Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Haystack Wrapup

Wow!  The summer has gone by in a flash and so did my week at Haystack.  Even Hurricane Irene, which ended up being mostly just wind in that part of the state, couldn't keep me away.  Unfortunately, some people did get held up due to the hurricane.

This year we had a wonderful teacher, Patrik Kusek, and our TA was Lisa Cain.  I have admired their work for years and it was like meeting a couple of rock stars for me!   Patrik's teaching style was such that I immediately felt comfortable.  Our focus was to be on our artistic voice, which is a challenge for me, not having come from an artistic background.  We did several exercises to bring out our artistic voice and help foster creativity.  It made me feel much better when Patrik said that he didn't used to consider himself artistic and when I found out Lisa creates many of her pieces without first drawing them out, as I often do.

We learned a lot of dry construction techniques, and even with those I have used before I found new and easier ways to work.  We also used found objects, something I do very little of.  I tried to push myself to do things differently than I normally would and the pieces I made are a bit different than my usual work, I think.

We worked on shadow boxes to practice dry construction techniques and as a way to showcase things important to us.  This piece is called "Haystack 2011".  The texture on the front is carved into the dry clay and is meant to look like the wood boards that are used on the interior of all the buildings at Haystack.  The "window" is the shape of the buildings.  The back is made with a texture that I thought looked like rough waves.  I thought that was appropriate considering we arrived during Hurricane Irene (which really wasn't much in that neck of the woods - just a lot of wind).  In the window, I embedded a tiny piece of green sea glass I found on the beach the morning after the hurricane.


We also made rings - something in which I need practice.  My first ring is also my favorite piece of the bunch.  Patrik showed us a mosaic ring he made out of many different bits of textured clay.  This is my version of it, set with a very large cubic zirconia.  I love this technique and I think I will do more.

The other ring I made is called "Trash and Treasure" and was inspired by another walk on the beach.  I was picking up bits of broken shell, sea glass and other things I thought were pretty when it crossed my mind that those things I considered "treasures" were or had been trash to someone else.  If you enlarge the picture you will see have embedded sea glass, tiny shells and bits of sea urchin shell in resin.  On the bottom are bits of a piece of partially burned newspaper that I found in the woods on the same walk.



I also made a pair of earrings with the same theme.  

Continuing with the found objects theme, I decided to use a piece of mica given to me by one of my classmates to encase a luna moth wing I found earlier this summer and have been keeping in my flower press ever since.



This piece is large - nearly three inches across.  It looks simple, but a lot of work went into the shape and size of the frame, as well as the consideration of the best way to showcase the wing.  The mica was split in half with a layer under the wing and a layer over, sandwiched in between the frame and the backing and then all layers were riveted together.  It holds the wing nicely and the mica gives it a sort of sepia look.

Haystack is such a beautiful place.  I don't think anyone could go there and not be creative.  I hope I stretched my artistic wings a bit.  I know I will use many of the brainstorming techniques I learned from Patrik!  We also made a mobile with words to describe our artistic vision.  I will keep mine right on my work table to remind me of Haystack and the themes I want to keep in my pieces. 

One more year until the next class!


  1. Lisa, love the Haystack pendant and the mosaic ring. They're something different from what you've been doing. Great job!

  2. Wow! I love the shape of the mosaic ring and the trash to treasure is gorgeous! It looks like you had a wonderful time.

  3. Lisa, this is great! I love that you thought outside of the box and used your style with different ideas!

  4. Wonderful work! It's so exciting to stretch yourself further isn't it? I love the moth pendant, what a cool use of mica!

  5. Lisa- This was a terrific post! It looks as though you have implemented a great deal of new techniques, and I love everything you showed here!

  6. This is a wonderful post- I love all the pieces, but the mosaic ring s my favorite- just gorgeous! I would love to learn that.

  7. Lisa (and Willow!)-
    Haystack sounds like a magical place--thanks for sharing about it. I love your new mosaic ring and the found object jewelry is wonderful. You've outdone yourself with the Luna moth pendant-- it's absolutely gorgeous!


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