Tuesday, May 26, 2015

{Inspiration} Fisher Price Toys & Chris Theiss

{Chris in his studio - 2012 }

There has been so much inspiration that I've wanted to share in the last few months but deadlines, mom responsibilities, and studio time have been my top priority. However, the art making of my studio neighbor is a constant, creative wonder that I'm lucky enough to witness daily. There is so much work that needs to be seen and today seemed like a good day to post. Chris Theiss is one of those artists that is dedicated, talented, hard working, disciplined, knowledgable, and completely underexposed. He teaches ceramics at Western Washington University and at Skagit Valley College while holding a design job (designing toys no less) as well. Juggling three jobs and a family hasn't stopped him from finding time to make his work, although it isn't easy. He hunkers down and works even on those days when I'm sure he'd rather be sleeping. He's the real deal...

{Oh No Pinky & Perky Loves to Spoon - whiteware, vitreous slip, sgraffito}

{Devil Dog - whiteware, vitreous slip, sgraffito}

{Puffy Takes a Bad Turn- whiteware, vitreous slip, sgraffito}

As you may know from past posts, I love Vintage Fisher price toys. They hit a nostalgic chord with me and before I knew it, I had a little collection of toys lining up on my studio shelves. It wasn't long before I noticed toys missing from their spot in my studio - only to find them in Chris' studio. Chris started working with vintage toy imagery in his work - which not only am I excited about on an aesthetic level, but in my mind, it justifies my crazy need to collect and search out these vintage toy gems.

{Doctor Doodle - whiteware, vitreous slip, sgraffito}

{Work Play - whiteware, vitreous slip, sgraffito}

Along with his love of vintage toys, Chris' ceramic pieces incorporate his interest in interior
spaces, drawing, and story telling as well by utilizing a technique called sgraffito. Sayer's room is a favorite space in the house and you can see glimpses of it pop up often in Chris' work. 

Last year, Chris was a part of a show at Red Star Studios called He Said, She Said with ceramic artist Kathy King. The show is reviewed in June's issue of Ceramics Art and Perception Magazine and as if that wasn't cool enough, Chris' work is on the front page!  Nice work Chris - I'm so glad to let the creative energy that you exude wash over me.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

{Glimpses} At the right place at the right time...

My bird obsession has really hit an all time high. When driving the back roads, I will pull over every time  I see birds, but when I see a whole field of birds I get extra excited. Today when I was driving home, I saw a bunch of people pulled over on the side of the road. To the right, there was a field completely full of snow geese and behind that, a field of daffodils in full bloom. In February, the daffodils started blooming and in March we've been experiencing spring weather and the promise of tulips on the way - which is all a bit out of character and much earlier than normal. The snow geese and trumpeter swans have been around for awhile, but they are getting ready to leave soon and the blooming of the fields doesn't always cross over with the birds still being around. Seeing the moving blanket of white next to the solid blanket of yellow is reason to pause and soak in the splendor.

I pulled over at just the right time and I was so grateful that I had my camera with me in the car. The sound was incredible and all of a sudden, the birds took flight. They were swirling overhead and honking, shimmering in the sun - TONS of them as far as the eye could see. I think one of the coolest things that I witnessed was all of the people in total awe on the side of the road looking up into the sky, and not down at their phones. Some had cameras because they had come out to the flats to see the daffodils but many were just watching. Afterwards, everyone got into their cars to drive away, all with smiles on their faces.

I found this little video of a the snow geese in Skagit Valley, filmed not too far from where I was today and I wanted share so you can sort of see/hear what I mean. 

I love how simple things like this can totally make my day.  Nothing like the beginning of spring time to help put a pep in your step. 

What makes you pull the car over or stop in your tracks?

Monday, February 23, 2015

{Art Show} The Lincoln Theatre

The Lincoln Theatre is one of my favorite places in our valley. My history with this theatre goes way back.It was one of the original movies theaters in downtown Mount Vernon. I remember vividly going to see, On Golden Pond, Flash Dance, and Tootsie there back in the '80's.Now the Lincoln is a place to see plays, music, and indie films - it's been restored and didn't lose any of it's original charm. There is still an organ player that plays before the films start.

A really nice feature at the Lincoln is the Art Bar. It's here that artists get a chance to show their work and people can hang out and enjoy a beverage before and after the events that they attend. I'm lucky enough to be the featured artist for the month of February and we just had a reception for the exhibit this last weekend. The first image is a serigraph that I just made that was inspired by the Lincoln.It's my interpretation of the view from the stage of a seated crowd. I thought it would be nice to post some of the work that is in the show right now for those of you that can't attend. Most of the pieces are serigraphs that I've been working on within the last year. I'll walk you through the show... 

The imagery that you see in my work is originally drawn with thread on canvas using free-motion sewing and I included some of my first thread drawing portraits in the exhibit for reference. I really love the continuous line quality that I can get from the thread. When I am happy with an image, I then scan it and make a screen from it to use in the screen printing process. You can view my thread drawing process and more of my thread drawings here and here

I know I've said this before and I'm sure I'll say it again many times, but I'm really lucky to know, let alone be married to, Chris. We make a good creative team. He's a master at hanging shows and figuring out how to hang this whole show by utilizing picture molding on the uneven walls of an old building was a trick. He also proved to be a great bartender at the opening. The little details like the wine bottles and cans of flowers from our yard being covered by my prints - and my printed scarf used as a table cloth, was all him. I also like his signature look- a skinny tie with a hoodie. Chris is the whole package. 

Thanks for walking through the show with me. Have you seen anything noteworthy lately?

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

{Textile Tuesday} Anticipating Spring

Back when I was in college, I took my first serigraphy class (screen printing). I was completely hooked & took three more serigraphy classes before I graduated. I really love all printmaking, but there is something about the aesthetic of screen printing that I gravitate towards. Two summers ago, Chris helped me set up a little screen printing studio and I've been honing my craft ever since. I've been getting more proficient at printing textiles and last spring printed my first collection of scarves at the nudging of the ladies of a great design shop in Bellingham called Ideal. I've been thoroughly enjoying making a new line of scarves for this spring/summer that are heavily influenced by my surroundings. 

We live among the beautiful tulip fields in the Skagit Valley and I wanted to create a mid century inspired tulip textile. I was playing with fuchsia and yellow in the anticipation of warmer weather and the fields of color that on the way. 

After printing this weekend, my guys indulged me in heading out to take some photos of my scarves among some of the landscape that currently inspires me. The river is a bit high right now due to all of the rain and I love the reflections and bare trees on the river's edge. 

I'm pretty lucky that my family indulges my creative whims. I think deep down they enjoy the adventures that we find ourselves on in the pursuit of a that perfect photo that I'm always seeking. 

This is one of the things I've been up to lately. How about you? What is keeping you creatively interested?

Monday, February 2, 2015

{Music Monday} Raven's Song

I'm one of those people who stay at the end of the movie and wait for the credits. I hone in on the music when I watch a movie and usually want to know more about an unrecognizable song that piques my interest. I discovered the music of Aaron Embry by exactly that method - while watching Wish I Was Here. Raven's Song was a stand out for me and I immediately looked it up and discovered even more to love - the music of Aaron Embry. He got his start playing and recording with musicians like Elliot Smith and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros - so it's no surprise that I was attracted to his music. 

The album Tiny Prayers has been on constant repeat in the screen printing studio lately. I use the imagery of birds, particularly ravens in my work. That, coupled with the gorgeous piano, makes it a nice studio fit.  

What are you listening to lately?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

{Glimpses} Vintage Finds

I started visiting thrift shops and antique stores for studio inspiration back in college. I was an art major in a very small town before cruising the world wide web for imagery was even an option. Seeking out vintage typography, colors, textures, and patterns is still one of my favorite things to do. Old packaging and mid century treasures fill my studio shelves for constant reminders of things that once caught my eye and often serves as a way to stir my imagination. Here are my glimpses this week.

Glimpse 1:  Color combinations of yellow, red, and turquoise seems to be a constant favorite of mine. Pair it with cool packaging and unique typography and the chances of those items coming home to my studio is pretty great.

Glimpse 2:  Oh boy do I love all shades of green and mid century textiles and cups!

Glimpse 3: Yellow, mustard, orange, and tomato is another fun, "go to" nostalgic color combination. Vintage fisher price toys, Vera textiles, random buttons, and vintage books are things that I tend to always gravitate towards. 

Glimpse 4: I love the packaging for old games - they often include really fun illustrations. These faces make me smile. 

Glimpse 5:  When I first discovered King Penguin books, I went completely bonkers. Not only are they interesting, but the patterns are always so lovely. Unfortunately they are really hard to find here in the US - particularly the northwest. They are rare gems. 

Is there a particular item you seek out at a thrift or antique shop?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

{Bibliophilia} Pinocchio: Jim Dine

I've been diving into my art books a lot lately - rediscovering favorite artists to introduce to my drawing class. It's safe to say that I'm a bibliophile through and through. I haven't traveled to Europe yet (a dream of mine) but I do own tons of books. Jim Dine is one of my favorite artists. He's so versatile and I really appreciate his drawing style. When I found his Pinocchio book, I was so excited. It matches my love of puppets and drawing all in one beautiful book. 

I was preparing for class today and thought it would be nice to photograph a few of my favorite drawings from the book to share.  

I also found this great interview with Jim at the Tate. The exhibit looks fantastic! I wish I could've seen this in person- oh those hanging books!

I'm showing this work in class tonight and thought I'd share it with you too. Do you have a favorite artist? 


Related Posts with Thumbnails