Beyond the Stitch Work – Artist Residency in Hawaii

My Artist Residency at Ark of the Unicorns was meant to accomplish crochet designs of the human figure and the connections we make with each other. Instead, of simply stitching connections in wire, I also made the best ones myself, in person.

In both her ceramics workshop and her speaking engagement Magdalene Odundo spoke of her own work which is often modeled on the human form. Beautiful, simple, clean lines which show the very essence of the figures they are representing.

Magdalene also spoke of “visual literacy” in the workshop and also its importance within her jurying process. Visual literacy, the ability to read/interpret visual input such as symbols or actions. In the workshop she also referred to it as being able to ‘see’ measurements. Such as having a good idea of how long a measurement is such as 50cm. Falling back on her graphic design experience with this reference.

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Through these ideas I felt able to connect with her clay lessons and others in the class despite working with a medium that feels completely divergent to anything else  in which I’ve worked.

Bernice Akamine made a studio visit. It was good to speak with another wire artist and wonderful to hear her advice regarding some of my work and loved that she also said what she didn’t like! It helps a LOT! Her beautifully beaded wire jellyfish  pieces were also accepted in Hawai’i Craftsmen’s Annual Statewide Juried Exhibition.

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Staying active with Hawai’i Craftsmen arts organization of crafters has been so important for me and it’s through another HC member that I have had this artist residency opportunity! Thanks, Nanci <3

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The Chinatown Neighborhood is a character in itself, the ebb & flow fruits & vegets, restaurants, people, and events holds tight to it’s demands. This is it. Love it or leave it. My most difficult, most impactful connection.

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About a year and a half ago I had a studio in the same building as Solomon Enos, an intensely creative, prolific artist here in Honolulu. Saw that work he had done was painted over and was disappointed. I did happen by again and saw him creating  new work over the old painted over mural. Good to reconnect with him and to see he is doing well.

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Saturdays with Chloe always showed fresh and happy, potential and possibilities for all that we talked of anything but and everything about art. These are connections to be kept beyond the artist residency.

Thank You ever so much to all <3

Studio Visit, Stitch Experiments, & Lefty Achievement Unlocked

On Wednesday, Bernice Akamine came by for a studio visit. She is a well respected Native Hawai’ian artist who also does wire stitchwork. She just had a solo show on the Big Island and I greatly appreciate her taking the time to stop by!

There are not many other wire stitch artists so it was wonderful to talk with her. She continues to work in wire and was also chosen by Magdalene Odundo, OBE, to have wire work pieces in Hawaii Craftsmen’s Annual Statewide Juried Exhibition opening on Oct 24, 2017.

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We talked about one of my newest pieces, Figure #3, and how best to move forward. My current efforts had matchy, matchy embroidery thread accents however she recommended going much darker, and try it with wire first, just to see.

“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” – Scott Adams

Five mis-starts later I see that the sapphire blue wire is just not going to create the look I wanted.

Then I remembered Bernice often uses a different technique in her wire work so I started out again. This time attempting a knotless knitting technique. Still couldn’t get it to look quite right.

So out came the embroidery floss in the lovely dark blue. Multiple attempts with different thread counts, different hook sizes and the best look still eluded me.

Finally reaching the best thread count with the right hook size and yet again stitching away I see the stitches are not laying well, looking too ‘backwards’ in my attempt towords a specific directionality. I want the eye to travel easily over the work, to flow from left to right.

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The only way I can achieve that best look, in the direction I want, is to learn to crochet left handed!

After a dinner break with friends, I jumped back in and forged ahead with lefty stitching. Slow going but finally got the look I wanted!!

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This residency is filled w/experiments & mistakes, ripping out stitches and trying yet again. Much of my time is filled with work yet little progress to show for it. The end result is that Figure #3 will eternally be a prototype, a single piece of work filled with ideas that together don’t make a great piece of art. Yet moving forward, these lessons learned will provide the much stronger work from me in the future.

And I can now crochet left handed, also =)

Follow more of my art adventures on Instagram: StudioDeanna

Instagram: ArkoftheUnicorns is the Artist Residency in Chinatown Artists Lofts in Honolulu, Hawaii where this is all made possible.

 

 

Bright Festive Fruits & Vegetables in Chinatown HNL

Each morning Chinatown and I awaken to bright, festive fruits and vegetables being set out. From rambutan to bananas to kohlrabi to dried mushrooms by the pound! I am a well fed Artist-in-Residence here at Ark of the Unicorns!

 

Peek among the boxes…did you see the kitty behind the durian?

Deep Pink Dragonfruit, not quite ripe persimmons, black or white mysterious (to me) fungi…

Prices here are some of the best in town for fruits and vegets, on this heavily populated island a huge majority of food is imported and crazy expensive. Red Peppers are often $4.99/lb in the grocers, but here in Chinatown they are about $1.79/lb if you don’t mind the misshapen ones.

More than just your servings of fruits and vegetables, Chinatown also has several kitchen and home shops to complete your meals.

Meats available include parrot fish and chicken’s feet:

Follow my art adventures on Instagram: StudioDeanna

Also check out my work and that of others in the Ark of the Unicorns gallery space & artist residency.

Haikyo Photography in Hawaii

The large, Japanese stone lantern lay on the ground in pieces. The derelict tourou wrapped in rotting rope covered in molds, lichen, and mosses reminded me of Haikyo. Urban Explorers whose curiosity leads them to ruins, or Haikyo in Japanese.

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After seeing the abandoned lantern I began to see other bits of ruins, abandoned pieces of culture and buildings around Honolulu. I am greatly appreciating that my time here as Artist in Residence at Ark of the Unicorns in the Chinatown Artists Lofts provides the chance to explore haikyo.

Between the scattered bits of gentrification in Chinatown there is neglected architecture, aged units, and scrawling messages wishing they were grand murals:

See more of my art adventures on Instagram: ArkoftheUnicorns and Instagram: StudioDeanna

Photographing Chinatown HNL: Black and White

My previous post covered a few of the photographs I really felt looked best in color, this post shows photographs I really liked in Black and White. Capturing the deep character, feelings evoked, or the message I wish to convey is very often found in the photo editing process.

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Late Night Grocery – As I walked through Chinatown, it’s character asked for additional work to be done to certain photographs. Ones such as this Black and White wants more clarification. I will be printing this one and working with the idea of adding fiber work.

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Tree Jail – What did this naughty, naughty tree do?

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This photograph of the entrance of the Maunakea Marketplace at night is also asking for more from me. The Marketplace draws a crowd of tourists in addition to the neighborhood regulars with a Yelp rating of 3.5 stars. I am curious as to how many stars its regular nighttime homeless visitors would give it. This is another photograph I will be printing out.

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Love the patterns of the palm leaves and using the Gioconda Charcoal & Pencil Drawing kit I received from the Magdalene Odundo Ceramics Workshop I have started sketching them.

Follow my continuing adventures as Artist-in-Residence at Ark of the Unicorns

And at Instagram: StudioDeanna

Photographing Chinatown HNL

 

 

My time as Artist-in-Residence at Ark of the Unicorns continues and Honolulu’s Chinatown has been one of the most unique I have visited around the world. There are layers upon layers in the short history of the buildings, a huge mix of peoples not just Chinese, and a stuttering start at gentrification.

These elements all come together to create a character all its own and make for no shortage of photographic opportunities. In today’s entry I’ll post ones that I feel show best with color and next entry will be those I found to be best in black & white.

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Visiting some areas at night, no longer bustling with pedestrians and tourists, shows how much personality even a bus stop can have.

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Playing with various filters in ones photo editing software can bring out various elements one feels at a place or even evoke the delicious smells of dinner being served at a neighborhood restaurant!

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At less than 100 years old, many buildings have packed a lot of history in their short time on Oahu.

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Follow more of my Art Adventures on Instagram: Studio Deanna

Watch for the next entry on Black and White Photography!

Ceramics Workshop with Magdalene Odundo, OBE – Part I

A wonderful opportunity came through Hawaii Craftsmen for me to attend Magdalene Odundo’s ceramics Master Workshop appeared and I am happy I was able to accept. I am currently Artist-in-Residence at Ark of the Unicorns’ alternative gallery space in the Chinatown Artists Lofts and her workshop has been an enriching experience for me.

Magdalene is a world renown ceramicist and this workshop placed clay in my hands for the third time in my life. It was set up for all mediums and many of the things taught in the class apply to other areas of ones life. I attended the Wet Clay Demo at Honolulu Museum of Art School and later watched her create our first project; an ostrich egg style vessel.

In the ceramics studio at Chozen Ji Zen Buddhist Temple, she made it look sooooo easy!! So with great excitement I started in on my very own ostrich egg style vessel!!

From a big square of clay I started hand-building as I saw Magdalene do. It started out well, it really did. But as I worked the clay sides up, it also ventured out. Up and out, up and further out, until it was hopeless. My inexperience with clay became glaringly obvious.

Falling back on my textile & sewing skills I chose to create three large tucks into the bowl shape bringing the circumference in. Not a pretty solution but it worked!

This is where we ended for the day as I left to contemplate where I went wrong and how I was going to bring the edges in as she demonstrated.

We came back the next day to the ceramics workshop at Chozen Ji Buddhist Temple and dug in. I know I wasn’t forceful enough initially with the hard clay so I started there with my forming. Between that and using Magdalene’s techniques I figured it out!! Super happy I was able to make this piece happen. A lot of character created by those tucks and the unusual opening. Not the prettiest, but I did it!

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A video of the completed place:

Watch for Part II – More adventures in Ceramics with Magdalene Odundo & other places to find art workshops in Hawaii.

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