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Monday, January 26, 2009

Teaching and Learning

I made 2 big decisions this weekend:

1. To teach again

Back in the late 80's I taught stained glass on the 3rd floor of the old mill in Allentown. Now I have made a commitment do develop some classes to teach at Bloomers 'n Things To Do.
Debbie, the owner, is now teaching painted pottery and will be getting instruction in glass very soon - fusing, painting, basics. We are both in the process of learning glass techniques. Debbie is an artist who is self taught much like myself. She bought a florist shop in the 90's and then taught herself floral work. She did impressive painted furniture as well. And now, while continuing the floral business, Debbie is dropping a lot of retail gift selling in exchange for a lively learning center. She is afraid of nothing.

2. To make a body of work to submit for consideration in a juried art show.

I will have to prioritize and be greatly disciplined to make appropriate work for an art show. This is a museum venue opportunity for "Emerging Artists" It will entail making at least one piece per week, in addition to my custom work and consignment work. I will also have to accept that this will be highly competetive, and I will most likely be rejected. But then I will be left with some great pieces to show at any number of galleries. A very big hurdle will be to get the jurors attention in considering glass as an art media - not merely craft. I hope to do this by incorporating a lot of painted details and some fusing as well, and some very artistic narratives. The challenge is my newness to these techniques. It will have to be a quick study. I have already completed a design draft for the first piece.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

An Art Show

I am finally trying to get myself out there. I will be completing work tomorrow to take to Chairville School in Medford, NJ. Thanks to my dear friend, Loreanna, who has always believed in me, I am going to follow through with the invitation to participate. I will be bringing a piece designed in my new CAD program, and a piece with painted and fired detailing. This is the direction that I want to go - to be respected as an artist.

There is much controversy on the subject of art versus craft. The differences can be very gray. I hope I can go into the light and get my work respected as an art form. I have a long way to go, but I am starting the journey.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

New Beginnings

On August 10th, 2008, I closed Off the Wall Craft Gallery in Allentown, NJ, after almost 32 years. It was a wonderful lifestyle: working with artists, selling my own work, collecting jewelry and crafts, being a part of fashion and lifestyle trends, being a business anchor and respected in my local community. It all ended when the county government deemed it necessary to empty the 19th century grist mill, in anticipation of bridge construction.

There were things about my former lifestyle that I do not miss: time consuming business management, employee issues, operating expenses, and things you would not know about such as phone calls in the middle of the night from the security company causing me to throw on clothes, drive to the store, meet the police, and make sure the alarm was not a real burglary.

I have reinvented myself from gallery owner/glass gift maker to full time glass artist: learning new skills, using new equipment and technology - making lemonade out of lemons. In a few months I have made a lot of progress.

For more information about Karen Deets Stained Glass go to