27 Jun

Figure Drawing

As I was writing a post for a blog hop featuring Lynn Krawczyk’s new stencils (come back on the 3rd for that!), I realized that I had not posted any figure drawings in a while. I’m still going to drawing group almost every week and still enjoying every minute. Our fearless leaders have added a new model to the mix who looks like a greek statue and poses with a hula hoop — it doesn’t get much better than that!

SO, here’s a few drawings for fun — and there will be more next week in conjunction with the blog hop. Then it will go quiet here for a few weeks while we’re on vacation. Yay!

Figure Drawing 6/14

Figure Drawing 6/14

Untitled

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19 Jun

This is the wordy, introspective one.

Spending a weekend with other artist friends and looking at art inevitably leads to talk about what we’re seeing, what we can learn, where we are going, and the like. I had actually sent an email to everyone about some long range planning a few weeks previously, so we kept coming back to each of our thoughts on where we were and where we were going. After attending the SAQA Conference, I thought really hard about my Five Year Plan as an artist. I think about it every few years, but I quickly get stuck when I realize that I don’t even know where I’ll be living in five, or even three, years. This time, I told myself that was just an excuse to not do the hard thinking. I am at a point where I am trying to figure out where my work fits in the world. The quilt show circuit doesn’t seem to be quite the right fit, so I am wondering if I am focusing my talents in the wrong direction. Maybe there is something I don’t see in myself that I should be exploiting, like my design or drawing background, or a turn I should have made along the way. Or maybe, I really am a studio artist. I am compelled to make. I know that much.

I am in the enviable position of not having to support myself or my family, so I could/should just make art (since that’s what makes me happy), and leave it at that. But, unfortunately, I’ve learned that is not enough — I’m the type of person who craves feedback and context for my work. I am just not satisfied making solely for the sake of making. I am discovering that I want feedback — be that through sales, shows, collaborations, whatever. I find myself getting wound up when the quilt world posts happenings around Quilt Markets, and I think it’s because I see others getting feedback and finding a context. They are creating something people want, and I want to do that too. I want to feel like I have a purpose. I’d love to just be satisfied with making art, but not worry about showing or selling it, or producing anything marketable. The problem is that I know I’d be left bitching and moaning about how no one appreciates my work (because I’d get little to no feedback on it or context in which to put it).

One of the things that came up over and over again with my friends this last weekend is that art is a conversation. We say something, and we need someone to complete the sentence, or answer the call. I am trying to wrap my head around what my conversation is about. Where the intersection of what I can do, what I want to do, and what people want from me is. So, I made some lists to see if any pattern or epiphany emerges.

First,  I can’t make any site-specific plans. But so much these days is accomplished online, without borders. On the other hand, if I want to go a gallery-oriented route, being able to make connections in person really does seem to be the more effective modus operandi. I think this means that I should do what I can now, but some goals with just have to be more more long term or amorphous.

If I wanted my work to have more exposure and to grow a marketable side of it within the context of the creative world I am currently in, IQF (Quilt Knit Stitch, QuiltCon, Quilters Take Manhattan too?) is an opportunity to promote or pitch ideas — if what I have to offer overlaps with what they can provide. I keep seeing what others in the quilt and fabric arena are doing and feeling like I could do something like that too. But just because I can doesn’t mean I should. I may not have the skills or temperament to follow the same path. I need to find my own.

I keep asking myself, what is my “Do what you love; live your dream?” So many stories start with “I didn’t know what I was doing but I jumped in anyway because I loved it,” and now are “and it became the successful thing you see today.” I need to think about how I can do this — am I too timid to see the big idea, or am I just not clever enough to even have a big idea? One goal could be to find my big idea.

If the quilt shows and markets don’t offer any opportunities for me, then where should I go to find the kinds of connections I need? I need to seek the artier versions of the quilt-oriented bloggers, conventions, and products that I follow now. I should find things to get inspired by and wound up about that are more appropriate to the work I could be doing.

I can easily make a Three Day Plan. That is essentially tasks. In fact, I make a list of tasks/intentions each morning. But without a long term goal, I can’t really know if my tasks are making steps in the right direction, or if I am just going in circles.

My Three Month Plan is pretty well laid out too: Finish gun, TSA, and shroud quilts. Submit to Quilt National and QuiltCon. Follow through on Privacy show. Vivien pointed out that again, these are still tasks. I need goals at this point. Refine my elevator speech is one. Just the process of doing that will help me determine what it is I do, and hopefully give insight as to what I want to do. The weekend reminded me that I need to always be on the lookout for connections. Reach out to those who I admire, even if it’s just to watch. Cultivate a diverse group of friends (says one of those whom I admire). Keep learning!

Where I’ve been (that I can tap into because maybe I’ve been barking up the wrong trees):
• Crafty projects like costumes, plushies, knitting, and pin cushions
• Practical bed quilts usually riffing off existing patterns and trends.
• Fabric (or wrapping paper, or…) designs of a graphic nature.
• Graphic design in the identity, annual report, and ephemera vein.
• Teaching basic patchwork and quilting
• Writing about process and inspiration i.e: my blog, 12×12 book

What I do (because what I do should light a path):
• I make conceptually based narrative textiles in the themes of current culture, military life, homes and roots.
• I make scrappy, practical, bed quilts usually riffing off existing patterns (could these be marketed to upscale retailers if they were simple and graphic al la Denyse Schmidt Works line or Weeks Ringle? But more Americana, edgy?)
• I attend life drawing sessions

What IQF Houston (Quilt, Knit, Stitch, QuiltCon, Quilters Take Manhattan) offer (what others appear to be making happen through these venues):
• Show fabric design portfolio to company reps
• Pitch a book idea (technique based, or ?) Interweave, That Patchwork Place
• Pitch a magazine contribution
• Pitch a special exhibit (geek art, pop culture, cat quilts…)
• Make connections for teaching
• Look for sponsorship from thread, fabric, gadget, sewing machine companies. Bernina!
• Find a unique way to promote a gadget.

What in my general area do people want that they see value in?
Fine craft with a purpose/use (for example, bed quilts, jewelry, vessels, How-to books, classes to inspire and allow emulation).

Potential Three Year plan:
• Join a McGuffey-like art center wherever we move to.
• Have an elevator speech.
• Be proactive about shows at various types of venues and with friends and peers.
• Apply to and receive grants to continue making art in my current vein?
• Deepen my knowledge of Photoshop and Illustrator (specifically for use in creating fabric designs?)
• Learn how to use the embroidery module on my Bernina better and to digitize designs?
• Draw more, better, bigger…

What I already have planned
• Be a part of the Privacy show at McGuffey in Feb 2015 and help take the show to DC or beyond. “Those Who Would Sacrifice” and the TSA quilt in progress are well suited for this. Maybe return to woven envelopes.
• Homefront & Downrange show in NC summer of 2015 with photographer Hunter Rudd and selected works from Combat Paper.
• Submit to Quilt National 2015: Finish gun quilt and shroud quilt.
• QuiltCon 2015: submit Zeitgeist.
• Dinner@8: Selfie is accepted. Will travel for most of 2015?
• Unraveling apron to be in JAM show Marci McDade is curating

Talking with my posse this weekend, it’s become more and more clear that even though I have the opportunity to follow my Selfie quilt to IQF in Houston, or potentially Zeitgeist to QuiltCon, and network there, and I have a history with the art quilt world, the traditional art route may be better suited to me. My girlfriends see me closer to the fine art world, and McGuffey juried me in based on my drawings. I would stick with SAQA, but leave the quiltier quilt shows as pure enjoyment. Change my focus a little. Not dramatic, but a change. I would like to try to support my art habit through sales, grants, and other projects, which would all require getting my work seen and therefore validated. I will remain flexible. I will cultivate connections. I will focus on the art. I will make the art. And, I have accountability partners in my friends.

18 Jun

The Exhibits

Yesterday I posted about all the places we went on Natalya, Robin, Vivien and my art posse day in NY. This is a deeper look into a few of our stops.

Day One:

Museum of Art and Design

Multiple Exposures. I wasn’t sure what to expect in this exhibit of photography and jewelry, but it was surprisingly inspirational, not to mention beautiful. No photos were allowed, but they did have a selfie booth with which we had way too much fun.

MAD selfie group MAD selfie

In addition to contemporary jewelry and body adornment which incorporated photography in a wide variety of ways, there were also historic pieces which I found intriguing and inspiring. There was a grouping of photographs of a single eye, supposedly that of an absent loved one, which I could see informing some of my work, as well as Trench Jewelry made from found bits of armory and other metals. Some things were weird and wonderful, some beautiful, some gross, and some surprising. Overall, it was quite inspiring.

 

RE:Collection. I took photos for my own note-taking purposes, so they are pretty poor, but just for a taste of the exhibit, I’ll share them. This exhibit was subdivided by theme. I was very attracted to the collection of political and socially minded works. That’s similar to what I’m exploring in my own work so it’s no surprise.

Re-Collection at MAD, NY

This is “21 Countries” by Stephen Dixon. Each plate represents a country where the US has had military intervention. I didn’t completely understand why plates, or much of the imagery, but I really liked the layering of images, color, and line. Robin, I think, mentioned that layering might be the trademark of our era. Thinking of sampling in music, I think she could be right.

 

Boris Bally

I don’t remember the title of this necklace by Boris Bally, but it might be “Brave.” Given what I’ve been working on recently, it struck a chord.

 

RE-Collection at MAD, NY

A detail from a work by Jennifer Trask. I REALLY like the way she makes creepy beautiful. So many inspiring things to see. We just soaked it all up!

 

Urban Fabric

The Hudson Guild had another exhibit we enjoyed. Urban Fabric’s creator Lix Kueneke embroidered city maps on fabric and then invited the city’s inhabitants to stitch on the maps in response to several questions, such as “what is the heart of the city?” and “what is a negative place in the city.” It was interesting to see that in some cities, the loves, hates, and interesting bits were scattered overall, and in other cities, they were clustered in specific spots. The maps are beautiful in an of themselves, but the viewers’ responses on them add a wonderful depth. Even the backs of the embroideries are intriguing.

The Urban Fabric

Urban Fabric

 

Day Two:

The Sugar Baby

On Sunday, Natalya took me to see Kara Walker’s “A Subtlety” at the Domino Sugar Factory. It is worth reading up on this because of all the layers of meaning she has imbued it with. I can’t remember where I first heard about it, but I was excited when Natalya posted her visit on Instagram and then suggested we could return to see it on my NY weekend. I have admired Walker’s paper cut imagery for years, so this was particularly interesting to me. Artsy has a nice page with a range of Walker’s work too.

A Subtlety

 

The sugar factory is about to be demolished, and as a send off Walker had the opportunity to create a very site specific work. The centerpiece is an enormous, and I mean enormous, Sugar sphinx. She is powerful from the front and subjugated from the back, and completely dominates one end of the building.

A Subtlety

 

 

She is attended by life-sized molasses boys that glow when the light catches them just right.

A Subtlety

 

All around is a disintegrating, syrupy, sweet mess. It’s makes quite an impact. I would love to see cities and private entities take an interest in engendering more provocative, public, and site specific art like this. It is a gift to the community and anyone fortunate enough to visit.

 

A Subtlety

 

Submerged Motherlands

I had never heard of street artist Swoon before about a week ago, but heard an interview on public radio about her junk rafts being installed in an exhibit. The interview intrigued me, but I didn’t really take note of when or where the exhibit was. Natalya had heard about it as well and, knowing it was at the Brooklyn Museum, suggested we go look. Oh wow, was it breathtaking!

Submerged Motherlands

 

Another site specific work, the installation centers around a huge fabric tree that extends all the way up to the rotunda and blooms with lacy paper cutouts that cast delicate shadows on the walls.

 

Submerged Motherlands

The cutouts extend all the way to the floor and extend out as graphic water swirling around the boats.

 

Submerged Motherlands

Submerged Motherlands

 

The rafts themselves are made of junk and found materials. They are fantastic vessels which, like all of Swoon’s work, are a deft combination of rough and refined.

 

Submerged Motherlands

Submerged Motherlands

And the best part? She can draw! The combination of loose and tight, rough and refined, decay and growth, and plain old fine craftsmanship left me standing in awe. I studied each larger than life woodblock portrait hoping to soak up some of Swoon’s skill by osmosis. Amazing, amazing, amazing.

An inspiration-filled weekend like this begs for follow-through. We talked a lot about what we were seeing, what spoke to each of us and why, what our own goals and hopes are, how the exhibits might inform our work, where to go next, how to emulate those we admire, and on and on. More on my thoughts tomorrow.

 

17 Jun

Art Girl Posse

Almost exactly three years ago, Natalya, Deborah, Robin, Vivien and I got together for the first time for an arty girl’s week. The photos got lost in my blog update a few years ago, but you can read about it here. Last weekend, we did it again! No Deborah (too far), and only for one day with Robin and two and a half for me, but it was fantastic all the same.

Rear view from the train

I brought my daughter this time, who was excited to take a train to New York. I think it sounded quite adventurous or sophisticated to her. So, we hopped on the train Friday morning and off we went, passing through DC, Baltimore, and Philadelphia along the way.

Pink Trees!
Pshychylustro

Speaking of Philadelphia, this shocking pink grove of trees caught our eye as we sped by. It was followed by a pink bridge section and an orange building. Turns out they are an art intervention titled Phsycylustro, part of a revitalization effort called PlanPhilly (click link for specific info on the project).

In NY, my daughter was amazed at how many people were in Penn Station, and then at how crowded the sidewalks outside were. She’d been to LA on our road trip two summers ago, but it’s a sprawling kind of big, whereas NY is a congested kind of big. We switched transportation modes and took a coach out to Nyack to meet Natalya and her girls at a Russian Fest. If you’ve never seen Russian folk dancing, it’s very athletic and a lot of fun to watch. We also ate a delicious dumpling called pelmeni which I couldn’t pronounce, but was happy to eat.

Saturday was art posse (as another friend dubbed it) day. I’ll save the specifics of the larger exhibits for the next post. We met Vivien at another train station and then Robin in the city at the Museum of Art and Design where we saw two very intriguing shows. From there, we checked out The City Quilter and the adjoining ArtQuilt Gallery. The shop has their own NY themed fabrics which I eyed, but was quite restrained and didn’t buy. They also have a nice selection of books. In the gallery were quilts by Michael Cummings. They are the kind of bold, fabriholic, statement work that I love. And, I was even bold enough to leave a resume and CD of work (more about the weekend’s conversations in another post too).

After The quilt shop was lunch, and then we searched out The Hudson Guild to see the Urban Fabric Exhibit which was so worth the effort to find it off the beaten track. Serendipitously, that put us right under the High Line, so off we went to stroll NY from a different perspective.

High Line

 

Did you notice the face in the windows of the building on the right? The whole weekend seemed to have an underlying current of street art, from the view out the train window, to murals and graffiti seen from the High Line, to what we would see on Saturday — a museum worthy installation, and curiously tagged billboards on the BQE (a little Googling revealed they were by RAMBO).

 

Rubber Sentinels

 

Not too far away, on Broadway, are the Rubber Sentinels by artist Chakaia Booker. Interspersed with cafe tables and chairs in the pedestrian zone, this was the perfect time to take a cupcake pause and placate the tweens.

 

Me and my art posse

 

At this point we said goodbye to Robin who had evening plans, and returned to Grand Central Station where we had just enough time for a quick look at the Centennial Quilt show organized by The City Quilter and displayed at the Transportation Museum.

 

Yarn trees

On Saturday, Natalya took me and my girl to Brooklyn. First stop was the Textile Arts Center. It is such a great looking resource, with looms, sewing machines, dye space, a small gallery, and little studios for visiting artists. The class schedule makes me wish I lived near Brooklyn! In the gallery, I recognized work by Joetta Maue, who I’ve admired, and weaver Erin Riley.

 

Street art Brooklyn

Bananaman!

 

More street art along the way. I like the way the Bananaman ties together the yellow and the black in the building.

After TAC, we went to see Kara Walker’s installation at the soon to be demolished Domino sugar factory. Impressive! That in itself was worth the trip. We lunched nearby and then, on a whim, decided to visit the Brooklyn Museum to see Submerged Motherlands and Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party. While the Dinner Party was a huge influence in the feminist movement, and have most certainly paved the way for my friends and I, it was interesting to see it as very in-your-face and almost crass, despite the gild and shine and fine workmanship. I know that’s all part of it’s power, but at the same time, I was surprised at how far we seem to have moved in the time since. My peers can be so much more subtle about our subject matter and message, and we definitely take a lot of things for granted which Chicago and her peers had to grapple with. In contrast was Submerged Motherlands, which was also very feminine, but in a softer way. That’s the one that just blew me away. Loved, loved, loved it.

Sunday, we met Vivien again for a quick dog walk on an old Rockefeller estate overlooking the Hudson (lovely!), and then Natalya took my daughter and I back to Penn Station for our train ride home.

Bridge, NY

I don’t remember which bridge this is, but it’s for Natalya. It was a great, inspiring and invigorating weekend and we have pledged to do it again in a few years. I can’t wait!

 

06 Jun

Americana

The Service Flag quilt exists no more. It has been transformed. I am calling the series quilted art on canvas, and I see it as decor more than anything else. I made a variety of sizes, and I still have some bits left over if I want to keep going!

Presenting Americana:

Americana I web
Americana I, 16″x20″ $350

 

Americana II web
Americana II, 16″x20″, $350

 

Americana III web
Americana III, 24″x8″ $200

 

Americana IV web
Americana IV, 12″x12″ SOLD

 

Americana V web
Americana V, 12″x12″ Donated to the 2016 SAQA Benefit Auction

 

Americana VI web
Americana VI, 10″x10″ SOLD

 

Americana VII web
Americana VII, 10″x10″ $150

 

Americana 8-11 web

 

Americana VIII web
Americana VIII, 5″x5″ $75

 

Americana IX web
Americana IX, 5″x5″ $75

 

Americana X web
Americana X, 5″x5″ $75

 

Americana XI web
Americana XI, 5″x5″ $75