Sunday, December 3, 2017

DEB STONER - 2018 YAS Presenter

I first went to Yuma each year from 1986-89 when I was in grad school at SDSU, and when I look back at the presenters list from those years, my heart just swells.  So many names of people who had such an impact on my work, on my life.  The demos were super memorable: Phil Baldwin lighting his cigarette with a hot ingot he was forging, Dave Pimentel's Julia Child style demos of raising copper, Leslie Leupp taught us how to rivet, and Claire Sanford taught us to patina.  The photographers always left me looking at the world in differently:  I remember seeing a slide show from Jim Stone who showed pictures of landscapes with x's.  (So of course I started looking for x's and made some pictures too.  That's what students do, right!).  David Graham showed us the extraordinary in the ordinary.  I remember showing my slides for the first time to anyone ever in "Multiple Slide Abuse," sleeping in a big rented RV nicknamed the "Yumabago,"  and eating Moo Goo Gai Spam.  The first big lecture I ever gave was at the Yuma Symposium in 1993, and I can tell you that the opportunity to present was just such an honor.  It was Boris Bally and Roy's first lecture too, and I'll always remember sharing joy and nervousness with them.  It was cool.  It was also a career launcher.  Because it was 1993, there are no facebook memories of it, no Instagram feeds that I can go back to check out, and if anyone did actually take any pictures, it is likely that those slides have become someone's fabulous crafted lampshades.  Here are some pictures of the eyewear I was making at that time. 

“Ball and Socket”, 1991. Brass, steel, lenses. 

“Might Have Been a Coathanger”, 1992, steel, brass, lenses.

“Howard’s Nail”, 1991, walnut, nickel, sterling, nail.

So in my lecture this February, twenty-five years after my first one, I'll talk about my career.  As an artist, I’ve cobbled together a life of part-time teaching, making art objects for others, designing eyewear for fashion industry, and running my business of being self-employed all under the name of “small artist at large” for over two decades. Photography has always been a part of it, but had been the part of my artistic practice that gets attention when I’m not too busy doing other things to earn a living. In the past five years, that has changed, with my full time commitment to making still life photographs of flora and tiny fauna.

“Chaos”, dye sublimation print on aluminum, 30”x40”. 2016

detail of “Chaos”

“Other Things That May Be Happening During the Eclipse”, 2017. Dye sublimation on aluminum, 40”x56”

Detail from “Other Things That May Be Happening During the Eclipse”

I’ll tell you secrets like how it is that the grasshopper is as big as a watermelon. I’ll talk about all the work I did that led me through designing, making and teaching about eyewear as a jeweler, and then how it is to change directions to a different art form, photography, with complete serious intent, as an older person. My “demo” will be more of a show and tell, showing my collection of handmade eyewear, as well as some photographs. I’m also looking forward to showing off my saw, file, and soldering skills at the appropriate moment.


Check out more about Deb Stoner at the link below.  See you in February!!

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