Friday, November 21, 2008
Vista Lights 2008 and Mary Edna Fraser's monotype demonstration
Yesterday was a BIG day! It started when I unlocked the gallery at 4:45 AM for WIS-TV's live remote on Alive at Five. I was interviewed in segments several times between the regular news programing. Deidre Mardon of the Vista Guild was also interviewed about that evening's 23rd Annual Vista Lights Celebration.
Latter that night all the art galleries, restaurants, and other businesses stayed open late. The streets were closed for pedestrian traffic. There was beer and wine and a giant Christmas tree lighting. Horse drawn carriages and trolleys transported visitors to and from parking areas. This is how Columbia kicks off the holiday season every year. Gallery 80808/Vista Studios is always one of the main arts attractions. I was busy all evening...talking about art...being an artist...it was a blast!
I had spent most of Wednesday cleaning up my studio. So, I took pictures as it is rarely this neat! My embellished and stitched fiber Christmas ornaments looked festive and several sold. Hundreds of people stopped by. The reception went from 5 - 10 PM.
I also put out my container of wrapped, rusted nails. Everyone loved them and I was proud to announce that the vintage ice scoop with about one third of the nails were just accepted into Materials Hard and Soft, a national juried fine craft show held in Denton, Texas! Unbelievably, I got TWO PIECES ACCEPTED! Behind in the Mortgage is also in the show!
Most of the art I stitched in Maine was in my studio but I had several pieces in the gallery atrium. Above are the four In Boxes with Acorn cups as well as my acorn vessels.
The the main gallery I had two pieces. Above is Bessie's Quilt on one wall. Across of it is Crazy.
Next big show for me in this space is CYBER FYBER! There's plenty to do. I've just ordered 5000 invitation cards and had a meeting about the press releases. Lots to do before January! Yet, today I spent an hour and forty-five minutes at USC's art department watching Mary Edna Fraser demonstrating monotypes. It was part of a one-day program called "Working With Women, Nature, and Creative Collaborations" and included segments with Mary Alice Monroe, a New York Times bestselling novelist, and Marjory Wentworth, the Poet Laureate of South Carolina. Each of the writers held earlier lectures but eagerly watched the printmaking. The images made were based on words from "The River", a poem by Marjory Wentworth.
(Click on image to enlarge. Mary Edna Fraser working on a monotype.)
Mary Edna Fraser is an internationally recognized batik artist and printmaker. Her large scale work and monotypes were featured at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in 1994-1995 in "Aerial Inspirations: Silk Batiks by Mary Edna Fraser." Installations and lectures at Duke University Museum of Art, Emory University, and University of Oklahoma displayed her art of earth’s geologic features as well as those in outer space. She has demonstrated the ancient art form at the Textile Museum in DC, the World Batik Conference 2005 in Boston, Fiber Forums in Australia, and most recently for NASA at the Folklife Festival in DC. Widely published, her work is featured in BATIK for Artists and Quilters by Eloise Piper and A Celebration of the Worlds Barrier Islands by Orrin Pilkey, Columbia University Press. She collaborated with Poet Laureate Marjory Wentworth on What The Water Gives Me.
I've seen many of Fraser's batiks but had never met her. Even though this demonstration wasn't actually a "fiber" opportunity, I couldn't pass it up....and I was so glad I did! It was wonderful to see someone so accomplished that works "messy"....just like me! Although she used a brush some of time, she generally used her fingers....just like me! She scraped "rain" onto the Plexi-Glass plate with her fingernails. She used a paper towel, a rubber tipped tool, and the "wrong end" of her brushes too. She casually mentioned that she "didn't get to go to art school" but she became an artist anyway!
(Click on image to enlarge. Mary Robinson, USC Art Professor and head of Printmaking, examining the monotype before running it through the press.)
Mary Edna Fraser keeps a little notebook in her purse. Her artistic notes are written right side up; her personal notes are written upside down! She was utterly comfortable and truly personal infront of the diverse group even though she mentioned that she'd never made a monotype with people looking on! She considers this form of printmaking to be grown up "play". The words she was trying capture from Marjory Wentworth's poem were: wine, yellow, graveyard, striped, leaf, wind, rain, music, celestial diamonds and islands. Marjory read the poem while Mary Edna worked.
(Above: Mary Robinson holds the Plexi-Glass plate for Mary Edna Fraser to apply red paint to the edges.)
Mary Edna Fraser paints rather thickly which allows a ghost image to be pulled after the initial print. She likes these lighter versions best. She also plans two images for a single sheet of paper. These are called "windows".
(Click on image to enlarge.)
Gene Speer, USC associate, pulls the finished "window" as Mary Edna Fraser looks on.
Personally I was awed by Mary Edna Fraser's easy conversation, relaxed personality, and willingness to share. Listening to her and watching her work gave me confidence in my own abilities.
Posted by Susan Lenz at 9:37 PM