Week Two: Cabinets of Curiosity

Text and sketches by Sketch Artist Amy Forsyth

No sooner had we returned from Echo Lake than it was time to pull our postcard together for our upcoming exhibition.  The only problem was that we haven’t really had enough time to finish anything (or maybe even start anything?) to photograph for the card. Drawing to the rescue! I suggested that I sketch everyone with an object that is representative of what they plan to work on for the next weeks. And so… here’s the sketch of us that our genius graphic designer is in the process of turning into our publicity for the exhibition and also our open studio day on July 13th.

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The drawing for our postcard.  From left to right, John-Duane Kingsley (our scholar, who will arrive for a week in July), Jacob, with a multi-material turning, Ellie, with some brightly colored wood slats that she’s glued together, Josh, with one of his one-day sculpture projects, Per, with some wood strips he’s experimenting with using steam bending, Heide, with a bent wood experiment, Hartmut, with his giant octopus tentacles emerging from behind him, and me, with my ever present sketchbook.

Per, our Swedish resident, invited us to a Midsummer dinner he prepared, as best he could, from food found in our local supermarkets. We feasted on three different kinds of pickled herring, which were tasty with sour cream and potatoes, along with more familiar foods such as smoked salmon, roasted potatoes, salad, shrimp, and a cheese platter.  The main dish is called Jansson’s Temptation, and was made of potatoes, onions, and anchovies, and served with asparagus.  We washed it all down with beer and vodka, since akvavit was not available. Heide provided some twinkle lights for mood, and there was much merriment.

One of the most exciting events of this residency is the opportunity to visit collectors and see the amazing things they’ve accumulated over the years. Many of these collectors are in the Washington, DC area, and so we were able to combine a whirlwind tour of our nation’s Capital with a visit to several collectors and friends of wood art. We were treated to lunches, dinners, snacks, as well as food for the mind, as the collectors and wood aficionados are all extremely knowledgable and passionate about their objects and spaces.

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We drove through some rainstorms, Josh at the wheel, and arrived at our first stop, A Workshop of Our Own (WOO) in Baltimore, around dinner time. Here is WOO’s mission statement:

WOO’s mission is to create a professional woodworking environment which cultivates and promotes the careers of women and gender non-conforming craftspeople in our field. In doing so we aim to:

AMPLIFY OUR VOICES

BE A COLLABORATIVE SPACE FOR PROFESSIONALS

TRAIN ALL SKILL LEVELS IN A SUPPORTIVE ENVIRONMENT

PROVIDE APPRENTICESHIP OPPORTUNITIES

We had a tour of their facilities, and they generously provided pizza, salads, and lots of other treats for dinner, which we ate with the staff and volunteers in their outdoor picnic space between the building and the stream.  Tucked between a stream and the light rail line, their industrial site is an urban oasis, shared with other artist run venues.

We then went on to our hotel in Bethesda, strategically located within a few miles of nearly all of the collectors.

Our schedule was jam packed, and very specific on timing, precise in scheduling, and had clearly been arranged by someone who knew what they were doing. We found out later that our last host, Judy, a physician and docent at the Renwick, among other impressive activities, had arranged this for us.  For the sake of the privacy of the collectors, I will not identify them. But let it suffice to say that we were overwhelmed with the quality of the objects we were invited to explore, guided by our hosts.  None of us are wood turners, which had been the original focus of this residency, but we all marveled at the craftsmanship and beauty of the turned objects we were invited to hold in our hands, and we also were thrilled to see pieces of furniture that we’d previously only seen in magazines or publications of The Furniture Society.  We also visited with some local wood artists and the Director of the Renwick Alliance at Barbara Wolanin’s house.  The ITE residents had stayed there in previous years, when Barbara’s husband, Phil Brown, used to organize this trip.  Although he passed away about a year ago, his memory is being honored by many of those whose lives he touched.  We left there with some of his rough turned bowl blanks that will become an art project. There were several more visits that day, and we were intrigued to see how different collections can be, from those who have a wide range of interests to those who are fascinated primarily by one material (wood) and all the myriad things one can do with it. We were treated to lunches and dinners and thoroughly spoiled throughout the trip.

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Some drawings of some of the wonderful things (and people!) we saw on our trip.

We had a few hours between visits to stop in Washington, DC to visit the Renwick, where we saw examples of their permanent collection, and we also managed to get to the Washington Monument and the National Museum of Women in the Arts, where there was a retrospective of wood artist Ursula von Rydingsvard, whom we all admired.  There were some other outdoor wood sculptures by Foon Sham, but we only found one of them. Our last stop was at Jeff and Judy’s, where we had a delicious dinner along with a master class in wood art, much of it masterfully turned on the lathe and then often shaped and carved.  There were also beautiful baskets, and assorted other gorgeous objects. We headed back to Philadelphia after dessert, and fell into our beds around midnight, our heads full of images and ideas.  Thank you to all our generous hosts!

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Some more of the amazing objects we saw on our trip

And now, to work!

Week 1: Introductions and Collaborations

Sketches and text by 2019 ITE “photojournalist” Amy Forsyth

The first week of our residency is coming to a close. On Day 1, we were given a tour of the wood shop by shop guru extraordinaire, Tara, whose benevolent presence provides advice and some materials for our projects, keeps the machines running smoothly, answers questions, impossible and otherwise, and is helpful in every possible way. Don Miller, the Wood Coordinator at University of the Arts (and maker of exquisitely crafted objects, such as guitars) was on hand to greet us, as well. Then, we located the shared van that we have for our shared use during the residency, and piled in for a quick drive to the Center for Art in Wood. There, we met all the staff whose emails we’ve been receiving for several months, including Jennifer Navva Milliken, the Artistic Director, new at this position since my previous residency in 2016.  We saw the current exhibition and the permanent collection, were treated to a delicious Filipino lunch, and then got acquainted by showing slides of our work.

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First Day at the Center for Art in Wood. Presentations by the residents.

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My sketches and notes on some of the residents’ work

Everyone was anxious to get set up and started, since we were scheduled to uproot for the weekend to participate in the Echo Lake Collaboration at Bucks County Community College. Here are some sketches of beginnings. I went to the Center for Art in Wood to get started on this blog.

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Per making sketches, evidence of Josh and Hartmut’s first evening in the shop

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Ellie assembling some pieces she’d brought, and a fellow diner at a local ramen and sushi lunch place, Tomo, near the Center for Art in Wood.

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Some sketches of pieces in the permanent collection at the CAW, and a sketch of the delicious smelling basswood/linden trees blooming on Spruce Street

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A quick breakfast sketch of the beautiful mug I bought from the Clay Studio and a view from the skylight in my room, plus more sketches of quick studies by Josh, Jake, and Hartmut, who is making a series of small carvings he’s calling, “My Diary in Wood.”

Echo Lake! First, we drove to New Hope, PA to look at the 20th Anniversary Exhibition of the Echo Lake Conference, which is a gathering of makers who assemble for a long weekend every June to make things together. Wood turners, wood workers, metal workers, painters, jewelry makers, printmakers, etc. assemble and see what happens when they make quick, improvisational pieces of art work together, and then auction the work off at the end to raise money for scholarships and to do it again the following year.  The ITE residents have traditionally been a part of this. We were early, so we wandered down to the Landing and had drinks by the river before returning to New Hope Arts, the gallery that was hosting the exhibition, which was full of the best of the collaborative pieces made at the gathering over the past 20 years. All this years’ collaborators assembled there and each had submitted three images of their work. We looked at all of those, then drove to the VRBO that Ellie had rented for us for the weekend.  It was charming, only 5 minutes from the conference, and on a wooded lot with a porch overlooking a grassy yard.

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Sunny mornings on the porch with coffee and breakfast to wake up

The only problem was that there weren’t enough beds, so Josh, Hartmut, and Jake slept on various couches and cushions.

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Here’s Josh on two couches pushed together.

Nevertheless, every morning, we were among the first to arrive and start work, and everyone became absorbed in  many interesting projects.  Ellie and Josh teamed up with several other artists to make a remarkable croquet set. Ellie and Heide and Jake made swings with a few other collaborators. Hartmut’s carvings appeared in many places, including an award given to one of the key organizers of Echo Lake, John Mathews, the Dean of Arts at Bucks, who is also a metal worker, who, when not in the metal shop, was dashing about and making things happen the entire time we were there. Among other things, Per created a beautiful carved form that he finished by singeing it black, and someone gold leafed a knot in the center of the wood. I worked on multiple things myself; a dovetailed drawer with Tib Shaw, a first time participant, who is the Curator at the American Association of Woodturners, a jacket that Suzanne Kahn initiated, which was the first Echo Lake garment, a couple of drawings, a carved leaf for a giant bouquet of wooden “flowers,” and a block print. It’s astonishing how many things 60 artists can create in three days, they were up to 90 for the auction shortly before the deadline.

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Melissa Engler and Graeme Priddle, working out a Maori design for a picture frame. Fortunately, they were the winning bidders for this drawing.  

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I tried to capture the spirit of Echo Lake in this sketch.  The “resource table” of many varied objects for transformation, and the frenzied work amidst the objects handed off and piling up. Jokes and silliness abound, and camaraderie. Many of the participants have been involved for all 20 years.

echo auctionThe auction took place in a different building and drew collectors who were happy to pay several hundred dollars for pieces by multiple artists, some of whose work is difficult to obtain, otherwise. After the auction, Josh took the wheel and drove us back to UArts, where we are now beginning our second week. We hope to get some work done in the shop before leaving for the weekend trip to visit collectors and museums in Washington, DC.

 

First Days of the 2019 ITE

Hello from Philadelphia! The 2019 residents have touched down, moved in, and started working! I am Amy Forsyth, this year’s “photojournalist.” You’ll see that this year’s documentation is a bit different, since I proposed to draw everything instead of photograph it this year. Known as “reportage,” these drawings will clearly acknowledge my own interpretation as the lens through which the residency will be viewed. We’ve become used to the fallacy that photography is objective, and by returning to drawing as my medium of communication, I’m making it clear that these ideas and images are subjective. The other residents also have the option to write and provide images on this blog, as well, but it’s my main responsibility during the residency. Before we arrived, I looked up the other residents on the internet and did portraits of them, just to see how different the drawings will be of people I’ve never met, as opposed to what they’ll be like once we’ve all lived and worked together for two months. The following drawings are the ones that I did before meeting the other residents.  I used several different media, in part because of projected personalities and also because I like the variety of effects. Here’s an introduction to this year’s residents.

Per portrait

Per Brandstedt, Artist, Sweden

Heide portrait

Heide Martin, Artist, Maine, USA

Hartmut portrait

Hartmut Rademann, Artist, Germany

Ellie portrait

Ellie Richards, Artist, North Carolina, USA

Josh portrait

Joshua Enck, Artist, New York, USA

Jacob portrait

Jacob Zimmerman, Student Artist, Delaware, USA

Amy portrait

Amy Forsyth, “Photojournalist,” Pennsylvania, USA

John Duane portrait

John-Duane Kingsley, Scholar, Michigan, USA

Stay tuned for more drawings! We’re all excited to begin! Amy Forsyth

It’s the end?

Its been almost a month since the residency came to an end and we said goodbye to Philadelphia and The Center for Art in Wood. Now that I have most of my film develop, (yes, there are still some photos of the summer that I have not seen yet haha), I wanted to post some this upcoming week. Here are a couple of my favorites ones.

 

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Jong-rye looking very peaceful, maybe she doesn’t meet the shoe criteria.

 

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Michael helping Jong-rye with her work.

 

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Vivian being very resourceful.

 

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In conclusion, Janine never left that spot.

 

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Michael.

 

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I don’t think Jack ever returned that coffee maker.

 

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Naava.

 

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Janine.

 

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This is a great chair.

 

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Morgan’s lecture went well.

An Assortment of the Fourth Week at ITE

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Janine and Michael exchanging some words.

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Seán, Janine, Michael, Jack, Jong-rye, Navva, and Mark at the Wharton Esherick.

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Jong-rye at the deck at Wharton Esherick deck.

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Michael and Seán: the start of a beautiful friendship.

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Janine, Brian, and Jong-rye.

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Oh! did I not introduce Seán, our scholar…

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Janine looking her best.

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Janine working at her best.

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Vivian Cristina, Morgan, Jong-rye, Michael, and Seán enjoying Philly’s last Bastille day.

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Jong-rye, Cristina, and Morgan patiently waiting for their food to appear.

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Vivian, Michael, and an unsuspected Seán.

Third Week at ITE 2018

Some of the ITE Fellows were inspired by a dinner conversation about corn and decided to turn some.  Check out the video below:

View this post on Instagram

Turning dinner. #corn #windgateite2018 @centerforartinwood

A post shared by MORGAN HILL (@morganhillcreative) on

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Here is a very blurry photo of Vivian Jack, and Cristina playing Settlers of Catan. Vivian won…

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Vivian and Janine wondering the status and smell of the wood that was left in the car for over a week.

 

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Morgan safely burning her cut pieces of wood.

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Jong-rye working hard.

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A collection of shoes we call ” The ITE shoes”

Tamarez_CristinaAA015-7Vivian shaving down her wood piece.

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I think Morgan was cleaning…

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Morgan in her room.

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Jong-rye and Micheal discussing wood.

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Michael working the machine.

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Morgan discovering the wood is too wet.

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A hesitant Jack smiling for the camera.

Second Week of ITE 2018

Our second week started with our weekly meeting followed by a group clean-up session.

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The second half of the week we headed to DC. This trip was filled with amazing and an overwhelming amount of incredible art as we visited private art collector’s home. But first, we stopped at Barbara and Phil’s home.

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Jack and Jong-rye in Barbara’s lovely kitchen.

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Janine ecstatic by all the turned wood at Barbara and Phil’s.

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Vivian, Janine, and Jong-rye in Barbra and Phil’s living room.

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Jack, Michael, Barbara, and Phil.

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Some of us were having a difficult morning…

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While others were practicing their food photography skills.

Some photos from our visit to the collector’s homes:

 

 

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There was an extensive amount of conversation about corn.

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Too much excitement over the desert and a dumbwaiter…

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Jack and Morgan.

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A smiling Morgan.

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You can always sit with us.

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Excuse me.

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Naava and the ITE gather around for story time with Jeff.

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Dinner time with Jeff and Judy.

Quotes of the Week:

“We played this game where one person would compliment you for five minutes without responding. That would send me to the hospital”

“It won’t bite. Well I guess we will see”

“She forgot to sign it. It’s not too late, anyone got a magic marker?’

“Are you being depressing again, we have company”

Looks at cookbook “It says many Americans aren’t familiar”

“I am doing nothing” Continues to vacuum

 

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That’s a wrap for this week!

The First Week at ITE 2018

Our first week as  ITE Resident Fellows has been jammed pack with exciting things, only to realize we have a lot to do in such a short time!

Artist presentation was completed on the first day at The Center for Art in Wood. Your new ITE Resident Fellows for 2018 are Vivian, Jong-rye, Michael, Jack, Janine, Morgan, Sean and Cristina. To learn more about how amazing we are, click here!!

We visited nextfab where we complete safety training, eventually being upgraded to a green badge. We also made some very interesting bottle openers at NextFab, even the photojournalist resident got their hands working.

IMG_4673Michael, Jack Janine, Cristina, Jong-Rye, and Vivan inspecting wood at the recycling plant.

Photo: Morgan Hill

We visited the recycling plant on a very humid day, where we walked around and inspected some possible wood materials.

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Janine turning wood.

Photo: Cristina Tamarez

Some of us were recovering from a great night of karaoke jam sessions but were back in the woodshop bright and early the next morning!

 

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Vivian holding a spider at a fundraiser

Photo: Cristina Tamarez

A few of us attended an art show that served as a fundraiser to fund a mural of a flying bat in Philly. There were some furry friends who also attended. This is Barbie the Spider.

 

Quotes of the Week:

“I am about to do some sketchy stuff”

“ I just followed my interest and what I wanted to do. At some point you have to claim it [your craft], you are never going to know everything”

” Do you remember the species name for the spider? Shmantula the Tarantula “

2017 Windgate ITE Residency Conclusive Blog Post!

I returned home to New York City this past August with four rolls of film I didn’t have the chance to develop before I left.  The darkroom I like to use here was closed for renovations until late September, so they languished in my fridge until I was finally able to do something with them.  The pictures are from our trip to Wharton Esherick’s studio, museum, and home, and also from the preview and opening night of our show at the Center, which closes in a week and a half on October 15th. If you haven’t made it there yet, what has been keeping you?

I’m truly, terribly grateful to have been able to document this year’s Windgate ITE Residency, which, as we now know, is the last one which Albert LeCoff, founder of the Center for Art in Wood, will have overseen. I’d like to congratulate him on his retirement. I know that he will continue to make outstanding contributions to the field and the wood art community.

Here, without further comment or wiseacre captions, are the pictures:

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Big Show Tonight

It’s First Friday in Old City and Anastasia, Daniel, Felicia, Jason, Max, Megan and I are having a show at the Center for Art In Wood!  Come by between 5:30 and 8:00 PM tonight for the opening, and come by tomorrow (Sat., August 5th) between 2:00 and 4:00 PM for artist talks and a concert by Daniel Alexander Fishkin and daxophiles.

Further event details can be found by following this link.  I truly hope to see you there.

Albert, Tina, Karen, Lori, Katie, Morgan and Rebecca of the Center have been tremendously supportive throughout the residency period and during this past week as we’ve put the show together, especially.

The gallery looks fantastic, but I’m not going to put any pictures of it here right now.  This is a ploy.  I’m trying to get you to come to the opening.  Instead, I’m posting some pictures Katie collected from us residents of what we had on our workbenches in the week before work was due at the Center, with her permission. After that, I’m gonna go get my tux from the rental place.

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Max has been looking for ways to encourage people to get more tactile with his pieces.  The jury is out on this particular one.  The Center has soap and water on standby.

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Megan’s lightboxes are fully dimmable!

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These frames of Anastasia’s have something in them now, but you’re not gonna find out about it from me.  Come out tonight!

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As for me, I…I……

 

Open Studios at NextFab

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Dawn comes early on Open Studios day.  The group prepares itself.  As Max mixes his bowl of yogurt, granola and fresh fruit, Daniel smiles wolfishly at the camera.  He has a hunch about what’s coming.

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Bam!  Daniel’s hunch is correct.  I nail this shot of Max taking a bite.  Residents, don’t say I didn’t tell you on day one that I’d get you eating.  (Max, please let me know if you’d like this shot removed.)

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Anastasia prepares her work-in-progress for public consumption.

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Jason prepares his workspace for public consumption.

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Megan’s work is prepared for public consumption.

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Open Studios guests sign in upstairs at NextFab.

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Each ITE 2017 resident gives a presentation about his or her work.

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Jason presenting.

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Felicia presenting.

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Max presenting.

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Anastasia presenting.

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During his presentation, Daniel gives a performance on the daxophone.

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Fleur Bresler examines a daxophone tongue.

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Luncheon is served!

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Megan talks about her work.

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Max’s table attracts a lot of attention.

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Daniel’s parents stop by Felicia’s table to hear about what’s going on.

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All the excitement has done Anastasia in!  She naps on the couch.

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A celebratory dinner at City Diner with Tina and Albert.

Elizabeth’s visit

Elizabeth Kozlowski, or 2017 ITE Resident Scholar, joined us last week in order to talk to us about our work, conduct research at the Center for Art in Wood, and take classes on woodworking technique.

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Anastasia, Max, and I make a road trip to the airport to collect Elizabeth.

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The airport.

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Elizabeth entering the ITE van.

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We have an introductory meeting with Elizabeth upstairs at NextFab.

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Anastasia and Elizabeth meet one-on-one.

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Elizabeth and Max meet one-on-one.

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Max gesticulates during his one-on-one meeting with Elizabeth.

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Felicia and Elizabeth meet one-on-one.

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Elizabeth and Megan meet one-on-one.

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A celebratory group lunch at Cafe Ynez!

Pictures from NextFab (and one from home)

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Anastasia and Albert talking about Anastasia’s work.

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A reverse angle shot of Anastasia and Albert talking about Anastasia’s work.

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Megan looking sly as she shines her iPhone flashlight through her lightbox.

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Megan and Albert meeting.

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Megan and Albert continue to meet.

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Group lunch at Cafe Ynez!

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Max stares down a honking big chunk of wood he’s just loaded onto the lathe.

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And then, he attacks!  Shavings fly everywhere.

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Anastasia’s mortises, or mortices, or mortae?

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Daniel loads a file on the CNC control station.

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Daniel puts a bit into the CNC.

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After affixing the piece of wood he’ll mill to the CNC bed with double sided tape and screws, Daniel gives it a final check.

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The CNC CNCing.

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Freshly milled daxophone tongues!

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Jason calls these things “segmented pieces” but I prefer to think of them as multigrain cardboard loaves.

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Jason slaps some plaster onto turned cardboard.

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At the end of every working day, Jason deliquesces, becoming a viscous, milky fluid.  We pour him carefully into this container and close the lid tightly.  In the morning, he assumes his human form once again.

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He has a collection of these, but only one of them is labeled.  Imagine how much trouble we’d all be in if we put him into the wrong container!  Sometimes I feel like he’s daring us to make a mistake.

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A hollow cardboard vessel by Jason.

Studio visits with David Ellsworth and Michael Kehs

In this post, we revisit the group’s field trip to the homes and studios of Michael Kehs and David and Wendy Ellsworth.

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The grand staircase at David and Wendy Ellsworth’s.

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Above the grand staircase, a stained glass window.

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A reverse angle shot, looking up the grand staircase, with the top of David’s head in the foreground (oops!).

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Megan and Anastasia on the couch at David’s.  Glass objects in the foreground and turned wood objects behind.

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The desk in Wendy’s studio, where she produces her beadworks.

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David’s studio.  The sunlight filtering through the foliage bathes everything in an eldritch green.

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David addressing the group in his studio.  I was amazed at the care with which his many lathes were maintained.  They were clearly well loved and well used, but they were also immaculate!

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Upstairs in the former snooker room, a selection of turned bowls and windows.  This shot and the next are of particular interest to ITE 2017 Fellow Megan McGlynn due to the confluence of natural and artificial light.

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Another green room!

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David calls Michael Kehs to let him know we’re coming.

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Max and Michael load a walnut burl into the ITE van.

 

4th of July outing

Over the 4th of July weekend, the group met and walked to the Parkway near the water to hear (and possibly see, if we could get close enough) Boyz II Men and Mary J. Blige, who were performing.

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On the way, I espied this young man wearing a Batman t-shirt on a bicycle all alone in a parking lot.

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When we got to the Parkway, three things happened in quick succession.  First, I realized that I had neglected to bring more film.  Second, Boyz II Men’s performance concluded.  Third, it began to rain torrentially.

We first sheltered under a tree, but once the canopy became saturated it ceased to provide any form of protection.  With the storm showing no signs of letting up, we booked it back to the dorm.  By the time we got back, the sky was clearing and the streets were drying, but we were sodden to the bone.

Mary J. Blige did play, and there were fireworks.  Some of the residents reconvened and watched online.  Your biddable scribe went directly to bed.

What we’ve been up to

Last week we were visited by this year’s resident scholar, Elizabeth Kozlowski, who interviewed each of us about our work and conducted extensive research in the Center’s library in addition to taking classes at NextFab.  She also accompanied the group on a field trip to George Nakashima’s workshop, where George’s daughter, Mira, was kind enough to give us a tour of their beautiful and impressive facility.

This past Saturday was Open Studios day at NextFab.  Guests toured the workshop and enjoyed presentations by each of the residents.

Pictures of all of these goings on are forthcoming.  I fell behind on processing film and scanning because I’ve begun the second phase of my personal project–

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–PRINTING!