Art Shape Mammoth

Last year, after having taken a two-year break from board work, I joined the board of directors for a placeless organization called Art Shape Mammoth. Started by some friends and neighbors I met living at the Tilsner Artist Co-operative in Lowertown St. Paul, they are a 501(c)3 non-profit organization committed to connecting artists to new communities and supporting the development of artistic practice, dialogue, education, and research through creative public exchange. Programming includes;

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Enter Enamels

Stencils sprayed in under glaze on clay seemed like an invitation to crossover into vitreous enamels on copper and brass. What I’d read is that it’s one of those things, you can learn in an evening and master over a lifetime. So, I chose a color palette to play with and hit order. Now, I’m easing into incorporating this new finish into a coherent body of everyday surfaces. My thought is that the most frequently viewed images are those that are commonly on and around us; wall art, a garment, your favorite cup or necklace, etc. If these are heavily laden with meaning, then they serve to reaffirm something of that sentiment every time your eyes pass over them.

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Friends & Family

A few years ago, I started doing stencil cuts of friends and family members, to be sprayed onto platters as wedding gifts. I don’t throw the dish, my partner Chris does that, I just supply the imagery. They were blurry at first, but keep getting better. The addition of a legitimate airbrush to our arsenal resulted in a far higher quality image, as did tweaking the shape of the rim. These are all at least 14-16″ in diameter, and we’ve also successfully applied the images to cremation urns. There’s a lot of material to work with here in terms of celebrating life events with a unique vessel.

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Celebrating Small Successes

Studies say that people who are encouraged to celebrate small accomplishments, also report having more feelings of happiness and satisfaction with their lives. Celebration is a reward for all the hard work and obstacles overcome to summit, and reinforces that our efforts were indeed worth it. It also sets the stage for subsequent successes, as it replenishes our social batteries with needed energy and affirmation. Everyone should take a break and party sometimes, especially now, because it’s my birthday week!

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All Reactions Are Positive

I love a good critique, especially one that points out flaws in the work, giving clues about what to improve the next time around. When I say all reactions are positive, I mean that if your work provokes a reaction at all, any reaction, that’s a good thing. If you can get someone to share their reaction with you, even if they hate it, they are providing useful information. The worst thing that can happen is to garner no response at all, then you’ve really got a problem on your hands.

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The Living Gallery

Above, the lovely Sarah Holm of Black Spoke Leather Co. sports one of my brooches at the Golden Pearl Vintage, bringing it to life. Historically, my chief complaints about two-dimensional artwork is that it just sits there, it doesn’t do anything. In college, I recall being laughed at in critique for making that statement, but…

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