Sunday, February 7, 2016

Goal reached! Thank you!

Thanks to a flurry of activity this afternoon, we've hit- and surpassed- the goal of $800! Many, many thanks for your pledges and for passing the word along! You've just been wonderful! 
Any funds over the goal amount will go to support the costs of mounting an exhibition, as well as hiring some great traditional music to liven up the opening, tentatively scheduled for April 2017. 
i am psyched about getting back into the studio and start working on all the inspiration I've gathered up. It does take time to make this work, but I will keep you updated here, with photos of work in progress and other news. Please message me if you need to know anything at all about my project. 
Go raibh maith agat!!!  Thank YOU! 

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Clarsach and musician

Final Night in the British Museum

As part of my new British Museum membership, I was delighted to be able to attend a Members' Night on January 25. 
Strolling through the Great Court, there was a wonderful Scottish harpist playing a reproduction of a centuries-old harp. 

Stories of Lilith
In among the Greek marble goddesses was a talented storyteller spinning tales of Lilith. 

And best of all, right outside the exhibition, Celtic artifacts put right into my hands in a "Hands On" session! 

The Museum hosts these throughout the galleries, something truly astounding- objects in the collection that are sturdy and able to be handled are presented by museum staff for close up inspection by visitors.  
"hands on"!

I spent my final hour at the Museum in the Celts exhibit, in the blissfully calm, uncrowded galleries, closely examining some favorites. Even on this, my fifth trip through the show, it was still time to discover something new to savor and learn from. It was the perfect end to my week. It would be hard to imagine, in a week's time, being able to have seen and done more. 
I have been delighted to see the response and pledges come in over the past couple days. Many, many thanks to all of you who have joined in! I am looking forward to a busy time in the studio, thinking through all I have been witness to in this journey, and to getting to work on special sculptures for my supporters. As I post this, I am only $137 from the goal of $800. If you have a friend who might be interested, won't you pass this along? I'd be so appreciative. 
Thanks again! 
Laura T

    Friday, February 5, 2016

    Celts at The British Museum

     1 like
    Image 360060 original
    I've been heading over to the museum just as it opens each day, to avoid the large crowds which have been coming to see Celts: Art and Identity. I tried one afternoon, but it was impossible to see some of the smaller pieces up close. In the morning, it is been wonderful -and I've been able to stay almost 2 hours making some sketches, reading, comparing objects, and thinking through some ideas that they are starting to inspire. I've added a few of my sketches here. Unfortunately, photography is not allowed within this exhibition. The catalog, however, is extraordinary, with excellent essays and lots of great photography.
    I attended two lectures, both featuring curator and Iron Age scholar Julia Farley. The second lecture also highlighted some work by famous Brit anthropologist, professor and author Alice Roberts. The two have slightly variant theories about the Celts and what makes something Celtic. The exhibit itself takes a stand on this. There is a continuous implication that the Celts are linked far more closely by technology, ideas, art and languages than they are by blood. The identity aspect of the exhibition traces the Celtic revival and offers a nod towards the role of art and poetry in politics.
    Image 360066 originalThere is lots to mull over and discuss, and some worthy pubs in which to do so. A shoutout here to the new favorite, The Bricklayers Arms. Other close by discoveries were a remarkable art supply store right near the hotel, and the storied Hobgoblin Music. Stacked with instruments, all focus on folk and traditional music.
    Tomorrow the grand finale of the trip- Members Night - during which members stay late at the Museum, hear presentations, music and enjoy specialized tours.
    See you all back in Rhode Island soon! Laura T

    Perfect Landing

     1 like
    What an extraordinarily, magically easy trip over to London! A half empty red-eye flight (with the ability to stretch out, so almost 4 hours actual sleep ) convenient Heathrow Connect train to Paddington, and a splurge on a cab ride to the hotel right around the corner from the British Museum. A stroll through the Bloomsbury neighborhood, discovery of the perfect wee cafe with requisite Big Salad and Full English ( breakfast that is) a steakhouse that looks promising and the possibility of endless free wi fi all around will mean less time searching for basic needs and more time at the Museum.
    Resting up for tonight (I get paralyzing jet lag) to get focused with books and the Museum magazine and plan my approach for a long, happy day tomorrow at "Celts".
    Many, many thanks to all of you who kicked in so far.

      Monday, January 25, 2016

      Update #3

      Jan 19 2016

      Stone Rubbings on Fabric

      Perhaps you've once upon a time taken a rubbing from an old gravestone- a practice now frowned upon, often illegal, as it hastens the breakdown of the surface of the carved stone. It's an exciting technique, as the surface textures are captured and the image comes to life under our fingers. With a little skill, the process can produce incredibly beautiful work. Alas, in the interest of maintaining our historic stonework in cemeteries and on monuments, we must restrain our hand. 

      No such restriction applies to my own stone work in relief, and one day I got nudged by someone close to try the idea of a rubbing from my own carving, just so he could have it hung up to enjoy in his study every day. After some experimentation I discovered a way to make it work, which involved high quality, firm art crayons and heavy papers.

      large rubbing on paper, "Torn"

      I kind of hate caring for paper! and the large rolls getting crushed and the difficulty and expense of framing some of the larger pieces. So, I tried it on cloth, seeking out colors and textures in the fabrics that echoed the stone, lichens, old trees and mosses often found in the many places of the standing stones. 

      making a rubbing

      You can try it as well, from some of my previously completed relief work right in my studio. This is a first time ever, one time only offer extended only through this Kickstarter. Though I have taught a class in how to carve relief to get the best rubbings, I have NEVER before allowed anyone to take rubbings from my work besides me! For a pledge of $75, we'll spend a couple hours in my studio creating your rubbing with your choice of the available fabrics and colors. It's composition, size and shape will be up to you. We'll have a pot of tea and some snacks while we work, either one on one or in a small group

      And, if you would like a rubbing of your own, without heading to the mills of Warren, RI, we can arrange that as well. For a pledge of $50, I will send you one of the rubbings of this piece, a special favorite, with a couple possible color/style options available. Just message me about your preferences or interests...for example, perhaps you'd like a mostly blues and greens rubbing, or that you would love one in earth tones. And, if some different image of my relief stonework or its rubbing captures your attention, let me know, and we may be able to customize a rubbing just for you! 

      New Moon

      "New Moon" double rubbing

      I am packing wildly this morning, as the plane leaves tonight for the big trip to London! If you'd pledge before I leave it would be so very encouraging! 

      -Laura T

      Sunday, January 24, 2016

      Update #2

      Jan 15 2016
      Almost Brigid's Day

      One of my rewards is a traditional Brigid's cross, handmade by me from reeds I gather near my little studio in South Kingstown Rhode Island, packed as a unique gift. I've been making these for many years, and sharing them on my Etsy shop.

      Brigid's Day is February 1, and make no mistake about it, I chose that as my last day of this Kickstarter for a reason. Brigid's Day, also known as Candlemas or Imbolc, marks a division in the winter season, the quickening of life as sap starts to rise in the trees and lambs are born. The holiday is utterly Celtic, and still celebrated in Ireland by the gathering of reeds and the making of these small crosses. Brigid herself is second only to Patrick among the saints of Ireland and is the patroness of fire, smithing, tools, animal husbandry, hospitality and poetry.

      Since she's in charge of the iron tools I use, the season we are about to enter, and remains the most Celtic of saints, I thought it appropriate to share something of Brigid in this project! As the first tiny stirrings before Spring come our way I'll be in the studio, forming inspiration - slowly,gradually -into stonework.

      I include a card that explains the traditions and customs surrounding the Brigid's cross with every package. I've shipped these all over the world, even to Ireland. They make a lovely housewarming gift or a special favor for a hostess. Put one near your hearth to protect your home from fire.

      Many, many thanks to all who have pledged so far. I'm busily packing for my trip and finishing up work in the studio. I am looking forward to hearing from a few more of you soon, before I get on that plane on Tuesday! Any questions at all, please contact me!


      Tuesday, January 19, 2016

      Want to take a class? Decide before February 1: it will support my Kickstarter!

      Stone Carving Classes as Your Reward

      Hey everyone! I thought I'd take a few minutes to tell you about my stone carving class and workshop coming right up, to give everyone a more complete picture of what that reward looks like! If you choose to support my project at the $125 level,  you will be able to choose ANY class I offer in 2016 or 2017 as your reward, or you may give the reward as a gift to a friend or family member and let them choose the right experience for themselves. 
      These examples are scheduled- and are certainly available to supporters! But, if these dates don't suit, no worries, I'm planning to set up supporters with special dates, not available to the general public. You'll get your choice of a spot in a regularly scheduled class (and I will have several possibilities) or a "supporters only" group. Any questions at all, just contact me! 
      carving a water smoothed beach stone
      carving a water smoothed beach stone
      Weekend Workshop: Relief Carving Intensive in Limestone at Laura Travis Carving: Spend a weekend learning to carve stone! All levels are welcome in this two day workshop, February 20-21, 9:30 am -4 pm at Laura Travis Carving, 219A. Ages 14 and up. Beginners are a specialty! Bring an idea for a design or find one when you get here. $125 includes use of all tools and one stone.
      what are all these tools for? find out!
      what are all these tools for? find out!
      NEW! Tuesdays Rock! Weekly Stone carving class at Laura Travis Carving March 1 to 22 6 to 8:30 pm. A highly personalized, in-studio class in carving stone for a limit of 5 people. If you ever wanted to “dig in” in a small group, with every tool at your fingertips, and work towards completing a special project, this is the class for you. It’s great for relief carvers looking to get some experience in carving in the round. Beginners are always welcome and will find this a very supportive setting. Soapstone carving in the round and limestone carving in the round or in relief are all options. $125 for four weeks of class at studio 219A, stone and some materials additional. 
      I've had a number of folks purchase one of my classes as a special gift. Another favorite way to enjoy a class has been fathers and sons or sisters or several members of a school arts faculty take the class together! And you'll be pleased to know that most people do some pretty impressive work even during the first class. Have a look:
      student work in a carving class
      student work in a carving class
       and then there was this group of hotshots:
      student work
      student work
       If you are inspired to take one of my classes as your reward, I'd be thrilled! Since this Kickstarter only lasts until February 1, if you make a pledge now, you've assured your place in a special session for supporters, or the class of your choice, going forward. Same goes if you decide to make this a gift. Please send me any and all questions! 
      And thank you! 

        Saturday, January 9, 2016

        Am I really retired?

        I am in my new studio, lying on the couch, a day or two after year has turned. It's now 2016, I'm on the couch in my new studio. I've been retired since June from my hectic, all- absorbing high school art teaching job. Right now,  I am contemplating a long list of things I need to do in the month of January. I don't feel very retired!

        But they say, artists don't retire. They never retire. And the last thing I want to do is retire from being an artist. I am about to launch my very first for kick starter campaign, and I'm hopeful, but truly wondering if I will get support for it. The kick starter is to support the longest journey I'll probably ever make just to look at Art. It's for me to go to London to visit the British Museum, which is hosting the largest collection of Celtic art ever assembled. And it's closing the end of January, so I better move fast.

        People use kick starter to get lots of things done, including amass giant wads of money to get certain objects manufactured and also print out CDs, which is how most of the people I know have had use for crowdfunding. My manufacturing process is simple: get me a chisel and hammer and a chunk of limestone and wait a couple weeks, or a month, and then you can have some art. Almost nothing can speed this up. I think this is a good thing.

        But this is like a band going on tour, or going to 100 workshops made just to suit me. I have to get there. I will get there, it's just that when I get back, I'm going to want to bury myself in limestone and hammers and chisels and not come out until spring or maybe even June. And if I don't get some help, instead I might have to go and get some kind of part time employment. To pay the bills from the trip. And the work won't get as done as fast. And the thing is, the work- the sculpture, the ideas, the making-  that's why am doing the kick starter, really. The trip is inspiration for the work. And the real plan is to have a show with in a year and a half of the work I produced as a result of seeing this absolutely landmark show. It's a once-in-a-lifetime exhibit for me to see. Doing a kick starter will not only force me to make work to give to the supporters of this kick starter, it will force me to have a show of the work that I made. 

        And, it will force me to get this blog started again! So welcome back!