Welcome to the FiSH STiCKS blog, Where all things FiSH STiCKS-related will be housed.
FiSH STiCKS is a new community art project designed by neighborhood artist/educator Judybeth Greene. It entails hand-making fish from clay to put on curvy yard sticks to visually reflect that all of us unique individuals are swimming in this world together. FiSH STiCKS is a community art “intervention”, designed to bring a diverse neighborhood into more active engagement and create a deeper sense of connection and support.
FiSH STiCKS is supported in part by: *Maryland State Arts Council (Creativity Grant 2018/2019) *Takoma Foundation (Project Grant 2018) administered through Arts on the Block. *Difference Makers (2018-2019) (middle school volunteers coordinated by Bryan Goehring) *Michelle Faulkner-Forson, (2018-present), Community Arts Coordinator, Arts on the Block. *Joe Bradley, (2015-present), 3D Studio Coordinator, Studio Arts|Corcoran School of Arts & Design/George Washington University (bisque & glaze firing)
Judybeth’s vision is that this project can be expanded throughout Takoma and beyond, using this blog as a central collection hub to share ideas and discoveries learned through this process. Read on to learn more about the process, the project and the individual FiSH stories…..
This display gave us the opportunity to share how working with ceramics in a community can help people to access their creativity and make new local connections. It showed the multi-stage process of creating ceramic FiSH: the bisque fired FiSH and the glazed FiSH (the second step in the process). This display also highlighted the incredible array of different techniques and approached individuals bring to the process of creating. And these FiSH are all are swimming well together, with their differences enhancing the exhibit.
Here’s a very big thank you to the Maryland State Arts Council for awarding Judybeth a 2019 Creativity Grant to hold 3 more FiSH-making and community building workshops and another FiSH STiCKS release party at her Glenside Art Studio in Takoma Park.
So far, we’ve held two of the three workshops and participation keeps growing! We had 15 people at the first workshop and 32 at the second!!!! Our next neighborhood workshop is on Sunday May 19th from 1-4 pm.
Future posts will have many NEW photos and FiSH stories. We will also share more stories about and from the Difference Makers of Takoma Park Middle School, administered by Bryan Goehring. Without the help of Difference-Makers, this stepped up level of service would not be possible, so I want to share that story. I will also be sharing the story of Joe Bradley who has fired over 100 FiSH for us at the Corcoran School of Arts & Design.
On Sunday, November 18, about 20 people came by to pick up (or glaze) their FiSH, and add the STiCKS. We had a really nice time looking at what all this combined creativity brought into being. Ben and Barb Frey brought a tasty lentil stew with rice, and Judybeth had a full array of bagels and cream cheese so no one when hungry.
There are a few FiSH left still waiting for glazing, and the FiSH-makers who made them are welcome to reach out to Judybeth to arrange a time to glaze them.
We also continued to make more FiSH, particularly because the adults did not get a chance earlier, and some of the FiSH makers who did not get to glaze their FISH at earlier sessions were able to do so at the party.
NEXT Blog post will feature the participants in FiSH STiCKS, their FiSH and their thoughts!!!!!
FiSH STiCKS is brought to you with a grant from the Takoma Foundation, administered by Arts on the Block, with logistical support from Difference Makers. Joe Bradley, the 3D Studio Coordinator at Corcoran School of Art & Design/George Washington University generously donated his time and the school’s large kilns to bisque-fire and glaze-fire our FiSH.
We did a lot of experimentation with glazes. Some FiSH-makers carefully painted in specific areas with multiple layers; others like Britney let the glazes run for some really interesting effects.
Because we were glazing the FiSH at a high temperature ((cone 10) so that they could withstand the elements when installed outside), some of the underglazes became less stable and the delicate lighter colors seemed to change to darker or different colors.
Sophie chose to use an ombre approach to her FiSH. Spectacular, you’d have to agree:
We still have a few FiSH that have been glazed and are going into the kiln for glaze firing:
In an earlier post, I mentioned that there were 2 stages of firing ceramics in a kiln. The first, is the bisque firing which “cooked” the FiSH at a relatively low temperature of 1960 degrees F (cone 03); this hardens the FiSH and makes them a light tan. Then we painted on glazes, usually using underglazes with a coat of clear glaze, which went into a hotter kiln with a temperature of 2284 degrees F (cone 10). This makes the ceramics very durable creates the shiny water resistant FiSH.
We also experimented with using underglazes on FiSH before the initial bisque firing. These FiSH were initially sculpted by me and then finished off with detailing by Nico, who is going to be quite an accomplished artist if she’s this intuitive in middle school! I can’t wait to see what these look like after they are bisque fired and then glazed:
The FiSH looked like this after they were bisque-fired:
Then on Saturday October 18th, many neighbors and teenage Difference Makers came to glaze their FiSH. The photos below speak for themselves. There was lots of excitement and color experimentation. Personally, I learned a lot about how I need to restructure my studio space for a lot of people! What did you get out of this experience? Please add your comments!
For folks who still have FiSH to glaze, we are holding a second opportunity to glaze on Saturday November 3rd from 4-6 pm (to RSVP text 202-425-6772).
We are going to have a live interview on public radio with WOWD Talk of Takoma with editor/host Eric Bond on Sunday, November 11th @ 2 pm (I’d love to have a few participants come with me to discuss it, so please RSVP to 202-425-6772 if you would like to do so). Then we will have a FiSH STiCKS RELEASE PARTY on Sunday November 18th! See next blog post for details (we had to postpone release one week so we could get all the FiSH glaze-fired).
My photos from October 28th glazing event:Photos by Ivana Mancic:
I can’t wait to see what these look like once they are fired with these bright glazes!