02 Apr

News

If I had a newsletter, this month’s issue would proudly announce that in addition to Zeitgeist winning best of show at Art Quilt Elements (see previous posts), I have sold several artworks recently!

The first is “Staufen Vineyard,” a little landscape that I love. It reminds me of a lovely weekend with friends in a picturesque German town. We returned with my dad a few years later and had an equally lovely time.

Staufenweb

The buyer is a friend of my sister in law’s and she also has a connection to the town of Staufen. This was a Christmas present to herself.

The second was a trade. After showing my work in the New Members exhibit at McGuffey Art Center here in town, one of the other artists offered a trade. We swapped one of my wall quilts for one of her wood block prints. I still need to frame hers, but I love this kind of barter!

Untitled

Finally, my most recent sale was to a collector who found my work via, drum roll please, Pinterest!

Am Rand von Oma's Weizenfeld sm

For all the Sturm und Dramm over Pinterest, I have come to the realization that it is here to stay, that it is good organic marketing, and that I should embrace the future that is increasingly online.

Speaking of the future online, I think there could be an entire separate conversation about marketing, online presence, social media, attracting collectors and enthusiasts, and keeping work fresh versus keeping work secret as a means to those ends. My experience of late is leaning towards embracing social media. I have things I’d like to show peeks of to let people who like my work know that yes, I’ve been busy, and yes, it’s more than just knitting.

On the secret side, I have a piece that has been accepted into the SAQA regional show Tarnish, so I’m looking forward to unveiling that soon.

I have a piece that was rejected for a book project, but will remain secret until the book is published as it still has a part in the greater event. I have another piece that I’ve been keeping secret because I’d like to enter it into Quilt National, but now an even better opportunity may have arisen, so I could be sharing that soon. There are a few other pieces in secret limbo too.

And, I’ve got two secret pieces that were part of another book project, and that book is out so I can finally share — come back tomorrow for my blog post and giveaway for Lynn Krawczyk’s wonderful book, Intentional Printing! Yippee!

24 Mar

Excellent Arty Weekend

The weekend actually started on Wednesday afternoon when my mom and I packed up a large portion of my Army Wife Series, and all it’s accompanying and borrowed display gear, and drove to Yorktown, VA so we wouldn’t have to be up at the crack of dawn on Thursday. Besides, my friend JoAnne, who, in typical Army wife fashion, I had met in Hawai’i and will now keep in touch with whenever our paths cross, is a wonderful hostess.

The Army Wife all packed up

Our occasion was a Joint Services Luncheon at Ft Eustis, VA. The speaker was Tanya Biank, so JoAnne, who was on the organizing committee, suggested my artwork as a compatible display. I enjoyed the opportunity to share my work with an audience who might not normally take the time to see it in a gallery, yet would very much identify with it.

The Army Wife

I enjoyed talking to many of the ladies and sold a few catalogs and card sets. It was a lot better than letting the artwork sit in my dark closet. On a whim I brought my Square credit card reader which I had never used. It was so convenient to have on hand!

Selling The Army Wife cards and catalogs

The main event though, was for my mom and I to spend two days in the Philadelphia area to attend the Art Quilt Elements opening night reception and related Saturday events. My Grumpy Cat inspired quilt, Zeitgeist, was in the show and I thought it would be a fun outing for us to go see it, to visit another gallery or two, maybe a few Philly sights, and hear the juror/artists talks.

Art Quilt Elements 2014

I knew my cat was huge, especially since someone noted when it was hanging at my local McGuffey Art Center that it was seven feet tall, but I kind of assumed it would look normal sized in Wayne Art Center’s large gallery and surrounded by other large art quilts. Wow! It stood out as huge from the moment you walk in the entrance.

But the REALLY BIG surprise was that Zeitgeist won Best in Show! I was flabbergasted. I absolutely love the quilt, but I was even surprised that it was accepted into AQE. It doesn’t really look like what comes to mind when one thinks Art Quilt show, and it definitely wasn’t what I assumed would be considered prize-winning.

Me and Zeitgeist

I floated for the rest of the evening. I texted and FaceBooked with my friends and family, and let Sara Wood, who long arm quilted the beast know the good news.

We had Saturday morning free, so I decided we needed to see the fiber art mecca, Snyderman-Works Gallery. Their Fiber Biennial had just started and so the gallery was filled with a wide variety of top-notch fiber work. I took a few photos, but really, one needs to check out the much better photos at Snyderman-Works’ website or the individual artists’ websites. Aside from the wonderful artwork, I really, really enjoyed that everyone at the gallery was friendly, informative, and readily available. Frank was our docent without hovering too much, and I even had a chance to chat for a bit with the founder, Ruth. Everyone was warm and charming. I wish I had a million dollars so I could support the gallery and the artists they feature.

Snyderman-Works Gallery Philadelphia

My favorite may have been Richard Saja’s work. I’d seen it online before and it really does stand up in person. So quirky, so well executed, and so unique. I loved the red hair on this lady:

Scenes from a Marriage by Richard Saja (detail)

Scenes from a Marriage (detail) by Richard Saja

Compound by Norma Minkowitz

I also liked the work of Norma Minkowitz. One piece upstairs was frieze- or headstone-like with bird-ish forms and downstairs was this piece entitled Compound, which tells the story of the capture (and killing) of Osama Bin-Laden. The work is knit and then stiffened with resin, which intrigued me since I’ve been knitting a lot lately. It was at once cozy and hard.

Petal Edge by Piper Shephard (detail)

Petal Edge (detail) by Piper Shepard. I’m always attracted to cut paper art.

At The Sea by Pamela Becker

There were several vessels by Pamela Becker, like this one entitled At The Sea. They were exquisitely made, and the contrast in sheen between the linen and the rayon threads she uses is subtle and elegant. The patterning and surprise flowers in the bottoms of the bowls was beautiful too.

After Snyderman-Works, we walked over to Independence Hall, but didn’t have time for a tour or the Liberty Bell. It was nice to see the historic neighborhood though and Independence park.

Our next stop was the Art Alliance of Philadelphia to see some funky work by Caroline Lathan-Steifel.

Caroline Lathan-Steifel "Greenhouse Mix"

After Snyderman-Works, this was kind of a let-down. It was so crafty in comparison. But I did like the way the viewer could interact with the pieces by walking around them or looking through them, often at another piece. With fabric being a wrapping, enveloping media, I think we should be thinking more in terms of installation work.

The rest of the afternoon was back at Wayne Art Center to hear the jurors’ comments about some of the works, and to give the artists present a chance to give a little insight too. I’ll save that for another post though since this is pretty long.

Sunday’s drive home was punctuated by a stop at Historic Savage Mill, MD for the annual Homespun Yarn Party where I helped my friend Elisabeth sell her wonderful color changing yarn. Long day, but she appreciated the help, and I had fun being surrounded by yarn goodness. My mom and I came home with beautiful scarf pins and a skein of Elisabeth’s yarn to make next year’s Christmas present for my mom.

18 Oct

Small Civil Disobedience

On October 2nd, at the start of the US partial government shutdown, I posted this on my Facebook page:

My two ideas for artworks today:
1. Death Shroud for Democracy. Think Shroud of Turin, but on an American flag
2. A performance piece where I take a flag to the Capitol and slowly disassemble it with my seam ripper.

Then I sat and stewed for a week. I couldn’t shake the ideas. I realized that they could even be merged together. The next week I realized they even fit a potential exhibit opportunity. And it dawned on me that my dad and I had already planned a trip to DC.

So, I decided to take a flag with me on our trip and to stop at the Capitol at some point and disassemble it as a metaphor for Congress disassembling democracy (or maybe their actions were metaphor for what I would be doing). I had trepidations, because one can be fined and/or imprisoned for desecrating the American flag, but I kept telling myself that no one would even notice me, and if they did, my concept was strong and my protest peaceful.

Wouldn’t you know it, by the time we wore ourselves out walking through barrier after barrier to see the monuments around the National Mall, Congress had actually made some progress and looked set to pass a Continuing Resolution to the budget and to raise the Debt Ceiling, both without ransom. I felt like the wind let out of my sails. It was a lame protest if progress was being made, no matter how brief.

 

 

Disassembly 4 sm

US politics are still terribly dysfunctional, and I still believe that our elected representatives are tearing apart the system. I still think that America’s reputation is stained. So, I sat on a lesser populated part of the Capitol lawn, and faced my back to the Capitol Police in the far distance (the pictures wouldn’t have worked if I faced the other direction anyway).

 

Disassembly 1 sm

I removed a red and a white stripe from the flag and picked the stitches out of several embroidered stars. It was slow going and I was still a bit nervous and feeling bad that I was doing this on the eve of the end of the shutdown.

 

Disassembly 3 sm

We sat there barely an hour, but I knew I couldn’t finish disassembling the whole flag in the remainder of the day. So, photos taken, and not wishing to attract attention, we packed up the pieces and returned to the world as tourists.

 

Thread Nest sm

Back in the hotel, I disassembled the rest of the stripes. Now I will move on to the next phase of the project, which is creating the Death Shroud. I still feel like that aspect is valid. Majority rule and idealistic Democracy is ill. I have hope that it can heal, but not in the near future. So, this project will continue in the background for a while and when it’s done I will share it’s next incarnation.

 

Flag pieces sm

02 Sep

Hi September!

There’s lots of good stuff happening this month.

SAQA’s annual benefit auction is coming up soon, on Monday the 9th. I have a piece in it this year (on page 3b), as do many other member artists. There’s lots of beautiful pieces to look at, and maybe even purchase…

The Sketchbook Challenge theme is Houses and Hideaways and we’ll be doing a blog hop a little later in the month (stay tuned)…

Twelve Months, Sponsor's Social, Medallion for an Army Family, and Connections

And, we hung my show at McGuffey Art Center! I’ll take more photos soon, when all the lights are properly adjusted and the room is looking it’s best, and hopefully some “action” shots on Friday at the opening reception. Maybe I’ll get really tricky and do a video walk through. Speaking of walk-through, I’ll be giving an artist talk on Sunday the 15th, after which I invite any local SAQA members to come for a meet-up (I’m not sure exactly where yet, but I’ll find a local restaurant this week). In addition to my show, the Watercolor Guild is having it’s annual show in the hall galleries and there is some fabulous work.

Connections, Unraveling, Be Strong Always, Non-Entity, and Hanging by a Thread

20 Aug

The Army Wife at McGuffey Art Center

This is it — the big one! An entire gallery filled with my Army Wife series. I have been imagining this show for probably four years now. I am both nervous and excited to invite everyone who can to come see the show during the month of September. Opening night is First Friday, the 6th, which should be great fun as all of McGuffey celebrates the new art hung in all it’s spaces each month. I’m also giving an artist’s talk on Sunday the 15th in which I hope to offer some insights to my processes and inspirations. Come see the show!

MAC postcard email

19 Jun

Assorted Work

First, I tried using my very accommodating husband as a stencil last weekend, spraying fiber reactive dye on him and the fabric. The whole process reminded me of why I don’t enjoy creating my own hand dyed fabrics. There’s prep that needs to be done to the fabric, and the dye needs to be mixed, so it’s not a very immediate process. I hate mixing dye because I don’t have a dedicated area, and the powder can get away from you soooo easily, and it is such a pain to try to clean. After spraying the fabric, I think we spent more time cleaning up my husband and the work area than it took to actually dye the fabric. He was vaguely blue for three days. And then, even after batching in the sun, under plastic, all day, the finished color on the fabric wasn’t half as intense as I had hoped. I think that the fabric just wasn’t saturated enough. It was a good experiment, but not one I feel the need to replicate. I like the painted prints much better, but even they have faded and scuffed after washing. I may do them again and not wash afterward. I still have one more thing to try though…

Blue Man

In other news, I finished the apron with a bajillion french knots. This photo is not the best (I’m experimenting with where and when to photograph things, and the sun is just in the wrong position with this combo). Anyway, I think it’s titled Non-entity, but I’m not sure yet. That means something to me, but I don’t think it clarifies anything to a viewer. For me it’s about being recognized only by one’s husband’s rank and social security number, but I’m not sure that comes through. It’s pretty though, so I’m generally happy with the piece.

Untitled

15 Jun

Experiments in the Sun

I’m kicking around ideas for a new series and needed to do a bit of experimentation. I pretty much know in my head what I want, and I think I know how to get it, but you never really know until you know.

Sunprint1

I wanted to try a full body sun print. So, I laid out a piece of cloth on a large plastic tablecloth, painted it, dragged it out onto the patio into the sun, and lay down on it for almost an hour, from 10:00 to 11:00-ish. The first thing I learned was that concrete is really hard when you lay on it, unmoving, for so long. I also lost feeling below my elbows. The second thing I learned is that sweat messes with the process and makes the paint spread out in flowy puddles. Neat effect, but not the one I wanted. Sweat also makes it hard to tell when the rest of the fabric is dry. My smart phone, on which I was listening to a podcast also gave up in the sun. I called uncle and went inside to try again.

Sunprint2

I figured that I was really better off trying again since it would be closer to noon and the sun wouldn’t cast unsightly shadows that blurred my face. This time, I got smart and laid out two thin sleeping mats side by side, then covered them with the plastic tablecloth. I covered that with a cotton tablecloth to hopefully absorb some of my sweat before it caused puddling. On top of that went another piece of painted fabric, and then me — this time wearing a long sleeved shirt to absorb at least that elbow to wrist sweat. I lay out for about 45 minutes, until just after noon.

This was much more comfortable, and created a much crisper image. The wicking worked so well that I have two ghost hands merely from setting my hands down on my way to the prone position. Next time, I must remember to only place body parts where heavier body parts will ultimately cover the marks. I faced the sun to get a better image. I wish I had a sweat-swabber to come out with some water and a straw every five minutes and a towel to dab my face, neck and lower arms. Unfortunately, everyone was inside and couldn’t hear my feeble cries over the podcast entertaining me from the shade of the screened door. Finally, my son came out and confirmed that the fabric I was not laying on was indeed pretty dry, and I was starting to feel a bit yucky, so I came in to hydrate and cool off. Still, I got a pretty good print.

I could stop with what I have, but it occurred to me that I could use myself as a stencil too, and that wouldn’t require so much time in the sun. I’ve ordered dye which I think will go through a spray bottle better than paint and will try out my theory when it arrives. Hubby wondered just how permanent the dye is. If you see me looking like a Smurf next week, we’ll know.

18 Mar

Stars and Stripes

I keep meaning to post about work I’ve actually finished but then I get distracted and forget.

 

Right now this is entitled “Patriots,” though I’m not certain that will stick. It is layered sheers and machine embroidered stars. To me, it says something about connections and associations within the military community, but after making several variations, I’ve decided that I just want it to “be,” and not try to be too literal or leading. Overall I’d like to be less specific in my art. There will probably always be a narrative, but I don’t want it to be so obvious that there’s no room for the viewer to discover their own story within it.

 

Welcome Home is not quite finished. It is an apron, but also patriotic bunting. It’s made from used clothing. Eventually it will be hung on a section of chain link fence like the banners families and units hang up when their troops return home from deployment. It’s flirty and festive, and a little bit trashy, as anyone who has attended a Welcome Home ceremony knows.