Sunday, March 16, 2008

Batter Bowl: A Thrift Shop Treasure

I love thrift stores and antiques and, okay, just good old junk shops! And, yes, I do believe that one person's trash can be another person's treasure. Case in point. This weekend I found a real treasure. It is to me, anyway.

I have always loved the folk art pottery of Jerry Brown who creates traditional hand-turned pottery. A southern stoneware potter, he makes utilitarian pieces used for food preparation and preservation. He, also, creates whimsical jugs and mugs.

The piece that I found is called a Batter Bowl. It probably isn't the most expensive pottery one can own but I could care less about that. The fact that it was made by his hands and has his signature and a date of 1992 etched on the bottom of it makes my heart leap with pure joy! 1992 is the year he was named a National Heritage Fellow by the National Endowment for the Arts. And, he is Alabama's Folk Artist of the Year for 2001. My Batter Bowl is perfectly crafted. No chips, no cracks. In fact, it feels like glass when you run your fingers over it. I'll have to find a special place for it in my studio. Use it in my kitchen? Never! Also, I found the old quilt (in the pic) that I have the bowl sitting on. Beautiful, isn't it?

This weekend I devoted quite a bit of time completing art festival applications and getting them in the mail. I'll keep you posted on the venues that I'm invited to participate in. My first show of the season will open in two weeks. It is the Academy of Fine Arts SOUTHERN ROOTS (sm) Exhibition. "SOUTHERN ROOTS (sm) CELEBRATING DIVERSITY IN THE VISUAL ARTS" is an annual juried art event of the Academy of Fine Arts, Inc. (AFA) designed to promote the artistic endeavors of adult artists with family, academic or other ties to Alabama.

The exhibition will be presented at the Birmingham Public Library Gallery, 2100 Park Place North, Birmingham 35203 and a reception will be held on Monday, March 31st from 6pm until 8pm.

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Sunday, March 09, 2008

An Afternoon with Kathryn Tucker Windham

This weekend seems to have flown by! Maybe, because of the time change. Did you remember to reset your clocks?

I had a list of things to do but only one item was actually completed. Bummer! At the top of the list and a real priority was to have those two bad links/pages on my website corrected. But, I didn't feel like sitting at the home computer after having spent the work week, eight hours a day, looking at a monitor and shifting thru mundane graphic requests.

The second item that was (kind of) a priority was to carve a lino block for an upcoming art show. This would have been a relaxing endeavor until I reread the application and realized that the image had to be reduced considerably. This was a show of mini-works on paper and the specs indicated that the art could not be larger than a dollar bill. Whaaaaaaaat??!! Okay, I took a pass on that; too much measuring and thinking.

However, the third item on my list was to make time, on Sunday afternoon, and drive downtown to the Birmingham Museum of Art to listen to one of Alabama's greatest treasures, Kathryn Tucker Windham, talk about her life as an author and photographer. What a storyteller! What a treat! A lot of her stories are told, "off the top of her head" and her photos have the same unstudied quality. She's wonderful. 'yall missed it. Google her name and read about her. Better yet, start with the Wikipedia entry, and click to your heart's delight.

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Sunday, March 02, 2008

Relief Printing Workshop at Camp McDowell, Nauvoo, Alabama

Good news!
I'll be returning to the Alabama Folk School at Camp McDowell.

Founded in September 2007, the Folk School is the newest branch of the Camp McDowell facility. Week long and weekend classes are offered. If you're interested in learning the basics of Linoleum Block Relief Printing this summer (July 2008), or if you'd just like to explore a craft or discipline that you've always been curious about, contact the Folk School staff at the email link which can be found on the Folk School homepage. My friend Donna Branch, an extremely talented studio glass artist and owner of Tara GlassArt Studio, will teach two week long workshops at the Folk School.

Three lovely ladies enrolled in my weekend lino block relief class, last November. Megan (the director of the Folk School), Ruth from Birmingham and Joyce from Tuscaloosa. They had little (or no) knowledge of lino block relief printing, before the class. However, after a couple of hours of instruction, they were off and running! Each individual brought her own ideas and skills to the class and other than, periodically, chanting our mantra to "cut away from the body, cut away from the body" they worked quietly and diligently for hours. I'm posting their prints here. And, yes, I'm posting with much pride! Applause! Applause!

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