Small Business Help 4 Free

Last August, after Amy Woods and I launched NorthCountyCurrent.com, we consulted with business anaylst Sharon Geltner at Palm Beach State University’s Small Business Development Center in Boca Raton.

We are letting you all know that she’s now available for consultation in Palm Beach Gardens, as well. Due to popular demand from north county businesses, the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) will now offer FREE social media consulting from the PGA campus of Palm Beach State College (PBSC) – Administration Building.

Sharon Geltner

Sharon critiqued our North County Current Web site and our facebook page, and implementing her suggestions helped us give it a more professional look.

Personally, I owe Sharon a Big Thank You… I can say that she forced me to go to a deeper level with WordPress, and I am not a PHP person. I learned about sticky posts, and that my WordPress theme has a spot for quick edits, helping me really clean up our site. I also learned a lot more about Plugins and Widgets. It wasn’t all that bad, and didn’t take me so long once I tackled the projects (so there is hope for you, too!)

She advised us to tweak our bios and headlines (I am still resisting on the headlines. my bad…)

SBDC, hosted by PBSC in Palm Beach County, offers professional expertise consulting and workshops to small business owners and entrepreneurs to help them succeed in both the domestic and international marketplace. All SBDC services, including help in the areas of finance, business plans, incorporation, taxation, publicity are social media, are FREE.

Sharon will be in Palm Beach Gardens on Thursdays, starting Jan. 5. Phone for your appointment now, through Ted Kramer at 561- 862-4784 or email Sharon at geltners@palmbeachstate.edu.

Now, a bit about Sharon: She has won awards for newspaper reporting, publicity, corporate communications, videography and online media campaigns and her clients have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, MSNBC.com and Newsweek.com. Check out her You Tube video, “The Fat Lady Has Not Sung: Why the Internet Needs the News,” about how search engines rely on daily newspapers.

 

Sharon is president of Froogle PR; an Internet marketing, online reputation management and SEO firm.

Discover Local Artists: Potter in Jupiter Farms

This weekend, for Live Oak’s kiln opening and sale, I went out to Justin Lambert’s home and studio to see how that all worked.

The photo he had on his site of the kiln looked interesting, a kind of cross between Noah and the Whale and … I’m not sure what.

Click here to see that earlier article.

I had no idea what he was talking about, soda, fire, whatever, and so, I had to go to see for myself. Here’s what I learned…

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Wood-burning kiln
inside-kiln
A peak inside the kiln.

Lambert doesn’t like glazing his pottery. So, he’s developed a clay body that vitrifies after being fired in his wood-burning kiln for 76 hours — the heat saturates through the clay, making it very strong.

The effects he produces on the surface of his pieces has to do with controlling the way the heat and ash go through the kiln, as well as the way he and his team load the kiln.

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Here’s what a piece made of the special clay looks like in its bisque form. That’s Lambert holding it up for us to see.

Then, they take a piece of wadding (sort of looks like a hot-dog wreath, and glue it with Elmers to the bottom of a mug, for example, and they place that on top of a dish, and that creates different designs depending on the type of pieces that they are loading in, as well as the way the flame and the ash are moving across the surface, marking the work.

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Lambert holds up the mug, so that we can see the wadding glued to its bottom. Later the wadding will be removed (obviously).

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Lambert sets the cup on top of the plate, demonstrating how the pieces are loaded in the kiln.

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Here’s a piece already fired, showing how the markings are made, and how the ash colors the plate as it is blown across it.

Every time they do such a firing, they keep careful documentation of what works and what doesn’t: when they start firing the kiln, when they are stoking it and how much air is going in and out.

As I said before, it goes on for 76 hours and the team has to stoke it, throwing in bundles of wood (like you’d see at Publix sold for the fireplace) every five to eight minutes. They end up using two to three cords of wood.  They rotate the four people on the firing crew and they also have a team of assistants to bring them the wood bundles, etc.

Realize, too, that it took them two days to load the kiln, so that they could get all the pieces positioned properly for the effects they were after.

“We want to block the flame from going right though the kiln and when it’s bouncing around inside, that’s how we get the different colors,” Lambert explained.

Here are some of the finished pieces, showing a variety of coloration and markings.

bowls

Very cool…

Lambert won’t be having another kiln opening until March, however, you can go to his ETSY site to see his work, pricing and to purchase. Click here.

This day, potter Fong Choo was on hand, so I had the good fortune to learn what he does, too.

fong

Fong Choo holding two of his teapots.

He’s originally from Singapore, and lives in Louisville, Ky. He studied business in college, and fell in love with clay when he took a class in pottery. He currently has a show at the Lighthouse ArtCenter in Tequesta.

Now, he does something totally different from Lambert. Here’s what he said (and by the way, he fires his pieces in an electric kiln: “I fire my glazes at lower temperatures. And then I overfire them to a much higher temperature, causing overmelting, which creates jewel tones.

To get the effects he’s looking for he does endless hours of testing, and his forms have depressions that are designed to catch the overrun.

He loses 60-70 percent of his work.

The handles that you see in these photos are his new idea and latest endeavor. Since he’s getting ready for the Smithsonian Crafts Fair (April 2012, Washington D.C.) he’s playing with ideas.

fong-1“I make teapots for a living,” he said. “In Singapore, tea drinking is a way of life. Traditionally, potters make these little teapots — Yixing. But I’m not one of those potters, however their work inspires me.”

Choo will soon be going to teach at the Torpedo Factory.

Here’s a link to Choo’s site, where you can see his work and prices.

And here’s a link to the show he’s presently in at the Lighthouse ArtCenter.

Photos by Carol Korpi-McKinley

Christmas tree

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Cameron at Tree Towne

I finally had to put my friend, Isabel’s, small Christmas tree away (a godsend for two Christmases). Lights were dead, and dust was yaythick, and the kids will want to see a real tree for Christmas.

So, since there were only two trees left at Publix (and rather brown looking at that), I decided to go to Tree Towne, and was met by Cameron Vanderee, who had both arms clad in wreaths like bracelets. “Want a wreath?” he asked. No, I said. “I want a tree. Help me pick one out, and give me tips so that I can spread the word.”

About Cameron: He’s been coming to Florida with Tree Towne for 8 years, since he was 19 years old. It’s a kind of vacation for him. When he’s not doing Christmas trees, he works in construction. Cameron is from Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Tree Towne has a variety of trees. This year, it had Frasers, Douglas Fir, Grand Fir and Noble Fir. On this lot (in Boynton Beach), Tree Towne had trees up to 13 feet, but, people have ordered trees up to 20 feet. It will sell 10,000 trees this Christmas, Cameron told me.

I said, not for me. No wreaths. “Give me something no taller than you and something that will last through Christmas.”

He told me to buy the Fraser. In his opinion, it lasts longer, has a nice scent and is priced reasonably.

So, I asked, how do you tell if it’s fresh?

He broke a tip off of one of the ends, and said to see if it looks like it still has some green left in it, and some sap. I hadn’t thought of that one.

Run your hand along one of the branches, and the needles should not come off (I knew that already).

What about the other trees? Some people like the Douglas Fir because they like the puffiness of it, he said. The Grand Fir (from Oregon) has a slight citrus smell to it. The Noble Fir is similar to the Fraser and holds its needles.

Any tricks to keeping them green? Cut off the bottom of the trunk a little. Keep it watered (obviously), he said, and when you water it the first time, some people claim that warm water helps. It’s supposed to open up the tree cells.

Tree Towne sells something for that purpose, and some people put aspirin or sugar in the water…

I tried the warm water routine, but he picked me out a nice tree….

Tree Towne has a north county location in Jupiter at Indiantown Road and Old Dixie HIghway.

Discover Local Artists: Justin Lambert

Ceramics at Live Oak Pottery Ceramics Studio

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Justin Lambert of Live Oak Pottery Ceramics Studio is hosting his Third Annual Anagama Kiln Opening and Holiday Sale, on  Sunday, Dec. 11 from  11 a.m. to 3 p.m. His studio is located at 17847 Brian Way, Jupiter.

To find out what anagama means and to see all about wood and soda firing (very interesting) go here.

Lambert makes functional pottery and likes to set them in groupings (just like how we pair off or join groups — or don’t — in life). “The interaction of my pots lead to certain scenarios alluding to the ideas of companionship and solitude,” he said. “Some pots need a companion and others need to stand alone. Some pieces that are presented in pairs lead to the idea of lifelong relationship. Without one of the pieces, the piece will not serve its intended purpose and may visually look incomplete.”

Also, he believes, groupings of bottles or cups invite the viewer to slow down and take notice of the subtle diversities in form and the infinite variety of surface texture and color attainable through the wood and soda firing he employs.

He is particularly interested in high alumina clay bodies in both wood and soda firing.  “I reduction cool these kilns to achieve deeper colors and palettes relatively unexplored by our ceramics community.  Frosty, dry, movement-rich, glazed surfaces provide information for future work, and my careful analysis of surface-to-form integration provide insight to new formulas and firing schedules.”

Lambert is influenced by all functional pottery, but is very interested in pottery from Southeast Asia, Oceania and Africa. “Their honesty, simplicity, necessity and beauty are qualities I strive for in my own work,” he said.

For more information, call him at 561-676-5453.

Discover Local Artists: Debbie Lee Mostel

The Lighthouse ArtCenter’s 2nd annual Landscape Exhibition Show awarded Debbie Lee Mostel’s SouthWest By Sky as Best in Show. The piece is an abstract mixed media expression from her collection “Technology Deconstructed/Nature Reconstructed,”and  features integrated circuits, a vintage globe and Tiffany Glass, all layered over a dramatic Southwest landscape.

Best-In-Show

Mostel with “SouthWest by Sky,” Mixed Media on Wood,  48 by 24 by 12 inches, $3,200

Mostel has two other pieces in the show, which runs through December 31.  JoAnne Berkow, gallery owner of Rosetta Stone Fine Art Gallery in Jupiter,  judged the show, which is comprised of 130 paintings, photographs and mixed media pieces.

As an avid nature lover and environmental activist, Mostel asks, “From the oceans to the deserts, are we going to take care of these gifts? Technology makes our lives more exciting and interesting but we still need to use this legacy wisely. Stepping back can be as important as stepping forward.

Mostel, trained as a goldsmith and glassblower with a BFA from California College of the Arts, is an avid collector of the unusual.  Combined into her works, the viewer will find tin wind-up toys, mummified amphibians, vintage hood ornaments and optically perfect Pyrex glass. To see her collection, go to Mostel’s Web site.

The Lighthouse ArtCenter is at 373 Tequesta Drive, Tequesta. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays. For information, call (561) 746-3101.

 

 

 

Discover Local Artists: from other places, Art Basel et al

chickens-1
Send in the clowns. Colorful collectors clowning around outside Scope Miami

This past week (Dec 1-4), art lovers of the world descended on Miami for Art Basel and its host of satellite fairs, public venues and private spaces.

Once one actually gets into the thick of things, and starts to comprehend just how much is going on, it’s easy to see how it can take four days to see it all (and why platform high-heel shoes may be artsy and fashionable, but not a terribly wise choice of footwear).

On Saturday, we managed to get through a few of the fairs, at high speed, and just scratching the surface.

So little time. So much art. And a whole world with its own language, sights and sounds. An international art fair like this one is like visiting a foreign place, where one’s mind becomes a sponge soaking it all up, while  saving the processing for later…

shoes
Dead Flies

But getting back to shoes: At right, these comfortable sneakers  — 26 pairs –were seen at Art Basel.

“Dead Flies” the installation was called. Handcrafted, using cast polyurethane resin, stitched canvas, shoe laces, cable, enamel and acrylic paint. For fun, I asked, “what size do they come in?” And received a serious answer. “Dimensions vary.”

And these (as are others we’ve seen in real life) appeared to be thrown with abandon. Over those cables. Just so.

Richard Hughes (lives and works in London) is the artist and “Dead Flies” was exhibited by Anton Kern Gallery, New York. Shown at Art Basel.

rich little girls

Rich Little Girls

And since we’re on the subject of clothing, check out the wallfull of Victorian children’s dresses made of Dutch wax printed cotton and set against a striking blue background.

The artist is Yinka Shonibare. “Little Rich Girls” was exhibited by Stephen Friedman Gallery at Art Basil.

Shonibare, 49, is a British-Nigerian artist, who lives in the UK.

“People have come to associate the fabric with Africa, but actually it is Indonesian-influenced fabric produced by the Dutch for sales to the African market,” he wrote.  “It was made in Hyde…and I buy it in Brixton market. I like the fact that something seen as being African is actually the product of quite complex cultural relationships.”

 

plaid
Is it plaid?

ballet
Ballerina

The work above, by Umberto Ciceri,  is actually the result of a series of video still frames taken of a section of one of his ballerina works (at right).

Every frame is manipulated, pixel-by-pixel, to blur the images and obtain different color variations. Then they are shredded into many threads and intertwined together to create a silk-like pattern that is printed and placed behind a lenticular lens.

Since the artwork has been purposely blurred,  it is impossible for the viewer to put the image into focus, and he or she must reinterpret the image in such a way that the figurative becomes abstract and vice-versa.

Ciceri works in Bologna. These pieces were exhibited by White Room Contemporary Art Gallery Positano and shown at Red Dot Art Fair.

“The Winding Way of Life” by Nahila Campos
road
Road

Although she does not see life as easy, she keeps a positive attitude. For example…

Mixed into her road (the white ribbon-like strip that works its way through the canvas, you can see bits of rock if you look close, she points out. But her rocks are really tiny crystals, with all the magic that crystals have. It’s all about viewpoint, she believes.

“I want to represent our city spaces as a new visual model,” she said. “Viewers are confronted by hectic and rambling locations where they can journey and stray. Aerial spaces are populated by surprises and dreamlike visions, where humble and unnoticed city components are spotlighted.”

Sojiro Takarmura

china-pattern

The work at the right is by Sojiro Takarmura and was shown by Gallery Edel in Red Dot.

Interesting kind of body art, a tattoo that reminds me of a popular much loved Japanese china pattern that I’ve seen just about everywhere, including my parents’ dining-room table.

Jane Seymour

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Above is Jane Seymour at Red Dot with one of her Open Heart sculptures.

“I am always painting and designing,” she said. “Art is what I do for me.”

 

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“Homage to Magritte”

Palm Beach Gallery Biba artist Robert St. Crox, whose “Homage to Magritte” is pictured above, said he gets his best ideas in the middle of the night. Which is when the image of the house in the background came to him. The figure of the man emerged later. He cut out that figure from the front of the house, hung an orange tree upside down, inside, and, outside, repeated the figure of the man, with a single orange as his face. Shown at Art Scope.

“Boyscouts”

family-portrait

Ursula Sprecher and Andi Cortellini, collaborative photographers from Basel, Switzerland, won the grand-prize of the Art Takes Miami competition with their “Friends in Leisure” series.

Each piece, a kind of “family” photograph,  captures the inherent idiosyncrasies of a club or society of every variety. The group portraits are staged, with club members posed in an environment that plays off of each group’s hobby. We are defined by the company we keep, believe these two artists. Shown at Art Scope.

Room Divider
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Room Divider

I’m always on the lookout for interesting “furnishings.” This room divider, above, dices, slices, shreds. It’s by Mona Hatoum and was exhibited by Galerie Max Hetzler. At Art Basel.

woven paper
“Female Head Madonna #21”

The madonna, above,  by Gugger Petter, was shown at Andrea Schwartz Gallery of San Francisco at Red Dot. Petter uses newspaper as her medium, weaving the neutrality of the black and white print with minimal amounts of color from the Sunday comics section or advertisements. The writer in me is glad to see that newspapers are still appreciated…

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“Big White Pussy”

“Big White Pussy,” by Marion Peck,  was exhibited by Sloan Fine Art, New York. Alix Sloan said that this pussy was in much demand and sold quickly, with other buyers lining up. Quite a character, this cat. At Art Scope.

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Found Art

Presented by the Eleni Koroneou Gallery, Greek artist Eftihis Patsourakis arranges found amateur paintings by lining up the horizons to form a new landscape. At Art Basel.

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Podrome #6

This is a section of a painting by Akio Aoki shown at Vermilho Gallery, Sao Paulo, Brazil. Here’s how this was done, according to the gallery representative. “The artist starts off with white canvas and white glue. He puts  the canvas  down (onto the floor) to get the remains of the floor. He stores it, aging the memory, and he makes them into empty bookshelves, which are full of memories.” These are all from different floors at different places and at different times. The places where the lines don’t line up are called headaches (podrome). This particular work is called “Podrome #6.”

 

HIV AIDS Research at Scripps Jupiter

On World AIDS Day, December 1, Scripps, Jupiter campus, researcher Susana Valente, Ph.D., delivered the first presentation in this season’s Front Line of Hope series.
The Scripps Research Institute of Florida .  January 2010

Valente, assistant professor in the Department of Infectology at Scripps, has just been awarded a $3.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health for HIV / AIDS research.

The first recognized cases were 30 years ago, when young men in New York City and Los Angeles, California began developing rare infections and cancers, she said, and at the time, no one knew what this was all about.

It became obvious that these men were suffering from the same syndrome, and by mid-1980s, Luc Montagnier of the Pasteur Institute and Robert Gallo of the National Cancer Institute identified the viral agent and gave it a name, Human Immunodeficiency Virus.

By 1998, scientists who were analyzed older plasma samples from the 1950s, with features of HIV, and thought that HIV had been introduced to the United States in the 1940s and 1950s.

HIV is a part of a group of “slow” viruses, also part of a bigger group, called retroviruses, common in many species. SIV, or Simian Immunodeficiency Virus, is a retrovirus that’s found in apes, and has been around for at least 32,000 years.

HIV-1 and HIV-2, crossed the species barrier to humans. HIV-1 evolved from SIV from a subspecies of chimpanzees and HIV-2 evolved from SIV from white-collared monkeys.

How did that happen? Most likely, while butchering and consuming ape meat, the ape blood got into cuts or wounds of African hunters, Valente explained.

In the 30 years, HIV spread quickly. By 2007, 33-million people are living with HIV/AIDS and 25 million have died. 1.2 million people have HIV/AIDS in the United States, and the third highest concentration of infected people is here in South Florida, right behind New York and California.

For incidences of new infections, (2006 numbers) five of the top 15 cities are in South Florida.

There are 121,000 people with HIV/AIDS in Florida. Last year, 5,200 new cases reported of HIV infection, and 4,400 cases with AIDS and 1,600 have passed away from the disease.

In Florida, half of the HIV population is Black, and that’s a big number, considering that only 14 percent of Florida’s population is Black.

And the group of infected people over 50 years old is a growing number, 27 percent of the total number. Of that group ¾ are male. “That percentage holds true in the United States, and those who died in 2010, 50 percent were more than 50 years old.

HAART (Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy) was introduced in 1996, and formalized by the FDA in 2001. This therapy targets at least two steps of the life-cycle of the virus.

The problem with HAART is that patients become resistant to the treatment. And because it has side effects (nausea / liver damage), patients fail to take their medication consistently, which is essential for the regimen to work.

And, there are no vaccines, because HIV evolves quickly, making it impossible for an antibody to fight the disease.

Other problems: There are many combinations of the virus, making it hard to be treated by a vaccine. Also, the virus can hide from the immune system, and, finally, for studies and research, there is no animal model that is appropriate.

So, “we need new viruses that target different aspects of viral replication and better safety profiles. There’s lots left to be done,” she said. “A popular approach is to try to find compounds that block the proteins in the cell that the virus needs to replicate. It’s easier if we can target the proteins that the virus uses rather than trying to target the virus itself.”

Here, Valente gave a basic lesson on cells, cell transcription, post-translational modifications, and how and where the virus takes advantage of the cells and those processes.

There are different stages where the virus can be stopped within the cell, and her team is looking for proteins that will do just that.

“We know that certain cells can be infected by the HIV virus, but some cells cannot be infected and those resistant cells can be made or we can make them resistant. A third way, we can give them some signaling molecules that put them in an antiviral state (that’s what happens when we fight any infection). We want to know about the anti-resistant state.

 

“So, we take the cells that are resistant and see what DNA is making it resistant.

“We have found two cell lines that are very resistant: H1 and H2.”

H1 blocks the RNA of the virus from coming out of the nucleus of the cell into the cytoplasm (so the later viral steps are abolished), and H2 stops the RNA from becoming mRNA.

“We also need to devise chemicals to mimic what those proteins are doing.”

In addition, a new compound that blocks TAT has been discovered.

One of the first proteins produced by the virus is TAT, which pairs up with viral DNA in the nucleus. “It’s like gas for a car. If we can stop TAT from acting, we can control replication of the virus.”

A compound, SV101 (isolated from marine sponges) does the job.

“If we take infected cells and treat them with SV101, we drastically drop the RNA that is expressed. It also changes where TAT is in the cell, excluding it from the nucleus, which is associated with lack of activity.

Front Line of Hope is an educational invitation-only series. To request an invitation or further information on the 2011-2012 Front Lines of Hope program, call (561) 228-2084 or email Philanthropy-Florida@scripps.edu.

copr. 2011 Christine Davis