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Create Art in the Beautiful Laurel Highlands!
Touchstone is a unique three-season crafts school in the beautiful Laurel Highlands, only 60 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Founded in 1972 as Pioneer Crafts Council, Touchstone's original mission was to foster interest in the preservation of traditional mountain crafts. Today, this unique craft school has expanded to include contemporary and experimental techniques in addition to traditional and historic methods in disciplines such as blacksmithing, ceramics, metals, textiles, glass, oil and watercolor painting, photography, printmaking, and sculpture. As Pennsylvania's only residential craft school, Touchstone offers both beginner and seasoned artists more than one hundred week-long and weekend courses taught by some of North America's finest artists and artisans.
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Sunday, May 2, 2010
The latest body of work I am working on now is centered around the lap steel guitar. I am trying to deconstruct this guiatr and reduce it to its essential elements in an effort to make it was portable and compact as possible while presurving the functionality of the object. The lap steel has it origins in the start of the 20th century and have been designed in the Art deco style ever since. I am trying to break away from that tried and true visual language and create something more contemporary.
So for my first attempt at redesigning the lap steel, I took my knowledge of industrial processes and applied it to the lap steel. I started out with a clay model and then moved into Aluminium. I fell this first attempt was successful because I accomplished all of my original goals for this piece. It has been reduced to its minimum elements but yet it is fully functioning.
An important element of this piece is where the piece is installed and used. I what my work to be used and experienced by the viewer. In an attempted to get the work out into the public realm, I took my guitar down to the Milwaukee lake front and installed the piece on a picnic table. I sat there and played for about an hour and tried to get peoples attention. Few people approached me and none asked my if they could play it, I feel like they thought I wanted money. I think I need to get more musicians involved and have a jam possibly downtown or on Brady street on a weekend bar time.
For my next guitar is modeled after the Industrial Architecture of Milwaukee. I am changing my original goals slightly. This is a more site specific than the first guitar, this one you have to bolt the components down to a surface, making it slightly more permanent. It is actually finished, all I have yet to do is to install it in a space and record peoples interaction with the instrument. Coming soon.
Monday, December 7, 2009
Some one suggested i change my name from Patrick Charles Walter to Patrick Cannon Walter. I might.
Well all of my work for the show is completed. I feel that the work has come out better than i expected. Last night we had our pre-sale at the old Blatz brewery and it was extreme successful. My work was well received and i actually sold a few things. I didnt sell any rings however, only pendants. Hopefully ill sell more at the Sale, if we dont get snowed out again this year.
For my work this semester i wanted to create work that was interactive and fun to experience. These are more than rings, they are instruments of mischief and are intended to stimulate even the most mature mind. All pieces are full functioning, firing systems. All include a supply of ammo as well as a carrying pouch.
This series of work is by far my most accomplished to date. These piece came easily to me, I didnt do much sketching for model making for these piece, the only sketches I did are located in the margins of my lecture notes. I feel that my craft hasnt been this sharp and resolved. I am eager to continue this series and improve my craft even further. I wonder what the next variations will look like? Maybe they wont even look like cannons, cannon incognito.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Alright. finally. i got something done, well almost. This is the first piece for the jewelry sale this year. Its slow going, but i hope to have at least twenty pieces for the sale. these rings are adjustable and all fully functioning. I've been trying to figure out what these rings should go for; i was thinking around 50 bones, but im not sure. This did take me about 10 hours to complete. I have other cannons in iron and i am making pendants as well; the pendants will probably go for around 30. im having trouble with finish though, i cant decide weather to go new and shiny, or old and corroded. i think some of each perhaps.
Monday, November 2, 2009
I had Frank in mind when I saw this. This is a 1974 Honda cb 750. It has been customized in the style of the legendary Cafe Racers of the 1950's and 1960's. These are racing bikes, they precede modern sport bikes. Cafe Racers are modified for the purpose of racing; they have powerful engines and are trimmed of any unnecessary weight. The handle bars are lowered and the foot control are in the rear position, this is done to create a low and more aerodynamic profile while riding. These bikes are built for speed, maneuverability and cool cat styling.
What interests me about these bikes is the attention to craft, detail, and the utilitarian nature of all the components on the bike. These are no frill machines, but having said that, the design is reflective of an era of rock and roll and slicked backed haircuts. These were the machines of societies out casts and the design of the bike is reflective of the noncompliance to conformity; no two cafe racers are the same. These cyclists used their machines as a way to set themselves apart from the larger society. These bikes, like art, says something with out having to use words or gimmicks. These bikes are art.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Steam Punk. These spectacles are model after the movement of Steam Punk. Lets see here. Steam Punk is what everything would look like if H.G Wells had been elected president. Steam punk is a genre of fantasy, as the term denotes, pieces are styled after the era of when steam was the dominate form of energy and motion. The practitioners of this movement have an infinity towards gears, steam engines, and old pocket watches. Steam Punkers customize anything and everything; from laptop computers to electric guitars.
These specs are fabricated; using brass, copper, nickel, and other steel whats-its and do-hickies. I imagine a mad scientist or crazed train conductor wearing these massive specs.
I personally like this design movement for its contemporary approach to Victorian design and the dedication to craft. Most of the works I've found online are usually well crafted and appear to be completely functionable. If you know my work, I aspire to perfect my craft and it is important to me that an object be well designed and completely functionable for its task.
Monday, October 19, 2009
These rings, made by Wes Airgoode are forged from solid pieces of copper rods with sterling bands. They were started by drilling a large hole in the rods and then are forged larger over stakes and the sterling silver bands are inserted after.
What I enjoy about these rings is the gestural quality to them. They stand at vicarious angles and they appear to be almost falling over, which gives them tension and movement. These rings are about the process of forging and how the process directly influence the final pieces.