Speaking in Erie PA and Western New York

Delighted to be speaking at Penn State

I’m headed up to the north next week. Won’t you join me?


Monday Sept 28. 7:00 p.m. I’m scheduled to speak at PennState Behrend, and I am delighted to share my new book 3D Technology in Fine Art and Craft: Exploring 3D Printing, Scanning, Sculpting and Milling. It was a number 1 new release on Amazon.  I’m also thrilled to be talking about the new Alice in Wonderland Project that is getting so much attention from around the world.

Wed Sept 30.  8:00 a.m. I’ll be headed to my home town of Buffalo New York and not only speaking to my high school, but the kids are helping me with one of the tea cups that will be made into a bronze and placed on the table of the monumental sculpture of the Mad Hatter Tea Party that I am creating. They will be using 3D technology and 3D printing to achieve this. I’m delighted to have this participation and make this art into a learning experience. Here is a press release for the Buffalo Trip. 

Issa with march Hare
March Hare large milled at Synappsys Digital Services. Part of the Monumental sculpture of the Mad Hatter Tea Party called “Move One Place On”  Created by sculptor Bridgette Mongeon. Follow along on Facebook at the Finding Alice Facebook Page.

Thursday Sept 31. 7:00 p.m. I wanted to have a place in Buffalo to present to the grown ups. On Thursday I’ll be at the maker space called Buffalo Lab 7-9 298 Northampton St, Buffalo NY 14208 inside The Foundry. How fun to have a book signing and a special lecture in my home town.

Please help me pass the word by posting this to your Facebook and other social media accounts

Bridgette's book on 3D technology
Bridgette Mongeon’s Book pre order on Amazon on the book’s website. Release September 2015.

I Was a Non Traditional Student! Graduating With A Masters At My Age?

I have been a nontraditional student for quite some time now. I went to Vermont College to finish an undergraduate degree when my own child was going to college.  I loved their form of progressive education. Then I went to Goddard College for my a Masters of Fine Arts in Interdisciplinary Arts degree. I’m graduating on Sunday!

This was not something I had to do, but something I wanted to do. It was a very fullfilling and wonderful journey.

Both of these schools are very different then your traditional education. Designing your own study was fascinating and a perfect fit for me.  I am thrilled to graduate with my Masters of Fine Arts with both a focus in sculpture, especially as it pertains to digital technology in the studio, and writing.

On superbowl Sunday I will be making a huge touchdown, but it won’t be in sports.

For those interested, I was interviewed on our podcast by my daughter concerning this entire process. Here is a link for the podcast. Just click and the podcast will come up in your browser.

For those of you considering such a challenge, I have documented my entire process from undergraduate school to graduate school on my Perpetual Learner blog. Read my process, struggles, concerns and achievements.  It seems strange to think, that way back when i was applying I was first figuring out how to find out what shots I had in high school.

A Thesis And Graduation

It has been nearly three years.  That is how long it takes to complete a Master of Fine Arts in Interdisciplinary Arts degree at Goddard College in Vermont.  I am just now coming off of that “writing my thesis” zone.  Just waiting for the final thoughts, need to write my last paper and then it is all finalized come February 5th in Vermont.

For those of you who don’t know I kept a dual track while at Goddard.  Part 1 was in Sculpting and Digital Technology—Part II was writing.  I have been away, in a fog for the last few months, but I’m back!

Goddard campus in the winter

An Exploration Of The Self And Sacred

As part of my graduate studies I would like to present this video.  For those of you who are not aware, I am travel to Goddard in Vermont twice a year for graduate school.  I have a dual graduate study of writing and sculpting for a Master of Fine Arts in Interdisciplinary Arts. (MFAIA)   This semester I tried to go “outside of my box” a bit by creating this altar or sorts.  Of course this piece of artwork is only a part of this semester.

Bridgette Mongeon
Sculptor, Writer and Speaker

Bridgette Mongeon is a sculptor, writer and educator as well as a public speaker. Her blog can be found at https://creativesculpture.com.

She is also the owner and creator of the God’s Word Collectible Sculpture series
Follow the artists on twitter twitter.com/Sculptorwriter twitter.com/creategodsword
Facebook http://www.facebook.com/bridgette.mongeon
Listen to The Creative Christian Podcast or the Inspiration/Generation Podcast Click on Podcast Host Bios for a listing of all podcasts
Listen to the Art and Technology Podcast

Trying to Goldsworthy

Andy Goldsworthy The Cone Sculpture This photograph is from the Wikimedia Commons

For many years, I have loved the insightful work of artists and naturalist Andrew Goldsworthy.   Goldsworthy creates  from nature using branches woven into rock, ice balanced, leaves chained together with thorns that wiggling down a stream, rock changing color and balanced rock. He uses reflection in his creations, natural elements and fights against and works with nature to create.   It is the juxtaposition of nature and art or nature in art, or art as nature that calls me to marvel.

I think I have also been influenced by Pamela Callender, a classmate of mine from Goddard.  Her work appears rather anonymously on campus. For example The Twig sculpture I found on the trail, I thought of it often when I was working trying to do Goldsworthy. I also loved her braided grass, there was an entire section of a field braided. And these balanced stones pop up everywhere during residency. So, I’m exploring, and attempted some of these adventures on my own. It has been very enlightening.

Pamela Callender balances stones

My first attempt to work with nature was building a nest.  I gathered my branches and twigs and sliced up my arms with bamboo shoots hauling them indoors, dumping them on the floor where little bug critters scattered. I liked collecting the items. It made me think of my yard in a different way. Not just as plants, but as material. However, I soon came to realize a very important element of this nature gathering and building, especially as it pertains to nests.  Birds gather their materials in the cool of spring. I was building my nest in the middle of a Texas summer with 101 temperatures.  Sure I brought all of the materials into a cool, air conditioned room, which the birds don’t have access to, but it was already too late.  Heat exhaustion set in, and my nest building was put off a couple of days.

A very large area of a field was woven into a braided snake. Another surprise by my classmate, Pamela Callender.

One begins to improvise when trying to create only with nature.  Mud is close to clay, and it is not unusual that I, as a  sculptor, would turn to it. It was a necessary glue for my nest.  My finished nest lacks the luster and intricacy of the blue jay nest I found this spring, when interestingly enough, I was cutting back bamboo. But, I managed to get some a semblance of a large nest.

Prior to building it, I had thought of building several nests of different sizes.  Large birdie condo’s that I would hang from… bamboo.  After nursing my cut up arms, and heat exhaustion, I smoothed my own ruffled feathers and  decided—one was enough.

My next project was also going to entail bamboo.  Mostly because it needed thinning again.  I had envisioned a large cornucopia slithering tube structure that people would walk up to and peer into and marvel. They would see it from afar, like Goldsworthy art and state, “An artist must live here.”  They would be forced to stop and to explore the design.   O.K. Maybe I was a little influenced by the “Big Bambu You Can’t, You Won’t, You Don’t Stop” by Mike and Doug Starn and Rock climbers using 5,000 pieces of bamboo. It is a project at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I had seen the work on Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood.

A poor attempt at a bird’s nest. NOTE: Mud makes good glue. Bird make nests in spring not in 101 degree temperatures in Texas.

I had made the decision that using metal to secure the armature was certainly acceptable. (Goldsworthy only uses natural elements.) I appeased myself with the thought that this was bamboo, and I was more of a bonsai artist than a Goldsworthy and twisted the bamboo together.

Once again, the bamboo cut up my arms and ants and pollen fell on my head, causing me to sneeze every few minutes.  It was cooler outside, but our Texas October and the pollen that it brings, causes havoc with my allergies.  Still, I was committed.  I created circles of bamboo of different shapes with longer bits of bamboo and grass at one end.  I envisioned this circling around the cornucopia in an intricate manner enticing  onlookers and making them marvel at my skills.  As hard as I tried, it wasn’t working. I began to think that Goldsworthy must have some type of natural guru thing going to get his material looking so… naturally polished.  “More armature.” I exclaimed trucking back to the bamboo for bigger pieces, and more ants and pollen in my hair.   After hours of stripping and twinning and weaving bamboo, I had what I thought appeared to be an absolutely glorious, incredible looking —mess.  Maybe creating out of nature is just not my thing.   Before I could let go of the idea, I had thought about taking my large rings of woven bamboo and chaining them together. Perhaps I would hang them from a tree. But then I thought… I’m pushing here.. I threw the piece aside and went on to another idea.

I had wanted to do something in the pond. I loved how Goldsworthy floated branches on water and then set what looked like red berries in the middle of the branches.  This thought intrigued me along with the idea of perhaps gluing my red and orange canna leaves to a rock. I read that Goldsworthy used spit, but I had hoped I could use pond water.  I abandoned both ideas as I was not sure what my two turtles would do with these creative pieces of art.  Any berries or leaves that I brought to the pond could be poisonous.  I might create something nice and at the same time murder my reptile friends in the process. Even if the plants were not poisonous, my 10” turtle is inquisitive and hungry and I doubt I could create anything without her poking her head up in the middle.  Ah, maybe I have stumbled upon something cocreating, improvisational art with a turtle. If I create anything for my pond, it will have to be something practical like a floating turtle  bathing platform.

Goldsworthy also dug small hole and lined them with things. I entertained this idea for just a short second as I was sure that I or my husband or one of our dogs would fall into the hole twist an ankle and end up in the emergency room. I wondered if anyone ever twisted an ankle in a Goldsworthy hole long after he left and then cussed saying, “Who the heck put that there?”

My attempt at Goldsworthy- Fall Texas
day, Pollen heavy, sneezed often,
poked hands with thorns, decide
Goldsworthy is fun, but not my cup of tea.

Then I thought, “banana leaves.”  Not something I thought of on my own,

an idea that stemmed from a Goldsworthy book.  I though I’ll hang them and weave things in between them!  Oh, certainly this idea would be marvelous and though the artwork that I would labor for hours on would only be temporary, that was the point of this exploration. I was trying to move away from my traditional bronze work for a time to work things that were opposite—not permanent.  So, I cut a banana leaves and then another and then another and in hindsight I probably should not have cut them until I absolutely needed them.  I thought I heard Goldsworthy fussing at me. The first leave tore terribly, and I adjusted my idea.  A banana leaf hanging from something, but what… Oh yes, one of the million of pieces of bamboo that I cut and were now piled knee high in my yard.   I felt vindicated.  I was on a roll.  Later I added donax leaves, potato vines, and other elements to this hanging art.  You know, I did enjoy creating this way, even though I was sneezing terribly. I liked looking at the textures and color of my garden and combining them in a way that I had not thought of.  I held the banana leaf for a very long time, just feeling its weight, looking at the color, and oh yes, washing off the bird poo. I also thought it was marvelous that the bougainvillea plant on the side of my house that I have been impaled on more than once, now had a purpose. I had plenty of thorns to secure lots of natural pieces.

I have decided to appreciate Goldsworthy from afar. Especially after my experiences with nature. (I feel I have a part of me that is very sad for my inability to coexhist and create with my nature.) I know his descriptions of his artwork usually talk about the weather or the cold or how long it took, or that it fell down and he started over.  I give him credit for his tenacity.  You know, I do remember reading once that Goldsworthy peed on ice to get it to stick. I think that would be going a little too far, or maybe it would just be harder for a woman than a man, and besides, I would be hard pressed to find ice in Houston at any time of the year. I can only determine that he really enjoys creating in nature to endure and persevere.

Best part of this experiment was finding some use for
the bougainvillea thorns that I have injured myself on.

One of my biggest distractions of trying to Goldsworthy was my need to do other things in the yard.  Clip this plant, move this piece of garden art or fix this part of the pond.  I realize that my oasis that I have created out of my yard  is my Goldsworthy.  The weaving of textures, of height, and color, the exploration of sound by bringing in a waterfall and stream, even the live creatures that now live here.  I and my canvas have even endured the natural hardships. I look at the 15 foot tall bird of paradise that hangs over- dead from the very long freeze we had last winter. But I’m delighted with the babies at her dying feet. My canvas will change a bit, but we will also preserver.

I have decided my garden is my canvas, it is my successful Goldsworthy.

I have enjoyed my exploration, and am glad that my turtles are alive. I’m pleased to have washed the pollen out of my hair and the critters off my skin.  Not that I mind either, it is just that if I am going to do that I would rather work on my yard and canvas. A lasting Mongeon creation that keeps on giving.  I will leave my nature interaction for my garden, the one that I travel through each day and marvel at, as I am on my way to the studio to create!

Bridgette Mongeon is a sculptor, writer and educator as well as a public speaker. Her blog can be found at https://creativesculpture.com.

She is also the owner and creator of the God’s Word Collectible Sculpture series
Follow the artists on twitter twitter.com/Sculptorwriter twitter.com/creategodsword
Facebook http://www.facebook.com/bridgette.mongeon
Listen to The Creative Christian Podcast or the Inspiration/Generation Podcast Click on Podcast Host Bios for a listing of all podcasts
Listen to the Art and Technology Podcast

It Is Becoming A Tradition

Graduate school is at Goddard, just a short drive from Montpelier. Our tradition continues as we stop and see Richard Hathaway each residency- twice a year. I think that Roxy has a thing for the professor. My word it was cold last winter. I was afraid her lips would stick. I so wanted to sneaker skate on the rink made near the sculpture, but it was too cold. None of my classmates would sneaker skate.

We come to two residencies. Each time we go
out to dinner and go sick Richard Hathaway

Away At College

Sorry for the lack of posts.  I have been traveling and then in residency for the last two weeks.  For those who may not know I am in a graduate program at Goddard College in Vermont.   I have another blog where I document my perpetual learner experience.  It can be found at http://www.perpetuallearner.blogspot.com be back into the studio and office in the next day and will be getting back to work. Can’t wait to create artwork for this semester.

Some More About Quick Sketches And The Facial Action Coding System

I have been posting on this blog about my quick sketches in clay. I have made a commitment to do several a week.  I decided to put this video together to show the process of creating one.  I think it is fun to watch.  If you want to take this challenge yourself remember set the timer for 30 minutes.  Then go to digitalsculpting.net and post them on the Mudbox forum under the Mudbox Challenge thread. Here is another post that talks about the Facial Action Coding System( FACS). Hanson Robotics is using FACS to help their Robots look and act more real. This I describe in my Einstein Robot post.

Hey while there give a listen to the podcast.

It has been a while since I did a video tutorial. I really love doing these. I must do more.

Thinking About Fast. Is It The New Slow?

A 20 minute sketch in Mudbox. Time to loosen up and have some fun.

It does not take long to search around my site and see that most of my work is very detailed.  I have and do love that way of working, but lately I have been thinking about fast.  Sculpting fast and seeing what comes out.  I may embrace this throughout the next few months.  I have done this before with quick sketches in clay but have not done it in a very long time.  So I started with Mudbox—working fast in mudbox.  You may have seen some of these on my blog before.  But here are some 20-25 minute sketches using the Mudbox sphere.

25 minute sketch in Mudbox from basic sphere.

Creating fast. It is freeing, there are no stipulations, sure there is a deadline- the timer. but it is amazing, if you do this over and over again what it will do for the way you work.  There is a great sense of peace in working fast. You may see a bunch more pieces on this blog as I experiment with fast.  It does not have to be hectic or trying. So I am wondering is fast the new slow?

Pedagogical Philosophy of Bridgette Mongeon

It was recently brought to my attention that I needed to have a pedagogical philosophy. At the time, I was not sure I had one. But after some thought I discovered that not only did I have one, I was quite passionate about it. And so, I am sharing it here.

My next personal assignment- a pedagogical philosophy as it pertains to teaching technology.

Pedagogical Philosophy of Bridgette Mongeon

Having myself experienced the wonderful learning engrained in Dewey pedagogy at both Vermont College and Goddard College it is a given that this educational experience would affect how I teach. But experiential education was a part of my own personal, perpetual learning experiences long before undergraduate or graduate work. It has propelled me into my many advancements including that of the title of Master Sculptor.

Passion and Experiential Learning

Assisting an individual to take charge of their own learning through ongoing dialogue, empowering them with knowledge and resources, and helping them to find opportunities that will enhance their life long learning while encouraging professional advancements means tapping into the passion of the individual. Tap that passion and an undying enthusiasm for learning will develop. Even though I am teaching a subject or a discipline of art or writing even helping other with their career goals, as creative individuals it is this personal passion that I am hoping to ignite.

Life is Interdisciplinary A creative life and education is inherently interdisciplinary. It is rare that you will meet a gifted individual who is single minded in their creative practice. The individual and their creativity are usually extremely complex. The key is to encourage and celebrate the interdisciplinary excitement and exploration of the creative individual while also encouraging focus. This means that an instructor is more than just teaching a subject or a discipline, but they are helping a student to explore

Communication and Differences

Communication is essential, between students and instructor as well as between instructor, coworkers and administration. It is also necessary to understand that individuals work differently when it comes to accepting and retaining information.

Understanding the diverse array of students, their cultural backgrounds as well as their experiential backgrounds and tailoring or tweaking the teaching style also helps with this clear communication. Finding the perfect dialogue that will fit each individual’s learning style and diversity, and being sure of clear communication with students, coworkers and administration is at times a challenge, but a challenge that I find continues to be my own welcomed exploration of the study of the psychology of learning and behavior.

Creative Angst

As an artist, writer, musician and business owner I understand the diverse nature of creativity and am intimately familiar with the struggles that students can have as they push through the creative process for either in individual projects, a semester, or in just trying to find their own voice. Understanding this internal war of art and sharing my own experiences, and by showing respect for the student and the process, while being transparent enough to allow the student to know their struggle gives us a rapport.

Size of Classes Small- Large- Challenged

Throughout my long career as a creative person and educator I have developed educational programs to assist individuals in tapping into their creativity. These have been presented to children, adults and those who suffer from emotional and psychological disabilities. I have taught sculpting, writing, art, and the business of art along with other subjects one on one, in small groups and at large lectures. In all of these instructional venues I strive for the personal connection to each individual through sharing and exploration. Education is a collaborative effort as one stands on the shoulders of those who have gone before or shares information for research and makes advances.

Teaching is more than a job; it actually offers a way for me to fill the unquenchable need to pass on information. To help those who are struggling through areas that I have come through, and to ignite self esteem.

My research and involvement in the art community continues. I look forward to sharing these resources and opportunities with my students. Through this education I will find ways for them to ignite their self-assurance and to apply their newfound knowledge, while realizing that, “Arriving at one goal is the starting point to another.” John Dewey.