Music Monday: DURAWA

DURAWA
Drummer Ernie Durawa was born in San Antonio, but he has been a major player in the Austin music scene for decades. His ability to transcend stylistic barriers has made him an important part of various bands that do the same thing, most notably the all-star Texas Tornados featuring his life-long friend Doug Sahm as well as country and western legend Freddy Fender and Tex-Mex maestro Flaco Jimenez. Durawa was also the drummer for the unique singer and bandleader Delbert McClinton for a long bluesy stretch which ended in 1981. He has a residency at Strange Brew every Tuesday evening. Learn more about him here.

DURAWA plays the Armadillo stage Thursday, Dec. 24th at 3pm

New Artist Spotlight: Hidden Spring Designs

Hidden Springs Designs
Leslie Guinan and Rob Matthews are from Nevada City, California. Rob has been a stained glass artist since his early twenties. He began combining glass and concrete almost 20 years ago, looking for a way to move his creations outside while living in Hawaii. Leslie is formally trained as a furniture maker. She began woodworking as a creative outlet while working as an environmental lawyer, and spent a year at the College of the Redwoods Fine Woodworking Program. She left her job to pursue furniture making full time, moving to a small town in the Sierra foothills. In a brilliant twist of fate, Rob turned out to be her next door neighbor. They began collaborating on furniture with wood and concrete components. Over time, they have evolved away from functional work and now focus on wall sculpture and free standing sculpture.

Let’s learn more about them…

Describe your work:
We create lightweight concrete sculpture and wall sculpture with various surface textures, treatments and pigments. The work may incorporate hand-cut glass, found objects, encaustic, handmade paper, concrete stains and/or plant material. Themes are frequently architectural, exploring our relationship to the built environment and the feelings of belonging or alienation which can arise from perceptions of place. The majority of the work is cast in a unique, hand-made form. Texture is created in the form before the lightweight concrete is cast. We use a recycled Styrofoam aggregate, which makes the work lighter and locks the Styrofoam up inside a piece of art, keeping it out of the landfill. Color is added after the piece has cured. We use various concrete stains and pigments, and/or encaustic.

If you could work in any other medium, what would it be?
I (Rob) have just begun working with cast glass. This year Leslie will add cold wax to her work.

Hidden Spring Designs

What is your favorite thing to do on the weekend?
Artists don’t have weekends, but hiking and live music are our loves.

What makes you excited about doing Armadillo Christmas Bazaar?
We’re masochists?

No, really, we’re excited about being part of a truly unique art and music experience with people we know and love. We want to be part of Austin’s burgeoning art scene.

Is there a band you are looking forward to seeing (or hearing from your booth – ha!)?
Jimmy LaFave!

MatthewsRob004

Find Hidden Spring Designs in booth U-4!

New Artist Spotlight: Beachwalker Boxes

Beachwalker Boxes
Beachwalker Boxes is the collaborative effort of Tom Beach and Amanda Walker. Tom Beach is originally from Colorado but has been an Austinite for over 20 years. Amanda Walker has lived in Austin since she was a small child. They make one-of-a-kind sculptural boxes from unique woods, etched glass, and cast glass. Often integrating shells, fossils, found objects, and stone with their work, which takes its inspiration from zoology and mythology. Every piece they make is entirely original — they never make the same piece twice.

Let’s learn more about them…

How long have you been creating, and how has your work changed?
We have been combining wood and glass in our boxes for about 6 years, and it changes all the time as we discover new ways to use glass and wood together. We are constantly discovering new ways to use our media, although we love boxes as an art form so much that we always end up making boxes instead of plain sculpture or plain boxes.

If you could work in any other medium, what would it be?
We would love to add metalworking to our repertoire.

Tell us about the first dollar you made selling your art:
We were making things just for the pleasure of making them on our back porch, and a friend came over and asked if she could buy one. It floored us. And 6 years later, here we are.

Beachwalker Boxes

What is your favorite thing to do on the weekend?
Do crossword puzzles, ride bikes, and play with our pets.

What makes you excited about doing Armadillo Christmas Bazaar?
The quality of the artists at Armadillo is out of this world — it’s an honor to be counted among them. The most exciting thing is to get to meet the other artists and pick their brains.

Is there an artist at Armadillo you are looking forward to shopping from?
Tom Thomas’s marbled leather bags!

Is there a band you are looking forward to seeing (or hearing from your booth – ha!)?
Shiny Ribs, Michael Fracasso, and Suzanna Choffel

Find Beachwalker Boxes in booth R-3!

New Artist Spotlight: Tonya Engel

Tonya Engel
Tonya Engel Foster is the woman behind Tonya Engel Fine Art. She has lived in New York the last 9 years and recently moved back to her hometown, Houston. Foster’s work is perfect for children’s rooms, family rooms, and dorms.

Let’s learn more about her…

Describe your work:
Most recently, my work has become more detailed, but I’ve always been an intuitive painter. I like to meditate on my emotional state and in the moment let the painting guide me in the direction it wants to go. paintings often take shape without initial planning. What’s been forcing its way out lately are images of women in the natural world. they are surrounded by mysterious, creatively constructed gardens and greenhouses. The plants and insects themselves ( some of which are imaginary) are like subjects within the dramas that play out in the garden settings.

How long have you been creating, and how has your work changed?
I’ve been painting now for over 20 years! In the beginning, I thought I wanted to be an abstract painter, but after falling in love with narrative figurative artists like Frida Kahlo, Paula Rego, Stanley Spencer, and Gustav Klimpt, my propensity for drama on the canvas was awakened and I’ve never turned back. Also, In the beginning, I often only focused on children and a certain subtle humor in my work, in the last 8 years, the subtleties remain, but my children have ‘grown up’ and become women.

If you could work in any other medium, what would it be?
Assemblage or ceramics. I’d love to create 3 dimensional work!

Tell us about the first dollar you made selling your art:
My first dollar for my art was earned in Austin! I was involved in an art competition (my first!) and I actually won, which I was already thrilled about. Then when the organizer handed me a check, I nearly fainted. I had forgotten about the prize money. That was a fantastic day. At the end of that first show I also sold the submitted piece! It was life-affirming, to say the least.

What is your favorite thing to do on the weekend?

I love to play in parks and/or be out in nature in some form or fashion.

What makes you excited about doing Armadillo Christmas Bazaar?
I miss seeing all the wonderful people who have become my Armadillo family over the years as well as making new friends with new collectors who are coming to the Armadillo for the very first time. The Armadillo is everything about Austin that I love — great people, amazing music, appreciation for great art, and the artisans that continue year after year to create quality work.

Is there a band you are looking forward to seeing (or hearing from your booth – ha!)?
I can’t WAIT to see Ruthie Foster!

You can find Tonya Engel Fine Art in booth D-2!

New Artist Spotlight: ZZZ Threadz

Triple Z Threadz
Anne Rutt and Edson Enriquez are the people behind ZZZ Threadz (pronounced Triple Z Threadz). While they have had a guest spot in LaLa’s booth the last two years, this year they’ve graduated to their own booth.

Let’s learn more about them…

Describe your work:
At first glance, ZZZ Threadz look like classic quality embroidered vintage pearl snaps- until you notice a sasquatch wearing a wristwatch, “eagle bring me back my baby,” and the ever-popular Kong vs Jaws (aka the ulitmate battle of the universe).

We carefully select the coolest vintage, embroider them with our original designs, and make each shirt a one-of-a-kind. We are eco-friendly as we recycle or up-cycle each of our shirts. We also use eco-friendly SAKURA rayon threads!

How long have you been creating, and how has your work changed?
10 years and we are only getting more “bazaar” (haha get it?!!!). We are doing our part to keep Austin Weird.

If you could work in any other medium, what would it be?
Easy Cheese.

What is your favorite thing to do on the weekend?
Hit up Ginny’s Little Longhorn Saloon for some Chicken Sh*t Bingo!

ZZZGirl

Find ZZZ Threads in booth S-3!

New Artist Spotlight: Kate Harrold

Kate Harrold
Kate Harrold is from Nashville, TN. Her work is a digital collage. She photographs each element of the image she is creating (occasionally borrowing pieces from found photographs) and then digitally manipulates & merges them together to create new and unlikely stories. Often inspired by a building, character, or single detail, she enjoys the challenge of removing that element from its environment and creating a whole new space and story around it. Her desire is to create images that portray a child like imagination, with a balance of the dark severity of reality and the hopefulness and whimsy of a dream, and we think she’s doing that perfectly. Her work would look great on almost any wall.

Let’s learn more about her!

How long have you been creating, and how has your work changed?

I have always been an artist. I went to college intending to be a painter and somehow emerged a photographer. Having received a more traditional training, I continued to shoot only film for years. It took time for me to make the switch to digital and even longer to allow myself to even consider manipulating my images. However, once I started editing and combining my photos, it changed the way I photographed and opened up endless possibilities. I now put together photographic images like I would a painting. My imagination and creativity continue to grow and evolve with all the possibilities of technology and technique.

If you could work in any other medium, what would it be?
Painting

Kate HarroldKate Harrold

 
Tell us about the first dollar you made selling your art:
I bought a table at the punk rock flea market in Philadelphia. I had my prints displayed in dish racks! I only had a few images available at that point, but I sold half my inventory in one day. It was the biggest confidence boost and exactly what I needed to begin the transition away from my 9-5.

What is your favorite thing to do on the weekend?
We travel a lot for art shows. My “weekend” is very rarely on a Saturday or Sunday. But, when my husband and I are in a new city for a weekend show, we love to take an extra day or two to explore, photograph, visit galleries, and eat good local food.

What makes you excited about doing Armadillo Christmas Bazaar?
I love Austin! I’m excited to eat breakfast tacos, hear really good live music, see really great art, and spend Christmas with my husband, our artist friends, and my best friend from high school who just happens to live in town 🙂

Is there a band you are looking forward to seeing (or hearing from your booth – ha!)?
All of them! I don’t discriminate.

Kate Harrold

Meet Kate at her booth M-2!

New Artist Spotlight: Beach Glass Bingo

Armadillo Stacked Beach Glass
Rex Nockengust and Gene Allen from San Diego, CA are the artists behind Beach Glass Bingo. They use sea glass and beach found objects and incorporate them with riveted, forged & twisted metals. Their work is perfect for women who love the beach, ocean, or just having a great time by the water.

Let’s learn a little bit more about them!

How long have you been creating, and how has your work changed?
We started in 2000 in Hawaii. Our first work was very simple; beach glass drilled and strung on leather. After many classes and some mentoring by other jewelers, we found our niche using cold connections. We rivet and twist silver in ways to feature the beach glass trying to keep in mind clean lines and simplicity.

We are constantly reinventing and thinking of new ways to use beach finds. Our ultimate goal is to surprise people with what can be done with found objects.

If you could work in any other medium, what would it be?
Having been actor/singers most of our lives we feel like this is the best place to be. Still artists and having our voices heard through our jewelry. So we are happy to work in this medium.

Beach Glass BingoStacked Glass and Wood Necklace
 
Tell us about the first dollar you made selling your art:
We were at show in Hawaii for a local museum. A lady bought something from us and said “Oh, what great things you do with the Opala.” So sweet we thought only to find out later that in Hawaiian Opala means trash. However, we realized that it was a compliment saying that we could take trash from the beach and make something wearable.

What is your favorite thing to do on the weekend?
Sounds funny, but we love to be in the studio making jewelry. We do love going to farmers markets and the beach, too.

What makes you excited about doing Armadillo Christmas Bazaar?
Being in Austin, meeting a lot of new people and being surrounded by so many talented artists. Also excited to hear all the great musicians throughout the show.

Is there a band you are looking forward to seeing (or hearing from your booth – ha!)?
All of them.

Find them in Booth U-1!

Music Monday: Michael Fracasso


Michael Fracasso is not only an artist on stage, but he’s an “Artist in the Kitchen” (as his book is titled) as well. This Austin singer-songwriter/chef can work his creativity in multiple arenas.

Upon arriving in Austin, TX in 1990 from New York City, Michael Fracasso was promptly voted Best New Artist in Music City Texas ‘Insiders’ poll and was able to record his first CD, Love & Trust which features a duet with Lucinda Williams. He was short listed for the Austin Public Library Award for literary achievement in 2011 and was on the “Best of 2011” list for several publications including Third Coast Music, San Antonio Express News and Austin Chronicle.

Fracasso has this magical way of weaving Americana, folk, country, and rock with his smooth tenor voice in a way only he can do to best sing his stories. While “Gypsy Moth” has quite a beat, the slow and soulful “Saint Monday” tends to be a crowd favorite. Fracasso has been working on a new record, “Here Come the Savages,” that’s tentatively due out in January of next year, and we can’t wait to hear it.

Michael Fracasso will play the Armadillo stage Tuesday, December 15th at 3pm.
michael fracasso

Music Monday: Jackie Venson


Jackie Venson picked up the guitar and made the giant leap from the tradition of classical music to the raw and gritty blues. She is a multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter with an amazing voice that we are looking forward to seeing on the Armadillo stage.

Venson spent her college years at Berklee College of Music where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Composition and Studio Production. In recognition of her dedication to her craft, Bestfan.com said “Venson is no dilettante, wannabe performer, however a real staple of what a musician can achieve when they put in their 10,000 hours for both musical schooling, and late night pub sessions for practical honing.”

Compared to the likes of Joss Stone, Amy Winehouse and fellow Austin native Gary Clark, Jr., this blues influenced singer and multi-instrumentalist will give you a show full of emotion and passion, and a meaningful connection with her audience. Come out early and see her where she belongs, on stage.

Jackie Venson will play the Armadillo stage Thursday, December 17th at 11am.
Jackie Venson Photo credit: Pooneh GhanaPhoto by Pooneh Ghana

Weird Fact Wednesday

In honor of our 40th season, we’re kicking off a series of “weird facts” about the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar. This is my personal favorite… Every show starts and closes with the sounds of ‘London Homesick Blues’ by Gary P. Nunn playing overhead. I drive home from the show singing this song and wake up every day during the duration of the show with it stuck in my head. It’s a good thing that this is a great Texas song. This is the version we play at the show, but here’s a live performance for your viewing pleasure.

You can see another version here with over 1,000 other people playing guitar along, too.

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