Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Ducks and stands

Things have felt relentless since arriving back home in July, but this time with mostly not very exciting things to report. Yesterday I had a wonderful day with the fearless and powerful Kim Baxter, a metalsmith who founded Flux Metal Arts. For the last month or so I've been working on a duck commission that required that I move aside a ton of my regular work. The ducks were one thing, but then the stands....
This was where I worked yesterday and am so glad that a friend told me about Flux, because I was able to book private time with Kim to get more guidance on these dang stands that began in 2016 and have taken on many different lives of their own. I've been fortunate to meet great jewelry folks this way, from Damon Thompson who made the first stand at Haystack, to Deb Rosen and Grace Chin who taught me at the Orange Art Center, and then last week Lyanne Torres, the excellent technical specialist in jewelry and metals at the Cleveland Institute of Art. If the ducks could stand on their own, fine, but these metal stands really help, and while I've also hired out for steel versions, the very strong part of myself that insists on a certain degree of self-sufficiency and control demands that I get a little better at doing them myself.
In a panic, I ordered copper discs from three different vendors in NJ, Mexico, and England. NJ ones arrived just in time to work with Lyanne and England in time to work with Kim. Mexico shipment close but hasn't arrived yet! Kim is great with all of the pandemic protocols and the shop is very well set up and stocked. Everything you need is there either for use through the studio rental or for very reasonable prices through the store. She even set up a little table on the side patio so I could have lunch in the gorgeous weather. The front of the space is devoted to gallery space of their instructors and local artists.
We talked so much shop and that included commiserating about adjunct life (and breaking away from it), creating studios that don't feed into the non-profit industrial complex, finding what you need from every source possible—like this mix of cases! The black-based ones were from an industrial resale place that I need to hit up soon for my own studio, and the skinny-legged ones were inherited from a colleague.
It's true that once you know the work that goes into just finding equipment, lighting, etc., you see so much more than the jewelry. Talking to Kim made me realize how long it has been that I've been able to meet and connect with local artists, and how valuable and precious it is to continue to do so. Even when it feels much easier to crawl into a shell.
Learning from her also reminded me of how students probably walk into my classrooms and how I could probably cut them some slack in certain ways, but will always hold myself to a certain standard. The larger stands in the front I did with Lyanne and then the smaller ones in the back with Kim.
New ducks, new stands, now packed. There are three other new ducks not pictured. I will be SO glad to get these on their way so that I can get back to the work I had intended to do this fall. Aside from this job, the other major detour was my kitchen ceiling/leak that ate three months of my life/sanity. Thank goodness for Bill, who came over to do repairs after the plumber did his thing. He was so patient and never complained, coming over countless days over weeks to do the various layers of patching, mud, and primer. Then it was up to me to finish priming and painting, which was yet another comedy of errors. But after really pushing through last weekend, I'm done!
I made this book maybe a month ago and still need to properly photograph it. But am glad to have one more rhodie book done, this likely being the last one. It's called Steady.
At the end of this week, I fly to NY for family stuff for a bit, and then the agenda: make more books, figure out how to weave a rooster out of hanji, and write. I've been approved for occupancy and passed fire inspection for the studio, so fingers crossed I can have a real opening by year's end. It probably will be snowing by then but it's just a matter of time.

1 comment:

Pat S said...

Amy, I loved seeing the finished stands and ducks. They look amazing. Have fun in NY. It's exciting that your studio is starting to come together.