"Playing with Fire" - one of three guest artists at The Commonwheel Artists Co-op in Manitou Springs

Content from:  https://www.commonwheel.com/playing-with-fire.html


Come share our Artist’s Reception from 5-8 pm on October 20. This show will run through November 12, 2017.
“Playing with Fire” is a phrase often associated with risky behavior. On a practical level, each of the artists in this show use heat/fire to create their works.
Fused glass artist, Laura McCracken, uses variation in temperatures to create her pieces. Her work deals with introspection and her journey through a period of injury and recovery. Recovery really means, in this context, a redefining and reorganizing of her lifestyle and priorities. The concepts of energy and presence continually re-emerge within her art.
Ceramicist, Josie Quick, draws inspiration from primitive and tribal art for her pottery designs. She juxtaposes this imagery with classic pottery shapes and calls her style “neo-primitive.” She strives to show that all people and cultures are connected throughout history, starting as one people and dispersing to give rise to different cultures and artistic imagery.
Karen Simkiss works with hot wax to create her encaustic art. She works on trying to simplify details and using shape, texture, and values to create impressions. The transparent qualities of her encaustic wax allow her to use collage or layering effects to create depth and interest.
“Playing with Fire” will be in our gallery space through November 12. 

Planning the Big Event

What a joyful summer this was!  I spent my summer making art for my September solo show and coaching gymnastics.  I spent most of my time at home, in my home fused glass studio.  It is my happy place.  This was exceptionally true when I was able to watch the Rio Olympics and cut glass and/or fire the kiln at the same time!  After the Olympics, my September show was only a couple weeks away.  

Some people throw parties, I hold art shows.  I really look forward to my solo shows.  People I've know for years, and those I've met recently, attend and show their support.  It's a great way to keep in touch with people you've known for some time, but your lives don't intersect like they once did.  I'm am SO appreciative of my supporters.  I look forward to my solo shows for various reasons.  

A solo show is a great way to share with the world, what you are creating in this stage of your life.  People can see a body of work that intersects and reveals much about the artist.  Often, I have work in group shows and it is a shared venue with other artists.  Solo shows demonstrate my growth as an artist.  A collection of work has strength in numbers.  


A glimpse into Laura McCracken's home fused glass studio.

A glimpse into Laura McCracken's home fused glass studio.

Finding Flow...

Summer is finally here.  I have had two and a half weeks of serious art making.  Ahhh, this is what I have craved all year.  I have made jewelry, some of which I have already posted on my Etsy Page, Glass Marvel.  I have made a few fused glass dishes.  I've hung out at The Furnace (glass blowing studio in Lakewood) a couple times.  I'm just starting to feel really good. 


I consider this the "Flow" state of mind.  Making and creating come naturally, and I feel content.  Definition by Vishen Lakhiani:  A mental state of mind, in which you are pulled forward by big goals, yet happy where you are now.  It creates a feeling of growth and a feeling of being lucky.  Here's wishing the same for you!

Letting go of Struggle...

Since returning from a week in Connecticut, I have been surprisingly busy.  I have been coaching at The Rock Gymnastics for just over a year now.  Normally, it would only be a few hours a week.  When I returned from CT, Patrick (our head coach/owner) was asked to coach at a couple camps.  That meant someone had to work his hours.  That someone was me!  

I had grand plans of spring cleaning and prepping my work areas for art making.  Coaching a bazillion hours the first couple weeks of June wore me out and here it is, almost July and I'm finally getting to where I wanted to be.  That's just life!

I've been working on releasing struggle.  Struggle is all too familiar; I've spent two years dealing with injury from the car accidents.  I am working to create a new familiar: one of ease and joy.  

As I am making art, I process whatever feelings that have come to the surface and overload my thinking.  Sometimes it's fear, sometimes it is worry or some other emotion that holds me in a place of struggle.  I process these emotions, accept them for what they are (the what ifs, the shoulds, etc.) and I work to release them.  I acknowledge and celebrate the small successes.  For they are going to move me down the path toward ease and joy.

Summer! It's almost here!!!

I am thrilled that summer is almost here!  As soon as school is out, I'm heading to CT to visit the family.  I'll be able to relax, de-stress and transition into the summer. 

This summer I will be coaching gymnastics a few hours a week, getting back into my yoga practice (of which I have sorely missed) and making art for my SOLO SHOW in September!

The past two summers have been rough for me.  I, unfortunately, fell victim to the wonderful drivers in the big city.  I was involved in two car accidents that left me nursing injuries for the past two summers.  My artwork suffered.  My mental state suffered.  My fitness suffered.  I wasn't able to go camping.  I even had a hard time hiking, due to uneven surfaces.  My body (and mind) were fragile.

This summer WILL BE DIFFERENT!  I look forward to finding myself again.  I am excited to create art for my show.  I look forward to a little camping, hiking, and hot springs.  YEAH!!

I will also, be offering some classes.  In order to improve my fine motor skills (nerve damage in my neck gave me paraesthesia...pins and needles feeling, in my hands) I have been doing a lot of journaling and drawing.  I'm not quite back to drawing like I did in college.  I worked hard at drawing vessel shapes for my glass classes and during the school year, I did a lot of examples for my students.  My personal favorites are radial designs, also known as mandalas.  I will be offering a weekly class on Wednesdays (and maybe some Saturdays, when I'm at The Bridge) to make your own.  This class will be a step up from the adult coloring book craze.  YOU MAKE YOUR OWN!!!  

 See my Events page for more info.

What are you looking forward to this summer?

Vision board

Vision board on the back of my journal, April 2016.

As an artist, I have artwork all over my condo and my classroom.  I often have several works in progress, at various stages of completion, going on at any one time.  So, the idea of taking time out to create a vision board creates mixed feelings for me.  I, sometimes, think that I don't need that, as I'm a rather goal oriented person.  Then again, there's a feeling of satisfaction when I see it in the midst of busyness or overwhelm.  It reminds me that I'm heading in the right direction.

My latest vision board is a collage on the back of my journal.  My students see it on my desk and think it's just the "coolest."  It spawns conversation about my work as a glass artist.  Having those conversations tends to excite both of us, student and teacher.  And, motivates me to turn to creating when life seems heavy.

My collage includes one of my favorite pictures of me in the hot glass studio with my father as my assistant.  We were at The Chrysler Museum of Glass Hot Shop in Norfolk, VA.  The bottom image is of my home studio, where I create my fused glass artwork, outside of Denver, CO.