News and events and more are now on the blog. Link over and check it out.
Seesaw, the blog from PSAW.
Link to blog
It's called See Saw. Rhymes with PSAW (Pine Street Art Works)
All the news that you are used to seeing in this section of my website is now over at the blog. And More!!!
Check it out and let me know what you think.
Nakki Goranin American Photobooth in People Magazine
Wow. Nakki Goranin American Photobooth was featured in People Magazine in the February 18th edition. I can tell you that people are interested because hits to this website and my blog have increased exponentially from google searches for the book.
People - real people, that is, not just the magazine - are fascinated and charmed by the images in the book. And finally the gatekeepers of high art are beginning to see that these humble and democratic photographs are indeed worth of inclusion in the carefully guarded canon.
Folk art/ fine art - a fake dichotomy. Let's hear it for the breakdown of boundaries in art.
Nakki Goranin American Photobooth Opening
Despite the snowy roads and a lot of other fine events going on in Burlington at the same time, the American Photobooth opening was a huge success. Visitors came from all over Vermont and even from across the lake in NY State. Many had heard Nakki's interview on Vermont Public Radio the night before and were inspired to make the trip.
In this photo: Nakki Goranin (right) discusses her work with Alison Bechdel and Holly Rae Taylor.
Yea! for Kat Clear. Metalworker extraordinaire. Kat has been making tables for Pine Street Art Works since it opened. She is an amazing talent and a terrific person and I'm so happy to be able to work with her.
Kudos for Kat and the article about her in The Burlington Free Press.
Article about Kat Clear in The Burlington Free Press
Burlington blacksmith puts her stamp on the city
Published: Monday, January 21, 2008
By Myra Mathis-Flynn
Free Press Staff Writer
Ever seen the giant bike rack shaped like a Kryptonite lock on the northeast corner of South Winooski Avenue and Pearl Street in Burlington? How about the information sign at the University of Vermont's new Davis Center that displays the word "welcome" in 20 languages?
If so, you have been looking at the artistic works of Burlington metalsmith Kat Clear.
Clear had been messing with metal for more than four years before she decided to take herself seriously as a sculptor, blacksmith and designer. In three of those four years, Clear struggled with the details of turning her craft into a business. All it needed was a sign.
Figuratively and literally, signs were the very things that launched her career. Clear is now a proud proprietor of Kat Clear Works and Metal, specializing in custom metal signs and sculpture.
"I chose metal because I felt it would outlast me," Clear said. "I think it is a sturdy and quality material."
After graduating from UVM, Clear made a commitment to renting studio space from Bill Heise, a local studio owner in downtown Burlington. Heise owned the studio for 30 years, and Clear said he was happy to have her there when he decided to go on vacation.
When he returned, Clear had created her first full body of metal sculptures and had set up her first show at what once was the Phoenix Gallery. Much to her surprise, a sculpture sold for $800.
"I just thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread that someone would want to buy my work. I could have fallen off my chair!" Clear said.
Connecting with community
Soon after, Clear was approached by the owner of Aftermidnight Jewelers in South Burlington, asking her to create a sign for the store. Clear said it was then that a light bulb went off: "There is a life in this world for metal and I can connect it to a community."
Clear made her first sign for owner Scott Richardson at Aftermidnight four years ago. It is still in use.
Clear decided it was not enough to simply make individual sales, she wanted to turn the work into a business. While staying afloat by waitressinging tables part time, she began to speak with other artists, participate in the South End Art Hop and meet weekly with a local group of blacksmiths. With the help of a VSAC nondegree grant, Clear enrolled in a course at the Women's Small Business Program.
Clear said the course was informative, inspiring and responsible for giving her the push she needed to go forward with a proper business plan. Clear quit waitressing to work full time only a year ago, and as a result her sales have doubled.
In 2007, Clear crafted signs for more than 13 local businesses. "What I love best about making signs is meeting and brainstorming with the client," Clear said. "I love to get their ideas and the feeling they want to portray, then translate that to metal."
The Burlington Electric Department approached Clear right before its celebration of 100 years in business. The solar-powered sign is made of stainless steel and uses LEDs. The low-watt bulbs draw about one-tenth the energy of a normal bulb. Solar panels are mounted on top of the post where the sign hangs and a battery is charged so the sign can continuously shine from 6 p.m. until about midnight.
Hip local eatery The Green Room was next with a sign request. "They wanted something cutting-edge for their sign," Clear said. "That was fine but we also needed to work with the old architecture and still manage to incorporate these great historic buildings in Burlington." Clear said she drew her inspiration for the green and black sign from the First Baptist Church across the street from the restaurant, which is topped with a copper dome.
Clear's latest project is the 17-by-14-foot Queen City Crown located in the Burlington Town Center. It is the largest project she has done and was finished in the shortest amount of time. "I did the whole thing by hand in five weeks" Clear said. "I worked 12 hour days and had no weekends. Ah ... no weekends. The plight of the small-business owner."
Looking forward, Clear will be building build a sign for Dealer.com, the South End automotive Web site company. "I'm very excited to work with such a cool company," Clear said. "They have purple tennis courts. I've seen them!"
Clear said the most challenging aspect of welding is the time constraints. She will often give clients a six- to eight-week time frame in which she is expected to design, create and deliver the sign. "I think a healthy amount of deadline is a good thing," Clear said. "It keeps motivation high. But sometimes it just needs to flow through you or you need a certain amount of time to process it."
Clear said she has never had a dissatisfied customer. "I try to be upfront and honest with a client about the time it will take. It's when people are left in the dark that they start to get angry."
Clear said that clients can sometimes underestimate the cost of her signs, her prices range from $1,000 to $20,000. "I tell those that may be in shock (about the price) that I incorporate (what they would normally spend in advertising) in the cost. A sign really can act as a form of advertisement, 365 days a year."
Clear said her Williston studio has been a wonderful space to work.
"You can't really weld in your bedroom when sparks can fly up to 20 feet."
Those sparks are created by Clear's sought-after welding machinery, including a MIG welder, an ARC welder, a plasma cutter and a bench grinder. "Sometimes you go in and think 'OK, I know how to use these tools' but then you turn them on and you're like, 'Huh?' "
Clear said she spends about $12,000 to $15,000 on materials a year, depending on sales.
Acknowledging that she is one of few women in her industry, Clear says she has been accepted among men and does not feel discriminated againstion. "The only thing I had to change were my gloves," Clear said. "I started out with bigger men's gloves for a while, but welding really comes down to dexterity. Now I wear lady welder gloves. They are smaller."
Clear also exercises caution by using a face mask and sometimes wearing a heavy welder jacket. Because of her "safety first" practices, she said she has never been seriously injured. "I caught my pants on fire once, but I was fine."
As Clear continues to hone her craft and expand her business, she also has taught welding classes at Rosie's Girls summer camp and was a teacher's assistant for a UVM sculpture class.
"In five years, I see myself doing exactly what I'm doing now." Clear said. "I'll be sculpting and making signs here in Vermont, throughout New England and maybe even abroad."
At seven thirty on Monday morning, Sept 20th, I got a phone call from Sherry at Fresh Market that a water main had broken behind our shops flooding both Speeder & Earl's and Pine Street Art Works. The water came first into Speeder's and their place is a real mess. They took a big hit in goods and equipment, much worse than we did. The water then came under the walls that separate our spaces, flooding my floors, soaking my carpets and settling under my cabinets.
We lost three carpets, but the most important thing - the art -was all fine because nothing was on the ground. Priorityfirst Disaster Relief came as soon as Speeder's called them, and we all now have huge gizmos sucking out water and moisture and g*d only knows what other gunk was in the water.
The place is, shall we say, reorganzied, for the duration. But we'll be ok.
This is what it looked like in the alley. The city worked for most of the day fixing the water main, but it's still a mud bath out there.
It was heartening was how the neighbors pitched in to help. That's Mark Binkhorst from Burlington Futon helping mop and schlepp.
Art Hop '07
With record heat in the mid 90's, thousands of art lovers made their way to see dozens of venues and hundreds of artists during the fifteenth annual South End Art Hop.
This year Pine Street Art Work's featured Art Hop artist was Connie Imboden, who came from Baltimore for the event. Her work was greeted with delight, surprise and fascination, and Connie was wonderfully gracious explaining her work over and over again to eager viewers. It is clear that besides being a world class photographer, Connie is also a world class teacher, and if you get a chance to study with her at the Sana Fe Workshops or The Maine Photographic Workshops or The Center For Photography At Woodstock (NY), you will be lucky indeed.
I estimate that between 1,500 and 2,000 people came through Pine Street Art Works during the two days of the event. Visitors consumed over 50 quarts of seltzer, dozens of bags of mixed nuts and carrot sticks, and many bunches of grapes. (my rationale - keep people hydrated and protein and fructose fortified) I liken my role to a blend of Sergei Diahgilev , Dolley Madison and Hazel.
PBS Art Express Taping - 8/27/07
It's Art Express time again. For the first installment see this piece that ran a few years ago about Liza.
Art Express is the Arts magazine from one of our local PBS Stations. This episode will be about the Paint By Number exhibit.
Paul Larson, producer, and Jared Stanley, videographer, spent the day at Pine Street Art Works taping for the show. This is my second time working with this team and I am once again impressed with the high level of expertise they offer. The are fun to work with and it was a satisfying and productive day.
Producer Paul Larson wanted to have someone painting a PBN on camera. Christy Mtichell agreed to do the actual painting, using an unpainted kit we had. Paul is in the foreground directing.
I asked Harry Bliss to come by to discuss the painterly aspects of Paint By Number. Harry is a New Yorker cover artist, cartoonist and illustrator. He talked about how PBN paintings break down colors for shadows and volume, and other wonderfully erudite stuff.
Mark Waskow, collector (or end user, as he likes to say) stopped in to discuss collecting Paint by Number. He bought the PBN Mona Lisa, and loves how charmingly not good the painting is in the reproductions of the old masters. A funny and enlightening commentary.
Finally, I got to speak on camera. I have no idea what I said. But Paul is great at giving direction and I can't wait to see the episode when it airs later this year.
We'll have it on quicktime here on the website.
PSAW blogged twice in one day!
Austin Kleon, who came to my attention last year when he blogged about Alison Bechdel, has now blogged about me, Liza. Austin's blog is always fascinating reading about graphic design, ideas, books, visual thinking and his life in pictures.
Another one of my favorite blogs, Apartmenttherapy.com posted an article about the Paint By Number show .Last October (2206) AT ran an article about Curtis Robertson, seated above at PSAW, who made a paint by number mural in his NYC apartment. I was inspired to start researching and then buying Paint By Number for an exhibit.
I can't begin to say how satisfying it is to be mentioned in these informative and inspiring blogs.
Mark The Mailman
Mark The Mailman schlepped more than 100 Paint By Number packages into the gallery last Winter and Spring through snow, sleet, ice, rain, mud....
Hats off to Mark The Mailman, Burlington Post Office's finest!
Paint By Number on TV
WCAX-TV reporter Jack Thurston stopped by to do a spot on the Paint By Number show. He interviewed and filmed Liza, Christy and Chittenden County Humane Society director, Devida Johnson.
From the text on WCLX website:
Burlington, Vermont - August 2, 2007
Pine Street Art Works is a classy joint but even the most highbrow of us like to slum it sometimes. Gallery owner Liza Cowan says, "At the back of your mind, there's a question, 'Can I like it?''"
The "it" that Cowan fesses up to liking is Paint By Number art, a popular fad in the 1950s and 60s. Each set came complete with paints and a cardboard canvas that guided users how to finish off the image. Cowan spent five months on eBay collecting more than 100 paintings. Nostalgic landscapes were popular designs.
Cowan says, "So they're charming, yet we know when they came out they were considered revolting, horrible, base, abject."
By art snobs, that is. Most average Americans liked them. They were fun, and added splashes of color to homes in those prosperous post-war years.
Cowan chuckles, "Some of the artists that have shown here have actually come back to visit, and have said, 'I started with Paint By Number!'"
The original Paint By Number kits sold for around three dollars. The finished vintage works carry price tags from between twenty-five dollars and three-hundred fifty dollars. But a portion of the sales benefits the Chittenden County Humane Society.
DeVida Johnson, from the Humane Society of Chittenden County, says, "Right now we have 150 plus animals in our care, about 100 in our building and a few dozen in foster care."
The humane society says the number of animals in the shelter rises each summer, so financial needs rise, too. The Paint By Number show should appeal to animal lovers since the vintage pictures show cats, horses, and dogs. Some in the show are still unfinished.
The transcript continues:
Johnson says, "I think it's a great way for people to come out and check out some cool art while helping the humane society."
It's lowly art, with a new, higher purpose. Dug out of the attic, now that kitsch is cool again.
The Paint By Number art show runs through the end of the month at Pine Street Art Works in Burlington. You can visit Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11:00 to 5:00.
Jack Thurston - WCAX News
Late afternoon in early April
The front gallery in the beautiful light of the setting sun.
John Anderson - full scale drawings
John Anderson spent a lot of time prepping his full scale drawings the week before his opening.
At the opening reception.
VERMONT HOMESTYLE MAGAZINE INTERIORS & TRENDS SHOW
November 11 &12, 2006
We packed up our stuff into a UHaul and went to the Vermont Homestyle Magazine Interiors & Trends Show at the Sheraton Hotel in Burlington. We shared a triple size booth with The Lamp Shop which, despite its modest name, is a fabulous full service shop with an amazing array of beautifully restored vintage lamps. The Lamp Shop is just down the street from psaw on Pine Street.
Liz Segal and Andy Arp from the Lamp Shop designed our booth using construction scaffolding and ladders. Paige Russell (see artifacts), who works at The Lamp Shop, was on hand for setup, adding her usual exquisite design sense to the display. In my humble opinion it was the most beautiful and welcoming booth in the entire show.
Of course, Naomi had to go.
A view of our booth. You can see some of the fabulous lamps and shades, as well as some psaw art and artifacts, including a chair by John B. Marius, a few Flashbags and a handpainted cardboard table (table by cardboardesign, painting on top by Liza Cowan) Available at psaw.
Naomi is wearing a hat by Jude Mulle, and clothing by Indo-Ink, also available at psaw.
Another view of our booth. The sculptures in the foreground are by Andy Arp. In the background, photographs by Cara Barer and David Putnam. Also in background, cardboard room divider by Cardboardesign, painted by Willa Cowan. Available at psaw.
The newly redone permanent inventory salon
We've been redecorating the back room so that we finally have a permanant inventory Salon. On the walls are photos by David Punam, Cara Barer, Liza Cowan. Prints by SP Goodman and a drawing by Marie LaPre Grabon. Steel table by Kat clear with Cara Barer Flashbags. H. Keith Wagner sculpture, Spine, on the small side table.
Another view, facing the rear wall. SP Goodman prints, Alison Bechdel strip originals, Liza Cowan FAKE! series. The red chair in the forground is by my cousin Alan Siegel. Recent additons include paintings by Denis Versweyveld and a large scale drawing by Ethan Murrow.
House & Garden TV features Christy Mitchell
Christy Mitchell, second in command here at PSAW, and lumaniste extraordinaire, will be featured making radio lamps on the House & Garden TV show, That's Clever. Ali Marshaldon and Laura Cheeney of Flashbags will be on a segment of the show as well.
Nadin Amiry and Celia Bonaduce, producers for H&G TV came by PSAW to do a pre inverview and get the lay of the land in the studio here. They say the show should air some time in the summer of '07.
This is Christy during a break in the House & Garden Shoot, which took almost all day. I think she is looking rather Louise Brooks ish.
Louise Brooks, circa 1925.
Art Hop: Paper Play with Alison Bechdel and Phranc
Phranc and Alison made a little movie about the show. View it on youtube here by typing Alison Bechdel into the search line. There are two movies, one about the show, and one showing all of Alison's Monumental Drawings.
Burlington's South End Art Hop, September 8th and 9th. What an event! Estimated visitors: 20,000 at dozens of venues. Here at pine street art works, at least a thousand flowing in an out over the two days. Alison Bechdel and Phranc (the cardboard cobbler) presented their work here in a show called Paper Play.
Alison and Phranc have a quiet moment just before the crowds arrive. Phranc, Alison, Christy Mitchell, Madeline Veitch and I had spent two days hanging the show and we're almost ready to greet the public.
We were blessed with a wonderful assistant for the weekend. Madeline Veitch stands at the door, ready to welcome the art hop crowds.
The real David sits beside Alison's drawing of him.
Burlington artist Elise Whitmore is a longtime admirer of Phranc's work. Finally, they meet. Behind them, to the right, Gary Chassman of Verve Editions chats with Vermont State Senator Hinda Miller.
Small world department: my friend Li Ling Young used to swim with Phranc in Santa Monica many years ago. Now she lives in Burlington and our children are best friends. She and Phranc had a memory filled reunion at the show.
Saturday : Cartoonist Harry Bliss with Phranc and Alison. Harry brought his adorable little dog with him (not in the photo, sorry to say). Madeline is in the back.
Liza Leger Flashbag makes the front page
The Burlington Free Press Weekend ( September 7, 2006) section had this picture on the front cover, to illustrate a story about the fashion show, Strut, which is part of The South End Art Hop. Check out the flashbag on the right. The image on it is by Liza Leger, aka Liza Cowan of pine street art works. Flashbags are available here at the gallery (see artifacts). Congratulations to Ali Marsheldon and Laura Cheeney of Flashbags!
pine street art works in Vermont Magazine, July/August 2006
The July August issue of Vermont Magazine hit the stands with this photo of pine street artworks in its article, "Essential Summer Fun."
OK, it wasn't actually about pine street artworks. The copy is all about First Friday Artwalk, and they didn't mention that the photo was taken at pine street art works. They also didn't mention that the photographs on the wall are by Cara Barer, and that the viewers are sporting Flashbags.
Still, it was pretty much a thrill to see the gallery in the pages of the magazine.
The opening of "Our Little Secret" in the interior gallery. July 7, 2006
Wylie Sofia Garcia and Christy Jordan Mitchell opened their mixed media installation "Our Little Secret" in the interior gallery of pine street art works for First Friday Artwalk. They invited people to write out their secrets and pin them to the wall, or place them in a tank of water or sweep them under the rug.
Flashbags Launch and Flashion Show. June 17, 2006
Flashbags held a very, well, flashy launch here at pine street artworks. The crowd buzzed with excitement as the gals strutted down the runway, flashing their bags. And yes, that is, indeed, a disco ball. Brought in for flash appeal.
Alison Bechdel's Launch Event for Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic. June 3rd, 2006
Fun Home launch party
June 3 was celebratory evening for Alison Bechdel and her new book, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic. It was a big week for Alison, with articles about her appearing in Entertainment Weekly, Time Magazine, People Magazine, Salon.com, SevenDays VT and more.
Alison will be showing her work here in September and October, and we both thought that pine street art works would be the perfect venue for her home town launch. It was.
Funereal attire was optional, but several people showed up in fashion noir, including a Romaine Brooks doppleganger. With elegant hors d'oevres and exquisite service by Dish Catering, a funeral wreath that matched the colors of the cover of Fun Home, and Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor blasting on the sound system, we all celebrated our home town girl.
Alison chats with guests.
Phranc (aka The Cardboard Cobbler) who will be showing at pine street art works with Alison this Fall, sent this gorgeous paper vest to display at the Launch. Here it is on one of my Ralph Pucci / Maira Kalman mannequins.
Bread And Puppet Theater Fundraising Event. May 17th, 2006
Bread & Puppet Theater had a fund raising event at pine street art works on May 19. They need to raise money to fix the foundation of the barn that houses their incredible museum in Glover, VT. This is Peter Schumann, founder, artistic director and patriarch of the troupe.
The performances were amazing, as usual for B&P.
Then the troup changed their clothes and played music.
Including Bread & Puppet Matriarch, Elka Schumann, who really rocks!
And everybody danced, and danced, and danced.
Visit from a local celebrity
March 8th, the day after the big mayoral election in Burlington, Mayor-elect Bob Kiss stopped by pine street art works after doing a tv interview next door. Burlington, VT is continuing its tradition of having a Progressive in office, and we look forward to Kiss's tenure.
As luck would have it, both my cameras were battery- depleted, so we shot this on my iMac photobooth.
In news at pine street art works.
Reporter Jack Thurston and cameraman Bob Davis from WCAX TV3 came by on February 2, to shoot a promo for a piece they did about Flashbags. That's Ruth, the mannequin, striking a pose on the steps.
Charlie Hunter and H. Keith Wagner Opening
We had a fabulous opening for the Charlie Hunter, H. Keith Wagner show. Here Charlie poses with his mom, on the right, and a friend.
At the opening, Christy Mitchell and H. Keith Wagner.