Leann Wooten Studio Tour

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Today on Tuesday Tours I’m featuring mosaic artist Leann Wooten. I met Leann a few years ago at a gallery opening that featured the artwork she did with Milwaukee Public school students from Keefe Avenue school. It was the first youth exhibit featured at the Gallery@Large in Milwaukee’s Walker’s Point. At the time, I was a fairly new artist educator, and witnessing the work she did with students really inspired me. Over the years I watched as the schools and community in Milwaukee became more beautiful from work created during residencies that Leann developed.

Leann-Wooten-Tuesday-Studio-Tour 1Tell us a little bit about yourself and your creative medium.
I’m a freelance mosaic artist working in Milwaukee. I left the corporate working world to become a full time artist  and artist educator about 10 years ago after an intensive study of mosaic art in Chicago. This medium allows me to teach, create, and involve all kinds of people interested in the art form. I love going into the schools getting students involved in big projects, uniting communities, and teaching studio classes out of my own studio. I have exhibited my art, which is mixed media mosaic, locally and internationally.

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How long have you had your space and how does it affect your creative process?
I’ve always maintained a studio in every residence I’ve lived, and I’ve moved around a bit, from Nebraska to Texas, then Chicago, and now Wisconsin. I’ve had a variety of studios and they’ve all varied in size and location. My favorite studio was in my backyard in Texas. I affectionately called it the ‘art shack’ and it was home to many artworks and parties! While I’ve shared studios outside the home, I find I’m more productive having my studio in part of my home for the sheer convenience. I’ve maintained my current studio for 4 years, it’s a basement studio, so I’ve put in tons of lighting. The walls are white with lots of paper butterflies floating around to give it some atmosphere. I share this space with my students — half the space is their’s and the other half is mine.

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Leann-Wooten-Tuesday-Studio-Tour 7Are there any kind of rituals you do before you start creating? 
Once I walk into the space I get motivated to create something because of all the buckets and jars of tile, glass, beads, and found objects around me. This is where I can make a mess and leave it. I do like to organize a clean area first before working, and then I check out all the materials and compile a smaller group of those materials to get started. I work intuitively and I set the tone by turning on some music and getting in ‘the zone.’ It’s a wonderful place to be!

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Is there anything you like to listen to while you’re working? What are you reading/listening to now?
I listen to a huge variety of music — Blues, Rock, African, World Music, you name it! Many times I just hit shuffle on the iPod. My husband is a musician and we both love music. Currently I’m reading The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography by Sydney Poitier, and Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson.

 

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Is there any special item/trinket in your space that inspires you?

My whole creative process is usually triggered by the materials around me. I have lots of objects I’ve gathered over the years from garage sales and estate sales.

If you had a couple hundred dollars to improve your space, what would you do?
I would build more shelving, paint the floors, and add a wine bar!

Leann-Wooten-Tuesday-Studio-Tour 3What advice do you have for people who want to make a personal space where they can be creative?
When making your studio be sure you have enough space, lighting, storage, and comfort. Surround your self with things that inspire you, play music, put in your ear plugs, and enjoy this little oasis! This is a sacred place for you to create in!

What are you working on now and where can we find out more about you?
I am currently working on some pieces to be shown at Walkers Point Center of The Arts, April 25th, Gallery Night, the opening is 5-9pm. You can find out more about me at my website –www.brokenartworks.com.

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Thanks for sharing, Leann! I hope to have a ‘Girls Night Out’ art workshop at your studio very soon :)

 

 

Shimmerling — final stretch!

Working till 3am is starting to get to me, but I’m excited because we’re starting to get some great shots and we’ll begin laying out the book this week! All the artwork will be featured in a co-exhibit Stories Shared with Faith Ringgold at the Gallery@Large, opening April 25, 2014, 5-8pm.

Here are some shots from the newest photo shoot.

 

Karen Konnerth Studio Tour

Over the last few years I’ve had my studio in the dark basement, but I recently decided that I needed a studio with natural light more than I needed a guest room. I began looking for inspiration to make a new creative space – one that is highly functional, but also attractive enough to be on the first level of my home. After looking at lots of different studios I realized I love seeing all the great places art gets made, and I figured other people might enjoy this too. So, every Tuesday, for as long as I have volunteers willing to share their creative spaces, I will showcase Tuesday Tours.

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Karen Konnerth_Studio Tour 9My first guest is Karen Konnerth. I met Karen through the online writing community 12 x 12 started by Julie Hedlund. This group of writers challenges themselves to write 12 picture books in 12 months. In addition to having the support and feedback from over 500 writers, 12 x 12 members also have the opportunity to submit manuscripts to a different agent or editor each month. Karen, a newbie to 12 x 12, says her immediate passions are writing and illustration. She’s been in her New Orleans studio for 15 years and in addition to having a great space to create her work, she also uses the space for workshops and performances.

Karen Konnerth_Studio Tour 10 Karen Konnerth_Studio Tour 6 Karen Konnerth_Studio Tour 3Tell us a little bit about yourself and your creative medium.
I’ve worked as a full time professional puppeteer for over 30 years, also doing a lot of arts in education work — working with children as well as teachers, and now I’m also writing and illustrating books for children. Through puppetry, I travel a lot internationally to puppet festivals (especially South & Central America, as I can present in Spanish), and I also work through the US Embassy offering arts integration workshops for teachers in the Middle East and other places.

 

 

How long have you had your space and how does it affect your creative process?

How long have you had your space and how does it affect your creative process?
I have had this space about 15 years, and before that, I had a garage space, and before that I began making art on the kitchen table. It makes a huge difference to have my own space. The building is in biking distance from my house in a neighborhood populated by many creative people. It also has an elementary school across the street

Karen Konnerth_Studio Tour 4 with an awesome band (the band room fronts my corner, so I know all their songs). I have a tenant in the back of the building, so that covers the cost of the space, which is great. There’s an office space; a large room to build stages, rehearse shows, offer performances and workshops; and a compact workshop space with tools and materials for building puppets. I love to be able to come here knowing I can focus on my work. It’s a very happy place for me.

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Are there any type of rituals you do before you start creating?
My office faces east, so I love arriving early and opening the door and window shades. It is a very bright and colorful space, and the neighborhood is quiet.

 

Is there anything you like to listen to while you’re working?

Karen Konnerth_Studio Tour 12I listen to one of just a few things: Late Lunch by 3Manisha, a fabulous eclectic cd by Richard Scott, who is a local musician; some Latin and Caribbean music; a little of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos; and, if I get drowsy in the afternoon, sometimes I’ll listen to The Best of Culture Club (weird, I know). Mostly I like music without words when I work.

What are you reading right now? 
Currently I’m reading Show Me A Story by Leonard S. Marcus. I’ve recently read The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien, The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht, and A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh. I’ll read on any topic, as long as the writing is strong. I love good fiction!

Karen Konnerth_Studio Tour 5 Karen Konnerth_Studio Tour 7If you had $500 to improve your space, what would you do?
I think I would design and have built some sort of collapsible bench seating and low tables for kids in the big room. I have been really focused on my writing and illustration lately, but I think I’d host more community events if it were easier to set up.

What advice do you have for people who want to make a personal space where they can be creative?
One thing – make/find a space that will not be a financial burden. My building was purchased very, very cheap, because it needed a lot of work. In your own house, any corner of a room that is designated as a place where you can be left alone to work, and  also, one where you can leave your work out, is great. Space and time go hand in hand. When my children were young, I had the garage space, but I mostly worked there only after they were asleep. Time is the biggest factor – if you can carve it out, you can work almost anywhere. But the time must be yours and yours alone – that is the hardest to find at some stages in life.

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Is there any special item/trinket in your space that inspires you?

This varies over time, but lately, I’m inspired by the bright colors and fantastical images in a couple embroidered pieces I got in Oaxaca, Mexico last summer.

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Any new projects that you’re working on?

I’m in the process of writing a script for a new puppet theater show, which I will also build. I’m planning for the stage set to look like a large scale pop-up book. I’ll be posting the progress on my blog. My site is karenkonnerth.com and my puppet site is Calliope Puppets.


Thanks for sharing, Karen! And good luck with your projects!

Shimmerling update — first photo shoot

I’ve been busy trying to finish up the Shimmerling costume/sculpture for the April 25th gallery opening. I managed to get the wings, the feather headdress, and the Shimmerling’s face created this past week. It’s fun seeing it come together, but there’s still a lot of work to do. This week I’ll be creating the trunk of the Shimmerling, which will be covered in glittery bark. I also have a handful of birds and oak trees to sculpt. Michael and I decided to get some test shots last night to see how the metal will photograph. I’m very lucky to have such a talented husband to help me with the photography  :)

Introducing Tuesday Tours

Over the last few years I’ve had my studio in the dark basement, but I recently decided that I needed a studio with natural light more than I needed a guest room. I began looking for inspiration to make a new creative space – one that is highly functional, but also attractive enough to be on the first level of my home. After looking at lots of different studios I realized I love seeing all the great places art gets made, and I figured other people might enjoy this too. So, every Tuesday, for as long as I have volunteers willing to share their creative spaces, I will showcase Tuesday Tours.

‘Stories Shared’ co-art exhibit with Faith Ringgold April 25th, 2014!

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I’m very excited to announce that the artwork I’m creating for my new picture book Shimmerling will be featured in an art exhibition at Gallery@Large, along with the artwork of Caldecott winning artist and children’s book author Faith Ringgold! I have always admired Faith’s Story Quilts and her children’s picture books. I’m so thrilled to have the chance to show my work next to hers. Faith will be visiting Milwaukee for three days during the run of the exhibition to offer workshops and an artist talk. Dates and times TBD.

 

Stories Shared
April 25- July 3, 2014
Arts@Large Gallery

Discover multiple ways in which stories are created and shared in this student and artist created exhibition. Explore the story quilts of nationally renowned artist Faith Ringgold, the wearable sculptural art of local artist and children’s author Andrea Skyberg, and the artwork of MPS students who helped create the illustrations for Andrea’s new children’s book, Shimmerling.