Previous month:
October 2016
Next month:
December 2016

November 2016

Artistic Expression and Being an Artist

From my earliest memories I have always wanted to be an artist. The lifelong aspiration was not simply to make art or sell art, I wanted to be an artist.  The depth of this "being an artist" constantly spills over into daily life -- and positively overflows with anticipation of a shared experience with family and friends.  Witness the Thanksgiving table above as this year's display of artistic expression.

Every year I look forward to reinventing my Thanksgiving table as an extension of being an artist. This year the table color scheme was persimmon red, black and gold. 


Company is invited for a late afternoon gathering so that the natural lighting has the golden glazing hues of fall.   For me, the light coming through the windows is as important as the lighting in a painting.  Experiencing the light, the decorative arrangements, the food, and friends all resolve to the point that so much of life's activities can be artistic experiences. 

Thanksgiving is such a profound holiday in its simplicity of acknowledging what we are thankful for.  The commercial and/or religious aspects are secondary to the idea of spending time with friends and family together.

As we slide into the merchandising marathon for the remainder of the year, I relish the golden tones of artistic expression without selling anything. 


This post was updated on December 13th, 2021.

 Below are past Thanksgiving Tables. 

Thanksgiving 2015 008
Part of the fun is working on the preparation together. Thanksgiving 2015 
Thanksgiving 2015 056
Reinventing my table each year is my favorite part. Thanksgiving 2015 
Thanksgiving 2014 flower arrangements 003
Flower arrangements are different every year. Thanksgiving 2014 is still my best. 
ThanksgivingPlate closerlower
Chanukah Gelt & gold theme. Thanksgiving 2013
Thanks2Mondrian2012ARyn and Harriete
Sharing the festive planning with my daughter. Thanksgiving 2012 
Leaf shaped carrot cake with textured frosting.
Thanksgiving 2011 the leaf motif included the carrot cake. 
Black, chartreuse green, and gray for a Thanksgiving table motif.
Wrapping paper can work well to establish a color scheme. Thanksgiving 2010
Black and green chartreuse dishes set a Thanksgiving theme.
These vintage inspired Thanksgiving 2010 theme of black and chartreuse


Thanksgiving Centerpiece
Brass spherical vase used for 
Brass spherical vase used for Thanksgiving 2009 was my first hollow-ware project from 1971.
black and white and grey motif for Thanksgiving 2008
Wrapping paper is a great way to establish a strong motif for your table. I try to reuse the wrapping paper for other uses after this festive meal. Thanksgiving 2008.

DIY This Necklace And Copy Another Person's Idea

Every so often I am appalled to see online a suggestion to copy another person's idea or work.

It happened again just now...
D.,I,YThe caption on this Pinterest photo offers suggestions for recreating jewelry by Sydney Lynch design as a DIY project. 

Suggesting that Lynch's work is a good piece of jewelry to copy is an outrageous and unacceptable recommendation. Unfortunately, this DIY proposition is not an isolated example.  If you want to create a tutorial for a DIY project, you must use your own design and ideas.  Telling people to copy another artist and how to do it is completely inappropriate.

If you like a piece of jewelry or admire another artist's work in any media, then suggest that other people buy it from the artist. Don't recommend ways to copy the other artist's work. 

What do you do when you see a D.I.Y. post on how to recreate/copy another artist's work?  When I first saw a situation like this, I didn't know what to do.  This time I wrote a post with vocal condemnation.  Is that enough?

Please post your thoughts or alternative suggestions below. 


This post was updated on December 13th, 2021.

Protecting and Investing in Your Artistic Legacy

Gate-number.I've been traveling for a couple of weeks, including attending the American Craft Council Conference "Present Tense" in Omaha, and my momentum in discussing artist legacy issues temporarily came to a halt.   In anticipation of being "out of studio" for a while, I sent 1,000 slides to a scanning service before I left.  Now catching up with daily routines, I'm reexamining the legacy issues that all artist's and makers may want to consider.

Present Tense Kaneko Head I continue to wonder how much to invest in the past - organizing and protecting an archive of my life's work.
Perhaps this reflects a profound perspective about one's self as a professional artist or maker.  Do you see your work as important to yourself or your field?  It is interesting to note that a portion of the Kaneko Building (where the Present Tense Conference was held) is dedicated to "the core collection of two thousand works by Jun Kaneko, providing examples of works chronicling his important and varied career" and his professional archive.

Professional-guidelines-inventory-recordsInterested in establishing and applying professional standards for artists and makers -- a dedication that led to the Professional Guidelines.  But contemplating the real time and expense of creating an archive causes a swirling of ego, pride, humility, professionalism, goodwill, hassle, ennui, tedium, ....  I do expect and hope that my work will live on somehow beyond me.  In the meantime (and I hope for a very long "meantime"), these efforts should enhance my administrative productivity well into the future.

Nevertheless, who cares?  No one cares really as much as me.  Therefore, it is my responsibility to take care of my own images and documentation.  

Craig Nutt (formally at CERF) has shared with me a remarkable resource for dealing with these issues -   Joan Mitchell Foundation CALL Resources

"Creating a Living Legacy (CALL) is an initiative of the Joan Mitchell Foundation designed to provide support to older artists in the areas of studio organization, archiving, inventory management, and through this work create a comprehensive and usable documentation of their artworks and careers.

This site is a publicly available resource to assist anyone involved whether artist, artist’s assistant, Legacy Specialist, family member, or friend of an artist in the process of career documentation."

Copied from this website "The workbook includes information on many elements key to career documentation including:

  • Importance of Documenting and Archiving Your Work
  • Working with Assistants & Legacy Specialists
  • Setting Manageable Goals
  • Physical Inventory
  • Record-Keeping System
  • Databases
  • Photographing Work
  • Budgeting

There is a documentation guide and audio book.

I am going to study this resource. If you have used it and would like to share your observations, please share in the comments.


This post was updated on December 13th, 2021.