Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Vampire Hunting Kit with Michael deMeng, Day Four

Today is Wednesday, May, May 14th, and I actually got up to meet Lynn and Ann Renee for breakfast at 7:00 a.m.  We thought we would try The Grill but it does not open until 8:00 a.m.  Imagine people sleeping in in NOLA.  So we walked back to our hotel and went across the block to Vacherie for breakfast.  Much more elegant than The Grill, the food was good but I like the bustle and grit of the The Grill better.

I was in the workshop at 8:00 a.m. with class scheduled to start at 10:00 a.m. This is great time to finish what I started last night after the carriage ride.  The box is getting its exterior adornments as I added in the erector set parts I brought from home and the lamp parts I bought while junkin' NOLA.

No matter how I say this it is going to sound wrong so I am just going to take a stab at it anyway.  This "class" was just what I wanted but it did not have much "teaching" in the sense of us gathering all together and hearing a lecture on a technique.  It reminded me of the "master class" we had at Valley Ridge one year where we could work on any project we wanted and Michael was a resource to help get through individual issues. Eighteen of the nineteen attendees this year had taken a deMeng workshop before (many of us had taken multiple ones) so this worked out well for me.   I loved the freedom to work and I functioned well under this kind of class.  The teaching moments come in the individual instruction like here where Michael is helping Leslie work through a challenge.

KD and I shared a table;  the ruler marked the Continental Divide

Betty and I used the wall as a convenient place to store our crap

One of this year's discoveries for me was that there is a Ace Hardware Store within walking distance of the Four Points.  

So today KD, Leslie and I went to Armstrong Park to shop for supplies.

For lunch we ate at Dreamy Weenie restaurant across the street from Armstrong Park.  Besides this cool statute of Sachmo, the restaurant had some great black and white photos.  Please note the barely visible photo of the young man with the cigar to the right of Louis (more on that later).

Now it is time to paint.

Tonight's big event begins with a tour of Thomas Mann's studio and store called Gallery I/O on Magazine Street.  The event is a costume party and most of the group took it pretty darn serious (minus this blogger).  The vampire teeth that had been made on Monday also were a major feature.

Michael deMeng had found a bobble head while we were junkin' and with a little deMengian magic he transformed it into his present for our host:  a Thomas Mann bobble head.

Thomas Mann's desk

Thomas Mann has been making jewelry for over 40 years.  He is a designer, employs a production staff in his studio and has been featured on the PBS show Craft in America.

Next it was over to Thomas Mann's house which is across the street from the famous Tipitina's bar and music establishment.

Thomas, and a few workers from his store, fixed a many course meal for our whole crew.

One thing for sure about this night,
it did not bite.  

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Vampire Hunting Kit with Michael deMeng, Day Three

When I finished day two I forgot to include this shot of the famous shadow of Jesus on the St. Louis Cathedral with a special touch--a moon right on the cross.  I have to thank Leslie Perez's husband Luis for cluing me into heading outdoors and taking this shot.

So, now--on to Tuesday, May 13th, and our first official time in the workshop.  It started with breakfast in the hotel on my own except eventually Lynn, Ann Renee and Deb showed up too.  I made a big deal about how each day I would be in the restaurant at 7:00 a.m. no matter what.  Yeah, well--let's just see how that is going to work out.

Our workshop began at 9:00 a.m. with an orientation with Michael and Katherine.  Michael covered some basic things like the idea behind our work and the standard tool etiquette.

Katherine explaining the proper way to hold a sazerac

Well, the exit was clearly marked and I could have bolted...

"Gee, Katherine, that is a lovely workshop guide handout," Andrea said.
"Well, Andrea, I modeled it on your wonderful class handouts," Katherine replied.  

Micheal shows on the invisible handout where the students can find the information they need to know. 

The Class Sample

He almost fell for it when I yelled out, "Look out--there is a bat on your box."

Here is what I started with:  a box with two equally interesting insides to fill.  Maybe this was originally to hold film reels?

Here is a cabinet card photo of my vampire and the frame it will go in.  

At 11:30 a.m., it is time to do some serious junkin'.  NOLA is a good place to find stuff so Katherine made sure we had a really big van to be able to bring back all the finds.

Our first stop today is in the Bywater neighborhood and two places:  The Bargain Center and the Pop Shop.  There evidently are rules to junkin'.

Actually, this sign was behind the counter at Frady's, a small deli at the end of the block away from the junk stores.  I cannot believe I am saying this but it is true:  I let everyone else go junkin' while I went to get something to eat.  I did this in part to miss the feeding frenzy of 20+ junk starved artist wrestling over the same stuff.  Also, I was hungry.

So I went into Frady's and had a nice talk with the two ladies behind the counter.  The store was eclectic to say the least.

The staff at Frady's talked me into a pulled pork and gravy sandwich with extra napkins and they weren't kidding.  John Werst joined me at my table and we sat outside in the warm sunny weather while I ate.

Then it was into the fray.  I ended up buying a knife sharpener with a cool handle (which I will use in Michael's Wand class in Milwaukee in November), two wooden frames and a display rack that might work in the bottom of my box here in NOLA.

Despite lunch and my junkin', there was still plenty of time left before the bus came back to pick us up.  So I walked around and took photos.

There is a studio in the Bywater which belongs to Christopher Porche West.  That is the good news.  The bad news is that he was not open.  Check out the assemblage sculpture in front of the studio space.

As I was wandering I came upon an open church, Blessed Francis X. Seelos Parish Catholic Church.  It was gorgeous and completely empty.

I bought a tie with a skull on it from a local art store and hair saloon which I decided would help me put together a costume for an event we are having as a part of the workshop.

Outside Frady's with Diane, Melinda, Mary, Joanne and two homeless men (photo by Kathy Gould)

Next we vaned to the Jefferson Flea Market which was a pretty cool place to go junkin'.

Then the van took us back to our hotel to drop off stuff.  Some stayed home but the rest of us walked to Decatur Street for more junkin'.  I managed to find some old lamp parts for my box so I was happy.  I also decided to walk back on my own.

Because there are soooooo many tours in NOLA, you have to know what you are buying when you buy in

On the walk back, I met a busker with his son who made me fall for a shoe question that led to a shine.  While all this was happening I was thinking, this is going to be a photograph.

At 6:30 that night we all took a mule drawn carriage ride through the French Quarter.  We had a choice of three different carriages but Katherine said the female guide was the best and that was all I needed to hear.

What Katherine did not know was that she was a crazy Cajun female guide.  Talk about personality--it made the ride a ton of fun.  And her mule was named Aretha Franklin because she could sing.

We were dropped on on Frenchman Street by the carriage and had the option to eat and stay for some music.
Harry Anderson (Night Court) has a bar on Frenchman Street

We ate at the Marigny Brasserie which not only had good food but a  female jazz singer and her band.

Vickie, Melinda, Mary, Diane, Ann Renee, Lynn, Deb, Me, KD

Although I was scheduled to hit the bars and ride back on the late van, I opted to hop on the 9:30 back to hotel.  I wanted to work in the studio which is what I did until 11:30 p.m.