Sunday, September 14, 2008

After the Mound

The South Charleston Mound is an old native American burial site yet it is the center of the city so the grounds around it is used as a plaza and park combined and that is where the mound Festival is held.

I was there on Saturday. the weather turned out much better than I expected, no storms, nonetheless I got really hot, but I had friends stop by and stay for a visit notably Lynn who taught me pottery in the first place, the sales were good. I sold more big items than usual although less small purchases, but it all evened out and my sales were up from last year.
Again, for the 7th year in a row I got an award, this time for Fine art 2nd place, it varies between sculpture, fine art and pottery.

I didn’t take pictures because I was sort of burnt out from my previous show but I promise pictures next show.

Now it is back to the studio to fill orders seems the Internet is kind to and seems people are finding me at my website Got a call from a new gallery and a new show.

I am working on filling the orders but always have to have some for me, 6 Catliffs for Tamarack and 2 grape leaf masks for me, 2 Clayzards for Tamarack and 2 larger versions for me, an order of “All For One” and a new “Under the Tulip Tree” for me.
I will have to see how they all turn out, keeping my toes crossed because my fingers are too busy.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Ups and Downs

I went to Charlotte last Weekend I thought a home show would fit perfectly with my fountains misters and my Claybeings will sell by the way.

My friend Dave does the show in March and he always tells me he slayed‘em. Well Dave slayed Goliath but for sure Goliath slayed me.

I came home with full boxes and empty pockets, but I also came wiser and more convinced than ever that Mayor Mel’s 50-mile radius from your home is still the best advice for selling.

I have a show this weekend 5 miles from home, the weather is supposed to be miserable but two days ago I got a call from the local paper to interview me about it, And it has been the best article yet (See previous post with the link), absolutely capturing my essence.

Although Charlotte was not a complete loss for it has my four grand babies with whom I am buddies and head over heels in love, Where I made a new friend in Kathryn Hughs, but Charleston is still home where I belong and fit and am appreciated.

I am entertainment news today

Charleston Daily Mail - Arts and Entertainment - Fairytale sculpture is the passion of local artist

and here it is:
Thursday September 11, 2008
Fairytale sculpture is the passion of local artist
Woman to sell clay pieces at Mound Festival Saturday
by Monica Orosz
Daily Mail staff
SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- If a co-worker had decided to take a weaving class, then Mayssan Shora Farra's artistic life may have taken quite a different turn.
Instead, the office manager at her husband's medical practice announced she was going to take a pottery class and invited Farra to join her.
Farra was 50 and after years or helping her husband in his urology practice and raising two children, she was ready for a new adventure.

"I had sent my children to college. Empty nest syndrome does it every time!" she said.
A native of Damascus, Syria, Farra and her husband came to the United States in 1970 and moved to Charleston in 1978.

"I have an architecture degree, but I never used it except when we built our house," she said. Instead, she raised their son and daughter and went to work with her husband.
"I would go in the patient rooms and hold their hands," she said. "I loved it. I loved the people."

But at midlife, she was ready for something else and the pottery class at Garnett Career Center sparked her creative side.

"I had some experience with clay from architecture school because we had to build models," she said. "I just loved the feel of the clay. I just loved the class and I couldn't keep my hands off the clay."

She bought a kiln, a potter's wheel and set up a home studio, turning out bowls and small fountains.
Her first real show was at the Mound Festival, where Farra will return Saturday for its 30th anniversary show. This time she'll come a little wiser and with a cache of items that reflects her now experienced hand with clay. Besides bowls and plates, Farra now makes detailed sculptures and masks.

"The first year, I didn't have a canopy. I didn't have tables. My space was by a hillside, so I laid my bowls and fountains on the ground. It was sunny and hot.
"After that, I learned."
Farra now exhibits and sells items from Gallery Eleven in Charleston, the Huntington Museum of Art and Tamarack. She has a regular circuit of art and craft fairs, including the Capitol City Art & Craft Fair at the Civic Center in the fall.

"I love talking to people - that's why I love doing the craft shows," she said.
Farra took her first stab at figures at the request of a niece.
"She wanted a figure of her and her mommy, so we went into the studio to design it. I realized it's such a neat idea - the clay lends itself to a lot of gestures and movement."

Farra's figures - three women dancing, a snowboarding Santa, two children reading a book, a bride and groom - contain details like strands of hair and textured clothing, but usually no faces. She prefers to capture the emotions in their poses.
There is a fairytale quality to them.
"I think I never lost my childhood imagination," said Farra. "I look out my window every night and say goodnight to the fairies. I see flying bugs and imagine that they are fairies."
The trick to the small and detailed figures is knowing when to work fast and when to slow down, she said.
She starts with rolled slabs that she cuts into shapes and forms into figures. Hair is created through a tool that looks a little like a garlic press.
"You work fast to capture the clay while it is soft," she said. "Then you have to let it slowly dry."
She colors her pieces with stains applied with watercolor brushes because she likes the feeling of painting. A clear glaze provides the shine.

Farra said she's in her studio every day, even if to pop in and look. During the holiday season or now, when she's working on an order of more than 100 pieces for Tamarack, she works five or six hours a day.
Prices generally range from $40 to $250. On occasion, a larger piece might fetch $350.
"I once had a sculpture for $500, but that was only because I really didn't want to sell it," she said.
Farra said even when she's doing a large order, as the one for Tamarack, she doesn't let it feel like production work.
"I never make exactly what they want - I always add a little something to them," she said.
At 63, Farra marvels that she has found something so fulfilling.
"I found my second life."

Saturday, June 07, 2008

My Ball of Yarn

I got published for the second time in Art to Art Palet

Ralph asked; what do I see next for me?

And all I could think of is this giant ball of yarn that I am precariously perched atop.

People say they are at a cross roads but I am at a Ball of yarn, It has so many loose ends I cannot find the end that will unravel it.

Color, form, function, beauty, emotion, profundity, lightness, playfulness, heart warming, wrenching. Where to go? How to get there?

My Claybeings are my success, “you cannot argue with success” yet they are my limitation “you cannot argue with success” for without argument there is no clash of thought and without clash of thought there is no change, growing and evolving.

So I have to put my success aside, keep it in a compartment and try to regain that feeling when I started working with clay 13 years ago, that wide eyed wonder at the possibilities yet I want to keep my energy focused and not get lost in my giant ball of yarn and all the beginnings it offers me.

I want me to concentrate on evolving from my success into a new direction, I want to bring my deeper feelings out in my work, I want to elaborate, expand and stretch the limits of my work both physically and emotionally.

So next will be seriousness to my work without loosing the playfulness, a maturing without becoming old and a focus without rigidity. Or so I hope.

Monday, May 26, 2008

After Thoughts

As I was talking, selling and watching I noticed the kids. All the kids wanted to climb the steps behind me. The steps were something to achieve slow or fast. cautiously or recklessly but one way or another the steps needed to be conquered by every kid except one who resisted his mother's encouragements and just wanted to stay where he was.

Parents reactions were quite varied too from encouragement to worry to out right NO DO NOT climb those steps too dangerous.
But sooner or later they all will have to climb the steps slow or fast, cautiously or recklessly they, we, all have to find our own way to climb those steps.

People Watching

As people were watching me and my work I was watching them. There were kids playing with marshmallow guns, a man carrying a tall log impregnated with Shitaaki spores to take home and grow some mushrooms; There were many motorcyclists, families, people showing off their well behaved, well groomed dogs; And of course there were the crafters demonstrating their way of creating things.
Vandalia Gathering

I am home now after two hard,wonderful, boring, amusing, hot and cool days on the beautiful Capitol grounds here in Charleston.

The attendance was good this year as the weather was excellent and the music was good as usual.

There were liar contests and fiddle competitions, There was food for sale, choruses and dancers and plants to be got.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Vandalia Gathering

Saturday, I will be setting up for 2 days of music, liars’ contests, food and of course us artists and crafters.

I am trying a new booth configuration and am showing a lot of my new work; size, content, and method.

Come down if you are near, the Capitol grounds in Charleston, WV are beautiful and the weather is supposed to be gorgeous. And the music is bluegrass and fiddle contests plus all the craft demonstrators, from wheel throwing to flower pressing to weaving.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Today I cleaned my studio:

I don’t mean cleaned it with water and got it clean which I do often. I cleaned it of stuff and that led me to review all the paths I went or didn’t go through, all the ideas abandoned all the projects started and not finished for the lack of time or distraction by orders for my usual Claybeings that I like making and always sell well but…

Before the Claybeings: ideas would attack me from every bush, every sky, every child, every work of art and on and on.. But the success of the Claybeings made the attacks less frequent and intense. So when I cleaned my studio I rememberd the slip trailing I intended to do, the clay paintings I was to experiment with, the favorite painters I wanted to reference in a series. And many more started and abandoned projects for a later time that seemed to never come.

Friends of mine went back to school to expand their horizons, but it is too late, too confining and too impractical for me to do it at this stage of my life. But I think cleaning my studio will do that for me, at least for a little while until success interferes again.