Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Preserving Visual Materials at the McKay Archives - Florida Southern College

In July I had the pleasure of attending the Society of American Archivists' two day workshop on Preservation and Identification of 20th Century Visual Materials. Not only was this a great workshop on a great topic, but it was also hosted by the impressive McKay Archives on the stunning campus of Florida Southern College.

The best part of the workshop was the instructor John Waggener's impressive teaching collection of photographs. It's so hard to tell, for example, if you're looking at an Albumen POP print or a Collodion POP print just by reading a description in a book. Having the opportunity to handle and compare all the different processes side by side was absolutely invaluable. We even had the opportunity to experiment with Impossible film- the Impossible Project's attempt to recreate Polaroid's lost formula for instant film.

The second best part of the workshop would have to be the people. We had an excellent crew with representation from Disney, The Ringling Museum, Stetson University, St. Petersburg College, the State Archives, several local libraries, and our gracious hosts at the Roux Library & McKay Archives. We even worked in a little tour of the McKay Archives led by Gerrianne Schaad, which included a processing area, gorgeous moveable shelving, and a small gallery.

The third best part of the trip was running around the Florida Southern campus and frolicking among all  of Frank Lloyd Wright's designs. I'm pretty sure I entered some buildings that I was not technically supposed to be in, but the campus was all but abandoned and I did not find a single locked door. For more photos of the Archives tour and my adventure through the Florida Southern campus, enjoy the Facebook album here.

Pretty sure I'm not supposed to be here.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Wecheer Carving Tool Kit & the Dawn of Dillo Dangle

Join me on my journey into the future as I purchase an electric chisel! A while back I purchased one to aide in my plans for Participation 2014 at the Maitland Art Center. Okay, so this was a looooong time ago, but it's relevant now because I've made some recent progress on that print. Let's go back to the very beginning….

Designing my table for Participation 2014 finally gave me the impetus to create the triptych I had been planing for the three matching wooden shelves that were discarded from UCF Library's Special Collections & University Archives. I finally decided on a swinging armadillo for the subject matter.

These blocks were rather large, and my design would incorporate a lot of white space. This plus a deadline meant it was finally time to invest in some hardware. I should explain that the power chisel function of the "Wecheer Professional Rotary & Carving Tool Kit" is very different than a rotary tool. I mean, yes there is a rotary tool in there, but that's not why I bought it. I hate carving woodblocks with rotary tools (or "dremel tools" in the common tongue). I feel like I loose all control once the rotary bit hits the wood and inevitably goes skidding off across the surface. Alternatively, the power chisel works much more like a hand carving tool and slices through woodblocks like butter, while still leaving a hand worked texture. (Technically, the block is still handworked, just with more power!)

Photo by Douglas Nelson
After finishing the detail work (and carving out a safety buffer outline) with my hand tools, the power chisel made the rest a dream. No more hours, days even, of carving out white space by hand with my biggest gauge, ensuring the early onset of osteoarthritis!

The triptych is designed to connect to each neighboring panel in the round, meaning if each piece were connected at the edges to make a triangular prism, the ropes in the design would connect across each edge and spiral around the prints. So, that's exactly what I created for my table display, with the addition of luminance. Each panel was printed on thin mulberry paper and backed with a fly pattern cut from Arches Text Weave so the prism could function as a lantern with images displayed both in ink and in light. I was very pleased with how it turned out, and I'm hoping to eventually create a more permanent version of the lantern. However the next step was to combine the panels into one image….. stay tuned for the next installment!

Photo by Douglas Nelson
Photo by Douglas Nelson

Special thanks to Douglas Nelson for the fantastic photos.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Participation 2015: Dinner & Exhibit

Art & History Museums - Maitland's big artist dinner, Participation, came and went again this year, and I had the honor of hosting a table for the third time. I think this year was the best yet- housed in the newly renovated Germaine Marvel Building, food and art to die for, and amazing table guests! It was so much fun to spend the night with many of my favorite artists and friends, Nathalie Chikhi, Danielle DeGuglimo, Marla E, Kevin Haran, Martha Lent, Suzanne Oberholtzer, Dawn RosendahlDawn Schreiner, and Butch Charlan as well as meet some new ones such as Scott Donald and Maxwell Hartley.

My table design was a 3-D version of a woodcut featuring an aquatic creature swinging in a tangle of ropes. I was especially excited for this year's dinner, because I finally succeeded in creating take aways for all of my table quests. I created little "pillow" animals and provided a length of rope for each guest to add them into the tangle framed in the middle of the table. At the end of the night, everyone could untie them and take their animals home.

This year also included an alumni exhibit after the dinner event - Participation: Classes of 2013-2015. This is the first time I've had the privilege of showing at the Maitland Art Center. I had hoped to showcase a brand new print, but unfortunately it was just too small for the space, and the Curator, Rebecca Sexton-Larson, asked if she could substitute one of the prints I donated to the Participation dinner auction. I was a bit bummed that my piece was going to be a repeat appearance, but that did little to dull my enthusiasm for such an exiting opportunity. Besides, the new snake print I started at ARTLANDO 2014 will be making a debut soon- wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

EDIT: I completely forgot to mention that this year's Participation Dinner won Orlando Weekly's Best Dinner With an Artist! As if you needed more proof of what a dynamic and unique evening it really is!

Participation 2015 Artists
Most of the beautiful photos were taken by TipsoPhoto

Monday, April 6, 2015

Long Way to the Top Will Melt Your Face Off

This weekend the latest exhibit opened at the Orange County Regional History Center. Be prepared to have your faces melted off by Long Way to the Top: Hard Rock in Orlando 1977-1985.

Mixing station? Check.
Wood paneling? Check.
Hand stamp at the door? Check.
Actual license plate on actual bumper? Check.
Epic members-only jacket? Check.
Local bands? Check.
Facts you never new about Rock in Orlando? Gazillion Checks.

Don't think Orlando was a hot bed for Rock & Roll music? Oh I'm sorry, I couldn't hear you over OUR GIANT WALL OF GOLD AND PLATINUM RECORDS!

Seriously, this may be one of the coolest exhibits I've ever seen and I can't take much credit for it. All I've done is handle the loan paperwork, help with condition reports, and do some framing (printmaking has made me a framing master). The big movers and shakers for this exhibit have been the Research Librarian, Adam Ware (that's Dr. Ware to you!) and the Exhibits Researcher, Emilie Arnold. They have built this exhibit from the ground up- back when we only had two photos, a poster, and a Zeta7 bumper sticker. They have put their hearts and souls into this exhibit, and it shows. It took a lot of sacrifice too. Poor Adam had to talk to some of his childhood idols for hours on end. Needless to say, it was begrudging work.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the impeccable designs of Ashley Wells: the sick logo, the posters, and even GUITAR PICKS!; and the creations of Paul Trembly: when I said mixing station I meant an actual working mixing board where YOU can mix original tracks from bands such as Molly Hatchet.

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE! This Friday (April 10th), Adam will be hosting a panel discussion full of staff from Bee Jay Recording Studio. It will be worth it just to see all of their faces when they step into the recreated Bee Jay control room, complete with view of the recording room. I'm predicting grown men crying. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Looking Back at ARTLando (plus a Gridwall Review)

Photo by Don Richards

ARTLando seems forever ago, and in a lot of ways it was. So why write about it now? I never had a chance to give it the reflection that an event of this magnitude really deserves. ARTLando was September 27th, two days later I started my new job as Collections Manager at the Orange County Regional History Center, seven days later was my 28th birthday, and two days after that my mom passed away.

ARTLando just got lost in the shuffle.

This was my first foray into a legitimate art festival, and six months of reflection has left me with the feeling of "Yeah, I could do that again." A day of reflection, however, left me with the feeling of "NEVER! Never again should I ever put my body through this!" I was bruised and sore and a little bloody, but it really was worth it.

Some big thanks go out to Dawn Schreiner who lent me her big fancy white tent and saved me a huge amount of up-front investment. It took me way too long to figure out how to set that tent up, and really all the credit for that goes to Kelly Gaiser and Joey Young- my impromptu set-up and tear-down crew that I egregiously overworked. The manpower needed to pull off an art festival is something I'll be giving some serious thought to before participating in another one. I'm so used to my husband being my partner in crime for art events that the addition of my daughter (and therefore the subtraction of my husband) really threw me off my game.

One big investment I did make was the Gridwall panels for displaying my framed pieces. It took Joey and I working together to get them up, but I was able to take them down by myself (with several seriously smashed fingers) and, with practice, I think I could become self-sufficient with the whole process. Once up, I was pleased (and surprised) with how sturdy they were. They also store fairly painlessly at home - something I was worried about due to our teensy tinsey house.

One of the components that set ARTLando apart was the live art making and the judging to be done on said live art project. I thought to myself "Sure, I've carved and printed a piece in one day before, let's give it the good ol' Whitney Broadaway overachieving try!" Needless to say, that did not work. I might have been able to finish my snake linocut if I wasn't busy talking to guests, selling artwork, and just not being rude in general. Might. Well, it didn't hurt to try, and I made a lot of headway into a new print. I don't think I'll miss dragging the Richeson Baby Etching Press to the next art festival I do.

One last thing that has to be mentioned: the people. The people at ARTLando were fantastic! The staff was incredibly helpful and nice (one helped out with setting up the tent which brings the total up to four people who could NOT figure that thing out!), the artists were talented and a pleasure to be around (I met so many new friends and was able to enjoy so many old ones), and the guests brought so much genuine interest and excitement to the day (many of which I'm still in contact with). I truly hope this becomes an annual event!

Me, my husband, and my daughter meeting one of the many puppies visiting ARTLando. Photo by Thuyvi Gates. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Collections Manager - Orange County Regional History Center

For the past six months I've had the pleasure to look out on this view as the new Collections Manager at the Orange County Regional History Center. It was sad leaving the UCF Library, but also very exciting to have a full time position doing something I love and working in a museum! One of the biggest perks of my new job is being so close to my own family's history. I am a fourth generation Central Floridian and my great-great-grandparents moved to Orlando in 1893. The Hanson family farm is now the site of Jones High School,  the Hanson Shoe Repair shop on Pine Street is now a speakeasy by the same name, and my Grandpa's packing house, Indian Lake Fruit Co., lives on in the citrus label collection. 
Here is a snippet from my newly updated CV to give an idea of what I'm up to over at the History Center, and no, I'm not calling people and collecting money:

"Responsible for the day-to-day management of the historical collection including completing and maintaining paperwork for donated items and loans and implementing basic conservation treatments. Monitor the environmental conditions and security of the museum’s permanent and traveling exhibits. Coordinate scheduling, delivery, and installation of museum traveling exhibits and complete condition reports. Maintain the museum collection management software database. Process and catalog collections with special emphasis on the 3-D artifacts and photograph collection. Assist in the creation and installation of exhibits. Assist in obtaining new donations and responsible for overseeing the collection management policy. Member of the Editorial Board for the quarterly publication of the Historical Society, Reflections Magazine."

View of the collection at our offsite storage facility

Monday, May 5, 2014

Star Book Binding Workshop

Last month I had the pleasure of teaching a workshop at Art & History Museums - Maitland on my favorite type of binding: the star book. I've been looking forward to this for so long and I would be lying if I said I wasn't a little nervous about it. Luckily, I had a fantastic group of students that were full of creativity (as always)! Star books are so versatile so it was a joy to see everyone's ideas blossom and start to push the structure to its full potential.

A star book has multiple layers that almost turns each section into it's own tunnel book. For this reason it can be a little intimidating, but aside from it's unwieldy nature during binding it is actually very simple to make. Unlike my previous workshops, it's not a book that can really be bound blank. Well... I suppose you could make a blank star book, but it kind of defeats the purpose of the structure. So, this is the first time I've incorporated content production into my workshop and I definitely did not divvy out enough time for it! We all stayed about two hours after the workshop ended, but I think everyone had fun and I know everyone got to finish their books. Next time around, this will be an all day event! In the meantime, enjoy all of these star books made by the students: