This year kicked off with a semester of fantastic classes. In the spring semester I took papermaking/book arts, a Native American art sampler, and sculpture II: making multiples. I learned a lot of new techniques and experienced new materials I had never used before such as cotton linters, flax, foundry wax, and various mold-making materials. I completed my first bronze piece (SO much more work than I could have ever imagined) which makes me finally feel like a "real" sculpture major.
My papermaking/book arts class was interesting. It had nearly twice as many students in it than it was supposed to which caused it to be chaotic at times. Despite the often times tumultuous class environment, I found myself coming in around 10pm at night, when no one else was there, and making 50-100 sheets of paper at a time! Once I established this system, it was hard to put down the screen and walk away. I am really in love with papermaking because it is symbolic of family trees (at least my method of papermaking is.) You start with some pulp and some pigment, mix it with more pulp and pigment until you have a plethora of colors, textures and thicknesses that, although different, all come from the same pulp...the same family, if you will. I guess I'm romanticizing the entire process, but I love to incorporate the idea of the life cycle in my work.
As I mentioned before, I completed a bronze piece in my sculpture II class. I can't concisely explain the process, so I wont even bother. Instead, I will make a safe estimate and say that I spent around 200 hours from start to finish on my bronze strawberries (Ode'minan.) I am still not impressed with bronze. It simply isn't my medium but I have gained an understanding, appreciation, and overwhelming sense of accomplishment from the project. I also learned different mold-making techniques such as plaster, alginate, rubber molds, plaster bandage, and many more. It was one of the most well-organized classes I have ever taken, and the group as a whole was very focused on making quality work. The final assignment for the class was to simply make a piece that involved using multiples to some degree. I chose to not use any of the techniques I had just learned and made "Firewater" instead! I hammered and rolled (by hand) around 600 beer caps into jingle dress cones and attached them to a dress I designed and brought to life. The piece is still "in-progress"....it takes a while to sew that many beer caps on.
Finally I save the best for last. I had the opportunity to take a Native American Art Sampler class with the "Smithsonian Artist" Shirley Brauker! It's hard to put into words just how important this class was for me. I learned a lot of new skills and was introduced to a lot of new artists and techniques, but this class affected me on a more spiritual level than anything. Prior to this experience, I had not been in class with a Native American teacher since elementary school at Saginaw Chippewa Academy. It's just different. It's hard to describe it to someone who has only been educated through public schools, but you're just treated differently. The class was small, only me, my mom, two other ladies and Shirley. We sat in a group and just worked on stuff. We worked on projects while she taught, while we talked, and we were constantly productive while we shared stories, laughs, and advice with one another. She helped me learn more about my culture and traditions, and taught me about her own. I made some good friends in this class, and the quality work I made in this class was just the cherry on top.
Now with the fall semester starting, I am just trying to finish up my minor and get my last core class "digital design" out of the way. It is a class meant for freshmen- ideally it is the first class you take upon entering the art major. Needless to say, it should be pretty simple but wont exactly help me create gallery-ready work. I am excited for the spring semester as I will hopefully be starting the BFA program, and the light at the end of the tunnel will start to get significantly bigger and bigger once I finally round that corner.
I've had a very busy year and have come to realize that being an art major does not mean you get to make art all the time. Instead I have fulfilled all of my art history credits and feel terrifically enriched by the experience. In the last two semesters I have taken a total of six different art history classes and feel extremely inspired to make art. Maybe college students will learn about me someday! Haha who knows.
Despite not having time or the means to take on really big projects, I have been chipping away at various crafty things. Also, I won a scholarship and award! I won the emerging artist award through the Circle of Indigenous Arts as well as a beautiful limited edition SagChip Pendelton blanket that has my name embroidered on it, and a 1,000 dollar scholarship (though, admittedly I am much more excited for the blanket!). This will help tremendously in the upcoming semesters paying "lab fees" aka paying for the crazy supplies I'm going to need for mold making and bronze casting.
Okay so my Mom keeps harassing me to do updates, so here they are! ;)
-My piece "Naive American" will be shown in the CMU juried student show from February 25th to March 24th at the gallery on campus. If you don't know where this is, it's directly across from the CMU library and is that funky shaped building. There is lots of great art to check out there, and it's free and open to the public. More info can be found at uag.cmich.edu.
-Naive American was also accepted into the Woman Made Gallery in Chicago! It will be part of the "Consumer Culture" exhibition and will be on display from May 4th to June 21st. More information on the show can be found at http://womanmade.org/calexhibits.html.
I've taken a break from studio classes this semester (or, rather, I was forced to get some of my art history classes done) so there will not be a lot of "fine art" until summer at least. I am continuing to work on things for my etsy shop when I have down time, but I spend a lot of my free time studying Western Art. Thanks for checking out my website, I've gotten a lot of hits and feedback, the support definitely makes me want to keep going with it!
I've been feeling a bit lost now that the semester is over. I really threw myself into school work this semester and was rewarded for my hard work on a weekly basis. With classes over I've had no motivation to make things because there was no reward. This is the hardest thing about being an art major; it is hard to make work that is not going to receive a grade. And when I'm not making things I spiral into an melodramatic depression.
In the height on my insomnia I started making these dumb little embroidered felt flower brooches and hair clips. They're stupid, really...I just use craft store felt, pin backs I have lying around, and embroidery thread I bought years ago and never used. I don't make patterns, and each flower in one of a kind because I'm lazy and get bored. While I hated these little creations, I found myself carrying them around, admiring them, talking to them, showing them to anyone who walked into my house. I realized the only way I can take care of myself is by putting it into the things I create and caring for it that way.
So I made an etsy shop. Cody and I laid in bed and he told me we couldn't go get dinner until we came up for a name for my shop. Anyone who knows me knows that food is enough to motivate me to get things done, and thus "The Average Quail" is born. Inspired partially by the Christmas Quail we saw on Christmas day, and my perceived mediocrity of anything I make, I am rather satisfied with the name and the vibe of the shop. I gotta do some banking (get my card set up and whatnot) before I can begin listing items in my store, but sit tight and the felt creations will be up very soon.
Well we'll see if I decide to keep this tab. I think it could be useful when I start becoming a "serious" artist (I mean at some point that will just happen right??) but for now it will probably just hang out here and collect virtual dust.
Now that I am into my official first week of break, it'd be good to mention that I got an A in Aesthetics and a B+ in Sculpture. It's not good to mention the grades in my other two classes which were the kind of classes you just need to plow through to get a degree.
I plan to start up an etsy business soon, thanks to the constant encouragement (harassment?) of my boyfriend. Also hoping to improve my welding skills over break...not sure why I even just typed that considering how unrealistic that goal is.