Jan Huling the Beadist, Shayna Lieb the Glassist, and two epic WTF movies.

I went to SOFA 2012 last weekend. SOFA stands for Sculptural Objects and Functional Art. It’s a terrific show of different galleries showing off their best stuff that isn’t paintings. A lot of glass, a lot of bronze, a lot of ceramic, jewelry, furniture and everything in between. Here are some images I found on the internet to give you an idea.

I love going every year because there’s all this art there, the kind of art you see in modern art museums all over the world, and if you have piles and piles of money you can own some. It feels more alive than a museum because the art isn’t just sitting there – it’s changing hands. You can meet the gallery owners, the artists, the buyers, everyone. It’s exciting. There were two artists that were of particular interest to me. One was Jan Huling. I saw her work at the first SOFA I went to, I think it was 2006. She finds bits of what some people consider trash and she covers them with intricate seed bead patterns. I’ve always loved that idea, the idea of taking a variety of items that have little or no worth in themselves and through your hard work and skill, convert them into things of beauty and value. I am still a little sad that I didn’t buy one of her pieces at that first SOFA. It was a bird sculpture (she was really into birds then) on top of an ostrich egg with a happy little cricket waving a little paper hat. I adored it but it was around $4,000 and I simply don’t have that kind of money. Probably the most expensive art I have in my house was around $600 and I struggled with that, so four grand wasn’t going to happen. Every time I see her work, though, I get a little pang for my bird-with-ostrich-egg piece. Sigh. I found some pieces that are similar so you get an idea.

She, as with all good artists, has expanded her horizon and now she’s moved on from birds and smaller pieces to larger pieces. Jan has also now incorporated medallions and leaves more negative space. I was super-excited to see that she had three pieces for sale at SOFA and two of them had red dots on their name plaques (meaning they were sold). The two sold pieces was this really big monkey:

And this awesome cobra that I totally would have loved to have in my house.

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: I love it when artists I love are successful. It warms the cockles of my heart. And I’ve been watching Jan’s work for a while now, so it’s wonderful to see her pieces getting appreciated more and more each year.

The other artist that really caught my eye was a woman called Shayna Leib. I’m a sucker for glass, so it’s no surprise I fell in love with her work. They look like swirly ocean grasses expanding out of boxes. Here’s one to give you an idea.

On her website she explains her process. Apparently she makes cane, usually opaque color inside, transparent color on the outside. She does it with an assistant because they stretch the glass over fifty feet. Thirty feet of it is usable, not to thick, not too thin. Shayna then cuts in into a variety of lengths, but the pieces are all stick-straight, so she warms them up (really warm, glass needs to be hot), so they bend over metal curved shapes, and when they’re cool, she very slowly assembles them from one corner to another inside the frames so they flow and wave. They really don’t work very well in photographs. In person, they take your breath away. I found some closeups to help illustrate the incredible-ness.

There was a piece like the one above that I would have loved to own but it was 1) sold, and 2) $53,000. FIFTY-THREE THOUSAND DOLLARS. I do not have fifty-three thousand dollars, but if I owned an office building I would put one of her pieces in the entrance hall to greet everyone every day because they are magical. I would feel bad if it was in my house and only me and my familiars got to enjoy it. You see something new every time.

Lately I’ve been digging into the treasure trove of Netflix streaming movies. I think Netflix thinks I’m an arty pervert, because it recommended two films that I have a lot of problems with: Sleeping Beauty and Dogtooth. Sleeping Beauty came out about a year ago and it is about an Australian young woman who needs money so she does some medical tests, and waitresses, and possibly prostitutes herself a little bit. Then she gets a job doing table service in her underpanties with other women, also in very exposing scanty garb. I found a picture and put modesty hearts over all the nipple-age. The lead’s the one in white.

They serve these old people dinner and then two of the women get naked and pretend to be andirons at the fireplace, it’s so very weird and S&M-y and not very sexy at all. Then she signs up to drink this tea that makes her fall asleep and old men can lay naked with her, no penetration, but they can snuggle and she won’t remember any of it. What the…? Seriously, that’s the film. A bunch of other stuff happens and it ends, but nothing is resolved and it doesn’t really matter. I cannot fathom how this film got made. It’s so art-house-y and pointless. You know a film is bleh when it’s got sex-n-nudity in it and you’re not even slightly titillated. Which leads me into my second film recommended by Netflix called Dogtooth. I’m not even going to try and explain it. Watch the preview.


What a fat hairy pile of WTF that movie was. Oh, did I mention there’s a super-creepy and depressing sex scene in it? It’s a bonus! That’s probably how it got that “No one 18 and under admitted.” If it was me, I’d insist people 18 and under go see it. It would certainly cut down on teenage pregnancy. I hate you, Netflix. From now on, I’m only watching movies made by Michael Bay, with big shiny explosions.

3 Responses to “Jan Huling the Beadist, Shayna Lieb the Glassist, and two epic WTF movies.”

  1. Jan Huling says:

    Thanks so much for the kind words, Jessica! You know, at the SOFA opening someone said to me, “If I had the money, I’d buy your monkey” to which I replied, “If I had the money, I wouldn’t sell it!”

    Stay tuned!

  2. bari says:

    ive seen both of those movies and yes. agreed. WTF – head shake – the whole deal. Ive moved over to the foreign section of netflix, there is some awesome and obscure stuff there if you dont mind having to read the whole time, which sometimes I do. Also, bollywood. yay.

  3. […] Betsy Youngquist. I found out about her work from being friends with Jan Huling on Facebook (here’s my post on Jan Huling) and I was immediately taken by her mosaic style. Here’s her info from her […]

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