Hey there - Delaware Fun-A-Day will be participating in the May 20, 2016 Oddball Art Hall!
Come sign up to volunteer, purchase 2016 participant's artwork, and just enjoy the great atmosphere.
Congratulations to everyone for such a successful show! I would like to take a moment of your time to say THANK YOU!!!
Thank you to all of my fellow volunteer Organizers: Monika, Kerri, and Joy. Without you, the 2016 show would not have been possible! We were a great team and it was an honor to share in this labor of love with you!
A most gracious THANK YOU to everyone who donated, there would literally be no show without your support!! And this includes the volunteers that donated time to help install and de-install the show, we love you!
Thank you to the past organizers, we would not have been where we are today, nor have a Delaware Fun A Day to even organize, without all of your hard work and dedication!
A big THANK YOU to the participating Artists! You overcame the challenge and continue to inspire and amaze us with your diverse projects!
Thank you for all of the community support. A special thanks to The Delaware Contemporary that worked with us to take on this massive show! Also Oddity Bar that provides The OddBall Art Hall, where we were able to raise some additional funds. Artists can donate art to us any time of year and 100% of the proceeds go to making Delaware Fun-A-Day sustainable. You can also donate money online anytime too!! Sorry for the shameless plug, but we want to see this continue to grow and we need your help to do it, so PLEASE donate!
Cheers to a successful Month of Making and Group show!
With my most sincere gratitude,
Colleen on behalf of the Delaware Fun A Day
Interview by M. Bullette
Delaware Fun-A-Day is an all-ages and skill sets community project. We love it when families participate, especialy when they collaborate! Mandy, Dan, and their daughter Chloe will be contributing 2 projects to the 2016 group show at The Delaware Contemporary on 2/6/16. Thank you to the Fager Family!
What is your Delaware connection?
Dan: I lived in Stanton, DE till I was 10 before moving to Maryland.
Mandy: I lived in Bear, DE for about 6 month before moving to Maryland when I was 9.
Dan: Chloe knows that Delaware is where Don Pablo’s is located, since it is our favorite restaurant.
How did you find out about Delaware Fun-A-Day? Please describe your 2015 projects.
Dan: We heard about Delaware Fun-A-Day through our friend Sarah who works in Wilmington. We are both members of a local art co-op called Tom’s Garage.
Mandy: In 2015, we started experimenting with water colors, so we decided to play with that. Dan painted flowers and eventually started to do landscapes to switch things up and keep things interesting. I worked on painting trees, trying different techniques using a straw, spray bottle, and toothbrush. Chloe did drawings on Dan’s extra paintings. She would add mouths, ears, and eyes to flowers to create little monsters. She would even tell us the story behind each monster. When Dan switched to trees, she did little scenes that featured some of the characters from whatever show she was watching at the time.
How long have you been making art? How did you get started?
Dan: I have been an artist all my life. I started with drawing and focused on art all through school concentrating on ceramics for my undergraduate degree. After graduating from Towson University, I landed a job as a production potter at Eldreth Pottery in Oxford, PA. I’ve been there ever since and work on my own projects when time allows. Lately I’ve been spending most of my free time drawing. Occasionally, I work on my own pots and fire them in the kiln at my house. I also dabble in wood-working and various other projects.
Mandy: Most my art life has been more on the crafty side. I took required electives in college, played with origami, and dabbled in pottery as Dan was getting his ceramics degree. I would say that the 2015 Delaware Fun-A Day was the first time I started to be more confident in my ability to try more difficult things and put in the time and patience.
Mandy: Chloe has been making art all her life. We encourage her to draw, write, and have fun. We want to her to be proud of her work and continue to try new things as she grows.
Mandy, your 2016 project is "Sketches of fairies doing various yoga poses" Let's take on these two subjects one at a time.
Fairies - Lewis Carroll famously gave the best conditions to see a fairy - "The first rule is, that it must be a very hot day—that we may consider as settled: and you must be a little sleepy—but not too sleepy to keep your eyes open, mind. Well, and you ought to feel a little “fairyish”— the Scotch call it “eerie.” […] And the last rule is that the crickets shouldn’t be chirping. […] So, if all these things happen together, you’ve a very good chance of seeing a fairy. " Have you seen fairies? What were the conditions? Elaborate on what draws you to fairies.
Mandy: I have a 6 year old, so I have seen Tinkerbell many times. The conditions were snuggled up on the couch, under a comfy blanket in jammies, so I was definitely a little sleepy and totally “fairyish”. Not sure about the crickets though. What draws me to fairies is the same thing that draws me to yoga. The beauty and serenity. I look at both those things and want them for myself. For my drawings, I liked the idea of practicing different wing styles for the fairies. I still haven’t been able to choose a favorite.
Yoga - how did you start your practice? Do you have a favorite (most pleasurable and euphoric) and least favorite (most challenging and vexing) pose? What part of the figure do you find most difficult to draw?
Mandy: I’ve done various yoga classes/home videos over the course of my life. I became a fitness instructor 4 years ago and start teaching Yoga last February (2015). It was about the same time I was working on my 2015 Fun-A-Day Project. I listened to yoga music while I painted. That’s serenity. I’ve always been a pretty flexible person, and when I see advanced yogis, I want to be able to do that too. There are so many poses that I love and find difficult. Right now, my goal is to master the handstand. I can sometimes hold it for a breath or two, but I’m really trying to find the balance and strength, so I can hold it just as well as if I were standing on my feet. Part of the joy of yoga is knowing that it is a journey and every time I practice I get better and stronger, just like with art. The face is the most difficult part of drawing my fairies. Humans are so difficult because the look is so exact. If the nose is even a smidgen too high, too low, too big, too small, etc., she won’t have the beauty that I’m trying to portray. I go through my erasers pretty quickly. That’s why I love this project because it gives me the opportunity to learn and grow as an artist.
Chloe and Dan, your 2016 project is "Daughter and father take turns coloring each other's monster drawings on black paper with color pencils." Can you tell us more about the process? Chloe, do you ever question the colors, textures or interpretations your Father chooses? Do you give each other free rein?
Dan: We decided to not take turns and do separate projects using the same idea. One of us draws the outline, the other colors it and adds detail, texture, depth, etc. Sometimes, Chloe gives me suggestions for how she wants something done. Sometimes, I listen.
Chloe: I think when daddy colors my monsters it looks really good. I never want to change anything in it, because I think that he’s a good drawer. I let him do whatever he wants.
Chloe, according to the Instagram feed you are drawing a lot of monsters. Do you have a favorite monster? What about his/her story or appearance do you like the best?
Chloe: My favorite monster is big foot, but I need to look him up, because I don’t know what he looks like. But he’s real, because a friend told me that. It’s just in a different country. I like him the best because he is the biggest monster in the world.
Dan, you get quite a 3D look from the pencils on black paper. Maybe because of your immersion in 3D in your work as a potter? What is your favorite part of your personal pottery work?
Dan: So far my drawing and ceramic work are on opposite ends of the spectrum. My drawings are much slower. I pay attention to detail. I try to communicate an intellectual message. Sometimes that can just be a clear representation of the subject. My pots are purely expressive. It’s a much faster process. It’s about what my hands can do as a result of repeating the process tens of thousands of times and not about planning each pot ahead of time. My favorite part of making pots is opening the kiln and seeing the results. I chose a firing process that largely leaves the end result up to luck.
All, who are your favorite artists?
Mandy: My favorite artist is my husband. His creativity has no limits. Every day he has a new idea and when he creates, it is always perfection.
Chloe: My daddy, because he’s been practicing a lot so he’s so good.
Dan: In the pottery world, I like Shadow May and Matt Long. Both are contemporary potters. The two-dimensional work I’ve been recently obsessed with are drawings and paintings by “new school” tattoo artists.
Where can people check out more of your work?
@danfager and @mandyfager will get you to our Instagram feeds or search our names on Facebook (www.facebook.com/danielfagerpottery and www.facebook.com/MFSignCompany) are pages we have on Facebook for some of our work.
You can see Mandy's, and Dan and Chloe's work at the Delaware Fun-A-Day Group Show at The Delaware Contemporary on February 5, 2016 - Facebook Event
Interview by M. Bullette
This will be Felise Luchansky's 4th year participating in Delaware Fun-A-Day. She was awarded the DDOA 2010 Emerging Artist in Visual Art: Works on Paper Fellowship. Her work ranges from photography to collage to installations to 3D assemblage - often containing ephemera, sundries, and even wax and seaglass. Thank you, Felise!
It's wonderful that you will be doing your fourth challenge with Delaware Fun-A-Day! Please give us a summary of your past 3 projects for Delaware Fun-A-Day.
The first project I did for Delaware Fun-A-Day was entitled “Conversations”. The seeds of this project began when I met Kendra Einstein at an art opening. We agreed that our cell phones had become our camera of choice. She showed me the Hipstamatic app and my phone camera became even better. I asked Kendra if she would be interested in creating a 30-day dialogue comprised of an image a day sent via text. Few words were written or spoken in this visual exchange. Upon receipt of an image, a new picture was sent back. The images in the dialogue were linked by theme or formal elements such as scale, form, point of view and color. All images were shot on our mobile phones and a “Fun” collaboration was born.
My second Fun-A-Day series showcased part of my ongoing project of photographing public pay phones all over the world with my Iphone. It speaks to my interest in outdated technology.
Last year, my project documented thrift store finds. I viewed this as a commentary on the huge volume and diversity of stuff no longer wanted or needed by its original owners.
Any advice for first time participants?
Remember it’s called “fun”. Have fun with it and don’t fall behind.
You studied Art History at Rutgers --- which period of Art History holds a special place in your heart and why?
Work from the Italian Renaissance. I was fortunate to spend a summer in Italy seeing the works in their intended settings. I love the narrative quality of the work and the stories they tell visually. The Giotto frescoes in the Arena Chapel in Padua and the soul crushing sadness evoked in The Expulsion from the Garden of Eden by Masacciao in the Brancacci Chapel still resonate with me.
Please describe your 2016 Delaware Fun-A-Day project. How are found objects and chance integral to your work?
This project will highlight my collection of found photos. My 2016 project relies heavily on serendipity. I enjoy juxtaposing narrative elements to create new stories. Since it’s only day 5 of the project, I’m sure things will change but I have lots of great raw material to share. The process is fluid.
There has been a lot of conversations and articles about purging in the last year (like Marie Kondo's best-selling "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing"). What are your thoughts on the minimal, decluttered, "does this thing bring me joy?" trend?
I am trying to downsize and cull through my stuff. In my opinion, the trend has shifted away from acquiring as people become burdened with too many things. Yet, objects are weighted with history and emotion and letting go can be difficult. I think asking the “question does it bring you joy?” is a good start. However, the next question may be, if this doesn’t what will (bring me joy) and that’s where it gets tough. That being said, it is liberating to shed some excess. I guess a carefully curated life is the ultimate goal.
You have been participating in the Sketchbook Project for several years. Please describe the SP and how it has been to share your work in this way?
I was so excited to participate in this crowdsourcing project. The project is managed by the Brooklyn Art Library. For a nominal fee the Sketchbook Project sends out a blank sketchbook to be completed and returned by a set deadline. The completed sketchbooks travel on tour in a mobile library. The library has predetermined set stops where the public can view the sketchbooks. The “card catalogue” is cross -referenced by the artist, title, and subject or theme. I was always thrilled when I was notified via email every time my book was checked out across the country. My sketchbook was viewed in San Francisco, NYC, Brooklyn, Pittsburgh, Saint Louis, Los Angeles, Portland and Ontario. When the Mobile Library came to Philadelphia, I met the founders and got to view other sketchbooks from around the world. The inclusionary, democratic nature of the project really appealed to me. The work was good. It demonstrates that just like the Delaware Fun-A–Day, everyone has some creativity to share.
What is your favorite museum in the world?
As a building, I think the Guggenheim in Bilbao is an art cathedral. When I visited in 2007 works by Anselm Keifer and Richard Serra were on view. The Perez in Miami is beautifully cited and has a strong curatorial nod to Latin America.
When you are creating art, do you listen to music? If so, elaborate!
Lately, I’ve been letting Pandora choose for me. My Priscilla Ahn channel is my favorite. Her voice is angelic. I also like Fountains of Wayne. They are good storytellers and they speak of the New York metro area which is where I’m from. Also, I listen to audio books when I’m in the studio. Often a sentence read aloud will pop out as pure poetry. The title of My 2006 show at The Delaware Contemporary, “The Ache to Walk Under a Different Sky,” was taken from The Known World by Edward P. Jones.
Where we could check out more of your work? Please share your website or other upcoming shows:
I will have a solo show at the Newark Arts Alliance in January 2017.
My website is: www.feliseluchansky.com
You can see Felise's work at the Delaware Fun-A-Day Group Show at The Delaware Contemporary on February 5, 2016 - Facebook Event
Interview by M. Bullette
This is an update on Sara Duncan. This year will be her fifth year as a participant in Delaware Fun-A-Day. Sara's 2016 project is a new perspective on Delaware - from high above.
We know from your previous interview that you have lived in Delaware your entire life - can you tell us your favorite park, breakfast eateries, and local shops?
My favorite park is Carousel. I have been going there since I was a teenager, and I feel a deep connection to the trees and wildlife in and around the pond. I often start my day with a walk in the woods, and some of my favorite sunsets have been seen from there. I don't often go out to breakfast, but my favorite restaurants in the area include Domaine Hudson, Homegrown, and Rice.
What can we expect from you this year?
This year my project is called High and it will be a series of photos taken with my 3DR Solo quadcopter.
Tell us about your 3DR Solo quadcopter - what was your introduction to drones and aerial photography?
In early September I became interested in drones when my best friend got a little toy one to fly around indoors. My interest peaked several weeks later when, while sitting beside Carousel pond, I wanted nothing more than to fly over it and be able to look at it from a new perspective. That afternoon I bought my Solo and I have been flying it as often as I can ever since.
You are seeing a video stream, how do you decide what your photo will be?
My drone carries a GoPro in a 3 axis gimbal and has the options to take video, photographs, or both alternately. I can view the scene on my control screen to line up a specific shot, or take video and pick shots out of it during processing. At this point I'm mostly looking for textures and variations in landscape. Fall was a beautiful time to be learning to fly and I have enjoyed watching the season change from above.
What would be your dream location to take photos with your drone?
I would love to fly over waterfalls such as Havasu Falls in the Grand Canyon, and Plitvice Waterfall in Croatia.
Do you fly in your dreams?
While I have not flown in my dreams, often they are in elevated settings like on bridges, thrill rides and mountaintops, and that perspective is one I have become eager to explore.
You'll be able to see Sara's work at the Delaware Fun-A-Day Group Show at The Delaware Contemporary on February 5, 2016 - Facebook Event
Interview by M. Bullette
Delaware Fun-A-Day isn't just for visual artists! We interviewed Lindsey Warren, the recipient of the 2015 DDOA Emerging Artist in Poetry Fellowship. Says Delaware Poet Phillip Bannowsky, “Lindsey Warren has a gift for metaphor. Her words pour out in a luscious serving of relations and revelations.” She is a 2 time participant (2012 and 2014). Thank you, Lindsey!
Are you a Delaware resident, born and raised?
Yes, I was born, raised and still live in Delaware. I will probably suffer some weird disease by the time I'm 50, thank you, DuPont.
Please describe your previous Fun-A-Day projects?
I've participated twice before (2012 and 2014). Both years I wrote (or tried to write) a poem each day. The main difference was in the display: 2012's efforts were simply hung up as individual poems on individual sheets of paper and 2014's were made into a chapbook entitled Luminous But Not Clear.
What advice can you pass on for this year’s first timers?
Advice? Erm. I'm not sure I should be giving advice. I easily lose my mind over projects. However, the people who orchestrate Fun-A-Day are incredibly supportive and celebrate this community's talents. Let that be a comfort if and when you get discouraged.
How long have you been writing poetry? How did you get started?
I have been writing poetry since I was about twelve. At that age I wanted to be a nun and immersed myself in the literature of the Catholic Church. I wrote a lot of prayers and even re-created the Litany of the Blessed Virgin to fit my own subconsciously burgeoning love of the feminine. Even though my passion for the Catholic God morphed into a passion for poetry, I still write from a place of yearning to communicate with someone or something with which I have a profound mystical (however imagined) understanding. That stuff doesn't wash off.
How do you combat creative blocks?
Combating creative blocks can go down one of two roads: Either I sit there at my desk/bench/rock, go through a poem or several and make a list of words I really like in an attempt to jump-start my imagination (May Swenson poems are excellent for this, for the record), or I throw everything across the room in a temper tantrum and go do something completely unrelated to writing in order to clear my mind. The latter usually leads to a re-discovery of poetry in surprising and powerful ways, especially the throwing-stuff part.
Many great writers have day jobs (Melville a deputy inspector of customs, Kafka a legal clerk, Angelou a street car conductor). How do you think your work at a claims-processing facility helps your writing?
Processing asbestos claims...hmm....well, there's free coffee in the break room! Really, though, I work with a few people who inspire me just by virtue of their being alive. I hope to incorporate them into my poems at some point.
Do you have a favorite place to write in Delaware? Any hidden gems we should check out?
Yes. There is a bench next to a stone wall in Rockford Park. I have had many an idea there for the past decade (I sat there almost every day for all of autumn back in 2005). I call it my Epiphany Bench. Sit on it now, thank me later.
If you could travel in order to get inspiration, where would you go?
Oh man. I would probably go back to Spain, or maybe to the American Southwest. I like places that are uncluttered and bare to the elements - it encourages my mind to do the same. I wouldn't mind going someplace boreal, either, someplace so close to the ceiling of the planet that I bump my head on the Northern Lights.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
"What, are we leaving the lights on for God?" - my father, 1985-present
Light is a precious thing and I have learned over the years to not take it for granted. It pops up a lot in my poems. My favorite time of day is the blue hour, the hour right as the sun rises and the world's lingering silence is muffled by the music of arrived photons. I also find myself stupefied thinking about the entities and processes that exist outside the earthbound cycle of day and night. Thank you, dad, for your words of economic and metaphysical wisdom.
Please describe the project you're doing for Delaware Fun-A-Day 2016:
The project I am doing this year will be my cavernously amateur foray into the world of environmental art. Each day for the first two weeks of January 2016, I will write a brief poem and then display that poem out in the world by means of paper, chalk, stones, etc. as well as take a photo of it. I will return to that spot two weeks later to take another photo of where that poem was or still is and compare it to the original photo. I want to leave these poems out in the rain, so to speak, and see what the elements do to them. Our language is not infallible. Exposing it to mighty forces might help make it seem more vulnerable and pliable.
Do you have any other projects or events that you are working on? Where can we see you do a poetry reading?
I am working on too much at the moment. I'm working on poems about music (mainly jazz and Kate Bush), art (chiefly works by Niki de Saint Phalle, Joseph Beuys and Julia Condon) and where I grew up (Elsmere). I'm working on love poems, poems about goddesses, poems about autumn. There is a long poem I've been writing about an archangel I've created from my rib. There is an even longer poem I've been writing about the act of creating itself, which is probably my favorite topic. As far as readings, I hope to put together one at the Bellefonte Cafe sometime in the new year. Poets of Delaware, raise your hands! Let me know you exist!
Where can people check out more of your work?
I do not have a website. I should probably get me one of those.
Congratulations to everyone on making the Delaware Fun-A-Day commitment! (You are one of 166 participating in this COMMUNITY ART PROJECT!)
We encourage you to THINK SMALL! There are a lot of first-timers this year. Sometimes participating artists are ambitious with the ideas and frustration sets in. Advice - if you took on something too complicated or time consuming, scale it back, change it, stay motivated, don't give up!
One of the best parts of FUN-A-DAY is that it motivates you keep your creativity flowing all month long. Don't get discouraged - instead, consider changing your project, doing a smaller version. The only thing to remember is: if you change from 2-D to 3-D or vice versa, you must let us know, email us at email@example.com !!!
Also- a thank you to everyone who has donated so far through our online donation link and the fundraising at Oddball Art Hall. The online donation link is active all year, make a donation anytime, and we will have our donation box at the event on February 5th. This event cannot happen without the donated funds, and if we keep growing at this pace, we will surely need funds for a bigger space! http://www.delawarefunaday.com/donate/
interview by M. Bullette
Delaware Fun-A-Day is exploring all the types of media used in the projects. Heather Siple is a Delaware Individual Artist Fellow in Photography, with work hanging in Delaware Senator Carper’s office. She is a 2 time participant (2013 and 2015). Her 2016 venture is an extension of her 2015 project - photos of lights along roads after dark. Learn more about her investigation of hidden wildlife in Wilmington and unique photographic processes. Thank you, Heather!
Are you a Delaware resident, born and raised?
Almost. I was an import when I was a toddler. My parents moved to Newark when my dad got a job at DuPont. Somehow he ended up just about the only DuPonter who never got transferred anywhere.
How did you get introduced to Delaware Fun-A-Day? What or who inspired you to participate?
A friend who had participated in the first one passed on a link for year 2 when it came around on Facebook. At the time, it was just the excuse I needed to really develop a printing technique, lumen printing, I had recently learned about. I was just starting to play with it thinking about it as a means to give elementary school students a darkroom experience without the darkroom. A month of daily practice let me really get the hang of it. I’ve been participating off and on since then.
Did you have a favorite project from Delaware Fun-A-Day 2015? Any Artists you are hoping to see participate again?
There were so many cool projects last year from all levels! So many that I have a hard time picturing some that just really struck me at the time. I really liked the dolls in the shadowboxes and the skyscape paintings that incorporated bits of real twigs, vines and such as landscape features. There was another one using a photographic technique that played around with the shapes of sea life in ways that made you really look deep into the pictures. It’s always interesting to see what people come up with!
Your "crystal ball" photos can give the viewer the sense of being either very small or very large. Could you describe your technique and why you print mostly in black and white?
I use a peep hole for a door mounted to a lens cap on a medium-format film camera. I like the look of film for this and the larger format means I can see what I’m doing in the tiny lens much more easily than a 35mm or DSLR. The lens itself warps everything in a 180-degree field of view into a circle. The brass barrel of the peep hole reflects what is in the lens and creates halos that are unique to the scene, angle, time of day and weather, like a thumbprint of each photo. I use them to create fantasy worlds that are firmly grounded in reality.
I like the way black and white takes the viewer a step back from reality. It brings out the shapes, shades and textures, the abstract qualities, in what is in front of my lens and invites the viewer to linger and see what is going on in the picture, maybe even get lost in it. I find that too often with color people jump to instant recognition, read the high-impact photos in a second or two and then just as quickly walk away because there is nothing more to the photo. Having said that, sometimes I like to play with color because it adds to my story. Sunsets in the background just aren’t sunsets in black and white. With the crystal ball series in particular, I tend to do more black and white for technical reasons as much as philosophical ones. Unless the conditions are right, the halos tend to be muddy, reflecting the brown of tree trunks, old leaves and stone walls, rather than the brighter elements at the core.
The Night Lights series I am continuing this year is very much the color, with the occasional black-and-white because the scene was pretty much black-and-white, but more about that later.
I get the feeling that you are open to "accidents" and "mistakes" - how does the unexpected play into your work?
It’s not in my nature to be terribly precise and controlling. I tend to go with the flow, observe and discover rather than do anything heavily planned. Sometimes that means miscalculating. Sometimes that means things that were totally unexpected crop up. It starts to rain and I get water drops and bad lighting. I can’t get to the angle I wanted and have to try from another spot. My kids (my main human elements) are playing around and do something unexpected and wonderful, and I’ll tell them to freeze. Sometimes the results are trash and sometimes they are inspiration for a new direction. If I can’t do something one way, I’ll see what happens with another, take what I get and experiment.
Are there any photographic processes that you haven't explored that you yearn to?
I’ve played around a little bit with homemade pinhole cameras, and will probably pick a warmer month to explore that in greater depth. In the mean time, I subscribe to, and have written for, a web site called alternativephotography.com where people share all manner of antique and off-the-wall photographic processes. When I need a change of pace I can always look there for ideas to try. That’s where I learned about the lumen printing that I did a few years ago for Fun-A-Day, along with another process that I like to play with, anthotypes, which uses plant dyes instead of photo emulsion.
Do you have a favorite place to photograph in Delaware? Any hidden gems we should check out?
I like taking pictures in my own back yard - often literally. Growing up as a kid who read a world of photo magazines showing great pictures of exotic places and never going anywhere myself, I became very attuned to exploring the beauty in my immediate surroundings, whatever they may be. Even now that I am able to travel more, I like to find the beauty in things as simple as the ice in the neighborhood rain gutters. Away from my house, my two favorite places to explore right now are Beaver Valley, which straddles the DE-PA state line near Concord Mall, and The Russell Peterson Wildlife Refuge at the south end of Wilmington. Beaver Valley is all rolling hills, horses, corn fields and woods, with some ruins dating back to the 19th century hidden here and there. Some of it is national parkland, but much of of the rest is slated for development or already sold off and under construction. If you’re going, better make it sooner rather than later! The Peterson Refuge is 212 acres of marshland with a little boardwalk around a pond that allows dry access for a close look at what is living out there. At first broad glance from I-95, there is a monotony to the landscape. So many endless acres of reeds and cattails! But, every time I go there I find something new. The magic is in the details!
If there were only one photo that you could hang over your mantel, what would it be?
Anything by Jerry Ulesmann. He can create such wonderful worlds out of what he finds in our own. What’s more, the man was a master of making fantasy montages decades before Photoshop. I don’t actually alter the reality in front of me when I do my own work, but there is definitely the element of reimagining where I am that comes from his influence.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
Take LOTS of pictures to get the one you want.
Please describe the project you're doing for Delaware Fun-A-Day 2016? what didn't you accomplish in 2015 that made you want to continue this theme?
Last year I started a project that I’d always wanted to do: photographing the lights from cars, lamp posts, etc, reflected in the gloom of bad weather. I loved the colors, the quality of the light in the glow and the reflections! Because it was a daily thing, and the weather wasn’t always gloomy last February, it ended up an exploration of mundane things lit up against the darkness and the trails of light left by cars passing in the night, as recorded by very long exposures. I had so much fun, I kept going for a few days into March. It was just so cold all last winter that I lost momentum to the desire for fingers that were not numb. There were quite a few nights during the project that I was only out for 15 or 20 minutes, bundled up against the cold and the wind with ski pants, face warmer, thick gloves and really heavy, waterproof snow boots. I’d like to go back and revisit some places where I may not have spent much time last year - when the weather is a bit warmer than 7 degrees! What’s more, I keep staring at the lights when I am a passenger on night trips. I haven’t gotten it out of my system yet. Probably won’t for some time. The crystal ball project started out as 4 pictures for a show at the Biggs Museum seven years ago. It turned into a book and I am still doing them five years after the book was published! Who knows where I’ll end up going with this?
Do you have any other projects or events that you are working on?
I just had a show of crystal balls this fall that centered on the Peterson Refuge, after shooting there for 9 months. I’m going to be spending more time exploring that site this year and may be doing something with Delaware Nature Society with the results, but that is very tentative at this point. Meanwhile, I have it in mind to keep working on the Night Lights and do a solo show with much larger prints than the 4x6s I do for Fun-A-Day.
Where can people check out more of your work?
I’ll have regular updates on this year’s project as it happens on my Facebook fan page, Heather J. M. Siple. I have work on my own web site, www.sipleart.com. I also have two books available at blurb.com. See some of my photos in a group show called “The Light Fantastic at Colourworks Photo Space in WIlmington until the end of January 2016 .