Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Wizard of Odds ArtVenture with Michael deMeng, Day One, Two and Three

Wizard of Odds ArtVenture
New Orleans, LA
January, 2016

Once again I ventured down to New Orleans, Louisiana, for a workshop created by Katherine Engen of Valley Ridge Art Studio featuring artist and teacher Michael deMeng.  This year the workshop is titled Wizard of Odds and that is our theme for the whole time we are there.

Because our theme is the Wizard of Odds I decided I wanted to do something that would represent that moment in the movie when Dorothy opens the door and we move from the world of black and white into the wonderful world of color.  However, I purposely did not choose to represent that moment in the movie but instead decided to build the eerie and scary Wizard of Odds throne.  You know, the moment just as the Wizard says, "Ignore the man behind the curtain!"

Andrea Matus deMeng teaches a method she calls "auditioning" during her collage workshop.  The principle works equally well when doing assemblage.  At home, I was able to audition the shapes I wanted, do some drilling on my drill press and be prepped to start once I got to NOLA.  

An old barometer and a drawer pull become the featured pieces.

A serving dish has two candle holders that will work to hold the arms.

Once both guages are removed, a found a round metal piece for one of the holes.  

Auditioning the look.  

The drawer pull will be my "fake" wizard.

This plastic frame fits perfect and adds a third layer to the sculpture.

Looking through to see the Wizard of Odds.

Here is where the real Wizard, the Man Behind the Curtain, will be featured on the piece.  Eventually, this was not the image I used in the project.  More on that later.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

I flew out of Milwaukee this date on an 8:00 a.m. flight to Atlanta.  After my connection, I am in NOLA by 12:30 p.m.  I checked in at the Hotel St. Marie, our workshop and home for the week.  I was very hungry so I walked out onto Bourbon Street and had some red beans and rice.

That night we had an invitation from NOLA artist Linda Berman to come on over to her house for a rummage sale.  To a group of assemblage artists, this is gold.  We met our favorite NOLA driver Mike outside Hotel St. Marie's lobby and off we went.

Linda Berman not watching her treasures leave her garage.

Linda's art

The group went out to dinner that night at the Royal House Oyster Bar.  We closed the night on Frenchman's Street, taking advantage of the Sunday night art market that always has fascinating art and crafts to view or buy.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Our first workshop of the week was the "Wizard of Odds Parade Banners" taught by Andrea Matus deMeng.  We are making these banners to carry in the parade we will have later in the week.  Here is Andrea with the class sample.

We all started with a piece of canvas and used a multitude of layers and mixed media techniques to bring our banner to life.

The base coat for my banner.

The trimming.

Auditioning the parts.

My table mate Kelley Clarke. (photo by Katherine Engen)

Cris Smith, Lynn Ovenden, me, Deb Petronio and Kelley. (photo by Katherine Engen)

(photo by Katherine Engen)

(photo by Tom Ciulla)

The finished banner (photo by Katherine Engen)

Whenever we wander at night, some kind of NOLA nightlife beckons.

When we go to NOLA we are very lucky that our tour guide Katherine Engen is such good friends with master jewelry maker Thomas Mann of New Orleans.  The evening began with a PowerPoint presentation by Thomas about his Trajectory Heart Project which was a fascinating look at his process and the experiences that he had because of it.

Thomas invited us over to his house this night for a meal which is prepared by the master himself and his staff.  The meal is served within the lower level of Thomas' house and it makes a unique setting for all of us.

The other big event of this night was wig selection for the parade.  To say it was a party would be an understatement.  Some alcohol may have been involved.

To recover from the party, Thomas arranged for a coffee truck to stop by which added another unique NOLA experience to the evening and did nothing to end the party.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

9:00 a.m. this morning was the start time for the Wizard of Odds Workshop with Michael deMeng.  I have gotten real smart with how I pack for these remote workshops.  I pre-plan my project at home and get a head start with some of the mechanical things like drilling holes.

Here are the parts for this years project carefully selected and worked on at home and laid out on my table in NOLA.

Photo by Katherine Engen

Whenever you work on projects with activities planned around them, it is important to think about getting clay on stuff to get it hard and ready to use while we are roaming around.  

Photo by Kathy Gould

That lunch hour we went shopping to the same area we had been in previous year.  Believe it or not, it has been a year since the Cat Whisperer met this store cat but I swear he still loves me.  Every year he crawls up in my lap and we bond.

Photo by Cris Smith

This afternoon it is off to Mardi Gras World to see the floats being built.  This is the staging and building warehouse for the Mardi Gras parades.  This was a gas--so photographic that I did not want to leave.

Some people enjoyed the experience more than others.

The most amazing thing I learned at Mardi Gras World is that most of the float figurines are made out of styrofoam.

Now let's look at the floats.

...and we even found some float survivors who fit our theme.

That night, due to William Weber's planning, we went to see the band Rebirth Brass Band perform at the Maple Leaf bar.  It was crazy busy, nosey and eventually I heard the band best by standing outside on the sidewalk--but oh, man--that was one night of great NOLA music.

The Rebirth Brass Band at the Maple Leaf Bar (not my photo)