Artist(s) of the Week – VCAD Students and Their Show: PROCESS 29

March 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

PROCESS 29: Meet the Artists! Reception from 7-9pm, Thurs March 22 at the Rail’s End Gallery, Haliburton ON. The show is ongoing to March 31, 2012.

“Chaotic” was the one word student Don Fitzgerald used to describe it. An assault on the senses, an explosion of art: it is the exhibition of our Visual and Creative Arts students’ Conceptual Development project.

Aptly named, Process 29 is about the process, from start to finish, of creating a body of work fit for a gallery. Students experiment with mediums, with techniques, forms, ideas; they’re told to let go and work their concepts rather than simply creating one masterwork of art: exploration and discovery are the name of the game. What matters is not the art at the end, but how the students arrived at it. In many cases, their works are in progress, ideas they are fleshing out and trying on like new sets of clothes: right colour/wrong size, right size/wrong shape, right shape/wrong material…. Let’s face it, just because we’ve tried it on, doesn’t mean we walk away from the store with it and that is exactly what Process 29 is about. Can the students develop an idea, play around with it, try new things and explore? When something doesn’t feel right do they keep at it, hoping it will grow on them in time? Or throw the idea back on the rack with the discards? It’s all part of the process…

Elinor Whidden, the instructor and herself a sculptor/performance artist, stresses that there is no handholding through this entire course:  these students have brought the entire show together. Various committees of students have taken responsibility for several different aspects of the show; from marketing and promotion, to reception planning, installing, de-installing… This group of wildly creative individuals has come together as a team to ensure that despite their differences in personality, taste, technique and style, their art is represented cohesively as one unit.

“It’s very exciting,” Whidden explains, “since for most of these students it’s the first time they’ve ever displayed work in a gallery. But it makes them vulnerable as well; displaying work leaves them open to criticism.” She stresses though, how important feedback can be to an artist. “They need to know if their visuals translate to the viewer with the intentioned message.”

After all, typically with visual art, there aren’t any written words to explain what’s going on; the largest part of the communication relies on the artist’s ability to convey meaning with an image or sculpture. “That the show is about process and not about the art is really interesting,” says VCAD student, Emily Gur. “It reveals more about everyone themselves and their interests…”

Students are asked to go on a voyage of discovery with their art. They all take different paths on this journey, but the end result is what is crucial: there is no official “end”. The works that are on display are not necessarily even completed.  Ideally, the “VCADers” are simply investigating (and enjoying) the search for a “happy accident”.

“It’s really helped me. I never would’ve thought of using any of these materials before,” shares Justine Beauregard. “From the beginning of the year, you can actually see how much everyone has grown in their own artwork.”

And so – without calling in the art critics – that the students themselves can acknowledge how far they’ve come in such a short period of time, tells us their first show? It’s already a success.±

This show is a collection of work from Lauren Ogilvie, Luke Smit, Matthew W. Pearce, Mitchell Doris, Emma May Ross, Andy Anderson, Caitlyn Bloch, Aaron Jones, Megan Marie Morritt, Jessica Brabant, Magic Karpet, Rob Stock, Giuseppi Zuliani, Andrew Hamlen, Michelle Tarkington, Tsiokeriio Brant, Emily Gurr, Meghan Gale, Justine Beauregard, Colin M. Smyth, Cree Tylee, Mandy Ryan, Meghan Didier, Donald S. Fitzgerald, Trent Denne, Elise Elena Verikaitis, Jessica Beaulieu, Nicole Bruce and Jamie Smerdon

For more information about any of the programs at HSTA, please call us at 1-866-353-6464 x3 or visit us online at www.hsta.ca

Artist of the Week – Ashley Kirby

February 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

Ashley Kirby

Her jewellery journey began in 6th grade when she purchased a Fimo bead and hemp bracelet how-to book. By tenth grade, she was already selling her jewellery at a flea market just outside of Parry Sound. Before the end of high school, she’d “tried it all” – as much as any eighteen year-old can delve into… Hemp, gimp, beading, weaving… She even took a drawing and painting class here and there.

Now, a two-time graduate of HSTA’s Certificate programs, she’s begun to bring it all together: years slaving away making knotted jewellery trained her for the complex wire knots and beaded masses that she calls rings. “Almost all of the rings are one single piece of wire, woven in and out with beads, pearls, and crystal. Each ring tends to take on a life of its own. I generally let the beads and the wire dictate to me how the ring will be shaped. It makes every single one unique.”

And indeed they are. From cocktail parties to everyday fun, the bright colours and one-of-a-kind construction certainly make for a great piece. “I started off with the idea of having a ‘Champagne Collection’; you know, mostly bridal and black-tie bijoux. But, I just couldn’t resist the colours… Whether I wear it with jeans or a fancy dress, just wearing one of the rings brightens my mood.” Not that her mood needs much brightening, when she attended HSTA she was always caught with a smile on her face. Best of all, this young woman is proof positive that a particular area of study, does not dictate what medium an artist works in. Her areas of study? Blacksmithing and Photo Arts…

“Well, when I took the blacksmithing program,” she explains, “mostly it was because I’ve always been drawn to history prior to about 1900. I’m the sort of person that still seals envelopes with wax when I send letters to my friends.” She sends letters? Like in the actual mail with stamps? “As for the photography… well, I’d always wanted to take photography in high school and simply never had the chance… So I came here to remedy that.”

Today, she blends (very) small-scale metalwork with various beads into delightfully colourful, fun, fresh, and elegant jewellery. And her camera is there to document it.

Ashley can create custom jewellery to match any occasion or taste, as well as size. Each piece is individually made. She can be reached at 226-929-6871 or visit her website at www.ank-designs.com where she can be reached via email.

Valentine Card-Making Extravaganza!

February 10, 2012 § Leave a comment

Valentine Card-Making Extravaganza!

Buttons, too!

Yesterday evening saw a great turnout for the school’s card-inclined…

The fantastic evening began with a sturdy three-course meal: appetizer, dinner, and dessert; followed by the crash-course in Valentine Card-Making led by the extraordinarily crafty, Wendy. Students crafted cards that would put Hallmark to shame, but what else can we expect from such a creative bunch?

We topped off the night with a round of button-making (or circle pins as some of us like to call them) with extraordinary results.

The prize-winner for “Best Card” took home a gift certificate for a round of massage therapy!

 

 

 

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