This Friday in Des Moines – Public Art Reception for Prairie: Traces

Prairie: Traces by Amy Uthus Porcelain, steel, sunlight, time. 7' x 7' x 24".

Prairie: Traces
by Amy Uthus
Porcelain, steel, sunlight, time.
7′ x 7′ x 24″

You’re Invited!

Please join me this Friday, from 6-7:30PM, at the Wesley House – Drake University, for the unveiling of Prairie: Traces, my latest artwork. Standing seven feet high and nearly seven feet wide, the piece contrasts unyielding steel and fragile porcelain while harnessing and focusing the natural elements of light and time. A twist on the ancient sundial, I’m really excited about how it works and am thrilled to be able to share it with the Des Moines community.

The fragility of porcelain and the unforgiving hardness of steel remind us of life on the prairie: a delicate, subtle beauty belying incredible natural dangers. Distilling light and time into a single entity, we are unconsciously reminded of the roles each play in life on the Plains. Traces’ connection to the land is familiar to Iowans, who live surrounded by growth and sky.

You and your friends are invited to experience Prairie: Traces in person. Here are the details…
Wesley House Gallery
2718 University Ave.,
Des Moines, IA 50311
October 9-November 5
Opening reception: Friday, Oct. 9 from 6-7:30pm,
Artist talk: Thursday, Oct. 22 at 8:30pm
.
All events are free and open to the public.

This project is funded in part by the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

To see a video of Prairie: Traces in action, please visit this link to vimeo.

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Recap of Glass.Fiber.Stone

Glass.Fiber.Stone wrapped up yesterday afternoon.  It was a great experience, and I’m very grateful to have been invited to take part in it!  As a recent graduate of an MFA program, I was a little nervous about how this first professional experience would go.  However, it turned out there was nothing to be afraid of.  Everyone associated with the show was so helpful, kind, and genuine that it made the entire experience pretty wonderful!

I’d like to thank Megan, Carrie, Abbie and Aaron, and everyone else who worked hard to make the show possible.  You guys are truly amazing.  Thank you also to the following people for donating $50 or more to my Kickstarter page, helping bring my work and me to the Feed and Grain (in no particular order) :

Deb and Kim Kaul, Eric and Jackie Uthus, John Liffrig, Anonymous, Eve Bingham, Sheila and Annie, Matt Kaul, and Studio Bluebird.

Travel to this show was also supported by the University of Masschusetts Dartmouth’s Graduate Studies Office and College of Visual and Performing Arts.

Thank you all for your help!

Here are some more images from the weekend (Kate, I need a picture of your piece to include here!):

Lauren’s website: http://www.laurendeserreskelischek.blogspot.com/

Lauren’s blog: http://laurenldeserres.com/home.html

Abbie’s website: http://abbierpowers.wix.com/artist

Abbie’s blog: http://camelhairandhoney.wordpress.com/

Kate’s website: http://katefrazerrego.wix.com/artist

Backers, if you’d like to vote for your favorite image (to go on the magnets), please email your vote to me at ice_cream50(at)hotmail(dot)com.  Here are the three to choose from…

Choice 1

Choice 2

Choice 3

1500 – Day 2

It was a toasty 104 degrees or somewhere thereabouts here in Loveland today.  Despite the heat, we had a good turnout for the second day of Glass.Fiber.Stone.  The hardy folks who have been braving the intense weather to come to the show are great to talk with and seem genuinely interested in all the work and artists.  It’s very refreshing and encouraging – a great first post-graduate experience!

Today I decided to try encouraging people to “root around” or “dig” for the perfect heartstone in an attempt to get them more involved in changing the piece’s shape and size.  With no further ado, here are today’s pictures:

Check back tomorrow (or I guess later today!) to see how it finishes. 🙂

The first day – 1500 time-lapsed photography

Hi everyone!  Here are the time-lapsed images of 1500 from the opening night of Glass.Fiber.Stone.  We had a great turnout (around 450 people in 3 hours, I think).  It’s hard to see the changes in these photos, but they’re there, I promise!   Tomorrow I think I’m going to zoom in a little closer.  I’ll also space the photographs farther apart – an hour between each instead of a half-hour.  Thanks for joining me as I learn how to present and document an interactive piece like this.  🙂

Newfangled Lights

Hey!  Where are you and what are you doing?  I’m back in God’s Country and I’m a bit behind on my blog…

I wanted to write tonight for two reasons:

1) My Kickstarter project is funded.  Thank you to everyone who contributed; you’ve made an impact on 1,500 other people as well as my life and future!  I’ll be working on Backer rewards soon.  There are still some rewards left, if you’d like to donate and push the project over 100%.  Click here to check it out.  It closes tomorrow night at 11:59pm.

2) I ordered the lights for said project a couple of days ago.  Now, I know this is probably not very exciting to the rest of you, but the UPS man brought them this evening and to put it simply: they made my night.  They are SO COOL.  I don’t know nearly enough about lights and lighting systems to completely geek out over them, but if I did, that’s what would be happening right now.  My original plan called for regular light ropes to wind under the 1.500 individual ceramic pieces on the floor.  I was a little worried about the thickness/bulk of the rope in comparison to the size of the heartstones, but I figured I’d make it work somehow as I didn’t know of any other options.

That is, I didn’t know of any other options until Amazon.com, that creeptastic genius, kept track of what I was clicking on and suggested “micro LED string lights.”  These lights are on two superfine silver wires that can be bent and rebent to any shape.  They’re small and bright and battery operated, which is perfect because the Feed & Grain is going to be running on generators during the show, and my other piece (Invincible Summer) is going to be an energy suck.  Beautiful, but definitely in need of strong halogen lighting.

At any rate, after opening the packages tonight and rigging up the batteries, let me tell you something – this is one time I was glad my so-called internet privacy was non-existent.  I promptly went back online and ordered another string, one that’s longer with more lights per foot (20′ and 120 lights vs. 7′ and 20 lights).  Here are some pictures of these sweet sweet babies.  I hope they’ll allow you to at least partially join in my joy… 😉

Micro LED string lights

Flexible light rope (my other purchase for experimentation) – probably not quite as usable in my work as the string lights, but still pretty neat.  I wish it retained its shape when bent, like the string lights.

Okay so maybe I did geek out, just a little bit.

See you soon (probably from Colorado!).

Unpaid Interns, KickStarter Update, and a Contest, I suppose

Hello there everyone!

Where are you and what are you doing?  I just dropped my mom off at the airport in Providence.  She and my sister, Jen, were here for about a week, for graduation (which my dad came to too, but he had to leave early to go back to work).  I had promised them a luxurious vacation, going to Boston, Cape Cod, New York, and maybe even Montreal… well… they ended up being unpaid interns at Amy Uthus Ceramics instead!

It took me a lot longer to pack up my art and move out of my school studio than I thought it would.  Whoops.  They both worked really hard and maintained a great sense of humor about it though, which I appreciated.  Thank you both for all your help!  If I can remember to bring my memory card with me next time I’m at a computer with internet I’ll post some pictures of what my studio looked like prior to their arrival 🙂  and maybe I’ll post a picture of what my apartment looked like prior to the MFA show’s opening reception.  I might be too embarrassed to do that though…

Anyway, I’m writing to remind y’all (can I use that term even though I’m from ND?) about my KickStarter project, which is hopefully going to be used to fund my first post-graduation, professional show (in Loveland, CO).  I’ll have two pieces in the show – the one described on the project’s page http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/325571772/bring-1500-an-interactive-artwork-to-loveland-co and another one, called Invincible Summer, that will consist of 12 17″ x 19″ x 2mm thick lighted porcelain panels.  I’m looking for any help anyone is willing to give to get this project off the ground — What’s in your couch cushions these days??  Pledging is really easy – it only takes a couple of minutes.  So far the project is 47% funded.

Thanks to some amazing assistance designing and building crates, packing said crates, and hauling them to a shipping center, 1500 and Invincible Summer are on their way to Colorado as we speak!  They should arrive on Wednesday, June 6th.

Thank you to all the backers who have pledged support so far: Jackie and Eric, Jen, Sarah, Erika, Matt, John, Molly, Abbie, and Avery, and to the people who have been helping me with the aforementioned physical aspects of the project: My mom and sister, Shingo, Jim, Avery, Jessica, Allie.  You all are great!  I appreciate each and every one of you.

I’d also be most grateful if you could pass this project and link http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/325571772/bring-1500-an-interactive-artwork-to-loveland-co on to your friends in person or via email, facebook, twitter, linkedin, skype, blog, phone convo, texting, sign language, hand written letter, telepathy, telegraph, etc… there are only 12 days left to raise the remaining $562 needed to reach the goal of $1067.  1500 needs word-of-mouth help from people like you to succeed.  I’m really looking forward to installing this piece.  I’ve never made a piece where all the parts get taken away by the viewers (each person will be invited to take one of the 1,500 individual pieces home with them).

The organizers are expecting well over 1,000 people to see the art during a period of three days, which is great exposure for me at the beginning of my career.  It also should be a pretty sweet adventure (I was told the exhibition building, an old grain elevator, is currently inhabited by raccoons who “keep crapping all over”).  I’ll leave you with that lovely image 🙂  Hee hee!

Thank you for your help!
Amy

Also, if you made it to the bottom of this post, good for you!  Let’s have another contest, shall we?  Guess how much the actual shipping charges were to ship 2 crates and 2 boxes full of work to Colorado – person who’s closest wins.  Winner will receive one of my handmade translucent porcelain cups, shipped to your door (US only, sorry!).  Contest will end on Wednesday, June 6th, at whatever time I find access to the internet that day.

This rule is for my dad: one guess per person.  This rule is for me: you must be ‘following’ this blog to be eligible.

Ready, set, go!

KickStarter Project is Live!

Hi everyone!

Happy Wednesday to you all.  I’ve finished up my MFA (I think)… all my papers are signed, sealed and delivered to all of the right people, as far as I know.  Knock on wood!  Now I just need to clean out my studio, walk across the stage without crying, and then wait for my diploma to show up in the mail.  What a wonderful day that will be!

Until that day, and every day after, it’s on to bigger and better things.  🙂  I have two main projects on my plate this summer:

1) Glass Fiber Stone, a group show I was invited to be a part of, in Loveland, CO, and

2) An Artist-in-Residence position at Guldagergaard International Ceramics Research Center.

I’ve been working as much as I possibly can at the two jobs I have (workstudy for the Ceramics Dept., which ended yesterday), and catering for a lovely man named Greg.  However, it’s become quite clear to me that even with both of those jobs I’m not going to be able to cover the costs of these two career-boosting experiences.  So, after a good deal of thought, I’ve decided to start a KickStarter page.  I feel a little funny about doing it, but my projects are exactly what the site aims to help fund.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with KickStarter, it’s “a funding platform for creative projects.”  Anyone can start a page for their project.  What you do is this: you set a specific goal (mine is $1,067 – the cost of getting my piece and me to Loveland).  After setting your goal and publishing your page, you seek backers to pledge money toward that goal.  People can pledge any amount, starting at $1.  It’s important to note that it’s pledges, not donations.  If the goal isn’t met in the time allotted (my project has 29 days to succeed, beginning tonight!), none of the Backers who have pledged money are charged, and the project doesn’t receive any funding.  Backers are only charged if the project’s goal is totally met – meaning the project is strong enough to be completely backed.

If you’d like to check out my page, here’s a link: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/325571772/bring-1500-an-interactive-artwork-to-loveland-co.  I’d appreciate any help you’re willing to give, including non-pledge help like feedback on how to make the page stronger.  Thank you!

The project (titled 1500) will be comprised of 1,500 individual, handmade porcelain pieces like those shown below.  During the show, the public will be invited to take the pieces home with them.  As a result, the installation will constantly evolve as people interact with it.  Time lapse photography will be utilized, and my blog will be updated regularly with the changing images for the duration of the show.  This piece is an expansion of my thesis piece, Touch, which is partially based off my experiences in Istanbul at the Hagia Sophia, a 1,500 year-old structure.  You can read about Touch here and the Hagia Sophia here.

Amy Uthus Porcelain