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Our visit to Ishmael Soto's studio and home in Blue, TX

512.921.7212 :: thelab@fe29.com

Ishmael showing us his giant "purse".
A giant handbag adorned with baby handbags.
The Purse
Ishmael and Cecilia discussing one of his numerous kilns.
At the Kiln
Sculpture display space in his very large and well lit studio.
In the Studio
Along the route from his studio to his hand-built home (the third one on his 50-acre place)
Ishmael & C Walking
Taken from the cat-walk in his house. Check out all the ceramics on his kitchen counter!
Ishmael Making Lunch
One of the wonderful sculptures Ishmael sent us home with.

Our visit to Ishmael Soto’s studio and home in Blue, TX

Sculptor Ishmael Soto and ceramicist Julie Isaacson came to see us at our Satellite Gallery in Austin. We all hit it off fabulously and so were invited to visit Ishmael at his home and studio in Blue (near Lexington). Ishmael has developed quite a compound for himself and his very large family. He hand-built three homes on his +-50 acre place in the woods and has a wonderful and serene lifestyle that he willingly shared with Cecilia and I.  We spent most of a day touring and admiring his artworks, kilns, gardens, books, knives and homes. He even cooked us lunch, which is apparently not a common event. We had the privilege of seeing some of the treasured works he has produced over many years, and uses in his day to day life. It was such a treat. To top off this wonderful day, Ish agreed to let Fe29 represent him and we all three worked in the rain, to fill up our entire truck with as many sculptures as would fit to bring back to Wimberley for our opening that is scheduled for late July/early August. It was like Christmas when we returned to the Art Lab and began unpacking and arranging his works. They look so good among the other pieces and we feel privileged to be representing such an icon.

At 80 years old, Ish was more than a little skeptical when Cecilia asked him to consider collaborating with another of our metal artists.  The look on his face was priceless when she first brought up the subject, but she proceeded to hand over to him a favorite unfinished work. The artist had made numerous unsuccessful attempts to finish the work and hoped that Ishmael may just have what it takes to turn it into something they can both be proud of. While Ishmael has stated more than once that he doesn’t do collaborations, as a little more time has passed, he seems to be warming up to the idea. Last time we met with him at ACC he mentioned something about putting it through the roller, so, watch this space for his first collaboration. I think this old dog will be learning a few new tricks!


Opening Night 7
Opening Night 4
Opening Night 1
Opening Night 9
Opening Night 2
Opening Night 8
Opening Night 5

FIRST LIGHT: Opening Reception Photos!

The opening reception for “First Light”, the Fe29 debut exhibition in the US, was a great success. Over 100 guests  enjoyed good food, good company and of course, great art! Everyone seemed to have a wonderful time, as evidenced by the many guests who spilled out onto the street and partied until late into the night. Thank you all for taking the time to help us celebrate.

We would also like to thank those who helped us with the exhibition and made this a night to remember. Firstly our landlord Cid Galindo who not only allowed us to use his beautiful office space for this event but was kind enough to open up his living quarters to make the caterer’s job more pleasant.  Not only is Cid very generous but he also makes good conversation and is a great party guest!

We would also like to thank Glazer’s for their very generous gift of some very good wine, which was enjoyed by all, David and Pam Taylor who did a great job catering; Lenore Avant and John Gallagher for helping us set up; Paul Beck from Paul Beck Productions who went out of his way to pull together a  track of sounds from the workshop after a last minute request; Benjamin Slade & Adam Rasmus for not only designing the invitation but also for going out of their way to ensure we had signage, a slide show, etc for the night.

We look forward to seeing you all at our next exhibition. Watch this space.

RC, Backhoe Bob and the lads break ground in preparation of pouring the slab.
1 Breaking Ground
The first load of concrete is poured.
2 Pouring the Cement
Preparing to raise the first section of roof.
3 Preparing the roof
So, here it is - the first section being secured in place.
4 Raising the Roof
Look at the SIZE of this thing. Well, we are in Texas after all...
5 Taking Shape
Speaking of Texas - we all know how toasty it gets here in the summer, don't we. Well, the foot of insulation helps one heck of a lot!
6 Insulation
As a lot of sparks fly around this place, the galvanized metal walls protect against fire.
7 Liining

Construction of the Fe29 Art Lab

What would we have done had we not run across RC Crawford and his Texas Iron Buildings?  We cannot thank you enough RC, for the wonderful “Art Lab” that you built for us. We just LOVE it! As does everyone that stops in. You built a good, solid shop for a reasonable price and we all enjoyed the process.  You were a pleasure to work with and we’re certainly glad to call you our friend.

Check out a few of the images above that I took during the construction. I wish I could figure out how to resize and include a short video or two, as RC’s patented method of “raising the roof” is something to behold. He uses a come-along on the four corners of each section of roof and ratchets the completed section, along with insulation, up to the top. Let me tell you – this man is really something!

OK, well there are a few others we would like to thank. Like Manuel Perez, who labored under difficult and uncomfortable circumstances to put the second layer of insulation in the ceiling and walls = 12 inches in total so we can all stay comfortably even in the hot Texas summers. Then came Brian Collins, who (with Manuel’s assistance) worked around everybody to create a wall separating the main shop from a climate controlled finishing room; install the metal lining on the walls (so sparks won’t be a problem),  the power (with outlets every 5 foot along every wall) , and 8 T8 lights. Oh and of course we shouldn’t forget the recycled double glazed low-e doors that he re-purposed for windows and the VERY large insulated door donated by a friend that Brian used to create a pocket door between the two rooms. Last but not least we need to thank Manuel again for his efforts to install the two hoists on the I-beam way up there. That was of course after Jim Miller has welded (oh such beautiful welds) the hoists to the trolleys.

So Thank You RC, Brian, Manuel and Jim. We just love our new workshop.