Top Shelf Productions


slow days at Top Shelf West

May 31, 2010

Hanging out with my son Carter. Couple items of note.

• Top Shelf alum Tom (Hutch Owen) Hart writes in:
I'm teaching two classes this summer at the School of Visual Arts in New York City:

First, a solo class called Comics Storytelling. Tuesday nights. This class will be about finding your voice, about following, focusing and articulating your idea in comics. I bring in tons of work to pour over, we begin with a number of quick exercises to get us going, then work on longer projects towards the goal of a single large-scale piece. It’s always a good class. Usually I teach a separate Monday class, this summer I'm taking Matt Madden's Tuesday night slot.

Next is the SUMMER INDEPENDENT STUDY SEMINAR that I am co-teaching with Matt Madden. This class, always a great success for students, helps self-motivated students develop and finalize their longer projects. We meet on three Saturdays over three months to critique, outline plans and discuss ideas and options for our stories. Matt and I give small lectures.

• Former intern and current Top Shelf Submissions Editor Claire Siepser writes:
As some of you know, I have spent the past few months oil painting insects with single haired brushes onto wooden spools and making paper in which I have embedded insects then drawn upon to place the insects
in places such as a frog's stomach.

I have joint-show opening June 4th (First Friday)
Clawhammer & Clothespin
7:00 - 9:00 pm
SE 3611 Division


PORTLAND, OREGON—Claire Siepser grew up on a horse farm collecting every creepy-crawly she could get her hands on. Years later, after forgetting her unwieldy obsession with insects, Claire Siepser found herself with a bunch of wooden spools. Combining her love of nature and concern for the environment she started by painting a single silk worm on a silk spool—exploring the relationship between the man-made and the natural world. Suddenly noticing insects that she hadn’t noticed since childhood she painted more and more of this unseen world. Then she started embedding insects into handmade paper. Since paper is a man-made object made from plants, it was only natural that she combined this newly rediscovered fascination with insects with her love of papermaking. After drawing on the paper to place the embedded insects inside frogs stomachs or caught in spider webs, she decided to exhibit all this new work on insects together.

Her work opens on First Friday June 4th at the new vintage boutique and gallery Clawhammer & Clothespin and will be displayed until July. The 67 spools will be hung side by side to allow the viewer access to all sides of the insects along with simulating the flight of many of these creatures. The work invites the viewer to relive the fascination with insects that most people had in childhood and have since lost to the detriment of the environment in which we live. It is rooted in such work as that of Cornelia Herman-Honegger, Kiki Smith, and the tradition of cabinets of curiosities.