1. There’s nothing ho-hum about Oregon-based ceramicist Sara Swink’s work. She creates human and animal figures that tease our thinking and beg interpretation. She takes something familiar and gives it a dreamlike, bizarre, or even humorous twist. Her distinctive pieces definitely compel us to take a second or third look.
Her love of clay began when she was eight, with the encouragement of a neighbor who was a potter. She learned to throw on a potter’s wheel, hand build and mix glazes in high school, even buying her own wheel with money earned cleaning houses.
Some twenty years later, she began taking ceramics classes, then studied art history, printmaking, drawing, and foundry work at several universities while teaching. Studying with Coeleen Kiebert (whose approach is to fuse artmaking with the psychology of the individual) was pivotal in shaping Sara’s work. Sara’s pieces can be seen as expressions of her inner psyche; there is a personal narrative that runs through all her art.
Sara opened Clay Circle Studio when she moved to the Portland area in 2006 and continues to offer workshops. Find out more about her classes at her official website, where you can also view a wonderful archive of available and past pieces.
1.Don’t forget to vote in today’s critical midterm elections!
This cool poster was created by Missouri artist Mary Engelbreit and is available as a free download from her official website.The image fits on an 11″ x 17″ size sheet.
2. Some of you may know that my mother served in the Women’s Army Corps during WWII. She was one of the first 59 women from Hawai’i to enlist (she wrote about her experiences in this short chronology).
Just so happens Maryland author Ann McCallum read my post about Margaret not too long ago and asked to include her in a new book she was writing about women in the U.S. Army. This past summer, I shared more information and photos via email with Ann, who wrote a chapter about Margaret.
Ann recently shared the final cover of the book on social media — what a surprise to see Margaret’s photo right on the front! I know my mother would be thrilled and amazed. Women Heroes of the U.S. Armywill be published in July 2019 — can’t wait to see it! Pretty cool, no? 🙂
3. Speaking of notable women, check out this cool print by Massachusetts illustrator Karen Hallion. Her first “She Series” collage features these 9 kickass role models:
Rey from Star Wars
Anne of Green Gables
Angelica Schulyer from the musical Hamilton
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Okoye from Black Panther
You can purchase this 11″ x 14″ open edition print at Karen’s Etsy Shop — a great place to browse, especially if you’re a Star Wars, Harry Potter, Buffy or steampunk fan. Each of these female heroes is also available separately as small 8″ x 10″ signed Lustre prints.
“The land created me. I’m wild and lonesome. Even as I travel the cities, I’m more at home in the vacant lots.” ~ Bob Dylan
Since the man is turning 77 today, we’re gonna sing a little birthday blues by featuring some of Dylan’s “bluepaintings” paired with bits of his song lyrics.
Did you know that besides being a 12-time Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter, poet, author, small-batch whiskey entrepreneur, metal works artist, and Nobel, Pulitzer, Medal of Freedom, Oscar, and Golden Globe winner, Dylan is also an accomplished painter?
We first saw his work gracing the covers of two 70’s albums (Self Portrait and Planet Waves), but he didn’t start seriously exhibiting and selling his paintings until 2007. Like many extraordinarily gifted creatives, his output benefits from the cross-fertilization of art forms.
Dylan is that rare person who can move effortlessly between music, word, ink, paint, as if he’s just futzing around with a few different instruments in the studio. Yet again and again he reflects life back to us with a truth and simplicity that defy words . . . seemingly unworried about how something looks, he’s not after artistic perfection, but something larger, a moment, a feeling. The effect is enthralling.
~ Marisha Pessl, New York Times
I love his frequent use of blues, and of course how often he depicts eateries. It’s fascinating to see the world through Dylan’s (blue) eyes 🙂 — he’s drawn to back streets, alley ways, country roads, bridges, train tracks — landscapes and urban scenes “unpolluted by the ephemera of pop culture.” There’s a noted absence of people in most of these paintings, conveying a sense of loneliness and a nostalgia for simpler times.
1. Can you guess who painted the above piece? Let me give you a few clues: he’s a legendary musician, poet, and songwriter who loves to watch “I Love Lucy” reruns, he makes a mean meatball, and he just happened to win the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature.
And yes, my man Bob Dylan is also an accomplished visual artist. His second graphic release from The Beaten Path collection is now available worldwide. There are 15 hand-signed limited edition prints (some are already sold out), depicting the main routes and back roads of America.
Choice of subject is just as interesting as his unique perspective. Of course my faves are the eateries — this time there’s a hamburger stand and a diner. 🙂
1. Been enamored of Phoebe Wahl’sart ever since reading her debut picture book Sonya’s Chickens (2015). Love the timeless, old-fashioned, folk art feel of her watercolor, collage and colored pencil illustrations. There’s a good reason she won the 2016 Ezra Jack Keats Award for New Illustrators. 🙂
Besides her picture book illustrations, I like her 2017 Slow Food Calendar. The four color letterpress prints are gorgeous and distinctive. Can’t get enough of the intimate scenes of people working together in the kitchen or enjoying the outdoors. Though the 2017 calendar is sold out, Phoebe will be making one for 2018 — can’t wait!
She’s also done some wonderful pieces for Taproot Magazine and the Taproot Calendar.
Can’t beat that delightful handmade look. And don’t you love seeing men working in the kitchen? 🙂
See more of Phoebe’s work at her official website, that contains a link to her online shop which features prints, cards, t-shirts and accessories. She just started taking pre-orders for these new Fruit and Flower enamel mugs yesterday (love!).
2. Have you been to the Post Office lately? Love these new Delicioso Forever Stamps, just released on April 20. These spicy beauties were designed by none other than children’s book author/illustrator John Parra!
You may remember we featured John as a hotTEA of Children’s Literature not too long ago. Pretty cool to think of him whenever I send a piece of snail mail out into the world.
3. It’s been awhile since we’ve checked on Christopher Boffoli, the ingenious Big Appetites photographer known for his scenes featuring tiny people posed in captivating food environments.
I always wish I could shrink myself and enter his world of giant macarons, cupcakes, and pies. Check out his website for prints and notecard sets.
4. Speaking of checking up on people, I recently visited Handmade by Mia’s Etsy Shop and she’s having a Spring Sale on some of her wool felted items (up to 40% off).
Look for her trademark big-eyed birdies as well as elephants, flowers and foxes. If you’re a Moomin fan, you’ll like her Moomin pouches, buntings and key fobs. 🙂
Mia was one of the first people I interviewed for my Indie Artist Spotlight series. She’s one of the nicest Etsy sellers I’ve encountered — great, personalized service and I like how she recycles vintage materials (100% Finnish wool) for her bags and pouches.
6. New Book Alert! Excited to hear that Aussie Poetry Friday friend Kathryn Apel just published her third verse novel for younger readers, Too Many Friends (University of Queensland Press, 2017)!!
Tahnee wants everyone in her Year 2 class to get along and be happy. But what happens when all of Tahnee’s friends want her attention at the same time? And how can Tahnee be friends with Lucy, when Lucy doesn’t seem to want any friends?
A novel about friendship and school life, and the balance we all need to find to be the best friend we can be.
Sounds delightful. 🙂 I do enjoy reading Kathryn’s posts at Kat’s Whiskers— they’re cheery, upbeat, and fun, and display her fondness for wordplay and flexing her poetry muscles. Too Many Friends follows her two other verse novels, Bully on the Bus (2014) and On Track (2015).Order any or all three via the publisher. Congratulations, Kat!
7. Part of being a diehard Bob Dylan fan is not only keeping up with his musical projects, but with his painting career as well. He’s had several solo exhibitions in England over the years, the most recent of which was “The Beaten Path” at the Halcyon Gallery in London.
This collection features scenes from the American landscape; we get to see parts of the country through Dylan’s eyes — what does he notice, what does he consider worthy of interpretation? It did not escape me that he chose to paint a Donut Shop (even more reason to love him). 🙂
Vanity Fair recently featured an explanation in his own words about what he hoped to accomplish with this project:
For this series of paintings, the idea was to create pictures that would not be misinterpreted or misunderstood by me or anybody else. When the Halcyon Gallery brought the idea of me doing American landscapes for an exhibition, all they had to do was say it once. And after a bit of clarification, I took it to heart and ran with it. The common theme of these works having something to do with the American landscape—how you see it while crisscrossing the land and seeing it for what it’s worth. Staying out of the mainstream and traveling the back roads, free-born style. I believe that the key to the future is in the remnants of the past. That you have to master the idioms of your own time before you can have any identity in the present tense. Your past begins the day you were born and to disregard it is cheating yourself of who you really are.
The entire article is worth a read, as it provides a nice insight into his creative process.
It’s interesting to learn about people who became famous for one particular art form, but who also excel in others (E.E. Cummings, Joni Mitchell, Paul McCartney, Red Skelton, and Tony Bennett were/are also painters). With multi-talented individuals, I imagine there’s a lot of valuable cross-fertilization of inspiration and ideas.
Signed limited edition giclée prints from “The Beaten Path” are available online via Castle Galleries.
Enjoy this short EuroNews video:
8. You’ve no doubt seen Molly Hatch’s work while you’ve been out and about, here, there or everywhere, maybe sometimes not realizing who the artist was behind that cool mug, kitchen accessory or tote bag.
I first noticed Molly’s ceramic pieces at Anthropologie. While I’m partial to her tableware, I’m just as happy to enjoy her wonderful, quirky drawings on stationery and notecards.
There’s something about her work that’s old fashioned but fresh and contemporary at the same time. In addition to highly collectible merchandise, she’s done some cool museum installations. How much do I love that she creates wall paintings with ceramic plates? I appreciate the intersection of functional and fine art and will devote more time to researching Molly’s many creative avenues.
9. Finally, I’ve been following the very cool Heads Together Campaign spearheaded by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry to help end the stigma around mental health.
In this video, they discuss the importance of initiating conversation as a first step in healing. Prince William and Prince Harry speak candidly about trying to cope with the death of their mother Princess Diana. I also appreciated Prince Harry’s mention of how social media can distort one’s perception of well being. Heads Together is doing good work!
Alright chickies, I wish you a Happy Tuesday and a Good Week.