Who is Sue and what is Suelandia?

Thursday, August 22, 2013

For those of you wondering what my deal is...

Hi Everyone.
Some of you are familiar with my sculpture of "Tina", and my mountain biking exploits and involvement with my local trail.  People who are aware of all the time I spend over there toting heavy things around, chainsawing dead trees up, alternately sweating and freezing my ass off all year round insisting it is FUN, wonder--- what exactly is my deal with that place?  Why am I so dedicated (obsessed)?  

This video is a little different because I explain why the trail is so meaningful to me, the impact discovering it and mountain biking has had on my life, and reveal some of the thought process behind Tina.

Did you know at one time I was so disabled from a back injury I could barely walk? Recovering and becoming active again was a long process.  Almost everything I do now I was told was impossible for me.  (So don't listen if someone tells you this!)  
Finding the trail was one of the things that kind of brought me back to life-- back to who I was *before*.  

That's not really right either though.  Because I am a new person now; an evolutionary revolutionary me.  Sue-point-oh.  :)

I hope you enjoy the video.

In other Suenews:

The Handke commission is coming along.  The heat index was over 100 the day I hauled all these heavy herons up onto the scaffolding and muscled them onto the arch to figure out the mounting hardware.  A couple of people even witnessed my feats of strength and were duly impressed.  ~Hands on hips~

One night while working I discovered the deer look amazing when back lit.  I showed the pic to the client and they're working on a plan to light them from the inside with LEDs once they're installed.

And-- my cat brought this home the other day (with only minor nicks if you can believe it).  Work came to a screeching halt, and lucky for me I have a husband who doesn't even bat an eye when I meet him at the top to the driveway with a baby squirrel in my hand and tell him we have to go on an over 2 hour road trip *right now* to bring it to a wildlife rehab center.  (Only to return home and resume working into the night.)

Little "Lucky" is now being professionally tended until he's old enough to be released into the wild. 
 Thanks for hanging out a bit in Suelandia with me.  If you liked it consider subscribing.  There is a subscribe by email link up on the right.  :)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

We got yer deer right here

Hey everyone.  I finished the last of the 5 Handke deer!  Right now there is this completely finished one outside my shop--

3 at the powdercoater, and this last one still galloping through my shop.

This week I've prepared deer vids galore-- pick what you're interested in or watch them all.  First up a little teaser (a viewer suggestion):
Here is one showing the process of covering the deer, explaining how I was able to shape them:
And lastly, if you are just interested in a short 3 minute vid explaining the design process/how i came up with the idea, here is that one:
I'm working like mad trying to finish the last heron, and the archway, and get all the mounting hardware prepared in time for the installation at the end of the month.  

Let me know what you guys think.  I am still trying to get a feel for if these videos are interesting to you guys or what, so please comment.  :) 

Late breaking news-- setback-- UGH!  The powdercoater, after having this job on their books for over a year, and then sitting on my 3 deer for weeks, informed me yesterday, 3 weeks before my deadline, that they didn't think they could coat the inside properly.  WHAAAAAATTTT????

Live and learn-- Lesson 1; Do not assume people will follow through.  Bug them.  Incessantly.  Lesson 2;  Never use this powdercoater again.  Ever.

I had to go get the deer back and am supposed to cut removable access panels in them all today, but am frantically trying to shop dip-coaters now too, a process i wasn't aware existed until last night, and from what I glean online, will probably be cost prohibitive, but otherwise ideal.  

Complications.  It is the suck.   

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Commissions; Same difference? (Not really)

Hey Everyone. 
This week it's all about commissions.  Someone asked what the difference is between working on a commission v.s. a *regular* piece of art, so I did a new video on that.  In the vid I talk about how sometimes the commission process has forced me to push my boundaries art-wise.  Here are some examples you'll only find here on the blog.

When HCMC hired me to create a piece for their 8th street entrance, the space (inside a revolving glass door) was challenging, and so were their parameters; something with a ~healing vibe~, no human forms, something cross cultural, preferably abstract.  I came up with several 3D shapes and this was selected.

But to make the most of the space I knew I needed to incorporate color and make use of the natural light.  This meant teaching myself stained glass and creating a number of panels to fit within the steel sculpture.  A cool result of being pushed a new direction.

This piece for a client had me learning about the use of negative space in Asian artwork, along with a blacksmithing technique to create the joints of the bamboo.  I had to figure out a way to mount the piece on the client's home that would protect their siding too.  A handy thing to know now.

This piece, for the same clients, came out really nice I thought, but they pointed out (and rightly so) that real birch trees have darker spots on the bark too...

I was very nervous about trying this, but decided to try singeing the painted steel.  It came out awesome and they loved the result.

Working directly for a client does have a different ~feel~ than free-wheeling it, and in the video I explain a bit more about that, as well as some other differences.

You can click the button on the lower right to make it big, or click youtube to watch on youtube in a slightly bigger format.  Thanks-- keep the questions coming.  :)

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Sue Tells All Episode 2: Confidence!

Hey Everyone,
Astonishingly, people have been asking me, (points at self), ME, about how to be more confident.  Me, who was always the new kid at school.  Me, who often is afflicted with brown cotton candy hair.  Me, who has had two public snot bubble incidents (so far).

This question really got me thinking.  Confidence isn't really something you can fake 'til you make.  It is something that comes from inside you, but is perceptible to others.  And it doesn't really have anything to do with thinking you are hot stuff.  (Cockiness is another thing entirely- note the root word.)

Confidence is basically a belief that whatever happens-- you'll be okay.  And anyone can get there.

Here's my take on it and how you can attain it for yourself:

Side note; someone asked me again why they don't get notified of new videos even though they subscribed to my you tube channel.

Pay attention or you'll get ATTENTION HEADACHE people:
                                                     Go to youtube.  
                                                     Click "My subscriptions" on the left.  
                                                     Click "Manage my subscriptions" at the top.  
                                                     Click box that says "Email me about new uploads."

                                                                 YOU WILL OBEY....

There.  You're all set.  And also, hypnotized.  :)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Sue tells all episode 1

Hey guys,
I began doing the Suelandia videos because so many people have come up to me over the years and said, “I’d love to come to your shop and watch you work!” with this keen expression on their face like somehow they’d be able to actually *see* creativity taking place.   

So---- when I started filming I would just set up the lights and camera in my shop and work for a while, then try to edit together enough informative/interesting stuff to make a video.  But the videos were all a little long, and really, I think the actual act of making metal artwork is not as thrilling to watch as most people thought it would be.  Once you’ve seen about 2 minutes of welding, well, you’re over it thrill-wise.

So I’m going to be changing it up a bit—exploring some of the topics people have written me about, answer some questions you guys have posted etc. 

So here’s my first crack at a Q & A video:  Tell me what you guys think!!!  Comment please!
(Sorry- embed not working today.)  (Click link, not pic.)


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Wall-y world

Hey everyone,
It has been freaking HOT here.  It is finally summer and it is half gone, and yes-- I'm whining about the heat.  But seriously-- I feel like I'm training for some kind of survival thing sometimes when I'm out there sweating and working my butt off.  It's been pretty physical lately.  The *fun* creative part of the deer construction is over (the framing-- the creation), and I'm into the ~just keep slogging away~ phase of endlessly hammering the covering into shape and welding it on.  The next vid will show some of how I do that.

For today though, I have another video about making wall art.  I just got another gallery check, so a couple of these are already sold, not sure which, but, lucky for me, the go fast.  You can see the latest vid HERE.

I really love working with the steel in this way-- using color and keeping it kind of 2D.  Right now I have a lot of ideas for new pieces, and am going to have to force myself to take some time and begin a few so I have some in the hopper being processed.  That is a weird thing about doing art for a living; you never know when or how much you'll be paid.  Only one thing is certain; if you don't have work out there for sale, you'll for sure make zero, and that can't really happen if you want to keep doing it.

I've been working like a SLAVE on the deer, and when I had to wait for parts at one point I knocked out a heron (also for this commission).

 I haven't worked at this pace for a few years.  I take breaks every couple of hours and ice my hands.  Everything is coming out primo though, and that keeps me going.  But I need to begin some new gallery pieces or I'll finish this and have no other work out there in the pipeline.  Continual balancing act.

I got hired for another commission last week I'm pretty stoked about; making the sign for a new bike park being built in the Twin Cities (Cottage Grove Bike Park).  This isn't a trail like mine, but a park with a lot of bmx style jumps and features.  Should be a fun job, and the riding community is one I'm very interested in doing business with.

This is starting to feel like the summer that wasn't.  I have to remind myself I've had a bit of fun:  (This is my other bike, "Hula".  Be jealous, America.)
I need to get back there soon.  And other locales.  On my bike.  

Meanwhile I am managing to get mountain bike rides in here and there on Penny, and my skills are improving a little this year.  Someday maybe I'll do a vid on that and how it relates to what I do art-wise.  The mind-set of risking failure and tenacity is def the same.

Feel free to share the videos/blog with anyone you think may be into them.  thanks for all your support out there.  Helps keep me going!  :) 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Off the wall

Hey Everyone,
I have been busy for quite some time now building deer, and am not even half done, but I did take some time out to build this giant robot chicken to drive around town.

 Okay, that did not actually happen, but how cool is this thing???  Crazy!

In Suelandia really all that's been going on is a bunch of deer welding, some heron welding, and occasional visits from the grey fox family that has taken up residence in our woods (4 kits, mom and dad have all visited our back yard.)  Here is a pic of mama fox...

I've been able to get out riding a bit too (mountain biking) (a couple of you have expressed interest in seeing video of this too believe it or not) (we'll see), but really, mostly welding welding welding!

Thanks to everyone who has been sending me questions and ideas for the videos.  You guys have some great questions and I will definitely do some Suelandia episodes addressing those in the near future-- keep 'em coming!

I worked on some wall pieces for a gallery (Seasons on S. Croix) a little while ago, so have been editing some video of that.  Here are the first couple of those:

CLICK HERE for the first one.

And CLICK HERE for the second.  (Hint: They are both about making that piece on the wall behind me here.)

I know what you're thinking--- "What???  You have recently posted not one but TWO videos, and I was somehow unaware of this--- HOW CAN THIS BE???!"

Well my friend, sometimes it takes me a few days to get around to posting on the blog here.  I will always post stuff here too, but-- if you want super up to date Sulandia video updates you need to get on over to my channel (HERE is a link) and subscribe, but not only that-- you need to go over to the left side and find "Manage my subscriptions" (in "Subscriptions") and click the box next to my channel that says "email me about new uploads."

Or, you can just wait.  But think it over.  Your day could unexpectedly be 30 to 70% more awesome.  Just saying.  :)

I'll keep you all posted on the Handke School project as it rolls along.  It is very exciting to see how the deer and heron are coming out (awesome)-- video and pics coming soon.  I'm also working on some other very exciting leads right now too, combining my love of mountain biking and the woods with my art, and hopefully will be able to let you in on those soon too.  Stay tuned!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Building the herd

Hey guys.
I've been welding my butt off!  But the deer I'm making for this big commission I'm working on are coming out awesome.  I'm videoing the building process in case anyone is curious about that.  Who knows, some people find it relaxing to stare at an aquarium, perhaps the soothing tones of my welder will give you a much needed respite from the stresses of your day.  Lol.

I'm doing a 3 part series documenting what is involved in just framing in the head of one of these beasts.  If it seems I'm being overly picking during this process, keep in mind I'll be covering them with hundreds of animal cut-outs, and if the framing underneath is off-- it'll be glaringly apparent.

Here is one in the process of being covered.
 I'm kind of obsessive about every project I'm doing being a progression forward in my skill and artistic level.  I like trying to always be taking it up a notch.  So I'll continue being obsessive and picky I guess.  (Friends who have seen the inside of my house or car are always surprised by this quality in my work I think-- I'm not this picky about most other areas of my life!

Anyway, If you like the vids please click the little thumbs-up like button, and comment by all means.  Next week I'll post one more framing vid, then will do a quick recap of the overall build, and show you some of the covering process.  Anything else you guys are curious about?  Ask away in the comments.  :)

You can find the first of the 3 part series HERE (posted on fb last week)

And part 2 (just uploaded!)  HERE.

Oh, hilariously I have become a local celebrity now too.  Actually a very cool young woman in my town was kind enough to pitch a feature about me to the editor of the local paper and they did a story on me, complete with a giant picture of me on the front pages where I look ancient but kind.  (Better than being on the front page for robbing a bank right?)  If curious, you can check that out HERE.

Friday, June 7, 2013

I'm alive and well and welding away!

Hey people.  I know--- it's been forever!  I've been so super busy working, I've kind of neglected my blog I'm afraid.  But I miss you guys!  So--- I'm taking the blog VIDEO.  Yep.  I've set up a new Youtube channel (why they didn't take my suggestion of renaming it Suetube I'll never understand) where you'll be able to find out the latest about what I'm working on and not only that--- actually SEE me welding and making art.  (And sometimes pretending to be a snotty, stuck-up version of an artiste.)  (This is just a pic of the vid, not the vid itself.)

 To go straight to the vid, click HERE

Sound cool?

Trust me-- eeet izzzzz.  So you should totally go there and subscribe to that as well as my blog here.

(Don't worry, you won't get double emails unless you go into your youtube account settings under "manage my subscriptions" and actually click a box that says "send me emails whenever Sue uploads a new vid".)

You should also click the little thumbs-up "like" button if you like any of the vids, and you can comment on them there too-- which is really the whole point of all this-- to begin our conversations again.

"Why do all this on the Youtube channel page when I can just comment right here?" you ask.

Well, I'd love for you to comment anywhere you damned-well please (so you just keep on bein' YOU).   And yeah, I will always post here too, whenever I do upload a new vid, and sometimes there'll be additional bonus info here you won't see anywhere else...

BUT-- if you comment, like, subscribe etc ON the actual channel (basically any way you show the Youtube channel love in any way) it "ranks" my videos better, meaning they are easier for people to find; they'll show up in Youtube searches and on Google etc.  Not a huge deal, but helpful.  PLUS-- I'll reward you for subscribing there by entering you in some drawings I'll be having for free art.   

(This is kind of a sercret, just for you guys, BUT-- if you are a subscriber to this blog as well and the Youtube channel, you get DOUBLE entered.  If, in addition to that, you "share" my videos or channel on Facebook--- TRIPLE entered.  Yep.  BIG chance of winning some swag there.)

(Okay-- I told you guys this was all new to me, and I'm already seeing one small glitch-- if your Youtube identity is private, it doesn't tell me who you are, just that *someone* has subscribed, likewise-- there doesn't seem to be ANYWHERE i can see who has actually subscribed to the blog either.  Soooooo-- please comment below if you have subscribed and tell me how-- both, just the blog, just youtube-- so i can enter you in the drawings the appropriate number of times.  :D  )

Soooo....  I hope you enjoy my first few posts.  Please let me know what you think.  This is all new to me.  Happy to be back.  I hope a few of you guys are still listening!


(The auto-play channel trailer only plays if you are not yet subscribed to the channel.  Once you do, it'll just list all the vids in order, and you just click what you want to see.)  :)