Friday, May 25, 2007


Our activist/sustainable living/artist friends from Anathoth Community Farm are hosting a huge party/concert on Saturday, July 7--7/7/07. They are celebrating their 20th anniversary on the same day as Live Earth--Al Gore and friend's day of concerts to call attention to the problem of global warming. World class concerts will be happening in Sydney, Shanghai, Tokyo, Johannesburg, London, Rio de Janerio, New York, and LUCK, Wisconsin!

The Saturday concert includes:

Buckwheat Zydeco -- Louisiana Creole music. He is coming to Anathoth because he likes what theydo and he is a great humanitarian and the best accordion player EVER!

Devon Evans--Long time percussionist with Bob Marley and the Wailers.

Natty Nation (reggae)

Savage Aural Hotbed (industrial percussion) the closest thing to human fireworks you will ever see.

Bedlam (Irish)

Nama Rupa (psychedelic swamp reggae)

Floydian Slip (jam/rock)

Command Zulu (political techno folk) also known as the farm band.

Come for the weekend which includes camping, hiking trails, biking, sand volleyball, food court, beer garden, tours of the eco village, and the most scenic bonfire hill in all of Wisconsin.

Early bird tickets cost: $25 adult, $15 13-17, 12 and under free

Day of the show (July 7) cost: $30 adult, $15 13-17, 12 and under free.

Evening special after 8 pm ( everyone is getting married on 7/7/07): $15\

Proceeds will fund a new education center to be built green on the farm.


Sunday will be a day of networking and workshops for activists from all over the upper Midwest.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Learning through mentoring

The great thing about being a mentor through the Textile Center is that I learn new things all the time. We had a meeting last week. Kelly Marshall talked about how your studio insurance can be written to cover your work while it is shipped. Then you do not need to insure individual pieces as you ship. “Bean”, Mary Bergs, gave a talk titled “Earning a Living When You Don’t Sell a Product.” She covered grants. Even if you do not win the grant, there can be perks. Here is a good point. If you are a finalist and someone makes a studio visit, keep that person informed of your career. Put this official "art world" representative on your mailing list. She emphasized always asking for feedback if not accepted. For any grant proposal, write yourself a daily stipend. She mentioned some local residencies. These are a good idea if you do not want to travel far.

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I wrote an article for the Indie Craft Zine, CROQ. In another life, not long ago, I owned a fashion design business. The article is about dye safety. The article explains my obsession with colors from nature. On the other hand, I was working with natural materials and their unadulterated colors in my sculptures long before I started the business. You can see some work from my other business at my Calascio Designs blog.

Heather Mann from CROQ did a wonderful job editing and the layout of the article is fantastic. There is so much energy in the young Indie Craft movement with DIY roots. The movement combines the idealism of the 60’s and 70’s and the cynicism of the hip and savvy 2000’s.


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

New Vessel Piece

I took some images on a nice pleasant spring day. Inspired by Katy Bryce and Adam Weismann's Building With Cob book, I finished the outside of this piece with a plaster recipe containing sand. It truly looks like a gypsum plaster. The inside shows flecks of straw. The second view shows how narrow I made this piece. It reminds me a bit of an Irish drum, but opening on one side instead of the back of the drum. I am still deciding on a name. While creating this piece, I felt all of my processes gelling.

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Sunday, May 20, 2007

Serra: Sculpture (and Nerves) of Steel

While I could never be a macho, heavy metal sculptor, I enjoyed this article on Richard Serra’s retrospective by Randy Kennedy. I enjoyed the subtle comparisons of sculptors to painters, which started with a story about Jasper Johns. Both artists, however, are very interested in all aspects of the process of making art. A quote from Serra: “If you’re going to watch the process, watch it all the time, because it’s always bespeaking something that’s of interest,” he said. “And I don’t think that’s Duchampian. I think that’s more Eastern. That’s more Suzuki.” I think this is about paying attention to the process. Serra’s interest lies in the engineering of his works and in the process of their placement by a professional team of riggers, as well as, the formal placement of angled planes in space. I relate to Serra’s use of space and how he manipulates the journey through his pieces. The negative space and the cavernous passage are as important as his heavy, rusty metal material. Watch the multimedia audio show about placing the sculptures. Here, he speaks of why the process is so important to him.

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Friday, May 11, 2007

Nature, soul, matter, and dematerialization

Since I started to read The Spell of the Sensuous, I have been analyzing many philosophies with a new twist. This especially occurred during two talks at my local Unitarian Universalist Congregation. One was about Transcendentalism and the other about quantum physics. Transcendentalism, like David Abram's book is a call to return to nature. The speaker, however, referred to the spirit as a dematerialized entity. Something above, beyond our physical being. Abrams, from what I understand, is asserting that the soul is deeply embedded in physical matter, in the very stuff of the earth, stones, soil, birds, sound, and trees. It is through our senses that we can regain a connection to nature and a larger whole. The edges between the perceiver and the perceived blur.

Quantum physics, according to Rick Magyar, contends that most of matter is air. 90% or so of every molecule is air. If so, then why can't we, if we are mostly air, walk through walls? The wall also is mostly air. Why can't the molecule move between each other? He also talked of the spirit as connected to the mind and his language was peppered with descriptions that divided mind and body.

Certainly, to me, working with earth materials is my way of understanding larger issues. Through the senses, I have experiential connections to a feeling of oneness. This may not happen every day, or even on a regular basis, but it is one factor in my choices of material.

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Willow artist from France

The gallery of Ateliers d'Art France site led me to French basket maker, Laurent Weiss. Some of the woven baskets appear to be covered with wattle. Perhaps it is just pigment or paint. Look for the pictures of his atelier. His portraits beam personality. He attended a landscape school and the National School of Wickerwork.

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Gallery of Atelier d'Art de France

Agnes His

Yesterday's mail included a brochure from a French gallery that I visited at SOFA Chicago in November. They announced their exhibit at SOFA New York in early June. I was very struck by the wood vessels of Marc Ricourt. Spiraling gouge marks created intriguing shell-like forms. His subtle surfaces were coated with matt applications of iron oxide. The new brochure tells me that he is a self-taught woodturner. He had a residency at the Woodturning Center in Philadelphia in 2001. The Center was established about the time I left Philadelphia. The ceramic work of Agnes His repeatedly pulled me back to this gallery. I was disappointed that her work is not on this new brochure. So I had to look her up. I liked textures made by the marks on her surfaces filled with white pigment. Although one artist used wood and the other clay, the works had a very similar sensibility.

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Growing Willow

My husband just planted basketry and furniture willow at our "farm" in Chippewa County. He ordered the willow cuttings from Bonnie Gale of English Basketry Willows in New York State. I met Bonnie Gale in the early 90's during a willow conference near Liverpool, England. The conference featured artists, biologists, craftsmen, urban planners, and business people. At Ness Gardens, we participated in making outdoor sculptures, learning about the great variety of willow types, the many ways of growing willow, and how willow can be used to create sound barrier fences in neighborhoods near busy motorways.

Bonnie has been growing willow since the early 80's and teaches traditional willow basketry skills. She founded the American Willow Growers Network to share information and exchange cuttings. Her page on living willow structures is interesting.

Some of my structures contain willow growing wild on our farm. I will be able to harvest a greater variety soon.

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Friday, May 04, 2007

New Work for Grand Hand Gallery

I will be delivering work to the Grand Hand Gallery in the Summit Hill area of Saint Paul. They are moving to a new space on the corner of Grand and Dale. They will re-open on Tuesday, May 8 with shows in both the old (a few doors east on Grand) and the new locations. They have a wonderful selection of craft objects in fiber, wood, clay, metal, and other materials. I am excited about beginning my relationship with Ann Pifer and the gallery.

I took some photos outside yesterday, enjoying our wonderful spring weather. The indirect light on my porch did not give many shadows. So these are not the best photos possible. But I think they give a good idea of the vessels I have been making with the Grand Hand in mind. The first one is a folded construction. In making this piece, I worked much like working with a clay slab. The second piece is from my "Forked Branch" series. I am making more pieces using forks of willow branches as the skeleton.

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