Obsess Over Everything

Posts tagged wyoming

This past week, I opened a show in Oakland, CA for First Fridays.  It was so much fun and my first exhibit on the West Coast!  I had a bit of help with some of the bigger installation, and for the first time went on scaffolding.  Since I’m a short little lady, I was terrified of being so high off the ground.  But I did it and everything turned out so perfect.  Really, I don’t think I’ve ever had an easier install and it’s all thanks to the awesome, generous people from the gallery.  There’s an espresso bar connected, so I suggest to anyone from the area to stop by!  The show is at Hat Rac Gallery up from June 6- July 25.


Boys setting up the scaffolding.





Gold and black cutouts going up on the wall.  Yes, they’re all handcut!












Never Stopping7

Never Stopping





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Growth in the

Growth in the Most 1

Is there an ending?









I’m making an effort to get some walking in while I’m here.  It’s still snowy, but not too cold yet.  I can go out with two jackets and no coat.  I’ve even been wearing capri pants if you can believe it.  Anyways, I’m not a hiker.  Anyone who knows me will say the same.  Even so, I love to walk.  There are miles and miles of trails here that go into the mountains, but I’m not so adventurous.  Instead, I’m making an effort to do a pre dinner walk to collect sage and other plants for new work.  Here are some photos from the magic hour last night.  _DSC0579 _DSC0582 _DSC0584 _DSC0588 _DSC0591 _DSC0593 _DSC0600

Today I experienced what some people call the Bone Yard.  If you know me or my work, you know that I’m obsessed with bones and all sorts of dark things.  My goal while in Wyoming was to find some more bones for sculptures.  Needless to say, I found bones.  This place was unlike anything I’ve ever seen.  It’s a dumping ground for taxidermists and hunters, so there was a whole lot to choose from.  A lot of pieces weren’t too clean, but I tried to grab some skeletons that were cleaner.  I wasn’t even mentally prepared for what followed.  First of all, I’m used to cleaning off bones in smaller quantities.  These were from cattle, and were as big as me.  They weren’t the cleanest, but I thought I could take the bones apart with a saw and then rebuild later.  WRONG.  The cartilage was so tough that I had to kick, stand on, and pull apart some of the bones.  I even ran into a few in tact spinal cords which was far too much for me to handle in one day.  I’m never grossed out by these types of things, but the spinal cord gave me an icky feeling.  So I kept cleaning what I could, and ended up getting a whole lot of material out of these guys.  Unfortunately, I had to throw out a lot of them, too.  There was one spine I couldn’t bring myself to throw out, and so to save it from the ranch dogs and other critters, I hung it from a tree.  Doesn’t it look like some sort of offering?  Things got weird today, as you can see.

How I cleaned my bones:  Try to get the cleanest bones possible.  No blood, no flesh on it.  And as little cartilage as possible.  I made a hydrogen peroxide and water mix.  Soak for 24 hours (I’m a clean freak) and then a second soak after that in a new mix.  No bleach, that messes everything up.  No boiling either!  _DSC0560 _DSC0562 _DSC0564 _DSC0565 _DSC0568 _DSC0571

I want to make a note here:  I don’t hunt animals.  I’m not killing anything to make my sculptures.  The bones I use are all FOUND in the environment.  I don’t spend money on buying the bones.  This is solely a found object deal.



We made it to Saratoga!  That’s where my residency is.  Well, it’s a few miles from there.  But it’s the nearest town and let me just say that it’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen.  First off, everyone I’ve come across is SO nice.  No matter who or where you meet them.  But the town was pretty much shut down for the winter and for Monday (that’s when we were there of course).  But it looked like something out of an old Western.  After a few hours of exploring, we went on over to Brush Creek.  It was so much nicer than I could have ever anticipated.  I feel so lucky to be able to go here, and the pictures don’t even cover it.  But here are a few photos for a preview.  _DSC0422 _DSC0425 _DSC0426 _DSC0428 _DSC0430 _DSC0432 _DSC0435 _DSC0439 _DSC0435 _DSC0439 _DSC0443 _DSC0452 _DSC0461 _DSC0464 _DSC0474 _DSC0480 _DSC0481 _DSC0484 _DSC0486 _DSC0493 _DSC0498 _DSC0502 _DSC0512 _DSC0522 _DSC0537 _DSC0547 _DSC0550 _DSC0555

_DSC0379So this month I began my month long artist residency in Wyoming at the Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts.  I started out by flying into Denver and taking some time to drive around and visit Laramie.  I came with my lovely, city-dwelling parents.  Surprisingly, we all got into the Western vibe and soaked up as much as we could in two days time.  Of course, the best part was the driving.  I had been prepping a playlist special for about a month now and let me tell you, it was perfect.  I don’t think we could have survived without it.  Here are a few photos from our travels.

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The other night there was about to be the most enormous rainstorm.  Since it was the first night that it wasn’t pouring rain here, I went out and walked around Rock River taking pictures.  It also just so happened to be the magic hour, and I’ve never seen light like this anywhere else.  Everything glowed this beautiful orange light.  Plus, the clouds didn’t hurt at all for photography.  I’ve got to say, I’m making it a habit now to take a walk after dinner along the tracks to go scavenging and picture taking.  It’s so different here from the city.  You hear nothing but dogs barking or maybe the sound of a boy on his dirtbike far away.

Lately I have been thinking about the gypsy lifestyle.  No, not the kind of gypsy that you see on TLC’s My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding but that old traditional view of it.  Being in a caravan and traveling around.  I can’t stop imagining about what it would be to be a modern nomad.  Sure, people do it all the time.  Would I be able to?  No.  I’ll be the first to admit it.  Let’s be serious, I could probably not even camp out in my backyard.

Yesterday I watched this video and was totally blown away.  For those of you just reading this post, I’m planning on going to Wyoming for two weeks now in July.  This is my first time going and doing anything like it, so I’m pretty excited.  But this video is exactly what I would love to create related to my own trip.  Sure, I’m not going to China or Cambodia or anywhere else spectacular. I’m staying here in the States.  I find beauty in just the city I’m in or just going to the airport.  Why not make a video of it?  I can’t imagine the shots I’ll find in Wyoming for my video/photos.  Add in some dolly shots and a really moody song and you have yourself a heartfelt video.

Pittsburgh has its little spots that have that grimy sense of wonder.  There are a lot of old pockets in this city, and not too many people are fans.  I love them.  They make for great photos and bring on a sense of nostalgia whenever you’re around them.  When I see these places it makes me want to go explore them and to capture them in as many images as possible. These are taken around Braddock.  I dragged my boyfriend to drive me all around that city.  Wait until he hears that I want to go back.

The day has come and gone.  Yesterday was …. Our First Meeting!  Yes, that deserves all caps.  It’s a big deal.  I should really explain what I’m talking about here.  At noon, I went to my first meeting for the Brackenridge Summer Fellowship.  Pretty exciting.  This is the first time I have ever received anything like this.  Over the summer, I will be part of a community of 55 other fellows and basically get compensated for doing research.  More excited now?

I expected to know someone there, but I was in a sea of unfamiliar faces.  That doesn’t happen so often in Pittsburgh.  Small town feeling where you know everyone at every shop you go to.  Apparently I have not been as social as I thought I was.  Before the meeting, I was desperately trying to finish my spreadsheet containing lists upon lists of what I plan to buy with all of the money.  ALL of it, just so you are aware, is going towards supplies.  Mainly photography.  B&H Photo is going to make a whole lot of money from me.

Everything started out fine and interesting.  We were given a lecture on what was in store for us the following months of summer.  For each meeting, four of the fellows are going to present their topics during a 30 minute presentation.  Easy enough, right?  I guess I underestimated how amazing my major is: Studio Arts.

I’m going to go off on a little rant here.  The Dean told us that by the end of the program we should, “be able to learn to communicate and listen so that they [we] can come to an understanding.”  Ok, that’s fine.  I’m totally fine with that goal, are you?  Then he took it a step further and began to dive into a discussion concerning questions.  As an audience member, you should be able to listen and ask questions that spark further conversation.  No problem.  But wait- isn’t this built in to my topic of study?  My work as an artist usually concentrates and rides upon its interaction with the viewer.  This is a particular quality to my recent work, but I am still very reliant on the viewer and the conversations that the pieces spark in them.   So here’s the final thought:  Studio Arts is usually knocked down for now being a “real major” by some students (not all) and is not the first major that comes to mind when one hears the word “research.”  Why is this occurring if our work is geared to communicate and lead to a universal understanding or wide conversation?


And that’s that’.


Rest of the meeting went fine.  I learned that we would not be getting half of the research money until later in the summer.  From then on, my dreams of wide angle lenses and Tenba backpacks fluttered away.  Well, only temporarily.  It stopped when we were given a lecture that was largely based on neuroscience.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love the sciences.  But I felt as though there was something missing in this.  Not just with my field of study, but others as well.

My Dream Pack

The main point to be taken from this, well at least I think, is that you must continue to ask questions and to keep digging into matters.  Sad to say, I have terrible hearing and was a bit too shy to speak up and request that he talked louder.  But my ears picked up on everything that they needed to hear.  I liked the lecture- there was a lot to be taken from it.  But again, there was something missing.  He told us that just because no one else cares about what you’re trying to figure out doesn’t mean that you don’t.  We are going to give up our summer time to find out something that we care about.  That statement was wonderful to me.  Then, he took a turn.  And that turn led into the objective.  He said many of the easy questions have been answered already, and we must go to figure out the hard ones.  For science, that’s pretty true.  I guess for art, too.  This lecture did not have any reference to the arts but focused solely on the scientific method.  Other fields, including mine, have answers to these questions that are opinion based.  I thrive on opinion.  I’m writing this blog to keep track of my opinions and feelings on certain matters.  I map out what I dislike, what I like, or what I want to move towards.  When you are working with opinion instead of data, things get a little bit more difficult.  And a little bit more fun.


Today feels like a planning kind of day.  I leave for Wyoming to do more research and I’ve got to get myself and my ideas ready!  I’m going to the MIDDLE OF NOWHERE.  No I’m serious!  According to an old folklore, when you go to pick up the phone to call someone at home you can’t because…… THERE’S NO CELLPHONE SERVICE ANYWHERE.  So this is where I’ll be: