The past few weeks have seen the colliding of two projects that have been a lot of fun, but have also taken up most of my precious free time. Fortunately they are finished and are meeting with successful reviews from the folks who wanted them to happen (and are footing the bill).
The Red Cross tornado safety puppet show “The Wind Around the Toy Box” has a new and improved toy box/ stage which Jeni and I began using this week. Not only are the puppets enjoying all the new space back stage but their puppeteers aren’t consuming quite as much advil these days to keep up with the muscle strain!
Meanwhile, my work at Plum Diore finished up last night with the installation of dozens of sculpted flowers created to match their spring design. A lovely and talented art student named Erin, and I installed these hand crafted forms in the windows of the boutique and also throughout the shop. Tomorrow evening is their big fashion show and party to which all of this has been leading up. Normally I am not into this sort of shin dig. I find I am more comfortable in an old pair of jeans and a soft wool sweater. But the excitement is contagious I guess and I have a new outfit to wear and plan to attend for a little while to see all the models dressed in all the finery. Plus, I hear their hair may be defying gravity. I find this notion intriguing.
My class at the Art Academy of Cincinnati finished up a week or so ago and I was genuinely sad to see it end. I really enjoyed all of my students and was amazed to see how gutsy and adventurous they became with just some cool art supplies and space and time in which to create. It looks like I will be teaching the class again in the fall time frame. I learned as much from my students and teaching this class as I hope they learned from me so I am sure there will be changes and fine tuning that will make the class even richer for those who take it. I am anxious to get back into working in my own sketchbook again in the coming weeks.
Teaching is a constant theme in my life and nowhere is that clearer recently than at home with the pups. They are growing like weeds and getting very strong, especially on walks. I found collars for them that allow the walker to lead the dog by the head, much like a horse, without all the tugging and choking of the usual collars. So we have slowly been adjusting to a new, gentler way of walking around the neighborhood. With all this leash training though, sometimes you just have to go for a romp in the woods, leashes off. In spite of the rain, that is what we did a few days ago. It was well received by all.
What’s cookin’ in studio? A lot! This week has seen the convergence of many of my part time jobs and I have been operating a regular 3-ring circus in my head, on the calendar and in the studio. Coming up on Saturday is this month’s Family Saturday at the Carnegie Center for Performing and Visual Arts. This month’s theme is “The Art of Food” so all of our projects will involve mostly edible materials. We’ll be making toaster art (click here to see some professional level toaster art. I mean, who knew?), egg-shell mosaics and decorated hollowed out eggs, “sweet” creatures using candy, icing, fluff, etc., and noodle jewelry. Lots of prep work goes into these Family Saturdays and they always wind up being great fun for everyone involved! (Below are the dyed noodles…)
Meanwhile, it’s officially Tornado Season here in the mid-west and so my job as a puppeteer for the Cincinnati Area Chapter of the American Red Cross is in full swing. Jeni and I were up early this morning to entertain and meet some of the folks who donate money and resources to the Red Cross, furthering the important work done by this amazing organization. We also have a fairly full week of puppet shows in local schools to teach kids how to be prepared in case of a tornado. On top of all of our performance activities, we desperately need a new stage set up. With some design advice from Kevin, Jeni and I are building a brand new set for the “Wind Around the Toy Box” production which will be easier to transport and set up on site. The new design has the added bonus of allowing us puppeteers to stay on our feet, not on our poor knees!
So at the end of this long day, in the middle of this long week, one might think that I would be ready for a good night’s sleep. This is not too far from the truth. However, last week, I challenged my sketchbook class at the Art Academy to go out this week and draw somewhere in public. Some place where someone might see them, and ask them what they are up to. I asked my students to step out of their comfort zone to work on their sketchbooks in a place they may have, in the past, been afraid to go. I can’t very well ask this of them, without taking part in some of this exercise myself. So tonight I am off to Havanna Martini Club for Salsa night. I don’t plan on dancing too much, but I do plan to sketch the people who are dancing. I have wanted to do this for awhile but have been putting it off, not wanting to be the oddball with a sketchbook at Salsa night. Hopefully some of my students are out there challenging their own boundaries this week too. We’ll see tomorrow night when we meet for class again.