Collaboration by Lynne Yamaguchi, Connie Rayburn, and Bina Rothblatt
This is the second collaboration I was part of at the WIT eXchange, this one with Connie Rayburn and Bina Rothblatt. In contrast to my first collaboration, Connie, Bina, and I came up with the concept for this quite quickly, right after getting “empty” and “balance” as our words: balancing objects on the rim of an empty, small-footed bowl. We all worked together on the main bowl, then split up to make objects to balance. I wanted to make a raw, chaotic, asymmetrical piece to contrast with the elegance of the main bowl, so I played with a reciprocating carver for the first time (loved it so much I bought one after I came home), then torched the edges. Connie turned a small version of the main bowl and another bowl that we decided to paint green. After playing on the lathe, Bina wasn’t satisfied with any of her objects, but she found a cool-looking scrap of wood burned to coal and cut off the tip to put on the rim. We painted the inside of the main bowl and its mini-me black to emphasize the emptiness, then added the base to emphasize the balance, painting it black for aesthetics. If we’d had more time we would have tapered the base to echo the curve of the main bowl. It took all three of us to find the balance of the objects, but we did—nothing is attached in this piece, all just balanced.
We discovered an interesting surprise after we finished: we had ended up balancing chaos and destruction (my carved object and the coal remnant) against growth and (re)production (the “baby” bowl and the green). The unconscious at work?
Collaboration by Lynne Yamaguchi, Anne Ogg, and Cathy Peters
Anne Ogg, Cathy Peters, and I made this on the first day of collaborations at the WIT eXchange, after drawing the words “pointed” and “flavor” as our starting point. I barely slept the night after we drew our words: I kept hopping out of bed to turn on the lamp to jot down more ideas. I finally left the lamp on all night, with my notebook and pen at hand on the bed beside me. “Sleeping on a solution”—submerging myself in the parameters of a challenge—is a strategy I use often when I’m trying to solve a problem.
I had five pages of notes by morning, approaching the words both literally and figuratively. Examples of a more literal approach to “pointed flavor” include pepper, Tabasco, poison, cactus fruit, a spiky salt shaker. M, an apple with a razor bladeetaphorical examples include criticism, “yet she persisted,” a scream.
When Anne, Cathy, and I met in the morning, we shared ideas. We all liked the idea of lemons, and loved the idea of making the lemons as boxes with teeth inside to represent their sour bite. We decided to each make our own lemon box. After turning them independently, Cathy and I ended up carving them together using rotary tools, while Anne used burning tools instead. The burning added a terrific color element to the inside. To our surprise, the teeth ended up looking like the material remaining after a lemon is juiced, so the lemons looked far more realistic than we had intended.
Anne began turning a bowl to contain the lemons, but we realized that we had run out of time. Instead, we torched the bottom for contrast and used the blank as a pedestal for the lemons.
Last September I attended the first Women in Turning (WIT) eXchange at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts. It was a life-changing experience. I describe it in an article published in the February issue of American Woodturner and again in an article forthcoming in the August issue, this time through the lens of creativity. Please check out the articles (I’ll link the second as soon as it’s published); I guarantee they’re worth the time.
The topic of creativity and how to ignite it has become an obsession for me. After diving deep over the last several months, I have developed a day-long workshop designed to awaken, foster, and grow participants’ creativity. I am really excited about it. My first presentation of it will be for the Prescott Area Woodturners in June.
I will post separately photos of the three collaborations I was part of at the eXchange, along with stories of their making.
The Tucson Museum of Art is holding its Spring Artisans’ Market this weekend, March 17–19, featuring more than 100 of the Southwest’s best artists and artisans. Come find that something special while you and your family enjoy great food, craft brews, blacksmithing demonstrations, free admission to the museum, and more! I will be in Booth 16 (the booths have been renumbered), which is right next to my usual spot, in front of the blue wall on the east side of the museum, catercorner from Old Town Artisans. The show runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. The museum is in downtown Tucson at 140 N. Main Ave.
The Tucson Museum of Art is holding its Spring Artisans’ Market this weekend, March 18–20. More than 100 of the Southwest’s best artisans will have set up shop in the museum’s courtyards. Come find that something special while you and your family enjoy great food, craft brews, live music, children’s activities, free admission to the museum, and more! I will be in my usual spot, Booth 104, in front of the blue wall on the east side of the museum, catercorner from Old Town Artisans. The show runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The museum is in downtown Tucson at 140 N. Main Ave.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tucson will host Southwest Flair A-Fair, its 23rd annual arts and crafts show, this coming weekend, October 30th to November 1st, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. More than 150 of the region’s finest artisans (including me, natch) will showcase their arts and crafts at Plaza Palomino (at the southeast corner of Swan and Ft. Lowell Roads). Come enjoy a weekend of beautiful fall Tucson weather and art! A portion of the proceeds from every piece sold will benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tucson. I will be in Booth 86, in the east parking lot.
September 21, 2014, marked two years of recovery from my accident. Looking back at my last major update, about a year ago, I see that, although the healing process continues, not a lot is changing on the surface. My appearance has improved a little more since my February surgery. The left eye now looks normal enough for people to feel comfortable asking why it’s so red—which the rim of the lower lid always is, to varying degrees. I don’t know if that will ever quite go away. My eye is still easily irritated, which can increase the redness. And it still waters a lot, as the cornea continues to dry out and overproduce tears. The eye still hurts at random moments, especially later in the day, sometimes sharply, sometimes deeply. The nerves in my cheek have almost fully regenerated. My eye crinkles almost normally when I smile.
The central vision in my left eye is still gone, though I hold out hope for future medical developments that may reverse the damage (come on, stem cells!). In the meantime, I use my peripheral vision as much as I can to keep my optic nerve active: I sometimes walk around with my right eye shut just for the practice. I still forget sometimes why I can’t see clearly, especially when I first wake up. I have recently been experiencing a fresh bout of grief about the impairment of my sight. I still often bump into things on my left and lose my balance easily. I continue to have trouble concentrating and thinking clearly. I am still trying to figure out how to see as well as I can while I work; my vision varies a lot, and magnifiers and lights only help so far.
I have not entirely recovered my turning skills. I got tendonitis in my right elbow (my dominant arm) in the spring and wasn’t able to work for several months. Add this to the many gaps in work caused by my surgeries and I guess my rustiness is understandable, if frustrating. It has been hard this time to get back into a creative flow, but I am working to hold a steady course through the latest challenges by remembering every day what I haven’t lost (family and friends, my sense of humor, my curiosity, a damn good life) and what I’ve gained (more love, gratitude, a greater sense of connectedness to everything).
br>The last weekend of this month, October 24, 25, and 26 (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday), Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tucson will host its Southwest Flair A-Fair at Plaza Palomino. This fine-art-and-craft fair, which benefits BBBS, will feature the work of more than 150 artisans—including me. It will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, with free parking nearby and free shuttle service to and from the fair—just look for the signs. Plaza Palomino is located in Tucson at the southeast corner of Swan and Fort Lowell Roads. I will be in Booth 86, in the east parking lot, near La Placita Cafe.
Add some creativity to your holidays while you help improve some children’s lives!