Intro to Pottery

I have always wanted to try working with clay on a potter’s wheel, so when Random Events scheduled a pottery class, I was one of the first to sign up!  We went to Choplet Ceramics Studio which is located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn for a three hour pottery class.  Our group was divided in half so that some could learn to make something on the potter’s wheel while at the same time others could work on hand building.  After an hour and a half we would then switch activities.

I was at the potter’s wheel first learning how to throw clay.  It was more difficult than it looked but our instructor helped us out with each step as we went along.  Having long nails proved to be a bit of a handicap but my piece still turned out pretty well as I tried to be extra careful. 

Once we were done with throwing, it was then time to build something by hand directly with slabs of clay.  There were different objects we could use to add textured patterns to our pieces and we were taught how to mold and connect the separate clay slabs to create an object of our choosing. 

It was a lot of fun learning these two different methods to make a clay object. I am very happy with the bowl I made on the potter’s wheel and the mug I built by hand.  After completing the class, there is approximately a two week period before you can come back to pick up your finished masterpieces.  During this time the pieces are placed in the kiln and glazed in the color that you choose at the end of the class.  Below you will see my finishes pottery pieces.

Choplet Studios provides an excellent way to learn pottery making.  They offer a variety of different classes and workshops in their well equipped studio.  You can read all about their studio and how to get started at www.choplet.com.

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Paint Along

Do want to expand your creative horizons? Want to paint but not sure where to start?  A Paint Along class is a great way to break away from the daily grind and let your creativity flow for an evening.  I had a class with  Paint Along last night and couldn’t wait to write about it!

Paint Along‘s calendar shows all the different images currently on the schedule, so when you go into the class you know what you will be painting.  In the picture above, you can see some other examples of class painting selections as many were hanging around the studio.  Everyone is provided with a blank canvas and their own set of paints and brushes to use.   You are also welcome to bring your own wine to sip while you paint which was a nice touch.  The class started at 6:30pm and it usually goes for 2 hours, although ours went a little over. 

For the class I selected, our goal was to paint a version of Van Gogh’s Starry Night.    I was not sure how it would go since this is a very complex painting.  However, I was pleasantly surprised with how well the instructor was able to guide us through creating our own versions of this classic image (you do not need to be a professional to get a beautiful painting completed during this class).  You are lead through the painting in simple steps that build before your eyes into the image you are trying to create.  There is no judgment and our instructor was happy to help if anyone felt stuck or was concerned about how they were doing.  You are also free to paint as you would like to and can either follow the instructor directly or go on a different path if your creativity leads you elsewhere.  While we were all painting the same image of Starry Night, each painting definitely had its own unique artistry.  At the end of the class, it was really fascinating to see all of the different finished creations.  There was a blow dryer available to help dry the paintings before placing each in a bag to carry our new masterpieces home in. 

I really loved my first visit to Paint Along.  It was wonderful to relax and create something for an evening.  Don’t be intimidated by skill level and just go to enjoy yourself.  Many of the attendees were repeat painters at Paint Along and I will probably be joining them as a return artist.  Paint Along‘s studio is located at 928 Broadway near the intersection with 21st Street.

And just to share, at the end of the class, this is what my painting looked like (although some of the colors didn’t all come through so well in the picture):

King Tut Reigns in NYC

King Tut has returned to NYC!  The must-see exhibit is located at the Discovery TSX where you will get an intimate look at the marvels discovered in King Tutankhamun’s tomb.  In the 10 galleries, you journey through a marvelous display of artifacts from the time of King Tut.  Artifacts representing the royal family, historical footage of the discovery of the tomb, followed by some of the actual treasures found in the tomb are all exquisitely displayed.  I found the lighting and presentation really allowed you to closely examine each piece so that you can truly see it in all its glory.  In the final gallery, King Tut himself is on display, while the latest scientific findings about King Tut’s life and death are said to be presented for the first time.

This is a limited exhibit so be sure to see it for yourself before it ends.  Tickets appear to be on sale through January 2nd on the website.  Discovery TSX is located on West 44th Street between 7th and 8thAvenues.

The Tim Burton Exhibit at the MOMA

For any Tim Burton fan, the current special exhibition on display at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC is a MUST see.

Once you step through the entrance you are immersed into Tim Burton’s world.  Inside you will see actual models of his creations, sketches of the characters and stories as they were visualized before they made it to the big screen, hand written poetry and notes, and even some actual props and costumes from his movies.

As a huge fan, I was in awe to be surrounded by so many amazing pieces.  While the exhibit was crowded, I was still able to see everything thoroughly.  It was a thrill to see everything in such detail, for example, there is a handwritten note to Johhny Depp about a line Tim thought would work in Willy Wonka (this line did end up being in the film).  I loved it so much I just might return for another look before this exhibition ends on April 26, 2010.

MoMA is recommending that you order a ticket for a specific time of admission for this exhibit on their website when you purchase your museum admission.  This can all be done online before you go and the entrance to the Tim Burton exhibit is included in your museum admission cost.   It is worth every penny!

Music Festival in Astoria this Saturday

Astoria Music Now

Looking for a way to enjoy the outdoors while listening to a variety of local performers this weekend?  The second annual Astoria Music Now Music Festival will be held on Saturday, July 25th in beautiful Astoria Park.  This year they have expanded the performance areas to include not only the main & side stages on the Great Lawn but there will also an additional third stage dedicated to world music, DJ’s, dance & theater arts.  Vendors will be selling crafts, clothing, art & food at this event as well.   Activities are scheduled to begin at 12 noon and last until 9pm.  The weather should be great so get out there and enjoy!!!

Crawl Your Way to Some Great Art This Weekend!

Collect LES is having another fantastic Art Crawl event this Saturday, April 18th from 6pm – 8:30pm. Visit more than 25 neighborhood art galleries on the Lower East Side while enjoying some beverages and specials at local businesses along the way!

It is best to buy your tickets in advance online (tickets cost $15) and there are two locations designated for checking in. When you pick up your ticket you are handed a map of all the participating galleries. You then get to pick and choose which ones you want to see or if you are really ambitious you can try to visit all of them during the hours of the crawl.

Most of gallery spaces are rather small, so you get a chance to really look at every item on display at each location you attend. The majority of the galleries are all within a short walking distance from each other so you will get to see quite a few of them if you plan your timing right. Overall, it’s a wonderful way to mix and mingle while seeing a variety of artistry.

After the art crawl is over, there will be a reception from 8pm-10:30pm in the garden area at The Sixth Ward (191 Orchard St.). The party continues after hours starting at 9:30pm at Gallery Bar (also located at 191 Orchard St.).

To purchase tickets and see a map of the participating galleries go to http://artlog.com/collectles.

Fridays at the Rubin Museum of Art

Just because the Outdoor Bound event at the Rubin Museum of Art is now over, doesn’t mean you can’t take part in their special Friday night offerings. The K2 Lounge located within the Rubin is a great spot to get an after work cocktail. They have happy hour (buy one get one) from 6-7pm on Fridays. Even though drink prices are on the higher end, with wine and cocktails in the $9-$11 range, entry to the museum is free after 7pm which is a nice bonus. While relaxing with a glass of wine, I enjoyed sampling from their appetizer menu. I loved the special pizza they served which had a spicy tomato sauce and was covered with paneer cheese. It was delicious!

Having never been to the Rubin before, I was happy to discover that this museum will become a regular place to visit from now on. Even after the private tour I went on with Outdoor Bound, I still need to go back so I can further examine all of the art that the Rubin holds. We had an excellent tour guide who really went into detail on the pieces we looked at and it was a perfect way to get introduced to the meanings behind the beautiful visuals of the art. It is quite evident that there is so much more to learn about the pieces on display than what can be covered in the hour of time we had during the tour. I was quite impressed with the space too – it used to be the location of the first Barney’s department store. Now it has been transformed into an excellent showcase of Himalayan Art and a center for cultural learning.

Along with the impressive art and the K2 lounge, the Rubin has an art film to view at their Cabaret Cinema every Friday at 9:30pm (admission is free with a $7 bar purchase!). There are also cultural concerts performed during happy hour as well. I had such a great time during this first visit that am definitely looking forward to another Friday night at the Rubin Museum again sometime soon.

The Rubin Museum of Art is located at 150 West 17th Street (between 6th and 7th Avenues). For information on how to visit and for all the details on what they offer, please visit their website at http://www.rmanyc.org/.