Friday, October 24, 2008

Sculpting Show and Tell.

(Doing my copper repousse' during Portland Open Studios. Photo by Lisa Griffin)

For two weekends in a row, I've been part of the Portland Open Studios Tour. That means from 10 am to 5 pm Saturday and Sunday, I open my studio to the public. But it's more than an art show and sale. It's more like art show and tell.

Remember when you were in kindergarten and you brought something to school to share with the rest of the class? Well, this is something like that. As a participating artist, my job is to show people where, what and how I work. It's been an interesting process.

When people come to my studio, I show them how I bend, shape and pinch window screening into sculptures of animals and people as well as push copper sheeting into masks and landscapes. I tell them how color is added and answer questions about where I get my materials. I let them wander through my home looking at my some of my other pieces explaining how the original stories and found objects give the pieces unity. I listen as they tell me about their experiences with art and sometimes, show me some of their artwork.

I must admit, I wasn't sure what this experience would be like. Opening up my studio to strangers seemed a little scary at first. Not to mention, putting many of my sculpture pieces on display in my own home for people to see and touch. Talking to all the people for 7 hours each day was both invigorating and exhausting. It was a lot of work, more than I expected. And it gave me an even greater appreciation of all the work that gallery owners put into every monthly show.

But I'm glad I did it. They learned about my art process and I learned about their art experiences. I told them about how my work evolves with each piece and they told me how they felt about the sculptures. It was a wonderful exchange of appreciation, knowledge, creativity and ideas. And isn't that what show and tell is all about?

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