Tuesday, March 24, 2009

My Dental Floss is Irish

Newbridge, County Kildare, Ireland - Home of my dental floss.

The other day I was flossing my teeth. A bit personal, yes, but I have a point. As I placed the floss back in my medicine cabinet, the bottom of the container caught my eye: Made in Ireland. Really? Who knew? I was intrigued to say the least.

Now, most people might not care, but I do. I often wonder where things are made and more importantly WHO makes all of these items we use. WHO in Ireland is making my dental floss? Who makes the umbrellas that go in fruity drinks? Who makes the staples in the stapler? Or paperclips? Or the soap we use? EVERYTHING we use is made by someone. And, I hope this someone gets treated with respect and makes a living wage....that's a whole other post.

There are people who get up in the morning, shower, dress, eat, kiss their loved ones and head out to the dental floss factory. They call out a "see you tonight" and drive off to make rubber bands all day. The carpool picks them up and heads to the factory to assemble shoe laces until the 5 o'clock whistle. These things fascinate me. Every time I use a simple product I think: SOMEONE has made this. SOMEONE makes their living from making this.

So, I did a little research and came upon an entry titled: Dental Floss: Trends and Prospects in International Trade Is Essential Reading for Relevant Strategic Planners, Senior Company Officials and Importers/Exporters. The report examines international trade and worldwide market trends for dental floss. Dental Floss is apparently serious business.

But WHO is making the floss? Oral-B Laboratories Ireland, Ltd. THAT'S who. Located in Newbridge, County Kildare to be specific. A town 40 km from Dublin that dates back to the 12th century. They have a strong industrial background in making rope and carpet. So there you go. THAT'S a bit about who is making my dental floss.

Monday, March 23, 2009

My Recent Obsession

Photo from the Museum of Glass

So, I am pondering my recent re-obsession with glass. It been an interest for a very long time, but in the past month it's been in in the forefront of my mind. Why? I'm not sure.

The craft absolutely amazes me! The objects these artists can make from what starts out as little pieces and powders that get melted together under extreme heat are wonderful. Maybe it's the extreme heat part of it...a little dangerous. Maybe it's the speed required. Don't work too fast but fast enough that what your making doesn't break. Well whatever it is - I like it.

I would love to take a class, but have yet to save my pennies. Why does everything I'm interested in cost money? LOL Hhhh.... so there you go: not much insight into my recent postings. That's ok. Why analyze...why not just enjoy.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Leah Pellegrini - Glass Mobiles (A Local Gal)

Floating joy... This amazing floating piece of wonder is a mobile by local glass artist Leah Pellegrini.
If you frequent Saturday Market perhaps you have seen her booth there. If not, I suggest hunting her down the next time you are there taking an eyeful of her brightly colored glass mobiles.
I want one. Thanks all there is to it.
Visit http://www.leahglass.com/ to see more of her work, including glass Yoga people, flower plates and much more. Also, click on her links and visit her Etsy store.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Dale Chihuly - Navajo Blanket Cylinders

Photo: Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum

photo: Elliot Brown Gallery

Photo: Elliot Brown Gallery

These beautiful cylinders are all made by Dale Chihuly. He had a large collection of Navajo Blankets and in the 1970's produced numerous cylinders inspired by his blanket collection. I had the chance to see them a few years ago at the Oregon Historical Society Museum in downtown Portland. Both the blankets and the cylinders were shown. I remember watching a video of how they are made too - very interesting.
I have been purposefully avoiding any blog entries about Chihuly (sorry Dale!). Its not that I don't like his work - I love it. His installations (a possible future posting) are incredible. But, here in the Pacific Northwest - especially - he tends to be the first person people conjure when glass artists are mentioned. I wanted to focus on others that maybe haven't had as much exposure.
Today, I broke down and had to do it. I had to post these works of art because I love them. The colors, the weaving, the strong base of the cylinder and the intricacy of the fine pieces of glass that have been added to represent the fabric.
If you ever have to the chance to check these out - I encourage you to do so.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Importance of Earnest Being Over

Oh my dear friend Oscar Wilde... My wonderful friend Krista and I interpreted The Importance of Being Earnest last night...for the second time. Last season we interpreted it at Portland Community College and were delighted to be able to interpret it at Portland Center Stage this season. How many times do you get to do the same show twice? Krista and I jumped at the chance!
We started this show thinking, hey - we've done this before, how hard can it be? (insert laughter here) We have the upper hand. YA WHOA THERE! A couple of days ago, I told her it was as if I had never interpreted this show before. Well DUH! Analyzing a script for the second time just gives the play more meaning and depth and breadth. I came to the realization that I LOVE this show....despite the fact that its so no interpretable; what with all the puns, play on words, etc. It's funny, and witty, and pokes fun at Victorian society. And PCS performed it fabulously.
Krista and I kicked some Earnest butt last night. :-) And after SWEARING several times in the past two weeks that I will NEVER do this show again and what was I thinking to say I would do it a second time...as we were walking off stage I said to Krista: " I think I would do this again."

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Virtual Glass Blowing!

Want to try your hand at virtual glass blowing? This is probably more fun for the kids, but I find myself playing around once in a while.
Click here: http://museumofglass.org/education/virtual-hot-shop/sbf/ to virtually make a macchia - a vessel like the one in the seen here made by Dale Chihuly - and learn a lot about glass blowing in the process.
The kids/you will have fun picking the colors they/you want to use for their macchia, clicking the heat button so their piece won't break, and applying the tools to the vessel. When finished, they/you can print out a badge with your name and a picture of your macchia. Check it out, have some fun, and see what you can make.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Dante Marioni

Dante Marioni is my glass blower crush :-) He is an American glass artist who lives in Seattle. He started working in glass at the age of 15. Dante is a well known and respected artist who has shown his work all over the world and is known for his mastery in Venetian glassblowing techniques. I have seen his vessels described as "traditional becomes modern" and thats pretty much the truth. Bold colors, curvy features, tall elegance....I likey!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Cobi Cockburn

Winter Grass
The artist

Shifting Fields


Autumn Light
Pictures from the Sabbia Gallery

I saw a showing of Cobi Cockburns work at the Bullseye Gallery in Portland. I was walking by and these, what I thought of as delicate canoes, where glowing through the window. The gallery was not brightly lit and the pieces were lit from below. I later found out the artist had based the form of these pieces on basketry and the texture and color from natural grasses.
What she says about her work: "In producing this body of work, it was important to me to combine this fascination with my personal experience as a young mother and artist and produce tactile glass objects that echoed life and celebrated growth within this rich landscape."
Cobi Cockburn is a young Australian glass artist. She has won the 2006 Ranamok Glass Prize and the 2007 Talente Prize for Glass. If you would like to read more about this collection or see more images, head to http://www.sabbiagallery.com/

Monday, March 9, 2009

Little Tiny Pieces of Glass

Anna Skibska is a Polish artist who makes amazing large sculptures from little tiny pieces of glass. The last picture is from her show at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma. I remember standing in front of her sculptures, very tempted to touch, and thinking, "I can't believe someone hasn't broken one of these." My other thought was, "How in the world do they ship these to the museum without them breaking." Really - I'm still pondering this one.
They look like glass clouds to me.
On Vetri's website, a gallery in Seattle, I found this about her work: Marge Levy wrote of Anna Skibska, "In her hands, glass becomes line and form, strong and fragile, enormous and delicate. In her mind, the dualities of life are dignified and celebrated in sculptural forms - most of which are life size, confrontational, and connected to the human spirit through their scale and physical presence."
If you want to see more of her work , past and present...and the past work is nothing like the present, visit www.annaskibska.com

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Karen LaMonte: Glass Dresses

Karen LaMonte is amazing! This is one exhibit at MOG that I didn't get to see and I am still kicking myself!! I have no idea how she gives a hard, unforgiving substance like glass such a soft, flowing feel. I love it! To learn more about the artist and her work, visit her website: http://www.karenlamonte.com/

Friday, March 6, 2009

Stanislav Libenske & Jaroslava Brychtova

I'm not a huge modern art lover. It's a 50/50 thing with me. But, I have to say the modern glass artwork of Stanislaw Libenske and Jaroslava Brychtova is amazing. Seeing it in person at MOG was what made me love it. The light just glows from inside the glass. I like the picture with the people, because you can get an idea of the scale of their work and what it looks like in a gallery.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Pilchuck Glass School

Pilchuck Glass School is in Stanwood, Washington. Its location in the forest is BEAUTIFUL! It was founded in 1971 by Dale Chihuly, Ann Gould Hauberg, and John H. Hauberg. It is the "largest, most comprehensive educational center for artists working in glass" in the world.

I visited the school a few years ago and, again, could have been there ALL DAY. The school is open to the public once a year and I have to say hoards of people come to check it out. But it's not so crazy with crowds that you won't enjoy yourself. The buildings are rustic looking and set in this beautiful landscape. The hot shop is my favorite..or maybe the casting shop...or the hot shop.... The hot shop is the round building you see in the picture - all sides open to the air. During the open house day - you can sit and watch artists blow glass - and its amazing.

This year the open house is Sunday, July 12, noon - 5pm. Admission is $20 per person with kids under 12 free. If you want to attend, definitely visit their website and fill out your registration form. Organized group tours are also offered on Tuesdays, March - May, for a $30 fee - details on their website. Visit www.pilchuck.com for more info, more pictures, etc.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Visit the Hot Shop

The Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington is one of my favorite places to visit. I became a big fan of glass blowing quite a few years ago, and was very excited when the museum opened.
I have seen some wonderful exhibits at MOG. Big solid slabs of glass that force the light to works its way through its mass only to cause a glow from within. Big massive sculptures made from thousands of tiny fragile pieces of glass that look as if they would break if I breathe to hard on them. I am now waiting with baited breath for the 2010 exhibit: Preston Singletary: Echoes, Fire, and Shadows. Glass work with a serious Native American bent. Beautiful.
My favorite part about visiting MOG is sitting in the hot shop and watching the team of glass blowers create whatever comes to mind. The teamwork is amazing. I always want to ask them if they have lost all fear of being burned. I could seriously watch all day...and I mean ALL DAY.
So, if your driving north or just want to take a day trip - consider MOG. You can hit MOG, Tacoma Art Museum, and Washington State History Museum all in the same area of town - Tacoma's Museum District. www.museumofglass.com

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Beach Music

The beach is my favorite place. Waves crashing, seagulls squawking, the briny smell; its a feast for the senses. I'm due for a trip to the coast.
This picture is of the Twin Rocks. I have grown up with these beauties just down the path from my Grandparents house. All these years and they still impress me. I always wanted to walk out to them and touch their surface, or take a boat and sail through the eye of the rock. On the two days a month of spring tides, when the water is especially low, I find myself chanting, "a little more....a little more", hoping the water will go out far enough to walk to the rocks. I know it will never happen, but a girls gotta try, right?
On the solstice the sun sets in the exact center of the eye. Hoards of people venture onto the beach with camera in hand and wait for the perfect moment to take the perfect picture.
Depending on the angle, these rocks change shape. A northward view takes away their bulk, but offers you the only chance to see the backside. A westward take on the rocks reduces the size of the hole. Ever changing...like the sands.
The beach is always changing. Every time I visit, something has moved, disappeared, or found its way to the dunes....finding it's place for the moment, resting until the waves or the winds move it along.
I'm not much for change - perhaps I should take a lesson.