While on the one hand some amount of in-person schooling and dining is allowed again, on the other hand concern over new “variants” in the virus are suggesting people may want to double-up their mask wearing. So, I thought it would be a good time to suggest plenty of virtual enjoyment. Staying put and staying safe does not mean stopping creative ideas and endeavors.
Having an incredible free-entry art museum and art galleries in our midst means we may see a vast variety of artwork. One of the most common questions that emerges while looking at works of art is how they are made, how choices were made. Well, the availability of classes to learn the basics of how to make things is great way to then understand the very personal answer of choices.
Winslow Art Center
Winslow Art Center is presenting its Winter Online Juried Show and Sale through March 31. But the Art Center’s real jewel over the past year has its Online Course Catalog. The Art Center has arguably the most robust offerings of online art courses of our local arts organizations. They offer dozens of classes. From Art Chat Thursdays (free) to beginning painting in various media, to sketching and drawing, to more advanced classes such as botanicals. Many are taught by accomplished professionals with decades of experience. The variety of media to try out includes oil, acrylic, gouache, cold wax, watercolor, pastel, colored pencil, and design/composition and digital art. They also offer art critique and mentor classes.
Bainbridge Artisans Resource Network
BARN is a more equipment-heavy education facility, but also has developed a range of online class offerings. You can find many technical classes such as printmaking without a press, or learning about 3-D Printing, Podcasting for Teens and studio orientations that can be done virtually. However, there are some hybrid classes of sorts too. With very basic equipment for instance, classes such as Lost Wax carving for jewelry makes great sense, especially as it is followed up with regular drop-offs for having wax models cast in the Jewelry Studio.
BARN also offers many online writing courses and quite a few culinary courses (lots of baking, soups, etc.) where you cook along with the instructor in their home usually, but occasionally from the BARN commercial kitchen. BARN also is keen to offer ways to keep their community-building mission engaged through these socially distanced times. For instance, the Glass Studio offers a Happy Hour where glass-interested people can share what they have been working on and discuss future possibilities. The Wood Studio has their version of this twice a month. One very popular offering is the frequently held online gatherings for Virtual Slow Stitch Tuesdays, where instead of the comfy couch for group knitting and sewing in BARN’s Fiber Studio, everyone can have a comfy couch…and tea…while sharing from home. Or, anyone can join in the Wednesday Brown Bag Lunch virtual discussions to share, opine and keep connected.
Bainbridge Island Museum of Art
At BIMA you also will find a range of classes to learn about various media or techniques. Many are geared toward the museum’s education department regular offerings. The museum has a wide array of programs under their “BIMA for Home” banner. These include Exhibition Tours with the Curators, Art in Action from Home, Within Earshot Jazz Festival and Dios de los Muertos from 2020, and past Artists Talks and Open Book Tours of the book art collection.
Craft in America
Another virtual experience that is worthwhile is the “Craft in America” series on PBS. The series highlights incredible artists from all over the country. Each 55-minute episode is by a theme and showcases the four or five artists, their work, their life and how they approach their art. These are incredible documentaries. And there are 25 to date. They cover all variety of media from textile and clay to woodworking and metal arts.
I would recommend beginning with the most recent episode, Storytellers, which aired in December 2020. Our local interest can be found in the segment on ceramic sculptor George Rodriguez, a Seattle artist. You will get a glimpse into his sculptures, process and a bit about his life. A number of works in the segment were recently seen in BIMA’s solo show of his work, (title) and some narration by BIMA’s chief Curator, Greg Robinson, was included. The entire episode includes four other artists, working in glass, textiles and a Tlingit artist who works in a number of media. And then, there are twenty-four more episodes! If you scroll down on the page featuring Rodriquez, you also will find a segment on BIMA’s collection of artist books.
Blown Away [Season two currently streaming on Netflix]
This is a TV series out of Canada, presented in the “reality show” style. Each season begins with 10 glassblowers and reduces down to one winner over the season. While I personally do not like to create under pressure in this manner, it is fascinating the education you can earn from the sheer variety of techniques the group uses, all, miraculously, in 23 minutes. In the “before times,” you could visit the Tacoma Art Museum and watch up to four glass artists performing their art in a glassblowing theater. This is another way to learn a bit about what goes into making glass art you can find in BIMA’s shows and collection and galleries in our community.
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ABOUT BILL BARAN-MICKLE: 2020 Island Treasure Awardee . Recently, Bill has enjoyed exhibiting in several international art biennial exhibitions. Of the three in which he has participated, he won Third Place for Sculpture from the European Confederation of Art Critics in the Chianciamo Biennale, at the Chianciano Art Museum in Italy in 2011, and First Place in Applied Arts in the London Biennale of 2013. In 2013 alone, he will have participated in eight exhibitions: from London to a two-person exhibition near home. In addition, Bill was asked to be a representative for CCAC’s exhibition celebrating 100 years of the Metals Department, and a mix of group shows in New York City, Miami, Seattle and Las Vegas. Bill is the designer of the 10 foot Equitorial Bowstring Sundial located at the Richie Observatory in Battle Point Park on Bainbridge Island, WA and completed in 2015.