Friday, October 09, 2015


(Above: View to PLAYA, an art residency program located in the "Oregon Outback" at which I have the privilege to be living and creating here until Halloween.  Click on any image in this blog post to enlarge.)

PLAYA is more than I dared to imagine. Sure, I knew it was in a remote area of Oregon known for its high desert beauty but I had no idea just how gorgeous the sun would rise over the dried lake bed.

(Above:  The sun rising over the dried Summer Lake bed ... the view from my back deck.) 

Sure, I knew my accommodations were called "a cabin" but I had no idea that this meant a stand-alone building with a wrap-around deck, full kitchen, spacious living area, a sleigh bed, a walk-in closet, a bathroom, and a separate area for a jacuzzi tub.  Sure, I knew there's be a studio space but I had no idea that it would be more than twice the size of my space at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios where every wall is a tack-able design wall.  The work table is just my height and on casters too.  It is hard to believe that I've been awarded four weeks in this serenely quiet place where millions of stars twilight in the otherwise pitch black nights and California quail rustle in the grass just a few feet from my back, sliding door.

Before leaving I packed up two large boxes and sent them via FedEx Ground ... despite the fact that this service recently lost my work The Guardian Angel in transit to the International Quilt Festival in Houston for a show called Digital Alchemy.  The boxes (one of which had my Bernina 1008 in it) arrived ahead of schedule.  My flight out of Charlotte was caught in barely enough time to allow Steve to return to Columbia before the city shut down and braced for flooding ... waters which claimed several homes of friends and clients.  Columbia is still on emergency status, boiling drinking water, and trying to come to terms with the devastation in the wake of more than 11 inches of rainfall.

(Above:  Deb Sorem in her Salem, Oregon studio.)

My first night was at Deb Sorem's house in Salem. I found these lovely accommodations via Elizabeth Baumberger, a SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) member in Portland who sent out a request to other members!  Now that's a unique and wonderful feature!  Support as room and board for the evening!  Thank you, Elizabeth and Deb! 

On Monday I drove to Bend, Oregon to stock up on groceries, gas for the rental car, and then headed to highway 31.  PLAYA is between mile marker 81 and 82.  It is remote ... perfectly so. My Verizon cell doesn't often have service. The residency's computer has the speed that I remember from days using dial up ... but "remote" has its advantages.  It is certainly a place for focused creativity where time seems to slow down into a relaxed pace and it is easy to forget what day of the week each morning brings about!  I am already deep into several projects, but this blog post will just feature my setting for the next several weeks ... PLAYA!  I couldn't be happier!

This is the Main Building at PLAYA.  It overlooks Summer Lake ... which currently is the dried lake bed ... but it is starting to fill up.  I look forward to seeing the water overtake the dusty, parched soil.

Inside PLAYA's Main building are shelves of books on regional history, flora and fauna, art, culture, road maps and works by past residents.  By the end of the month, there will likely be a fire sending smoke up the big stone chimney.

Here's the view back to the enormous, well appointed kitchen.

Dinners are prepared for the residents every Monday and Thursday evening ... and we are allowed to have the leftovers on later days!

Today I used a dry eraser board marker and "checked out" for a drive to a high-speed Internet access (aka McDonalds in La Pine which is 83 miles away) in order to blog and to visit the nearby quilting store!

Now ... let's go on a little walk around the property!  There's a large, meandering, spring-fed pond and marsh that perfectly reflects the wide open sky above.

There are well placed benches in many ideal spots for viewing the many species of birds.

It is hard to believe that this beautiful water is only about a hundred yards from an arid, high desert lake bed ...

... where the future lake's bottom currently looks like a mammoth-sized cracked egg shell!

One of my favorite paths to the "playa" is over this boardwalk ...

... across the grasses, reeds, and other vegetation ...

... and down to several artist made formations of stones.  This isn't a series of circles but a spiral.

This diamond shaped feature is extra large.  I will try to find out who made it.  In the meantime, I've placed a few additional stones into the formation.

I've walked on the playa watching dust devils swirling up like miniature tornadoes but I seem to love the plant life even better.

I don't know much about the diversity or types of plants here ... but what's not to like ... especially since the trees are full of ripe apples!

Of course, ripe apples are a favorite for local bears. A couple have visited PLAYA at night despite the great branch fence along the road's edge!  So far ... I haven't seen the bear but others have!  I promise to be careful!  I have, however, seen the great horned owl scoop up a field mouse only twelve feet from where I was sitting on my deck!  Now ... that was incredible!


 I walk along fence to get to MY STUDIO!  Yes, more than half the space of this building has been reserved for me!  Hard to believe! 

The space is gigantic, easily more than twice the square footage of my Gallery 80808/Vista Studio space.  I've never used a design wall ... but might have to try it as every wall includes push tacks!


Even if I wasn't awarded such an outstanding setting in which to work, I'd have more than enough space in my "cabin".  That's it in the photo above ... a stand-alone structure in the middle of nature!

Here's the front of the building.


Inside is a large living area ... and to the other side ...


... a big kitchen/eating area ...


There's everything I could ever imagine wanting for a kitchen!


I get to sleep in this perfect, comfortable bed!  There's also a walk-in closet and a bathroom with a big shower stall.


Yet ... in addition to the shower ... there's another room ... for a jacuzzi tub!  Now, this is the life!  I have two projects going in the cabin and another couple pieces in progress in the studio.  I have no doubt that this will be a productive month! 

Of course, it will also be a relaxing time.  How could it not be with a deck like this!  I plan on blogging once a week ... even if it means an 83 mile, one-way trip into La Pine.  Besides, the drive alone is breath-taking!

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

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Off to OREGON!

 (Above:  In Box CXCV. Framed: 33 3/4" x 21 3/4". Inventory # 3551. $525 plus tax and shipping. Click on any image to enlarge.)

I am packed and ready to go to PLAYA, an art residency program in remote Oregon.  I am excited.  Two boxes of supplies and my trusty Bernina 1008 have been mailed via FedEx Ground despite the fact that Guardian Angel is lost in their system.  (I also boxed up four pieces accepted into Form and Content, an artist and altered book show at Blue Door Gallery in Yonkers ... and Steve will drop them off at FedEx Office on Monday.)  I have faith that Guardian Angel will be found even though it has been more five weeks since it's package was last scanned.

Tomorrow I fly out!  I don't know if I will have any reliable Internet connection.  I'm not even sure that I'll be in a location where my telephone service has coverage.  This will be very interesting ... contemplative, quiet, focused, and time to spend making art.  How wonderful!
 (Above:  In Box CXCVI. Framed: 19 1/4" x 15 1/4". Inventory # 3552. $225 plus tax and shipping.)

Before leaving, however, I finished up these three pieces.  Til ... whenever!
 (Above:  Lancet Window LIX. Framed: 33 3/4" x  21 3/4". Inventory # 3553. $375 plus tax and shipping.)

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Tying Up Loose Ends and Great Expectations

(Above:  The Key to Great Expectations.  This piece was the result of several demonstrations for "Second Life", my two-day workshop for the Southeastern Quilt and Textile Museum in Carrollton, GA.  I showed workshop participants how to "make a tag for a key", use the Embellisher (a home-model, dry-felting machine, create and use a grave rubbing, and mount the resulting work inside a provided 11" x 14" mat. Click on any image in this blog post to enlarge.)

The past two weeks have been amazingly busy and very, very full of fiber fun!  Sure, this has plenty to do with my solo show, Last Words, opening at the Southeastern Quilt and Textile Museum in Carrollton, GA.  Of course I blogged about it with plenty of photos ... but there was so much more to my time in Carrollton!  There was a "trunk show" on Wednesday evening which was advertised to the entire community ... including the art groups, scout troops, and local quilt guilds.  It was loads of fun and followed by an in depth tour of the Carrollton City Cemetery led by local historians.  There was also a gallery talk on Saturday morning. Plus, the museum is partnered with the Tanner Medical Center which provided space for Two Hours at the Beach to hang in their spacious lobby area!
(Above:  Marilyn Hubbard, the head of the museum's Collection Committee, and me at the Tanner Medical Center with Two Hours at the Beach.)

Thursday and Friday were GREAT days ... my "Second Life" workshop!

(Above:  Norma West, the museum's treasurer and all-star volunteer, checking the workshop boxes!)

I cannot say enough wonderful things about the entire staff at the museum.  They were so supportive ... and even had these "boxes" of staples for workshop participants to use ... just in case someone forgot something essentials!  There were more sewing machines than needed, and the Cultural Arts Center was spacious, clean, quiet, and a perfect setting!

Everyone had plenty of room to sort through the fabrics and vintage materials I brought.

Everyone went in their own personal direction to create a lasting family heirloom.

It was a nice group of ladies who smiled all the time.  Conversations revolved around our own quilting, art, memories, and admiration of cemeteries in general.

It was fabulous to see grave rubbings and vintage garments combined with a sense of story telling.

Everyone loved making tagged keys too ... and learning how to mount fiber pieces with mats of various sizes.

Best of all was the time spent in the cemetery making the crayon grave rubbings.  A local newspaper journalist showed up for the public talk but also in the cemetery.  There were at least three articles in the newspaper ... and a very nice magazine article too.

Already I've received emails from people impressed with the exhibit.  Believe me, I'm impressed with all of Carrollton!

(Above:  Pencil fence at the Cultural Arts Center in Carrollton.)

The Cultural Arts Center is magnificent and filled with art.  The grounds include several sculptures and this ultra-cool pencil fence made by kids taking summer arts programming.

I loved this Bird House Tree best of all!  And ... that's the Marriott in the background ... brand new ... totally convenient!  Thank you, Southeastern Quilt and Textile Museum for such fabulous accommodations, a t-shirt and food tickets to "A Taste of Carrollton" for Thursday evening, for the goodie bag in my room, and for EVERYTHING else!

I'm including a detail shot of the Bird House Tree especially for my Dad.  He makes birdhouses and I knew he'd love it!

(Above:  Park(ing) Day 2015 on September 17th ... stitching with Dad!)

Speaking of Dad ... Here he is on Main Street in Columbia for Park(ing) Day 2015!  Park(ing) Day is an international event aimed at turning ordinary parking places into one-day "parks".  It happens every year on the third Friday of September ... which, this year, was on September 17th.  Columbia decided to participate with less than two weeks before the event.  Thus, participation was limited but I managed to get in on the action along with One Columbia, the Public Library, and several others.  Next year ... Columbia is going to "rock it"!

(Above:  Lee Snelgrove and Rachel ... of One Columbia ... stitching on an art quilt.)

It was great fun to stitch all day in my own, personal park(ing) space!  It was even more fun to share my passion for STITCH with people passing by and ...

... with artists I know ... and even my parents who just happened to be on their way to their timeshare in Hilton Head.  The piece everyone stitched on was printed by Spoonflower.  The image is a collage of photos taken in early August of pavement, sidewalks, and curbs in Five Points, an area of Columbia known for its chic shops, college bars, and the five streets that come together in a unique "five point" intersection. I also uploaded my photos to Shutterfly ... making a unique book of the images.

(Above:  Me ... stitching outside The Gourmet Shop in Five Points with photographer Russell Jeffcoat.)

I took the photos and ordered several pieces of fabric from Spoonflower because I am involved in a unique project called "Paint Five Points" (It is a special honor since I'm the only one who doesn't actually PAINT! LOL!). Ten artists have been commissioned to create work based on impressions of Five Points.  The work will be auctioned off at the annual Starry Night Gala on December 3rd.  I'm very proud to be in the company of my mentor, Stephen Chesley and mentioned so wonderfully in this Midlands Biz article:

COLUMBIA, SC – As part of its 100th anniversary celebration, Five Points is hosting Paint 5 Points — a public art-making series in the historic village neighborhood — throughout Fall 2015. Several of the Midlands’ most esteemed, established artists have been commissioned to create works of art during live, outdoor painting sessions, or in some cases give public demonstrations, with Five Points scenery, businesses and passersby as inspiration.
The list of participating artists reads like a “Who’s Who” of Midlands visual artists, from well-known muralist Blue Sky and cult favorite painters Ed Wimberly and Stephen Chesley, to acclaimed fiber artist Susan Lenz and landscape artist Mary Gilkerson. (See full list below.) Work by mixed-media artist Laurie McIntosh will be featured on the promotional poster for the event.

The community is encouraged to visit Five Points this fall to interact with the 10 participating Paint 5 Points artists, who will appear primarily throughout September and early October. As artists finalize schedules for their on-site work sessions, the Five Points Association will publicize dates and times via Facebook, Twitter and other social media channels.

Completed works from the plein air event will be on sale during the Paint 5 Points Gala on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015 during A Starry Night, the village’s annual holiday shopping-and-strolling event.
Paint 5 Points Artists, 2015
• Stephen Chesley, oil painter, Vista Studios
• Colin Dodd, oil and acrylic artist, professor at Midlands Technical College
• Jung-Mei Dodd, painter, contributor to local public art Palmetto Tree Project
• Jeff Donovan, painter and sculptor, represented by if ART Gallery
• Mary Gilkerson, landscape artist at EBCO studio in Five Points (above Oops!)
• Susan Lenz, acclaimed fiber and installation artist
• Laurie McIntosh, mixed media and graphic artist, Vista Studios
• Brian Rego, oil painter and University of South Carolina professor
• Blue Sky, famed local painter, muralist and installation artist
• Edward Wimberly, oil and canvas portrait artist and S.C. native

(Above:  Another day stitching outside The Gourmet Shop ... with photography collector Carl Johnson.)

This project has really pushed my boundaries.  Not only am I the only "non-painter" but I'm using my own photography as inspiration.  On my first session in public, photographer Russell Jeffcoat came by.  He's a "photographer's photographer" ... a man who shoots REAL FILM and knows his way around the chemicals and trays in a dark room.  He carefully looked at my Shutterfly book ... and actually said that my images "weren't bad".  I consider this HIGH PRAISE.  On my second session of stitching in public, my client Carl Johnson stopped by.  Carl is a photography collector ... whose personal holdings include works by Sally Mann, Jock Sturges, etc.  (I am honored every time he has me frame a new photo in his collection of internationally acclaimed photographers!)  He also looked at my Shutterfly book ... and pronounced it "good"!

During my third public stitching session, Debbie McDaniels stopped by!   Debbie has been a long time supporter of the Five Point Merchants Association and the upcoming gala.  She owns a popular, upscale shop for consignment clothing and accessories.  She's a force in Five Points and I was thrilled to have her look at my work, my stitches, and to chat about the artwork being made for the gala.

(Above:  Guardian Angel.  For a blog post about this work, CLICK HERE.)

So ... I think I've "tied up my loose ends" ... blogged about Park(ing) Day, my "Second Life" workshop, and shared my public stitching adventures for the upcoming Five Points project ...


That's not all.  I have been busy this week getting ready for the next BIG THING!  I fly to Portland, Oregon on Sunday afternoon. There's rental car waiting for me at the airport ... on loan for an entire month!  I'll be driving southeast to a county so remote that there isn't a single traffic light! Why? Well, I was accepted for a four-week art residency at PLAYA.  I'm excited!  My proposal includes my desire to create conceptual fiber vessels.  My Bernina 1008, lots of random yarn, and miles of thread were shipped via FedEx Ground.  It was a little "unreal" printing the FedEx ground labels.  Why?  Well, Guardian Angel is currently "lost" in the FedEx system.  It was on its way to Digital Alchemy, a Jane Dunnewold curated special exhibition slated to open at the International Quilt Festival in Houston at the end of the month.  It was shipped on August 24th ... the same day that I shipped The Teapot to the exact same address but for another special exhibit, What's for Dinner? 

(Above:  Guardian Angel, detail.)

The Teapot made it to Houston.  Guardian Angel didn't.  I've learned more than anyone really wants to know about the process of filing a claim and begging for help from FedEx employees.  I still have faith that the package can be located, re-tagged, and shipped to Houston.  Becky and Deann at Quilts Inc. in Houston have been WONDERFUL and are working the FedEx system from their side.  Tabitha, at the Columbia FedEx Ground hub, has been amazing ... and has called or emailed several times.  If you, my fine readers, are a praying sort of person ... please pray for Guardian Angel!  I love this piece.  There are millions of hand stitches and hundreds and hundreds of seed beads.  She depicts the famous "Girl With The Upturned Shell" sculpture in Bonaventura Cemetery, Savannah, GA.  The halo, of course, is my own construction .. the "digital alchemy" of image, texture, color, and antique beads and buttons.  

(Above:  The Virgin of Guadalupe, a SAQA ... Studio Art Quilt Associates ... 12" x 12" auction item.)

Guardian Angel was made much in the same mind-set as my SAQA auction piece.  I took the photo of The Virgin of Guadalupe while in Arizona.  It was printed by Spoonflower and embellished with buttons, embroidery, and stitch.  Happily, Tracy Potter purchased it this week.
(Above:  The Virgin of Guadalupe, reverse.)

Last year SAQA included a link to an image of the "reverse" of my donation.  They didn't do it this year ... but ... that's okay!  I consider the reverse sides of my work "a little secret".  I hope Tracy likes this vintage embroidery of a cute cat! 

I don't know how blogging will go while in Oregon.  The PLAYA website is filled with information about the sketchy Internet connections.  Cell phone coverage isn't supposed to be great either.  Whatever happens, I know I'll be busy.  I plan on finishing the diptych for the Five Points project, making fiber vessels, and creating new "In Box" and "Stained Glass" pieces for my solo show at the Douglasville Arts Council and the ACC Baltimore and Atlanta show (two events into which I received acceptances just this week.)  I haven't packed for Oregon yet.  I'll do that on Saturday!  Ah ... this is the life of a fiber artist.  I wouldn't want it any other way!

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