Homefront & Downrange

Suck it Up

Suck it Up

 

If you missed my Army Wife exhibit last September in Charlottesville, VA, there’s a second chance to see it next summer at the Arts Council of Moore County near Ft Bragg, NC! To make the exhibit even more special, I’ll be teamed up with photographer Hunter Rudd and selected pieces from the Combat Paper Project. It’s going to be a wonderful community event. I’m very excited to be able to share my work again with a larger audience and I’m especially happy that the exhibit will bring together the military and civilian communities in the area.

At this point, the Arts Council need to do some fundraising — mostly to get the Combat Paper pieces (and hopefully a workshop!) on loan, but also to help facilitate getting me and my work to NC. They have come up with a wonderful sponsorship program. I am happy to send specifics to anyone who is interested — please comment or email me if you or someone you know would like to participate and I will email you the PDF that is also attached below plus the other information it references.

HOMEFRONT & DOWNRANGE:Witness the Art in Military Life

June 5-July 10, 2015 | Campbell House Galleries Art Exhibit Description:

Using art as a catalyst for conversation, HOMEFRONT & DOWNRANGE: Witness the Art in Military Life will be an art exhibit that will take a deep and personal look at several aspects of military life: An Army wife’s story through narrative textiles by Kristin La Flamme, a soldier’s story through photographs by Hunter Rudd, and the story of returning home from war through artwork selected from the Combat Papers Collection.

As our first art exhibit specifically focused on military life, the Arts Council of Moore County wishes to share the exhibit with the entire Sandhills community. We also hope the exhibit will honor our military’s sacrifices and service for the freedom we all enjoy.

In order for this exhibit to occur, we need financial support from sponsors. Homefront & Downrange Sponsor (short)

Pretty, or Pretty Ugly!

I love a good scrap quilt, and I love the surprises that come along with not knowing exactly how things will look in the end. However, working with lots of pieces and not a lot of planning can create problems of it’s own. When I made my Selfie quilt, I cut strips from every fabric in my stash, thinking that it would be cool to also make a Scrappy Trip Around the World quilt that reflected my diverse fabric collection. I should be working on a completely different quilt, but it has problems too, so while I wait for paint to dry and ponder my options, I decided to start on the scrap quilt.

Trip Around the World 2

 

 

 

It soon became clear to me both that I had far too many strips for just one quilt and that all the colors together was looking more barfy than beautiful. Quickly, I switched to using mostly blues, with an accent of orange, and a bit of analogous colors for good measure. This is where it stands now and I’m not sure if it’s working or not. There’s still a lot of colors that don’t necessarily play well together, but that’s the charm of a scrap quilt, right?

Trip Around the World 1

 

I’m going to forge ahead, with a little more planning. In addition to blues, I have a lot of browns, so I’m thinking that I need to surround the brighter bluer blocks with predominantly brown blocks (with as many chocolately browns as I can dig up). I also have the same collection of fabrics in thinner strips which could make for a great change of scale in the center, especially if I control the colors even more — maybe the lighter blues, or maybe the oranges. Hmmm, this color combination is sounding vaguely familiar

Fail-Safe

As promised, here’s more info on the Fail-Safe show in Portland in which I have one Army Wife Apron. I am particularly excited about being in this show because it’s the first time that a curator has approached me for an artwork. It is very validating as an artist to know that something I have made has caught the attention of someone whose job it is to seek out the best and most interesting works to tell the story they wish to share with a larger public. I have decided to make the trip to Portland, OR to attend the opening reception on August 7th, and Marci’s lecture at Quilt!Knit!Stitch! on the 16th as well as the reception following. So, Portland peeps, I hope to see you at one or the other event!

 

 

Fail-Safe Email Announcement.docx

 

From the invitation:

Hap Gallery is pleased to present Fail-Safe: Discomforts Close to Home, a group exhibition of contemporary textile and fiber-based art curated by Marci Rae McDade. The opening reception is held in conjunction with Portland’s First Thursday in the Pearl District, August 7, 2014 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Exhibiting hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 11:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The exhibit will run through August 30, 2014.

Fail-Safe: Discomforts Close to Home features a range of art forms made with seemingly safe and comforting materials from everyday life that are loaded with incendiary content. Each object reflects an aspect of anxiety, discontent, and longing in the 21st century, from poverty and racism to mortality and digital disconnect. These potent works compel viewers to take stock of the world today as we collectively contemplate our futures.

The selection of objects focuses on work made from December 2007, when the U.S. housing bubble first burst, to the present. The sense of uncertainty and loss associated with this period of economic crisis and recovery is a pivotal starting point for the conversations many of these pieces seek to ignite.

Fail-Safe includes work by Andi Arnovitz, Kathryn Clark, Jon Coffelt, Vic De La Rosa, Marc Dombrosky, Robert Fontenot, Carol Jackson, Kristin La Flamme, Jiseon Lee Isbara, Wayne “Skid” Lo, Amanda McCavour, Rachel Meginnes, Mark Newport, Loren Schwerd, Mary Smull, Anna Von Mertens, Jane Waggoner Deschner, and Stacia Yeapanis.

Curator Marci Rae McDade is the editor of Surface Design Journal, a leading textile-arts magazine published quarterly by the Surface Design Association. McDade is also a mentor and instructor with the MFA in Applied Craft + Design Program in Portland, Oregon, a joint program offered through the Oregon

College of Art and Craft and the Pacific Northwest College of Art acd.pnca.edu. She received an MFA in Fiber & Material Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a BA in Film and Video Production from Columbia College Chicago.

This traveling exhibition was organized by Craft Alliance Center of Art + Design in St. Louis, Missouri, and first presented at Grand Center Gallery (February 7 – April 20, 2014) as part of their 50th Anniversary celebration programming.

Associated Events

“Fierce Fiber: Curating Textile Art Exhibits with Impact” Gallery talk with Fail-Safe curator Marci Rae McDade Sponsored by the MFA in Applied Craft + Design Program Hap Gallery
Wednesday, August 13, 2014 from 6:30-8:30pm

“Fierce Fiber: Curating Textile Art Exhibits with Impact” Lecture by Fail-Safe curator Marci Rae McDade Quilt!Knit!Stitch!TM
Oregon Convention Center, Portland, OR Saturday, August 16, 2014 at 11am

“Fierce Fiber” Reception
Cosponsored by the Surface Design Association and Quilt!Knit!Stitch!TM Hap Gallery
Saturday, August 16, 2014 from 6:30-8:30pm

Temporary Safety

As I wind down my Army Wife series, I have been thinking about Security Blankets. I love the play on words, especially since I always strive to make the medium of my work an integral part of the message. I have ideas for at least four textiles that fit under the general umbrella of security. Two are recently finished. The first, I’ve been working on for nearly a year, and posted some peeks along the way, but then removed them as I considered submitting the piece to Quilt National. They have very strict rules about the quilts or any parts being published prior to their unveiling. Anyway, I changed my mind when one of the other artists at McGuffey Art Center proposed a show about Privacy in America which I thought would be a perfect venue for the first of my “blankets.”

"Temporary Safety" 2014, Kristin La Flamme

“Temporary Safety” 2014, Kristin La Flamme

“Temporary Safety” is a pixelated image of a security camera in which the pixels contain circles and rectangles (0s and 1s) which spell out in binary Benjamin Franklin’s quote, They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

 

"Temporary Safety," detail.

“Temporary Safety,” detail.

It’s true human size in that it’s over 90″ long. When a friend suggested I call it Linus, I came up with a six degrees type description: This is a Security Blanket. It has an image of a security camera and a quote by Benjamin Franklin. The Peanuts character Linus has a Security Blanket. Benjamin Linus is a character on LOST, played by actor Michael Emerson. Emerson also plays a character named Harold Finch on Person of Interest. Person of Interest is about utilizing the spying capabilities of security cameras and other methods of data collection.The show is also about protecting people — like a Security Blanket. Cool, it goes full circle! ;-)

Save the Date(s)

You know that feeling that even though you’ve checked your list, you are still forgetting something? I kind of feel that way about my blogging. I should have things to blog about, but I don’t, or can’t. I’ve been doing some follow-up work and thinking on my introspective, three year, planning. Before we went to Germany, we drove up to New Hampshire for a long weekend. Somehow, driving time always get my gears moving and I thought up an idea that may have some worth. It involves custom quilts utilizing military uniforms. Very practical, but also very personal. The idea meets my desire to create something that people actually want or need, while also giving me the space to continue making the work that may not have a place in the larger community. And the two are not mutually exclusive!

While I flesh out that idea, I have a few other things coming up which I will blog about as I get more details. I thick these are the things I think that I’m forgetting about, but I’m not really since the timing isn’t quite right yet.

Be Strong Always, Unraveling, Medallion, and Welcome Home

Be Strong Always, Unraveling, Medallion, and Welcome Home

In August my Army Wife apron, Unraveling, will be part of Fail/Safe at Hap Gallery in Portland, OR, curated by Marci Rae McDade. I’m super excited about this show as it’s the first where the curator has approached me instead of the other way around. I’ll have more details to share soon.

LaflammeSelfiesm

Selfie will be part of the Dinner@8 exhibit, Reflections, at IQF Houston. The curators have been posting artist profiles on the blog. You can read mine here. I haven’t yet decided if I’ll go to the big quilt show in November or not. Maybe I should go to Portland instead. Or to Austin in the Spring for Quilt Con. I’ll be sure to blog about it more as the dates near so as to remind anyone who is going to Houston to be sure to see the exhibit!

And finally, I’ve finished two quilts which I’ve been keeping under wraps as potential submissions to Quilt National. One is still a possibility, but I’ve decided that the other is perfect for a Privacy in America show planned for February at my local McGuffey Art Center. The show will be all media with participating artists working in oil, acrylic, photography, metal, and of course fabric. I’ll save my finished quilt for another post.

 

Deutschland!

It’s been six years since we lived in Germany and high time we went back to visit. Finally living on the right coast, we decided to take advantage of the military’s Space Available option and see if we could fly to Germany on the cheap. We got super lucky and landed the last four seats on this no-name airline taking military families to their new overseas assignments.

Germany Trip 1

 

We had no specific plans in Germany aside from just spending time with friends and soaking up the atmosphere that we have been missing.

No trip is complete without castles though, so we checked that box. Row 1: Schloss Marksburg, The Rhein River from Marksburg, Idstein. Row 2: Wiesbaden Casino, Burg Hohenzollern, Knights in Hohenzollern. Row 3: Heidelberger Schloss, Heidelberg’s Powder Tower, Bad Dürkheim area from Wachtenburg.

Germany Trip Castles

 

 

Other architecture is pretty awesome too. I don;t think I’ll ever tire of pretty little German towns. I love the way the Europeans combine ancient and modern as well. Row 1: Idstein, Limburg, a metal covered door in Schloss Marksburg. Wiesbaden, a house in Waldenbuch with decorative slate shingles, The Ritter Sport chocolate factory in Waldenbuch. Row 3: The Ritter Sport museum and shop, the corner in Heidelberg that used to house the gallery where I had my first solo show but is now an apartment, Mannheim market.

Germany Trip Architecture

 

 

I didn’t realize how much I missed the food until we returned to Germany. There are certain things I make at home, but so many others I had forgotten about, or that just aren’t the same out of context. Row 1: Spaghetti Eis (ice cream extruded to look like Spaghetti and topped with strawberry sauce), chocolate and nut ice creams presented to look like a baked potato, Döner Kebap (Turkish fast food). Row 2: Curry Wurst (fest food!), Frühstück (breakfast with eggs, cold cuts, cheese breads, yogurt, coffee, the works!), and Flammkuchen (Alsatian pizza-like tart topped with creme fraische, cheese, bacon and onions). Yeah, we gorged on the Flammkuchen. Row 3: Dampfknödel (steamed bun dipped in vanilla sauce), an assortment of cakes (to be enjoyed with coffee and friends at about 4:00), home made jams and jellies from friends because everyone knows how to make them.

Germany Trip Food

 

 

Even with ice cream and Flammkuchen, the kids needed more than castles and charming architecture to keep them happy. So, we entertained ourselves the way locals do. Row 1: Ge-Force roller coaster at Holiday Park, Kettenkarousel at Holiday Park, Fourth of July fireworks at the German American Fest in Wiesbaden. Row 2: Chiseling for fossils at a quarry near Stuttgart, planes, trains and automobiles (with slides) at the Technic Museum in Speyer, rock climbing at an indoor playground in Stuttgart. Row 3: amusement rides at the fair in Speyer, Sommerrödelbahn in the Odenwald (luge on a track). 

Germany Trip Entertainment copy

 

We also thoroughly enjoyed watching World Cup Fussball. We went with friends to a biergarten in Wiesbaden for the Germany France game, to the local Schützenhaus (gun club) for the Germany Brazil smack down, and with another group of friends to a biergarten in Mannheim for the finale against Argentina. It was so much fun to genuinely join in the camaraderie, national pride, and simple excitement. It reminded us of our fantastic summer living in Germany when they hosted World Cup in 2006, but even better because Germany won for the first time in 24 years (and the first time as a united country). Here’s a bunch of the kids all dressed up at the fest after watching the Germany France game.Germany Trip 2

 

Another thing we remember fondly was the small town fests. Germans can celebrate anything. Apparently there’s even a Cesarean fest in the town where the first one (in modern times) was performed. We went to the Radish fest in Glasshütte with our Stuttgart-based friends.

Germany Trip 14

 

The big draw was the old timer tractors brought out by the local tractor club, called Schlepper Freunde. Two were Porsches and one was a Mercedes.

Germany Trip 3

We took silly selfies as friends often do.

 

Germany Trip 4

And then my family took more silly photos when I left my phone unattended. They look like they should be on an album cover, don’t they?

This guy regaled us with hours of polka. Very fest-like. Though he stuck to the traditional and didn’t play Country Roads…

Germany Trip 18

 

Yes, those are ketchup and mustard udders.

Germany Trip 17

 

Did I mention that one set of friends lives just above the Ritter Sport chocolate factory? The air even smells like chocolate! The factory has a great little museum and shop. We came home with the 2 kilo surprise bag of assorted goodies.

Germany Trip 16

 

The Germans are nothing if not efficient and organized. Even the trees are numbered (well, not all of them, but the ones that are regularly cared for).

Germany Trip 15

 

Other trees are cut and stacked for firewood. There’s nothing quite like a perfectly stacked row of German firewood.

Germany Trip 13

 

And then there’s the truly unexplainable. The town of Bad Dürkheim has a mineral spring where they pump the salty water to the top of a giant loofa wall so that people may enjoy the curative powers of salty air as the wind blows through the wall.

Germany Trip 10

 

Heidelberg University has the Studenten Karzer where unruly students were incarcerated for infractions such as shouting too loudly at night, or using the familiar instead of formal salutation with a policeman. Students memorialized their time in the prison by painting graffiti on the walls.

Germany Trip 12

 

 

And this is the Mephistophemobil at the Technic Museum in Speyer. It’s a wagon adorned with all kinds of things to make a racket as it rolls along. Notice the garden gnome and red antlered antelope.

Germany Trip 11

 

We had a fantastic time revisiting old stomping grounds as well as exploring new ones. Here we are in the family tree-painted room of hohenzollern castle.

Germany Trip 5

 

And here I am with the wonderful ladies who I breakfasted and sewed with every other Friday when we lived in Heidelberg.

Germany Trip 6

 

 

Two of our neighbors from Heidelberg who now live in Switzerland made the drive up to spend a day with us!

Germany Trip 7

 

And we spent a super four days with our exchange student and her family (including Oma and the boyfriends).

Germany Trip 8

 

 

Sadly, after two and a half weeks, we had to go home. All the flights back to Baltimore on the comfy planes were full, so we hopped on a cargo plane to Dover. It was loud and lacked amenities, but allowed for great legroom and a surprisingly generous box lunch. It was all part of the grand adventure and the kids actually enjoyed it as it’s not every day you get to fly in one of these behemoths with containers and a HMMV in the center aisle!

Germany Trip plane

 

Tschüss Deutschland, as ever, it was great.

Stencil Winner

Thanks for all the great comments praising Lynn’s stencils from Artiscellar, and my figure drawings. I enjoyed reading about what you might do with the stencils — especially Jeannie’s idea to use them for embroidery designs, Deanna’s thought to obscure ugly fabric with stenciled pattern (brilliant!), and Jax’s plan for stencil ing speaker fronts! Clever people all!

But the real question is, who wins the stencil set? My son picked the number eight, so our lucky stencil recipient is commenter 8, Jacki Young! Congratulations. Your goodies will be coming direct from Artiscellar.

Thank you everyone for joining in the blog hop.

Stencil Blog Hop

Lynn Krawczyk is at it again. In addition to her day job, she keeps Smudged Textiles Studio humming along, has written a book, created a line of stencils, and has at least one other project up her sleeve. I’m not sure how she does it all, but I’m glad she does!

Today is about the stencils. Introducing “Marked” by Lynn Krawczyk, Artistcellar’s newest signature series artist. The pocket sized stencils come as a set and include Tracks, Commas, X’s, and O’s. They are pretty easy to identify. The small scale makes them easy to use and appropriate for many sized projects. I decided to use these simple shapes in concert with my figure drawings as it’s often nice to have some color and pattern on the page before drawing.

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I used Xs on the bottom of this page (previously washed with color).

 

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It made a nice nest for a seated figure.

 

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I liked the look of the Xs on the previous page, so I added them to this drawing after the fact. There’s no rules about when to add patterning. Sometimes a drawing needs a little something extra and stencils are a great way to add a little pattern or texture.

 

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I layered the Xs in several colors on this page. I’m using gouache because it’s matte surface takes the charcoal pencil I like to use and other drawing media well. I apply the paint with a Spouncer (thanks to my friend Deborah for introducing me to these deceptively humble little tools).

 

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I drew on top of the stenciling and then added a wash of contrasting color to highlight some of the shapes, plus a few more Xs for good measure.

 

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Using just a portion of the Tracks stencil (one track with a white pen and another with a watercolor pencil) makes a nice border for this drawing. I masked out the drawing when I painted the gold Xs to give the drawing more depth.

 

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More Tracks as borders.

 

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Tracks again — this time using the stencil with a pen rather than paint. These are sturdy stencils, perfect for spraying, daubing, swirling, drawing, and probably pretty much any way you can think of utilizing them.

 

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I used watercolor pencils with the Os stencil for this nude. A brush loaded with plain water turns the outlined Os into watercolor washes. Some Os I just filled in with pencil and left it at that, some I used with water.

 

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I think this one is my favorite. Stenciled Commas, drawing on top, a wash of aqua, and Os outlined with a white pen.

If I have one complaint, it is that the stencils aren’t repeats. I can’t paint and are and then move the stencil adjacent and have the pattern continue seamlessly. It’s a small thing, but I think it would be nice for future designs.

Like with Lynn’s book, I have the opportunity to give away one set of Marked stencils to a lucky winner who leaves a comment on this blog by 7 July. What would you make with Lynn’s stencils? Be sure to check out the other stops on the blog hop too:

June 28th – Lisa Cousineau
June 29th – Melanie Testa
June 30th – Lisa Chin
July 1st – Jen Osborn
July 2nd – Belinda Spiwack
July 3rd – Kristin LaFlamme You are here!
July 4th – Ingrid Dijkers
July 5th – Guadalupe Cabal
July 6th – Lynn Krawczyk