WLIW Arts Beat

S2017 E4 | FULL EPISODE

WLIW Arts Beat - April 6, 2017

See how a society of quilters has become a meaningful community to many on Long Island. We follow an artist whose many creative outlets include sculpting and music, we appreciate the beauty of America’s ranches through photography, and watch the process of fashioning exquisite furniture from plywood.

AIRED: April 06, 2017 | 0:26:47
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TRANSCRIPT

[ Theme music plays ]

>> Coming up on this edition of

"WLIW Arts Beat"...

A society of quilters

on Long Island.

>> It's an ancient craft,

and you can't ask for anything

better that that.

I love it.

Love it, love it,

love it, love it.

And it costs a fortune to do.

[ Chuckles ]

>> A multitalented artist

who expresses himself

through music and sculpture.

>> I can explore avenues

of something,

either with an instrument

or with clay.

That's something that's just

the root of what I love doing.

>> A photographer on a mission

to document

the American frontier.

>> As a group,

they're very proud

of their heritage.

They're very proud

of what they do.

>> And how one artist

creates masterpieces

from plywood.

>> I try to let the work flow,

and I just kind of follow along

with it.

>> Stay with us

for "WLIW Arts Beat."

Funding for "WLIW Arts Beat"

is made possible

by viewers like you.

Thank you.

Welcome to "WLIW Arts Beat."

I'm Diane Masciale.

Dedicated

to preserving and developing

the ancient skill of quilting,

the Long Island

Quilters' Society

recently celebrated

its 30th anniversary.

Our partner, For Your Island,

at Hofstra University,

Lawrence Herbert School

of Communication,

brings us the story.

♪♪

>> I've never been with a more

supportive group of ladies.

I consider every single

one of them my sister now,

and it's a sisterhood.

It's probably one of

the most wonderful societies

that I belong to.

They're there for you

for whatever reason.

Whether it's you had a death

in the family or you need help

with a quilt, they're there.

>> The reason why I love

belonging to a guild

is the camaraderie.

More than anything else,

the camaraderie.

And also, they have expertise

that

you'll never get from a book,

and yet it's an ancient craft.

And you can't ask for anything

better than that.

I love it.

Love it, love it,

love it, love it.

And it costs a fortune to do.

[ Chuckles ]

>> I like getting together

with other quilters,

getting different ideas

with them.

And they're

a great group of gals,

and guys

too every once in a while.

And we get together,

and we learn

different techniques,

and it's a great way

to continue the craft

of quilting.

I got started quilting because

I've always been in the fashion

or hobby industry.

And I was covering quilt markets

and the fabric industry

for many years,

but I wasn't a quilter.

I was in crafting and sewing,

and I just admired the craft.

And I knew how to work it,

but I never actually did it.

And I went to one class,

and they said there was

a quilting society,

and I went the next week,

and that was two years ago

this month, basically.

>> People can do it.

Anybody can do it,

and, of course,

they always start

from the basics.

You know, we don't just start

with those beautiful art quilts.

We start them with a nine-patch,

you know,

and that's just nine

little squares sewn together.

And so it's no big deal.

So anybody can do it.

>> We had a couple of founders.

They used to gather together

in a park in Nassau County,

and they were putting on shows

in different venues,

and they we kind of formed

a group here at Freeport

and became the foundation,

I guess, of the guild itself.

And it's continued here

for quite some time now,

and I couldn't even

tell you exactly how long

because

we're still trying to figure out

that 1975 photo we found.

[ Chuckles ]

>> You have friends

who are like silk.

I don't know too many of those,

but they're the ones

that can walk down a runway.

And you know they're elegant,

and they've been around

for 2,000 years,

and they're never

going to change.

>> You go from true beginner

like myself to expert level,

and everybody applauds

each other,

and you get inspired.

The inspiration of looking

at what you can achieve or what

you can learn from each other,

and it's years, I mean, years

of experience

amongst these women.

As far as advice,

I'd say don't be intimidated.

There's something to do

at every level.

I mean, you can come and learn

how to make a pin cushion,

and that technique you learn

from that could expand.

You'll be making a quilt

before you know it.

There's no way to know how well

you'll do unless you start

and try something new.

>> Find a quilt group.

Find us.

We're at Quilters in the Park

in Eisenhower Park.

We're at Long Island

Quilters' Society.

You have women out here.

They are the fiber

of your being,

and they are just waiting

for you to join the cloth

that's going to make your life.

♪♪

>> To find out more,

visit the link on our Web page.

After winning

the National Banjo Contest

as a teenager,

Tony Furtado was hooked.

For years, he gave his attention

to pursuing a music career,

but recently he returned

to a past love as well --

sculpture.

Let's meet Furtado and find out

more about his many talents.

♪♪

>> Some people would call

what I do Americana.

It's mostly

original songs driven

by slide guitar and banjo,

inspired by American roots,

meaning anything from blues

to old-time mountain music

to rock and roll.

When I was 11 years old,

I had to do a report

for my music class.

One of the projects

was to make an instrument.

I didn't hear

the word orchestral.

So when I actually got

the real instrument,

the real banjo

on my 12th birthday,

I remember trying to plink out

[ Humming "Dueling Banjos" ]

You know?

♪♪

During high school,

I was getting good grades,

but I would always focus

on learning theory,

learning classical theory,

jazz theory. Then I'd get home.

And I'd practice

for six to eight hours.

And it was around that time

that a friend of mine said,

"You should enter

the National Banjo Contest."

"Really?" He said, "Yeah, man.

You'll win."

I said, "Nah. What?"

So, I actually started

preparing for it

when I was about 18

and worked up

some versions of some tunes.

And I entered the contest,

the National Banjo Contest,

and I ended up winning.

And it was kind of a big boost

to my morale

and to my whole way

of thinking about,

"Well, maybe I can do this

for a living."

♪♪

I went to college

as a fine arts major,

but I snuck into a lot

of the music classes

because I kind of knew

I wanted to be a musician

for a living.

But I couldn't really do both,

you know?

Sculpting takes so much time.

So when I got the opportunity

to hit the road,

I left college to do that,

and I left sculpting.

>> Tony toured with established

bands and had a solo career

on the banjo.

He learned slide guitar,

and has spent the past

two decades performing

Americana and bluegrass music

all over the world.

>> ♪ Could have been

on a rainy morning ♪

♪ Could have been

on a rainy night ♪

♪ Stagger Lee and Billy De Lyon

had a great big fight ♪

♪ Oh, the bad man,

cruel Stagger Lee ♪

♪ Mr. de Lyon told

Stagger Lee ♪

♪ Please don't take my life

♪ I've got two little babes

♪ And a darling, loving wife

♪ Oh, the bad man,

cruel Stagger Lee ♪

♪ Oh, now what I care

about two little babes ♪

♪ And a darling, loving wife?

♪ You've done stole my Stetson

hat ♪

♪ I'm gonna take your life

♪ Oh, the bad man,

cruel Stagger Lee ♪

♪♪

About five or six years ago,

when I moved back to Portland

from my L.A.

stint, I just got the urge

to start sculpting again.

I said, "I can't hold this

back anymore."

Sculpting is my place

to disappear from the intensity

of the music business.

This part of the process

is the funnest, you know?

Actually sculpting,

and looking where I need to add

the clay or subtract or,

you know, add a little bit

of pudginess here or there.

And, you know, like,

all the fun little details.

I just love, like,

making the little things.

You know, getting in there

and make the ear.

Figure out how to make

the meerkat ear.

[ Chuckles ]

"What'd you do today, Tony?"

"Well, played my banjo

a little bit and made

a bunch of meerkat ears."

My favorite part

of the sculpting process

is the exploration.

It's discovering

where a sculpture can go.

And once I kind of get an idea

of where it's going,

then it's, like,

I feel like I've found

a cool path, you know,

and I go right down it.

♪♪

Maybe I'll get

in a gallery, you know?

That's all plans for the future,

but for now it's just

my learning space

and my fun place.

It's my happy place.

[ Laughs ]

>> ♪ Break for the state line

♪ You're tethered

to the bloodline ♪

>> He's working on a song

with Stephanie Schneiderman.

She's a singer-songwriter

and his wife.

>> ♪ Harsh words

♪ Hold to your harsh words

♪ There's a man down

♪ A man down

Let's do that chorus again.

What was it?

Break for the state line.

♪ Break

I think when I'm writing

a song, I'm crafting it.

I know that some people think,

you know,

there's all these songs

in the ether, you know?

I'm just finding it

and pulling it in.

I don't think that's the way

it is for me.

♪ Harsh words

♪ There's a man down

♪ A man down

I've got to get

those chords right.

There's not one way

a song has to go.

There's not one way

a tune has to go, you know?

You're crafting it.

You're going whatever direction

you're exploring, you know?

They're explorations,

pretty much.

♪♪

♪ Like a whisper

in the morning ♪

♪ Washing the rain away

♪ And all your golden,

broken moments ♪

♪ They can't make me stay

♪ They can't make me stay

♪ Hey

[ Vocalizing ]

I feel like

I have a pretty good balance.

I feel like I'm

in a really good space

with it all, you know?

If I can make

little discoveries,

if I can explore avenues

of something either

with an instrument or with clay,

that's something that's just

the root of what I love doing.

[ Song ends ]

[ Applause ]

[ Theme music plays ]

>> Next up, we meet photographer

Scott Baxter,

who has found inspiration

in the American frontier.

For most of the last decade,

Baxter has photographed

over 100 cattle ranchers

and their family-owned ranches.

As you'll see

in our profile segment,

he's found a way of preserving

the centuries-old traditions

of America's true cowboys.

[ Calling, whistling ]

Hey, hey, hey.

[ Cattle mooing ]

>> Some of these ranches

that we're photographing

aren't going to be around

because, you know, development's

going to find its way in.

And there's a lot of ranches

I know that there's no one

coming up behind them,

so they'll most likely be sold.

[ Camera shutter clicks ]

And I just thought,

"What if, photographically,

I could at least try to record

some of these families

that've been around here

since, you know,

since 1912 or earlier?"

And it kind of started that way.

I didn't really plan

to do anything with it.

I just wanted to see

if I could accomplish it.

We call it

"100 Years 100 Ranchers,"

and, basically, the criteria

is the family has been ranching

in Arizona continuously

since 1912 or earlier.

>> My ancestors came here

from Valencia, Spain,

in the 1840s,

and they were coming to Tuscon

by covered wagon.

This is the Amado family.

My great-grandfather.

About 1852 is when they set up

the ranch at Alamo Bonito

in what is called Amado.

[ Dog barking ]

>> This family

is a very historic family.

It goes back a long ways,

and a beautiful ranch too.

And Santa Cruz County's probably

one of my favorite places

to be in the whole state.

A photograph should be

really easy

for you to look at, you know?

Doesn't mean it has

to be Pollyanna-ish or,

you know, beautiful or anything.

It just has to be easy.

And if it's easy, it's good.

And then, Henry, just kind

of right in the middle.

If I push too hard.

If I really try too hard

to push a photograph,

it just doesn't work out for me.

I kind of let the photograph

come to me.

...blocking each other's

light...

There's not a set process.

I want to get this side too

because it's got your brand

on the horse's shoulder.

I have, you know,

aside from scouting

a little bit the day

before and knowing I wanted

to use that big sycamore tree,

I don't...

There's not a, you know,

I don't have, like,

a list of what I'm going to do.

I just kind of walk in.

And it's kind of the way

I've always worked.

I just kind of wing it,

and it kind of works for me.

It doesn't work for everybody,

but it works for me.

Perfect, guys. Okay.

The last one with this camera,

for now at least.

>> I was standing there

last evening by the tree

between two horses

and with my son

and grandson on each side of me.

[ Voice breaks ] Very proud.

>> This just gives you an idea.

It's a small shot.

Now you got to kind of look

at it, but...

You want to show that pride.

I mean, as a group,

they're very proud

of their heritage.

They're very proud

of what they do.

So that's kind of

where we're at.

So we're going to shoot

a few more with this camera.

With the portraits

you just kind of,

you know, you kind of take

a little more time

and kind of get your frame up

the way you want it,

and then you, you know, you read

your light, and you shoot it.

Five, Six, 125.

>> I think

it's a wonderful thing

that Scott came up

with this idea.

>> But this is actually

very nice where we're at now.

[ Camera shutter clicking ]

>> It's recorded history.

[ Camera shutter clicks ]

>> I don't think they're

really looking for recognition,

but I think they like the fact

that there's going to be

a record of this somewhere,

you know, for their kids.

I treated this,

in a lot of ways, just like

it could have been shot,

you know, 100 years ago.

I bring a digital with me,

but that's just

to shoot stuff for them.

But we're shooting

just straight black-and-white

film.

No lights.

So it's basically camera,

film, and a tripod.

And that kind of forces me

to really think

about my composition a lot

because I don't have

a lot of tricks in my bag,

and it kind makes you think

a little bit more

as a photographer.

[ Cattle mooing ]

>> I don't know of any rancher

that doesn't work hard.

We have to.

No, I don't have to do this.

I've always been

a very successful CPA,

and with my son as my partner,

the business is still going.

And maybe that's why

I can afford to be here.

Because if he's there, I

don't have to be at the office.

But I enjoy being here,

and, at my age,

I deserve to be here.

I think it's love of

the ranch, love of the land.

[ Cattle mooing ]

>> The brandings can be

kind of exciting.

You got two guys

roping and dragging cows,

and you got three

or four cowboys

throwing cows on the ground.

And sometimes

with the action stuff

I don't really have time

to do too much

but just kind of hang in there.

You don't want to be the cause

of somebody getting hurt.

You don't want to be the cause

of livestock getting injured,

and you certainly

don't want to get hurt yourself.

So you stay dialed

into the frame,

but you certainly kind of have

to have a few things going on

in your head at the same time

and keep yourself

cognizant of really

what's going on around you.

Now this one

is a little bit more...

This is like the old style.

This takes... Yeah, look.

>> Like the old Western style?

>> Yeah.

I've not had a bad experience,

and I've got a story

for every single ranch

that I've been at.

That's perfect right there.

Hold that.

You know, the photographs are

kind of the icing on the cake,

but the real thing is I just...

Thank you, sir.

>> That's it?

>> Yeah, that's it.

>> Okay.

>> You know,

they're a great group of people,

and I've just been real honored

to have the opportunity

to meet them

and spend some time with them.

They're all hardworking.

They're just hardworking people

who just like...

They love what they do.

You know,

and they really love the land.

I mean, that's the thing

that I've kind of come away with

is they really love this land,

and they really want

to take care of it.

>> For more information

on Scott Baxter's work,

visit the link on our Web page.

And now here's a look

at what happened in

arts history.

And now a man who makes a living

from turning the ordinary

into the extraordinary.

David Knopp takes basic sheets

of plywood

and shapes them into smooth

sloping works of art

that actually

double as furniture.

Take a look.

>> When people first see

my work,

I'm not sure they look at it

and go,

"Oh, that's a piece

of furniture."

I do pause at times

when people ask me,

"What exactly do you do?"

♪♪

I don't know why, but I got

into shooting photographs

of trees in the wintertime,

bare of leaves.

You can actually see

the contours in the surfaces,

and I'll interpret them

into drawings.

There's movement in my drawings,

and I take that a step farther

and try to keep the movement

going on in my sculpture.

I use no 3D software

to design these.

It's usually an

intuitive process.

I'll take a piece of

4x8 sheet of plywood

and cut a template

for a starting point.

Maybe a nice curve,

and I'll just build off of that

one piece at a time in coming up

with a rough basic

shape of the piece itself.

Plywood in itself

is not a very exciting material.

[ Laughs ]

You know, it's basically

a construction product.

It works well for me because

I'm interested in the end grains

of the plywood

because, as I carve it,

the strata, which acts as lines,

you can express

all kind of movement.

Actually becomes the lines

that your eyes follow.

♪♪

The process, to me,

is my way of kind of escaping.

When I'm out

in my studio working,

it's some of the best time

I have.

I try to let the work flow,

and I just kind of follow along

with it.

In my work, I'm always trying

to find my own voice,

and the work itself

has its own voice.

And you can control that more

and more with your tool itself.

It's like a pencil

when you're drawing, you know?

Or a piece of charcoal.

Well, there was

an old statement at one time,

"In order to create,

you must destroy."

Unfortunately,

to create plywood,

you are destroying trees.

It's nice to be able to reverse

that

and take this manmade product,

which is nothing

but a bunch of veneers glued

together,

and turn it into something

that's worthwhile looking at.

♪♪

>> To see more of Knopp's work,

visit the link on our Web page.

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 you.

Thank you.

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