Sunday, October 5, 2008

Plaster Excavation with Stephanie Lee, a Fantastic Vendor Night, and a New Website!

Stephanie Demonstrates Mixing Plaster at her Art and Soul Retreat Workshop

I spend lots of enjoyable time teaching and this Wednesday I got to be a student at Stephanie Lee's workshop: Art Excavation: Plaster Meets Wax. It was such a treat to learn new techniques and to get inspired by Stephanie's work and positive attitude.

We began by mixing plaster with water to the consistency of pancake batter. If we had brought cradled boards we turned them over and poured in the plaster. Those of us who brought flat boards were able to use masking tape to extend the sides of our boards which worked equally well. After our plaster hardened, we gouged, dug, rubbed, and sanded our surfaces. We learned how to cast found objects so that they could be molded into the surface. We used paint and distressed it, continuing to gouge etc. at will. I found myself getting a little carried away at times with being able to alter the surface of the piece at any point.

Bridget Benton sands her piece
In the background are some of Stephanie's mysterious and evocative excavations

As a final touch we added hot beeswax to the top layer for that nice sheen.

One of my pieces in progress

Alas, I had to leave the class early which just about killed me. I was looking forward to beginning a new "Women, Creativity, and Healing" class for PSU, but I would have loved to stay at Stephanie's class longer. I felt I was just getting the hang of it all.

A couple of nights later I found myself awake in the wee hours and worked on one of my pieces some more. I still have one to work on and I can't wait.

Vessel, my first plaster excavation piece

I used some ranger inks (reinkers) instead of acrylic and they worked fine. I also used some faux gold leaf on the piece to cover up a part I didn't like. If I'd had plaster available I could have just scraped back the offending section and added more. I then sealed the top with a little beeswax. You can see how fun this process is. It fits so well for me with my love of layers of the past!

This year was my first as a vendor at the Art and Soul Retreat Vendor Night. Never one to jump in halfway, I rented a whole booth which I shared with my artist daughter, Jane Kearney. Saturday night was a blast for us. We met lots of artists whose work we've admired, lots of friendly customers, and saw several artist friends at their tables and booths.

Jane at our booth

One side of the crowded ballroom

The other side

Some of Jane's work on display

A section of my table

My side of the booth from afar. The ladies in black are admiring Jane's work.

I'm glad I jumped in! We had lots of fun, sold art successfully and what a treat to work on such a project with my own daughter! We kept each other going when the preparations seemed Just Too Much and together we savored the heady atmosphere of artists and art lovers.

The last couple of days leading up to the event were difficult for Jane as her sweet 4-month old kitten was missing. She hoped for her return, put up flyers around her neighborhood and checked craigslist obsessively for replies to her search for the kitten. Friday night she found out that her kitten was safe with nice people who'd been taking care of her. Saturday she found out that the kitten had some how safely crossed MLK Blvd., that fast and busy street, before selecting an ideal foster home. I'm just amazed and delighted.

Last but not least, I want to share my joy at having a brand-new artist website.
The domain name is the same, but thanks to Emma at Red Acorn, the site is new, improved, and user-friendly. Please check it out and give Emma a round of applause.

No comments: