Clay Critters

Below are some little clay critters from my class at the Union Project. It's so much stinking fun -- and so awesome to be messing around with clay again. Initially I was a ceramics major as an undergrad, but bolted from that as soon as we had to start using numbers to figure out glaze mixes and kiln firings. I had some mighty fears of glazes, no lie. Math confuses me. Beyond the basics I get lost in about 30 seconds. Getting all of the powders and liquids together to make a glaze? Forget about it. I took off for printmaking and art history.

Anyway, it feels good to bend and mold and make something new out of mud. Perfect. And the smell of it? That's the earth right there. And having messy hands because of it? Good, good, good. Evidence that I did something with my time. Class is over in two weeks but I'm pretty sure that I'll be swinging by Standard Ceramic Supply real soon (tomorrow?) to pick up some clay so I can start working from my home studio.

 Lion and Tiger and Bear; or, Kiki, Lou, and Bubbles.

Lion and Tiger and Bear; or, Kiki, Lou, and Bubbles.

Ghost Cat!

October is my favorite month, no question. The colorful leaves, cooler temperatures, and my buddy Boom Boom's delicious chocolate pumpkin brownies. Perfecto. Oh, and Halloween. Wonderful Halloween. The best. Costumes and candy. Charlie Brown's Great Pumpkin. Parties. Yes, yes, yes. Do you think other months get jealous? Probably.

To celebrate the glory that is Halloween, this year I decided to start a new tradition: designing and mailing out Halloween post cards. It's a great way to send art to family, friends, and folks I've worked with throughout the year. And it's a neat little promotional tool to reach out to people I'd like to work with. This year's card was "Ghost Cat," a spooky but super sweet furbuddy who will absolutely scare away all of those pesky mice. Totally the kind of guy you want around the house.

 Ghost Cat hanging out with some feline friends. So many CATS! Photo from Pittsburgh artist  Maria Mangano 's Instagram feed,  avesmaria .

Ghost Cat hanging out with some feline friends. So many CATS! Photo from Pittsburgh artist Maria Mangano's Instagram feed, avesmaria.

October happenings

The past few weeks have been busy and full of art stuff, mostly fulfilling commission work and prepping for upcoming events (more on that in a second). I was able to squeeze in some time away from the studio, like taking my niece to a ceramics class and helping neighbors prepare for this year's First Night Parade. See the purple image below -- an art car and its tentacles getting worked over at Studio Capezutti. So much fun and really great company. Good times.

I was also accepted into the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh -- which is one of the cooler things that has happened recently. After not making art for so long, being able to get back to it and be welcomed by peers feels pretty good. Still, the whole process had me pretty anxious for a couple days. Interested artists were asked to drop off 5 pieces to be reviewed by a panel a few Saturdays back. Folks would be notified by mail on the results. You just never know with these things. Any call for entries/applicants is a gamble. Not everyone is gonna dig what I do, there are "thanks but no thanks" emails all the time, which is cool. Just part of the process. This time it worked out.

And there are two events coming up that I'm pretty stoked about. First, it's "Animal Kingdom," a group show I'm participating in at G Squared Gallery in Ligonier, PA.  The exhibit starts November 19 and runs until late December. The opening is Friday, November 21 from 5-7 pm. Swing by if you're around, it will be a lot of fun. Second, it's Handmade Arcade time, Pittsburgh's first and largest indie craft fair. Last year was my first to attend as a vendor and it was a blast, so I'm super excited to return for round two. The event is Saturday, December 6 from 11 am - 7 pm at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in downtown Pittsburgh. It's the perfect opportunity to support makers and get some holiday shopping done.

Clockwise from top left: art car action at Studio Capezutti; mail from the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh; Handmade Arcade 2014; detail of a drawing in progress that will be exhibited at G Squared Gallery. 

Art weekend

Loads of art action his past weekend -- checked out (twice) the Mattress Factory's excellent contribution to the Pittsburgh Biennial and attended Artist as Entrepreneur Boot Camp, an intensive two-day program hosted by the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council and lead by staff from New York Foundation for the Arts. Two very different events, each packed with exciting ideas -- though the Boot Camp was a little overwhelming at times. Blame that on the financial and marketing talk. Luckily I was able to swing by the MF after day two of the Boot Camp, and that got my head straight again.

Below are some images from the weekend: Pittsburgh Filmmakers (where the Boot Camp was held), installation view of Kathleen Montgomery's "Body Memory Architecture" at the MF's 1414 Monterey Street site, John Peña's "Word Balloon" at the MF's main building, and Rose Clancy's GardenLab@510 (not part of the Biennial, but a site-specific garden installation at the MF -- a good spot to go and relax and look at the sky).


Old files

Cleaning up old files and managing digital stuff is such a pain in the butt.  You think it's gonna be 30 minutes -- but before you know it three hours have passed and your eyeballs feel like they're about to fall out.  But it's not all moans and groans because the cool thing is you get to revisit old buddies like these guys, leftover animals from my A-Z book. (Note to self -- make more anteaters, they're very cool critters.)

Three Rivers Arts Festival - 2014

Months of prep work, a handful of meetings, tons of help from family and friends, a few minor meltdowns -- and go!

Three Rivers Arts Festival was a blast. Good traffic, lots of great conversations and feedback, and weather that was mostly agreeable. This was my first outdoor festival -- and I plan to do more in the future. Thanks to everyone who helped make this happen! You're letting me do what I love.

Customers checking stuff out

A nice surprise -- a little award from the festival jurors

First blog post

Kinda pumped after attending a Pittsburgh Society of Illustrators meeting tonight where Carly Schonberg and Cynthia Closkey presented “DIY Websites 101.” The creative juices are flowing —- thank you very much Carly and Cynthia! I’ve got 1000 ideas, one of which is this here blog. Hopefully I can stick to it!