Archive for October, 2010


A Tale of Two Birds

This past summer I was approached by Susan Hogan, who, among her many titles, is a huge supporter of the arts in Wheeling. Susan told me she was spearheading a project that would take an empty lot in downtown Wheeling, and turn it into a mini-sculpture park. She referred to her project as a “peekaboo” park do to the fact that the space will be viewed through holes in a facade, not unlike walls surrounding a construction site.


The first original bird sketches that Susan looked at.


Susan showed me a couple pieces of artwork that she hoped to have cut out of metal and installed in the proposed park. She asked if I had any work that she might also consider for using in the space. I showed her a sketchbook I had nearby and she immediately connected to a page of bird sketches. (The birds were something I was going to do in tin a few months prior, but I had changed the design.)

Susan asked if I could work up one or two birds based on the ones in the sketchbook. I said I would, and so began the  bird project.


One of several re-worked bird sketches.


Now what I didn’t  tell Susan was this: I really didn’t like those birds she saw in my sketchbook. So I revamped them and showed them to Susan at our next meeting.


And I tried more versions....



....and I even tried birds that would have wings made from signs....


But Susan was not crazy about these “new birds”. She liked those birds she first saw in my sketchbook. I agreed to try again and we set up another time to meet.


So it was back to the drawing board, and trying to capture the feel of those first sketches....



....and it's hard trying to get motivated about a design that you just don't care for, but I kept pressing forward....



And the winner is.....


At our next meeting, Susan was happy with the image above, based on those original sketches that she saw several weeks earlier. Then she told me she needed one more… “We really should have a pair!” she said.

Susan was happy and so we sent the images to be cut out of steel. Now all this time I’m still not really feeling great about these birds, although Susan and my wife, Chris, really liked them.

This past Saturday Susan called and said she the birds were cut! She was at the site of the park and had the birds there. I told her Chris and I would be right down.


Susan greets us at the facade of the park.


The park’s facade was in place, but not yet completed. Once finished, viewing ports would be cut into the metal wall at a variety of heights.


The partially completed facade at the park.




Susan proceeds to present the freshly cut birds....



....and here they are!


I must tell you that I was totally pumped! Seeing something that began as not much more than a doodle, and now here it was in steel, well, I now felt completely different about those birds!


The negative shape!



Chris and I with the birds.


The birds will be set on mounts in the new mini sculpture park, and will be joined by metal art works by at least three other artists when the project is completed. My thanks to Susan Hogan, TK Innovations, Hays Landscape Architecture Studio, and all the “unknowns” who are playing a part in making this happen. (I will post an update when the park is completed and all the art is installed.)




Oglebayfest Artist Market 2010

Saturday at the Oglebayfest Artist Market

This is the third year in a row that I have exhibited at the Oglebayfest Artist Market at Oglebay Park. For my wife, Chris, and I, the best part of this festival is that it is located right here in Wheeling, WV and only a mile and half from our house. Our friend Kyle Hallam, ceramic artist supreme, comes from his home in  Greene County, PA to do the Artist Market and stays with us over the weekend. This year, another friend, fiber artist Susan Levi-Goerlich of Columbia, MD, gave Oglebayfest a try and she, too, stayed with us. Having our artist friends in our home made for an extra special weekend!

Susan Levi-Goerlich in her booth on "artist row", awaiting the early Friday crowds. Some of Kyle's work can be seen in the foreground.

Susan is our neighbor at the Cenrtral PA Festival of the Arts each summer, and so it was a new adventure to have her in our own back yard! You can check out Susan’s wonderful work at her website.

Some of Susan's work she was exhibiting at her Oglebayfest booth.

Friday and Saturday were traditionally fall-like: crisp, cool air mixed with mostly sunny skies. We were constantly being pelted by acorns from the oak trees which hovered over our heads. At times it sounded like machine guns as the nuts hit the tent roof in rapid fire!

The amazing Kyle!

That’s Kyle above, taking a break during Friday morning set-up to ham it up for my camera. Kyle is a very talented ceramic artist whose working palette is like no other I have seen in the ceramic arts. In addition, his sense of humor is unsurpassed as this photo gives evidence.

Kyle and I with our recently purchased mugs.

It has become a tradition of sorts that early on Friday, Kyle and I each purchase a mug from one of the exhibiting clay artists of Oglebayfest. These utilitarian works of art will go on to hold an adult beverage or two over the weekend.

We toast with our new mugs!

This is the second year in which I held my Studio Clean-Out Sale on a wall of my booth. This is work that was experimental in nature, left over from previous exhibitions, or for some unknown reason just never connected with anyone. Rather than just have it take up studio space, I mark it down and let it find new homes. My “sales wall” was pretty much cleaned out my Friday afternoon.

My booth at Oglebayfest Artist Market.

Maw's County Fixens at Oglebayfest.

Unfortunately, meatless options at Oglebayfest are pretty slim, so Chris and I have to bring our own food for the most part. However, it is a tradition that we have some hot fried potatoes from Maw’s Country Fixens! Oh yeah! We get’em before the line gets too long! (see below) It’s fun to watch “Pa” dice the potatoes using his own invention: a giant potato dicer that runs on a cordless electric drill!

The line at Maw's Country Fixens wagon.

Now if only the line for my art was long as the one at Maw’s! Maybe if I hang peppers and onions in my booth. Hmmmmm.

Kicking back with some of Maw's hot potatoes!

Scarecrow sales are brisk at Oglebayfest!

Me along with Marc and Cheryl Harshman in Cecy Rose's booth.

Exhibiting artists Patricia and Andrew Croft.

Susan models wood carvings by Andrew Crofts father and yes, both the football and the cap are WOOD!

Chris along with Melissa Marshall and Anna Mancuso.

Making a new friend at Oglebayfest! Me and Jabba the hut.

This t-shirt cracked me up!

West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin ALMOST visits my booth. (That him in the blue shirt.)

Even though Governor Manchin did not visit my booth, and even if it we did have a cold, rainy Sunday, and even if I was fighting a bug attacking my upper respiratory system, Chris and I had a wonderful weekend! A good time filled with friends, family, some art sales, art trades, and some art buying. And thanks, Susan, for encouraging me to get the blog going again!

Lambros Tsuhlares, aka Clay Ninja at his Artist Market booth.

Potteryhead Mel, one of Lambros' humble grasshoppers.