Friday, September 12, 2014

Questionnaire for studio tour participants

Questions for Studio Tour Participants...

Jeanette Bartosik, how many years have you been doing studio tours? 

For the DWAC Studio Tour only a couple years and for the Northumberland Studio Tour, I think a few years more. After applying, the former tour organizer came over with another artist and they watched me make a bead from scratch. Yes, I was a little intimidated at first, but afterwards I explained processes used and everything went well and I was accepted.

What is your favourite aspect of being a Studio Tour Participant?
I love the art of display. Having a background in design, I love to design everything. I've been doing it since I was 4 years old, staging my barbie furniture collection. It wasn't the clothes or the play acting, it was all about the decor and staging the doll house. I also like not having to stuff everything in my car and then try to remember everything on the list. I also really love my clients who come back every year, and who then tell me that they wear my pieces all the time, and how they get tons of compliments when they wear my pieces. Yes, that makes my day. When they buy more for gifts to share, it makes the tour feel even more successful.

What will guests see when they arrive at your studio?
I usually have the front half of my living room converted into a jewellery store. This year I may add some nibbles or refreshments, not sure yet. Last year, I was a guest artist at another local artist's home, and this spring I will be at a commercial gallery. I am always preaching for other artists on the tours to join together to save clients from some driving when they can see more than one artist. I completely understand that this is not always possible and we artists seem the most comfortable in our own spaces. When applications are submitted way in advance and I really wasn’t sure what we were tackling next renovation-wise, that helped my decision to be a guest artist last year. I live in a very old home that my husband and I have been restoring for a long time. It is so much work and most people really have no idea. Anyway, I am very pleased to say that my kitchen is pretty much finished, just painting the walls are left. I feel a studio isn’t and should not always be the sole criteria for being eligible. I heard of one artist whose whole studio is in a tool box? How wonderful is that. As much as I'd love people to see me working, I am a one-woman band, so I can’t demonstrate making a bead while selling my finished pieces when there are twenty people in my living room! Yes, sometimes this happens! So its impossible to open the studio. However, I am working on having a video demonstration. A local videographer offered to film me working, so one of these days. In any case, I would like to have a video running on the tour... Honestly, I prefer to keep it to the front entrance area of my home. This way, I only have to super clean my staging area as well.

Will guests see works in progress/the tools of the trade at your studio?
Sometimes I'll bring out the rods, show a mandrel covered in the ceramic medium, sometimes I'll show some cane twists or my signature cane. 

Describe the best possible outcome for you over the Studio Tour Weekend.
Guess I already answered that one.

What first inspired you to become an artist?  
When I was about 5 or 6 years old and we had a relative come visit from Poland and she was a children's literature illustrator. Very Norman Rockwell, but she would draw them right in front of me and it was like magic. I also lived next door to a very talented girl who drew models like you would see in the vogue during the 60's. So go forward about 40 years and I went to a show and saw Leslie's work and asked if she teaches and low and behold. I had already done several courses of fused glass, I think about 3 by then.

Which artists influence you?
I have a formal design degree background, so my forte and education isn't necessarily the glass work. I love design. Remember the staging. For the glass itself, my favourite glass artist is Paul Stankart and I have the upmost respect for Loren Stump who I was most fortunate enough to have taken one of his classes at the Studio in Corning NY. And finally, it has to be Cindy Jenkins, whose just released book on lampworking, I studied inside and out when I first started.
What style of art do you most identify with?
In the end, I design and make finished jewellery. I want it to be something aesthetically beautiful and if it stirs a curiosity or even a smile, I've achieved. I'm not confident enough to make big loud pieces and its not really my personality either. 

What work do you most enjoy doing?
Glass that takes some talent and control, yes, but also that little bit of magic or luck that makes a perfect bead.

Favourite medium? 
Pencil. Just Kidding, I mostly use effetre soft glass right now as opposed to hard or boro. Its mostly because I don't have oxygen, I use a concentrator (its allot easier, and cheaper than storing and carting oxygen tanks with pressure gauges and allot of other worries. I also use Lausha for my encasing, and experiment time to time with frits, silver foil, goldstone, and fancy stringers of dicro, or the double helix glass. 

Describe your method of working?
I can't be stressed. Even too much coffee isn't good. I'll turn on my radio after cleaning my work surfaces, look at my notes and start. I usually have to work two or three days in a row, to be in the flow as they say. I'm a bit of a perfectionist, so there can be some waste. I never throw away glass and do all my own recycling. Sometimes I will spend the first hour or two melting down scrap glass for marble beads.

How has your work changed over time?
I'm faster and more refined, but most of my work is the same as before. I would say that this new line I created (I was applying to an OCC jewellery show at the time) is what I call back to the basics. To me, its like when an artist or a musician first starts working, they put everything into their work. Later, they step back and refine even more. I think that is where I am, but only time will tell.

Describe a memorable response you've had to your work?
I already described my best outcome but I did have this one lady at a "Signatures Show" who kept asking to try on one of my bracelets before she finally decided to buy it. She said she was only going to wear it on special occasions, but she came back a year later to another show I was at and she told me that she wears it everyday. I have another touching story, I was doing the Bala show at Thanksgiving, and this young girl came to my booth to buy one of my flower necklaces. Her aunt who was with her told me that she went around the whole show and came back to me to buy this necklace. I was very moved, and the aunt bought earrings to match her necklace incognito. That happens allot with me. One person will watch what the other person is looking at and trying on, then the friend or relative comes back to buy the piece later, or sometimes when they are distracted looking at something else and we manage to package it all up with no one the wiser. Always so much fun. I have lots of stories like this one.

What is the best thing about being an artist?
Not having a boss. The freedom to be a starving artist, hehe. In reality, it is allot of work and it can be quite lonely at times, and even harder to get yourself motivated, but when you have a good show, its seems to be enough to stroke the ol ego and it gives you another push to continue and perhaps to sign on to another show or tour.

What advice do you have for aspiring artists?
10,000 hours. Read Blink.

What is your dream project?
I'm still working on it in my head.