Sunday, November 1, 2009

Looking for inspiration? Part 2

So in my last post I mentioned I had 2 things I did to re-inspire myself. A few weeks ago I stumbled across back to back programs on PBS called Craft in America and the programs were the most recent programs in a series that started a few years ago. The two programs were titled "Origins" and "Process". Each episode in the series (there are 5 in total) focuses on "a journey to the artist, origins and techniques of American craft". This is done by focusing on a few different types of craft artisans in each episode. Looking at the work of the potters, weavers, blacksmiths, glass-blowers, basket weavers, metal smiths etc. and hearing how they learned their craft or what inspired them to create was amazing!

I was so moved by the two episodes I saw that I had to know more about the series and I discovered that there were three other episodes shows before the two newest ones. You can watch the first 3 episodes of the series in their entirety right off the website Each one is about 55 mins and are broken into segments so even if you can not sit and watch 55 mins at one time, you can watch a few sections and then select the next segment to start at when you go back to watch it later. Also, if you are an educator (not just art, but math, science, social studies and more) there are great study guides to use to go with the series along with some video segments not in the series - like the book artist talking about math skills she uses to figure out how to make the book look like she envisions it.

In the first episode "Memory", the blacksmith Ton Joyce, has some really inspiring and profound comments. He talked about blacksmithing being made up of portions of items that have been made by others in the past. He had found a very old item that had been fixed many times over by blacksmiths of the past. It reminded him of the patchwork quilts his mother made and that thought has inspired his work since then. He was commissioned to create a baptismal font and he asked the members of the congregation to bring in iron items that reminded them of their past and then made each item into a plate that was forged together like a quilt that made up the bowl of the font "the idea being that the babies are baptized in the ancestry of [the] entire community."

Go check the videos out and be inspired to really think about what your art means to you and where it comes from.
- Gale

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