Sunday, March 29, 2015

family, awards, doughnuts!

 If you've read anything here before, you already know that Lander is the best place to get your art degree.  Several of the reasons why can be found in the odd panoramic photo above.  Open the photo in your browser and fully enjoy the table setting filled with faculty and students who are all present by choice on a weekend just because we like each other.  We met in Sparkle City Saturday for dinner at Mellow Mushroom in preparation for the reception and awards ceremony for the 3rd Annual Collegiate Invitational Art Exhibition at the Spartanburg County Public Library Headquarters.  Look closely and you'll also see our server with her seven fingered hand.  Thank you iPhone pano!

 The 3rd ACIAE is a cool event the library puts on each year and is the brainchild of Miranda Sawyer, the library's art coordinator.  The exhibit brings in 8 upstate colleges and universities and exhibits the work of 48 student entries along with 16 faculty pieces.  The invitational work is judged and the library sponsors a great set of awards.  It is a wonderful thing for our students.  We've participated each year and Professor Slagle and I have always attended with a great group of students.  

 This photo is a little more professional, except for the bald guy putting bunny ears on people.  We can't take him anywhere.  Our students are awesome for showing up to an event like this and even better, we have students like Elizabeth, Lindsay and Mia who just showed up to support their ArtFamily.  (L-R: Logan, Kayla, Elizabeth, me, Daniel, Lindsay, Slagle, Mia, Jeremiah, other Kayla, and Braden)

 This is Logan's photo entry featuring another student, Molly as the model.  Logan says the most wonderful things.  Just before leaving the restaurant, she asked, "So, does this library have books?"

There's Jeremiah with his beautiful oil painting.  And if I were a better person with a better memory, I would also be showing several other images of students standing with their work.  Sorry y'all.

 Side note:  Ric Flair is coming to the library on April 17!  Wooooooooooooo!

 And because our students are awesome, they always do well with the awards.  There's a very excited Braden and Kayla up there.

 Braden won the Friends of the Library Award for his sculpture "Allocation".  And he went the whole night without a hat on his head.  Surely a first.

 Kayla pulled in two awards, a Merit Award and the Library Purchase Award for her ceramic sculpture "Remnants".

What better way to celebrate victory (or a Saturday) than going to Krispy Kreme?

We ate a LOT of doughnuts.  And special thanks goes out to the table behind us for the nicest, most polite photobomb ever.  

Sunday, March 22, 2015

visiting artist Logan Woodle

11 or so years ago I had this dude in my 3D-1 Design class at Winthrop.  He was from Conway, he was polite and he had a lot of potential.  The next semester he signed up for 3D-2 with me.  Then he became a star in the jewelry and metals area and made some great sculptures, some of which are still publicly displayed on campus.  Next he went north for grad school and after a couple of very snowy winters, he made the right choice to come back south.  Now he's Assistant Professor of Art at Coastal Carolina University and he's making some really awesome metal sculpture.  

 Last week he was kind enough to drive across the state with a jeep full of artwork.  On Monday we set up his exhibit "Heirloom" in the Lander University Jackson Library.  This work is on view now through the end of the semester.  

 Each one of his metal functional sculptures comes with an interesting narrative that comes from his own family history.

 It wouldn't do them justice to try to tell them here so go see the exhibit and read each story while you stand in front of the work.

 And the details of each sculpture will amaze you.  Absolutely beautiful.

 Pigs, dogs, utters and chitlins.  Who could ask for more?

 Then on Tuesday Logan fired up his forge on the sculpture patio and gave us a blacksmithing demonstration.  

 He also brought his super anvil and his array of specialty hammers.  Don't get me wrong, I love me a hammer and I'm goofy enough to have a favorite hammer, but Logan takes this to a whole new level.  I think he brought 10.  And that was probably just his travel bag.

 And because we have the coolest art department in the world, we had about 50 people watching the demo.

 Logan is cool and a great speaker.  He taught us a bunch and he did it in an entertaining way.

 After he showed us all what to do, he loaned his anvil and his selection of hammers to anyone brave enough to give it a try.  Oscar jumped in first.

 Metal Megan got in on it.

And then Braden showed everyone up by taking a few swings and somehow making a steel ampersand.  Impressive.

 Then we let Logan get some water and a quick lunch before giving us a great presentation in the art gallery.  

 He explained his process and told us how he develops family stories into sketches and then hammers them into beautiful sculptures.  He even explained the finer points of chitlins to us.  And pigs' feet.

Go see "Heirloom" at Lander University's Jackson Library now through May 2.  And if you can't get there, use your computer to see the work at

Sunday, March 15, 2015

the chronicles of spring break

 Spring break unofficially started very early Friday morning for me with the news that Metal Megan won 2nd Place in the Peachbelt Art Exhibit.  Her steel sculpture was awarded out of 61 entries from 8 different colleges.  

 A couple of hours later I got to watch as Metal Megan found out about her award while we represented Lander Visual Art at the 2nd Annual College Art Day at the SC State Museum in Columbia.  That's Mia, Megan and Braden making Lander look good.

 After work we got to snoop around the museum and check out the cool art.

 Later in the weekend we had the rare treat of hanging out with Donovan and Ginger at the same time.  Donovan is all married now and living in Nashville with his lovely wife while he "teaches" at Belmont University.  He normally plans his visits while we are out of town but we lucked up this time and our spring breaks allowed us to get together to catch up.  He mocked studio art teachers and I mocked those hour long "academic" classes.

 The spring break forecast called for rain all week.  I needed to draw and do tons of boring computer work for school so I didn't complain too much.  But Zeke needs his regular hiking fix so we ignored the rain chance and drove up to Paris Mountain State Park for a nice long walk uphill. 

 The park is pretty cool and since the weather forecast is always wrong, we didn't even have to get wet.

 Zeke has a preference for local organic spring water.  He loves to get it right from the source.

 We hiked the Sulphur Springs trail loop so we had that flowing water bottle beside us for half the walk.

 We even took the time to check out the giant bridge that was built over the tiny creek near the pond.  Pretty useless, but beautiful.

 A day or so later the rainy weather stopped around noon and turned into a sunny, warm day.  I only noticed because Timber made me stop drawing to take him outside.  Once he had me out there in the sun, he dropped to the grass and refused to get up.  I took the hint and we sat in the sun for about an hour.

 And I still managed to finish the drawing.  It's a 2' x 3' piece of wood so it took quite a while.

 After all the items on the to-do list were scratched through, G and I sneaked away to Charleston.  (By the way, "sneaked" is the correct word.  I looked it up.  "Snuck" is currently accepted but "sneaked" is officially correct.)

 Rain was still in the forecast but we managed to dodge it completely.  We also got to do some great people watching.  We sat in White Point Gardens and watched this group of grown men participate in some sort of training exercise.  Each man had to carry another man on his shoulders the entire length of the gardens and then back again.  There was a dude with a fancy camera filming them (and laughing at them) and another dude with a microphone keeping them motivated.  We saw the same group the following morning over in Mount Pleasant carrying a full size telephone pole down the sidewalk.  Strangeness.

We also sat on a bench and watched group after group try their luck at having their photo made sitting on the low live oak limb.  Most of them eventually got the photo, but they paid for it in public humiliation.  Almost all of them needed assistance getting into position without breaking their face.

 We took the required walk along the Battery.

 And because we needed a beach fix, we made a quick stop by Sullivan's Island to see some sand and waves.  The stop was really quick because the wind was very cold and one of us did not bring a jacket.  

We ate nearly non-stop while we were there.  Page's Okra Grill was excellent but the banana pudding was still weighing me down the next morning as I ran.  

Thursday, March 5, 2015

getting plastered

Plaster pouring day is always exciting.  Exciting for me at least because I know what's going to happen.  Students are always a little apprehensive because they don't know what's going to happen.  Here's how the controlled chaos went down:

 Dread was fearless and jumped right in up to her elbow mixing the first batch.

 Queen Elizabeth V  donned her Bane mask and her Peaches or Peace pants for the occasion.

 Goat Girl was all smiles.

 ...and then the leaks began.

 ...and they got worse

 ...and the bonding began.  They look like scouts around a campfire.  Except with plaster in their hair.
...and on their hands, legs and noses.  And all over my floor.

 The pouring took a long time with that first class and when it came time to clean up, suddenly everyone had a test or another class they had to attend.  The cleaning was left to the hardest worker, Violet, who had to take a sick day.  Look at that sweeping form.

Then we cleaned up outside (that's her working hard on the left).

 Once the room was clean she packed up her coloring books and her stuffed weenie dog, threw on her new sunglasses and posed for a few photos before heading to Bojangles.

 First thing Tuesday, the small class made their mess.  Syd Vicious, Tardy Jamie and Jamaica jumped in to stop up holes while Olivia stood behind them in silent judgment.

 After Olivia had enjoyed the show, Metal Megan came in to laugh and have her fun.  After my students survive the plaster disaster, they all delight in coming in to watch the new group of students flop around on the floor trying to keep plaster in their forms.

 In the afternoon it was time for the next class to have their fun.  It's great to watch the wide range of student types come together to help each other.

 ...and it's great to watch them get covered in plaster.

 Chelsea (in the glasses) seemed to love the entire experience.  Mia (in the upper left) came to laugh at the plaster-ers for the third year in a row.  You'll also notice our Art Historian beside Mia who came to help.  Notice how clean she is.  Smart choice.

 Megan came back and so did Jamaica (in the red) to see more fun in the afternoon.

 The afternoon class pouring went quickly and had relatively few disasters.

 They were all pretty proud of themselves.

Chelsea did such a good job mopping that she received a standing ovation.  She did well but the others were mostly clapping because they didn't want to mop.