Monday, August 26, 2013

The Sea Shell Wind Chime

AKA "The Bone Chime"

I am excited to finally reveal a brand new wind chime! I created this one out of sea shells and drift wood that I found at a recent trip to Charleston's own Folly Beach this summer. I call it my "Bone Chime" because the sound of the shells kind of sounds like bones clanging up against each other... not like I would know what that sounds like or anything.

"The Bone Chime"

I was fascinated by the variety of sea shells available at Folly Beach this summer. There were so many of them to choose from, in all sorts of different shapes and sizes. At the time, I wasn't quite sure what project I was going to do with them, but I was particularly attracted to the shells with holes in them. It was like these shells were created especially for artists- all ready for neatly stringing through wire for jewelry making. Or perhaps, like in my case, even making a wind chime.

I wanted to find out how these "magical" holes turned up in those shells in the first place. I figured they were formed by being worn down by the ocean or as a natural process for their species. Boy, how naive I was.

Other shells had their inhabitants plucked out by birds-
these shells had jagged chunks missing instead
of the perfect and uniform bores of the moon snails.
After doing a little research, I find it kind of ironic that something beautiful can be made out of something so brutal.

Here's a brief explanation by M. Paul Monfils-

"Such holes are caused by predatory snails, usually in the family Naticidae (commonly called "moon snails")... They use their radula, a sort of tongue covered with tiny toothlike projections, to rasp a hole in the [shell,] allowing them to insert their proboscis and feed on the soft parts..."

I read on to discover that this process is also painfully slow-

"A shell two millimeters thick (approximately the distance across the top of the letter w) can take eight hours to penetrate..."

According to these facts, not only were the shells eaten alive, but they were practically tortured by the moon snails in the long, drawn out process of being devoured.

Knowing this morbid fact about the shells made me feel somewhat remorseful for using them in such a whimsical way. But at the same time, I felt it had given these poor creatures some sort of extra purpose besides being a small snack for a snail. 

In a way, this truly is a bone wind chime because it is made from the "bones" of the unfortunate mollusks that didn't get to continue living their little clammy lives.

Unconventional drift wood was used for the base of this wind chime.
On a more positive note, I also found this beautiful piece of "drift wood" at Folly as well. I guess technically it's drift wood- the beach didn't have much to offer when it came to traditional pieces of wood. This is actually a shard of palmetto leaf, which are plentiful around the Lowcountry.  When I found it, I thought it was a piece of a wooden dock that had some how washed up on the beach. The surface of the branch's pale white color looks like it has been hand painted. I find it kind of beautiful how nature finds ways to mimic the artistic process, even if it's sort of harsh about it some times.

The shell bone wind chime posing outdoors with an unfortunate duo... a pair of snails.

Monday, August 12, 2013

AWCC POST: First Coalition Meet Up - The Improvables at Flowertown

Awesome event poster hand painted by the Coalition's very own Robert Frank.

This is the page where you can buy your group ticket to sit with the rest of the Artists with Conviction Coalition on Saturday, August 24th for the show at Flowertown. We are not able to reserve seats or pick the section we will specifically sit in, so our only option for sitting together is to buy all the tickets we need at once.

Brian Carter, The Head Improvable, says that all this week they will be promoting the show and seats will be going Fast. For that reason, it is impertinent that all tickets have been purchased by the end of the week. I will be purchasing the tickets this Saturday the 17th, so please don't procrastinate in getting your seat. Ideally we will be sitting near the front of the stage, but as you know, those seats go fast. The quicker we can get everyone's ticket bought, the better seating we'll have!

I made this Pay Pal button so that I can buy all the tickets together at once. We will meet up outside the theatre before the show where I'll give you your ticket. When you purchase, please make sure you tell me your name so that I know exactly who to give the ticket to.

 P.S- the 66 cents extra comes from the fees charged by Pay Pal.
I calculated it by using this website.

Comment below if you have any questions at all!

This Coalition event has expired! See you guys at the next one.

Friday, August 9, 2013

The Artists With Conviction Coalition

I have some big news!
I am proud to announce that I've started a new local art group on Facebook called..

Hehe, I like it because it kind of rhymes.

The Backstory

I noticed that there wasn't really a well organized community for the underground art scene here in Charleston yet. Everyone's kind of sporadic- good creative work is happening, but in isolated bubbles, and it's mostly a fend for yourself type attitude. As a fledgling artist trying to make a living from scratch, it's been nearly impossible to get my foot in the door around here... I just can't find enough opportunities in time to actually benefit from them. And if there are jobs or venues available, the same few people quickly snatch them up before the rest of us even have a chance. This isn't because those particular artists are greedy or better than anyone else, it's just a matter of having the connections you need to get good gigs. This shouldn't have to be so hard.

I have been lucky to meet a lot of frustrated "refugee artists" just like me through my sublime experience in working in the Phillip Hyman shows. These guys have the fire and talent it takes to be a working artist, but simply lack the connections to get their work out there more. There has always been a yearning for more venues, but never quite enough to go around despite everyone's enthusiasm. It was becoming glaringly clear that this was a problem that needed to be remedied.
By Heather Pallay

So I thought, what would happen if we banded all of this raw artistic energy together into one concise group?

Imagine if all the visual artists, musicians, actors, comedians, and all the other creatives in the area combined their forces into one. With all that talent in once place, we wouldn't have to scrape for opportunities anymore. We would be able to create our own.

Mission Statement

(Our group's description on Facebook)

The purpose of this group is to get artists organized.. it's for artists (and art admirers!) of any kind that want to be a part of a movement that's going to breathe art back into the Lowcountry's coast and beyond.

By Two Found Treasures
We intend to achieve this by-
  • Openly sharing information on upcoming art shows,
  • Fairly promoting local artists,
  • Interacting with our peers and networking with others,
  • Getting together to organize original events of our own. 

 The only way we can help ourselves is to help each other- and we are powerful in numbers. Join us today to get involved with this growing family of "Equal Opportunity Artists" that believes that their passion needs be openly celebrated with the masses. It's time that we say NO to exclusive cliques and YES to expanding our community. We are in it for the long haul... We are the Artists with Conviction Coalition!

The Coalition's Plan of Attack

 Phase 1-Recruitment

  • The first thing that the coalition needs to do is get a good core of dedicated members. There are tons of "mover and shaker" types out there, we just have to find them. These are the people that are going to make the magic happen- the ones that are committed to being involved in this cause.

  • Networking is crucial, especially in the art world. It's all about who you know. Combining all of our resources together will give us more options to choose from- a plethora of talented artists, increasingly better venues, and more creative ideas for us to explore.

  • Variety is also important. This group should fairly represent all of the "creative tribes," not just visual arts. We all have our own strengths and weaknesses, but together we can cover all of the bases pretty equally. For example, Performers have access to venues where visual artists could possibly display their work. In return, the Visuals will bring more attention to the gig than would've come if they hadn't been showing their work. With more people attending the shows, everybody wins!

Chris Freeman's first curated show, featuring many artists!
I suspect that we will always be in a recruitment phase of some kind, because there are constantly new artists popping up that will want in on all the fun. And to them I say, "The More The Merrier."

That's the beauty of being equal opportunity- leaving your preconceived judgements at the door because you never know what someone's going to bring to the table. And knowing artists, they're probably bringing some really weirdly shaped sculpture... lol ;P

Phase 2-Taking Action

  • Once the group has it's share of gung-ho members, it's time to talk turkey. This is where the networking will come into play as we try to find venues to share our work. At first, it will probably start off as a small operation... However, as the coalition's popularity grows, so will our turn-outs.

  • If we have to approach businesses about being an "ally," artists will probably have to contribute to a sample portfolio so that we will have a variety of work to show them as examples. One artist by themselves is unlikely to convince an establishment that their work is worthy of being featured there. However, the more good work we provide, the more interest we could bring to their business, the more valuable we look. The goal is to make an irresistible offer to these places- Assure them that they would not regret allowing original artwork to pass through their doors.

By Alicia Sevilla
  • I think it's important to note that not all of our gatherings will be about making profit. I hope that we will able to do a few "team building" activities as well. A lot of artists would appreciate hearing feedback about their work from peers, so we definitely will organize group critiques and work shops. For example, imagine a work shop that helps artists take better photographs of their work... all for free if they're in the coalition.

Phase 3- The Future

From just the few weeks this group has already been opened, I have already had tons of positive feed back from all sorts of creative types who are excited to finally have a group like this to be a part of. It's encouraging because we will only build more momentum over time, leading to more prosperity and good fortune for everyone involved.

I can't really say where this group is going to end up. I can only hope that there are people out there as passionate about their work as I am. I suspect that our future is bright- if we can bring even just a few artists together out of this heavily divided community, I'll take that as a victory. We really could learn a lot from each other if given the chance.

We are in charge of our own destiny, and it's time to act like it.

By Alizey Khan
In conclusion, I have to ask one simple question- what are you waiting for, Charleston? Join the Coalition today and get on this train before it roars on out of the station.

 I'm excited to see what we're going to be capable of!

Additional Artwork by the Coalition

(More work by Coalition artists coming soon... If you want to feature your artwork on this page, let me know!)