Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Art from the Arts, Night of Terror ... and installation in progress

 (Above:  One of thirteen vintage garments intended for the upcoming Art from the Ashes invitation exhibition.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

Last month I posted the first few photos that resulted from a collision between my hair-brained ideas for natural dyeing with an upcoming art opportunity.  (That blog post is HERE.)  Happily since mid-October, I've been rusting vintage garments with old nails, wire, and assorted washers ... often tying the fabric around pebbles ... and frequently baking my concoctions in a covered, cast iron pot donated by my mother. 

I've brewed up magnolia, kutzu, oleander, and rosemary in antique cauldrons.  Poke berries were colorful but didn't have lasting color.  Acorns and crepe myrtle pods worked wonderfully.  White vinegar and sea salt smells pretty wretched when baked with railroad spikes but the stains are tremendous.  All in all, I've been having a blast ... partly because I have no formal ideas for what I'm doing and partly because I have no expectations.  Thus, everything is surprising and the results are thrilling me!

My intentions are to use these garments (and others ... as I plan on continuing these experiments) in the creation of an installation.  I'm hoping to use several alcoves at the Tapps Art Center, making "vignettes" with these garments.  My focus is to make visible the fears and terror felt by the average citizens on the night during which one-third of Columbia was burnt by General William T. Sherman's troops.  This Civil War "March to the Sea" occurred 150 years ago.  Columbia is gearing up to commemorate the event. 

I've been working to stain these garments with Columbia earth, from the soil and the plant life in my own backyard.  The destructive power suggested by the rust is meant to reflect that night, those fears, and the uncertain future.

Recently I took the first thirteen, finished garments to Gallery 80808/Vista Studios for a photo shoot.  Each piece was pinned to the gallery's nice, white walls ... under the four skylights.  It is a perfect location for capturing quality images.  This blog post includes one shot of each garment.  Yet, I shot until my camera's batteries died ... hundreds and hundreds of pictures.  Most were deleted.  One-hundred-and sixteen were saved.  These images are now on a Flickr! set.

Wonderfully, I was contacted by Cindi Boiter, the editor of Jasper Magazine and co-owner of Muddy Ford Press.  Cindi and her husband Bob are considering one of these pictures for the cover of the literary publication that will accompany the Art from the Ashes exhibition!  I'm excited and my fingers are crossed!

 Knowing that my work would be considered for a book cover, I shot several details of each garment.  It was an interesting process ... thinking about whether a vertical or a horizontal image might be better ... thinking about how the colors and textures might interfere or enhance the text ... wondering whether a more abstract detail would suit the publication or a more figurative suggestion.  I could imagine several different ways these garments might be used for illustrative purposes.  Which would I pick?  I don't know!  What would you pick? 

There is now a website for the city's sesquicentennial commemoration.  It includes Art from the Ashes but it also includes the juried show Crafting Civil (War) Conversations at the McKissick Museum.  My piece, Stitching Together, was accepted ... and delivered yesterday.  Honestly, I never thought this subject would have inspired me the way it has but I'm certainly enjoying the experience!

Later this evening I'm going to another photo shoot.  This one will include all the invited artists involved in Art from the Ashes.  Evidently, there will be an article on our work and this exhibit!  I'm excited ... and thankful for this awesome opportunity!

I am also linking the post to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Fridays", a site for sharing fiber art work.

This garment was NOT rusted or naturally dyed.  It was soaked in alum water, hung to dry, and pounded with flowers from the backyard ... mostly tiny sprigs of pink clover.  I blogged about it HERE.  I call this garment Antebellum and plan to showcase it to contrast with the other pieces. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Fiberarts for a Cause. I'm one of "The 100" Artists!

(Above:  Me holding Key XI, my Fiberart for a Cause donation.  Click on any image in the blog post for an enlargement.)

I am very honored to be among "The 100" invited artists donating work to Virginia Speigel's Fiberart for a Cause benefiting the American Cancer Society.  It's a unique way to raise $10,000 in a single day.  Why does Virginia do this?  Well, Virginia's sister Nancy Spiegel Rosman was the chair of the American Cancer Society's "Relay For Life" in Forest Lake, MN ... for years and years. Virginia figured out a way for fiber artists to get involved as well.  After all, their Dad is a colon cancer survivor!  In less than a decade, Virigina's Fiberart for a Cause has raised over $240,000 ... and is now (with your help! Hint, hint!) about to add another $10,000 in a single, exciting day!  CLICK HERE for more information about this initiative!

One hundred artists were asked to donate a fiber art creation worth at least $100.  The first 100 people pledging $100 on Wednesday, February 4th after 10:00 AM CST, will receive one of the art works ... selected by a random drawing!  Awesome!

Because I might be mailing my donation to someone in England, Italy, Australia, or South Africa ... etc., I knew that my artwork, if framed, needed Plexiglass.  I also knew that I wanted to donate something that really speak to my work.  What could be more perfect than one of my old, rusted keys in a most unique, framed presentation?  Key XI fits the bill ... though it is a bit difficult to photograph due to the glare from the Plexiglass.  I adore kilim rugs, assorted beads, and using my Embellisher to turn scraps of material into original fabric.  All the stitching was done by hand.

(Above:  Key XI.)

I also love turning picture frame moulding "on its side" for unusual shadow-box presentations.  The Plexiglass was installed with copper nails inserted through brass nuts and pre-drilled holes.

(Above:  Key XI, detail.)

I'm really pleased to know this piece will have a new home!

(Above:  Me ... this morning at the American Red Cross ... donating platelets.)

When my husband Steve took the photo at the head of this blog post, I didn't realize that I was still wearing the American Red Cross identification sticker.  Why?  Well, it's Christmas.  This is a time for GIVING ... and I'm a regular donor.  This morning I gave platelets.  This is the photo I posted on Facebook ... encouraging others to "give the gift of life".  How appropriate for a day during which I'm blogging about Virginia's generosity and the project she has made available for others to help by contributing!

(Above:  Laura-Jane Gibson as Clara in Birmingham Royal Ballet's production of The Nutcraker.)\

While on Facebook, I found this great photo of my future daughter-in-law ...

(Above:  My son, Mathias Lenz Dingman as the Nutcracker Prince and his dancing partner ... one of my favorite's at BRB ... Arancha Baselga as the Sugar Plum Fairy.)

... and this amazing photo of my son and his dancing partner, Arancha Basel.  Nutcracker!  Yes, it is definitely CHRISTMAS. 

I am also linking this post to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Fridays", a site for sharing fiber art work.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Stained Glass LXIII

  Click on any image in this blog post to enlarge.)

This is Stained Glass LXIII.  Despite all sorts of other deadlines, art opportunities, and hair-brained ideas for new work, I'm still very much working toward having enough to fill my booth at the ACC (American Craft Council) shows in Baltimore and Atlanta.  They aren't until February and March, but those dates are fast approaching.

 (Above:  Stained Glass LXIII.  Framed: 63" x 23". $1200.)

I've made an earlier piece based on the idea of "squares on point" but this one is different.  I varied the size of the square and I really like the result.  Below are more detail shots.

  (Above:  Detail of Stained Glass LXIII.)

All my "stained glass" series pieces are made exactly like my "In Box" series pieces ... and the free, on-line tutorial is HERE.  Enjoy!

  (Above:  Detail of Stained Glass LXIII.)

I'm also announcing the fact that I'm one of 100 Artists selected to be part of Virginia Speigel's Fiber Art for a Cause Fundraiser benefiting the American Cancer Society.  I'll be posting more about this unique and exciting way to raise $10,000 in a single day ... but, for now, please just visit Virginia's post explaining the project.  IT IS HERE. I just haven't decided which piece I'm donating ... but it will be over the $100 minimum!  Why shouldn't it be!  This is one very worthy cause and one very fun way to helping!

  (Above:  Detail of Stained Glass LXIII.)

Monday, December 08, 2014

Tagging more keys

 (Above:  More tagged keys.  Click on any image in this blog post to enlarge.)

Quite a few tagged keys sold at the Sustainable Midlands Holiday Sale on December 1st.  So, I decided to make another grouping and photograph the step-by-step process for making them.

 (Above:  Piece of heavy watercolor/printmaking paper.)

First, I prepare a piece of heavy watercolor paper for the tags.  To do this, I sponge paint both sides with watered down acrylic paint and then use an old toothbrush to fling fine, black ink spots to emulate aging.

 (Above:  The other side of the watercolor paper.)

For this piece, I used a more intensely rusty looking paint.  Why?  Well, I didn't use a brand new piece of paper.  It was originally a very light toned silkscreen of geometric shapes.  I bought an entire pile of old silkscreens at auction for around six dollars.  The darker tones completely covered any trace of the former artwork.  Why buy new acid free paper when used is available for so much less money! LOL!

 (Above:  Scoring the paper with my mat cutter.)

After the paper was dry, I ran it through my dry mount press.  This isn't necessary but it does render the paper totally flat.  The dry mount press operates as if a "giant iron".  I'm fortunate to have all my framing equipment at my disposal ... including my mat cutter.  I scored the paper into 7/8" strips ...

 (Above:  Tearing the paper along the scored line.)

... and then hand tore each strip.  Obviously, a mat cutter isn't necessary.  Any straight edge (ruler) and an Exact-o knife (razor blade) will do quite nicely.

 (Above:  Strips of watercolor paper.)

These are all the strips I tore.  Please notice the white, torn edges.  These resemble the deckled edges of handmade paper.

 (Above: Painting the deckle.)

I prefer the deckled edge to blend with the painted paper.  I like the color to be a bit softer, more like the less intense side.  Thus, I paint them with more, watered down acrylic paint ... and uncurl them in the process. 
 (Above:  Completed strips of watercolor paper.)

Unfortunately, I forgot to snap photos while I made this latest round of tags.

Fortunately, I've taken photos from other times when I've made the tags.  The photo above was taken about two years or more ago.  It pictures the work table in my studio with other strips of paper.

It does, however, show the little cabinet I keep of clipped vintage letters.  I have compartments for A through Z plus one for "little words" like "the, and, with, from, and of", one for punctuation, and one for numbers.

This photo was taken two or so years ago too ... when Olivia was my studio assistant and we made a large pile of tags!  This is how I work!
 (Above:  Tags laid out with selected old keys and a roll of my zigzagged cording.)

Yesterday, I carefully selected an old key for each of the tags I made.  This is undoubtedly my favorite part of the process.  Some keys just look perfect for "the key to happiness" and others seem to be heavier and appropriate for "the key to courage", etc.  I also have a roll of cording.  I make the cording the same way as I start a fiber vessel .... except I only use two strands of yarn ... making a very thin cord.  (Click here for the tutorial for making a fiber vessel.)

I use a big nail and a hammer to put a hole on one end of each tag.  Then, the cord is slipped through the hole.  The open-toed free-motion foot seems to be the perfect one for the task.  I zigzag over the end of the cord ... a lot ... and then cut the threads.

 The same is done for the other end ... attaching the selected key.

Because I snip the threads, they will unravel ... until I roll a dab of matte medium around the threads.  Others might use fray-check but I buy matte medium by the gallon.  Thus, it is used ... totally clear ... acid free ... and without a gloss finish.

I do the same to both sides of the stitching.  So ... there you have it!  Tagged keys.  These will be going to Crafty Feast next Sunday, December 14th at the Columbia Convention Center.  I'm looking forward to it.

 (Above:  Wall of Ancestors, Committed Suicide.)

Recently I made over fifty new pieces for The Wall of Ancestors.  I blogged them HERE.
Yet, I forgot one.  Here it is! 

 (Above:  The Key to Travel.)

I also made The Key to Travel last week ... and forgot to blog it!  

Plus ... last week I received two photos from The Perfect Fit in Santa Barbara, California.  This upscale clothing and tailoring location bought twenty-five of my vintage wooden spool Christmas ornaments for their display window!  This is how it looks!  I'm impressed!

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

New work for the Wall of Ancestors and more tagged keys

 (Above: Tagged keys.  Click on any image in this blog post to enlarge.)

In anticipation of this past Monday's Sustainable Midlands Holiday Sale and the upcoming Crafty Feast Sales on December 14th, I decided to make some more tagged keys.  It seemed easier than removing existing tagged keys from the wall in my studio.  Making new ones also meant that I knew which keys I had ... the key to happiness, the key to love, the key to a fast Internet connection, the key to a thin waistline, the key to respect, etc.  I love making keys!  It also meant that I had out all my supplies for collaging.

 (Above:  The Wall of Ancestors Series, A Charmed Life.)

I had my brush, matte medium, and my stash of clipped vintage letters spread out across my mat cutter.  It seemed like a perfect time to make additional pieces for my Wall of Ancestors ... especially since I would be working at Mouse House over Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and right through Cyber Monday.  During this time, I created fifty-two new works.  I also absolutely LOVE making these pieces.  It gives me a chance to sort through all these old, anonymous photos and imagine the lives these people might have lived. 

  (Above:  The Wall of Ancestors Series, Abused Behind Closed Doors.)

Originally, I had about thirty or so pieces last year for my solo show called I Am Not Invisible.  I upped the number to 127 by spring when I exhibited them at Gallery 80808/Vista for Artista Vista.

(Above:  The Wall of Ancestors as exhibited at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios during last spring's Artista Vista show.)

  (Above:  The Wall of Ancestors Series, Always Together.)

It is probably stupid to be making more pieces, especially over fifty of them, but I am hoping that this installation will be accepted into next spring's ArtFields competition.  If I'm lucky and get this opportunity, I will probably need even more than I currently have.  I didn't really want to wait and feel "under the gun".  Thus, I enjoyed the process over the long weekend and now feel very hopeful for good news.

  (Above:  The Wall of Ancestors Series, Always Went to Confession.)

I am happy to report that Stitching Together was accepted for the upcoming show at the McKissick Museum!  I'm looking forward to it!

  (Above:  The Wall of Ancestors Series, Always Wore a Clean Apron in my Spotless Kitchen.)

The rest of this blog post is simply the rest of the pieces made for The Wall of Ancestors.  Enjoy!  I sure enjoyed making them ... and have other ideas for even more! Remember that each one can be enlarged by clicking on the image!  Also ... I was very thankful for Thanksgiving!  Steve cooked the entire dinner.  Over the weekend, he built all the frames to my specifications and assembled everything!  I'm quite lucky!

  (Above:  The Wall of Ancestors Series, Atheist.)

I'm linking this post to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Fridays", a site for sharing fiber arts.

  (Above:  The Wall of Ancestors Series, Beach Bums.)

  (Above:  The Wall of Ancestors Series, Buried Three Babies.)

  (Above:  The Wall of Ancestors Series, Burned My Bra.)

  (Above:  The Wall of Ancestors Series, Couldn't Hold a Job.)

  (Above:  The Wall of Ancestors Series, Died in Child Birth.)

  (Above:  The Wall of Ancestors Series, Died in the Flu Epidemic.)

  (Above:  The Wall of Ancestors Series, Donna Reed Was My Role Model.)

  (Above:  The Wall of Ancestors Series, Draft Dodger.)

  (Above:  The Wall of Ancestors Series, Eloped As Teenagers.)

  (Above:  The Wall of Ancestors Series, Forbidden to Marry the Girl I Loved.)

  (Above:  The Wall of Ancestors Series, Fought for the Right to Vote.)

  (Above:  The Wall of Ancestors Series, Future Introvert.)

  (Above:  The Wall of Ancestors Series,Gambler.)

   (Above:  The Wall of Ancestors Series, Grew Up Without a Father.)

   (Above:  The Wall of Ancestors Series, Had a Back Alley Abortion.)

   (Above:  The Wall of Ancestors Series, He Cheated On Me.)

    (Above:  The Wall of Ancestors Series, Hid My Homosexuality to My Dying Day.)

    (Above:  The Wall of Ancestors Series, Hurt the One I Loved.)

    (Above:  The Wall of Ancestors Series, I Hated My Mother.)

    (Above:  The Wall of Ancestors Series, I Would Marry Four Times.)

    (Above:  The Wall of Ancestors Series, Inseparable for Life.)

    (Above:  The Wall of Ancestors Series, Left at the Altar.)

    (Above:  The Wall of Ancestors Series, Lived in an All White Neighborhood.)

    (Above:  The Wall of Ancestors Series, Lived Off the Land.)

    (Above:  The Wall of Ancestors Series, Mama's Boy.)

    (Above:  The Wall of Ancestors Series, Man of God.)

    (Above:  The Wall of Ancestors Series, Married for Money.)

    (Above:  The Wall of Ancestors Series, Miss Congeniality.)

    (Above:  The Wall of Ancestors Series, My Mother Didn't Want Another Child.)

    (Above:  The Wall of Ancestors Series, Never Filed Income Tax.)

    (Above:  The Wall of Ancestors Series, Never Learned to Drive.)

    (Above:  The Wall of Ancestors Series, Never Wore a Seat Belt.)

    (Above:  The Wall of Ancestors Series, Orphan.)

    (Above:  The Wall of Ancestors Series, Playboy.)

    (Above:  The Wall of Ancestors Series, Ran Away to Join the Circus.)

    (Above:  The Wall of Ancestors Series, Rebel Without a Cause.)

    (Above:  The Wall of Ancestors Series, Served Time in Jail.)

    (Above:  The Wall of Ancestors Series, Shoplifter.)

    (Above:  The Wall of Ancestors Series, Shotgun Wedding.)

    (Above:  The Wall of Ancestors Series, So Cool.)

    (Above:  The Wall of Ancestors Series, Suffered Post-Partum Depression.)

   (Above:  The Wall of Ancestors Series, Those Were the Days.)

    (Above:  The Wall of Ancestors Series, Town Drunk.)

   (Above:  The Wall of Ancestors Series, We Assumed Our Sally, Dick, and Jane World Would Never End.)

    (Above:  The Wall of Ancestors Series, He Broke My Heart.)

    (Above:  The Wall of Ancestors Series, Kissing Cousins.)

    (Above:  The Wall of Ancestors Series, The Greatest Generation.)