Above & Beyond: Dr. C. Hite

There are ongoing activities in the Goku RAKU Sculpture Garden at Studio #99 in Los Osos during Open Studios Art Tour.  Guests may become participants by contributing their favorite “yes!” moment to an artist-produced scroll of colorful tissue paper and China Town newspapers.

The “yes” moment that inspired this interactive book, was looking all over China Town for all things red in San Francisco.  On my scavenger hunt list were paper lanterns, a fan-shaped sumi brush set, and a red satin runner for the books jacket.  Woodblock printing of Samaria eyes to decorate Japanese scarecrow sculptures is available beginning at noon the 13, 14, 20 & 21st.  Guests are invited to add feathers to an interactive artwork, “Broken Wing,” to commemorate the avian loss due to coastal infrastructure projects, like “Dig Los Osos” and seismic testing.

Burning colorful, flammable, recycled “BTU’s” in an experimental ceramic kiln starts at noon on Saturday, October 20th.

Dr. C. Hite and her Goku RAKU Sculpture Garden will be open both weekends of the Open Studios Art Tour.

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Origins: Lindsay Wilcox

Where it all Started

It all started with the funny head pictured above – Self Portrait as Sphinx – the result of a Ceramic Sculpture class I took from Barry Frantz at Cuesta College in 1983.  I was twenty years old.

Oh, I had been immersed in art from the time I was a child.  My mother was a painter, and a career public school art teacher.  And, as a child, I was always as much of a “museum junkie” as my parents would allow.  I just could never tear myself away from looking at beautiful art.  But, the practice of it had always remained a bit remote for me.   Perhaps having seen some of the world’s best art intimidated me?

But then I got my hands in clay, not on a spinning wheel, but to build sculptures.  I suppose I’ll never know quite why– it just clicked.  That “click”  led to a passion for figure sculpture and three years study at the Art Students League of New York in the early 1990’s.   There I soaked up all I could about the practice of figure sculpture, studying with more master teachers than that first one here in SLO.

And twenty years later, I’m still exploring my passion.  Come by and see the results in person both weekends of ARTS Obispo’s Open Studios Art Tour.  Look for studio #179 in the OSAT catalog.

You can also see more of Lindsay’s work on her website.

Origins: Dr. C Hite

Origins of the Rag Kabuki

I am a lifetime, environmentally-challenged artist, who works out of my garden sculpture studio in Los Osos, California.

Parades, pageantry, funeral rituals and dreams have long been an influence on my artwork since living in the south of Taiwan as a little girl. My evolution as an artist has its origins in my self-image as the “Rag Kabuki,” a mysterious character, burdened and bundled, making progress by dragging it all forward with me.  I see a common thread of beauty in all things and repurpose, reprocess and recycle as an art form lifestyle.

I have created earth installations since a tot and found-object sculpture since four years of age.  I got well into inventing and creating in kindergarten and grade school when my father, recognizing my interest, gave me permission to use any tool in his crib (as long as I put them back). My mother had long supplied me with drawing paper, paints, pastels, color-pencils and a piano, to keep me occupied.  By the time I had unlimited access to piano lessons, real tools and building supplies, Mother was making inquiries of the butcher who supplied rolls of butcher paper for my epic drawings. I quickly used up the paper rolls, creating a series of individual film-cell drawings, which I then rolled through the back of a card board box theatre.  I read, taught myself to write at 4 years, and was soon composing poems, songs, and piano compositions.  My mother only told me I was a “gifted” child in the last year.  I define “gifted” as having an enthusiasm for life and keen interest in exploring and experimenting. Why some people don’t have this curiosity, don’t nurture it or are not themselves nurtured, I will never know why.

My working studio, #99 on this year’s ARTS Obispo Open Studio Art Tour, is a celebration of my enthusiasm for life during this year of the Dragon and end of the Mayan Calendar.  Installations of silk fans, giant nude paper-dolls, and ornate, repurposed “coolie” hats transform the garden and otherwise serious nature of my monumental ceramic sculpture work will be on display.

I reached the point where I don’t have to have all the answers, I only have to work towards a solution, intuitively.  If I cannot visualize or think of a conclusion for a large work, I will dream it.

Origins: Crissa Hewitt

I had the good fortune to grow up with parents who really liked having children. My mother claimed until the day she died that she was not artistic, which was not true. However, because my father created his art in the more conventional manner…with pencil, paint, leather punch, or table saw, she found it easy to give him the title.  Throughout her life, she provided the aesthetic underpinnings that shaped so much of how I see the world.

I loved doing things with my father. Some of the projects were of the home improvement variety such as laying bricks for the patio or painting his homemade barbeque/smoke oven. If he was working in his shop creating with wood, or doing leatherwork in the living room, I was a welcome companion. It is perhaps important here to mention that I was 5, 6, 7, or 8 when this took place.

He had taught himself slight of hand magic and showed me a couple of moves. Sometimes when he arrived home from work (he had his own printing business) he would stand in the kitchen and teach us how to do some cute parlor trick.

One night he came home and handed each of us a wood model kit for a small sailboat. The swimming pool had been built and he thought it would be fun to have races.  The model was simple, consisting of a mostly formed hull and parts for the mast and sails.  We learned how to sand and seal and apply the necessary parts. The races weren’t very successful, but being involved in the process of making struck a real chord with me.

That next spring we went to the hobby store to find another kit. He was very upset because everything for my age was made of plastic. He seldom showed frustration like that, so it made an impression on me. We walked out of the store with our purchase of a chunk of balsa wood. At home he showed me the magic of carving it to create my own boat designs.

By September of that year he was dead. The cigarettes had killed him, but what he lit in me has stayed alive and well.  In those early years I continued to make boats and tool leather. There were some art classes along the way, but it was not until the summer of 1966 that I struck pay dirt. I went to the apartment of a new friend and upon walking through the door was struck by a shelf full of ceramic pots. “Where did you get those?” I asked.  “I made them,” she answered.

That summer I took my first class at Cal State Northridge and the world just continued to open up from there. Yes, today my primary material is metal, but it was walking out of the clay studio around 5:00ish with mud stuck to my clothes and my father close in my thoughts, that I realized I had found home.

Where is the Elephant?

Crissa’s studio will be open both weekends of ARTS Obispo’s Open Studios Art Tour Stop by and see all of her beautiful work!