Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Yay! I'm back to working in the art journal

Hello everyone!

When it's crunch time before a show, everything gets put aside until after the show.  And when I say "everything" I really mean everything.  Dishes pile up in the sink and unnecessary doctor appointments get rescheduled.   Sometimes, that's just what it takes to get everything finished. 

So, I noticed how much I missed painting and journaling during this last crunch time before my show.  And I am happy to report that I am back into the journal and doing some fun sketching, just for me.  And you know what?  It feels great!  This is one page that I just played with, and had fun with beeswax.  I don't always use beeswax, but it was so fun, I may have to start doing it more.  When the wax was cooling, I carved some smaller flowers into the wax, and then added color to it with an oilstick.  Fun!

And then last night, I did some sketching, and it was just for me.  I currently don't have any plans for this one, but after I finish it, I may copy it onto some vellum and glue it onto the above background, I just started playing with.  So nothing is complete - just having fun and playing.  Good for the soul, ya know?

Another fun thing is that I signed up for Alisa Burke's Sketchbook Delight e-course, and I'm so stoked!  I wanted to take it with the rest of the class when it was offered in Feb/March, but there was no way I could do that e-course and get ready for my show.  So I had to wait until now when I had a little more time.

Hope all of you are doing well! Spring is here and I am always so thankful for the warmer weather~


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Life List

Life List - RED is what I Have Done

Check out this fun Life List by way of Kelly, at Kelly's Art Journaling, who found it through another person, on Dawn DeVries Sokol's blog, D'Blogala... RED is what I have done.   This is just sort of a fun thing to do.  Hope you enjoy :)

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower, TWO- from my back yard, and from the beach at 4:00am :)
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis, no, but I've held an alligator several times
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris 
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch, painting (mixed media), drawing, sculpting
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France, no, but I've seen Picasso's Guernica in Spain
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb, no, but I've ridden in a van with a chicken in my lap
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise, to Alaska
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelos David
41. Sung karaoke (never do that again!)
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt, tried to but our snow van broke down
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted, does a caricature at the beach count?
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, I've seen a bridge designed by Eiffel in Spain - amazing!
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud, that's what started my love affair with clay!
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching, one day I will do this!!
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving, on my list of things to do :)
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter, in Alaska - they flew us to an iceberg and then went ice climbing on it!
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square, on New Year's Eve - that was madness
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle, so freakin' awesome - a total high!
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car, my Mini Cooper S, which I still love dearly :)
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous, Bill Murray
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby, going to have two before the end of the summer!
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone 
99. Been stung by a bee, OUCH
100.  Read a book in one day


Monday, March 21, 2011

"Who Made This?"

"Who made this?" asks my daughter over and over again.  This is something sort of new in our lives and it has just recently dawned on me how cool this is.  We have quite a bit of handmade things in our house, like plates, cups, paintings, sculptures, photographs, jewelry, and various other things that I've sewn or made.  So this question started popping up at the dinner table - "Who made this?' pointing at the cup.  "Well, honey, I did."  "And you made this too?" pointing at the plate.  "Yes, I made the plate too."  "And I also made this dinner for you, and Daddy made the bread that we are eating, too". 

Artwork from Thom Wheeler, Taos, NM
Fast forward a month.  We are in the middle of potty training now, so we spend a fair amount of time with her sitting on the potty.  "Mommy, who made that?" pointing to a piece of art we bought in Taos, NM on a trip one year (she's convinced it's a rocket).  "And who made that painting?" pointing to an original painting I bought for hubby almost 10 years ago.  "And who made that picture??" pointing to a photograph my hubby took of a cool-looking plant in Austin, TX.  And that's when it hit me.  How wonderful it is that my daughter is starting to understand that things are made by people we know and love.  We surround ourselves with items collected over the years and each piece has a story to go with it.  She is grasping the idea that things are MADE rather than PURCHASED at the nearest store.  I feel this is a huge concept, and I hope that she will love handmade things.  She eats off plates I have made (back in the days when I was making functional pottery) and not plastic ones (usually).  We are teaching her to be careful with those plates, as they can break, and mommy made those, so she should be careful.  And you know what?  She's getting it!  When I brought home my bronze sculpture from the foundry, she was so interested in it, and made sure to tell everyone who came to the house that "Mommy made that!"  I loved it.  It warmed my heart to hear her little voice shout that out.

Authenticity.  Handmade.  Each piece tells its own story.  All very important things to me.  Have you figured out cool ways to teach your kids (or even your family or peers) about art?  I'd love to hear them!


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sharing your Work with the Public

Booth pic - a little blurry!
Hi there!

I'm home from my show in Atlanta and I had a ball.  I always enjoy craft/art shows - the excitement, the anticipation,  talking to all the people, and getting feedback from everyone.  I think it's a great opportunity to learn something about what people think of your art.

I've been doing shows for a while now - 8 years or so, I think - and there's always something to learn at these shows.  This year, I took all of my newer bird-related sculptures and was curious what everyone (artists and shoppers) would think.  Well, I got wonderful feedback!  It's easy to tell which pieces everyone likes, because over the course of the weekend, those pieces are looked at again and again and again.  But the most hilarious things are the comments you get.  Some people totally get your work, and others completely misunderstand it.  You have to take most comments with a grain of salt.  People don't mean to be insulting - they just don't get it.  Let me give you an example.  (I posted this on Facebook over the weekend, and you guys just about died when you read this...)  So this nice couple was admiring the bronze I made (they totally loved it), and they told me that they aren't normally "art" type of people.  Okay, that's fine, but why are you at an art show???  Anyway, back to the bronze..  Their jaws fell open when the saw the actual price of the piece, as bronzes are always expensive.  I explained how long it took me to make it and how bronze is such a labor-intensive process.  The lady looks at me in astonishment, and said, "How much would this cost if you cast it in plastic???"  And she was serious.  Of course I wanted to knock her upside the head, but it was obviously an honest question.   She just didn't get it.  So I laughed and told her I didn't work in plastic, and had no idea what that would cost.  Oh man.  I could just visualize a bright white, hollow, plastic-y sculpture with the seams down the sides from the mold..  It really cracked me up!!

One other comment that sticks in my head that I heard from one lady (and you guys will love this too) is that one time when I was still making functional pottery,  I took a vase I had made to the grocery store to fill with cut flowers.  A friend was moving and I thought some lovely flowers in a handmade vase would be a nice going-away gift.  So at the store, I handed the vase over to the woman so she could cut the flowers to fit, and she said, "Oh this is cute.  Did you get this vase at the Dollar Store?"  I just about crapped myself when she said that.  Now I can't help but laugh out loud every time I think of this!

So I'm dying to know - what are some of the worst things that people have said about your work when you are exhibiting your work to the public??  Please share so that we can all have a giggle!


Sunday, March 13, 2011

New Pieces I'm Exhibiting this Weekend

Happy Weekend, everyone! I wanted to post some quick pics of two new pieces I'm showing this weekend. It's been a crazy busy weekend, with everything happening, and some long days, but I'm having fun! We've had pretty good attendance, despite the beautiful weather outside, and I've met some awesome people.

So, have a great day and I hope you like the new pieces! I have some nice professional photos of these sculptures, but of course, those are at home. :) Cheers~ Kelly

Monday, March 7, 2011

Studio pics

Hello There!!

I have been super busy this week, as is normal for the week before a show, trying to get everything finished up.  Glazing, firing, glazing some more, with one last firing.  It's an easy cycle, a rhythm that gets going in the studio.  The only problem with this rhythm on a crazy week like this, is that it takes so long for the kiln to fire and cool.  It normally takes up to 12 hours to fire and then another 24 hours to cool.  I have to plan enough time so that I can get all of my firings in.  This is my kiln and I absolutely love it.  I bought a bigger kiln when we moved into this house 2.5 years ago, when I finally got my own studio.  For 9 years, I had to haul my pots and sculptures over to my mom's house, where we shared a kiln.  It was rather scary, because the pots are so very delicate before they've been fired.  So needless to say, I was totally excited I got my studio!  Here's a pic of me when the kiln had just arrived, and the forklift had brought it down to the house!

One reason I love my kiln is that is has a tall vertical dimension, so I can make some pretty tall pieces and they will still fit in the kiln.  The other reason I love it, is that the door opens on the front, like a regular door, instead of me having to bend over and load heavy pieces into a top-loading kiln.  That was a real problem three years ago when I was pregnant with my first daughter and I couldn't reach the bottom of the kiln!  I had to step on concrete blocks to get a bit higher to even load the kiln!

Here are my central work tables.  I have three stations set up, and their purposes vary, depending on what cycle my work is in.  The purpose of the stations changes from building wet clay sculptures to glazing to assembling to mixed media painting and journaling.  But I wanted you to see the madness of the work table just before a big show!  It's not always this crazy, but I usually have some manner of supplies, pictures, and sketches lying around. 

So my studio is in total chaos this week, but I'm almost done with the prep work for the show.  Next up is the assembling and packing and then loading the car!  I'm sure I'll be posting from the show, so stay tuned!  

Oh - and today is the last day of my giveaway on Facebook.  I can't wait to see who the winners are!!


Friday, March 4, 2011

What a Week this has been!

Wow, what a crazy, exciting, busy week this has been! In both my personal life and business life too.  On Monday, we had an ultrasound with the OB and heard the news that we are having a girl!!  I am so thrilled, I can't believe how lucky we are - two daughters?!?!  I would have been happy with either boy or girl, but when I was a kid, I always wanted a sister (I have an older brother) that I could talk to and play with.  So I am so excited to be able to offer this to my girls.  Oh sure, they are going to fight and bicker and do all those things, but hopefully they can be friends too.  Just to be fair, older brothers can be great too - my brother taught me lots of things: like how to throw a baseball, and how to make that awful fart noise in your armpit that all kids like to know how to do.   :)  Anyway, did I mention I was happy to be having a girl???

And then on Tuesday, after I got my head out of the clouds, we announced my new branding image for Kelly Thiel Studio!  I enlisted the help of Laura Otero to help me make this transition the right way, and boy, was I not disappointed!  She designed a new logo for me and helped get all of my online stuff, (including this super cool blog!!) into a lovely, cohesive look.  I should be receiving my new business cards and postcards on Friday (yippee!) and I can't wait to take them to my show next week.

On Tuesday, we also announced my Facebook Sweepstakes (also Laura's idea), and I can't believe how much fun I've had with this!  I know many of you from this blog have entered already, and thank you so much!!  I've also heard from others that I didn't know, and I am so happy to make that connection as well.  Who would have guessed it would be so much fun to give away art?!?  I would love to do another one later this year, if I can, but I will have to wait and see how my schedule shapes up with a new babe in the house.  (Due date Aug. 14!!)  It may just be a miracle to get my first daughter to preschool on time twice a week...

So this contest has just fired me up all week.  Then I got a phone call from someone that totally excited me, but that is far too early to share any good news about that phone call yet.  Let's wait and see if that idea can get turned into a reality.

And I've been glazing and firing like a madwoman this week, trying to get some more pieces finished for the show next week, so with all of this going on, it's no wonder I can't sleep!  This is the second night this week that I've been awake in the middle of the night... Oh well, it's all good!

I hope all of you have had a great week too!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

New Business Image!

Today is a very exciting day and I am very proud to announce my new business branding today!  Kelly Thiel Pottery & Sculpture will officially now be Kelly Thiel Studio.  My artwork has expanded from the clay sculpture to include bronze, and now mixed media paintings as well.  I've been feeling a change in my goals and dreams, and it was super strong two years ago when I was on the cusp of starting all these changes.  My previous body of work with the functional pottery was no longer satisfying to me, and I knew a big change had already started in my heart.   This was just after my life had been completely turned upside down, by the death of my mother and the birth of my first child.  I had hardly made any artwork for nearly a year, and so when I came back to the studio,  I knew my work was about to change.  Big time.  Teetering on the brink of something wild.  It was an indescribable feeling.

After quite a lot of journaling and sketching, I sat down at my work table with my clay, opened my heart, and what flew out was birds.  This style of working, this hand-forming of the clay, was so freeing and I began to see so many possibilities!!  I loved feeling the clay squish between my fingers, and these new, imperfect and textured surfaces just felt so right.  I knew that the days of tight, controlled, perfect functional pottery was gone. 

So I've been working like this ever since.  A new style of working, with a new set of goals & dreams. Those goals included creating a body of work in bronze, which I have already started on, as most of you know.  And now those goals include mixed media paintings and art journaling, and who knows where I may end up!  I've taken that welding class and loved it, and who knows - one day I make hit the junkyard and start making metal art!  The point here, is that I am growing and changing as an artist, and I have decided that Kelly Thiel Studio will encompass all of these changes.  I am no longer the same person I was three years ago, and my artwork certainly isn't the same.  All these changes meant I needed a new name, and a new logo to reflect all of this expansion.

Enter Laura.  The universe sent her to me early last year, and we have been friends ever since.  She has personally witnessed many of these changes in me and in some of my artwork.  So when it came time to make these changes in my business, I knew she would be the perfect one to help me.  And she has worked her tail off, helping me create my new image.  For that, I am extremely grateful!

So, on that note, I am trying something new (new to me, that is).  I am holding a sweepstakes giveaway over on Facebook.  I will be giving away one of my little birdies and one small 6"x6" mixed media painting.  There are a few steps you must follow to enter the contest, but it is easy and won't take but a minute.  There will be two winners - one for the birdie and one for the painting - and the winners will be picked by the computer and it will be completely random.  Please head on over to my page on Facebook (look on the left hand side for Sweepstakes) and enter to win!!  I would also be grateful if you'd spread the word and let your friends know about the giveaway..  Thank you!!
Whispered in Her Ear, mixed media, 6x6

I am very excited about all of this.  It's been two years in the making and it's finally here.  Next week, I head off to Atlanta for my ACC show, and I always look forward to the show - who knows what opportunities may pop up while I'm there?!?

So you'll be seeing some changes, and I am thrilled about them all!
I hope all of you are well!!