Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Hi Ho Hi Ho to the Yuma Symposium I go

Every February for the past 32 years a group of artists and creative thinkers make the trek to Yuma Arizona to attend what has now become known as the Yuma Symposium.
It started as a backyard barbecue after a visiting artist lecture series at AZ Western College, and has grown to an annual event with hundreds of enthusiastic attendees. The Yuma Symposium is self described as this:

"The Yuma Symposium is comfort food for hungry artists.
The presenters come from around the country to share their work; and like a potluck with great friends you know it’s going to be good. We bask in the warmth of Arizona’s winter sun while forming bonds that may last thirty years or more.

One of the things that past attendees know is that the Symposium actually unofficially starts weeks before the actual event- This is the time period in which we begin to create our pins for the annual pin swap, which happens the first night of the conference, at Lutes Casino (a local watering hole). 

There are differing attitudes about the pins- 
As a Business card-some artists really concentrate on making a specific statement with their pins- showing their aesthetic sense, and usually having a web address on the back.
As a joke- these are the quirk pins- with rubber chickens and googley eyes..
As a creative excercize- these pins are the ones that the artist has done a bunch of experimentation and the pins are jumping off points for their own work for the rest of the year (I tend to make these kinds)

As a process- where the pins are made within a certain constrained time- mass production of a certain form- made with love and speed. 
and then there is the mystery pins---that leaves you guessing (usually pretty funny too)  

I thought I'd show my blog readers my batch of pins, before they get dispersed to the winds...
so- here is an image of a few of the 35 pins I've created for the Pin swap-
they are made with an experimental process that I've been playing with- one that reminds me greatly of the work I used to do in my years as an art student at the Museum School in Boston....
a few "Yuma Pins" for the Symposium 2011

Just to give you a side by side comparison to my old art school pieces, here is an old image of one of my works from 1988- I am in the far left corner, to give you a sense of scale...
"Galloping Spiral Rosette" 1988  


The piece is made of carved and painted styrofoam- I made a bunch of similar works- all with a motif of stone walls, shapes and movements. I believe they mostly have been destroyed at this point- Incredibly hard to store and transport, I gave up on these larger scale pieces, and have been exploring similar ideas in my metalsmithing...

Just for fun, here is an image of some of my similar pieces I've created using my metalsmithing skills-
these bracelets come directly from the same line of exploration as my early large scale works- but are MUCH more simple to store, and are fully transportable to boot!:-)
currently available at http://braceletworkshop.etsy.com

OK, rambling over for now- I've got to go check on my pins- hopefully they are all dry and ready to be packed up for the Yuma journey
I'll be taking lots of pics at this years symposium- will blog about the experience when I return-
ciao for now!- Maureen

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

NPR and PBS funding emergency (again)

Congress is currently voting on possible cuts to National Public Radio (NPR) and the Public Broadcast System (PBS)- I think it would be catastrophic for our culture of information and for the future of how we receive our news and entertainment if such vital programming had their funding cut.
what kind of road are we on?
Yes, I donate regularly to every funding drive (and I endure the fund drive interruptions of programming) Because I believe strongly in the intelligent programs that these services provide.
I'm really concerned- so I fashioned this email to my representative......


To the representative of my district (for me it is Raul Grijalva)
I know you are a supporter of education and funding for the arts- which is one of the reasons I have voted for you- that being said-

I'm really concerned about the proposed cuts to PBS and NPR- I believe that they are incredibly valuable tools for our country. PBS and NPR are the cornerstone of news and information for all of my family- from my 8 year old son, who teaches me new things every day that he has learned on PBS kids- to my Astro-Physicist husband - who loves to geek out to the science programs- and for myself, an artist, who enjoys a variety of subjects from all the programming PBS provides.

AND NPR has become my staple radio station in the car and in my studio- I have practically eliminated the need for commercial news programming due to NPR's fine and consistent reporting.
Plus, the enrichment from all of the shows from Science Friday to Radio Lab and Studio360- they provide a balance in our increasingly mindless world of "information" provided by Fox news and the like.

We cannot let the bullies on the right destroy our media culture by cutting funding to our essential balanced programs. I really feel that it has become a war on progressive thought, where right wing hysteria and propaganda has become the manna for the huddled masses to consume.

I for one want nothing to do with the meek flock of zombies that are frightened by their own shadows- grasping frantically to their fear and greed- while stomping on the heads of rational minded citizens. 

In that- I want to encourage you to fight to keep the already meager funding for PBS and NPR. I know that you are in that corner already- but I wanted to let you know you have my support- as well as the support of many of my friends. 

Thank you- keep up the great work- (signed__________)
a bit wordy, perhaps- but that's the way I roll-
and you know I had to mention zombies. it's contractual..lol

to find info about these cuts and contact info on your representatives check out http://170millionamericans.org
please share this information on Facebook and elsewhere (twitter, your blog...etc) find the 170 million page on Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/170Million


Monday, February 14, 2011

Professional Development Seminar

The Professional Development Seminar (PDS) happens right before the SNAG (Society of North American Goldsmiths) conference in Seattle this May. I went to the one in Savannah and was very happy with the copious amount of good information that would help me hone my professional practices- In fact, I think that seminar was really what spurred me into creating the framework of websites and projects in which I currently work.

If you are heading to SNAG Seattle (or, if you are an artisan in the NW area looking to develop your professional skills) I would highly recommend you register for this seminar. It is a separate event than SNAG- so it is self advertising through word of mouth on the internet and otherwise (so please feel free to copy this post and spread the word)

Here is the official info:

Professional Development Seminar 

"Having the ability to listen to the pricing discussion from the Houston conference was food for my soul. Both constructive and insightful, it enabled me to hear how other makers create, price, and market their work. In times such as these, this kind of information is priceless."   -Jan Mandel, Wearable Art Jeweler
SNAG produces a Professional Development Seminar every year during our annual conference. The Seminar delivers three hours of concrete information that will change the way you approach your work and the way you do business.

Professional Development Seminar 2011pds_logo.gif

Click here for flyer

Niche Marketing: A Targeted Approach

There are more ways to market our work than through the standard venues that most of us are already using. Our Niche marketers emiko oye, Hilary Pfeifer, and Deb Stoner will share how they came to recognize and develop new marketing opportunities. FLUX 2011.jpg
Their experiences offer insight to:
•Discover new markets;
•Create new work catering to specific groups or demographics;
•Find a marketing void and fill it;
•Or simply begin the search…

Photography in Flux: Technical Issues, Media and Style

From the accelerating evolution of digital images to the ethics of image manipulation, the world of photography is changing rapidly.  Is your photography up to date? Is it an effective tool? Our presenters will look at the current technologies and trends in art and craft photography and address key issues that affect how your work is seen and interpreted. Hear from the pros, including professional photographers Douglas Yaple, Roger Schreiber, and Christopher Conrad.

Topics include:
•Are you being judged by the style of your images?
•How much post production is acceptable and who should do the work?
•Current trends in background and composition.
•The model or the pedestal?
•And much more...

Saturday, May 28, 2011
9:00 a.m. to noon
The Westin Hotel, 1900 5th Ave, Seattle, WA

Free with SNAG conference registration or $40 at the door to attend only the Professional Development Seminar (which also includes Vendor Room admission on Saturday).

THE CONVERSATION CONTINUES during lunch: The Professional Development Seminar is followed immediately by a brown bag lunch with our speakers. All artists and craftspeople are invited to participate, whether they are attending the conference or not.  Lunches will be available onsite to purchase.

Questions from the audience are encouraged. Ask during the seminar or send your question in advance to: Harriete Estel Berman.

Request for advice re: plating

I'm thinking about buying a set up for plating/electroforming. Metals prices are just not helping me these days, and I found that my bronze pieces simply don't sell as well as my silver- BUT my silver is getting more expensive, and I'm seeing a drop in sales. :-(
so I thought I'd try plating my bronze pieces silver, and my silver pieces with gold.

I was thinking about getting a plating set up- one that also can do electro-forming and was looking at the one offered by Rio- http://www.riogrande.com/MemberArea/ProductPage.aspx?assetname=335600&page=GRID&free_text=plating
I wanted to know if any of you have this set up, and if you like using it-
also , does it work as a plating set up as well? How about anodizing niobium? I have a bunch of Niobium from a past workshop that I'd love to use...
thanks in advance for your advice-
ciao - Maureen

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

superbowl 2011

I 've always wondered what the big deal was with Superbowl Sunday. What, you watch a bunch of gigantic men run into each other and throw a ball around? oh, and there's beer?
sorry, but YUCK. just not appealing at all.

I just don't have the football gene- unless, of course we're talking about European football, Soccer (or Calcio as they say in my hubby's homeland). It's the European championships? I'm glued to the tv. It's part amazement at their skill, part animal lust- hey, those guys are hot. just sayin.

SO....why am I posting about something I'm not interested in? Superbowl? no, Super Bowl, yes!
a few years ago I was on Crafthaus and saw a post from a friend Wendy Edsall Kerwin- she was inviting craftspeople to join her in "the Superbowl challenge"- which is, she explained, not about watching football (which you can do anyways) but actually Making a SUPER BOWL on Superbowl Sunday!

WELL- that sounded just right to me! I'd been wanting to stretch a little, make some non-jewelry metal pieces- and this was the perfect opportunity. Last year was my first try- I decided to just be experimental with the whole bit- especially since I don't own any forming stakes- SO..I raised like a cave woman. Stump, Rock, Metal. *grunt* here's a link to the little video of the making of..super bowl 2010..
Super bowl 2010. Pewter and car paint. Stump formed

This year I decided not to do any raising-  I'm having some issues with carpal tunnel (typing this with braces on) and I just didn't want to be ouchy. SO...I decided to free-form patch a bunch of scrap together and play with that.I used scrap brass and copper and collaged them together in small groups- like this-
then I stitched the groups together with brass wire and formed a crude bowl form. From there, I filled all of the (intentional) holes with a "secret sauce" mix of grit and adhesives. At that point I hung up my apron for the night. I have a video of this part of the process posted on my youtube channel here.
The next day was a bit of refining the form, and filling any extra holes that didn't 'take" the first go around. Yesterday I completed the piece by filing, sanding and burnishing some areas to enhance the layered metals, and I also painted on the gritty areas and interior of the bowl . (I have a fondness for light colored interiors of bowls- I like the way it can optically "flip" the concavity into a convex form) so- here it is--------------------> the finished piece
Maureen Brusa Zappellini's Super Bowl 2011 from the side..

the bottom (makes a cool bunny stand)

If you are interested in seeing the other fabulous handmade bowls from other artists participating in the Super Bowl challenge, you can find a collection of images at the Flickr group "Superbowl 2011" here
and to see Wendy Edsall Kerwin's blog "hammermarks"here.

Congratulations to all the artists who participated- the images of new pieces are being added daily, and they are all wonderfully unique and creative. I know I'll be looking forward to next year's Super Bowl, and I'll be rooting for team Artisan! (go team!)
:-) ciao- M

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

BAM! My "Box a Month" project

"Celebrated Anxiety" 2010 multi-chambered handmade pewter box by Maureen BZ

last year I endeavored to make a ring a day- it was challenging, to say the least- and I ended up dropping in and out of the practice- I ended up with a total of 150 rings that I created for the project- some very sketchy and fun- some elaborate and some just downright ugly. I got a lot out of doing the project- it was good to stretch and open some new channels of my creativity, so I'm glad I did it....but....

But, I'm over it- just not doing the ring thing this year- yes, I'll be making them for my online shop ( http://cosmosmoon.etsy.com ) and I will be taking orders for custom rings as well- but I've decided that I really don't want to continue with obsessively creating rings- (yes, there is a group for Ring a Week this year- making incredible pieces, which I love to see, but I'm not joining in)

This year, however I AM going to be taking on a personal challenge to make a "Box a Month" (BAM!). The one thing I never have time for it seems is my larger pewter work, so having this monthly challenge will be a great way for me to work bigger and think in more sculptural terms.

Having said this- I must admit, it's already February and I haven't finished January's box...but I'm giving myself an out on this because I needed to set up my pewter studio again (and my new band saw)
I Do have a piece about 80% finished, so stay tuned - I'll be posting pics of it later this week

OK- I've thrown my hat into the ring (officially) so.....*yawn* I'm off to sleep now
ciao ciao!- Maureen


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