Friday, May 31, 2013

Kathy Beynette and Give-Away

This image is from Kathy Beynette's calendar currently hanging in our apartment. The house we used to live in was on a heavily wooded lot with a creek behind it. It was a typical suburban neighborhood with houses close together and lots of cats and dogs fed on the back porch. That meant the raccoons living in the creek area viewed our houses as nothing more than casual dining restaurants. A lot of the houses, ours included, had pools in the backyard. The raccoons considered these pools their personal spas.

One year Susan put a lot of pots of pansy plants all around the pool. She'd bought special dirt for the plants and, according to the plant people, bloodmeal to mix with the dirt. Noooooooo. The next morning every single pansy plant with its neat little root ball was floating in the pool and the pot dirt mix was spread everywhere.  It seems that raccoons consider bloodmeal to be their own special caviar.

At night raccoons tend to fight a lot or maybe it's heavy-duty partying or maybe it's intense sex -- I didn't care to check exactly what it was at 2:00 a.m., I just knew that it had to end. So I got a have-a-heart trap (that kind that doesn't kill, just boxes the critter into a cage) and set it up, figuring I'd eventually nab a few, relocate them a mile or so down the road to the park on the lake and that would take care of the problem. I did this after baby-season so I wouldn't be relocating any mamas away from their babies. And any raccoons that seemed very lethargic or very aggressive were relocated to the Humane Shelter for their evaluation (and relocation).

Thirty-one (that's 31) raccoons and two months later we had peace and quiet. We did worry a little bit that one day we'd read a headline like this in the newspaper: "Dramatic increase in raccoon population in the park!"

Enough on raccoons.

Kathy Beynette is an artist at the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, Virginia.  Everytime we visit there she is a delight to talk to about art and just things in general.   Her art is great - bright and quirky with a special sense of humor about it. We used to wonder how artists felt about interruptions but found this article interesting. Kathy, if you are reading this, No, we haven't forgotten what we promised you.

The latest Sweater Child give-away is at my school, Austin Community College, which used to be the original Austin High School. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Moving Mud Around

I don't know. I'll give you a hand any day. Or a footnote? But at least I'm working.

Magic, or something distantly related to it, happens here.  Sometimes.
You don't make it with your hands.
You form it with your hands.
You make it with your mind.
Edgar Tolson
Latest Netflix ratings for you:
Kid on a Bike - we didn't even finish watching it. No stars.
The Sessions - Hunt and Hawke's acting made a sad story beautiful. Five stars.
Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol - Special effects on steroids, briefly entertaining but totally hollow on substance. Three stars.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Remembering, Memorial Day, 2013

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
In Flanders Fields
John McCrae
May, 1915
 It's a three-day weekend holiday but let's not lose track of what we are really supposed to remember here.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Transparent or Translucent?

Close-ups of Peter Bynum's Untitled No. 202 at the Museum of Arts and Design. Check out his website, great images there.

How about Xenobia Bailey's Funky-Fly Urban Bohemian Crochet Crowns for Everyday People?

Obviously I'm not making much art myself lately. Or is it that I'm not photographing what I'm doing? Probably both.  We are catching up on our Netflix: "Safety Not Guaranteed" started out silly and ended with magic, earning a 5-star rating from us, and "Queen of Versailles" was a fascinating train wreck -- we replayed the car rental scene about 10 times, laughing every time.

Late edit here: No, we don't think New Yorkers are rude, we just know that a lot of people who have never even been to New York City think that. In our experience, as a tourist the worst thing you can do is open up a map on the subway or bus. Within 2 minutes you will have 5 NY-ers volunteering their 5 different "best" ways to get you where you want to go.

Here's Georgia checking over our schedule with us. She was sitting across from us at the MOMA lunchroom, quietly eating her lunch while we debated what to see next. Ever so politely she made a suggestion and that led to us having a long conversation with her about the American Alliance of Museums and museum shows we shouldn't miss and why she liked living in New York City. We make more friends in New York City than we do in Austin!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Keeping Away the Vampires

If you want to keep vampires away aren't you supposed to wear garlic around your neck? We saw this Garlic Collar by Verena Sieber-Fuchs at the Museum of Arts and Design in NYC. She made this amazing piece by just wiring together garlic peels. Check her website for other things she makes like this, in categories in a language I don't know but the pictures are definitely interesting.

Here's another Give-away here in Austin, at my community college.

I was parked in front of the building very early one morning and put this one up. I went back to my car and read some stuff while I was waiting for class to start. When I looked up about 10 minutes later the Child was already gone!
We watched Flight with Denzel Washington the other night - OK but not great, except for thinking John Goodman is way cool.  He dominated every scene he was in to the point that the other characters become very secondary. 
Susan showed me how to watch a free Amazon preview "tv" pilot show of Alpha House with Goodman in it.  The show was clever (written by Garry Trudeau of Doonesbury fame) and looked interesting enough to make us consider subscribing to Amazon Prime so we can watch the rest of the series -- if it is chosen.  After watching the previews you vote for the shows you want to have continued. They might still be doing this free preview stuff so check out Amazon Prime.
I'm listening to You're Next by Gregg Hurwitz and I'm definitely hooked on this one.  When I finished Before I Go To Sleep I decided I didn't like the ending that much - maybe it was just too girly for me. On Tuesday night I'll be going to hear Peter Heller talk about his book, Dog Stars, which is still a top-rated one for me.
One more image from the Museum, this is tucked into a front corner under the stairs where most people never notice it. Crediting the artist would be a nice touch but I forgot to take a picture of the signage.  My bad.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Jules and Charles and Poetry in the Subway

Mean bellmen from New York City. Really mean. They'll act rude, demand tips and throw your bags around.   WRONG!!!   NOT EVER LIKE THAT!!!

We just made our annual spring trip to New York City to get our museum fix. We always pay a disgustingly high rate to be able to stay at the Hilton Garden Inn on 8th Avenue.  Jules ("Chocolate") and Charles ("SteelDrum") are two of the reasons why. They always smile and laugh with us, give us great advice, help us figure out stuff and even act like honorary friendly Texans.  We don't need them to do anything with our bags and sometimes on a trip, if the airfare was high, our budget is tight so we might not tip any of the staff.  And guess what? They STILL are nice to us.  They personally totally ruin the reputation of  New York City people being rude.
Here's another reason to stay at that hotel:  Donna Bell's Bakery across the street. Starbucks on both corners (gotta love the City) and breakfast in bed is served to my Blog Wrangler.

Subways and buses are the way we budget travel and we got a kick out of the fact that there is now poetry on the subway. This is from the Poetry in Motion program.  It's amazing how creative this Arts for Transit and Urban Design program is. But I wonder if anyone living there even notices it.

This program in New York City definitely contrasts with the Metro in Washington DC where they put the posters that say "If you see something, say something" on the ceiling of the cars. What? Do they think people lie down in those cars? If they did, would they be sober enough to even read the poster on the ceiling? Go figure.

This latest give-away is tucked away at the Whole Foods Mothership in Austin.  That's the Whole Foods store/headquarters here in Austin where they originally started.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Bees and Wasps and Give-Away

This is my small (about 4" across) version of a mud dauber nest, 3 separate chunks. Susan figured out the way for me to make it:  rolled newspaper tubes coated with slip. It's been bisque fired but is very fragile. I need to make more chuncks and then figure out a way to put some underglaze on them and fasten them together. Mud daubers like to make their nests up high under eaves but I plan on gluing mine up in a high corner of the living room.

I'd get a lot more done if Susan didn't keep giving me ideas of things to make in sculpture class.  She found a picture of some hexagons in a magazine, they were stacked up sort of like this with things inside each one.  The sides on each of these are about 5" long and I have no idea what that means the total size is.  I lost attention when the discussion involved things like 30 degree angles and measuring 120 degrees. Jason, our sculpture lab assistant, helped me set up the chop saw and I went on a hexagon binge.  Right now I have about 25 made and will be arranging them in different patterns for my sculpture class final project.

This little Sweater Child give-away went to the parking lot of the Contemporary Craft Museum in Houston. 

After: (I love the graffiti)

Please know that the Give-Away of the little Sweater Children (or any other art) does NOT mean abandonment. It just means they are going to a new place.  Maybe someone will adopt them and take them home.  Maybe someone will just leave them there. Maybe they won't be noticed.  Maybe they'll be thrown away. Whatever. You can't make art and then keep an emotional leash on everything you do -- you have to take a chance and put it out in the world, either with your name on it or not. Let go of some of your art and there will always be room to make more.