Thursday, May 26, 2011

BOYCC Report - Workshops

One of the coolest aspects of the BOYC Convention was the wide range of workshops that were offered. I have attended stand-alone workshops before, but the convention was unusual in the sheer number that were offered. Pretty much every aspect of producing ceramic horses was covered, so that attendees could sample what was involved with each step.

These first two pictures were taken during the Custom Glazing Workshop, which was held on Thursday at Pour Horse Pottery. Participants were given their choice of either an Animal Artistry Dartmoor or Friesian Mare. They masked the markings and patterns, and selected the color for Joan and Addi to airbrush. After that the horse was returned to them for detailing.

Here is my roommate Katie Gehrt with the Dartmoor that she was glazing dapple grey. Joan airbrushed the basic color and Katie erased the dapples and painted the details. All the horses were fired and ready to take home on the last day of the show. Joan even supplied boxes and packing material, as well as offering to ship the horses home for anyone that could not carry them. Talk about full service!

That was a workshop for underglazing, which is the method I use to glaze my own work. The other method is china painting, which is completely foreign to me. For that reason I was really looking forward to taking the workshop on China Painting with Karen Gerhardt. I will post about that separately in the future, because it really deserves a separate post.

There was a two-part workshop on restoration that I would have loved to have attended, but fitting a repair victim in my overstuffed luggage was out of the question after I decided that "Elvis" needed to travel with me. There was also a demonstration on how to pour and clean greenware, which was a lot of fun to watch, since I remember that part of my own ceramic education so well! (No one at BOYCC broken nearly as many legs as I did when I was learning.)

But the coolest set of workshops, in my opinion, were done as a pair. On Friday Kelly Savage gave a workshop on sculpting a simple medallion. Throughout the show on Saturday, a small group of folks worked on their medallions. That was because on Sunday, Margaret Olson of MAO Ceramics gave a workshop on simple moldmaking.

Here are some of the participants making plaster waste molds of their medallions.

(And on a completely unrelated note, the woman in the red shirt is Amy Peck. I've been privileged to call Amy a friend for many years, but my time at BOYCC gave me a whole new appreciation for the level of organization that Amy has. Much of the messy logistics of the convention were handled by her, and she did so with such competence and grace that I was left in awe.)

Here are four of the medallions ready for the lids to be poured. I especially liked that there was a strawberry daiquiri there in the picture, complete with fruit kabob and drink umbrella. The husband of Elli Heritage-Mench, Gunner, kept the Hospitality Suite stocked with mai tais and daiquiris made from fresh, locally-grown strawberries. (The amber liquid in the cup next to the daiquiri is mold soap - an important distinction to remember while moldmaking!)

This full slate of workshops was the part of BOYCC that had me most intrigued when Joanie first explained the concept. As is probably apparent to anyone who has followed this blog for any length of time, sharing techniques is really important to me, and I would love to see this kind of concept take off within the model horse community. Blog posts and articles can convey a lot of information, but there is nothing like handling the materials in person alongside someone who already knows how to use them. It is certainly true of ceramics, but I also think the same kind of format would work well for the other artisan activities like sculpting, casting, prepping and painting.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

BOYCC Report - Banquet Dinner

Sarah Minkiewicz-Breunig's table, with an inset photo of the two of the magnets she gave to each of her guests.

I have always thought that the equine collectibles community should tinker with the format of our shows, and I've tried to support those shows that did. Bring Out Your Chinas has always been a trendsetter when it came to specialty shows catering to ceramic collectors, but this year was something else entirely. Joan and Addi envisioned something entirely different in concept as well as format; a true convention experience. Because there were so many innovative things about the weekend, I wanted to highlight them in separate posts.

One of the most unusual things about BOYCC compared to other shows was that meals were part of the event. Breakfast, lunch and dinner were provided to the participants for each day of the event. Usually these were held at the host resort, in restaurant that looked over the lake. The windows in the picture above show the view we had of the water. It was a lovely setting with abundant natural light for viewing the pieces on display.

On Saturday there was a Banquet Dinner where awards were given for the previous day's competition. It was a great way to truly appreciate the horses and owners, rather than just catching snippets of the announcements while actively showing or judging.

The other unusual aspect of the Banquet was that we were arranged at Artist Tables. Artists who worked in ceramic were invited to host a table. This involved creating a centerpiece that would then be taken home by one of the guests. It was open-ended, with no real requirement about what could be done. I must confess that I came up blank on ideas when I was approached, and suspected that I'd be kept too busy with the name tags to do the idea justice, so I declined to take a table. It was a wise choice, because I would have felt quite the slacker compared to the efforts the artists gave their tables!

The top picture is of Sarah Minkiewicz-Breunig's table. The creation of her centerpiece was detailed on her blog. Entrants were asked for table choices, but I didn't have a preference. I figured I would spend most of dinner fretting about my presentation (which followed immediately afterwards), so my only request was that I be seated with fun people. The room was full of those, so I couldn't go wrong no matter where I was, but Sarah's was my assigned table.

One of the things I loved was how well each of the tables reflected the artist who decorated them. This one was for Adalee Hude of Brightly Hude Studio. The butterflies and chocolates sit in a pottery bowl decorated with vintage illustrations. Each of the guests received a hand-painted ceramic pin with a bird. (Click the photo to go to Addi's website.)

Donna Chaney of Animal Artistry had a delicate diorama of an Arabian mare and foal, all in ceramic. Each guest received a custom glazed chess piece. (Living in a house full of chess players, I went away dreaming of a custom glazed chess set of my own - perhaps Pintos and Appaloosas instead of Black and White. Unlike my sons I play pretty poorly, but at least I would enjoy looking at the pieces while I lost!)

This one was from Joan Berkwitz of Pour Horse Pottery. That is an Otto that has been turned into a tea pot. He has a wrapped wire handle and a lid cut into his back, as well as a pour spout through his mouth. A Collier has been turned into a creamer, and a Limerick into a sugar bowl. Joan's guests received Pour Horse pins glazed to match the tea set.

This was the table beside me, and probably my favorite. It was for Karen Gerhardt of Wizard's Vale Arts. Karen went all out with a claybody custom Boreas as her centerpiece. Each of her guests received a smaller Boreas that had been art glazed (each a different color). I loved that Karen brought a bit of her home in Colorado to her table, with evergreen bows, pine cones and photos of the mountains.

Kristina Lucas-Francis had a table done like a Tiki Bar, complete with a Tiki Rex in an aqua green glaze. (For those more familiar with her work on horses, Kristina also sculpts dinosaurs.) Her guests each received a glazed Bucky pins that matched the Tiki Rex.

This was the table for Marge Para of ReMuda Pottery. Marge handbuilt the pot that was her centerpiece, but in each chair was a gift box that contained a different hand-thrown pot. They made me wish I had taken the wheel throwing class offered at the local clay shop earlier this year.

Of all the concepts that Joan talked about while the convention was in its planning stage, this one - artist tables - was the one that gave me pause. Ours is a community with conflicted feelings about the celebrity of its artists, and I worried that dedicating tables to individuals might be awkward. Oddly enough, the tables did not focus attention on the artists, but rather allowed the artists to focus on their customers. Perhaps it was the format of the artist as "host" and the collectors as "guests", and the gifts for each person there. It seemed much more like an appreciation of those who allow us to do what we love, rather than a recognition of some kind of status.

BOYCC Report - Swag!

There is so much I want to share about the recent Bring Out Your Chinas Convention (BOYCC). The format was an experiment conceived by Joan Berkwitz of Pour Horse Pottery and Addi Hude of Brightly Hude Studio, and there is so much to say about it that it will take several posts (and a few more days of sleep for my part).

I did want to share some photos of the "Swag Bags", which are pictured above. Those are actually the Day 1 Swag Bags. So many things were created as giveaways for the show that a second set of bags were required for the second day of the show! My own contribution - the handmade name tags discussed in previous posts - were actually handed out separately so that we didn't have to match the bags to their owners. It was work enough just filling all the bags!

Here are a few of the items: a ceramic mug with one of the early Pour Horse logos. The roll of blue cloth is a lint-free towel for cleaning dust and debris from ceramics; these were extremely handy for those of us who took the workshop in china painting! The retractable white brush in front came from Kristina Francis. To the right is a memory book for attendees to sign. It was one of my favorite things from the event, although I am sorry that judging kept me too busy to sign as many as I wished.

More swag! From the top left there is a cartoon pony keychain (my son already claimed it) and a plastic piggy with tiny dominos (again, claimed by my kids). The white paw prints are handmade soap, and they sit on a handmade koozie. There is a pen that reads "playing with mud" and a key fob that says "BOYC". To the lower left are some index cards for last minute show entries (boy was I glad for those!). Sitting on top of those is one of Karen Gerhardt's pins in a pretty lavender porcelain. We used the same pin in glossy white for her overglazing workshop. (Mine is, not surprisingly, so far from done that there is no point in photographing it yet.) The two small buttons were done by Melissa Gaulding. She made enough for everyone to trade, and I ended up with two appaloosa foals. I am still kicking myself for not taking the time to find someone willing to trade the splash overo one.

Lynn Fraley of Laf'n Bear sent some of her bear tiles. I really liked the blue-green glaze on this one.

Sarah Minkiewicz-Breunig included one of her Dancing Horse tiles. Sarah sent a truly staggering number of tiles for gifts and awards. I was lucky enough to win several of them, and will include pictures in later posts about the show and Saturday night's award dinner. I am afraid all they did was succeed in making me greedy for more of them, so I hope that she stocks some in her Etsy store soon. (hint, hint)

Another big hit from the swag bags were these candy parrots, made by Jen Kroll. She did a number of different color patterns and I was fortunate to take quite a few home. I didn't have the heart to eat them, though.

I couldn't eat these, either. Liz Holm donated custom-printed M&Ms with "BOYC 2011", "Shiny!" and a silhouette of the HR Morgan Stallion. I didn't know that could be done, but here is the site for ordering them.

I didn't have to eat them, though, because the bags were filled with all manner of snack foods - and that was on top of all the meals that were provided as part of the event.

And finally there was this guy. He was part of the booty Sarah sent down for the show. I had seen them on Sarah's blog post and coveted them. My roommate Katie Gehrt won this one (my favorite!) as a door prize and gave him to me. It made my day! He sat next to my laptop during the horse color presentation, so that I would see him each time I changed a slide. It was almost like having Sarah right there, which of course made it impossible to be nervous.

I will post more about the workshops and the show and the presentation in the next few days. I want to tell as much as possible about BOYCC in hopes that more people will consider using it as a template for future events.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Almost time to go

I leave for Bring Out Your Chinas in just a few days. Now that the presentation and the name tags are done, I am starting to get excited. Joanie and Addi have come up with a very different format for an equine collectibles gathering, and I cannot wait to see how it turns out.

I know I am particularly interested in seeing how this guy turned out. He's going to be one of the table centerpieces for our meals. Different ceramic artists are sending special centerpieces, which will be fun to see. I am going to try to post the different ones here.

In fact, it is my hope that I'll be able to do some live blogging from the event. If there is a reliable internet connection there at the convention center, I will try to send pictures and posts.

Friday, May 13, 2011

What was I thinking??

When my husband and I joined our church, we were given name tags. They weren't the ordinary printed kind; instead someone had painstakingly embroidered each of our names alongside the shield that is the symbol for our denomination (Episcopalian). It was a very personal gesture of welcome that we, having only recently moved to the area, really appreciated.

So when it came time to come up with an idea for the Bring Out Your Chinas Convention swag bag, I wanted to do something that would give the participants that seem feeling of personal welcome. I am really good with the idea of welcoming.

I am not so good with numbers. Or estimating time. It's not like a didn't know there would be forty or so participants, which would mean designing and coloring forty cards. In the past I have shied away from Trading Card swaps because I wasn't sure I could finish the two or three cards required. Yet for some strange reason I just didn't think much about the scale of this a project. Needless to say, I really know what forty or more cards means now!

Still it was a fun break from my ordinary work. The horses (and a few dogs) are mounted on patterned or textured cardstock, and I got to play with colors that I don't usually get to use - like Jackie Arns-Rossi's card with the spring green background above.

This was one of my favorites of the group, done for fellow Collie person Mel Miller (her name is on the outside of the card holder).

The rest of them can be seen here. There are five pages in all, so look for the links at the bottom to take you to the next page.