On March 17, 2017, CAW opened their exhibition season with INSIDE, at the Cultural Art Center. INSIDE the first part of duo exhibition, asked the artists to reflect on the multiple meanings of interior spaces through their own lens. Beginning June 28, 2017, CAW will finish the artistic conversation started in Columbus with their first ever exhibition outside of the city. OUTSIDE will be on view at the Schnormeier Gallery in Mount Vernon, Ohio. This exhibition will consist of partner works that reveal the exterior of the theme each artist began in their work for INSIDE at the Cultural Arts Center.
Every CAW exhibition is a unique opportunity for our artists to explore new themes and push the boundaries of their chosen media. Here we highlight just a few artworks out of many incredible pieces from our 35 participating artists.
Megan Evers’s painted homage to bees titled Home is both commanding and delightful. Evers normally utilizes odd shaped canvases but she opts for hexagonal honeycomb pattern within a rectangular canvas. Kristin Morris’s Lizard in Boy Suit is a sublime combination of the grotesque, tongue in cheek humor and technical facility. Lastly, Melinda Sabo’s The Guide invites us to contemplate spiritual and even mystical concepts of one’s interior self.
The exhibit ends on April 15th. Do yourself a favor and check out these works live and in person. Then make sure you mark your calendars for the second installment of this exhibition OUTSIDE at the Schnormeier Gallery, opening reception July 7th.
For more information about INSIDE at the Cultural Arts Center, visit their website http://www.culturalartscenteronline.org
In 2016 CAW presented two thought provoking exhibitions. The first was Landmark at Fort Hayes Shot Tower, which challenged our member artists to visually translate the theme of the title. As usual our fierce artists charged forward with many diverse and inspired interpretations of the concept of a landmark. In addition, our annual small works show was installed at ClaySpace with the title State of Affairs. In this exhibit our curators directly asked artists to respond to the ever-changing and increasingly polarized political landscape of 2016.
If one thing is certain, this new year will kindle our creativity to interrogate injustices through art. We look forward to several new exhibits including CAW Collected and Inside/Out which will be featured in two locations. We also look forward to providing more opportunities for member artists to further their practice through the Artist Identity Series. More importantly we look forward to the chance to grow together and empower each other as a community of women artists.
Here is to a healthy, creative, active, and prosperous 2017!!
Being a part of CAW has opened me to many things, the foremost is being part of a collective & what that looks like. This got my brain going on what this dynamic might look like for other female identified collectives or groups… enter the rabbit hole we call the internet. Upon a recent search I stumbled upon Coalition Zine and my cotton socks were knocked clean off.
Their about page reads
“The Coalition is dedicated to telling stories and making space via literature and visual work. We want to do more than introduce diversity to the world of publishing: we want to give it heart. We only accept and publish work from female and femme identifying writers and artists of color and we pride ourselves in bringing you content that is honest and passionate.”
And by god do they deliver. Published Quarterly (both online and print), the Coalition Zine is so many things, but the one, the one that sticks with me is its delivery of words. Whether it’s a short story, poem or an interview of a young artist, the writers dig deep. The entire zine feels immensely personal. Souls being bared in the same way you share thoughts on life with a close friend. Here are two reads that grabbed me, got me thinking outside of my little self imposed bubble.
Let’s talk about Truth, for a moment. There are those who believe that “The Truth is out there-” that truth is something objective and quantifiable. There are others, who have a more fluid concept of truth, that it’s subjective and slippery, or that there are many Truths. As the founder of the North American Pseudohistorical Society, it’s probably no surprise that I fall into the latter camp. You may be surprised, however, to learn that the man widely regarded as “the Father of History,” Herodotus, was totally in that camp as well. He would record all the different versions of a story, ending with ‘Well, this sounds like the best version, so let’s say that’s what happened.’
“Cat, why are you telling us about a man- isn’t this supposed to be a herstory?”
Oh yeah, and this month’s featured woman is a real doozy. I did, though, want to preface by saying that while this woman definitely existed, was definitely bad-ass and definitely is deceased, that’s about as far as the definites go. All primary sources we have about her stem from Herodotus’s account of her life, and even that was written nearly a hundred years after she died. Normally, this would send me looking for a more well-researched/documented lady, however when I heard this story, I felt like I imagine Herodotus must’ve felt- that whether the story was TRUE or “true” or ‘somewhat (?) true?’, the picture it paints is too vivid not to retell. So this month, I’m going to tell you about Tomyris*
Tomyris lived in the 6th century BCE, in the area that spans from present day Kazakhstan to Iran and possibly farther east. By the time she appears in Herodotus’s account, she is already the widowed ruler of the Massagetae, a fierce nomadic confederation that occupied the Great Steppe. The Steppe was a harsh place to live, and the people who lived there grew up tough. (500 years after Tomyris, another nomadic group of hard-core folks roamed the Steppes. You might know them as the Huns). Sadly, not much is known about the Massagetae (or Tomyris’s early life), beyond their location, the fact that they were a nomadic group, and that this lifestyle made them a real pain to their neighbors in the West who wanted to collect them in an empire. In fact, it’s because of their resistance to the ancient Greek nemesis, Persia, that we know about them. Tomyris defeated Cyrus the Great,*** the famed Persian ruler.
Persia in the 6th century BCE was the largest and arguably most powerful empire at the time. They expanded and expanded, seemingly unstoppable, until they got to the steppe and met the Massagetae. When your primary method of subjugation is to storm cities and subdue the people en masse, that method sort of falls apart when you come up against a people who don’t have cities. Being unwilling to give up, as I imagine many other supreme leaders of empires might be, Cyrus tried a different approach. He sent a message to Tomyris, praising her beauty and intelligence and offering her a proposal of marriage. Tomyris saw it immediately for the thinly veiled attempt at her lands that it was. She laughed it off. Taking a different track, Cyrus began to amass warships and had his people start to build a bridge over the Jaxartes River which separated the two nations. Tomyris was not having it, saying:
“…Be content to rule in peace your own kingdom, and bear to see us reign over the countries that are ours to govern. As, however, I know you will not choose to hearken to this counsel, since there is nothing you less desirest than peace and quietness, come now, if you are so mightily desirous of meeting the Massagetai in arms, leave your useless toil of bridge-making; let us retire three days’ march from the river bank, and do you come across with your soldiers; or, if you like better to give us battle on your side the stream, retire yourself an equal distance.”
…or, in other words, ‘You leave us alone, we’ll leave you alone. But mess with us and it’s your place or mine, buddy?’ At this point, it’s generally agreed upon that Cyrus should’ve walked away, and he was about to- when he chose that moment to listen to some very bad advice from his brother and adviser, Caesus. Arguing that giving up to a woman would be a huge loss of face, Caesus proposed a new plan: They would leave a camp seemingly abandoned and stocked with an overabundance of food and wine, and attack when the Massagetae were good and full and sleepy. This worked even better than expected- as a nomadic people without the agricultural system needed to grow grapes, the Massagetae were unused to wine and totally unequipped to handle it. They became thoroughly intoxicated , the Persians swept in and attacked, killing or taking prisoner nearly a third of the Massagetaen forces. One of these prisoners was Tomyris’s son Sparagapises. Needless to say, Tomyris was pissed. Not only was she upset at the loss of troops, she also felt that Cyrus and his people had played dirty. That her son was captured further enraged her, but rather than go on a massive killing spree to get him back, she tried one more time to appeal to reason, and sent a message to Cyrus, saying:
“… Restore my son to me and get you from the land unharmed, triumphant over a third part of the host of the Massagetai. Refuse, and I swear by the sun, the sovereign lord of the Massagetai, bloodthirsty as you are, I will give you your fill of blood.”
Meanwhile, back in the Persian camp, in a twist of fate straight out of Shakespeare, Sparagapises was sobering up and becoming aware of his position as a bargaining chip. He convinced his captors to temporarily remove his bonds and quickly killed himself, to keep from being used as a tool to manipulate his mother. When Tomyris heard, she rallied her forces and brought battle to the Persians, in what was described as “the fiercest” combat seen at the time. The Persians, and their leader Cyrus the Great, were destroyed. This, though, wasn’t enough for Tomyris. When the battle was over, she had his body brought to her, along with an empty wine skin. Amidst the gore of the battleground, she filled the wineskin with blood, cut off the head of Cyrus and either dipped it into the wineskin or poured the wineskin out over it (depending on the source), saying:
“I warned you that I would quench your thirst for blood and so I shall.”
Tomyris is famous for defeating the ruler of the greatest empire in the world. History is full of upsets and bad-ass women in positions of military leadership. What really makes this story for me, is how many times Tomyris sought peace and the extent to which she kept her word when these efforts didn’t work. Hell hath no fury like a woman who told you she was going to have fury if you did A and then you did A anyway, you dummy.
As cool and bad-ass as Tomyris was, I think we can all agree that defeating and decapitating those who cross you is not an ideal or sustainable method for solving disagreements, so this month we’re going to learn how to use “I-statements.”
How to Construct an “I-statement” to Deescalate a Situation So You Don’t Have to Dip the Heads of Your Enemies Into Buckets of Blood.
In her book How to Disagree Without Being Disagreeable, Dr. Suzette Haden Elgin shares a variety of tools which can be used to have a disagreement which is constructive, rather than hostile. One such tool, is the “I-statement”. Constructing an i-statement is simple, and allows you to state your feelings and concerns in a neutral way.
Start with a specific, objective action which you want the person you’re talking to to stop.
For example: “When you swing that stick around like that”
Follow that with a description of how you feel (using the phrase “I feel” rather than “you make me feel” or “it makes me feel”:
“…I feel nervous…”
End with the reason for that feeling “…because I worry you might hit another friend in the face and hurt them”
So now, instead of yelling “Quit swinging that damn stick around!!” you say “When you swing that stick around like that, I feel nervous because I worry you might hit another friend in the face and hurt them.” (I should probably mention I use i-statements frequently when working with preschoolers) It may take a bit longer to say, but having used it with children and adults, in both silly and serious situations, I can honestly say it does help- I haven’t had to dip a single head in a bucket of blood.
Scottsdale Contemporary Art Museum, Jan 30 – May 1, 2016, Scottsdale, Arizona
By Sandra Aska
“I am intrigued with combining the remnant of memories,
fragments or relics and ordinary objects, with the components of technology.
It’s a way of delving into the past and reaching into the future simultaneously.”
“You know, you can make art out of anything!”
Those were the words Betye Saar said to me when I told her I had been in awe of her work since the 1960s.
We met at the opening of her exhibit at the Scottsdale Contemporary Art Museum. This exhibit is a fascinating journey through the fictional biographies of transplanted Africans and the transformation and assimilation of slaves into contemporary identities and the creation of a constantly evolving culture. A sweet and petite grandmotherly figure today, Betye Saar, an educator, print maker and installation artist, was born in Los Angeles in 1926, and, at age 90, is still making art and visualizing change.
She had an important early influence that set her path. Her grandmother lived in Watts and as a child Betye watched Simon Rodia building his Watts Towers, which to her, was an amazing, mystical, and magical place and the beginning of her life long interest in metaphysics and the occult. Also, she said, where she lived in Pasadena, they had gypsy conventions and her father would drive them to this big park where all these caravans and things were. She spoke about always having an interest in things outside of life as she knew it; and the difficulty of finding information on mysticism, magic, and witchcraft. Because it was the ‘60s, fascination with those ideas were just beginning and images she finally found in books were incorporated into her early work.
The Rosebowl Fleamarket and thrift shops in Pasadena were a source for items that spoke to her- bits and pieces of dolls, clocks, African masks, Tarot cards, bird cages, old photographs, crockadile skins and other ephemera started piling up in her studio. Photographs of family members, old linen handkerchiefs, personal letters, gloves, clothing and family memorabilia became part of her assembled art.
Some weeks after seeing the exhibit, I was in a contemporary Scottsdale gallery, and still excited about the show, and I asked the gallery owner in Scottsdale if she had seen the Saar’s exhibit and explained what it was about. The gallery owner replied with an emphasis that bore no challenge, “There should be no politics in art. ART is just art, if politics are involved it holds absolutely no interest for me.” Somewhat taken aback, I was not ready to debate the definition and philosophy of art with her, and simply made a polite retreat. Her idea of art had so many limitations that at least 95% of art through the ages would, to her mind, not be considered art as we see it today.
Bette Saar is an example of making art based on who she is, was, and is still becoming. Her way is a thoughtful and intuitive process based on things she knows to be true and important to her. She is telling her story.
The concept of what art is has changed with every generation and by the innovative artists in that generation. Betye Saar lived in a culturally rich and exciting time. This was a time of politics, action, and radical social change; a time charged with emotions and turmoil, tempored by art and intellect and the act of trying to make sense of things. Looking at her work today not only tells us her story, but keeps alive the stories of our shared history, be they harsh, cruel, sentimental, mysterious, beautiful, or loving. That is why Betye’s work and possibly your work will be important to future generations regardless of how art is defined. It matters not how or what we make in terms of art, or if we will be famous, but rather the brave and true act of recording our stories and leaving a message for future generations that can be informative, edifying, healing, and awe inspiring.
The Scottsdale Contemporary Art Center is gracious about photography, so all photographs are by the author. There are no titles. Betye did not want titles listed on the work and she prevailed.
January 4, 2012 interview with Juvenio L. Guerra in the Getty newsletter iris
At a CAW meeting early in the year, we were asked how CAW has affected our artistic lives. Kate Menke bravely stood and intimated that circumstances had kept her from making her art for some time, and she wanted to do ceramics but did not have the appropriate space in which to do it. This blocked her. She spoke of how a CAW member encouraged her to move forward, and so she did. She made one ceramic bowl in her dining room. She was so charged by this she made a daily practice of making one ceramic bowl in her dining room for a year. She amassed 365 bowls, and I was impressed by her story. She had dedication to purpose as well as a need, but she needed a shove to begin and got it from our group. I have added Kate to my list of muses and heroes and she is in company with the likes of painter Agnes Martin.
Agnes Martin is on my list because she chose a difficult path early on in her life. She considered herself to be an abstract expressionist painter, but her work was thought by critics to be minimal, descreet, inward, and, to my way of thinking, silent. Her paintings reflected an interest in Eastern philosophy and religion. Born in 1912 in Canada, she died in 2004 in Taos, New Mexico, where she settled in 1967. She moved away from the New York art world, built her own simple adobe studio, isolated herself by choice, and died at 92. It is said she did not read a newspaper for 50 years. She took a seven year hiatus from painting and distanced herself from the social events that make a typical artist’s life. Agnes bravely chose her road and continued down it making significant use of its ups and downs. In a documentary of her work Agnes said, “Nothing happens in the studio unless you show up.”
Periodically I can be a slacker about going to the studio; I think this can be said of all of us. When this happens, Agnes’ words come to mind…..it ain’t gonna happen if you are not there… and I go empty-minded into a space that calls out for action, any action. So in blank-mindedness I start cleaning, piddling, picking up bits of this and that and, it never fails, something begins to happen. Sometimes just the studio gets cleaned, but at least I gave it a shot. Showing up is proactive and practice is proactive.
That brings me to Malcolm Gladwell, the author of Outliers, who has brought us the concept of putting in 10,000 hours of work to become great. WHAAAT?
The idea is that 10,000 hours of deliberate pratice will make you world-class in any field. To Gladwell, greatness takes an enormous amount of time. There is no doubt that when you put 10,000 hours into anything you become a master from a technical and skill level, but is that all that matters? Does 10,000 hours really bring you fame and fortune? Does 10,000 hours allow you to make something good or important or interesting? Does 10,000 hours dig deep into your psyche or your soul? Gladwell doesn’t talk about imagination as part of the process; we can only infer that it rises when you work for 10,000 hours at the same thing. Is it possible for all of us to imagine something and then create it? Of course it is. John Lennon instructs us to imagine. Do we have to show up and put in 10,000 hours to make something that exemplifies our imagination or even our lack of one? I don’t think so.
Agnes Martin and the Nike Corporation had the right idea about the importance of being present and just doing it. So did Kate as she practiced in her dining room, making a mess on the dining room table.
Certainly one must practice one’s art or craft, but beyond mastery of a skill set, what else is there? What else does one learn from hours of practice? What draws us to a painting or a bowl? What drives us to make things, and if mastery is a matter of practice, then what is it about art that compels a reaction in the viewer aside from the fact there is an object before her? In her own words, here are a few things Kate learned from her practice:
The daily habit of creating a bowl for a year actually transformed me into an artist. Before, I was an art teacher who sometimes made art but I really had no drive or vision for my creation. Establishing this discipline, making the time every day and having an attainable goal awakened the artist in me. Now, I don’t feel complete if I haven’t worked on some aspect of my art every day. It has made me a better artist and I feel less afraid to create and to share with the world. I posted each bowl on Facebook and Instagram and many of my bowls are less than perfect (They we’re made in 15 minutes or less!). I opened up my imperfections to criticism and found that people loved them more for it. Finally, it forced me to seek people and places to encourage my work. If you value your art, dedicate a time and a place for it and don’t let anything get in the way. Working 30 minutes a day adds up quickly and can change your life. Going through the motions of creating allows your brain to expand into really creative places. If you can’t come up with new ideas just keep making something simple things. Eventually your brain will relax and the ideas will flow. Paying attention deliberately for a year and having a physical manifestation of each day allowed me to be thankful in a whole new way. There are a lot of people out there that will encourage your making but you have to put yourself out there.
Art like life is a journey; you pick a road and follow it moving off onto branches as suits your whim. You get older, wiser, and more experienced. As Bette Davis said, “You have to be brave to get old.” She may have been refering to changes in the body, but I think she was implying you must be brave to keep moving forward, making mistakes, and having successes and failures as you go. In doing so, you begin to make work that has imagination, feeling, depth, and intellect, the qualities that make a truly interesting and great work of art when applied with skill and knowledge of the tools.
My hat is off to Kate who dared to show up and make one clay bowl a day for 356 days in her dining room, no less. Clay everywhere, perhaps kids and animals making demands, significant others wanting dinner, and the general interuptions of a busy life. One bowl a day. I cannot say I have done that. Whether or not you get your 10,000 hours in, practice moves you forward and that is what it takes to get it done.
One last thing. We all know Nike is a giant corporation and when you Google Nike, involvement in atheltics and corporate information is all that comes up. However, if you Google Nike goddess you will find she was a goddess in ancient Greek religion personifying victory. How interesting Nike chose a woman of power to brand themselves.
So, women of CAW, women of power, go forth in your practice, piddle and muddle, make mistakes in your studios; show up, do it, and become victorious; become Agnes, become Nike, become Kate!
I love beer. Love it. So a brewery tour without a tasting might sound ludicrous. However, the promise of crawling around abandoned lagering caves set into Cincinnati’s seven hills more than makes up for a dry tour.
I used to work at the Ohio History Connection as a coordinator of teacher professional development. As a part of that job I was often tasked with organizing fieldtrips to historically significant parts of Ohio. Beer and brewing, drinking and temperance are deeply intertwined in Ohio’s history and uniquely so in Cincinnati with its German heritage. Cut to me and twenty or so social studies teachers taking in the view of Over the Rhine from the third story window of an abandoned brewery.
View of Over the Rhine from Sohn Brewery, Photograph by Molly Uline-Olmstead
Bits and pieces of these breweries are left all over the Over the Rhine neighborhood and include remnants of ice-houses, bottling buildings, offices, and stables. By its heyday in the late 1890s Cincinnati produced four barrels of beer per resident – almost twice as much beer as any other city in the United States.
These buildings are beautiful, even if they are in rough shape. They feature details that highlight the rich history and symbols of brewing including hops flowers and beer sipping cherubs carved into the brickwork and ironwork beer barrels capping the interior banisters.
Sohn Brewery Brickwork, Photograph by Molly Uline-Olmstead
Sohn Brewery banister, Photograph by Molly Uline-Olmstead
Each one is another example of the Italianate Revival Architecture that made Over the Rhine one of the largest historical districts in the country and one of the most neglected. It is this combination of historical significance and dereliction that makes Over the Rhine so fascinating. The neighborhood follows a common demographic pattern repeated around the Midwest in which European immigrants build and industry and then move out to nicer neighborhoods to be followed by Appalachian immigrants and African Americans coming north in the Great Migration. Two wars, a Great Depression, and a highway system later and the neighborhood is gutted.
In the late 90s and early 00s Cincinnati artists began to move into the area setting up studio spaces and exhibition spaces and in some cases, squatting. Artists know great space. There is a lot of energy around the area now and debates that will be familiar to anyone who has lived in a city where neighborhoods have experienced the irresistible story of boom, bust, and, revitalization, perhaps gentrification. Each of the places we visited with the teachers had the tell-tale signs of art making and the clash of past and present that a thoroughly current white walled gallery or site specific installation placed in a building from the early 1800s can cause.
So Over the Rhine is equal parts raw material for one’s own work and inspiration from one’s contemporaries. To get a taste of what this former brewing mecca has to offer (pun so intended) try visiting during one of their Final Friday Gallery Hops. If you are interested in seeing the breweries first hand check out one of the Cincinnati Brewery Tours.
Morgan, Michael D. Over-the-Rhine: When Beer Was King. Charleston: History, 2010. Print.
“OTR History.” Over The Rhine Foundation. Over the Rhine Foundation, n.d. Web. 05 Jan. 2016.
“Tours of Cincinnati’s Historic Breweries – Part of the Brewing Heritage Trail.” Tours of Cincinnati’s Historic Breweries – Part of the Brewing Heritage Trail. Brewery District Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation, n.d. Web. 05 Jan. 2016.
Exhibit: February 29 – April 15, 2016 Opening Reception: Thursday, March 3, 6-8pm
Curators: Catherine Bell Smith, Stephanie Rond, Mollie Hannon
Location: Fort Hayes Shot Tower Gallery | 546 Jack Gibbs Blvd, Columbus, OH 43215
Landmark is primarily an exhibition about place – its history and importance. Members of CAW briefly toured Fort Hayes, experiencing the hundreds year old buildings and foundations, uncovering myths and legends, and collecting inspiration to create the many works included in the show. Excavating for inspiration may lead some to consider other aspects of the word landmark, bringing depth and breadth to this benchmark exhibition. Landmark challenges you to consider what serves as a guide or beacon in your life; what is the watershed moment after which everything changed; what stands out in your landscape or marks your boundary; where is your place.
We are looking for substantial pieces to fill the gallery. Please submit artwork that is no smaller than 30”x30”, (or, if working in a series, add-up to at least 30”x30” when they are grouped together)
We would love to have some images of in-progress and finished work for postcard and on-line promotion. Please send to firstname.lastname@example.org, with “LANDMARK Photos” in the subject line
Tour of site: November 16, 5:30pm (arrive at the Shot Tower Gallery by 5:15)
There are so very many incredibly talented female Columbus based artists that I am never at a loss for interview for CAW’s blog. This young lady is one of them!
Glitteracy and Chelsea Dipman and I were introduced to one another last spring at the first professional Not Your Mama’s 614 Craft Exchange held by Chelsea Hill and Carrie Schaefer. Not only did we all have a lot of fun but we got some pretty amazing items made by some pretty cool ladies, including Chelsea D….I loved her Ohio themed goodies and her great sense of humor so I asked her if she would be interested in an interview, of course! Then we ran into each other a bunch of places and finally, after several unsuccessful tries, met at Pies and Pints and got down to it!
Chelsea started her business, Glitteracy, in late November of 2014 but she has been a creative soul for a lot longer. As she puts it:
Ever since I was little I would save things destined for the trash to make into art. My mom sensed I loved art so much she put me in lessons at CCAD Saturday morning. I knew I wanted to keep being creative and being scared about going out into the world as an artist, I decided that I would also follow my passion for teaching.
Originally from Gahanna on the east side of Columbus, Chelsea stayed in the area for studies at Ohio Wesleyan University where she received a B.F.A. with a concentration in painting and a minor in education. She was lucky and talented enough to graduate with a teaching job lined up to teach elementary art in Marion, Ohio 3 years ago. Although it is a trek to get to work every day from Columbus, she absolutely loves her job and loves the interaction with all of the children in her school. She filled me in on all of the new requirements for new teachers and I must say that I am sure glad that I started my career when all of this wasn’t happening! It amazes me how much is expected from newbies due to the new state regs…a topic for another day…ugh! That being said, she says that her students truly inspire her creativity.
Other small business successes she observes also inspire her entrepreneurial bent. She comes by this entrepreneurship quite honestly from her mom who set a great example by going back to school while Chelsea was a kid and then started her own Physical Therapy business. Having done over 20 shows since starting her business in 2014, she has also made connections with lots of other artisans and learned a thing or two about selling in local stores, doing shows and how to get your name out there. Definitely, this lady is not afraid to try just about anything at least once as evidenced in the number of shows she has already participated in! Of course discussing all of these shows led to a long talk about the pros and cons of doing shows, especially outdoors. After the ins and outs of Central Ohio weather this year, she is definitely ready to start the indoor circuit. However, none of the negatives have been a deterrent for this tenacious young lady!
She says her art is constantly evolving and changing, but Glitteracy has always focused on a love for home and Ohio because she wanted to create something that everyone could appreciate and was simple yet narrative. Getting to the point in her young career where people want to give the things she makes as gifts and/or put them in their homes, has really been exciting: It’s a really gratifying feeling having your work sent out into Ohio and across America. Her creative process goes this way…glitter, watercolor, gold, mint, hand lettering rinse & repeat.
I am constantly learning new things from others and from teaching myself. I have recently taken my lately paper based work and have bridged into the digital realm. It’s really magical when you can manipulate and improve something you made by hand.
In the short period of time that she has had her business, she has managed to get her art into many local venues including Simply Vague-Polaris Fashion Place & Tuttle Mall, Celebrate Local, Wholly Craft, Pure Roots and Button-Up..think she’s found her niche! Plus she’s selling her wares at many local shows: Grandview Hop in August and then in September the Downtown Dublin Bazaar, Made Local Marketplace & Moonlight Market, Independent’s Day and Worthington Market Day! Busy lady!!! And as if that isn’t enough, she’s also received recognition from Ohio Creative Collective and Celebrate Local via articles about her business!
But Glitteracy is not all there is to this multi-faceted teacher. She also does commissioned water colors and loves figurative painting and has shown this genre at RAW: Columbus and the City Arts Center in Delaware (check some of that work at: https://chelseapaints.wordpress.com/). She would love to eventually be able to have a dedicated studio (not really feasible now on a teacher’s salary!) and do more of this type of work. And, somewhere down the road, she hopes to be able to make art her full-time gig. Something tells me that if she wants it, eventually she’s gonna make it happen cause she is definitely a go-getter!
And the holiday season will be a busy one for this creative lady as she will be selling her wares at the following shows:
Craftin Outlaws- November 14th, Columbus Handmade- November 22, Not Your Mamas Craft Show- November 28, Avant Garde- December 5 and Made Local Marketplace December 12….whew!!! No excuse to not get your Ohio themed goodies for holiday gifts this year!!!
A little more about this creative lady? Her hair is currently lavender to blonde, she loves craft beer, she loves cheese and fruit combos on her pizza and she’s looking for Mr. RIGHT…’HaHa… just kidding that was to make you laugh!!!!’
Barbara Vogel is a champion for others, so it is no surprise that the faces that fill her portraits are close friends and family. Her artistic evolution is firmly rooted in photography, but her willingness to experiment with photographic processes and incorporate other media result in entirely original works. Barb’s studio is filled with these visual tangents, as well as a solid coat of wax encaustic. Most recently she has been “scanning” faces and flora, with a document wand and then coating the prints with encaustic. The results are ghostly images that cast their subjects in a whole new light. She was recently awarded an Ohio Arts Council Award at the Ohio State Fair’s Fine Arts Exhibition for her portrait, Ursula Dazing, made with this process.
When I visited her studio, Barb had just sent off a large body of work for her solo exhibition, Preserved, at the Southern Ohio Museum & Cultural Center in Portsmouth, Ohio. The exhibition runs from September 26 to December 5, 2015 and the opening reception will be September 26, 3:00-5:00 pm.
You studied painting for your BFA, fine art photography for your MFA, as well as working as a photographer for OSU’s Medical Center. Can you describe your career and creative trajectory?
I had to earn a living. I went to commercial photography school after my BFA and got a job at OSU. Technique and technical tied it all together – and a certain confidence with material. I combine both painting and photography in my work now.
You are attracted to mediums (photography and encaustic) that are very process –oriented. What about the rhythm or cycle of the processes draws you to these mediums?
I miss the photo co-op that a group of us started when I taught at Columbus State. Nothing was better than to turn on music in the dark room and think you’re productive as you just go through the motions of printing. It is the same with a process of fusing the wax. And if you like the process, art evolves.
After focusing on photography and painting, how did you come to encaustic?
Ellen Bazzoli has a studio downstairs from me and she was working in encaustic. She offered to do a mini workshop for me. When you are working in photography people say, if you’re stuck you should change formats. I liked the wax and I liked what Ellen was doing. She said, “Come down. I’ll show you some basics.” She spent a day with me – how to use photographs and paper with the encaustic. I started experimenting and I was doing everything wrong, until a recent workshop at the Cultural Arts Center. I had a lot of waste since I was using the wrong tools. I would scorch prints, but my new little pink heat gun is great!
You worked closely with a team at OSU and have shared a studio for over two decades with the artist Marti Steffy. How did those communities shape your work?
The writers that I worked for at OSU gave me words or thoughts. If you don’t say something in your own language it isn’t as obvious. It helped to be with writers and talk about things. We still get together. I also worked closely with the photographer, Kojo Kamau. We shared a darkroom, as opposed to being behind a computer, so we could hide and talk. I learned so much from our darkroom conversations. Working closely in the studio with Marti, we both have had visual training and when we are stuck we both know where we’ve been. Rather than spending a week trying to solve a problem, she can see it for me and I can see it for her! It helps to be with other people for another eye. And it helps if you have a history with them. Studio mates and CAW members, Betsy DeFusco and Sandra Aska, have been helpful too. Our history is a bit newer, but they are wonderful sounding boards.
People familiar with your work might know you for your altered photographs on wood. Can you describe the process for your high school class series?
I take a picture of a picture on film. After processing the film, I expose the image with an enlarger in my darkroom onto an emulsion-covered piece of wood. I then carve and paint. When I have multiple wood images like my high school classes, then the compositional nightmare begins trying to arrange wooden squares.
You are comfortable with both film and digital cameras. Within the past few years you began utilizing a document scanner in your work. How did you come to use this office supply scanning wand as a tool for fine art?
I bought the document scanner for $69.95, to experiment with for a Vermont residency. I thought, oh I might try some flat things. Prior to Vermont, I stopped at my sister’s house in Maine and started scanning dogs and hair and other seemingly flat things, but kept getting error messages. I thought, I could put glass in front of this, it would be smooth. With the glass, I started scanning people.
What about faces seemed to be so striking?
I have done many portraits for and outside the hospital. What makes a portrait dynamic is a certain unmasking – when you capture that person. Using the wand is a slower process. They have this eerie lighting quality that shocked me at first. I printed them as wide as the scanner, so it is full frame so to speak. There’s a haunting quality about them.
When you printed the scans, what necessitated the encaustic coating?
Before the wand scanner, I did a series where everything was out of focus, using my Hasselblad camera. I took images of people out of focus, because everything in my life was out of focus. Everything didn’t sync. I was stressed, tired, and depressed. I then scanned the color negatives, printed them, and covered them with wax. Once again I was in the studio, working on multiple projects and I was waxing up a painting and I waxed the photograph and I liked it. They were strange to begin with, but the wax added that other worldly quality. My work now is a little more in focus perhaps because my life is a little more in focus.
Do you think of your work more as documentary or commentary? Or some combination thereof?
Perhaps they are one in the same. I do bodies of work. Right now I am studying botanicals and the way the hand-held wand lights the plant. Whether you focus on feet or abandoned buildings, you explore that subject. So maybe the word should be exploratory. Good question, sometimes I just do, but need to be more reflective and verbal as to why.
When I think of botanicals I think of small, scientific renderings. How are you approaching the subject?
I photograph or scan my own little garden plot – tomatoes, cosmos and long-stem zinnias. Each process is interesting. The lighting is so strange with the scanner – I have to wait until sunset otherwise the image is so overexposed. The shooting process is also interesting. With the plants you don’t have to meet with anybody at a certain time. The plants aren’t demanding. They don’t talk to you.
When you were at OSU you studied folk art and material culture and you have a great collection of folk and outsider art. What attracts you to this work?
When I went to graduate school in the 90’s there was this whole movement against the mainstream acceptance of different things in our material culture. I’d always had traditional training in my undergraduate years by male artists and I never had any female instructors. In the 70’s art was about painting and all about abstract expressionism. So folk art was the antithesis of what you were supposed to produce – of what was accepted. Traditional art school had certain formulas and you didn’t do personal work. When I quoted “The personal is political.” some guy laughed at me. Folk art opened up this different view of what we made and why we made it. Leslie Constable, a writer, and I were going to grad school at the same time. We collaborated – I did portraits and she wrote about folk artists around Ohio for a book project. This project taught me there was more art outside of academic art programs.
Larissa Boiwka (pronounced Boy-eve-kah), a recent recipient of the Greater Columbus Art Council’s grants, and her Wilde Hunt Corsetry came to my attention through a Facebook post on the Art and Artists of 614. I was totally enthralled by her artistry and amazingly detailed work. I’ve never had a corset before but her work has sure made me think about that twice! I asked her if she would be interested in being interviewed and, happily, she said yes.
Not only did I interview her, but I got to take a great 3D embroidery class from her near the end of April. First, the interview and then a little bit about the class.
Originally from Amherst Ohio, she is both a first and second generation here in the USA…her dad immigrated from the Ukraine and her mother’s family immigrated (great grandparents on her mother’s side) from Germany and England…THAT is an interesting bloodline and could explain her love for history.
Creating came to her through her genes as her mother is an artist and raised Larissa in an environment that fostered creativity, artistry and creation. While her mom doesn’t enjoy sewing much, she taught Larissa the basics at an early age. ‘As far as corsetry is involved, I am 100% self-taught through a lot of expensive mistakes!’
Like so many other artists I have interviewed, she states:
Yes, I have always been drawn to creating. I have thought about this a lot over the years, and I don’t think that you really get to choose. If you are an artist, you simply are. You can try to defer it, stifle it, but it will always surface. I feel that generally when an artist tries to forego art for another occupation, they end up pretty miserable. Ask me how I know…ha ha!
Having a degree in anthropology from OSU, she has a passion for historic clothing, ancient cultures, cultural adornments and ethnic costumes that have inspired a lot of her work. ‘Towards the end of my degree I realized that while I am very interested in and inspired by ancient cultures, I did not want to spend my life in academia. I worked as a retail buyer for an art and jewelry gallery after college. It was during that time that I established Wilde Hunt Corsetry in 2007. ‘ She calls her work ‘art corsetry’ since it is a mix of fine art, traditional craft and fashion. Nature, Art Nouveau, antique furniture, ethnic textiles and jewelry, extreme contrasts and beautiful and distinctive women serve as inspiration for her gorgeous creations.
In addition to her own creations, she teaches couture embroidery and beading. She sometimes teaches Couture Embroidery and Beading at the Columbus College of Art and Design (CCAD) or at her home studio. Since she believes that it is kind of a dying art form, she thinks it is important to pass on the techniques. Recently, she taught a course in am obscure medieval style of embroidery called Or Nue’ (nuance in gold). It is like painting with silk upon densely laid threads of gold. ‘The detail and subtlety possible in this medium is incredible.’ Unfortuntately, the best artisans in this style died without passing on their skills and so now, just a handful of them internationally practice this form of embroidery, having taught themselves through studying extant examples and trial and error. Fortunate for the Columbus art and fashion scene that Larissa is among them! Read more
I enjoy planning vacations – the research and dreaming are a big part of the fun for me. When I’m planning a trip, I like to listen to music that originates from the countries on my itinerary. It’s a great way to enter into a culture and build excitement. Once I’m on the road, I always purchase music recommended by locals; I find it’s a wonderful way to relive a trip. The exercise below is a variation on this theme of music and trip planning and remembering. It invites you to bring all of these ideas together and enhance your own creative process while focusing in on the idea of texture.
Choose a piece of music that reminds you of a trip that you’ve taken. This trip can be from your distant past – perhaps a family trip from when you were a kid. Or it could be something recent – maybe a lavish safari you took last year or a weekend road trip. Tip: If you can’t find the right piece in your own music collection, your local library is a great (and free!) resource.
Find a comfortable spot to sit or lie down. Be sure to have paper and pen nearby in case you feel inspired to write down memories or ideas.
Once you’re comfortable, take a few deep-yoga-belly breaths and relax.
Hit play and listen to the piece once through with your eyes closed. What memories does the music revive? What images pop into your mind?
Listen to the piece again and focus on the texture of the music. What words would you use to describe the texture of the music? How does the texture of the music relate to the culture or region that created it?
Choose a single, specific memory from your trip and then listen to the piece for a third time. Imagine that you are transported back to the place and time of this specific memory. You have a camera bag full of high-quality equipment with you. What texture-related images do you take?
You can easily vary this exercise to become a part of your trip-planning rituals. It’s also an excellent way to pass time in the car or plane ride on your way to your destination! Remember – just as visualization exercises strengthen marathon runners on race day, visualization exercises related to travel photography will have a powerful effect on the images you create and capture on your next trip.
Proust writes, he remembers, physically. He depends on his body to give him the information that will bring him to the past. His book is called ‘In Search of Lost Time,’ and he does it through the senses. He does it through smell. He does it through feeling. He does it through texture. It is all physically driven, that language.
Melinda Eliza Sabo is a an Artist, Creativity Coach, and Lecturer who believes that life should be an artistic journey: truly well-seen and well-lived. Visit www.MelindaEliza.com for more inspiration. This article was originally published on the Wanderlust and Lipstick website.