Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Feast of Workshops in 2013

I am really looking forward to continuing my explorations in basketry in 2013. I've registered for three workshops this year and they are going to be sublime to say the least.

In March I'm going to Port Orchard Washington for the Northwest Weavers' Spring Retreat. I'm booked for Nadine Spier's Ornate Pine Needle Class. The Retreat this year is a sellout 
"Friendship" by Nadine Spier

In April I head to The Ranch Arts Centre in Snohomish for a Kelp Vessel course with Shannon Weber.

 Shannon's work is amazing and when I saw she would be teaching  Adventures In The In The Woven Vessel:When Fiber Meets Wax in August I couldn't (ahem) resist! 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Monday Morning- Starting a New Project

Today I am starting a new piece- a polymer clay and kelp vessel. Here's the preliminary  sketch- there may be four supporting muses- I'll determine that later on.

Shelley Poole, a clay friend from Vancouver mailed this massive light bulb to me several years ago and she told me she thought I could come up with a  good use for it. It has been hanging by my desk all this time encouraging me to come up with a "bright idea".
 Today it will be used as a form for weaving the kelp  Thanks Shelley!

I soaked the kelp yesterday and it's lovely and leathery today....

Work begins!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

First Significant Step!

 Remember how I was whining about doing my artists statement? Well- good news! It accompanied these five muses to the Craft Council Standards of Quality Jury for placement in CCBC venues and- they were accepted! I am absolutely delighted. The angst of writing the artist statement was well worth it!

 This week I'm beginning a special piece combining muses with woven kelp.

Saturday, January 26, 2013


I found this image in a copy of Real Simple last year. I love it.... it reminds me of myself as I figure out how to  bait my hook to get my work into a new gallery somewhere. I'm sitting in a little boat being inspired as I gaze into the undulating waves. The creative ride is lovely but what happens to my lure as it descends out of myr control in the unseen depths?... 

I can only sit and wait and hope I don't get seasick if things get rough!

(Sad to say Real Simple Failed to credit the artist.... typical) 

Monday, January 21, 2013

First Project of 2013... completed

I started 2013 with a plan to make a combination Basket and Muse project for the Chameleon Show but an unfortunate encounter with Norovirus stole a precious week of work. The nasty virus hit every member of the family except the cat. That was bad enough but I had planned to have some work showing this year's direction combining Muses and basketry and losing a week of work made the project impossible. I cheered myself up by spending the time I had available at the worktable and made these three Muses - (left to right) Vianne, Constance and Mora. 

People often ask about the names of the Muses. This year I decided to name each Muse after characters in the books I read this year.  

So now the Chameleon boxes are all inventoried, packed and ready for pick up and the next project is set in my sketchbook.... it combines kelp, clay and organic materials and I can't wait to get started!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Chameleon- A Polymer Clay Show!

The Vancouver Polymer Clay Guild is presenting CHAMELEON at the Seymour Art Gallery in Deep Cove. The Exhibition will run from February 5th- March 3rd and will feature the work of Carolyn Joy Good, Rachel Gourley, Tina Holden,  Wanda Shum, Joan Tayler, members of the Vancouver Polymer Clay Guilds and even me! I'm currently wrapping and boxing work that goes back to 2006 up to the present and i'm rapidly running out of bubblewrap!!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Vancouver Polymer Clayers- Horizons Retreat!

Check out The Vancouver Polymer Clay Guild Blog! They are hosting the "Horizons" Retreat in February. It's not too late to register but time is getting short for booking hotel rooms at a good rate. The teacher line up is outstanding, the venue is terrific and a great time is guaranteed. I'm unable to attend this time around and will miss seeing so many good friends.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

My Artist Statement!

Here is the long version of my artist statement. 
....playing with seaweed at Willows Beach when I was six.

I am a Vancouver Islander and my environment has always deeply affected my art. When I was a child I used to run down to the beach, gather cedar bark and kelp, tease the materials into long strips and spend happy hours weaving the cords into wall hangings and baskets. Later I'd follow trails through the forest and cut panels of alder bark to make tiny canoes for floating down the creek. My imagination was alive with stories and my first works of craft were props for my play making. My childhood freedom gave me early training for my current work. Storytelling is infused in my pieces as I work to achieve a subtle narrative based either on the character of the figure I am sculpting or a suggestion of past history with surface treatments and the design of my vessels. I was delighted when someone once commented that a piece I had made was Futuristic Primitive  as she couldn't decide if the piece reminded her of an ancient artifact or a prop from a science fiction movie! 

My Storytelling Muse awakens whenever I walk on the seashore or in a rain forest. The west coast environment envelops me in a creative cloak tinted with muted, misty colours and undulating textures. The sound of the waves and wind in the trees inspire mood and rhythm as I sketch my ideas. I capture colour combinations with my camera and fill my pockets with glorious collections of stones and 
inspirational tangles of organic materials that I use to stamp in the clay or weave into my work. 

I have been using polymer clay as my primary medium for for almost twenty years. Polymer Clay is a synthetic material that fires at 275 F. It is available in a myriad of mixable colours as well as a translucent version for 3 dimensional surface effects. It can be sculpted, stamped, carved and even turned on a lathe or potters wheel. Adding inclusions such as sand, ash, ground herbs and spices or crushed clamshells results in interesting variations that imitate natural materials such as jade, opal, turquoise or even rusted metal. As the clay fires at a low 275 F it can be fired repeatedly with organic or mineral inclusions and attachments. I am able to carve, stamp and "scritch scratch"  the surface of the clay for effects that I highlight and colour with alcohol inks. I include pieces from my collections of silk and wool fibres, organic materials and beach-combed treasures for connections and texture.

I have recently discovered that weaving with kelp affords many of the advantages of polymer clay. It assumes a malleable leathery texture that presents a sculptural weaving experience and like polymer clay it may packed with molding materials to support and to coax interesting shapes as it is oven-fired at low temperatures. My current focus is upon figurative sculpture and vessel building and I am especially interested in combining these synthetic and natural materials by constructing polymer clay, kelp, cedar and sweet grass vessels with figurative support structures.

Meeting people at shows and exhibitions is always a wonderful experience and I feel enormously encouraged when my work motivates conversation but nothing is more exciting than hearing people invent stories to complete the connection between the artwork and the viewer. As I see it, my role is to incorporate influences from my landscape to create pieces that inspire the viewer to celebrate their own 
sense of play and in turn find joy in creating their own stories as they view my work.

Gera Scott Chandler- Victoria, BC 2013