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


Erin Austin said...

Great pins! My college jewelry prof goes to Yuma every year and takes her students with her. She would always display her pins from the swap in the display window of our studio. So much fun! It always sounded like they had the best time! Somehow, I was always busy with other courses. I'm really looking forward to reading your blog posts about the experience. Do you ever take part in the band ring race? Great pins by the way!

Maureen BZ said...

thanks- yes, I've done the race- I'm the solder leg- last year I DQ'ed because I couldn't light my torch due to a wet striker (it was pouring down rain) will hope for dry skies this year!

kate mckinnon said...

I can't figure out what your pins are made of. (Or what they are, for that matter, but that matters not at all.)

Looking forward to your blog post on the Symposium. I should really go next year.

Maureen BZ said...

Ha! nobody can figure them out- i't a secret sauce- some non-traditional stuff I've been playing with in the past year- these pins are all gone- am now making more for the SNAG trunk show in Seattle


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