Monday, March 5, 2012

Collaborative Projects: Fall 2011 with Calvin Mickle/ Calm

Playing with friends is fun.  Working with friends is fun.  Playing and working at the same time with friends is even more fun.  With that simple fact in mind, I have been embracing the opportunity to play with friends.  Certainly the most significant, and long-term collaboration has been with friend and local artist, Calvin Mickle.

I posted an album on Facebook with far more photos, but here's what I wrote about that album:

A few months ago, Calvin asked me to be his partner in an upcoming Flame Off (Glassroots Art Show, November 2011). “You know I’m a soft glass bead lady” I replied. Instead of reconsidering and finding a boro-working chick (as I kind of expected him to), Calvin grinned, and responded: “You won’t be any more.” 
In July (2011), Calvin and I started working together. Every once in a while, Calvin came to my studio to practice. We decided early on that we’d be adapting some of the bee/honey/ honeycomb theme glass I’d been working on in soft glass to a larger scale, but how that all played out was still wide open. So we worked, not just on bee stuff, but on lots of bug-themed things, keeping in content with which I was familiar, helping me to get more comfortable with boro as a medium, and getting both of us more comfortable working together. For most of our collabs, Calvin worked on the bulk of the structure of our pieces, and I on small details. I’m still learning, can’t begin to keep up with his talent, speed, and versatility as an artist. That said, I have far more ideas than my current skill level with borosilicate can accommodate. With that in mind, much of our collaborative time took the shape of lessons- many of the components that I was to make I could do at other times, so when we were together, I watched Calvin work, and learned. Always patient and calm (I know, I know, how appropriate), Calvin didn’t judge or diminish my bead-lady sensibility or my bumpy road of learning. We had fun. I couldn’t have asked for a better teammate/ teacher / friend. 
Working with boro has been soul-feeding, humbling, educational. That’s not to say soft glass couldn’t, or already hasn’t, facilitated these same ends, but this year, boro wins the prize in my book. Soft glass has been off my bench since August. Though I continued to teach soft glass beads all summer and fall, it’s been boro going into the flame from my torch. I’m stoked about glass again, and I didn’t know that I needed a re-stoking until it was in motion. With the bigger canvas, different technical considerations, I am as far from white page syndrome/ writer’s block as I could possibly be, overflowing with ideas, some of which I can’t implement fully because I haven’t yet learned enough. That is a magical place to be as an artist. Each seal, each connection is better than the one before it, and those little steps are so exciting. I’m far from done with soft glass, but I’m done choosing one or the other. I’m more deeply rooted in a path of exploration in glass, and for that, I’m more grateful than words can possibly convey. So to Calvin, dear friend, you were the catalyst. THANK YOU. Our collaborations have resulted in pieces that I am more proud of than just about anything I’ve made before. And, we won kilns! Thank you.

And without further ado, here are a few photos: 

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