Post Holiday Hangover

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this before, but I am a procrastinator.  If you look up procrastinator in the dictionary, I am confident you will find a photo of me looking like I had every intention of doing something productive and then just didn’t.  I also am pretty sure I suffer from a low level of ADHD, but without the hyper part, and just the inability to focus on anything and easily distracted part.

I’m also long winded.

And take a long time to get to the point.

And go off on tangents that seemingly make no sense.

For example, I just walked away from writing this for a few minutes to take a series of photos of one of my cats and send them to Mr Dianamakesart, who is at work.  Wouldn’t this face make you feel better about working and life in general?

marv

On another, completely unrelated note, I think there are people who do nothing but troll #catsofinstagram all day long and “like” things the split second they are posted.  If you are one of those kinds of people and would like to see more pictures of this cat, and another one too, and lots of lovely artwork, follow me on instagram – dianamakesart!

Do you like how I folded in that shameless plug and still have not arrived at whatever point I may or may not be reaching?

Anyways, life is returning to normal after the holidays, and I’ve had a million times over the past month or so I’ve meant to post something or other and haven’t, and I’ve got an equal number of excuses as to why – I was busy with a show, I was grading papers, I was making art, then it was Christmas and I was eating food and went on a quick excursion to beautiful BC with Mr Dianamakesart.  But all that is now over, and it’s back to reality.  Which is a bit depressing when we were just here:

kimberley

And here in yyc, it’s minus ten thousand degrees, and looks like this:

coldashell

Sigh.

So to update, Handmade Here, currently the only show I do (because the other artists are so awesome and it’s such a nice experience every year, and I’ve never felt I’ve had enough work to sell more than once a year) went super well.  Remember all those lovely sandblasted pieces that I talked about?  All of them sold.  All.  Every one.  And not to my mom.  I also sold all of my priciest pieces, and also not to my mom (Don’t worry, mom came and bought stuff).  So it was my most successful sale yet, and in addition to selling lots of artwork, I have two other favourite things about doing the show.

First is that the other artists like to swap, and I get to come home with a bunch of new exciting things made by other talented people.  I have an enormous soft spot for ceramics (possibly because I find working with them quite loathsome, so I have a high level of respect for anyone who can stomach the feeling of it drying on their hands.  My skin is literally crawling thinking about it); so I tend to pester the ceramics artists to trade with me, and I am lucky enough that they oblige.  This is this year’s haul:

handmadeherehaul

It’s seriously one of my favourite things about being an artist – accumulating other people’s artwork.  I have amassed a fine collection of artwork over the years, and I could go on a long rant about how wonderful handmade is and why it’s important, but I will save that for another occasion.

My second favourite thing about doing the show is that I get to see people I haven’t seen in years who come out to say hi and sometimes buy something.  Honestly, I cannot tell you enough how much I appreciate the support of my friends and family, and I’m always surprised by who responds to my weeks of Facebook pestering about the show by coming.  It’s awesome.

Not one to be left out, the other aforementioned cat has shown up to be adorable.

Money

So show went well, I am pleased, and as it stands 2014 was one I would deem a success in my artistic career.  I have lots of new work cooking and things I’m working on, so my resolution for 2015 is to be a bit less procrastinatey.

More art.

More writing.

More pictures of cats.

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Everything old is new again

For the last few years, I’ve had a few vessels that I made that have been lingering around my studio.  I never coldworked them and never put them in the failure box (that’s another post for another time), they just sat, sadly and lonely, doomed for a life of not being loved, on a shelf in my studio.

The problem with them, you see, is that they were victims of the downside of glassblowing, which is this:  at any point in the process, something can happen to fuck up your glass.  Any point.  It can happen while blowing, while annealing, while coldworking, while transporting things to your car, while storing them away.  Glass is fragile.  Glass breaks.  And when glass is still being formed, it’s hot and it’s sticky.  Sticky glass makes friends, and those friends often wind up stuck to your glass for all of eternity.

So back to the aforementioned lonely vessels, they were a part of this series:

studiocvases-window
And also this series:

Portfolio_BlackLustreVases-Rollover
Which truthfully are more or less the same series, just slightly different forms and colours.

In any event, they are beautiful and wonderful and I loved them, but the lonely ones that have been living on a shelf in my studio for three years were covered in Fiberfrax.

What’s Fiberfrax, you say?  It’s a refractory ceramic fibre (basically insulation) and the studio I blow glass at uses it on some of the equipment.  Remember how I was talking about how glass is sticky and makes friends?  Well, Fiberfrax is the friend that never goes away.  So the pieces sat, sadly covered in tiny shards that made the glass not smooth, not shiny, and with an ugly surface.

And then I discovered a solution.

sandblasted_pair
Sandblasting!

Not only does it actually take the nasty, fraxy surface off, but it creates a soft inner glow that makes a sad, unloved piece beautiful and new again.

blue_sandblasted
Instead of being a waste, they are lovely and beautiful and ready for new, loving homes.

green_sandblasted
This one wasn’t part of a series, just a one-off, but it was covered in frax.  This is one of those things that Bob Ross would call a happy accident, because this piece has now become one of my favourites.  There was absolutely nothing special about it before (other than a ring of ruined surface around it), but now it is beautiful and soft.

Originally sandblasting was my thought to salvage some pieces, but I’m so pleased with the result, I can foresee a series coming… Stay tuned.

Please excuse the low quality of the newer photos… my documentation guy moved to another province, so I’m doing the best I can with what I got 😉

Shameless Self Promotion

I love and hate social media.

I love it, because it allows me to keep tabs on people I genuinely care about, and hate it because I don’t really need to know the constant intimate updates people choose to post.    I’ve seen some really ugly breakups take place online, and sometimes I long for the olden days, when I only heard about this stuff when I actually saw someone in person.

Anyways, it would seem that social media is the way that people communicate with one another, and its obviously a hugely beneficial tool for artists to promote themselves, so with that in mind, here is how you can find me on social media!

I am on Twitter and Instagram @dianamakesart, and my aforementioned recently updated website is dianafox.ca.

If you see or hear something you like, share share share!

Back to work

The art kind, not the employment kind.

Not that there is anything wrong with the employment kind, however it’s proving a horribly competitive job market out there (for me at least), and as my previous employer left me a bit scarred emotionally, I’ve decided there is nothing wrong with taking some much needed time to allow my mental health to recover.

I discovered American Horror Story, and took a few days to watch all three previous seasons and get caught up on the current one.  Side note — if you don’t watch this show you should.  It’s fantastic!

So now after the mental health break, I’m back at it.

I’ve cleaned out my studio, started organizing my art, started trying out some new things.

I’ve updated my website a bit, and I’ve been organizing my artwork for the Handmade Here show next month.

I’ve got some new designs this year.

wrapcups  These are lovely little glasses.  They have coloured lip wraps that extend beyond the lip, and are bubbly at the bottom.

I am a bit of an anomaly amongst glassblowers (I suspect) in that I LOVE super bubbly glass.  Love it.  I never cut out bubbles when I get them by accident, and I often put them in on purpose.

Speaking of bubbles…

paperweights  I’ve got paperweights this year!

Super bubbly paperweights.

I didn’t make them for a long time, and wound up making quite a few these past few months.  Partially because they are an easy thing to make if you are without an assistant, and partially because I love the freedom of them.  I love manipulating the colours and the inside and being surprised by what that looks like when they come out.

I’ve got more images to come, and a few more irons in the fire… stay tuned!

Later is Here, or How to Stop Procrastinating and Learn to Love Organizing

I’ve been meaning to clean my studio for about four years.

No exaggeration.

I’ve managed to make it a space that can be sort of worked in, but it slowly became a storage facility for other things… mainly boxes of crap that I put in there and promptly forgot existed.  My studio is a windowless room in the basement (affectionately referred to as The Bunker, when its actually in use), and it is all kinds of easy to forget that there is anything in there at all.

Out of sight, out of mind.

Four(ish) months ago, my boyfriend moved in, and in order to make room for all his possessions, we did the mother of all power cleans on the house.

As part of that process, even MORE things got tossed in the studio. It was a temporary plan, to get things out of the way, so we wouldn’t have to deal with them just then.  We had the intent to deal with them ‘later’.

Later has finally shown up, unfortunately, and with me not working full time, I have officially run out of excuses as to why I can’t clean it.  I even debated writing about how much I didn’t want to clean it, that’s how much I didn’t want to get it done.

So today it began.

Good news, I found this totally adorable pair of shoes I completely forgot I owned.

shoepic

Cute, no?

I have no clue where I bought them, and in the interest of keeping on task I resisted the urge to try on a variety of ensembles to see how well they coordinate.

I also found (not photographed) three semesters worth of drawings from my first and second years of art school, which is every drawing from every drawing class I ever took.  Every single drawing.  Hundreds of them.  Literally.  This instigated a momentary crisis about throwing them out.  What if I needed a thousand thirty-second nude drawings of Karen the model?  What if all those contour drawings have some forgotten inspiration in them?

I got over this, folded them up, and chucked the whole lot of them out.  Five garbage bags worth.

I am pleased to say that a quarter of my studio is now totally functional.

studiopic

I have no before photo, because I am marginally embarrassed by the volume of clutter that had accumulated, but I am pleased to have this portion completed.

The photo conveniently crops out the part by the door, where you still have to crawl over mounds of boxes and bags and lord only knows what.  That will be attacked tomorrow… really.

But progress is good, yes?

So… now what?

I graduated with my BFA four years ago, and in that span of time I’ve managed to make art making a fine hobby that at best finances my ability to make more art.  I frequently joke that I am like a drug dealer who deals drugs to finance their own addiction.  I sell art to allow myself to make more of it, little more.

The post-graduation years have involved working excessively at jobs (always more than one at a time), and trying to identify a career path that would provide me with both an abundance of monetary riches, and enough gas left in my spiritual tank that I would be able to go home each night and create beautiful and exquisite art objects.

I was living like this.

Paying bills?  Yes.  Creatively fulfilling?  Not a fucking chance.

Now I’m finding myself with only partial employment, and that precious resource all creative types wish they had more of: time.

Which begs the question, so… now what?

So now, I have decided, is the time to put forth a teeny tiny bit more effort into all these things I’ve been saying I should do… make art, write, and blog about things.

So now is the time… stay tuned.