Thursday, December 13, 2012


Should you find yourself in Paris, I have a work in HEY!  Modern Art and Pop Culture, a show with 61 artists.  The exhibition runs from Jan 24-August 23 2013 and is at  the Musee de la Halle Saint Pierre, 2, rue Ronsard, Paris France.  Check Hey!'s website for more information!  Or click on these images to enlarge.

Late breaking noose--due to unforeseen circumstances, the work was unable to be in the show!! But, should you be there, stop by and check out the other wonderful work!!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Battle of Carnival and Lent book available!!

The Battle of Carnival and Lent by Judith Schaechter |

I have finished the book...barely in time for the holidays.

I apologize for the high price, such is the world of self publishing.  To make it smaller would mean less images and/or smaller ones and I really wanted to make a document that was somewhat representative of the experience of seeing the work as it was intended.

happy holidays!!!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Eastern State Penitentiary--Last Chances to see the installation

 On December 2nd, my installation at Eastern State Penitentiary will come to a close!  :(

(Photo by Dominic Episcopo)
 It has been absolutely fantastic to have had the opportunity to design and install for one of my favorite spaces on earth (and in my hometown!). 

If you are interested, please know that this is the  last chance to see the work in its intended setting—one that hearkens to sacred architecture like chapels and even cathedrals, while at the same time being a place of incarceration and also a fantastically lovely creepy ruin.

My work is usually seen in light boxes.  At Eastern State, it is installed in directly in the architecture and as such the images are dynamically powered by nature—the weather,  the time of day and the season.  With constantly changing light, the works truly come alive!!  Seriously, if you like my work, you don't want to miss this!

Please check out Eastern State's website for information on hours , directions etc as well as information on special Flashlight tours!

(Flashlight tour photo by Charles Outhier)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Here's some images of the final sections of snakes.  In the images, you are seeing the glass after it has been sandblasted and the patterns on the snakes have been drawn on with a permanent sharpie pen.
Now it is ready to engrave.
For many years I engraved with a Foredom flexible shaft series S engraver which is a wonderful workhorse of a tool.  It is very affordable and if you maintain it, it will function fantastically for eons on end. (Note to students: all Foredoms in art schools are in HORRENDOUS condition.  All of them, everywhere.  Its like trying to engrave with a jackhammer while disco dancing.)

I recently invested in a new engraver called an Emax Evolution.  It is expensive but much more comfortable to hold and it engraves at a faster speed.  So they say--I am not sure I can really tell the diff.  But it is a smoother ride, all in all.  The only issue I have with it besides the noise is that the motor is housed in the handpiece itself.  In the video demo© (a new feature here at The Noose!  :)), you can't see the water.  Know that there is a small puddle in the area to be engraved, as there always must be when using diamond tools.  This preserves the diamond surface and allows engraving to be a smooth operation.

You can see in the demo that every scale in every snake is done with massive amounts of love and care!  Gotta nurture them snakes!  This is yet another reason my work takes forever. 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Slithering away

The second third is done. And woopsy...I totally intended to do a blow by blow deconstruction of this one...but I didn't and I apologize. Things are super busy around here and I just went for it, full steam ahead. Hopefully on the third third I will take more in progress shots.
 Four of six panels complete.  The two on the right are what I just finished.  Two more to come.
 Details: click to enlarge.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Endless, endless snakes.

 "What's this?" you say.  I'll tell you.  This is the alchemist revealing the secret of how to turn lead to gold. This is what you've all been waiting for......this is what has been held back from you by selfish and secretive paranoid art-cabals.
This is .............wait for it.................this is nothing short of the key to how to make manifest amazing visions in material-artwork-form revealed at last....this is how to produce scintillating works of art ex nihilo!

Ok..maybe its more like finding out who Oz really is...

The secret is endless, endless, endless practice and work!  MUHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAAAAAA!  Joke's on you if you thought otherwise.  OK--I know people reading this are almost all artists and know what I mean...but I have to get my jollies somehow.

What you see above  the wizard pic is the panels of glass with the Sharpie pen demarcations on them for the next stage which is engraving.  (Sharpies are so awesome they deserve a link....even though they are already massively popular.)

I want to point out what this stage represents, which should explain why I got all wierd above about revealing the wizard of Oz etc etc):
FIRST, I worked in Photoshop with existing images of snakes to create the swarmy pattern (which I got it in my noggin should be a repeat).  This took over a week.
THEN I printed that out and redrew it, in my own hand with a rapidograph on mylar.  This took about a week.
(THEN  I scanned that and painted the snakes in Photoshop. Please note this stage was not necessary for the stained glass--but because I wanted to use the document for other things as well--also, I was very concerned that although I was using found source material that the snakes be MINE, ALL MINE by the time I was done.)
THEN I printed the black and white document out to use for the glass, actual size.
THEN after cutting the glass, I traced the snakes onto the contact paper sandblasting stencil.  I am not using a photographic process here.  Why?  Because often when I do that it looks like RAT VOMIT.  And I have to spend several extras days trying to make what the stencil wrought into something that doesn't suck. So much for The Convenience of Mechanization...or the superiority of digital methods, for that matter--hand done is way faster!  This took about four days.
THEN, after sandblasting I drew all the snakes back onto the glass, patterns and all on both layers.  This also took about four days.

So how many times have I drawn these snakes already?  Ten katrillion?  That's certainly what it feels like!  On the upside, I feel like a leading expert in "how to draw snakes"!

Next up:  Days and days of engraving.  Or, as I like to say enGRAVEng.   (The whole engraving will take over a week or even more than two and then I will paint--so stay tuned... to get to the finish line, the whole thing will take months.)

So when people think art is some kind of magical process, all I can say is walk a mile in my moccasins, bro.  But lest you think I am complaining:  I love this!  Its just not easy or simple...or magic!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Snakes and how to make them

 This is the photoshop document I am working from.  Please see this post for details on how I made the sketch.
 This is one third of the above drawing done in glass.  I will eventually do the whole thing, gawd willing.  This section is 22" high and 10" wide--but I cut it into 5" strips.  Click to enlarge, blah blah blah....  Please note I am not trying to match the colors exactly.
 Here are the layers for the right hand side.  This project is being done with Saint Just Turquoise flash #221 and Lambert's 1001/R/CL/B.  The black  details are Reusche Stencil Black 1059 and the yellow is Silver Stain  yellow #3.  The pink is cold paint (Mussini transparent magenta)
 Left hand side layers.  Are you wondering if this was hard to do?  Yes, YES, emphatically YES!!!  I can very close to trashing it and giving up  on too many occasions to count.  So, now that your appetite is suitably whetted, I am sure you want to make some snakes in the glass yourself!  Here's how, step by step!  See posts in upcoming days as I work on it.  Please note it may take a while.
 The glass has been cut for the second third of the design--another section 10" x 22". (this pic is a detail)  I covered it with clear contact paper to make a sandblasting stencil and spent all day tracing snakes onto the plastic.
 First sandblast.  On the red panel, I sandblast some areas I know I want to be blue.  On the blue panel, I sandblast areas I know I want to be red.  This is just a rough guess.  I will decide to take off more later and will do it with a hand engraver.
 Then I free blast the snakes so they have texture on them.  This is for a thousand reasons:  #1 being its so much easier to work on it when some of the color is gone.  It may seem like the flash layer is thin but removing it by hand makes it evident that its deep....very, very deeeeeep.  And it hates you and your measly attempts to change its appearance.
 This is what the layers look like together...not very impressive! 
And here it is next to its older sibling.  More to come!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Art and Science in Smackdown!

In  his article "Science is more beautiful than art"  blogger Jonathan Jones says:  “From the Higgs boson to searching for life on Mars, science is overtaking art in its capacity to expand minds and inspire awe”
Anyway, it is surprising to see this because usually its religion that takes a huge bashing in the realm of “expanding minds and inspiring awe”. But it’s true that all three domains offer up such. Ah, the good old days when religion, science and art were seamlessly integrated like a zygote. Art and science  (not to mention church and state) could not possibly have been separated as it wouldn’t have been conceptually possible to tease them apart in the first place.
Art, science and religion (and, hello, philosophy) are all things that lay some claim to addressing “the meaning of life” and that they should go from integrated to disintegrated is the cost of technology.  Or something like that—I’m saying technology because it actually progresses.  (Thinking doesn’t really progress, if you ask me because our brains are essentially the same ones we started with when we crawled out of the Rift Valley.  Thoughts have changed, mind you.  But I don’t think we are more intelligent.  I feel I am on pretty shaky ground here, I’m no neurologist but this is my blog blah blah blah.)
Science is about empirical thought and testing and retesting.  This ends up with people on the moon, which, you’d be nuts to say isn’t impressive.
I’m not even going to go into the can of worms that is  the morass religion finds itself in today with regards to “its capacity to expand minds and inspire awe”….but ART?  Art can potentially enchant in many ways science cannot.  But does it bother?
EdwardWinkleman is upset by the article owing to what he sees as a false dichotomy.  What’s with the “us versus them” mentality?  Well…yeah…but that in no way accounts for the fact that science IS outdoing the arts with regards to  the “capacity to expand minds and inspire awe”.
I can see if all we are talking about is images, then art isn't doing so bad.  I like that pic of Neil Armstrong, but its neck in neck with this image:
And, I gather, in the minds  of many adoring fans, the frenetic sentimental spun-sugarvomit images of this guy:
But we're talking more than images. Why?  Because image is something that artists have fled from.  Image is too superficial.  Image is what those cheap and trashy celebrities traffic in. Art, especially conceptual art, is not about images.  Like science, its going for some deeper truth. least I think so.
If Art operates in a realm separate from science, the question remains, is it doing its job?  Oh right—its doesn’t have a job.  Art is unemployed.  No one can really persuasively argue that the function of art is “to expand minds and inspire awe”.  That’s quite a presumption in these post post post modern times.
Ugh.  Why am I even bothering with this nest  of iniquities?  Ok, as an individual artist, I have taken it upon myself, as MY job “to expand minds and inspire awe”
 And I can see with my very own eyeballs and hear with my earballs and sense with my heartballs  and get a shiver in my bellyballs that many people find much art bereft of awe and inspiration.
I won’t be giving examples to protect the possibly innocent.  But you know what mean.  You, the viewing public wants an art experience that’s awesome!  And this happens a tiny proportion of the time.  Like maybe at a blockbuster Van Gogh show.  Or with MUSIC, which I am not going to go into because as far as I can see, its got its own claim to awesomeness that’s very, very different from “visual” art  (Cliff notes: visual processing in the brain is radically different than auditory processing.)
The question is, has there always been so much dreadfully unsatisfying art?  Was there ever really a time when it was understood that the function of art was indeed “to expand minds and inspire awe” and therefore artists worked like crazy to make that happen?  Because I think that history tends to flush the toilet and we forget that there’s ALWAYS a vast proportion of art that utterly fails to do this.  And it ends up in dumpsters.
On the other had, there’s some good reasons to see that expectations of art have changed and they may liberate artists  from the oppressive chains of doctrine!  Woot woot! Artists are free to work with no master, be that political, intellectual or even practical….Hooray!  But... the cost of that is in the area of relevance!
It all comes down to expanding minds and inspire awe.  You can’t, on the one had say that art has no function, that it is not beholden to anything or anyone, that it is for its own sake only and then say that it does have a function.  If its function is “to expand minds and inspire awe” then artists need to get to work because the competition, i.e. science, is fierce!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Not Knowing

I’ve been posting a lot of images to FB lately and people get a kick out of either trying to figure out what they mean, or coming up with their own meanings.  This is fine and part of the reason I post them.  It makes perfect sense that this would be a natural response to a mysterious image.

But my experience of these images is a lot different.  Let me go back in time a bit.  I am a product of a late 20th c. art school education.  In my studio classes I was required to discuss works in progress.  These discussions with critics and other types of instructors (mostly visual artists themselves) were verbal, naturally.  Duh!--that’s how people  communicate…it would be pretty darned strange if we’d done it via charades or smoke signals or anything other than spoken language.  The most common approach, for those of you who didn’t go to art school is that the instructor, initiating the critique says, “What are you working on?”…. What a question!  I know, I know, it sounds so very, very harmless!  But how wrong you would be!!!   
 The damage that tiny inquiry has wrought...its no joke to say that alone has brought art to its knees….  A far more pernicious question, and one that is so standard now as to be reflexively unquestioned is the one of meaning.  An artist is required to know, a priori, what the work means.  How that can even be in the age of POMO (wherein the meaning might be said to arise from the context of the viewer, not the mind of the maker), is pretty insane.  But regardless...there it is.  ‘Tis de rigeur in ths day and age when an artist is seen more as a manufacturer of meaning than of objects or images.   Sigh…….

Why is it so bad?  Because after four years of interactions that are based on that model, the student artist internalizes the injunction that, at the outset of their project, they should know what they are doing.  This leads to a culture in which artists often know what they are making.  And uh oh—that’s NOT GOOD!  At the very least, its not very creative, as one would be engaging in the act of re-creation (recreation) whatever it is they have in their noggin. 

I could go on an on about how that innocent question inverts the creative process so its exactly back wards—but the Cliff notes are that perhaps, in artistic creativity, its is just fine to arrive at the answer after the project is done. Or, dare I say it?  Maybe never?  Let your fingers do the walking and let the viewer do the interpreting.

All this is leading me to another aspect of my childhood, wherein I dwelt on images I couldn’t figure out and this was good!   Some of these images were Danish political cartoons by Bo Bojensen.  My parents had three books of his, all in Danish.  They spoke tha language and I could have asked them to translate (and I did on occasion) but better than that was to NOT KNOW.

And now, I arrive, finally at the point of this essay.
Being able to read is good.  Being able to read images is good too!  Duh! But also, there is great value in not knowing.  I recently found out this is a Buddhist thing.

Knowing is comforting.  It allows us a sense of security and a feeling that there are certainties and universal truths.  “This is a chair, it means I have a place to sit”…but as soon as something is assigned an interpretation, alternatives are lost.  Inspiration is negated, exchanged for classification.
It seems to me, the end of an image is when you KNOW it.  I don’t want them to end…so I don’t try to know them.

I love the fact that the images I post could have multiple interpretations.  When people suggest a lot of potentialities, and there’s no one that seems superior to another, then I know I have selected a fan-freaking-tastic image.  An image that will live for a long, long time, dancing around in human consciousness,  effervescing, evanescing and mutating and morphing and hop, skipping and jumping around playing hide and go seek while we keep trying, keep seeking and keep dancing in time with it. Yee ha….! 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Gorky's Granddaughter

No, silly! I'm not Gorky's real grand daughter!  I am the grand daughter of Mr and Mrs Edwin Ivor Thompson and Mr and Mrs  Abraham Isaac Schaechter!  Gorky's Granddaughter is a very interesting website with artist's interviews for your perusal and pleasure. Here is the interview with me--made on a recent saturday afternoon.  I really do spout off on a number of topics including sausage casings, U2 and the Baroque.  I also model the snake fabric as an attractive muumuu!
Please check out other interviews at their site here!
 Meanwhile, apropos of nothing, but in the spirit of my religion: ANCESTOR WORSHIP, here are my real grandparents. Top; Schaechters, Bottom; Thompsons.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Snakes. On a Plane.

I mean "plane" like "planar"...not aeroplane! D'oh!

These are the snakes I referenced in this image. 

From those sources, I "unwound" the snakes and reconfigured them to intertwine with each other.

Then I made a black and white sketch in my own hand (done with a rapidograph on mylar).  I had this scanned and  painted it in Photoshop.

Here is the painting.  This image is an endless repeating tile. meaning it can be reproduced as wallpaper (the kind on your walls or the kind on your computer, I  don't matter none) or as a fabric or anything else that needs an endless repeat design.  Click on image to supersize!  There is a TON of detail compared to the first version.  Lots of fun stuff going on with the snakes scales.

TMI department: this image was an absolute BLAST to make.  This is the type of work I like best.  Endless noodling at the actual pixel size and endless details.

If you don't believe me about the tile, here it is repeated eight times.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Last Three Pieces for Eastern State

These represent the "Weeping Chorus" of those left behind to mourn the chaos when someone is incarcerated. I tried to refer to the aspects of the windows in Cellblock 9--where each cell has a prisoner and an ornamental window. In these windows the ornamental design has moved into the space with the figure. Why women? Well mainly because most prisoners are men. I wanted to avoid the romantic relationship, hence mother, sister and daughter but the sister seems to have snuck into that territory on her own! Thes windows are in Cellblock 14.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Eastern Sate show info

info Here!!!!
The short version:
Cellblocks 8, 11, and 14 for the duration of the 2012 season (April 1 - November 30).

"The installation marks Judith Schaechter’s return to Philadelphia after more than ten years exhibiting nationally and internationally. It will open to the public Sunday, April 1, 2012, with an opening reception Friday, May 11, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The Battle of Carnival and Lent will be on view through November and is included in standard admission to the historic site."

For more information and schedules, please call (215) 236-3300 or visit