WLIW Arts Beat


WLIW Arts Beat - June 7, 2021

In this edition of WLIW Arts Beat, a behind the scenes look at how a ballet is choreographed; scratching through a coated surface to create a work of art; a company that designs historically accurate shoes; photographing animals and encouraging pet rescue and adoption.

AIRED: June 07, 2021 | 0:26:46



>> In this edition of

"WLIW Arts Beat"...

the wonders of ballet...

>> It's about the environment we

create in the studio.

It's about the support these

artists have for each other

in what they create every day.

>> ...scratchboard art...

>> It's just kind of fun to

scratch off that black ink and

watch the white appear.

And you can do some pretty neat

effects with it once you start

to learn how to use it.

>> ...recreating shoes of the


>> When you get a design just

right, it is amazing because

it's beautiful and it's exactly

the right thing at that moment.

>> ...pet photography.

>> The goal of each photograph

is to bring out the pet's


Whenever I show someone their

pet's photo, they're like,

"Oh, my God, that's him.

You captured Fluffy right


>> It's all ahead on this

edition of "WLIW Arts Beat."

Funding for "WLIW Arts Beat" was

made possible by viewers like


Thank you.

Welcome to "WLIW Arts Beat."

I'm Diane Masciale.

Founded in 1954, the

Sacramento Ballet in California

has made a lasting impact on the

world of dance.

In this segment, we get a

behind-the-scenes look at how a

ballet is choreographed for the




>> There are things on the

planet that are difficult to put

into words.

And, to me, dance and music

can fill the spaces that

sometimes words cannot.


What I want to do is to

challenge people's

preconceptions of what ballet



This is a phenomenal

organization, over 60 years in

this community, building

dancers, building audiences.

It's pretty fantastic to think

that I am running the company

that I used to dance for.

I have always wanted to direct.

I have wanted to do that since I

was young dancer.

I felt like I'd been training my

whole life for this job.

And that felt good.


So, I made a world-premiere

"Nutcracker" this year, which is

the biggest artistic project

I've ever taken on.

People have very strong opinions

about "Nutcracker."

It's a very intimidating thing

to step into.

But, you know, as a

choreographer, you want to put

your stamp on something, so

being able to do that was huge.


I actually started hearing the

music differently.

Dance is the physical embodiment

of the music, so if I can take

whatever I'm hearing, find the

intention to it, and put it into

physical form...

It's about the environment we

create in the studio.

It's about the support these

artists have for each other

in what they create every day.

Having dancers who are willing

to take the leap with you

is essential.

I talk with the dancers often

about, "Don't chase the dragon.

You had a great show last night.

Don't try to recreate it.

What's gonna be new tonight?

How do you go somewhere else?

Where else can we explore?"

When you're creating like that,

it feels effortless.

You're not struggling.

You're in your creative zone.

It's just crazy 'cause some days

it all just works and some days

it doesn't.

There's a saying that, "If

everything you do works, you're

not trying hard enough."

So you need to be able to create

and fail 'cause you might learn

something incredibly valuable

that takes you to the next place

that you can't get to without

that little failure.

>> For more information, head to



And now the artist's quote of

the week.

Scratchboard art dates back

to the 19th century.

A form of direct engraving, the

artist creates by scratching

through a surface coated with

black ink to reveal a layer of

white below.

Take a look.

>> I think most people don't

realize how long it takes to do.

Some scratchboard artists are

very quick, but the process that

I use takes a long time.

And I usually set goals, like a

couple of square inches per day.

I work very close with a very

sharp knife and do extreme


It's a very satisfying art form.

It's immediate.

It's very much like drawing

in that sense.

You know, you put the lines

down, and there it is.

People have said to me, "Oh, I'd

love to watch you do

scratchboard," and I say, "I

can't think of anything more

boring than watching me do

scratchboard because I'm so


It's like watching grass grow

or paint dry.

But it is a fun thing to do,

even if you're not good at it.

It's just kind of fun to scratch

off that black ink and watch the

white appear.

And you can do some pretty neat

effects with it once you start

to learn how to use it.

>> It's like drawing with a

knife instead of a pencil.

You're starting with black ink.

You're removing it to get to the

white, but how close the lines

are placed, how thick or thin

they are give you different

values and different looks.

You can also get these boards

without the black ink so that

it's just white clay and you can

add your own ink.

And some people use ink.

Some people have used


And then you can do the same

type of scratching techniques,

and that gives you a different

look than the traditional black


>> Supplies are fairly minimal.

You can work with a knife and a


That's all you really need.

There are a lot of different

kinds of tools that will give

you different textures and


>> People have used X-Acto

knives, but scalpel blades,

which are very good at cutting

skin, are also very good for

creating probably the finest

lines that you could get.

People have also found that

tattoo needles work very well.

I like the flat needles.

They're 5 or 9 little needles

in parallel, and they allow you

to gently remove the black.

And so you can get different

levels of gray more easily

with them.

>> When I first started doing

it, I was involved in cave

exploring, and it was a medium

that, to me, really portrayed

the deep black shadows and

bright highlights that you see

in caves very well and also

allowed me to do a lot of detail

in the geology, you know,

drawing the rocks.

I could get very fine detail

with scratchboard.

As I grew to like the medium, I

started noticing its affinity to

much older engravings that you

would see in old zoology

textbooks from the 19th century.

I just loved the line work in

those, and scratchboard was very

similar in a lot of ways.

And having an interest in

animals, especially reptiles,

scratchboard was a great medium

for me to use.

I like to do very realistic,

authentic images of animals.

And in order to do that, I need


Scratchboard is a very slow

medium, so you can't really take

it out into the field and sketch

with it like you would with

graphite or with paints 'cause

when I do animals like a

crocodile, I don't copy the

photographs exactly, but I do

need them to make sure I have

the right number of scales in

the right places and so on.

>> I kind of like everything.

I'm a bit eclectic.

I've done portraits, and I've

done animals, done a fair number

of birds, then mountain scenes.

I've done a lot of architectural


My most common size is 8x10

inches or 5x7.

I've also done 18x24, which are

fairly large.

And the first time I did a

really large board, I said, "Oh,

I'm gonna make the smallest


I did a little 1x1 1/4 inch

board with an owl on it.

One question I get a lot is,

"Well, how do you get color on

the board?

Is it underneath?"

And the answer is no.

If it's a black board, it's

white underneath, but after you

scratched away the black,

you can come in with a dilute

ink or watercolor.


>> I got a degree in

fine art from the

University of Cincinnati.

I was trained as a painter.

And I discovered scratchboard

about 20 years ago and have been

doing it ever since.

I emphasize authenticity a lot,

but I also want to be a good


And, for me, underneath every

good realist painting, there's

a good abstract.

You still have to have that

sense of design.

And I've been trying to combine

the two into doing the best

scratchboard art I can.

And I have achieved Master

status in the International

Society of Scratchboard Artists.

>> We emphasize the


Even though most of the members

are from the U.S. and another

large chunk are from Canada,

we've been getting more and more

artists from other countries.

I thought it'd be great to have

Cincinnati area exposed to

scratchboard art.

I was the exhibition director

for Middletown Arts Center

exhibition last May.

They have a really nice gallery

space that can hold 80 to 90


Then we had two days of -- We

called them workshops.

They're a little bit more of


We also have our annual

membership meeting, and we have

what's called Ask the Masters.

Some of our Master members, who

are our most talented members,

do a little panel and answer

questions around what they do,

how they do it, offer advice.

It's a chance to learn from

each other.

It's a way to both network and

build relationships, but also

learn and try out some things.

But I think people see and

appreciate the fine nature of

it, and I think they also see

that, especially for animal fur,

it's a really great medium

because you can get a depth and

layering on the hair that you

can't easily achieve, like, with


>> One of the tough things about

doing that sort of work, though,

is that you can get lost in the

detail, and you have to keep in

mind the bigger image.

And sometimes it's tough do

that, to keep track of both

far away and up close at the

same time.

>> And a lot of people walking

by, if they see it from a

distance, they say, "Oh, look at

the photographs."

It's like, "No, no, these are

not photographs."

I think they get impressed by

the fact that someone could

actually do that.

I have heard some artists who

see it and say, "Wow, that's

really neat, but it's not for


And that's true.

You know, it's not gonna be for


But if you like drawing and if

you like animal art, if you like

shadows and values, rich

contrasts of black to white,

give it a try.

>> To learn more, head to



Now here's a look at this

month's fun fact.

Based in Reno, Nevada,

American Duchess is a company

that creates historically

accurate shoes.

From the 1700s to the 1940s, a

multitude of past styles and

designs come to life in the

modern day.

Here's the story.


>> American Duchess is a small

company that makes new old


We take a really old design,

something you see in a painting

or in a museum, and we make it

work for modern wear and comfort

expectations, everything from

the 18th century, 19th century,

and 1920s, '30s, and '40s,

as well.

American Duchess started as my

personal blog on historic


I liked to make things.

I would make those things for

myself and wear them to an

event, a picnic, or a dance.

It's just what I did for fun.

And I thought, "I'll blog about

my experiences so that other

people who have no idea how to

make a wig or how to do this

dress can learn from my


And it's always been about

sharing my mistakes and learning

that way.

You don't want to put all this

time and effort and sometimes a

lot of money into your beautiful

dress and then have no shoes

to wear with it because it

crushes the illusion.

>> When you're creating these

gowns, they are art pieces.

And if you don't have the right

shoes, it just kills it.

And when you take those photos

of yourself or someone's taking

photos of you and you look at

those later, you want to be able

to say, "I look like I walked

out of a portrait."

>> You're not gonna achieve that

with tennis shoes under your


Believe me. I've seen it.

Historic shoes are not like

shoes today.

They have strange closures.

They have specific toe shapes

or lack of toe boxes.

You know, they're very, very


So, nobody was really making

that kind of thing, and I

thought, "Well, okay, maybe I'll

have a go and make some shoes,"

not by hand.

I couldn't make enough of them

to make a living doing that.

So I found a manufacturer.

And we developed a prototype

and put it on the Internet and

did a pre-order to the

crowd-funding campaign.

And it funded overnight.

Like, overnight, we had enough

money do to the production run,

and it was like, "Oh, my God."

I woke up in the morning like,

"Oh. Oh, this is a thing.

Okay. I'm gonna do this.

This is what I'm gonna do."

Our first design was Georgiana,

named after the

Duchess of Devonshire.

It was made out of dyeable


It was our first go.

People were excited about it.

I was excited about it.

And it worked.

We just kept producing, like,

the next one, the next one,

the next one.


A typical 18th-century shoe,

the most characteristic hallmark

that you might see on those are

latches with buckles.

So, this is the way that

18th-century shoes closed.

You have these two straps.

You put one strap through here.

You stick the prongs through

the other one.

You can make them as tight

as you want.

You can keep tightening them.

And it makes your shoes look

very pretty.

Historical accuracy is very,

very, very important.

>> So, the basic process starts

with looking at original shoes,

whether through photographs.

It's brainstorming, so we just

kind of all get together and go,

"What sounds cool?

What have we not made before?

What are the trends in the


A lot of it is research,

looking at old magazine ads,

catalogs, original shoes in our


I've gone to a number of

different museums and studied

things hands on, so that way I

have an understanding of how

they're constructed and what

goes into the internals of them

and things of that nature.

All of that research gets done

gradually as we find

inspiration, say, "We need a

boot for this time period."

And we go and find lots of

different examples and pick what

ones really speak to us, what we

think would translate well to a

modern design.

And from there, we do a lot of

sketches, a lot of ideations,

and then actually come up with

the formal line drawing and put

little tiny details of, "The

sole should be this many

millimeters, this eyelet should

be this many millimeters wide,"

all the little tiny details in

there so that way the first

sample that we get back is as

close as we can get to right.

>> There is nobody who knows

about historic shows and how to

make them better than

Nicole Rudolph.

>> When I was at

Colonial Williamsburg, I ended

up learning how to do women's

shoemaking, the proper

18th-century style, all by hand,

no machines, all hand-stitched

and assembled.

>> We're based here in Reno, and

this is where we do all of the


All the marketing and

advertising happens here,

as well.

We also pack, ship, and do

logistics out of here, so

there's a great big warehouse

attached to this little tiny


We do everything except the

actual manufacture of our


95% of the world's shoes are

made in "Ho-J."

It is in South China.

There are millions of people in

"Ho-J," and it is a city that

is built for shoe production --

factories, components, markets,

leather producers, just

everything you need.

So that's where we also

manufacture our shoes.

The people that we work with

there are amazing.

We produce fantastic shoes in


Because I get on a plane and I

go over there and I make sure

our quality processes are in

place and that our materials are

good and that our relationship

with our manufacturer is good.

>> They really are, unto

themselves, a sculptural,

interesting piece of artwork,

and they should stand on their

own before you even put them on

your feet.

And then to add that in, to add

the whole costume in, to add the

clothes, the dresses,

everything, it just ends up

completing the whole thing.

>> There are so many people in

the world that are into historic

costuming or they're movie

costumers or stage costumers.

That's a whole market I never

even thought about when we


I was just making shoes for

people like me.

It's about helping other members

of the costuming community be

their best selves in the 18th

century or the 19th century,

to make their most beautiful

dress and impression or


We want to create a fun

environment to help people have

a good time playing dress-up.

>> To see more designs, head to


And here's a look at this week's

art history.

Up next, we travel to Tampa,

Florida, to meet Adam Goldberg,

a pet photographer.

With his camera, he takes

adorable photographs of animals

and encourages pet rescue and



>> So, I got started in pet

photography because I worked in

an animal shelter, worked there

for two years.

And it was there where I

actually learned how to worked

with animals and take photos.

I was doing adoption photos at

the human society here in Tampa,

just doing it for fun on the

weekends, and they asked me

a few months in, "Hey, we love

your pictures, we think the

community would love them, too,

will you host a photo-shoot

fundraising event for us?"

And at that point -- this was

two years ago -- I had no idea

how to do that, how to get

people to sign up, the marketing

behind it.

It went very well, sold out.

I hosted another one.

That one sold out.

I hosted another one.

That sold out.

Then I started reaching out to

other animal shelters in


Those sold out.

So, it took off because they

just had a simple request.

And that simple request turned

into a career for me.

And since that first event -- it

was in July of 2016 -- I've

hosted about 200 pet photo-shoot

fundraisers across the country.

And we just surpassed about

$71,000 in donations.

The goal of each photograph is

to bring out the pet's


Whenever I show someone their

pet's photo, they're like,

"Oh, my God, that's him.

You captured Fluffy right


To get a good picture at a photo

session, it's important to have

a calm demeanor.

The dog will feed off energy of

me, of their owner.

Then I make a fool out of

myself, noises, squeaks,


I bark sometimes.

And the other thing is treats,

and I use a lot of peanut

butter, too.

[ Imitates howling ]

[ Camera shutter clicking ]

It's important for shelter

animals to have great photos

because social media nowadays is

so prominent.

And without that, without a

good-quality picture, they're

just gonna get ignored.

Suncoast Animal League gets a

lot of interesting animals that

have been through turmoil or


And I was doing a pet

photo-shoot fundraiser for them,

and one of the foster parents

had Clover and asked if she

could bring her in for a photo

shoot just to document her


>> Clover was actually caught

in a fire.

Her family was in a shed.

And the mom, Daisy, pulled the

puppies, some of the puppies,

out, and actually she was found

laying on top of some of the

puppies, protecting them.

A few of the puppies had little

marks on them, but Clover kind

of got the brunt of it, where it

looks like maybe one of the pen

panels fell on top of her and

burned her pretty badly.

When she came to us, her immune

system was so compromised that

not only was she healing the

wounds on the outside from the

burns, but she had some

immune-system issues on the

inside that we had to work

through, as well.

So, she's a little fighter.

Adam is an amazing photographer.

He does a lot of good things for

the rescues in the area.

Suncoast Animal League shared

that fundraiser and photos of

Clover on their Facebook page,

and through that exposure,

Madeira Beach happened to be

following our page.

>> Our secretary, Trish Eaton,

saw posts about Clover being up

for adoption at

Suncoast Animal League.

And Clover is great.

She came by. We liked her story.

And she's just a real

sweetheart, so we chose her, and

it's been great.

>> With Clover being adopted by

the fire department, I was so


And it was just amazing to see

her walk down in the commission

meeting with her badge on and to

give kisses to her new family

and just know what kind of life

she's gonna have and the lives

she's gonna touch, you know, the

kids that see her that have

scars and, you know, see what a

fighter she is and -- and just

how strong she is and, you know,

the help that she's giving to

the firefighters 'cause they go

out and they see some pretty bad

stuff, you know, on a daily


And to come home to her -- and

she's always happy and wagging

her tail and happy to see them.

>> It makes the station feel

more like a home.

The job can be stressful, and

it's real nice to be able to

come back to the station and

know Clover will be here.

>> I was able to do a photo

shoot with her again as a

follow-up, and the firefighters

were there.

It was amazing.

We did some photos in front of

the truck, and it was awesome.

Clover is the best dog for what

she's doing now.

>> We plan to involve her in,

like, public education and

teachings and stuff like that

and, like, fire safety programs

that we do with the schools.

And so she will have a job.

Stop. Drop.

Good girl, Clover.

>> I have a project called the

Shelter Pet Cut Out Project.

And the idea behind that is to

put these life-sized pet cutouts

at community businesses.

And they wear a tag that says,

"This dog represents the

hundreds of shelter animals

available for adoption on a

daily basis."

And the reason for that is I

wanted to put my photography out

there, but also put it in places

where people don't expect it.

Not everyone's going to the


Not everyone's going to the

shelter website.

For this first round of cutouts,

we did six dogs, and they've all

been adopted.

So, I started the

Pit Bull Picture Project,

which uses my style in

photography, which is the goofy,

the silly, the funny side,

and portrays pit bulls in a

positive light to inspire more

pet adoptions.

So, the idea of the project is

to show the goofy and lovable

side, dispel some of the myths.

And it actually got national


It was in HuffPost andPeople


Through the projects that I'm

working on, getting extra

attention to pit bulls or

shelter animals, I'm doing my


I adopted my dog, Rigby, when I

worked at the animal shelter,

and it was the best day of my

life when I rescued him

and brought him home.

He was 4 months old at the time.

The funny thing is, I never had

a dog growing up, so I didn't

really know how to care for a


So Rigby kind of taught me.

Knowing that I'm contributing to

people finding family members

in the furry variety is so

heartwarming to me 'cause I'm

making a difference.

>> To find out more, visit



>> That wraps it up for this

edition of "WLIW Arts Beat."

We'd like to hear what you

think, so like us on Facebook,

join the conversation on

Twitter, and visit our Web page

for features and to watch

episodes of the show.

We hope to see you next time.

I'm Diane Masciale.

Thank you for watching

"WLIW Arts Beat."

Funding for "WLIW Arts Beat" was

made possible by viewers like


Thank you.





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