Monday, July 31, 2017

My first day

My first day at Remark Glass was 5/18. This first day was an introduction to the studio and where everything was located. I also cleaned 24 bottles to be prepared for a big lighting installation that would be installed in a bar in Fishtown.

Instructions for cleaning bottles:

1. Rinse Bottle
2. Fill with water
3. Soak in bucket overnight
4. Take label off with blade carefully
5. Cut metal off bottle neck with green handle snips
6. Scrub outside with soap and sponge and rinse
7. Fill with Alconox 2.5 spoons per gallon
8. Leave for 10 mins
9. Rinse

After cleaning bottles, I prepared the bottles that were complete and on the frame/fixture for packing. This involved labeling each bottle with a letter and number and the same letter and number on the fixture where that specific bottle was placed.

The Beginnings of Endings

I can't believe I only have about two more weeks left of working with ETD! The summer has without a doubt flown by, and i’m simply not ready for school to start or for this experience to be over. Last week I put music to the split screen/ mirrored effect videos and Eryc really liked them so i’m happy about that. He wants more videos, but the quality of my videos really just isn’t up to par with what he wants and I feel really bad because i don’t have an actual camera to use. It’s frustrating when money is a factor of you not being able to do your best work, especially when you want to.

The piece that the company has been working on is finally done and now they are setting it to the music that was composed for them. This process proved to be especially difficult for the dancers because they were already so used to doing the material in a certain rhythm, pattern, and emotion in silence, that when the music was added it didn’t fit. To add to the frustration, they accidently used the wrong music on Tuesday and set cues that weren't present in the updated version, adding another variable to consider as they were trying to find what made sense. I noticed that I could really tell when they were listening to the music vs. when they were on an auto-pilot remember the step kind of headspace. There was a visible switch in their body when they were actually internalizing and trying to work with the music as opposed to trying to push through and on top of the music.

I appreciate when Eryc asks for my opinions on these matters as well, because as an objective outside eye, my experience is much different from his. He seemed to be concerned about the dynamic shifts in the piece and whether or not it was too slow or boring, a 16 minute long work is hard to keep energized. I think re-affirming and talking with him about the work also helps me to see what he’s looking for as a director of the work and how to shape it to become what he envisioned.

When working on the last 2 minutes, the company members took turns bouncing ideas off each other of how to fill the gap between the last solo and the end of the song. It was interesting to watch how Eryc let them experiment with what they thought might work even when I could tell he didn’t really like the idea at first. He never shot down ideas in their beginning stages, he let them flesh out and tried to find something useful or interesting within their ideas. This patience waiting to see what could happen is admirable and very open minded of him to practice.

More to come~

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Process and Thinking

Coming this August Michele will be showing in a group exhibition at James Oliver Gallery here in Philadelphia. I have finished preparing and taping the last of the wood panels for the show, which is now over 40 pieces ready for her to paint. When I came into her studio this past week she had already started working on over 20 out of the 40 pieces! She said she will have all of the rest started and almost finished the next time I return. It amazes me to see the panels come to life through her bringing out the grain of the wood in each. From observing the panels as I have prepped them I now see her compositions, and how they form within each piece she creates. For this exhibition the focus is on groups, hence why she requires so many surfaces for her installation. Michele likes to focus on the macro and micro specifically in her work. She is including exposing parts of the wood as well as using white, black, and gray paint. Another element she is including in this work is gold leaf. She carefully applies it in each panel, and considers the impact it has. The completed works so far are beautifully executed, and draw the viewer in with the way the light hits the gold leaf. It allows the eye to look at the positive and negative space within each individual piece, and as a whole. The black, white, and gray create great high contrast with the way they were applied with the use of detail and linear forms. I am incredibly excited to see the finished installation, and also have the privilege of helping her hang it at the gallery.

Also, I finally got to start working on her other ongoing installation piece that over 100 people have worked on over the past few years. Her idea is incredible creating a large cascading waterfall effect floor to ceiling of paint stirrers beautifully painted and wrapped with printed paper, tied tightly with white string. The stirrers are dipped in paint and wrapped in colorful patterned paper. Each are then glued in a cluster of 5 stirrers each, and fanned evenly. My part is the wrapping the string around the cluster, and I made it my mission to make sure each were tied exactly how she explained in order to create the impact she wants. I will be continuing to wrap these until the end of the summer, and would love to see it when its finally done and installed in the near future.

After the week was done Michele messaged me a lot of valuable information, which was great for me as an aspiring painter. I really appreciate her taking the time to do this on days I am not working for her, so I don't miss anything that could be helpful to me in the future. She sent me pictures of the step by step process for how she ships and packages her paintings so I would have for references when needed. And I was also sent the video that was created for Michele's Urban art exhibition. The video was incredible as well as the work she made for the show. She considered every detail and component that went into it, as well as in all of the work she makes which inspires me to do the same moving forward. I can't wait to go to her studio to see more next week!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Homemade Parfaits and Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies

DIY Parfaits
This week the kids made their own parfaits. I really love that a lot of the camps inspire the children to be their own person. It also allows them to work together and to try new things.
This menu included homemade granola (for the parfait), and later peanut butter chocolate chip cookies.
They had to learn about different measurements, ingredients and why you shouldn’t eat raw cookie dough.
The cooking teacher Ms. Carrington taught them how to chop their own strawberries. She did an excellent job helping one student who was afraid of chopping the strawberry on their own. Rest assured the student copped the strawberry by herself and everything was fantastic. While making the parfaits, there were tons of granola left over. Ms. Carrington packed them away for the students to take them home to their parents.

After the parfaits were devoured, it was time to make peanut butter cookies. Once again, the students used the skills that they learned with measuring and they mixed everything by hands. No electric beater needed here! Next the kids used an ice cream scoop to measure out the size of the cookie and then off to the oven it went. The peanut butter chocolate chip cookies would be baked after the class was over and the next day the students would have cookies for breakfast! They were so eager to learn and really excited about having cookies the next morning. 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Slime and Tortillas

This morning, I helped out Marie with her Science in the Summer class. Before I got there, the kids had made their own race cars out of cardboard tubes, plastic lids, play dough, and straws. They each painted them to their liking, and, as a group, decorated a paper race track to race them on. The "engine" was a taped on, blown up balloon, that was designed to propel the car while the air was leaving the balloon.

We quickly discovered that the cars weren't quite fit to race. When we released the air from the balloons, most of the cars just spun in circles, but we explained to the kids that that's what science is about, trial and error, having fun, and seeing what works and what doesn't.

After a short break outside, we showed the kids how to make gooey, neon slime out of borax dissolved in water, glue, shaving cream, and contact solution. The result was multiple batches of colorful, viscous slime that the kids combined into tie dye patterns.

Here are a few of the kids with their slime:

 In the afternoon, I helped out with a cooking class, where we taught the young chefs how to make homemade corn tortillas. We showed them how to properly chop up the veggies to go in a taco, and managed to only have one minor injury with the knives. After, we all ate our tortillas, and the kids got to bring home the dough to help their parents make tacos at home:

Monday, July 24, 2017

Post Paris

AHH. So much has happened in the past month it’s kind of crazy. I got back from Paris with the school of dance, which was amazing, but left me feeling kind of scatterbrained in Philly. I finally feel like i'm back to working as efficiently as I was before leaving and getting into the swing of things with the company.

I’ve been working alot with organizing and gathering information for practical uses such as grants, residencies, possible donors, advertisement spaces, space grants, and festivals. Not only has this research helped the company, but it’s great information for me to start getting familiar with so I understand the possibilities for when I graduate. I already found a few residencies and festivals that I myself might apply to in the near future as an emerging artist. I definitely think this kind of research is something I can use in the future even though it is very tedious work and time consuming due to the nature of the information being embedded in each website. I even started to create my own personalized list for the future of things that apply to me and maybe not the company or both the company and myself.

Another project i’ve been working on is making small instagram videos for the company that can promote short clips of stuff we’ve caught in rehearsal. I initially made a video that I really liked, but was too long and not as fast paced as Eryc envisioned. After talking to him and getting more of an idea of what he wanted, I had to remake the video which was surprisingly difficult. The first one I made took no more than 10, minutes and I really enjoyed making it so it was easy. This time around I had trouble even putting clips together that I liked and found interesting, partly because I was confused on how he wanted it and partly because it required altering the video in unnatural ways. I had more of a simple vision while his was very extravagant, so I had to find a way to do this to his liking, that also made sense to me. I know that sounds dramatic, but it was really hard for me and something I’ll definitely need to practice for the future.

Other than that, I’ve been attending rehearsals and documenting for them through photo and video which has also been an interesting practice. The piece that they have been working on is nearly complete and i’ve learned so much just by watching them put together their vision of the work.

More to come~

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Week 8

I spent most of the morning organizing art supplies in one of the classrooms. I sorted through all kinds of things, including scrapbook paper, glue, beads, gems, ribbons, gimp, and little odds and ends I don't really have names for. It was a lot to go through, but I feel like I made some progress.

 In the afternoon, I helped Nicole set up for a class on paper making. We sorted through huge boxes of paper scraps, organizing them by color. She showed me how to make different colored paper pulp by ripping up the paper, and blending it in a blender with water. The pulp is then pressed into its' preferred shape, and the water is pressed out, leaving the pulp to dry into paper.

She also showed me how to make a less wasteful, more cost effective type of water color paint, by draining the ink out of old markers and soaking it into water. The result is a very pigmented, unique color that you can customize any way you like. We used this to give the paper pulp even richer color.

The kids had fun making different-sized paper bowls, molds of various shapes (hearts, stars, circles, flowers), and creating free form designs out of the paper pulp.

Here are a few of their creations:

Pillow Pets !

I didn’t know that this morning I would be using my sewing skills to be helping children make pillows. I remember my first sewing class in high school and we made bag holders and small pillows.

This week the children were making animal pillows in the morning camp. There were pigs, dragons, dogs, horses and even an owl. We had the kids draw on paper the kind of animals they wanted to make. Then we helped them make sure that the pattern was okay for sewing.  After they were approved for sewing the kids had to draw it even bigger on the pattern paper. Once all the pattern paper was cut out, it was time to dig in the fabric boxes. The kids were very excited to pick out the fabrics that were needed to make the animal pillows. A lot of the fabrics that were available were items that were donated so a lot of the animals had awesome colors and patterns that an animal usually wouldn’t have. There was a yellow pig with red heart shaped eyes, a plaid horse, a floral dog and even a water monster that were created. The pillows now needed facial features. Next it was time to pick several types of fabric for the face of their pillow pet; noses, eyes, wings, ears and some teeth. Nicole and I helped the children cut out the patterns needed for the pillows. After the pieces were cut out we needed to iron on the adhesive for the fabric. This adhesive allowed us to use the fabric as a sticker. The pillows weren’t stuffed and sewn during this class but I’m sure when I come back next week there will be plenty beautiful and colorful pillow pets.

Zach's Introduction to Remark Glass

Hi, I’m Zach

This summer I have been working with Remark Glass in South Philly. I am doing a glass concentration under IFA at The University of the Arts and this coming fall will be my senior year. This internship has been a great experience so far where I am working in an environment and with a material I am comfortable with.

The summer so far has been a combination of practicing and applying the skills I already know in a work environment as well as some intense learning. I’ve been learning a lot lately, in particular about mirroring processes. There's so many steps to do it right! This process in particular requires lab like attention, because you are working with chemistry. I’ve also been doing a ton of cold working. For this I’m grinding away and polishing tiny amounts of glass on the bottoms of cups, bowls, plates, and vases so they all sit perfectly on a table. I have been really enjoying doing this type of work as the more practice I get the better I will get at it, which will show through in my own personal work.

All of this is without even mentioning the nice schedule and ritual this internship has added to my summer. I’m not even sleeping in late on the weekends! I feel energized and look forward to my morning bagel before the subway ride down to Snyder on days I work with Remark Glass. I’ve noticed I have been thinking about my own work so often as well, and am excited for the upcoming fall.

Looking forward to writing my next post and getting into more detail of the stuff we’ve been working on!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Learning & Time Management

As I have gotten to know Michele better these past few weeks I have learned a lot about her as a person, and as an artist. Michele is very organized and schedules her time to make sure she gets everything done that she set out to do. She told me she needs to complete roughly 40 paintings between now and the 18th of August for a group exhibition. When talking to her this past week she said she usually works in this way by “having periods of nothingness and then work work work”. She referred to this as her process, which she doesn’t like but in the end she always gets everything done to perfection. I also asked her about stress management and how she makes time in her busy life to manage making art with work and other priorities. Something I am struggling with right now. She explained her strategies of making lots of lists as well as having a large calendar to plan things out. Both ways of working are things she’s done since being a student at the University. It was nice to know that a professional artist struggles in some of the same ways I do. Despite her doubts and challenges in the past and today, she still has become extraordinarily successful. As an artist and in life.

Lately, I have also been preparing her newest panels for the upcoming group exhibition I previously mentioned. They vary in size from very little to medium sized, which was a nice break for my hands from the large ones I did. It’s the same process of evenly coating the GAC twice per surface, sanding them all down, painting the sides, and doing a final third coat. Except this time Michele explained the wood may be a different brand because it is very rough, so I had to sand once more. This was not because of how I prepared them, but it was interesting hearing about how businesses are not always reliable in producing the exact products you want or need for your work.

After doing all of this it was time to tape the sides and back, so paint doesn’t get on them making the piece look sloppy. Michele showed me the exact way of using green frog tape to neatly line the side’s edges so the surface is clean. And then blue masking tape to cover the back evenly, which overlaps the green tape meeting close to the middle. Although the tape will be removed after the piece is done it is very important for Michele’s work to keep its clean linear elements.

Also, I finally finished the color wall which I’m happy to say, and new paints will be added to a miscellaneous paper in the future. Just have to hang it now!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Camp is Here!!

Camp is Here!!

The last few weeks of interning at the Eiland Arts Center was easy work but there was lots of it. Larisa and I hung a new show and helped to create summer camp posts for social media. Finally the time that we have been preparing and waiting for has arrived! 
Last Thursday we helped the cooking class make breakfast and lunch. The menu included; scrambled eggs with home made salsa and for lunch homemade torilla wraps with salsa cheese and guacamole!
This of course was overseen by the teaching instructor, Larisa and myself. Helping to teach kids to cook is not as easy as it seems at first. You have to remind yourself that things that come naturally to you, have to be explained in a way that makes sense to a younger adult. Thats where the knife lessons come in. We always made sure they were being very careful. And even though we helped and watched over them, some accidents did happen. Two of the young ladies accidently cut themselves. It was nothing major and they toughed it out! I was happy to see that we had a good group full of kids that were eager to learn and willing to keep cooking through the tiny mishaps.
The other art camp that started around 1 pm was a little more for the younger group. They had the option to make mosaic bean artwork or watercolor paintings. I must admit the pieces that were made were pretty impressive. I couldn't resist but I also made a multicolored filled watercolor painting. At the end of the day the entire group made a few collective art pieces. We all started with a sheet of paper and drew until the time was up and then we handed it to the next person for another theme to draw. The final pieces were really good and proved that I need to brush up my drawing skills.

I so excited to see what kind of things the children will make this week!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Working with the elderly

Kay recently started a class at NewCountland senior center where she will be doing a project with the seniors living there. The project is based on doing interviews with them about their childhood homes and then thinking about a specific object that is important to them which we later incorporated in an art piece they will work on. I'm excited to be a part of this class and be able to hear the stories of these individuals.It's set up so every college volunteer interviews a senior and exchanges stories.
My first time helping out was a bit surreal because I have never spent a long time with seniors before. I feel now that it's so important to talk with them and hear their stories not only for them but also to preserve history.
I think this project is going to be very exciting and I've already had a great time stepping out of my comfort zone and talking to people I usually wouldn't.The most challenging part for me is communication. The women I'm interviewing seems to have dementia and is also extremely hard of hearing but I know she remembers a lot, I just have to find a way to dig it out which is a fun challenge for me and hopefully also for her.
Volunteering at the nursing home has also made me think a lot about life and how important it is go out and talk to people. I’m so excited that Kay is letting me be a part of this project because I feel like it’s so important how she is connecting with the community and making actual relationships with people through artwork.

As an illustrator, most of my time is spent inside drawing. It can be a very seclusive lifestyle but Kay’s way of making art is so much different and involves people from all around! I really appreciate how Kay’s work gets me out and about. I love how she is constantly making new connections with all sorts of different people. it makes me want to get out and do the same! I’m learning that being an artist doesn't necessarily mean you have to live a seclusive and indoor life and that you can do things with your art practice that includes and helps others in need. It’s so important to me to find a way to use my illustration in a way that also helps other in need. I’m so glad to be a part of something bigger than just me!

Life advice, progress in skills and constant inspirations

Something I love about working with Kay is the stories and subjects of all her pieces. She tells me most of the stories behind all of her creations and I find all of them so interesting. Most come from either personal stories or stores from people she interviewed. I also find it very interesting how she works with mainly furniture and objects but they all mostly represent a people and so much more than the object itself. I feel like working with objects instead of directly depicting people will help me a lot in my illustration work because I tend to focus on just drawing people directly. I want to try to branch out and draw more of the world but still in my style. I feel like working with Kay through her objects  will help me find this style and also help me put more of an importance on the thing I am drawing. I'm learning that every mark should be important. Kay’s extremely labor intensive process fills every step with love. I'm learning to treat my own creates and drawings with this same amount care and love. She teaches me to have patience in what she is creating  and if she messes up she doesn't just leave it, she goes back and fixes it. It's these elements that I'm lacking in my own work.
Along with learning the actual process of creating pieces with Kay, she's also given me a lot of life advice which I find extremely useful! She has recommenders me movies, book health and wellness, and even relationship advice. She's also tired to help me find a new apartment and new job and let me cat sit for her! I feel extremely lucky to be able to house sit for her while on vacation because her home is filled with so much inspiration everywhere which makes me want to start drawings and exploring more mediums! It’s such a great environment for artists. Kay is also open to any suggestions I have on her process and work which is amazing. She lets me test out new processes that might be useful to her in the future.
Simple trips to run errands with Kay are filled with inspiration for me. She makes seemingly boring places like a sewing repair store seem exciting and she makes sure to stop at great inspiring places like Eyes Gallery and Jinxed along the way.

With the constraint intake of inspiration I’ve noticed recently in my sketchbook that I’ve been drawing more objects and things instead of wanting to draw people. I also find myself subconsciously making things of similar subject matter, for example I created a series of tiny houses only to realize a few days later Kay had done a similar series in the past. I have found that working with Kay has also really helped bring back my love of using different mediums and has also improved my skill level in things like sewing. She is an extremely helpful and open person and I'm looking forward to learning much more!

Learning new techniques

One of the first things I helped Kay with was working on packing up her artwork for an upcoming show. She showed me the proper way of folding the prices in plastic so that they don't get damaged. I had never really thought about how to  package artwork before so I found this process very interesting, smart and useful. She uses a method of folding down the tape on the plastic to make it easy to open. We worked together on the large prices some of which were around 30 feet and bigger than her studio space. We boxed the prices and she drove them to the show in Williamsport that week.
The next time I saw Kay we worked on inventory of her work. This process included recording every piece into an excel document with its title, date and dimensions. Along with the documentation, we also sewed on hand made labels to the back of each piece. The labels themselves take time to sew and create and then each one is hand stitched to the back. After measuring each piece, Kay would photograph it and pack it in the proper box. She showed me some tips on photographing 3D works which I really appreciated! Together we documented over 100 works!

On our next meeting, Kay let me actually assist her in making some of her stuffed creations which I was extremely nervous about because I didn't want to mess any of them up! It's hard to tell from just looking at the pieces how incredibly labor intensive each one really is! I helped create three small stuffed flames which took me the entire day! Her process for these flames started with painting the actual piece of fabric. From there she traces the outline to be sewn around on a light table. After sewing around the line, she had me cut the excess fabric, create radiating cuts and flip inside it out. The flipping proceeds takes the longest because you have to make sure to get all the tiny corners out and the stuffing is a lot more difficult than it seems to get into the tiny places! After this we piped in some armature wire so the piece could be manipulated and bended. I loved learning her process of making these things and am looking forward to using some of it in my own sewing work!

The next thing I worked on was a large table unit piece she was making to give to her former fellow and friend Monica, who's story was told through the console. This was another interesting process that was similar to quilting. She had me sew directly onto the piece which made me extremely nervous again. I loved learning new techniques I can use in my quilting and future work! I’ve also been working on a few other similar pieces along with practicing more skills on the sewing machine like threading the bobbin and learning how to freehand.  Attached are some of the projects I've been working on!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Defining Success for Me

It was a success! Every doubt I had, things I thought could go horribly wrong thankfully did not. My work will be shown at the Gryphon Café in Wayne, PA for the entire month, from July 2nd-August 6th. The 2nd was the day we hung our work. All three of us were only given the first hour the café opened to hang, which was very nerve racking. The hanging was a bit rushed, but with the help of my parents we were able to finish in time with no major mishaps. I did however, have one misunderstanding that I have been a little hard on myself for. Before, when I read in the Gryphon exhibition requirements I thought we would get only 20% of the profit per piece sold, while the café gets 80%. But, in fact it is reversed, we get 80 while they get 20. So, I overpriced my work a bit with that assumption in mind. I am trying to keep reminding myself of something Michele told me when we first met, to never dismiss or diminish my work. Usually I would underprice my work in fact. So, if I start acting as though I as an artist, and my pieces are worth it others may too.

The two other fine artists I am showing with this month are Anna Kosher and Jessi Brown. Jessi is an artist who works with paper cuts. Her pieces are extremely intricate, well crafted, and have a whimsical feel. While Anna a painter like me, usually works with the figure placed in specific settings. She expresses these scenes while playing with various brush stokes, and the paint itself. I have consulted with them throughout this process, and we coordinated having a reception on July 7th, which went amazing. All of this was new to me, I have been to exhibitions before, but never my own.  I invited my friends and family to attend, which was great. They were there to support me, and what I was doing, and I felt incredibly proud that I was able to experience it. I also got the chance to network with people I had never met before. It was good practice for me especially being as shy as I am. Although I did a lot of work on my own, all of the details and knowledge I was taught about how to do a great deal of it is due to Michele. The reception itself wouldn’t have even happened if it weren’t for her. For that I am extremely grateful, and always will be to her for helping me pull off my very first art show.

Hopefully, fingers crossed that I sell a piece!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Week 7

I spent most of this morning helping out with a cooking class, teaching 10 kids how to make salsa and eggs. We showed them how to properly cut tomatoes, red bell peppers, garlic, and lime, and how to use cumin as seasoning for the dish. 

Unfortunately, 2 of the kids had a little accident and cut their fingers with the knives, but everyone was mostly okay. 

After cooking class, I went upstairs to help with the younger art class, where they learned to mix primary colors into secondary colors, and made their own color wheels of warm and cool colors to use as examples.

We took an hour break for lunch outside, while Chloe and I kept an eye on those who were staying through to the afternoon class. The kids played freeze tag and told me all about their pets (Caroline has a dog named Lucy) and their favorite things to do.

I spent my afternoon taking part and assisting for the older group's art class, where they drew pictures, painted, made mosaics with beans and seeds instead of tile, and concluded with a round of collaborative drawing, where we sent various pieces of paper around the table to be completed bit by bit by everyone instead of just one person.

All in all, it was a productive, artistic, and fun-filled day.