March 30, 2015

This Spring, get a glimpse into the Beehive

WICE has earned the reputation for exemplary, professional classes held at a collegiate level, and rightly so!  We spoke with Jan Olsson, an instructor in the WICE Visual Arts Department, to highlight one of our many gifted instructors, as well as provide a glimpse into their lives outside the classroom!

"You just play," she tells me.  Armed with flowers, feathers, linen, or old scraps of clothing, students gather around the "Queen Bee," Jan's printing press, like children on Christmas morning.  "It's a fun process because you never know what's going to happen on the press.  Everyone gathers around it and holds their breath when we peel back the paper to reveal the finished product," Jan Olsson informs me as we stand peering at Queen Bee inside her studio at La Ruche.

In French, "La Ruche" simply means "Beehive."  Over time, more than 100 other studios were built to resemble it.  What sets apart this hive from the others is its maker: La Ruche was designed by Gustave Eiffel.  This artist's colony is a circular structure, three levels high with 24 studios that take the shape of wedges. 

March 27, 2015

Creating Travel Journals - an Inside Look

Daniel Smith, WICE's Director of Programs, has switched hats and shares his experience as a WICE student in Jan Olsson's course Creating Travel Journals.   In his own words, Daniel give us an inside look at this drawing class:

How I learned to make mistakes and gained creativity in my Travel Journal

Image by Daniel Smith

When I bought my first Travel Journal, Sketchbook or Carnet de Voyage, I marveled at the white, empty pages of heavy paper that begged to be written with a fountain pen and thick black ink. Although I had been living in Paris for several years, my dream was to sit in a corner café with a travel book and write, sketch and capture the moment for all to experience.

Image by Daniel Smith
At our first class of a half dozen WICE Members and our WICE Instructor, artist Jan Olsson, we learned to test our pens and markers on scratch paper. Using scissors we cut patterns of our lines and circles to glue onto pages. We wrote descriptions and stories of life in Paris. “Hey, this is easy,” I said; there was no drawing or complexities.

Based on a demonstration by Jan, I could not wait to buy markers of black, gray and light gray to create the illusion of distance and depth. Once I found the markers, I started a Paris city-scape on the inside cover and facing first page.  Easy. Just as Jan explained I used dark in the foreground and lighter greys in the middle and background and quickly my city-scape was finished! But when I turned the page, to my horror, I realized that the ink had bled through the first page onto the second. My new travel journal was already permanently ruined.

March 24, 2015

A New Take on 'Spring Cleaning'

Here are a few questions for anyone who is reading this post: Have you downloaded a program and lived to regret it? Does your computer seem to have a mind of its own, behaving in ways you don’t want? When you do a search, are you taken to irrelevant websites? Has you search engine changed without your permission? Are extraneous tool bars or pop-ups appearing on your desktop?

Paul Lewis’s 3-part class aims to help you take back control of your computer through a series of sessions that will help you “Spring Clean Your Machine.” While some classes offered by WICE are designed to inspire creativity or to increase appreciation for the culture around us, Paul Lewis describes his classes as ‘practical’; “The sessions are designed to help anyone who owns a computer but does not have a technical background,” he explains. (Most of us, then!) Do not, however, let the mention of technology and practicality sway you from what promises to be not only an informative and incredibly useful course, but also a chance to learn from a man who has taken his knowledge of computers to a few countries around the world and has many an interesting tale from doing so.

March 13, 2015

Film Classes... coming soon to the WICE office!

Paris When It Flickers
A 3 Part Film class given by Vincent Fournols

As anyone with an interest in films will know, Paris, with its iconic scenery and winding streets, has played host to a huge variety of film since the first films were created. Where better to learn more about these films and the importance of the city in the industry’s development than from within the winding streets themselves?
Over the course of the first two sessions, Vincent will explore the part that Paris has played in the film industry since it began. He will discuss the influence that the city has had in the world of politics and art and will use movie clips to illustrate his lecture.
Having given these two classes before, this time round Vincent has added to his repertoire by turning up the tempo for a 3rd class on musicals. Musical lovers might be surprised to hear that there are in fact great French musical films… Vincent will elaborate!
And here is what the man himself has to say about his classes:

March 7, 2015

Make It Happen: International Women's Day 2015

The first time I personally heard of International Women’s Day (IWD) was in my twenty-second year of life.  After researching it, I realized how dire the situation was – a holiday this important should not go ignored!  This is the time to uphold women’s achievements, recognize challenges, and focus greater attention on women’s rights and gender equality to mobilize all people to do their part.  United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon summed up recently what has been published time and time again: “When we unleash the power of women, we can secure the future for all.”

Each year IWD is celebrated on March 8.  The first was held in 1911, and we’ve come a long way since.  In 2015, thousands of events occur to mark the economic, political, and social achievements of women – organizations, governments, charities, educational institutions, women’s groups, corporations, and the media celebrate the day.  There are many ways to get involved on an individual basis as well.  There are social media trends (Twitter hashtag, anyone?) and local events, such as movie showings and parades.  You can sport the colors – purple, by the way – or just have a simple conversation with someone about the importance of this day.