Healing Arts Exhibit

Last week I was invited to speak at the 11th Annual Healing Arts Exhibit at Walter Reed Military Medical Center.

Healing Arts Talk

The exhibit started as an awareness campaign for the Breast Cancer Center and has now grown to encompass the use of the arts in many types of healing. The vast majority of artwork was created by patients at Walter Reed. Mine was there because the director loves my work and believes that it speaks to the same audience. I took four pieces from my Army Wife series. The two aprons on the plinth will stay for about a month — until mid November.

 

Healing Arts Exhibit

It was a fantastic experience. I spoke about my inspiration for the series and how it not only allows me catharsis but can also give expression to others who may not have found their words or images. Apparently it went over well. It’s hard to predict what kinds of connections an event like this will create, but I met the young curator who put together the show, many well heeled ladies from the Spouses Club, and one in particular who already gave me some tips for local galleries to shop another show to. Best of all was sharing my artwork with an audience who “got it.” Several wives came up and thanked me for expressing their story.

As an aside, there is nothing so humbling as spending a day at Walter Reed Military Medical Center. While my military experience has had it’s challenges, they are nothing compared to those faced by the service members themselves — especially those with visible and invisible injuries. I met several people whom I’m sure could tell fascinating stories. But the people watching is what amazes me every time I visit. Torsos outnumber limbs. I see different prostheses on every visit. Emerging from the elevator was a guy wearing standard leg prostheses and carrying blade prosthetics for running. Another man walking down the hall had a prosthetic hand with movable fingers. I think it was one of those that the wearer can control with their thoughts. There is always all manner of wheelchairs. Our favorite this time was the guy being pulled by his bulldog, but the dog was having a bit of a hard time because of the slippery floors. And then there’s the dogs. Many people have their own service dogs (like the wheelchair-pulling bully), but Walter Reed also has their own comfort dogs. Volunteers take these dogs around to patients or just hang around in the halls for anyone who needs a little doggy fix. Each dog has it’s own adorable harness/vest/pack thingie made from old military uniforms. They were made by a volunteer and are absolutely fantastic — some making great use of the uniform collars or pockets. One dog had her own custom ID tag. Too cute. My husband always stops to love on the dogs. It’s part of his own healing.

I am honored to have been asked to be a (very small) part of this important center for our military service members and their families.

Shroud

About a year ago the United States was slogging through a government shutdown. I went to DC and sat for a small while deconstructing an American flag as a metaphor for what I saw our congress doing. I blogged about it here. Since then, I have used those flag parts for several art quilts. One was as a base for “Dominant” which was shown in SAQA’s regional show Tarnish last May.

I haven’t shared my second piece as yet because I decided to submit it to Quilt National. Today, I found out that one of the two pieces I submitted was accepted (yay!) and so the other was rejected (also yay because now I can share it!).

DeathShroud_detail web

Death Shroud for Democracy” is constructed of a deconstructed flag, used clothing, and a vintage sheet. It should be obvious that it references the Shroud of Turin. Death Shroud expresses my frustration and disappointment with the state of American politics particularly since 2010.

Death Shroud web

I probably should have more to say about this piece, but I’m not sure I need or want to put it into words. I suspect everyone can have their own conversation with it. As for the other, somewhat related, piece that DID get into Quilt National, we’ll have to wait until May 2015 to see that one.

Sewing Expo 2014

Friday, I went to the Original Sewing and Quilt Expo in Fredericksburg, VA to volunteer at the SAQA table and see whatever there was to see. I went last year and I think this year may actually have been better. It seemed like tree might have been more people, or the layout was better, or maybe it was my imagination. Anyway, I had an enjoyable day, mostly hanging out and chatting with my pal Lorie when there weren’t people coming up to talk to us about SAQA (definitely more people were actually joining the association this year, whereas last year was mostly just talking).

The SAQA exhibit is Metaphors on Aging, which I had seen in Portland at Quilt!Knit!Stitch! There were other more traditional quilt exhibits too. The two that caught my eye were Quilt as Desired and The Double Wedding Ring Challenge.

Kansas vintage quilt top machine quilted by Kelly Cline
Apparently I only took photos of one Quilt as Desired quilt, although there were several I really liked. This one is Kansas by Kelly Cline. The exhibit is curated by Marry Kerr. She gave vintage quilt tops to some of the best long arm machine quilters and asked them to quilt the tops “as desired.” The result is a lovely new life for some old quilts.

Kansas detail. Vintage quilt top machine quoted by Kelly Cline
Kansas, detail

The other exhibit I liked was the International Double Wedding Ring Challenge from NYC MOD and Victoria Findlay Wolf. Can I just say out loud that I bow down to Victoria Findlay Wolf. You are a quilting machine, woman! The sheer number of quilts she makes is amazing, they are not small, and every single one is beautifully made! Quality AND quantity — not easy. Plus, she coordinated a challenge which is the exhibit at Expo, wrote a book, and had a solo show this summer. Victoria’s Big Red was there, as were a varied selection from the Challenge.

Jeff and Nikki's Engagement Quilt by Marsha Squires
Jeff And Nikki’s Engagement Quilt” by Marsha Squires. Polka Dots and an unusual color combo attracted me to this quilt.

Liberty (of London) and Justice For All by Sarah Elizabeth
Detail of “Liberty (of London) and Justice For All” by Sarah Elizabeth. Pretty traditional until you make the connection between the title and the rainbow colors of the Liberty of London fabrics. What impressed me was the commitment to making the intersections of the rings into faceted diamonds. There are about a million teensy pieces in each of those solitaires!

Mango Pickle by Stephanie Serrano
Mango Pickle” by Stephanie Serrano was a juicy burst of fun.

Shine On by Kim Hryniewicz
Not only did the challenge participants play with scale, color, and setting, but “Shine On” by Kim Hryniewicz used distortion. Love it.

Overall, it was a fun day with plenty to see and lots of good conversation with other attendees and arty camaraderie with Lorie. And just like last year, I spent the next two days at the Fall Fiber Festival. I love weekends like this.

More Americana

Americana XVII

I’ve been working on a few more pieces in my Americana series. McGuffey Art Center is holding a benefit show in November to raise funds to replace all their hall lights with LEDs so as to save money on electricity and to keep the building cooler in the summer months. MAC artists were given 12×12 wooden boards, nicely mounted, on which to create the artwork of their choice or to advertise a service such as dance class or music instruction. All the 12×12 boards will be offered at $150 each with all the proceeds going to MAC. Any artist who donates a board can then also hang a piece of their choice in the main gallery and 50% of any of those sales will benefit MAC (the artist gets the other half).

I figured my Americana pieces would be perfect for this, so I picked up my board and got to work. I decided to glue my piece to the board and paint the edges with textured paint. While I was putting my 12×12 piece together, I had some scrap strips which made me think of the stripes in a flag. I was immediately inspired and pretty much dropped everything to work on these two pieces. I don;t know if it was the embroidery I had done on my submission to Quilt National (sorry, no peeks) or my chat with Allison Aller at Quilt!Knit!Stitch! in Portland, but I decided to connect each strip with crazy quilt embroidery.

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

It’s not easy to sew through painted fabric, but the effect was exactly what I had imagined. I also liked the way the painted and embellished 12×12 quilt portion looked glued to the board, so I assembled a similar board in flag proportions from hardware store supplies.

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I love the completed flag!

Flag

Homefront & Downrange Gets Press

My show, The Army Wife will be growing bigger and better in North Carolina next June. My work will be paired with photos by Hunter Rudd, and hopefully selected pieces by The Combat Paper Project. The Arts Council of Moore County, our venue, will also be hosting a military appreciation day in conjunction with the show opening, and hopefully will be able to coordinate a community workshop project with the Combat Paper Team. At this point, we are all looking for help in funding this event, and to that end, the Moore County newspaper, The Pilot, has been kind enough to write an informative front page article about us! Already it has garnered ACMC at least one generous donation. I am so excited to see this show come together, and to see it reach out to an entire community. I’m especially thankful to Chris of ACMC and my friend Nanette who conceptualized the event and are doing the lion’s share of coordination work to make it happen.

 

Suck it Up, Connections, and Be Strong Always

Welcome Home, Suck it Up, Connections, and Be Strong Always

 

Somewhat related, I have been invited to show a few pieces (Suck it Up and three aprons) at the annual Arts and Healing exhibit at Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, MD. I’ve also been asked to speak about my work on October 16th. The event is at 3:00 for anyone who would want to come. Last year(ish), two aprons were on display across the street at the National Institutes of Health. Through that opportunity, I met the director of the Healing Arts show (and much much more) at Walter Reed. You really never know where connections will come from and what they will lead to. I’m still working on what I want to say. I have no problem talking about the evolution of my work, but I’m less confident when it comes to how my work relates to healing. The Army Wife series came out of frustration and anonymity, and though it wasn’t exactly cathartic, I think it came from a similar place as work that is typically considered cathartic. Good thing I have a few weeks still to figure it out.

Quilting Arts!

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The October/November issue is in stores now, and I have not one, but two pieces in it! QA gave Dinner@8 Artists a nice write up and features seven of the 33 pieces in the show. My Selfie was one of the seven. I’m pleased that they included a detail photo as well as the overall piece since my quilt is so much about the myriad fabrics that make it up. I went to the framing store to pick up some artwork today, and one of the ladies there is also a fiber artist. She had already read this issue of QA and recognized my work. We talked about the piece a bit, and she hadn’t realized that it included a square from every fabric in my stash. I was VERY brief with my statement, so maybe I should have written more. Or maybe all those fabrics will be a secret to uncover while enjoying the patchwork.

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The exhibit will debut at the Houston quilt show in October/November. I plan on going with my friend Deborah and am looking forward to not only talking to people about the show, but meeting other quilt artists whose work I admire. I love putting names to faces, so if you’re going to Houston too, let me know.

As an extra added bonus, one of the “Breast Pockets” I made for Melanie Testa’s project is featured in the magazine too (as are pockets by friends Natalya and Vivien)

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And if that’s not enough, yet another friend, Lorie, is a featured artist in the same issue! Obviously, this issue is a must-buy, collectors item.

Art and Friends

Weekend before last I drove to New York on a bit of a whim. As part of the online group 8 That Create, I had work in a small show at Etui Fiber Arts gallery in Larchmont. The reception was on a Sunday afternoon, and normally I wouldn’t drive 6+ hours just for a reception, but my good friend Natalya suggested I stay with her and we get some visiting time in. Time with friends is definitely worth a drive.

Etui1

 

 

It goes without saying that Natalya and I had a lovely time taking about art, looking at each other’s creations, laughing a lot, and commiserating.  The show at Etui was equally as wonderful. As a group we weren’t quite sure how all our work fit together, but by focusing on the fine details in all of our works, it came together perfectly. It doesn’t hurt that Etui has a bright, open, elegant space for it’s gallery. It is also a yarn shop and that section is pretty classy as well.

Etui2

 

 

There were plenty of people coming to admire the work. The atmosphere was very convivial. On the wall are my works and Natalya’s, which work super together as they are all architectural.

Etui3

 

I had met fellow artist Benedicte Caniell last Spring at Art Quilt Elements so it was a treat to spend more time with her at and after the reception. She drove me around Larchmont and to a gorgeous park on Long Island Sound. It was a perfect day and many people were out enjoying the great weather and scenery.

Long Island Sound

 

We also went to Benedicte’s house and enjoyed a toast in her and her husband’s charming garden. I look forward to more visits in the future with my ever expanding circle of artist friends.

Me and B

 

While in the area, I also stopped at the Katonah Museum of Art to see the exhibit of Icelandic Artists. It was a small but well conceived exhibit and definitely worth the trip to see. My friend Vivien is one of the docents and I only wish that she had been there that weekend so I could join one of her tours, but she was out of town. Next time.

And because one weekend with friends isn’t enough, I drove to Frederickburg yesterday to have lunch with my gal pal Lorie. She showed me the new co-op gallery she’s part of and I got a sneak peek at her Quilt National entries (I got to see Natalya’s too while in NY, and Lotta’s two weeks ago). From what I’ve seen from my friends, the jurors will have plenty of great and varied work to choose from. It’s too bad we can’t share our creative process while working on these pieces because they are full of heart and soul.

Today is lunch with Nanette. I love being in the middle of things — without an ocean between my friends and our happenings.

 

Small Wonders at Etui Fiber Arts

Small Wonders at Etui

 

Diminutive bugs and birds, petite scale, delicate details of line and stitch – all in tiny treasures on view at Etui Gallery during the month of September, 2014. Eight artists brought together by a love of fabric and stitch show off their varied approaches to mixed media textiles in this exhibit of small works. Layers of machine and hand stitching intimately render buildings and homes both in Natalya Aikens’ works, which incorporate recycled ephemera, and in Kristin La Flamme’s fabric collages. Benedicte Caneill’s work incorporates impeccably sewn pieces of her monoprinted fabrics to create dancing compositions of color and line. Jane Davila and Gloria Hansen turn their focus on small-scale flora and fauna with an eye to graphic simplicity and macro photography respectively. Carol Sloan, Liz Kettle, and Beryl Taylor round out the collection with tantalizing layers of intriguing fabrics, delicate paper, painted textures, wee stitches, and tiny details that draw the viewer in for a closer look.

Many thanks to Jane for making this exhibit happen, and to Natalya and Benedicte for hanging the show. Please check out Natalya’s photos on the 8 That Create blog! I’m toying with the idea of going up to NY for the opening. Anyone else who can be in Larchmont Sunday mid-day should come by! The show is up until October 15th, so there’s time to go see it after the reception as well.