Wednesday, November 30, 2011

and again: Continuing Education for Artists

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I have only touched on the available opportunities for continuing education for artists. The Washington/Baltimore area is loaded with Museums. In addition to inspiring exhibits, many have classes. The Smithsonian and the Renwick are leaders in the field. Area colleges, art schools community and art centers also have adult education opportunities. There are nationally known craft schools such as Arrowmont, Pilchuck, Split Rock, Peters Valley, Penland and Haystack to name just a few. There are annual regional and national gatherings that offer classes and vendors to help keep up with new products and techniques such as Sheep and Wool Festivals, Surface Design Conferences, Bead Expos, and Felters Flings. Many of our members have attended sessions at such craft schools and/or events.

There are also specialty guilds such as weavers guilds, beading guilds, embroidery guilds, etc that many of us belong to as well as on line groups to discuss processes and problems. The opportunities to grow as an artist are endless, but nobody makes us do it. As artists we have chosen to be self directed, which can also allow us to be lazy or not. This is Joanne Bast signing off as your blogger for November and passing the baton on to the next in line for your December sessions.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

More Continuing Education for Artists

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All members of the Potomac Fiberarts Gallery are also members of the Potomac Fiberarts Guild (however, not all members of the guild choose to be members of the gallery). The Guild meets once a month and usually has a speaker/program that often includes a workshop. The topics vary from month to month and include the whole range of fiber techniques. In addition, we have several study groups which also meet separately from the whole guild at varying schedules and locations that focus on more narrow fiber techniques. Examples of study groups are clothing, felting, color, design, dying, knitting, weaving at several levels, fiber techniques in metal and more. Sometimes study group members alternate presenting programs, sometimes we follow a published workbook, sometimes we critique each other, sometimes we take field trips and sometimes we hire outside teachers. It is up to ourselves to keep up with our chosen craft and the Potomac Fiberarts Guild is one way that we do this. In some cases, new work that we show in the gallery comes directly out of such new learning experiences.

Some workshop examples:

Learning about silk:

Clothing from Handwoven Fabrics:


Felted garments:

Felted Hats:

A color study in machine embroidery:

There are also many guild in the midatlantic area that relate to more specific areas of fiberart. Baltimore and Washington DC have guilds that specialize in weaving, beads, knitting and crocheting and many more. State guilds such as the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen have craft guilds that offer classes not only in art forms but in business practices for artists as well. Local areas such as townships and counties have art societies. All of these provide opportunities for artists to improve themselves and keep up with their art forms. But in all, it is the initiative of the artist to partake of these and to drive to excel in what we do. For now, Joanne

Monday, November 21, 2011

Is Not Gold; Holiday Show

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To continue with the treasures that abound in the Potomac Fiberarts Gallery this month, here are the jewelry cases:

We have an array of bracelets in felt, beads, fabric, and wire.

And a bounty of necklaces:

The small item wall; earrings,brooches, barrettes and more:

Hand Made Cards for special notes.

Eyeglass cases,

And hand dyed yarns for that special project or for gifting as is.

Hand made books for journaling or sketching or just making notes as well as pillows, bowls and much more.

I find my days working in the gallery like sitting in Aladdin's Cave. I almost never come home without bringing a purchase with me that I just can't resist. Happy Thanksgiving. Joanne

Thursday, November 17, 2011

All That Glitters; Holiday Show

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Monday the Potamac Fiberarts Gallery juried in our Holiday Show "All That Glitters---Is Not Gold". The variety of fiber and fiber technique with alternative materials is stunning. Here is a short overview of gifting items available, all hand made in the local DC/MD/VA/PA area.

First an overview of our treasures:

A multitude of Scarves and Garments just waiting to be touched:

The Hat wall, knitted, crocheted, fulled and felted, ready to warm winter heads:

Gloves and Purses:

And wall art to enliven your living spaces:

Plus critters to make you smile:

Come on down and come on in. For November, Joanne

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Life of an Artist

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Hello, I am Joanne Bast, beader, felter, knitter and embroiderer, back as your blogger for the month of November. I thought I would discuss a little bit about what it is to be an artist. While there are artists who design and have others produce their work, the members of the Potomac Fiberarts Gallery are individual artists who work for themselves and by themselves, designing and carrying out the creation of our items. We are our own bosses and our only employees.

You may think that working for yourself is liberating. While it does have a certain amount of freedom, it also requires a great deal of self determination. Working at your own pace can easily lead to not working at all. When there is no one but yourself to tell you when and what to do, you must set your own deadlines and have the strength to adhere to them. An individual artist must decide what to make, how and when to make it, how and where to market it, evaluate it and make changes, and keep appropriate tax and inventory records.

Involved in this process is the need to keep up with the chosen artistic medium. Many professions have mandatory continuing education. Artists are again on their own with respect to keeping up with advances in their chosen area. We do this by subscribing to magazines on various techniques and media, by belonging to organizations and/or guilds of artists, by attending more or less formal meetings, retreats, classes or workshops to further our interests and expertises. The Potomac Fiberarts Guild is one organization that allows artists working in various forms of fiber art to meet and learn from each other and from outside teachers. We meet once a month and often bring in nationally known speakers and instructors to present programs and workshops. This year we will have programs on many differing aspects of fiber art.

Back in June, Mickey Kunkle blogged on attending the annual Bead and Button Show in Milwaukee. This is only one of many organizations with national seminars that include classes, lectures, vendors and other experiences. Just this past weekend, I attended a less formal retreat of fiberartists called NeedleArts Adventures in Ocean City, MD. This was a gathering of people interested in creative fiber work where we shared information and critiqued each other's work without designated teachers. I've included some photos of the retreat showing some round table discussions and some working shots. Boy do fiberartists cart a lots of baggage around. As a bonus, I've also included a spectacular sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean. What could be more inspiring? Joanne