29 Jan

A Creative Funk

It’s been a tumultuous week on the political front and my desire to stay informed and engaged is in direct conflict with my need to accomplish anything. I’ve been jumping from outrage to outrage, trying to peel the layers back and determine what is actually normal and/or true (but not necessarily my cup of tea), and what is just plain nuts. It’s exhausting.

I want to express my confusion, rage, frustration, and my votes and letters to representatives in government seem rather meaningless. And this week, I’m feeling like my art is rather meaningless too. There is so much beautiful, impactful, art on social media, and I see it reaching and connecting to so many people, that I figure anything I do is lame. I commented as much on a friend’s post, but then decided to delete it because it was self-centered and whiny, and not appropriate for someone else’s post. So, I’m saying it here.

Maybe I’ve already said enough. ‘Murica, my US flag made of tessellating gun shapes speaks to the intertwined relationship between America’s self image and guns. Death Shroud for Democracy is my commentary on the tearing apart and dismantling of American democracy. In my opinion, we’ve been functioning as an Oligarchy for quite a while, and the new administration appears intent in meeting it’s campaign promises to metaphorically burn the place down. Most recently, I finished #notnormal, which tries to draw attention to the normalization of Donald Trump’s antics. I had assumed that these pieces were the beginning of something. That I could keep going. But this week, I’m not feeling it. I’m not up to the task. Everything I consider has been done before, and done better by others.

Another friend reminded me that my black and white scrap quilt is pretty awesome. That was a perfect smack upside the head. Yes, it is awesome. And maybe it’s perfectly OK to retreat into a year of scrappy medallion quilts and samples for work which are all about the process of making, or the pretty colors and patterns, and perhaps a perfect escape from the tedious reality of parsing news from fiction and real outrage from outrage merely for the sake of drama or distraction.

29 Jan

#notnormal

This is not normal. And yet I find myself trying to normalize it. I’m outraged, and then I have to double check and find where so much is just the usual transition from one party’s administration to the other’s. But it’s all mixed up in the truly unusual, and it’s nearly impossible to disentangle one from the other.

Notnormal web

#notnormal, 2017, 32″ x 48″

Up is down and down is up in this new era of alternative facts, and reality TV as reality.

I created this quilt with SAQA’s Poster exhibit in mind. Originally, I was going to make something completely different, but after November 9th this begged to be made.

The gradated background and jumbled piecing of the border represent the topsy turvy feeling of current politics. There are 50 stars, 20 white ones for the states Hillary Clinton won and 30 orange to black ones that Donald won. All have raw edges because many Americans are feeling pretty raw. Scrawled overall are tweets and statements from and about Donald, which fall into the category of being “not normal.” The sad thing is that this graffiti is already dated. Every day there are more statements I could add. Perhaps I will add more. Perhaps in four years this will just be a tangled mess of threads.

Notnormal detail

14 Dec

#notnormal

Like so many people, I am overwhelmed. There are so many things I see happening that I can’t figure out what action to take, or if it’s even worthwhile to take action. Every day it’s some new outrage. I’m trying to put myself in others’ shoes, to see things through other eyes. Not everyone sees the country the same way I do and that’s fine. So, I want to respect the needs and beliefs of my fellow Americans. But a month after the election I’m having a hard time seeing how this is going to be OK.

“Give him a chance,” people say. “Checks and balances,” they reassure.

  orange“His bluster and “straight talk” on the campaign trail was just that: bluster. He’ll be more Presidential if he wins.” OK, but a month on, he’s lashing out via Twitter at SNL, newspapers, and a union boss for not gushing over him. Businesses and offices can probably handle the backlash, but individual people are not prepared to fend off the consequences of targeted vitriol (see last year’s college student who asked a reasoned question of the candidate and received not only a crude response from him but also a year of online harassment from his followers). I don’t see a move towards either Presidential behavior, nor any effort to bring Americans together as he promised.

“He’s so rich he won’t be corruptible. He doesn’t need to be in this for the money. He’ll work with the average worker in mind.” OK, but before the election there was no evidence of altruism. He still doesn’t show us where his money is or what he does with us. Not long after the election, he said he was working with lawyers to disentangle his conflicts of interest. I actually told my cynical husband that this was movement in the right direction and we should give him the benefit of the doubt. But, a month later, there’s been no discernible effort to distance himself from his money. In fact, it actually looks like he’s putting his ducks (children and business interests) in a row to take advantage of of his and their positions of power to guide policy and decision making for personal financial gain. Oh, and he’s put off until after the electoral college casts their votes, his public explanation of his intentions vis a vis conflicts of interest.

not-normal-1

Heal the divide? Not gonna happen with continued Tweet storms or nominating cabinet members with nihilistic tendencies towards the cabinets they’d head. Don’t like the appearance of Pay to Play? How do his big donor advisory picks and cabinet nominations look?

The backlash (mine included) against him can’t merely be sour grapes. This is not the first time my candidate has lost, but this is the first time I just can’t wrap my head around why the other candidate won. I swear I’m trying to suss out the ways his election will address the issues people say they care about, but I just can’t see it yet.

“Government is corrupt and has done nothing for me. We might as well burn it all down.” Ah, now here’s something I think he can deliver on. Unfortunately, I just can’t bring myself to believe that a scorched earth approach to governance is good for the American people. This is not normal…

not-normal-2

…but I fear that it WILL become normal.

28 Sep

Too Many Quilts (6)

I’ve gotten lots of questions about my sale quilts — mostly about which others will also be for sale. So, without further ado, here are the quilts I am price cutting:

hansel-u-gretel-web

Hansel und Gretel (link to it’s own blog post HERE).

 

juni-web-lg

Juni im Rhein Neckar Kreis (link to it’s own blog post HERE). SOLD

 

fliegenpilz-i-web

Fliegenpilz I. Named after the red and white mushrooms the polka dot fabric suggests, this is yet another quilt in my Impressions of Germany series. It’s machine pieced mostly of cottons, but with a few interesting bits thrown in for texture. The work is machine quilted with hand stitched details.  At 33.5″ x 51.5” it’s made to be a wall quilt, but I think it could be fine for a lap or small child as well. I’m offering this quilt for $200, mailing included, anywhere in the US.  SOLDfliegenpilz-i-detail

Fliegenpilz I detail.

 

bauer-9-patch

This last quilt is an early one — I made it in 1997 before I discovered “art quilting.” The center is a vintage flour sack. The surrounding 9-patch blocks are reproduction fabrics. The colors coordinate with my collection of Bauer pottery. I still have most of the collection, but no longer want to use a quilt in my accompanying decor. This one is hand quilted (as were many of my early quilts) and also priced at $200, mailing included. It’s 43.25″ x 52.”

That’s it. Everything else is either sentimental, useful, or just too horrible to be seen in public! Thanks. Paypal only. Email me at umzavi(at)hotmail.com if you are interested.

 

25 Sep

Too Many Quilts (5)

“Juni im Rhen Nekar Kreis” was the first quilt I made for my “Impressions of Germany” show in Heidelberg, Germany in 2006. I love it’s combination of traditional 9-patch blocks, free-piecing, and stitched embellishment to create a landscape that is both recognizable and abstract at the same time.

juni-web-lg

As the title suggests, this quilt is what I saw in June in the Rhein-Nekar county in Germany. It represents still-green spring wheat fields edged with Flanders poppies. It’s smallish (and therefore easy to find a place for) at 30″ x 42.” I’m offering this quilt for $150, mailing included, anywhere in the US. Paypal only. Email me at umzavi(at)hotmail.com if you are interested. SOLD

20 May

2016 SAQA Benefit Auction

It’s that time of year again, when SAQA members start donating 12×12 work for the annual benefit auction. It is great fun to see the variety of work from fellow members. Some years i donate artwork, some years I just donate money. This year I’m donating artwork as part of my quest to get my work out from under my bed and into the open where it can be enjoyed. My donation this year is Americana V, part of my series created from an older quilt that wasn’t working and is now transformed into smaller, more attractive, and easier to incorporate into one’s decor, pieces.

The auction will be in September, but SAQA is starting to share the artwork online here and here.

Americana V web

20 Mar

The Army Wife at Support and Defend

I’ve had a lot of rejections lately, and when compared to the job satisfaction I have working at the quilt shop, I’ve lately been pretty un-motivated to create any art or to look for places to show what I have. But then I get an opportunity, and I realize I can’t throw in the towel.

Homefiresweb

 

The Army Wife: Home Fires (my very favorite of my apron series) has been chosen to be part of Support and Defend at The Art League of Rhode Island.

The exhibit is all about providing a way for U.S. Armed Forces veteran artists, currently serving or separated, and their immediate families, to share their military or veteran experiences through their own art, and to express its meaning to them in their own words. Every member of the U.S. Armed Forces takes an oath that includes the phrase “support and defend.”  For veterans and their family members, the experiences that follow that oath are specific to each individual and may be hard to grasp for those outside the Armed Forces community. Many of those experiences are complex and enduring–perhaps lifelong. This exhibition of 2D and 3D artworks, accompanied by the artists’ written words, will reflect the military experiences of veterans or their family members and create an opportunity and forum for artists to share a personal expression of that experience. Many veterans and their families want to tell their stories, but those conversations can be difficult to start. Often, art can be the starting place.

I submitted three aprons and Home Fires was chosen. If you are in Rhode Island in April or May, please take the time to see this important exhibit.

Support and Defend: Art Relevant to the Veteran Experience

The VETS Gallery, One Avenue of the Arts, Providence, RI 02906
Sponsored by Art League of Rhode Island
April 1 – May 29, 2016 Open Thursday and Friday afternoons
Opening reception April 14, 5:30 – 8:00 pm

20120622-165345.jpg

 

08 Jun

Half Light

While I was setting up and celebrating Homefront & Downrange in North Carolina, my friends and co-conspirators Natalya Aikens and Vivien Zepf were setting up a group show of our work, plus that of two more in the circle, Robin Ferrier and Deborah Boschert.

The Gloaming is a presentation of contemporary art, inspired by the magical time betwixt day and night, eliciting myriad transitions. The art is manifested in fiber-based media, from cloth to paper and plastic, in sizes large and small.

The five artists in this group show hail from across the United States. We initially came to know one another through artist groups on the internet; later, more personal conversations ensued and friendships were born. This is the group’s first collaborative exhibition though individually, each artist has shown work in juried art exhibitions and been published.

We each included one larger piece and one 12″ x 12″ piece, all inspired by the colors of the gloaming — that period just as the sun sets when glowing gold mixes with twilight blue. My piece was inspired by the prominent transition in my life right now, my husband’s retirement from the Army. When I started the piece it was loosely based on a flag, with the structure of the stripes going dark in deep blues, purples and greens. The straight stripes was contrasted with an exuberant field of oranges and golds representing the possibilities awaiting in the next day. I was nearly finished when I decided that it was boring me and what I really wanted to do was to work on an improvisational scrap piece that was waiting for me to take a break from artworks with deadlines and purposes.

Half Light Medallion web

 

Half Light Medallion, by Kristin La Flamme 2015

So I changed course, and started fresh. I dumped out all my scraps in Gloaming colors and proceeded to make a new piece, starting from the center out in a Medallion Quilt style. While this one is conceptually further from my original intent, it still retains a bit of structure in the center, which dissolves into scrappy chaos, and then a casual twilight of spiky challenges next to peaceful star-filled spaces.It’s a little bit landscape, and a little bit reflection on transitions. Mostly it was a whole lot of fun to make as I figured it out as I went along.

If you are within visiting distance of Larchmont, NY, please come and see all our pieces on view from now until June 30th. Vivien and Natalya will be giving an artist’s talk on the 14th from 2-4pm. Please come.

June 2nd – 30th, 2015
Etui Fiber Arts
2106 Boston Post Road
Larchmont, NY