Thursday, September 3, 2015
I have to say that I was hoping that I would be able to have this great opportunity to do the Fellowship program here at Uarts. Self-growth is a theme I love dearly and try to explore in my own work so I seek out and love opportunities where I can experience some self-growth. And when I found out that I had indeed been granted that opportunity I was extremely excited. It sounded like a great opportunity to see a real working artist in their field and how they create work, promote it and sell it. To really get to have a little taste of what it might be like once we are set free into our own field, I think is an amazing opportunity. And all my excited expectations were truly met.
I have to say when I first met Michele I was very excited and also a little nervous and intimidated. I could tell right away that Michele was a very determined and particular person. I was determined to live up to Michele standards and I am very please to say that I think I have done just that. I feel like I really have learned a lot from Michele. Through her I’ve gotten a little taste of what its like to work with galleries, design firms, and just people who are interested in her work and want to purchase it. She has taught me her way of pricing work. She has taught me the importance of being polite and timely in responding when working with clients. She taught me the importance of protecting and packaging work correctly and safely so it does not get damaged.
She has taught me how to prep wood surfaces to work on them. She taught me how to seal the wood grain by Gaccing wood and then sanding it and then repeating this process a few more times to get the desired surface. She also taught me how to stain wood well, which is a skill I have been wanting to learn for a long time. And a skill that I think I will be using in the very near future. So I am very grateful for her teaching me that. As a printmaker, I would really like to thoroughly explore what it’s like to print on different types of wood with different finishes. She also taught me how to adhere delicate and beautiful papers correctly to surfaces. Michele taught me how to make my own website which was a skill I desperately needed and am also very grateful for learning. She also showed me multiple websites that I could find opportunities such as shows I can enter my work into and internships. I did end up entering one competition that I found on one of the websites and I made it onto the galleries website showcase! Which I am still excited about.
The list goes on and on of all the little and big things that Michele Kashita has taught me, but I think I’ve mentioned enough to give a sense that I have truly learned a lot with this experience. I look forward to applying a lot of the skills that I have learned this summer to my own personal work and practice!
The next time I came in I got to work with putting the paper on the sticks. Michele showed me her favorite glue that she likes to use for this kind of stuff and how to apply the paper without getting any of the glue on the nice side of the paper. I had freedom to choose which papers I used on the sticks and how I wanted to place them. All I had to do was just make a variety of them. I really enjoyed spending a few days choosing and gluing the pieces of paper down. Not that its mindless work, but it’s a kind of work where I can easily find a rhythm and work pretty quickly. I also find it very soothing.
I spent time one day organizing Michele’s supply shelf and her desk. She had grabbed a little cubby shelving system out of the hallway that someone was going to throw away. So I tidied up her desk by throwing out a lot of trash, organizing the papers, and putting materials back in their place. Then using the new cubby system, I was able to condense a lot of the items that she had on her supply shelf, like nails, pins, screws, tapes and glues could now have their own little space.
The day that we had to drop off the pieces for Drexel University we had to wrap up her large painting that she did before we starting to take everything down to the car. First we wrapped the painting in a heavy duty plastic and taped that up. Next we slid it into a large cardboard boxed and taped the outside really well to hold it all in place. After everything was wrapped and ready to go, we started to load the stuff into the large elevator and brought everything down to the minivan. She had to rent a van to fit the large painting in. When we got to the University I got to meet the people who hired Michele to make these pieces. They had a few other people there to help us carry all the pieces in. They were very pleased with the finished pieces and they already had a team set up there that were to install the pieces so we didn’t even have to do that! Michele had already taken a photo of the wooden board piece all laid out and numbered for them so all they had to do was follow the photo that we gave them.
Now that the prepping and repainting of the wood planks are finished, it's time to wrap them well so we can store them away until it’s time to take them to Drexel to install them! Michele showed me how to warp each piece in a heavy duty plastic and tape them well so that they stay protected and clean. Once they were all packed well, we stacked them in the corner of her studio to keep them out of the way.
Since that big project was completed, it was time to move onto the next big project! Michele had decided in the beginning of the summer that she wanted to re use these paint sticks that she had used in a previous installation to create a new installation and concept. She decided that she wants to hang them on the wall and make a cascading waterfall out of the paint sticks. The paint sticks are dipped in various shades of blues and green in various different depths. A lot of them also have different kinds and patterns of fine art papers glued on them. They are really beautiful objects just on their own. But once you see the mass amounts that she has, its pretty impressive. You definitely get the sense of a cascading or tumbling waterfall of wooden paint sticks.
So in order to hang them on the wall the way she wanted to, we had to drill holes in all the paint sticks that she wanted to include. She decided to just use the ones that have both paint and paper on them, because they were indeed the most beautiful. Once we figured out how to change the drill bit that was in the drill, she picked a plain paint stick and drilled a hole in the exact spot that she wanted the holes to be on all the sticks and I was to use that one as a guide for the rest. So I spent a few days drilling holes in all the paint sticks that she wanted. She also had a lot of sticks that were only dipped in paint that she wanted me to cover in pieces of paper once I ran out of the already made sticks to drill. But before I could start making the new sticks with the paper, I had to organize the two containers that had the pieces of paper in them. One of her previous interns had cut all the papers into different widths so all I had to do was tidy them up and make piles of the ones that were the same.