Thursday, October 25, 2012

Fused Glass Party

Last Friday, I treated some friends to a fused glass party at "Live, Love, Laugh" Glass in Tigard.  I did it to thank Carrie, Nancy, Jan, Patty and Judith because they helped me get my house ready for sale and get a garage sale going.

We had fun doing it, we each now have a 6" x 6" plate, and we went out for dinner after.  That is having fun with your friends.  I cannot recommend "Live, Love, Laugh" Glass highly enough.  They supplied all the materials and great instruction.  There was a lot of variety in the glass pieces we could choose from to be fused onto the clear glass plates. It was hard to decide, but I think everyone was successful.

Mine is shown above.  It has a little more color than the picture shows because the darker pieces at the bottom are iridescent green and some are a brownish color.

I'm the only one whose seen them so far because I just picked them up today.

Here's Carrie's:

It really is clear glass.  I took the picture out the window with a sheet of white paper behind.  The background scene was too distracting without the white paper.  I took all the pictures that way.  Lively design, Carrie.

Here's Nancy's:

Nancy's has a lovely scalloped edge.  She chose to have hers "slumped" which means it was put in a mold and formed into a shallow dish in a second firing.

Here's Jan's:

It looks like a party!

Here's Patty's:

Sort of like a labyrinth, and very colorful.

Here's Judith's:

Love the colors! and the edge is very pretty.

Hope you enjoyed this glass art show.  I am posting this in the travel blog instead of the Plum Gallery blog because I considered it an outing more than an art project.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Art Overload!!!

I truly don't know where to begin, but will just take this chronologically. I'm writing this on Thursday.  I went to the Freer Art Gallery on Tuesday to see one of my favorites, the Peacock Room.  It was designed for Frederick Leyland by James McNeill Whistler.  Yes, he's the same Whistler who painted his mother.  This room is an amazing work of art in and of itself.  Leyland didn't like it, though, and thought Whistler had gone too far.  That's another whole story, but it is kind of "over the top.".   However, Freer loved it and eventually bought it and moved it to his home in Detroit.  Later, it was bequeathed to the gallery as part of his gifts, and reconstructed as part of the Smithsonian.  The picture above shows just one wall of the room.

Other work by Whistler is in the Freer, and I loved it.  Some is part of the permanent exhibition and some is in a new show.  In my visit this time, I realized how often Whistler created a frame to complement his work.  I also enjoyed a special exhibit of etchings and watercolors of street scenes in London done during the time Whistler was there.  There were a lot of children in those, which made it very charming, yet I learned the children were actually poor children hanging out and trying to score food and such to take back home.  Well, it was documentary.

I saw so much else!  A highlight was a photography show of portraits, including a woman who assumed various persona and then photographed herself as a Japanese skateboarder, a lesbian in New York, etc.  It was very interesting.  I should have written down her name. I also enjoyed a show about the intersection of art and news.  I brought home a printed page with a quote on one side by a policeman who said it is easy to identify criminals and a quote on the other side of the same page by another policeman saying that it is not easy to identify criminals.  The stack of printouts was part of the display, and taking one was my contribution to the whole thing.  I also liked a newspaper that was entirely gilded and made what is a throwaway very valuable because of the gold!.

Another thing that made a big impression was a show of digital photographs by Weingarten.  They were a real breakthough, and I just ran across the show accidentally yesterday.  To give you an example, here is his portrait of Dennis Hopper:
Doing this review on line does not do it justice...the images are huge (60" x 90"), and are done in collaboration with the person they portray. The show was called "Pushing Boundaries."  I know I have not done it justice, but I try!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Ai Weiwei

Followers of this blog know that if this is coming from Washington DC, it is likely to be about art.  In DC, there are so many free museums, and they are first class!  This is coming to you from the Smithsonian, specifically, the Hirshhorn Museum which specializes in contemporary art.  The physical building is a "doughnut" and the photo above shows the interior courtyard with a piece done by Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei. 

The rooster above is part of a zodiac series done by Ai Weiwei and installed in the courtyard.  Twelve pieces are there showing the various animals of the chinese zodiac.  The rest of the Ai Weiwei exhibit is on the second floor--virtually the whole second floor--and one piece on the third floor.  I think there are also some pieces in the Sackler Museum, but I didn't see them.

I like to keep my blog entries short, but Ai Weiwei is a special case.  I went yesterday and then back today to see this show, and nothing stops me from going again. It is remarkable.  There are photographs, woodwork, a light sculpture, a snake made of backpacks of children killed in an earthquake and much, much more.  All of the work is engaging, provocative and beautifully executed.  Weiwei is known for being a dissident and the Chinese government hates and harasses him.  However, he keeps producing and speaking up.  I have so much respect.  He also takes common objects and makes them into sculptures, such as the one of chairs that I show below.  Please ignore the people...they are just viewers, not part of the sculpture.  There's also one of bicycles...specifically, bicycles called "forever."  It is all great, believe me.  

Part of the power of the show is quotes from Ai Weiwei that are posted on the walls about the work::.  The quote relating to the chairs is: 

"I make the useful become not useful; these objects combine the practical with change and illusion.  They open up a perspective so that we can have an understanding of the material or an understanding of space.  It is a basis for dealing with perception, and when you think about how people use an object, you're also using so-called knowledge in the sense that "useful" has a meaning.  The meaning is the use.  And that plays a great role in human understanding and culture."

I planned to include in this post some other art I've seen in the past couple of days (which is also good)...but it will have to wait.  My honors right now are with Ai Weiwei.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A Walk in the Fall

There is nothing quite like a walk on a Fall afternoon.  Here are Sophia and Louisa walking at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens.  This was yesterday and, although it was a Monday, there was no school and no work for federal employees.  It was Columbus Day.  I am not sure I agree with the holiday, but an extra day with family is always nice.

The Gardens are known for amazing lotus and water lily blooms mid-Summer when they buzz with color, frogs, turtles and all kinds of wildlife, though they are essentially in the City.  It is part of the National Parks system.  Times are quieter least at the Gardens.

We saw a beautiful blue heron, who flew away when we tried to take a picture.  We also saw a lot of partly decomposed lotus pods and a banana plant in bloom.

As we left, we saw a doe and her fawn, who still had spots.  They hid behind grasses and we couldn't get pictures, but we have great memories.

Here's something else remarkable:  huge lily pads, just waiting for a froggy convention...and they stood still for their picture!

Monday, October 8, 2012

National Arboretum

I'm in Washington, DC, for a visit with family.   One of our favorite things to do is to go to the National Arboretum.  Yesterday we went there and we were surprised to see a wonderful orchid show.  I had never seen anything like it.  The orchids were beautifully displayed in very creative ways and there was a huge variety.  Here's Griffin and Sophia with the display done by the Smithsonian Museum in the background.  There were amateur and professional categories....this was professional.  Lots of ribbons for special types of orchids.   The judges got a workout.

In short, we saw some amazing orchids, mostly raised by members of various orchid societies in the area.   The cake in the background here is to celebrate the 65th anniversary of this particular show.  Griffin asked a guide why it wasn't dirt because the plants need dirt, not cake!   Sophia couldn't decide which was her favorite, but we all ended up favoring either big, flashy colors or tiny, subtle plants that were barely noticeable.  There was something for everyone, but hard to know what was most attractive.