to have a nice time, not be stressed out and ready to crawl under my chair!
Ran across a couple really interesting online articles about the movie too, beyond the usual reviews. Here they are:
From Newsweek was Sexism and the City: What's Up With the Vicious Bashing of This Movie?
From The Root came One of the Girls: BBF in the City. "As the black best friend. . . Jennifer Hudson plays a tired role."
And for all of Slate's highbrow criticisms of the movie, it still produced four separate pieces. There was Sex and the City: A Guilty Pleasure That's Truly Guilty reviewing the film; Sex and the Cash Register: Retailers Hope to Piggyback on the Movie, But it Won't Work talking about it as a potential cash cow; Fashion Roadkill: When Did Carrie Become a Label Whore? discussing the clothes and characters; and lastly (with spoilers) Spoiling Sex and the City: Four Women Argue About the Clothes, the Men, and the Ending, which seemed less of an argument than a complaint session about how the movie didn't live up to feminist principles.
Personally, I enjoyed the movie. No, it wasn't perfect and I could probably write an article picking apart its flaws too, but at the end of the day, it delivered what I was looking for from it. As interesting as Slate's articles were, I still felt like their perspective was a little too elitist and New Yorker-y for my liking. Not that they don't have some good points, but they seemed to be rather up in arms about it. Maybe because the women writing the article feel like they are smart, successful women and don't want to be compared to the characters on the show? I'm not really sure. But I'm also not a woman, so I'm sure that has something to do with it too.
(Update 6/5/08) There is also an interesting look at the film on the Bridezilla blog called Carrie "Bridezilla" Bradshaw: How the New Sex and the City Movie is Shattering the Glass Slipper. I have to admit that I was surprised that Carrie was so calm about not getting her way with the first proposal. In seasons 1-6 she probably would have thrown a shoe at him for not doing something uber romantic!
Oddly enough, everything conspired today to see to it that I got early bday gifts from four directions all on the same day. Two in person, one by proxy, and one through the mail. Above are the two shirts that Bryn got me from http://shirt.woot.com/ that are super hilarious and cool. There is Steamboat Wootie and Fat Unicorn. One is for ironic artistic expression, the other for emotional overeating. I can get behind both of those activities. Fully.
One thing I really like about these shirts are the fun descriptions about them on the site. As it says for the second shirt under the "This Shirt Tells The World" category: "mmumph mmupmh mormph mmupmh." There's (lots) more if you want to investigate personally.
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
I had a realization last week when I was driving home on the freeway at 11pm on Friday night. For some reason, a scene from a couple of months earlier when I was having a meeting with the owner of the business I work for popped into my head. I won't go into all of the details, but she was listening to my concerns, worries, and ideas about the direction the business was going and she told me that it sounded to her like I was troubled by my youthful idealism when viewing the situation. To explain this, she used an example from when she was in law school at Yale or Princeton (I forget which was her undergrad and which was law school) where she saw all these problems with a system and used her passion and energy to write a huge report about what was wrong with everything and how to fix it. Of course after doing this, few of her suggestions were implemented.
In my mind, after hearing that I figured that perhaps I wasn't being fully aware of the situation and that maybe she was right and I was being unrealistic. I accepted her words at face value. But when I suddenly was remembering this the other night, I was also struck by a realization that she was wrong. Although I could see how she might dismiss my input as youthful idealism, especially since I'm in school right now, there is a difference. For one thing, I'm not 24. I'm 30 (close enough, it happens next week). There is also the fact that I was speaking to her with over four years of direct experience in the industry, plus another five-plus years of customer service in various capacities. I respect her viewpoint, but believe that she is wrong. The example she gave me was of a situation where she was trying to fix things using her newly gained knowledge. What I was doing was trying to communicate a perspective to her that included not only knowledge, but direct, applied, repetitive experience--also known as wisdom. (If I was trying to tell her what to do with the interior design, which I am in school for... well, that might have been more in line with her example.)
Now, this doesn't really have anything to do with her directly. Why I bring it up is because I was so happy that instead of unquestioningly accepting her word as correct, that I finally realized that I wasn't crazy, that I wasn't wrong, and that whether she wanted to listen to me or not, what I had to say was valid. It sounds trite, but I am really beginning to find my own voice. For me to overlook her anecdotal evidence, ivy league pedigrees, and position of authority/power as my boss and still believe in my message is new for me. Normally I might understand subconsciously that something was wrong with the situation, but I wouldn't have known that I was right in this instance and have been able to move past it. It would have festered and made me angry and unproductive.
At this point, while I see things happening with the business that I belive will ultimately have a negative impact and I am tempted to try and take on a larger role to help "fix" things, I know that it is best for me to keep my distance. It would have been a great opportunity for me a few years ago; however, as I transition into design I know that I would rather put my energy there. I can see something that is broken and leave it alone now. While I'm still working there, I will continue to do my best and leave a positive impact in my wake, but that is it. I don't need to worry about improving things on a larger scale because quite frankly, it isn't my responsibility. And I can make that choice.
Monday, June 02, 2008
Iron Man is the first movie I can recall going to in, well, I don't know how long. It was good stuff! Strange to see Jeff Bridges as the bad guy ("the dude" goes to the dark side?), but it worked out somehow. And Gwyneth Paltrow was tolerable as Pepper Potts, although she seemed to do an awful lot of sitting around for a personal assistant. Still, she had a great line when faced with evicting one of Tony Stark's (Downey Jr.) one-night-stands from the house.
It may be Monday, but really it is my Friday! I am SO ready for a couple days off.