10 Questions to the Artist – Sue Boehme

Meet artisan, Sue Boehme, glass and sculpture artist

Sue Boehme I met Sue Boehme last summer.  She reached out to me, introducing herself as a local artist who works in many mediums.  I agreed to visit her studio and was immediately intrigued by this artist.  She has been walking the creative path for a long time and has created art using many mediums such as clay, metal, and glass. Sue answers our "Ten Questions to the Artist" so that we can get to know her, just a little.   1 & 2. WHAT TURNS YOU ON CREATIVELY, SPIRITUALLY, OR EMOTIONALLY? And do you have an influence or theme that guides your work? The recurrent theme in much of my work references the natural world around us- from the cosmos to cellular structures. I spend a lot of time outdoors, and find it a source of endless inspiration. As a child, I adored science and studied everything from fossils and minerals to butterflies and birds. 3. WHAT PROFESSION OTHER THAN YOUR OWN WOULD YOU LIKE TO ATTEMPT? I have been fortunate to have experienced a number of careers in my life – I was a computer programmer in the eighties, a co-owner in a family millwright services business (I handle the accounting) for the past thirty years, an adjunct art professor for eight years, and now a private art instructor. If I could pick a profession, I would work for Warner Brothers to help design props for films, or Universal Orlando to design and sculpt the items that help provide an immersive experience for guests. Another great option would be an illustrator for a graphic novel, or an animator for Dreamworks. 4. WHAT PROFESSION WOULD YOU NOT LIKE TO DO? I wouldn’t care for any profession that includes handling sewage of any type. 5. WHO ARE YOUR FAVORITE ARTISTS? My favorite artists: Henry Moores’s drawings, Kathe Kollwitz, Lee Bontecoe’s early work, Japanese printmakers, Shaun Tan, Kazu Kibuishi, and Hayao Miyazaki. 6. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TOOL USED TO CREATE YOUR WORK? My favorite tool are my fingers – I am a very hands on artist. 7. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WORD? Sisu 8. WHAT IS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE WORD? Moist 9. WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE MUSICIAN? John Powell 10. HOW MUCH FORMAL EDUCATION HAVE YOU RECEIVED? Formal education includes a BFA in Sculpture from Kendall College of Art and Design, and approximately twenty intensive glass workshops. Thank you, Sue, for answering our questions.  Stop in to the gallery to see her artwork. She and I will be hosting an Artist Talk beginning at 7:30 pm.  Denise will be in the gallery, Friday night, November 3, 7-8:30pm.  

Treating Everyone with Respect and Being of Service

Treating Everyone with Respect One of C2C Gallery’s core values is to treat everyone with respect.  You say, “well, of course”.  Sadly, this is not something that happens automatically in our world. As C2C grows, treating customers with respect is one of my personal core values and I am proud that is part of the gallery’s DNA. In my mind, treating people with respect should simply be part of the fabric of society.  We shouldn’t have to write it down.  It’s just the right thing to do.  We are all humans, (as one of my girl friends reminds me often). We’re all in this together and, for the most part, people are good and want good things for society.  What’s sad is how surprised people are to see this in practice.  That’s because we live in a world where people say and do very disrespectful things to one another on social media and in real life. So, I thought I would share my thoughts about respect and talk about change in the gallery.  Change is good.  Change will not include losing our focus on always being friendly, helpful, respectful, and offering the highest quality plus widest range of art in West Michigan.  Our goal is to help you include art in your every day life. You will see two new faces in the gallery – Julie Minnema and Joy Roach.  Joy will be helping us on First Fridays, special events, and other busy days.  Julie Minnema will be helping us on Sundays and Mondays with a focus on networking with interior designers, architects, and realtors.  We have relationships with more than 45 artists.  If you are one of these professionals or have a favorite pro, please consider scheduling a time to talk with Julie or myself.  We would love to learn if we can be of service to you, helping one another. Sarah Mattone will be in the gallery during the week managing the sales floor and other duties.  So where does this leave me?  I will be in the gallery several mornings a week.  Then, heading to my studio to make pots and create new forms.  I am excited to be able to focus on my art, plus the business side of C2C Gallery. C2C Gallery has always been about sharing the talents of our artists with you, our clients and visitors to Grand Haven.  As we grow, C2C is also supporting me, our employee’s families, our health, and our choice of lifestyle.  So, once in awhile, we will not be able to be open, because a child is sick; we have the flu; a kiln needs repair; or some other emergency that is out of our control.  I hope that you will understand because we only have one life – our family and our health are much more important than the gallery. For us, treating everyone with respect is a mantra that we will continue to do in ways both big and small….every day.

The Fearless Baker’s Brownie Pie

The Fearless Baker's Brownie Pie Give the pie a cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.  I love this pie just warmer than room temperature served with ice cream piled high.  Coffee ice cream is wonderful. Brownie Pie!  It’s an unexpected and absolutely joyful dessert.  Serves 8 For the Pie 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour pinch of fine sea salt 8 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes 3 tablespoons ice water, plus more if needed For the Brownies 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter 1/4 canola (or other neutral) oil 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (70% or so), chopped 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar 1/2 cup granulated sugar 3 large eggs 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 2/3 cup all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped 1 cup chopped toasted almonds coffee ice cream or whipped cream for serving Instructions To make the dough, in a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Add the butter cubes, tossing them through the flour until each piece is well coated. Cut the butter into the flour by pressing the pieces between your palms or your fingers, flattening the cubes into big shards and continuing to toss them through the flour, recoating the shingled pieces. Continue to work the mixture together until the pieces of butter are about the size of peas. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Add 3 tablespoons of ice water and mix to incorporate. Then add more ice water 1 tablespoon at a time and continue mixing just until the dough comes together. As it begins to come together, you can knead it a few times to make sure it's evenly combined. It's important not to add too much water to the dough, which should never be sticky. It should hold together easily in a ball but still feel almost dry to the touch. Form the dough into an even disk. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight. Lightly flour the work surface. Roll out the dough to a circle 1/4-inch thick. Start in the center of the disk of dough and push away from you using even pressure. Return to the center and repeat, this time moving towards you. Continue rotating the dough and reflouring the counter as needed to prevent sticking. Transfer the dough to the pie pan. Trim away the overhang, leaving about 1/2-inch overhang all around. Tuck the excess dough under and crimp with your fingers or a fork. Refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes or freeze for 5 to 10 minutes. To parbake, place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Cut a square of parchment paper slightly larger than the pie pan. Prick the chilled dough all over with a fork. Place the parchment over the crust and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake the crust until the edges barely begin to turn golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. Take the pan out of the oven and remove the parchment and weights. Return the crust to the oven to bake for 2 to 4 minutes until just lightly golden. Remove from the oven and immediately brush the bottom of the crust with a thin layer of egg wash. The residual heat should cook the egg, but if it looks wet, throw it back in the oven for 1 minute more. Cool the crust completely before filling it. To make the brownie, reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. In a medium, heat-proof bowl, combine the butter, oil, and bittersweet chocolate. Set the bowl over a medium saucepan of simmering water (with the bowl not touching the water) and heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is fully melted and combined. Let cool slightly. Add both sugars to the chocolate mixture and mix well with a spatula. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until each one is fully incorporated. Whisk in the vanilla. Add the flour and salt and mix well to ensure there are no flour pockets, but do not overmix. Fold in the semisweet chocolate and almonds. Pour the batter into the piecrust and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownie comes out with moist, clumpy crumbs, 45 to 50 minutes. Do not overbake! Let the pie cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing and serving. I love this pie served with coffee ice cream. By Joy Wilson, Joy the Baker and Erin McDowell,Adapted from The Fearless Baker

Sculpture I find Interesting – Maya Lin

Yale architect and sculptor's art found throughout New England

Women's Table by Maya Lin   I read an article today in the NY Times that I wanted to share and save, hence the blog posting.  Maya LIn has created many public sculptures in New England and across the United States.  Here is an excerpt and link to the article: "The table is inscribed with a sea of numbers in an exquisite spiral. Ms. Lin marks the presence, and absence, of female students through the years, creating a strong statement and pattern. After many years of zeros, the number grows quickly in the 1970s and ’80s, getting to 5,225 women enrolled at Yale in 1993 when the sculpture was finished. It is a meditation on social and gender progress. She is meticulous in her design: the stone is “Lake Placid Blue” as her homage to Yale’s blue and numerals use Bembo font as a link to Yale publications. “The Women’s Table” is understated, like so much of her work. Though it carries no explanation on it, people seem to appreciate it whether they fully understand its context or not." For the rest of the article, click here.  

Did you know that more vinyl records were sold than music downloaded in 2016?

Box Stores and the effect on galleries.

Did you know that more vinyl records were sold than downloaded music in 2016?   According to Forbes magazine, "Fueled by that unique sound quality and a nostalgia wave, sales of vinyl records were up 32% to $416 million, their highest level since 1988, according to the RIAA. Revenues from vinyl sales last year were higher than those of on-demand ad supported streaming services." What does this have to do with art and C2C Gallery? I have been thinking about how we use the words "hand-crafted" when discussing things like beer, watches, shoes, arts, and bicycles.  So, what does hand-crafted really mean?  I am sure it is deliberate when marketing uniqueness, quality, and care taken when an item is created.  Yet, isn't is strange that while we respect well made "hand-crafted" items, there is also a desire to demand low cost and immediate availability.  So, how is an artist to survive?   How many of us notice the art in an hotel or restaurant? Or is it like streaming music, where we are barely aware of it?  Does this cause us not to value or even see the art in front of us unless we are in a place where art is supposed be noticed, such as:  galleries, art fairs and museums? As an artist and a gallery owner, I have worked hard to learn how to use social media such as Facebook and Instagram effectively for my ceramic work and for my artists.  Each of my posts have a goal of sharing our artist's art and who they are as people.  I have always felt that you are more inclined to fall in love and ultimately purchase a piece of artwork if you feel that you know a bit about the artist and why they create art.   From taxi cabs to skincare, technology is disrupting economic systems. The need for service that exceeds expectations will keep a place for excellent businesses. Art that transcends the commonplace, even occasionally art on a hotel wall, will find its way to those who value and notice the art. Technology will allow more people to find and hopefully collect our art. Deliberate practice is necessary to become ever better in our art. Ongoing marketing helps take our art beyond the commonplace.

Every One is Creative. Yes, you are!

ArtPrize 9 and ArtWalk 8 Wrap up.

I found Sofia Ramirez's ArtPrize entry interesting showing the public of her daily creative practice - drawing.  As in all things, in order to become "good" or accomplished at a craft or skill, you must practice.  Many times, customers come into the gallery and I hear them  saying how they have no artistic talents.  I always try to have a conversation with them that being creative takes practice.  Our artists have tens of thousands of hours invested into their art medium.  I also believe that being creative does not mean only using an art medium.  Everyone is creative daily making decisions, cooking meals, choosing clothing, and even in how they choose their words to communicate.  We are all creative.   Flint - ArtPrize 3 Dimensional Juried Winner Another ArtPrize and ArtWalk wraps up today.  Three weeks of all things related to art in West Michigan.  It's fun to hear the comments about the entries with discussions about "Is this art?"  In Grand Haven, I felt that the entries were of high caliber across all categories.  Our artist was Denise LeClaire with a mixed media entry, awarded honorable mention in this category, "In Honour that Life is Short". With Grand Haven's smaller, volunteer organized version of ArtPrize, we gained a new mural in town by Chris Protas, who won the Juried Painting Category for Grand Haven's ArtWalk event.   Sofia Ramirez Draws Every Day - It is Non-negotiable.  Art for Life  

Baked Brie with Pistachios and Honey

Serve in a handmade ceramic baker to create a simple appetizer using brie cheese, pistachios and honey

  Baked Brie with Honey and Pistachios A simple, yummy appetizer that is quick and easy - plus designed for a handmade ceramic baker.   Ingredients: 1 (6-8-ounces) round Brie or Camembert 1/4 cup lightly salted pistachios (about 2 ounces), shelled and roughly chopped 2 tbl honey Directions: 1.  Using a sharp knife, score top rind of cheese in a cross-cross pattern, spacing cuts about 1 inch apart.   2.   Remove the packaging and place in ceramic baking dish.  Put cheese and dish into a cold oven.  Set the temperature to 350 degrees.  Bake until top is soft and runny, about 25 minutes.   3.  Top with chopped pistachios and drizzle with honey.  Let rest 5 minutes, then Enjoy!  

Learning to See – how to look at a painting

How does a painter create an impressionistic versus realistic painting

Learning to See “Mary Cassatt at the Louvre” 1880 pastel by Edgar Degas Sara Genn writes a blog that was started by her deceased father, Robert Genn.  I thought our customers might find it interesting to learn about how an artist creates a realistic versus an impressionistic painting.  Sara writes: I recently returned from traveling to find a pile of mail gems, many from readers of these letters. One was a gift of a small paperback postmarked Crescent Pond, New Hampshire. I crawled into bed and into a list of timeless painting tips ordered by importance, the essentials highlighted and supported with first-hand insights from old and modern masters.Sara Genns writes a blog that was started by her father.  I thought this article might interest our customers with regard to looking and seeing a painting.  She writes: Painters of classical realism employ this list as the backbone of good painting. However, what could be mistaken for the techniques of a niche are in fact the foundation of all visual art, and while these basics have been almost completely edged out of the art school circuit, an aspiring painter can still independently mine golden nuggets from classical painting to produce work of deeper knowledge and skill, regardless of style or stripes. When I sat down at my first potter’s wheel at age twelve, my teacher said, “You are putting on your first pair of skis, and you do not yet know how to ski.” And so tonight I started again at the beginning. There are two fundamental approaches to realistic painting, the book began: An academic renders each item in detail, inserting her knowledge of anatomy, colour, religion, myth, and history as an enhancement to what she sees with her own eyes. While this idealism delivers the details of nature with accuracy, it isn’t necessarily the truth. An impressionist, by comparison, grabs the whole subject at once and paints a broad, visual experience of it. She honours the poetry of the human eye and its cherry-picking of colour, nuance and focus. The impressionist forgets what she knows in order to paint what she sees. The notebook then broke into sections to clarify the academic principles of drawing and composition. Design, proportion, visual unity, spotting, simplification, rhythm, eye control, edgemanship and carrying power, plus light and reflected light, shadows, highlights and accuracy of values and shapes were laid out like a set of life-saving lug nuts. Then began an item-by-item exploration of what makes a painting a visual “impression,” and why. “The artist sees objects as smudges of warm and cool colours of different shapes and values and having only a suggestion of detail. He sees the edges of objects fuse in places to form broader and simpler masses of light and shadow.” (Richard Whitney, Painting the Visual Impression) “The secret is to follow the advice the masters give you in their works while doing something different from them.” (Edgar Degas) Sincerely, Sara    

10 Questions to the Artist – Denise LeClaire

2017 ArtWalk Artist - Denise LeClaire

Denise R LeClaire Denise is our 2017 ArtWalk artist.  She is a West Michigan artist and high school counselor. Denise creates collages using found paper objects such as antique sheet music, atlases, and books.  Often, she applies a photo transparency over the collage and then, paints over those layers allowing you to see or hide different components of the canvas.  This artist focuses on an idea such as belonging, forgiveness, mortality, or love. Her goal is to create a connection between people and her art with shared experiences.  All of Denise's work is personal, a combination of the ordinary and the profound.  Like a soft kiss on the forehead for no reason. In Honour of the Fact that Life is Short ArtWalk Voting Code:  Artist number - MM14. Category - Mixed Media Denise answers our "Ten Questions to the Artist" so that we can get to know her, just a little.     1. What turns you on creatively, spiritually, or emotionally? I heard a quote once, I think it was Marianne Williamson who said that the spiritual path is just the journey of living our lives and we are all on a spiritual path, sometimes we just don’t know it. I love this philosophy and feel like it falls together with my own belief in the importance of small moments, the little things that end up being the most memorable. So, it’s just everyday life that does it for me. We get to decide in the first world, what to do with our days, how we respond to life, and how we are creative; it’s a huge gift that not everyone has, that’s a pretty big turn on. 2. Do you have an influence or theme that guides your work? I think the theme is connection through common ground. I think there is a spiritual and emotional element to my work with the combination of ideas, words and photographs and I see and feel this when I talk to people about what’s drawn them to a particular piece.    3. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Travel photographer/writer 4. What profession would you not like to do? Police officer 5. Who are your favorite artists? VanGogh, O’Keefe, Gustav Klimt, Mark Rothko, Jim Dine 6. What is your favorite tool used to create your work? A “mop” brush. 7. What is your favorite word? Serendipitous 8. What is your least favorite word? Can’t think of one. 9. Who is your favorite musician? Impossible to choose. I love all kinds of music. 10. How much formal education have you received? My B.A. is in Sociology and Fine Art. I’ve taken art classes on and off my entire life including in photography, pottery, painting, drawing & collage. What I’m currently doing with regard to the combination of collage, photography, photo transfer and painting is self taught, trial and error. Thank you, Denise, for answering our questions.  Stop in to the gallery to see her exhibit. She and I will be hosting an Artist Talk beginning at 7:30 pm.  Denise will be in the gallery, Friday night, October 6, 6-9pm.      

ArtPrize 9 Begins Tonight – As in all lines of work, just “do good work”

Artprize 9 begins today. what makes good art?

Just like in any profession, if you want accolades, then you need to do good work. One of my friends posted this editorial about Artists  participating in ArtPrize 9.  I think this article is relevant all of the time - just "do good work." Here is the editorial: Dear artist, You and I both know there are tricks to get the general public’s attention at ArtPrize. You and I know these have, at times, won over the public for large prizes. But really sublime work has also won over the public’s heart, and this is, after, all, our ninth time doing this thing called ArtPrize. I myself, in this wonderful circus of ArtPrize, have participated as an artist, a curator and venue manager, an ArtPrize staff member, and a member of the media covering this monstrosity. I’ve been heavily involved every year, experiencing it in every way except being a passive visitor. Some call it a sickness, an obsession. I don’t know what to say — I just love that throngs of people are hanging out and looking at and talking about art. You may be a new artist or someone considering submitting work next year. But just a heads up, we talk about your art. And through the years I’ve heard some real zingers. We notice the bad art and are getting better and better at discerning as we get more practiced throughout the years. So here is the start of a list of simple ways to truly win over our hearts, not to mention maintain your, um, well… your dignity. Let’s go: Don’t try to trick us into liking you. Do not, for the love of all that is holy, resort to gimmicky for the sake of having a gimmick. Sure the penny made of pennies made a splash seven years ago. It also garnered abysmal and definitely not complimentary nicknames of course. But we’re asking for more. Don’t paint with lipstick instead of paint just because…well I have no earthly idea why. Don’t do it. Gimmicks are cheap; they’re trickery; they’re wholly unnecessary. Wow us with your skills, your craftsmanship, your conceptual layers. Stick to what you know. I know it’s tempting to try out a new idea when faced with the competition and prize money, but ArtPrize is not the time to completely shift gears. Create a work that shows off the skills you have honed over years of work. If you’re a painter, don’t suddenly create a sculpture. If you’re a sculptor, don’t try your hand at painting. Do these things, sure—but perfect that new skill before you enter it into a large competition. Go big. I don’t just mean size, here, though large work is a proven tactic to get the notice of the throngs at ArtPrize, I’ll admit. I mean give it your all. I mean push your boundaries just enough, and challenge yourself to expand on your skills. Be sure to give yourself time to try out your big boundary-pushing challenge to expand your work to new levels before entering it into ArtPrize, of course, but do it. Don’t play it safe. I know this and the advice before it seem like they contradict one another. That’s okay. Life is full of both/and, after all, so stick to what you know and then go big with that. Practice. If your work has some sort of performative element to it, or your sculpture has moving parts, please don’t just think you can wing it. We will—all 500,000 plus of us—see you fail and know it’s because you didn’t practice. Remember the first year, when the paper airplanes were all supposed to come floating down to us from a tall building all together, thousands of them? Well. Guys. They came down in clumps. Huge clumps of hundreds of paper airplanes, with just a few separating to do what they were intended to do. The artist himself admitted they hadn’t done any trial runs, not even a throw from a 2nd story window. It was an embarrassment and that failure is what everyone was talking about. For years. Don’t have us talking about that. We understand things go wrong but if you don’t even practice, do any trial runs, we will see that and we will feel betrayed. Consider the base. I don’t mean the voting base, I mean the thing you put your artwork on. The frame for a painting, the structure holding up your sculpture, the pieces that you don’t think of as your work, and yet when we the viewers look at it, we see it with your work, all at the same time. There is nothing more visually frustrating than a beautiful or conceptually moving work that’s propped up with….bright blue plastic bins, for example. The presentation of your work—even lighting, arrangement, how far apart it’s placed from other work—should be considered as carefully, crafted as closely, as the work itself. As much of this as you can control, control it. We see it as a whole. Please don’t throw together shim-sham and expect us not to notice. It’s distracting. We notice. Nobody likes a car salesman. Don’t shove flyers in our hands or plaster your work itself with your voting code. We understand you want to get our attention, but there are so many ways to accomplish this without resorting to something that makes us feel icky. Set up a little table where you demonstrate how you make your work, for example. People love watching artists work. We are fascinated. Work your social media savvy—or have a friend with social media savvy up your game. There are plenty of ways to get our attention. Compromising yourself or your work to get your voting code in our face isn’t the way to do it. I’m not voting for a cause. I don’t care how important your issue or need is, be it cancer or puppy adoption or domestic abuse. I care about those issues sure. Well, I don’t care that much about puppy adoption, if I’m honest. But none of that matters: if the art is bad, I’m not voting for art based solely on what it’s trying to say. Art has to also be visually masterful. Remember those toilets? About colon cancer? Yeah, even my then-5-year-old could tell that was bad art. We can talk about causes and issues and you might even get a donation to your nonprofit doing valuable work but I’m not hitting that thumbs up on your ugly hastily thrown together “statement” piece because of it. Make good art. That’s what where my votes are cast. And that right there basically sums it up: Make good art. Stop trying to trick us into liking your work and just make work worth liking. Don’t pander. We want to walk up and be arrested by the work, to draw in a quick breath at its exquisite color, or form, or conceptual expression. I’m not saying it has to be beautiful. But it has to be masterful. It has to be smart. It has to be carefully considered and well made. And beautiful, stunningly, shockingly beautiful? That works too. Just like in any profession, if you want accolades, dear artists, then you need to do good work. And good luck out there. I hear everyone’s a critic these days. by:  holly Bechiri :  https://cultured.gr/a-word-of-advice-artists-85d0296282c0

Come visit us in lovely downtown Grand Haven.


Handmade Art & Gifts

104 Washington Street
Grand Haven, MI 49417
Cyndi Casemier, Owner


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C2C Gallery | C2C....Art For Your Everyday Life