Monday, March 01, 2010

Book Festival, Artificial Flower Dress, Wrapped Nails and More!

(Above: Artificial Cemetery Flowers made into a unique dress! Click on image to enlarge....and scroll down to the end of this post for more information! This was a BLAST to make and I'm creating at least two more! This one will be featured in Columbia Design League's Runaway Runway fashion show on Friday, April 23rd.)

Once upon a time I blogged nearly every other day. Recently, I've been swamped with art activities....including my solo show....and couldn't write regularly. This is a "catch up" post!

This past weekend Steve and I participated in the SC Book Festival. Together, as Mouse House, Inc., we had a booth in the antiquarian aisle. We brought out all our 19th century, leather bound plate books, a series of very large engravings depicting scenes from Shakespeare's plays, and boxes full of assorted books on gardening, music, and art. We talked to lots of people, many of whom we hadn't seen in years. We even sold a good number of books!

(Above: Wrapped nails and grandma's '70s bag! Click on image to enlarge.)

I stayed busy wrapping a large pile of rusted, square nails. Most people think I'm totally insane for calling this "art".... but I've had collections of wrapped nails in three national juried shows....including a bunch that are part of Nail Triptych that is currently on view in Rocky Mount, NC at the Imperial Art Center. I love wrapping nails! I also included the "bag" I used to carry my was made by my grandma back in the tacky that it must be "cool" again....or at least "interesting"!

(Above: Nail Triptych. Currently on view in the Rocky Mount Imperial Art Center's National Handcrafted Juried Exhibition. Click on image to enlarge.)

The SC Book Festival tried something wonderful and new this year. They included an art show. I was one of the selected artists! The publicity for this was OUTSTANDING! The local newspaper distributed the festival guide to all subscribers, the website included our images and links, and over 6000 attended the show! Here's a link to the participating artists....including ME! What's more, the festival threw a reception for all the artists!

Above: Complimentary beverages being poured in the foreground. Fine art exhibition in the background!

Below: My four altered books on display on the central table.

(Above: The SC Book Festival Fine Art Exhibition and Sale...including my four altered books. Click on image to enlarge.)

Because this was a "book festival", I selected four of my altered books to be on view. They were American Dream, Black God, Imagine Illiteracy, and The Good Girl. Lots of people enjoyed the work. My books can be seen in both the photo above and below. It was a great event.

(Above: SC Book Festival Fine Art Exhibition. Click on image to enlarge. My four altered books are on the table.)

Being a participant meant we got to have dinner with lots of authors and other speakers. Steve and I met Amy Green and her husband. Amy's just had her first novel published this past January. It's called Bloodroots and is already on the New York Times Best Sellers' extended list! We bought a copy as a Mother's Day gift for my secret....I've already told her and mailed it! I can't help it if Mother's Day isn't until May!

(Above: Amy Green signing her new novel, Bloodroots. Click on image to enlarge.)

As much fun as this weekend was, the weekend before was equally fantastic. Steve and I went to Washington, DC to see the Bolshoi's performance of the ballet Spartacus. It was dramatic and exquisitely danced. We also went to the Smithsonian's American Art Museum and Portrait Gallery (two museum in one great building!). We saw the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition (amazing!) among other things. I also visited one of my favorite parts of the museum, the outsider and folk art admire the bottle cap art.

(Above and below: Bottle cap art from the Smithsonian's American Art Museum. Click on images to enlarge.)

There's always new things to see in Washington, DC....including this beautiful bronze figure....

....and new fibers like Sheila Hicks' Silk Rainforest at the Renwick.

Silk Rainforest dates from 1975. I loved it instantly, of course.....lots and lots of wrapping. The scale was intense. I'll have to check out her website in depth! Click on either image to enlarge.

I'd also like to announce that Our Darling Sons (Grave Rubbing Art Quilt) was accepted into the LaGrange National Biennial and will be on view at the Lamar Dodd Art Center in LaGrange, Georgia from February 26 - April 19, 2010. Menopause and Weep Not For Me (Grave Rubbing Art Quilt) were also among 56 works by 45 fiber artists accepted into Fantastic Fibers, An International Juried Art Exhibition at the Yeiser Art Center in Paducah, KY from April 3 - May 1, 2010. The letter said that close to 600 entries were received from 137 artist from seven countries! I'm thrilled beyond words! Plus, In Box LIX won second place in the Florence Regional Juried art show last month.....which I forgot to even blog about getting in!

Finally, the first photo in the blog post isn't a good is a "taste" for better images yet to come...including those with a live model. I've entered the Columbia Design League's fourth annual Runaway Runway fashion show, a unique event featuring recycled or post-consumer materials. Obviously, these flowers were from my recent solo show.....collected from many dumpster diving trips in local cemeteries.

I used an adhesive, water soluble base to stitch together the flowers. Once the "base material" was made, I continued adding flowers....using my free motion foot to attach the blossoms in a circular pattern. Finally, I soaked and agitated the dress in warm water until all the water soluble base melted away.....leaving only flowers and a garment! I have TWO I'm making another dress....longer and maybe with a fringed edge. I plan on making one for myself too....entirely from green leaves. I've already separated the seven or eight tall garbage bags of artificial flowers.....removing all the green petals, ferns, and leaves!


Doreen G said...

Congratulations Susan on your great achievements.
I love the dumpster dress- it was all worth the effort of diving for the flowers plus all the washing of them.
Well done.

Karen said...

Wow Susan!! What a whirlwind year you have going! Such GREAT news all around. I am grinning big time for you!!

Magpie's Mumblings said...

Holy crow (well, I'd use another word there, but it's not polite)! You are doing great and have to be so excited about all that's happening. Huge congrats!!

Bill Evertson said...

Nice to see a catch up post. Plus it's always good to be busy with the making and showing...otherwise nothing to write about. Very nice use of the cemetery flowers. I didn't even know about your altered books so that's a treat as well.

Beverly Kaye said...

This dress is amazing and so darn creative!! So happy to have found your posting! I love recycled art. What a cool and beautiful way to save the planet!


The dress is fabulous!! I can't wait to see them on..and I know your green leaf one will be amazing too!! Love the Grandma bag..I knew you'd make it cool again! Hey...not that it has anything to do with your blog, but check this out The Foxburg Estate is for sale (just $24 mil) but oh my what an amazing place you could make it become!!! Miss you!

downunderdale said...

Hi SUsan

Haven't checked you out for a while but I just love the flower dress.

ps the ballet trip sounded wonderful too

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, what a lot of talent here :)