Friday, December 25, 2015

Joy and Wonder

May all your seasons be filled with Joy and Wonder

Robin's annual hand pulled print card - the ink/paper combo took DAYS to dry, we had cards on every horizontal surface in our house!


Thursday, December 24, 2015

Touring Michigan - Manistee's Victorian Sleighbell Parade and Old Christmas Weekend.

If you are enamored by the Victorian era, this is a must-do event!

We began our adventure with tea at the Buckley, a privately owned fantastic Victorian home. Afternoon tea was served in the third floor ballroom, complete with dainty sandwiches, flaky scones and delicious dainty sweets.

A tour of the home followed and it was stunningly beautiful - the ornate woodwork, the leaded glass, the plasterwork ceilings and original lighting fixtures. It made me very nostalgic for my former 1908 home!

Following tea, we toured the Manistee County Historical Museum, located right downtown in Manistee and the building remains as it existed in 1905.

For Christmas, a huge number of Victorian era trees and decorations are displayed in settings depicting a variety of traditions.

One of my favorite displays/presentations was the Magic Lantern show of the "Night Before Christmas". Magic lantern shows are always fascinating, but this one was made even better by having the narration supplied by an Edison player with a wax cylinder.

The Magic Lantern is the forerunner of the modern slide projector. It has a long and complicated history and, like lots of fascinating inventions, many people were involved in its development. No one can say for sure who invented the Magic Lantern. The Magic Lantern has been used to educate and entertain audiences for hundreds of years.

Another highlight is the working display of vintage toy trains - it's just amazing!

After the museum, we walked the downtown area, enjoying the sights and sounds, including a trombone band:

and hot roasted chestnuts: DELICIOUS!!!

Everyone joins in the fun:

Then it was parade time!

No motor vehicles, everything is horse-drawn or foot powered:

The most amazing sight is the 30+ foot tree, on a sledge, being drawn by a team of four draft horses right down the middle of the street!

They had to work hard this year, with no snow to help it slide.

Upon reaching the end of the parade, the tree is lit and the sky fills with fireworks.

Even with no snow, the town was filled with happy, enthusiastic people, truly full of the spirit of the season - we'll be back!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

In the Mail

During the recent International Society of Experimental Artists exhibit at the Dennos Museum Center in Traverse City, Michigan, participating artists were invited to offer small pieces of their work for sale in the museum store, an opportunity I was pleased to accept.

I was even more pleased to accept the offer to continue making my work available after the show closed and even better, the request to send more, due to the number of pieces that had sold!

The twelve pieces above, are in the mail to Dennos: they represent a northern Michigan herbarium.

Each started with a botanical photograph, shot here on Mackinac, one for each month of the year. The photos were transferred onto silk and then overbeaded, using a variety of beading techniques. They are mounted on small wooden bases and labeled with both their Latin and common name.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

"At Your Service" - International Society of Experimental Artists 2015

I was very pleased to have a piece accepted into the 2015 International Society of Experimental Artists show, being held this year at the Dennos Museum Center in Traverse City, Michigan.

And, as this is my third acceptance, I've earned signature status!

My piece is titled "At Your Service". It was created for submission to the annual Manoogian museum here on Mackinac the year that the theme was People of Mackinac, but alas it was rejected for that show.

My art has many influences, but a very frequent influence is my participation in living history and the necessary research for that participation. "At Your Service" was directly inspired by a book I read called Working Stiffs: Occupational Portraits in the Age of Tintypes by Michael L. Carlebach.

I was familiar with occupational images, but had never given them a great deal of thought. The advent of inexpensive photography methods allowed working men (and women) to document their lives and their pride in their skills, often while holding the tools of their trade.. Previously, only the wealthy could document their lives via portraiture, but the new technology made it possible for a much larger portion of society.

I decided I wanted to celebrate the people of Mackinac Island who truly make this place function: the laborers.

My piece began by photographing a variety of people: a street sweeper, a plumber, a maid, a chef, a nurse, a farrier, a bike mechanic, a porter, and, yes, a fudge maker. Each is holding the tools of their trade. I used these photos to create 21st century versions of tintypes via the use of the computer - converting them to black and white and reversing the images, just as happened with the original tintypes. I asked my models to be very solemn and straightforward, just like the 19th century sitters.


These images were than transferred on to sheets of tin roof flashing.

Each image was mounted on an antique piece of a silver-plate tea service, which was very intentionally left tarnished; just as the concept of "service" is rather tarnished these days.

The piece is intended to hang on the wall, causing you to look the workers right in the eye.

These are the people who keep Mackinac going and it would not exist without them, please spare them some thought the next time you visit.

The show will be hanging until November 29th, if you will be in the Traverse City region, please do consider visiting.

Saturday, November 7, 2015