Not One, But Two Exhibits

November is shaping up to be a big month for my art. I’ll be in Houston at the very beginning for the debut of the annual Dinner@8 exhibit premier (and a whole lot of quilt show fun and inspiration too).  My pixelated portrait, Selfie is part of the show.

But as soon as I return, there’s two more local exhibits I’m part of.

The first is McGuffey Art center’s art fundraiser. I’ve donated one 12×12 piece for the incredibly affordable $150 collection, plus my crazy quilted Flag from which 50% of the proceeds benefit the art center. There will be a preview and meet the artists on Wednesday November 5th. Plans have changed a bit and the art WILL be on sale at the preview. The usual First Friday opening will also be happening on the 7th. I hope to be there both nights. Come early for the best selection! I hope to see lots of red dots.

Art Fundraiser at McGuffey Art Center

MAC Fundraiser

 

Wait, there’s more. I also have three of my favorite figure drawings at Charlottesville’s brand new jewel box of a gallery, Yellow Cardinal. They will also be having  a First Friday opening on the 7th, so I’ll split my time between there and MAC. I am very excited about both of these shows because I know many of the artists involved and admire all of their work. I’m also looking forward to having many of their loyal followers see my work as well, since I have not been in town and showing long enough to gain much in the way of an audience for my work.

Life Drawing at Yellow Cardinal Gallery

Microsoft Word - Unwrapped flyer.docx

Peek Into My Studio

My studio room has been looking pretty crazy lately. I try to keep things under control since the room doubles as a guest room, but since there are no guests on the horizon, and I’ve got a lot going on, I spread out! I took these photos after I’d cleaned up and cleared out a bit and I must say, it doesn’t look quite as full as I was feeling last week.

Wanna see?

Studio pan 1

 

Walk in and look to the left. There’s an ever-growing stack of framed or mounted artwork ready to go. This is after I took four framed drawings to a new gallery in town, so the pile doesn’t even stick out as far as before. There’s also only one mannequin loitering by the ironing board. Normally there’s three, but two are now at Walter Reed Medical Center for another few weeks. On the ironing board is a finished sample for a new project. There’s some excess fabric from a few quilts and costumes under the treadle machine as well as uniforms. Cut up uniforms are taking over the floor! They are also joined by a pile of painted quilt bits that hope to become another Flag piece in my Americana series. Oh, and there’s a box with my sister’s Christmas present, and a staging area for things I want to take to Houston. The table itself is so full of fabric, paperwork, and general supplies that I hardly have room to cut. Kitty is helping though.

 

Studio pan 2

 

Looking to the right, there’s another sample quilt on the machine, and a bag of scraps underneath waiting for me to do something with it (I have a plan, but haven’t gotten to it yet).  Next to the bag of specific scraps is a pile of random scraps waiting to be sorted into the small bins also under the machine. The bed was completely full last week, but I’m slowly clearing things off. There was a giant roll of batting that’s now been cut down to fit all my in progress quilts and is now small enough to go in the closet. There are six quilts ready to be basted and quilted, but the space next to their pile is now empty  since I finished the most important of the baby quilts. There was also a pile of backing fabric which is now, you guessed it, on the backs of quilts!  The Macy’s bag and the pile next to it are quilts waiting to happen. The big blue pile is my next Security Blanket which I am excited to get back to. The glossy pile next to it is a bunch on hankies and transfer paper which will become another piece in my Army Wife series. Behind that is a pile of painted quilt parts and canvases that are halfway to becoming two more Americana series pieces. At the end of the bed is artwork that will go to McGuffey Art Center for their November show, and my knitting and drawing class supplies.

 

Studio Closet

 

A peek inside of the closet. It’s a huge closet and I like to be able to walk into it, but between Broken Bob the mannequin and drawing supplies and framing overflow on the floor, it’s getting tough. My fabric stash is in here to the left, and the big bins hold miscellaneous supplies, uniforms, odd fabrics, and batting. There’s some finished and unfinished projects in here too. Behind Bob are seasonal decorations, portfolios, light boxes, my aprons (hanging) and just more stuff.

It feels a bit out of control to me, but as I finish up things and clear spaces that feels great. It’s actually nice to see tangible evidence of accomplishment!

Baby Quilts

Lots of them.

I started my quilting journey making baby quilts for friends. These days most of my friends are parents of teens so there’s not too much need for baby quilts. But every now and then the opportunity arises, and last year friends we met in Hawai’i conceived twins after much trying. Twin quilts — fun! There would need to be two, and they’d have to be the same, but different.

Twin Quilt 1
I started with this one. The mom is stylish and modern so I knew this was the perfect opportunity to make a houndstooth quilt which I’d been eyeing for a while. All the colors were chosen to be gender neutral and to coordinate with some absolutely adorable forest themed fabric my daughter chose for the backing.

Twin Quilt 2
I tried plaid to go with the houndstooth for the second quilt, but the scale was wrong, so I went with tried and true triangles. I really like this one.

Unfortunately, the twins didn’t make it. So, I didn’t finish the quilts. The good news though, is that mom and dad tried again and they are now expecting their first daughter any day! When the baby shower was announced, I knew I didn’t want to give them the original twin quilts. The karma just wasn’t right. So I jumped right back in to make a quilt that was related, but it’s very own.

Baby quilt

I was in an improv quilt kind of mood so I started with a motif from the backing fabric and built around it in a modified log cabin style. I like it, but something just wasn’t quite right yet. I still had a bunch of fabric left over, so I kept going.

Baby Quilt

Simple and slightly floral.

Baby Quilt

Yes, that will do.

Baby Quilt

Now we are all just waiting for baby to arrive so she can be wrapped up in this and drag it around with her for many years to come. I will finish off the twin quilts and the log cabin and will eventually donate them to a good cause.

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.

IMG_9496

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.