Episode 519

In this episode of ARTEFFECTS: we join the culture of local fly fishermen and learn about the craft of fly tying, see an artist-driven interactive ride, and Phyllis Shafer paints magical realism of the Sierra Nevada.

AIRED: May 28, 2020 | 0:26:46

- In this edition of Arteffects, the art fly tying.

- We as close as we can,

imitate the natural insect that lives in the river.

- [Martin] An artist driven interactive ride.

- If someone can leave and have a smile on their face

and say wow that I liked that two minutes and 57 seconds.

Then I think we did our job.

- [Martin] Creating and teaching art.

- I tell everybody that this is a journey.

This is an adventure.

There's no right or wrong in art.

There's no perfection in art.

So you create because of the way it makes you feel,

not because of the end product.

- [Martin] And Phyllis Shafer paints magical realism

of the Sierra Nevada.

- For me, I get something from being on location

that's vital to my process.

- It's all ahead on this edition of Arteffects.

- It's all ahead on this edition of Arteffects.

(upbeat music)

- [Announcer] Funding for Arteffects is made possible by,

the Bently Foundation, the June S. Wisham Estate,

Kate and Richard Kenny, the Nell J. Redfield Foundation,

the annual contributions of PBS Reno members, and by...

- Hello, I'm Martin Szillat

and the producer of this episode of Arteffects.

Today, my fellow Arteffects producers and I,

welcome you to a fantastic line-up of arts and culture,

from our region and beyond.

In our featured segment,

we meet Reno-based fly fishing guide Mike Anderson,

and learn about the craft of fly tying.

We'll also enjoy the solitude of the Truckee river,

and see why the culture of fly fishermen,

observe fish and their prey,

in order to design the perfect fly.

(cheerful music)

- For most anglers, fly fishing is an escape.

Being on the river, forgetting about work,

forgetting about bills

and being able to encounter some amazing fish

while being in a beautiful place surrounded by,

great settings is one of the draws for fly fishing.

(cheerful music)

Flies are imitations of insects

that are actually waterborne.

That's the fish's main food source are insects.

So what we do is we use natural and synthetic materials,

like hairs here or sometimes even rubber or plastic.

And we as close as we can,

imitate the natural insect that lives in the river.

(cheerful music)

So when we go into tying a specific fly,

the first thing I'm gonna do is think

about its size, its shape.

What I'm actually imitating

when it comes to the natural insect.

My process would start by selecting the hook,

selecting whether it needs to be heavy,

or if it needs to float.

So I would take the corresponding hook

to the size of the insect I'm trying to imitate,

and I would clamp that into my vise,

which is just a contraption

that holds the hook steady for you.

Once the hook is in the vise,

I would grab thread typically,

I would match the thread color to the insect color.

So I'd start my thread down the shank of the fly,

which is the top part of the hook.

I would start by then stacking materials, creating a tail,

and then say like the thorax of the bug.

If it's a subsurface fly, if it's what we call a nymph,

I would put some type of weight on it.

If it's a dry fly

or a fly that sits on the surface of the water,

I would typically use some type of like a deer hair

or something that has some float ability to it

and then finishing with the head of the fly.

Typically what we would do on a normal day

when we come down to the river,

is we would take a small neat meshed net

and we would siphon the water

and that would show us what's actually present in the water.

And then our flies would correspond to the size and shape

of whatever insect is predominantly in the water.

(cheerful music)

When you're tying flies,

one of the best feelings that you can get is to tie,

just a fly and then catch a fish on it.

It's seriously so cool.

You feel like you're sustainable,

like you know the zombie apocalypse could come by

and you'd be fine.

You can catch fish,

and that is even amplified when it's a fly pattern

that you create on your own.

So you go out you see a bug

and you start throwing materials together,

and then you take that out and it works.

That's one of the coolest feelings

for fly fishing and fly tying.

(cheerful music)

(man whooping)

It's something that you can truly master.

It's something that you can really dive into deep detail

of the certain bug, the certain time of year,

the certain hatch

and you really feel like you can almost predict

where the fish are gonna be,

what they're gonna eat, when they're going to eat.

(cheerful music)

I think fly fishermen tying their own flies

is a trend that we see growing.

It's something that more and more people are getting into

because there are certain aspects to tying flies,

especially the weight of the fly,

or like the silhouette of the fly.

That when you buy a commercially may not be appropriate

for what we use on the Truckee River.

When you're looking for materials to tie with,

your local fly shop is your best bet

to find those materials.

Because the nice thing about having a local fly shop,

is you have the local knowledge of the river.

So you have the materials that best suit the Truckee River,

Pyramid Lake and all of our surrounding area fisheries.

(cheerful music)

The culture of fly fisherman is dynamic.

It ranges from the guy who will show you a spot,

tell you everything, what fly to...

The guy who's a little more guarded.

He's not gonna to tell you where he was fishing,

what his spot he had.

But more often than not fly fishermen are very open

and willing to share, where they were,

what fly they were using, what they were catching.

One thing that's really nice about the community

that we have here in Reno,

is that it's a very fun atmosphere.

A lot of people are just here to have a good time,

be outside, encounter some of the amazing fish

that we have on the Truckee River.

(man whooping)

So really is like a family.

You really do have a lot in common

with people through fly fishing through the community.

(cheerful music)

- To learn more about fly tying and fly fishing in our area,


Up next we head to Denver, Colorado

to check out Kaleidoscape,

an immersive multimedia installation

that brings passengers on an exciting adventure.

- Huge roller coasters!

Cotton candy!

Carnival games!

That's what you usually think of

when you think about amusement parks,

but Elitch Gardens is taking things a little bit further,

all the way into the Multiverse.

(upbeat music)

- So, the idea behind the ride

is that it was created by QDot,

which is the Quantum Department of Transportation.

And they're basically a entire subway network,

meant for traveling in the Multiverse.

- [Alexis] We're talking about,

Elitch's newest attraction, Kaleidoscape.

Created by New Mexico based art collective, Meow Wolf.

- We make massive, permanent, narrative-based,

interactive, art installations.

- [Alexis] Their first permanent installation

is in Santa Fe.

And now they're bringing

a brand new immersive experience to Denver.

- So, QDot will play a big role

in the upcoming Denver exhibition as part of the narrative.

- The ride itself is a simulation

of something that QDot found during experimentation

and they have created a simulator

of how a universe is born

and grows

and dies

and repeats that cyclically.

- [Alexis] If that doesn't make any sense

to you, stay tuned.

Kaleidoscape is sort of a prequel

to the massive four story exhibition opening in 2020.

- [Matt] Denver just had the most traction,

people were most excited about us coming here,

we love the city.

- [Alexis] And, they're already on great terms

with their soon-to-be next door neighbors.


- We were really excited

about this partnership with Meow Wolf,

they're on fire right now.

This is gonna be the second permanent installation

of Meow Wolf, so we're stoked

that it's gonna be at Elitch Gardens.

- Okay, we're here in front of Kaleidoscape,

but let's get in line and see what it's all about!

Kaleidoscape is what's called a dark ride.

More of an experience than a rollercoaster.

- [Emily] Roller coasters move fast,

the thrill is really quick and on a dark ride,

you have more time to experience and really take in the art

and really enjoy it.

It's a different dark ride than I've ever been on.

- This is so cool!

- [Matt] It's a fantastic feeling,

we've been thinking about doing a dark ride forever,

and the fact that we're here right now

and we can hop on the car and run it

and there are like 50 animated sequences

and they work and they're triggered on time,

is a really, like feeling very accomplished.

- [Alexis] It took about eight months to complete,

with dozens of artists and technicians on the team.

- [Emily] We have a design team who looks

at the architecture and helps us make the plans,

we have tech team, we have,

our art team's making all the sculptures,

so it was really like a, very like multidisciplinary,

sort of, we all take a look at the ride and think about it,

and then sort of see what can we do given the constraints

because we're repurposing something that's existing,

like we can't build new walls,

we can't really change too much.

But, what can we change?

What can we repurpose?

- [Alexis] The ride replaces Ghost Blasters,

where riders would shoot ghosts with plastic gun.


An element that Meow Wolf was apprehensive about including.

- [Emily] Well, we wanted to reimagine the idea of a gun

to be not an instrument of destruction,

but an instrument of creation.

So, we renamed it as the Conglamatron and the idea is that,

you will point it at the landscape

and it makes things grow and activate

and move and come to life with light and sound.

And so, you're actually as the rider playing an active role

in helping the landscape evolve.

- With the Conglamatron, you get a chance to bring things

to life and really just experience it

to this really unique voyage.

- Not everyone is going to get the narrative of the ride,

but if, if someone can leave and have a smile on their face

and say wow that, I liked that two minutes and 57 seconds,

then I think we did our job.

- [Emily] I hope that people see Kaleidoscape

and they get all the more excited for Meow Wolf Denver

to open because this is really just a taste

and there's more to come.

- And until then,

you can find Kaleidoscape right here at Elitch Gardens.

- [Announcer] Thank you and enjoy the ride.

- To find out more about the team behind Kaleidoscape,


And if you wanna check out the ride yourself,

head to

Now here's a look at this weeks art quiz.

In the 1992 film "A River Runs Through It"

which actor trained himself to fly fish

for four weeks prior to shooting the film?

Is the answer;

a Tom Skerritt;

b Craig Sheffer;

c Brad Pitt;

or d Robert Redford.

And the answer is, c Brad Pitt.

In this segment Rachelle Eason is excited about art

and all that you can do with it.

Based in Lakeland, Florida,

the artist explores all kinds of mediums

and methods in her work.

Take a look.

(cheerful music)

- I am Rachelle Eason and I am an artist,

a potter, an inspirer and a teacher.

Actually, I am a facilitator of ceramic classes

at Florida Southern College.

I am an invited artist at Disney and I do pottery,

stonework pottery that's fabulously functional

and I create books,

plant stained journals

that I create through a boiling method

of taking plant elements and designing papers and boiling,

and I have these great, great designs that come from nature.

So pottery is my first love in art

and I do fabulously functional stoneware pottery,

is how I call it.

Because I love the form of pottery, I love sculpting,

I love everything about it, glazing and...

But I want it to be functional.

I have four kids,

I have a lively household

and I don't want pieces just sitting around doing nothing.

So pretty much everything

that I create there's a function to it.

Pottery is one of those things

that I as an artist collect from other artists.

I don't really collect too much of the other art

but I collect pottery.

Because to me pottery is...

It's from a raw lump of mud as my husband calls it.

And the artists hands are in it so it's actually forming,

you can feel a connection with the artist,

you can feel a connection with the piece

and that's why I would much rather go

and choose a unique one of a kind piece

than something that's mass produced.

Pottery inspires my plant staining

and plant staining inspires my pottery.

I do a lot of pieces in pottery now

that are inspired by the natural plant elements

that I'm using in my plant staining.

And I now can't function with just one,

I have to do both to keep me...

Well, first of all, I have a short attention span.

So doing both pottery and plant staining,

helps me with that part.

But also just the relationship between the two of them,

I mean, they're all very earthy.

(enchanting piano music)

The plants are sustainable,

actually I have different resources.

One of my favorite places

to get them also is I get them from Epcot.

So I have forged a relationship

with the Living with the Land attraction

that grows all these plants,

and these wonderful greenhouses,

they're growing plants from all over the world.

I get to basically dumpster dive in their compost pile

and use their plants.

It's very magical.

(enchanting piano music)

Okay, so I don't make the paper,

the paper is a whole different ball game,

I have somebody that specially makes the paper for me.

That's a whole career kind of on it's own.

I take fresh plant elements,

design pages and then I basically sandwich them together

and I boil them.

And they're boiling for about,

a good four to five hours they're in the water.

And then after that they sit for a while,

I peel back the plant elements

and I get these fabulous designs.

And you've got these beautiful pages

which I have to say a lot of people don't wanna write on

because they're so gorgeous.

But it's exciting for people I think to have a foundation

that they can write on if they choose to.

So paper to me is this vehicle to find myself,

and I feel like it's a vehicle for a lot of other people

to find themselves too.

- When I come to Rachelle's classes,

it's just this sense of giving myself this grace

and this time and this opportunity to breathe and to learn

and to be who I am.

Rachelle's class just gives me a sense of peace.

It's this, when I take the class,

it's a break from the chaos of my job

and my adult responsibilities (chuckles).

- I grew up in Pittsburgh

and I was very fortunate to grow up in a family

that supported the arts.

I started with art classes

at the Carnegie Arts Museum of Pittsburgh when I was four,

and I actually started doing pottery when I was four.

I was really lucky because I was the guinea pig

for a college student who was doing an internship

at Carnegie Mellon University.

And she came over to the museum and needed somebody to...

Needed a child, basically to put on the wheel

and work in clay and all that, and I was that guinea pig.

I fell in love with it at that age.

Of course, I probably, I don't even know what I could do.

I have a few of my pieces from when I was little.

But I remember loving it

and I happened to go to a school in Pittsburgh

that was based in the arts

and so I have all these experiences

from the age of four on up.

I just had so much encouragement from my parents,

my family, and all kinds of instructors that allowed me

to venture into all kinds of mediums from a very young age.

- As adults we forget that we need to breath

and that we also need to learn,

and that learning is a lifelong process

and Rachelle gives you that opportunity in such a gentle,

guiding way that it makes it feel so enjoyable

and pleasant and not like work, it's joy.

- I tell everybody that this is a journey,

this is an adventure.

There's no right or wrong in art,

there's no perfection in art.

So you create because of the way it makes you feel,

not because of the end product.

And when you get to that end product,

you are going to be so connected with it because your hands,

your creativity, your imagination did it.

Nobody else in the world,

would have created that piece just you,

it's an amazing thing.

- Discover more of Eason's art by going


Artist Phyllis Shafer is a plein air landscape painter,

who lives and works in the Sierra Nevada,

in Great Basin area.

Lets take a journey with her,

through beautiful mountain vistas into the Stremmel Gallery.

To see how she engages with her surrounding environments

to create a sense of magical realism.

(upbeat music)

- My name is Phyllis Shafer.

And I'm a landscape painter.

And I work "plein air" out of doors,

here in the Sierra Nevada mountains,

painting the landscapes around us.

When you look at my paintings,

I want you to know in what peak you're looking at

or if you're in a Sierra Nevada Meadow or on the coast.

So there's certainly an interest in,

describing a sense of place

and honoring that sense of place.

You can see from looking at my work

that there's a lot of stuff stylizing

and tweaking and sort of distorting

that's going on in order to

what I think of as creating more of a narrative.

I think that the brush is my vehicle

for getting the forms and the rhythm

and the energy that I'm trying

to describe in a certain landscape.

Do you have to really be engaged in process as an artist,

because it's a very long haul from the beginning

of an idea to the completed piece.

When I start a painting,

that definitely happens when I'm out hiking, driving,

just standing in nature,

and finding a place that speaks to me in some way.

And I think it's kind of like a crystallization of an idea.

And if you can hang on to that idea,

then the labor part comes in

by bringing all my gear out there carrying it

and setting myself up with an easel, the paint, the canvas

and I like to work large by plein air standards.

I think my favorite sizes is usually

in the 30 to 40 inch range or there abouts.

It gives me the range that feels most comfortable for me.

So there's a lot of labor involved

in getting your equipment outside

but for me that gets something from being on location

that's vital to my process.

(upbeat music)

So I begin the paintings very loose, very gestural,

trying to pay attention to the essential gesture

or the essential feeling or rhythm or idea

that stuck with me when I first found a place

and then it's a process of layering and developing

and really utilizing the medium, the brushstroke and color.

Color is very, very important to me.

I'm always working warm against cool colors,

high contrast, low contrast, light and dark,

and the sensations of having colors sitting side by side

that creates this kind of vibration and energy

that we respond to when we're out in nature.

I have shown my paintings for 30 plus years,

in lots of different venues.

But when I met Turkey Stremmel

and everyone at the Stremmel Gallery,

I found a home and someone who would be an advocate

for my work that has really changed my relationship

to the community.

I get a lot of feedback now

by showing here at the Stremmel Gallery.

And many people come up to me who have bought a painting

and they've got tears in their eyes

because they feel like this painting expresses something

that they've acted experienced in the landscape.

- Even if it's a painting that I've never seen,

I'm intrigued think of maybe I would love

to go and possibly find that location.

There's always something interesting.

Slightly magical sometimes in our landscapes.

I think she brings the outdoors to you.

So you can have it indoors.

You know, we all work hard.

And some of us get beat up during the day,

I mean, all day long.

And if you go home

and you've got something to look forward to

and say, okay, I had a tough day.

But I can look at this landscape.

And it'll transport me into another place

for at least maybe five 10 minutes, two minutes.

But maybe it's just is a really good thing for you to have,

in your own soul, in your own heart

that you've got a chunk of nature

that just feels good when you leave it in the morning

and you come home to see it in an evening.

- Hopefully, one of the ways in which people can connect

to my paintings is that I'm talking about something

that is a shared human experience.

And even though there's no figures in my paintings,

there's very much a sense of self.

And for me, I think it's a subtle thing

and I don't want it to be a ham-fisted allegory,

of me in the world.

So much as it is looking to nature

and using it as a way to be okay with this process of aging

and loving and losing and fighting and caring and trying

and there's something about nature, that is a lesson.

Because there's always something new being born

and something old, dying off,.

And it makes me feel like it's gonna be okay to die.

That everything has a cycle, and you're part of that cycle.

So maybe that's what I'm getting at with my paintings,

is this is just a way for me to figure out why I'm here

and to be okay with it.

(cheerful music)

- And that wraps it up for this edition of Arteffects.

For more arts and culture and to watch past episodes,


Until next week,

we are PBS Reno.

- Thanks for watching.

- [Announcer] Funding for Arteffects is made possible by,

- [Announcer] Funding for Arteffects is made possible by,

the Bently Foundation, the June S. Wisham Estate,

Kate and Richard Kenny, the Nell J. Redfield Foundation,

the annual contributions of PBS Reno members, and by...

(upbeat music)


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