25 Jan

Portland SAQA Outing

The Portland chapter, or pod, of Studio Art Quilt Associates (to which I belong) is well attended and very active. Back in November or so, the group arranged to meet at the Portland Art Museum for a docent led tour of the Seeing Nature exhibit. It was great to get out of the routine of meeting in community center rooms and surround ourselves with inspirational art. It was even better to hear insight and connections from our well practiced docent. I highly recommend that groups similar to ours look to their local museum(s) and schedule a group tour once in a while. It’s inspiring and a fun change from the usual. I look forward to the next time Portland SAQA does this again.

Portland Museum 3

Portland Museum 4

 

I loved the way people’s outfits were matching the varied artworks!

 

Portland Museum 5

Portland Museum 7

 

A small painting by Klimt was reproduced writ large on a stairwell window. I think it looks even better than the original.

Portland Museum 6

 

Terry, Gerrie, Suzie and I took a little extra time to check out the Paradise, Fallen Fruit exhibit. It looked chaotic and “too much” at first, but once we realized that each wall had a unifying theme, then we started to draw connections between the individual works and the chaos became a conversation. It was very different, and quite interesting.

Portland Museum 2

 

This wall reminded me of the work of Kehinde Wiley. Mostly, I think it’s the pattern and color.

Portland Museum 1

08 Jan

The Ubiquitous New Year Blog Post

So here’s where I sum up what I’ve accomplished in the past year and lay out what I hope to do in the new year. But I’m not doing that this year.

Everything changed in 2015. Well, maybe not quite that dramatic, but it was a year of transition for sure. My husband was medically retired from the Army, where he had served, and I have followed, for nearly 20 years. For the first time in two decades, we got to choose where we wanted to live. Needless to say, there was much soul searching (mostly on his part) as to how we/he wanted to see ourselves/himself. We decided to move first and find employment later and long story short, we purchased our very first home and moved across country to be closer to our families.

So now that we’ve been in Portland, Oregon for nearly six months, we’re settling in. For me, the biggest change is probably home ownership. We bought a 65 year old fixer upper and it will suck every ounce of time and energy I have if I let it. So, art has taken a back seat to home decor and renovation. And I’m OK with that.

I joined the SAQA Education Committee in 2015 and have been doing some writing for exhibition catalogs and venues. I need to continue to make time for that.

I had considered starting a new business, making custom quilts from military uniforms. I have the samples and the bones of a website ready, but the move, the house, my computer dying, my web host screwing things up, and now my camera in hospital, have all conspired to delay this project. Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself. I just might not be the entrepreneurial type.

Finally, and maybe most importantly, I was feeling a little guilty about all the plans I have for the house and how to pay for them, so I decided that maybe I should get a part time job. And wouldn’t you know it, a job practically plopped right into my lap. I’ve now been working at The Pine Needle quilt shop for three months and I love it. Making art is fraught with angst. I might like what I create, but does anyone else? Have I communicated effectively? Has anyone else done the same thing before? Of course they have, and done it better too.  I’m always doubting myself. My making art is a negative cash flow too. I can’t seem to sell enough work or somehow monetize it so that it pays for the supplies and promotion. Case in point, I was invited to send work to a show in NY and now the unsold work is on it’s way back to me. The shipping costs are just a few dollars less than my percentage of the one sale. Getting work into group shows is a money loser too since I have to pay to enter and pay shipping. In contrast, I’ve caught on quickly to the systems at the quilt shop. I get along well with my co-workers. I love helping customers choose fabric, and I enjoy being part of combining fabrics for kits and bundles. I can sew samples if I want — thus playing with patterns and fabrics without expenditure or increase in stash. AND I get paid to do this! Imagine that — instead of me paying others hoping they’ll like my artwork, my boss is paying me for doing a job I enjoy and do well.

So I’m going to let 2016 unfold in whatever way it chooses. There will be art making, but there might be more house projects. And there will be work at the quilt shop. I’m donning the social media hat there, so I’ll be blogging my own story here and on Facebook and Instagram, but I’ll also be sharing gorgeous fabric and fun events on The Pine Needle’s blog, Facebook, and Instagram accounts.  I’ll share details as I get things up and running.

2016, show me what you’ve got.

TPN Katya

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.

 

16 Nov

New Pets

Every now and then you run across a blog, a Flickr page, or Etsy shop that grabs you a little bit. When you run across it again, you say “yeah, I like that!” And by the third stumble, if you haven’t already, you bookmark it. I’ve been lurking at Melissa Stanley’s blog for a few months now, in love with her crocheted creatures, and her little houses with legs! What goes better with roots than legs?

Free Range Studio Monster

Then Melissa went and added this little free range studio monster to the shop and put me over the edge. He’s so cute I had to have him. He’s not in my studio though. Hubby and son thought he belonged in the living room — where he’s terrorizing the Baba Yaga House I also purchased, and two mod birds who happen to have legs too.

baba-yaga-house

22 Sep

Check it out!

This weekend is the American Sewing Expo in Novi, Michigan. One of the exhibits is “Breaking Traditions,” an annual show devoted to fundraising for good causes. This year’s theme is Home, and donations support A Place To Bark, an animal rescue operation in Tennessee. With the theme Home, how could I not participate?!

A while back I posted a detail, but here’s my complete donation:

Rooted IX by Kristin La Flamme

As an extra, added bonus, I just found out it was selected as Exhibit Favorite, and I won a bundle of awesome prizes! An art quilt book by two artists whose work I really enjoy, transfer papers that I’ve been intrigued by but never tried, and paint that I’ve heard nothing but good things about. I’m so excited!

Here’s another detail:

rooted9-detailsm

22 Jul

Tears don’t email well

IMG_2704, originally uploaded by Umzavi.

The good news first: these two lovelies were both accepted into the Blurred Boundaries exhibit at the Fabrications Retreat in Kalamazoo Michigan (August 31 — September 4, 2009)!

The call for entries stated:

Fiber artists are incorporating more mediums into their work, creating unique art that reaches across previously defined boundaries. Artists from other mediums are discovering the infinite possibilities that fiber can offer, also creating hybrids that are eye catching and moving. 

… and I knew that these combinations of quilting, collage, embroidery and embellishment, presented on stretcher bars like a painting fit the bill.

Now the reality. Even at a modest 32″ square, “Fairytale Forest” requires an oversize box by mailing standards. It will cost me literally hundreds of dollars to mail it to and from the exhibit. I’m taking a deep breath and chalking it up to the cost of doing business.

But, it got me thinking about future artworks. Do I edit myself by not mounting large works in this manner, even though, in my mind, it called for it? Do I not try to exhibit large works that can’t be folded? Do I stick to small work? As an artist, I don’t want to limit my creative options so I will pay up — but I can sure see why so many painters want to live within driving distance of NY where the galleries are!

Little “Pink House” was not without her hurdles either. I needed to decide how to sign the piece since a quilty label on the back wasn’t necessarily the only option. I opted to sign and title the front like a limited edition print, but once done, it looked awful! I just couldn’t live with the distraction on the bottom of the canvas. So, in a fit I cut the canvas out of it’s frame, leaving the offending name and title behind. I then sewed the art back onto another canvas. It looks much better, but in a way it defeats my purpose of the collage being an integrated part of it’s canvas ground. It is what it is and the imagery is still just as pretty as the original version, so I emailed a photo to the event coordinator (knowing that they reserved the right to reject any art that did not live up to it’s entry photo). She wrote back saying I was much calmer than she would be, and that, of course, the art was still welcome in the show. Relieved, I replied that I only seemed fine because tears of frustration don’t email well! Then, I grabbed another canvas and a pile of bits and got sewing on a new composition.

I’m feeling better already.

21 Jul

Illuminated Aspens

illuminated-aspens

Lookie what I got in the mail yesterday!! Several years ago Gerrie and I decided to swap art: I made her a creche set and she’d make me indigo aspens. Every time Gerrie would post anything with aspens I’d wonder if they’d be mine. My heart skipped a beat when she showed this one — I knew this was IT!

 

As soon as I opened the box, I looked around for a wall to put it on. Although most of my blue art is in the bedroom, the orange on this really wanted to be in the living room. I took down one of my pieces and held the aspens up… and then I realized that just below it were my pair of custom mod birds made by Gerrie’s talented daughter, Lisa!  Ah, perfect.

10 Jul

A Little Bit Each Day

The blog has been a little slow lately. I blame summer. It’s hard to focus with the kids around. It’s also hard to do much while playing tourist –which is soooooo easy to do here in Hawai’i! We put my MIL on a plane yesterday though, so it’s back to our regular life now.

I do have lots and lots of ideas and half-baked projects going on in the background though. Fabric collages on canvas, a kid art project I’ve been meaning to get to for forever, a scrap quilt, an idea for a series that sprouted from “War Sucks,” the tropical fabric, maybe even some vacation inspired ki’i style monsters …

I’ve been overwhelmed by it all. I was telling myself that I just wasn’t in the mood, or I was too busy with fun excursions, but I now think overwhelmed was playing a big part too. “Pick a goal” is the obvious answer, but they are all so enticing.

What to do? I spoke with blog friend Kathy Mack this morning (I am so impressed with what she’s created with her shop and value her opinion) and she reminded me to chose one little thing to do each day towards my goal(s). So that’s what I am going to do. Yesterday I worked on my 12×12 Passion piece, and the day before I sent out an entry for an art quilt show. I would have sent this house quilt out too, but I ran out of checks for the entry fees and our mail has been sketchy since we returned from our cruise. By the way, the house quilt is going to “Breaking Traditions” which is a benefit show and this year’s theme is Home, so how could I not enter?! Today, I think, will be more 12×12 and hopefully some writing. Tomorrow I’ll quilt. And, so as not to become overwhelmed, I am going to do it all on my terms. I will not worry about all the potential roadblocks, or how and what everyone else is doing. I will do what I can — and whatever happens, happens.

First, I’m off to make some coffee.