Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Palo Alto Libraries Monoprint Workshop Prep

Today I tested out a monoprint (colography) project with my children and a friend's children in preparation for a workshop I will be teaching on Monday for the Palo Alto Libraries. Here are some images of their printing plates being created from cardboard and mattboard.

The children started off by cutting out bits of cardboard, ribbon, toothpicks and plastic sushi grass. The ribbon and sushi grass were attached with hot melt glue. On child used the hot melt gun to draw lines on his board as well.

Below are the printing plates after each child had pulled several prints with different colors. Often these plates are just as interesting and framable as the final prints.

During the printing process we discovered that one could apply paint to the boards with brushes, not just with the rollers. The lines of the brush hairs created nice textures in the prints. It was quite hot today so we were frequently adding drops of water to the paint to keep it moist enough on the glass inking plates. The paper we used was Japanese calligraphy paper.

The best way to create prints with this type of printing is to ink the board and then lay the paper onto of the wet board. With a clean, dry brayer, you roll and press the paper on the board. We also used our fingers to press in the hard to reach corners and over the ribbon areas. I highly recommend having a drying rack to store these prints as they dry.
Below are images of a few of the prints they created.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Pied Piper Costume Workshop at Montalvo Arts Center

Above: Sample of vinyl rat mask.
I will conduct two costuming workshop at The Montalvo Arts Center in a few weeks. These workshops are for children in the theater summer camp Pied Piper production. Below are preliminary sketches of the rat mask and the basic template for the rat mask created in Illustrator. I wanted to simulate the style of Italian leather carnival masks. Originally I thought the children would use colored construction paper or colored foam sheets. But after experimenting found that vinyl that looks like leather works really well. It involves a little stitching down the middle seam, in the ears and in the side tucks of the masks. I will be bringing in several wallpaper books for the kids to cut up for embellishments. I used this wallpaper material for the eyes. Silk tie scraps are used for the ears. I also found great plastic ties for the whiskers in the Montalvo Acts Center Barn. My workshops are kind of a filler activities between rehearsal times and we will be out on the veranda overlooking the beautiful central lawn area. It should be fun. The secondary projects will be Medieval hats and rat tails.

Below is a paper template created in Illustrator. The detail elements are to give the students an idea of how they might embellish their masks.

I experimented with construction paper and foam. I initially thought foam would work the best for this project as it is sturdy and we will be gluing on recycled plastic bits (produce netting, plastic milk jug tops, marbles, etc.) But it is so clear that the below mask of foam is not sophisticated enough. Compare this yellow foam mask below to the sample vinyl sewn mask at the top of this blog. As obvious as this may seem, I have to admit that I didn't really realize how juvenile the mask below looked until the Education Program Manager raised this as a concern. I have never worked with this foam as a material in my classes. I realize now there is a reason for this. No matter what you do with this foam, it screams preschool craft! I decided to experiment with fake leather tonight as this would simulate the material of Medieval masks. I think this resolved the materials issue and the kids will be able to create sophisticated and durable masks. This process of designing this project is a perfect example of being too close to something to see it clearly. It is always good to have feedback from other artists or other arts educators to give one a fresh perspective. This is definitely a project I should have bounced off of a few artist friends before I submitted. Well, that's what this blog is about... the process of designing art and the lessons I learn.

Below: First prototype of foam.

Below: Medieval hat sketches. Secondary project.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Clogged Currents Dance at Sub Zero Festival

Last Friday was the Sub Zero Festival in San Jose. I created three large banners that were displayed outside the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles. Visitors added elements to the banners throughout the evening and at 9:00pm and 10:00pm dancer Christina Braun danced to music created by composer Scott Perry. This is the second time that we three have worked together and Christina has named our collaboration efforts "Nectar".

The Sub Zero event was a lot of fun and later I was told that over 1,200 visitors entered the Quilt Museum. We were stationed outside so even more passed by. Below are images at the beginning of the evening. The event ran from 6 to midnight.

Here are some images of the set up and the visitors beginning to come and participate in the visitor activity which was creating diatoms from recycled plastics and attaching them to the water banners. Rob Bell of Zomadic made these beautiful stands. For the craft activity I had the help of Susan Suriyapa, a grad student at San Jose State. She was really fantastic and full of energy(back to camera in black).

Below:Visitor elements beginning to be added.

I am glad that I got a chance early on to see what else was at the festival. I love this car. I had actually seen it in the Mission District of San Francisco a few weeks prior on Portrero and 26th.

The ball below was one of two spinning around flashing lights and emitting music. I loved the way it looked with the scattered Jacaranda flowers that happened to have fallen from the trees lining the street. It looked like purple confetti and at first I thought the flowers were intended elements of the display.

Below: Christina Braun before getting dressed for the performance. She was wonderful helping getting the lights and booth set up and she even made a diatom. I loved how relaxed and happy she was. I would have been totally stressed if I was about to perform!

Below: Scott Perry getting the music set up for the dance performance. He brought all his own equipment and the necessary black tape to hold the cables down. He, too, was super adaptable. He came expecting the performance to be inside (I had mentioned it might be inside if it rained), but was ready to set up outside and I am sure had to lug his equipment from a few blocks away at least as the streets were blocked off in the area of the festival.

I love this jellyfish like creation by a visitor. This is right before the first dance performance started at 9:00 pm. There was a large crowd around for both performances.

Christina showing Anna (Scott's girlfriend) how to use her camera before the performance.

Here is a description of the performance Clogged Currents:
Enveloped in plastic grocery bags and an illuminated diatom hat, San Francisco butoh artist Christina Braun will dance two performances centering on the water themed tapestries of Corinne Okada Takara. Her eerie and playful movements will reflect upon plastic bags clogging waterways and algae blooms flourishing in the stagnation. Contemporary music representing sludge, filth, and pollution in nature created by composer Scott Perry. Costuming will be elements which remove from Takara’s large water tapestries in front of The San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles.
The performance begins!

Below: A short video snippet of early portion of dance performance.

A video snippet of a later portion of the performance:

Friday, June 5, 2009

Completed Water Dance Costume

I have completed the costuming based roughly on the design construction of a straw Japanese raincoat. Thanks to the students of Lynnbrook High School and Horace Cureton Elementary School, I had a great selection of plastic bags to select from. The rest of the bags will be used in the public participatory project tonight.

Below: Completed Diatom Rain Hat (inspired on Japanese rice farmer rain hat and diatoms)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Visitor Participatory Diatom Project

Here is my step-by-step board for the woven diatom visitor project at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles for the Sub Zero Festival tomorrow. There will be a second activity which is creating diatoms from plastic bottle bottoms. All materials were collected from creek clean ups and schools.

Today I will be prepping the plastic bags into strips for the weaving. I will also have print out images of diatoms for inspiration.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Butoh Water Dance Hat

The butoh water dance hat was completed tonight. I took some photos in the dark but they didn't come out to clearly.

There are five LED lights that illuminate the hat. One LED is angled to shine on the face. I'll take better photos on the dancer later. I'll be prepping the plastic bags for the visitor participatory weaving project tomorrow. Three large garbage bags full of plastic shopping bags were collected at Lynnbrook High School in Cupertino and from Horace Cureton in Alum Rock for this project. This is all for the Sub Zero Festival in downtown San Jose on June 5th.