Sunday, July 13, 2008

Convergence - Part Two (Classes)

Good grief, so sorry about the delay to those who were looking for more posts about Convergence. I managed to get a lovely kidney infection and landed in the hospital last Wednesday with a 104.9 degree temperature after running low-grade fevers since last Saturday evening. (I kept thinking I was going to recover and it kept coming back!)

At any rate, I'm up to my eyeballs in lovely antibiotics and am feeling mostly human again, so I thought I'd post about the first couple classes I took at Convergence.

To keep this post from getting hugely long, I thought I would break up my classes into two groups of two. As you'll be able to tell, I lean towards more theory based seminars, rather than classes that teach a particular technique (I learn very well from books and actually really enjoy doing the research and learning and experimenting with various structures, techniques, etc.)

First up, The Art of Business - How to Approach Galleries, taught by Kate Anderson who used to be the director of the Duane Reede Gallery. She gave lots of good advice about what galleries look for in artists (for example - maturity of vision, consistent style, originality, whether the work is sellable, and whether it is comparable in vision/pricepoint with other work in the gallery), and how to put together a professional marketing package to send to galleries you are interested in. Kate did a wonderful job in letting us - the students - direct the discussion, and was very encouraging of questions/concerns, etc. The discussion covered a wide range of marketing-oriented topics from taking decent photographs of your work to how to put together a good C.V. I'm nowhere near the point of being ready to approach galleries yet, but I'm hoping I will be in a couple of years, so this was all very useful information.

Interestingly enough, she did make a comment in passing about Etsy when one of the other folks mentioned it - as I've been hearing quite a bit lately, it seems one needs to be cautious about mentioning Etsy in a fine art or fine craft context. On the one hand, a gallery obviously wouldn't appreciate the competition. On the other, I got the distinct impression that - how to put this delicately? That Etsy can be viewed as unprofessional/low-end, which is such a huge shame. I mean, I know there's a lot of not-too-wonderful stuff on Etsy, but there are some artists there that just blow my socks off as well - the trouble being finding the latter... But, that's a whole other - huge - topic.

The second class I took was called "Complex Pleating" and was taught by Joan Michaels Paque. Do yourself a favor and trot right over to her Flickr account and check out her fiber, paper and mixed media art, she's really very amazing. Seriously, go now!

(See what I mean?? This is from Joan's Flickr account - wowzers!)

When I first walked in, I almost walked back out, it wasn't what I was expecting from the looks of the samples on the tables at the front of the room. But boy am I ever glad I stayed! Joan was a bit disorganized, but charmingly so, and the whole topic is just fascinating - I think that she just has so much knowledge to try to instill that it's overwhelming to try to squish it into a little seminar.

I also have the feeling that if I had been able to attend her three day workshop "Experience and Explore Kinetic Dimensional Weaving, Pleat Folds and Tessellations" I would have absolutely loved it as well. I'm jealous of the people that did attend it. I'll just have to hope that I have another chance in the future (three more days away from home at this point would have been cruel and unusual punishment for poor Mr. SkiingWeaver).

Mostly what she showed us was her work with folding paper, but the mind boggles with possibilities in applying this to textiles, in my opinion...

The top piece, in orange, is actually made from fabric - the pleats and creases are ironed right in so that the fabric retains the shape. The bottom, white piece, is paper. Isn't it a great shape??

Paper again.

I absolutely fell in love with this little piece. Figured out how to make it and everything - if anybody noticed a dark-haired woman sitting at various tables in the Convention Center between classes obsessively folding graph paper (took a while to work out the angles to that it would curve enough when I did it myself) - that was me! And then I was coloring on graph paper and folding it to work out design possibilities...

Now that I've done the Convergence thing, I really, really wish I had signed up for more classes! I followed various peoples' advice (probably for the first time ever, lol) and only signed up for four classes, thinking I'd be overwhelmed with the exhibits, vendor hall, etc. I should have known myself well enough to know that four wasn't nearly enough. (I hate to say it but I'm really not much of a shopper, so I didn't spend a lot of time in the vendor hall...) When I think of those two empty afternoon slots that could have been filled with more learning, well, phooey.

But that's also a comment on the quality of the classes I took - I thought each of them was fantastic! Wonderfully friendly teachers, interesting classmates, very well done.

So, for my next post, I'll talk about my final two classes, which were on Color Theory - both very different, but both excellent as well.


Bev said...

Thanks, for this Kristin. It's really helpful for a newbie to know your take on some of the classes. I think I'd be more interested in the color classes because, to me, the right colors make "even" plain weave look rich and desirable. It's all in knowing how to put them together. And, there's a million books out there on color theory, but seeing it more 'hand's on' is a huge plus.

island sweet said...

so sorry to hear that you've been sick. make sure you take it easy (i know how hard that is with 2 little ones) and really get better...

Sew Bettie said...

The conference sounds like it was amazing. Hope you're feeling better now. It is too bad that some don't like Etsy, but I guess that is to be expected.

Miss B said...

Interesting what you mentioned (in passing) about the art world's response to Etsy. I find so many amazing things there every single day and also so many things that look like they've been cleared out of a basement. But overall I think it is so positive and inspiring and such a great way to meet other crafty folks and I wish it were more respected by the art world at large. It seems like a great place to get your feet wet at any rate.

Thanks for sharing.

Shiny Black Shoes said...

I just want to say I like your blog, very inspiring :)

Yes I too have heard that about etsy...I mean anyone who goes on there can see that really there are different levels of work on there. I think it is a nice way to get your work out, advertise and such. It's affordable too :)

I currently work with glass but starting in the fall, I will be starting a full-time program in textile arts which includes weaving, I can't wait! I love your work and love that you use bamboo in your weaving.