Thursday, October 28, 2010

Artisan field trip class, take one!

...In which we visit Eric Billig W O R K S. First, I'll start off showing you some of his works.... you could just die, am I right? I mean this dollhouse. My. God. Teeny tiny concrete countertop in the kitchen and a green roof? Fainting now!

But that was just a little somethin'-somethin' he whipped up for his sweet little bambinos. His main medium is concrete... and I do believe he is a world-class tinkerer who is doing things with concrete no one's ever done before.... pushing the limits. He is so playful and creative... and loves to try new things, and has such a sense of possibility and play... he is exactly the kind of working tinkerer I want these young ones to get to have contact with. Lucky for me he is really excited about teaching for Austin Tinkering School... and will be offering a full-on class (6 week series) in
January. He says his motivation to teach a class to kids has a self-serving side to it... he knows the kids are going to give him all sorts of good ideas, because they'll approach this medium without the heavy mantle of limitations or expectations weighing them down. Such an amazingly cool guy and I'm proud to say a long-time family friend... one of the first people we met when we moved to Austin 10 yrs. ago.
So, we made trivets. He had strips of (flat) PVC which you can bend or
score and break. We all worked on a big sheet of melamine and glued the pieces of PVC straight onto the melamine to create a mold. Then he
had this beautiful mixture of materials in the center of the table... tons of beautiful colors of glass tiles and stone and other interesting tidbits. We secured them down with just a dab of caulk and then he even let us look at
the different kinds of concrete he had and indivually mixed a batch of concrete per each kid's taste for each trivet! That means, you add tint and different aggregates (crunched-up glass, etc) for different looks. We were able to remove the mold from just one before we left. We're going to return this Tuesday and do some polishing and finishing work and get to take home our masterpieces. Also we'll get
to tour the rest of the fabulous Blue Genie, where Eric rents studio space.... we were so busy with our project, we didn't even have a chance to wander around! But it's fantastic that we have that to look forward to, because there is lots of other artisans and fascinating tools and art work in the rest of the space. Go check out Eric and Blue Genie
during East Austin Studio Tour coming up here in a few weeks(on of my FAVORITE events of all time) .... it'll be SO fun a
nd they'll even have some delicious beer flowing freely, I'm sure.
warmly! You are the BEST!


jenny said...

How lucky you all are :)

Anna said...

Can't wait until Daniel is old enough for this field trip class. Or maybe I could pretend I'm under 18 ;) Hope you do it again!

Kami said...

I know, Jenny, it's unbelievable! So fortunate to know these great folks!

Yeah, Anna, adult tinkering classes need to be on the agenda soon!