Saturday, May 2, is Tape Day at the Science Museum of Minnesota
From 12:00 - 4:00 I will be demonstrating tape sculpture techniques, and showing some of my tape sculptures.
Animals, bowls, masks, and my large scale Chinese dragon will be on display.
It's been a lot of fun getting ready for this show. Tape definitely has its limitations as a sculpture material--but there's also a lot you can create from a basic, flat, adhesive strap.
...and yet there are always exceptions to the rule.
Don't get me wrong. I do love this thing.
But... there is only one possible thought, looking at this piece of sculpture:
"It's a dead turtle. Right?" (perhaps with the mental follow-up: "What can possibly have inspired the fabrication of a candy-dish shaped like a dead turtle?"
I'm not a particularly sentimental parent, and, really, curbing the impulse to mock this thing is frankly beyond me. My daughter's injured outrage, as viewer after viewer makes this "wrong" interpretation only intensifies the urge to laugh.
(It's supposed to be a rendition of a live hedgehog, curled, ah... cutely on its back)
But--I do love this thing. There's only a narrow space of time when one can receive a gift like this from one's progeny, proffered in all earnestness.
Until it gets knocked over and loses one of those spindly rigor mortis legs, it's a keeper.
New post up on William P. Reimann's website, with a click-through to the newest uploaded image. It's a drawing he made for me a few years back, done during the visit when I hassled him to produce individual drawings for each of his five grandchildren. He did those... then made one for me as well.
<= Drawing of Kudus, dedicated to Katya
One of my greatest pleasures in webmastering my father's site is that I get to spend time looking at, and thinking about, his artwork and his creativity.
Getting to take a fresh, close look at this particular drawing (which is, I believe, the only piece of art Dad has, to date, signed/dedicated to me personally) while I struggled to get a good photo allowed me a chance to bring some new thoughts forward today.
Time passes so quickly.
One of the (minor but enduring) regrets in my life is that I have seldom taken the time out to hassle/remind/NAG my Dad to produce personal works for myself and my children. This really is something I need to remind myself to do, particularly insofar as the kids are concerned.
It's so easy to forget that my children never knew my father prior to his retirement from teaching at Harvard. They never saw him at work on one of his monumentally scaled sculptures. That whole part of his life--forty years or fifty years--is something they can only know from stories.
He continues to do (in my opinion) amazing work and beautiful sculptures, but the exhausting, mind-bogglingly large pieces are no longer where his focus lies. So--it's up to me to share the stories, or to make sure that my kids know how much fun his and my own life have been, working as artists.
The updates to the Will Reimann website are for everyone, but at their heart, they are in a big way about making Dad knowable to his grandchildren.
"I don't like yours. It makes mine look bad...
Now nobody is going to vote for mine!"
"I think you cheated. And that's what everyone else
in our class is thinking too!"
As an artist, the last thing you should do is count the hours you actually spend working on a project. Recently I visited the Museum of Russian Art in Minneapolis, MN (one of my favorite museums in the Twin Cities). In their gift shop was a handmade lacquer box, priced at $12,000. That may sound like a lot of money for a painted box that measured no more than 10" x 10" x 4", but... I got to chatting with the nice man who was running the store that day, and he told me that the staff had once estimated out what the hourly rate would have been for the work put in that box: less than fifty cents an hour.
That math, of course, is somewhat manipulated--the process to make those lacquer boxes does take upwards of a year and a half, but there are efficiencies in the system. Obviously that master box-maker who did that one $12,000 box was not making a single box at one go. However--art does take time to do, and if you think about the hours that you may well end up putting in before you get started... you may never begin working creatively.
I estimate that the following piece took ~24 work hours to create. Happily, there were five of us working on it (some more piecemeal than others).
Homework in 21st Century American schools has undergone many changes since I was young. There is a lot more of it, and a lot more demand for parental involvement (personally speaking, I particularly despise the math sheets that my children have brought home over the years, sheets which direct the child's parent to engage in some time-consuming and artificial math exercise which has little to do with actual calculations, and, bluntly put, is boring). Teachers cope with this quasi-necessity for parental involvement in different ways, because, yes, it is critically important to separate out a student's independent accomplishments (and effort, and ability to motivate him or herself) from 'facilitated' work.
This year, for my second grader's Social Studies China unit, the handout came home directing that a diorama, kite, costume, or other physical object be made for class as a "family project." Personally I think there's kindness in this directive. If parents are going to help their kids, it's out in the open, and the project can be entered on, and enjoyed, with a positive collaborative spirit. And if a kid doesn't have help or chooses to work alone because they are filled with inspiration--well, in a good classroom, that can be honored too.
Eh--I'm not sure if the message actually percolated through to all the 2nd graders' brains. The two quotations with which I started this blog post--those were in-class responses, behind the teacher's back...
"A Day in the Life." You have to do what you do because you love it. And wasn't it a fetching dragon we created?
Sites I recommend
These ones are maintained by long-time personal friends.
is a consummate artist. There are so many images to enjoy on this site. His carved wooden long-leaf red pine Rhinoceros (which he made for me when I was ~11 years old) is a personal favorite.
Is the U.K. based caving gear store run by serious hard-ass Tony Seddon. This link goes to the 'caves' section of the store's site--complete with alarming portrait photo of Tony ("After 7 days underground and 700m prussiking").
The Oxford University
Maintained by Steve Roberts, a guy who is extraordinary in so many ways, I'll just limit myself here to saying "Steve is a man who knows about motors."
John Bedell is an archaeologist, historian, and father of five living in Maryland. His blog is a fascinating grab-bag of historical, artistic, and political materials. This entry about work and leisure gives a good example of his voice.
This is Liz Manicatide (now Liz LaManche), principal at Emphasis Creative's personal art & graphics site. I love Liz's work, panache, and aerial artistry, which leads me to-
Flying Squirrel Consortium
Phil Servita's site, and the place to go for custom fabricated circus equipment (either freestanding or fixed point), and aerial classes, if you happen to live in the area.
Paul's site is... unique, authentic, & expressive, and pretty much exactly what I think of when I think of a website as an artform.
Metro Bikes Trails Guide
(St. Paul, MN)
"Reviews and Reports on over 70 bicycle paths in the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area!"
Maintained by the tireless Seamus Flynn, and a great little site for those local to the Twin Cities area.
I enjoy the Ukrainian/Russian artisanship on this website.
Sites I enjoy
I don't know these people, but I appreciate their work.
What's That Bug?
The title says it all. A useful site for both the non-bug-phobic & the consummate bug-phobe.
Margaret & Helen
Best Friends for Sixty Years and Counting…
I'm not a grandmother (or raging!), but I appreciate this site. Especially the fact-checking part.