WLIW Arts Beat


WLIW Arts Beat - November 2, 2020

In this edition of WLIW Arts Beat, a singular type of pottery made in prehistoric times; the power of music therapy to help the human mind and spirit; an artist who builds magical, miniature worlds; sculpting natural materials into an array of animals.

AIRED: November 02, 2020 | 0:26:46



>> In this edition of

"WLIW Arts Beat"...

Pottery from ancient times.

>> It's very well made, very

well decorated.

And, so, from an artistic

standpoint, they're artistically

and aesthetically very pleasing.


>> ...the value of music


>> Music gives us a chance to

express our feelings differently

and connect with other people

around our feelings differently.


>> ...An artist who sees the

world in miniature....

>> I work with repurposing old

clocks, cameras, radios,

and TVs.

I would say over the last

10 years, I have probably built

close to about, maybe, 3,000

pieces, all different shapes and


>> ...Sculpting animals out of


>> I definitely give a lot of

human characteristics to my


People can relate to it -- like

a smile, wide eyes, or



It just -- it's all around me.

>> It's all ahead on this

edition of "WLIW Arts Beat."

Funding for "WLIW Arts Beat" is

made possible by viewers like


Thank you.

Welcome to "WLIW Arts Beat."

I'm Diane Masciale.

In this segment, we travel to

Tampa Bay, Florida, to learn

more about a singular type of

pottery made in prehistoric


Through this art, we are able to

gain an understanding of a past




>> The Weedon Island Preserve is

a little over 3,000 acres.

There's hiking trails, there's

canoe and kayak trails, there's

the Weedon Island Cultural and

Natural History Center which has

a small museum and has the

Weedon Island canoe display --

junior archaeology camp for


And so there's a variety of

activities out here that the

public can participate in.

The Weedon Island pottery is

probably -- and this is the

opinions of a variety of people

besides me, professional

archaeologists - probably some

of the most well made and

distinctive pottery in the

southeastern United States.

It's very well made, very well


And, so, from an artistic

standpoint, they're artistically

and aesthetically very pleasing.

Archaeologically, they were

found at Weedon Island, anyway,

in a burial mound that was

excavated by the Smithsonian

back in the 1920s.

And they kind of formed the

basis for what's now called the

Weedon Island Culture.

And it's been -- that kind of

pottery has been found all over

Florida and the lower southeast,

as far west as, uh, I think in

Arkansas and into Georgia and



>> We all kind of recognize

Weedon Island pottery when we

see it because it is so

distinctive in terms of the

neatness of the application, the

elaborateness of the designs.

It really stands out among other

pottery traditions.

There are a lot of naturalistic

sort of elements that are

represented in the pottery, some

of them are purely abstract.

But the ones that we can kind

of, like, get our -- wrap our

heads around a little bit

better, there seem to be a lot

of representations of animals,

especially birds, not only in

the form of some of these pots

but also in some of the designs.

Not as much in this one, but

there are, sort of, incised and

punctated designs that look like

birds' wings or birds' heads or

representations of the wind,

maybe from the flutter of birds'


And other animals are

represented, too, not

exclusively birds.

But birds seem to be one of the

more commonly represented.

And then some of them probably

represent sort of more

cosmological themes, like the

movement of the Sun, the

movement of the Moon, the

movement of stars, perhaps.

Weedon Island is one of the most

distinctive pottery types,

certainly in

eastern North America, just

because of the incised and

punctated designs on pots like

this, the unusual vessel forms.

You know, we see certain

elements of this pottery that

show up elsewhere on different

types in different places.

But Weedon Island was

recognized, like, a hundred

years ago as a really

distinctive type of pottery,

even before they had the name

"Weedon Island."

>> So pottery has evolved, most

recently, in probably the past

50 years.

There's different ways to make

things out of clay.

The wheel's most commonly known,

but people still do

pinch pottery.

You just take a ball of clay and

kind of pinch it with your


Or people will make coils out of


So they'll roll them out and

kind of stack them and build it,

so pottery is more than just a

functional vessel.

It can, like, get across ideas.

It's something that, you know,

it's easiest to get art into a

home for something accessible

and that you'll use.

I think pottery is something

that is important for the

St. Petersburg community.

Just through, like, second

Saturday events, we get

probably, like, 100 to 200

people coming through every

second Saturday, um, to look at

the new shows we have up.

We showcase artists from around

the country and around the




>> One of the things that I

think artists today could take

from looking at Weedon Island

pottery is just, uh, you know,

uh, uh, understanding that

connection that people have with

the natural world and drawing

inspiration from that.

I think a lot of artists do

that, but thinking about that

from the perspective of

Native Americans and the

connections to the landscapes

and all the beings in the

landscapes I think is something

that artists could draw

inspiration from.


>> To discover more,

visit weedonislandspreserve.org

and moreanartscenter.org.


And now the artist's quote of

the week.


Up next, we sit in on a music

therapy session and find out how

this universal language helps

the human mind and spirit.

Take a listen.

>> 8 to 10 years ago, the mix of

alcoholism versus some form of

drug addiction was almost half

and half.

The alcoholism factor has

dwindled to almost 5%, and

nearly everyone else is involved

in heroin.

There seems to be a highway that

runs through Cincinnati and

Dayton where a lot of this stuff

shows up.

And it's very cheap and easy to

get hold of.

The movement from recreational

drug use to addiction seems to

be more people coming off of

opioids for some kind of pain

management that has led to their


Music therapy provides, in that

context, a different way of

approaching individuals'

awareness of their issues and of

their current coping skills and

how those might change, how

they might use creative arts or

more creative outlets as a means

of getting in touch with

themselves, their emotions so

that they can move forward.

Music therapy training includes

a lot of training in psychology

as well as how music affect

human beings, or how music helps

human beings get in touch with

their emotional lives.

>> Sometimes I sit in the music

therapy sessions and participate

in them.

And I get to listen to the

dialogue that's going on.

And what is said really does

translate into their individual


Sometimes it translates into

group in terms of themes that we


When they first get there,

they're kind of in survival


But the idea of being held by a

community is communicated very

effectively, and they feel that.

>> Music therapy provides an

avenue for them to use their

creativity and use their inner

resources towards emotional

expression and learning how to

handle them, which part of

addiction is hiding or burying

emotions that are difficult or


>> Counseling -- it's all in the


Music gives us a chance to

express our feelings differently

and connect with other people

around our feelings differently.

>> In music therapy, we think of

four primary methods.

So one is to use song material

and to sing.

Another way is to use


We also use composition.

And, so, in groups, we might

compose songs together or we

might take a song that everyone

knows and tear it apart and

re-compose the lyrics to that so

that it says what they want it

to say.

>> I was actively addicted from

the age of 14 till about 39.

I'm probably in the first

generation of people to not

have, like, a generic


I was polysubstance, mostly

opioids and alcohol.

People are more adept at

processing their feelings than

those in the past have been.

And I attribute that to the

music therapy, because it gives

them another channel to work

with their feelings.

They work better together,

because for that hour, what

they're doing is they're kind of

linking up, and they're becoming

a community at a different


And so once that part is over,

it resonates out through of

their week and their daily life


>> We are so readily exposed to

song material.

Everywhere we go, as Americans,

we are bombarded with music.

Depending on where they use,

there's typically some kind of

music happening.

That can very easily be

triggering for craving feelings.

So as we listen then, we talk

about the energies that that

song brings.

It's not just about the lyrics.

It's about the energy of the

music that supports the lyrics

that might triggering or that

they might find really soothing.

So we talk about those

process -- how to focus on

engaging with music that's

healthier for me than the music

that triggers my craving


Any time you're involved in a

creative process or with a

creative medium, you're getting

in touch with the aesthetic.

And I think all human beings

need that.

When I am in an addictive

process, my focus is so on self

and getting my fix, getting that

addiction need filled.

I lose track of everything

around me and those around me.

And those relationships all have

aesthetic properties --

my relationship to the world, my

relationship to you, to my


To lose touch with the aesthetic

to the beautiful aspects of life

is serious stuff.

So to reclaim that through a

creative medium like music or

art therapy really, I think,

enhances any kind of treatment


[ Music plays ]


>> Now here's a look at

this month's fun fact.



Colorado-based artist

Scott Hildebrandt,

a.k.a. "Mr. Christmas," builds

magical miniature worlds.

In repurposing vintage and

antique items, he creates

playful special scenes on a very

small scale.

Take a look.


>> The way people react to my

art is different and fun and

priceless all at the same time.

When they see that the pieces

light up, and then it's fun to

see their faces light up, and I

see their imagination light up.

And it's really kind of a fun

thing to sit back and watch.

It's really such a humbling

experience to hear people tell

me about how it moves them and

the feeling that it invokes in


There's nothing in the world

like it.

It feels wonderful.


My name is Scott Hildebrandt,

and I'm a miniature artist,

and I work with repurposing old

clocks, cameras, radios,

and TVs.

I would say over the last

10 years, I have built close to

about, maybe, 3,000 pieces, all

different shapes and sizes.

Nothing is really off limits.

And this is actually airplane


So this is an old wheel cover

from an old landing gear,

an old Cessna 182.

The love of miniatures probably

started when I was close to

6 or 7.

My grandfather used to put up

his old train set from when he

was a boy.

And I just remember being in awe

of how beautiful it was and how

it ran and all the little

miniatures that went with it.

And I was just fascinated with


And as I got older, I would

build models.

And I loved the scale of trying

to re-create these scenes in

miniature format.

Like, this is an old hard-back

case, and there's a little

switch on the bottom.

It makes them portable so you

can put them somewhere.

But you can open it up and have

a nice little display.

>> Oh, my -- yeah.

>> "Mr. Christmas" is a term or

a name that was given to me

probably about 10 years ago when

I first started doing this.

>> It's very creative, what

you've done.

>> Thank you.

I appreciate that.

>> Beautiful work.

>> I focused on vintage

Christmas pieces.

And my first piece that I ever

made, actually, was a little

Christmas village that was

under glass.

People took interest in that

style of art, and so I just sort

of absorbed the name

"Mr. Christmas."

I would describe the personality

of my work as more whimsical.

I think miniatures, in general,

reminds adults of that same

imagination that sometimes you

repress and put away.

And it brings you back to a

really good place in your life

that you remember when you were


And it's almost like a safe

place, and it creates these warm

memories that people love.

I go to a lot of estate sales

and flea markets, garage sales.

A real interesting weekend for

me is thrifting.

[ Laughs ]

A fun weekend like that will

turn into fun weeks of finding

these pieces and then getting a

chance to build into them.

This poor clock stopped working.

The motor burned out.

So I'm going to repurpose the


I never put people inside of my

art work.

I feel like the scene itself

creates a wonder or mystery, and

I want the focus to be on the

quaintness of the scene itself

and that you can imagine

yourself, maybe, there.

The thing that really inspires

me to continue with my art is

the ability to create something

that connects people together,

and that's also a very endearing

challenge to me to be able to

create something that I could


There's nothing more satisfying

than to be able to complete

something that you've thought


It's just such a form of

accomplishment, and it's so

satisfying that it kind of makes

me feel complete as an artist.

>> Do you title all your pieces?

>> I try to.

>> What would you call it?

>> Um...[Clicks tongue]

"A Clear Sunset."

[ Laughs ]

I can't imagine not doing it.

It's part of my life and it's

really part of who I am.


>> To see more of Hildebrandt's

work, check out his website,


And here's a look at this week's

art history.




In Norfolk, Virginia, artist

Spencer Tinkham sculpts wood

with an appreciation for

biodiversity and the


He carves natural materials into

an array of animals.

Here's the story.


>> Look at that.

That is sweet.

I like that a lot.


My name is Spencer Tinkham.

I'm 25 years old.

I'm a professional wood


>> ♪ We're just getting

started ♪

>> I first started wood carving

when I was about 8 years old.

I just started carving with a

little pocket knife.

Sitting on the back porch,

I started to carve the birds and

fish that I saw around me.


I'm the artist behind

Tinkham Decoys and Folk Art.


Folk art's kind of hard to


It's kind of like an art that's

not really modern art.

It's a little bit more


It has kind of more of an aged

finish on it.

And I think that goes perfectly

with these aged woods that I'm

starting out with.

I'm self-taught.

I learned through trial and


It's a really unforgiving


All the failures made me want to

figure out how to make them into

a complete piece the first time.

I started out mainly focusing on

duck decoys.

But I've shifted a lot more

towards folk art, sculptures,

different birds -- owls.

I do little bit of everything.

Fish are pretty fun.

>> ♪ Here's the situation

>> I definitely give a lot of

human characteristics to my


People can relate to it -- like

a smile, wide eyes, or



It just -- it's all around me

whenever I'm outside.

I guess my natural habitat.

[ Laughs ]

This is actually an extinct


This is a passenger pigeon,

inspired, ironically, from an

old poster that sold

shotgun shells.

This is multiple pieces.

The wings are actually old sheet

metal from the side of a chicken


Not entirely out of wood, but I

use some metals.

And this is lead --

little weights that are used to

balance tires.

And so you melt it to make feet.

I then paint over it and seal it

so that it's not a hazard.


My little pile out here.

I got some copper.

Such a cool natural color.

I'm always looking for materials

in the river, the marshes.

It's part of the hunt.

It's almost like finding


Then I get ideas and


And then once I get to work,

I don't want to stop.


All wood can be carved.

If it has a good surface, has a

good shape, I just go with it.

[ Saw blade whirring ]

To me, it's right there.

It's right there on the surface.


Little sketches, trying to work

out the ideas.

The biggest knife I could

possibly use, and then work down

from there.


The more I can study art, the

easier it is to come up with a

way to tie my materials




This is the beginning.

This is where it all started --

Right here.

This was given to me by my

grandfather on my dad's side

when I was 8 years old.

Kind of like the wand in

"Harry Potter," you know, this

is what you're given, and every

error's a learning process.

Find a way to get better.

If I had never got this, I

would have probably never really

realized that passion or that

freedom, and a lot of people

don't find it at all.

He passed away from cancer, so

this is something that I did to


And he only saw the very first

piece that I made.

He said keep it up and keep

working harder and make the next

one better.

And I'm just so thankful for

breaking the rules and giving a

young kid a knife and not

freaking out when I had to put a

band-aid on a finger.

So my grandfather kind of

planted the seed, and my family

kind of helped me grow.


I always treated this as a side


My wife encouraged me to pursue

this as a full-time career.

She's a nurse, so if I ever cut

off a finger, she knows what to

do and where to take me.

[ Laughs ]

I'm really fortunate to have a

family that is passionate about

my work.

>> We knew nothing about carving

or anything when we first


Instead of going and sitting at

the baseball games, we went to

the shows and traveled around.

The answer's always no unless

you try, and he tried.

>> Is there anything else I

can do for you?

>> No.

For my grandfather, tool safety,

shop safety, he's always looking

for something new to help my


>> Brass bristle wire brushes

for you to use.

And your...

He oftentimes has the image of

the creation in his mind and

then translates it to a

working, beautiful piece of art.

And I think that's a gift.


>> So this is piece is title

"The early bird gets the worm...

The early worm gets eaten."

The woodpecker is made out of

cedar that came from a

New York City Parkway pole.

The eyes are made out of beads

that I found in a dumpster.

The worm is threaded rod.

I thought, you know, the knot

would be really cool to showcase

the baby birds coming out of it.

That's kind of how that piece



I really want my work to be

talked about, not just for what

it is but from what it came


There's just so much freedom and

beauty outside, and I really

hope that people stop to see it

and make efforts to keep the

environment clean so that it can

continue to be healthy and spend

time to understand what's around


>> View more of

Tinkham's creations at


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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