Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Back from Seattle....and Ephemera

(Above: Ephemera I. Mixed media: collage of wooden spool labels on a page from Tableaux du Temple des Muses (date....1655 !) with a late 19th c./early 20th c. cigar silk and free motion machine embroidery. Paper size: 13 3/8" x 8 3/4"; Matted size: 20" x 16". Click on image to enlarge.)

We're back from a WONDERFUL long weekend under crystal clear skies in Seattle! We watched the new Harry Potter movie on the IMAX screen, enjoyed the Stowell/Sendak "Nutcracker" by Pacific Northwest Ballet, rode the nearly fifty year old monorail, ate in the 1962 World's Fair Space Needle's revolving restaurant, made monoprints in the Bellevue Art Museum (in addition to seeing some of the best fine crafts in one of the best spaces in the USA), loved the Seattle Museum of Art and the sculpture park, and wandered through the galleries and studios near Pioneer Square for the monthly "First Thursday" art crawl. I'll be posting photos and more details later.

Before I left, Ephemera I was complete....just not matted, mounted, and photographed. It is the result of a combination of influences that occupied my studio.

First, I was in the process of started a project called Ancestors. One hundred and eighty-six or so wooden spools are involved. The first step was to remove the paper labels and sand the ends for painting. Most of the labels crumbled away, but some came off in tact. They were sitting together in a little pile.

Second, I was rummaging through vintage and antique images in order to create a wooden Nutcracker for Columbia City Ballet. I happened to find a stack of pages from a mid-seventeenth century book we once owned. Well, that's not entirely true. We never really had the entire book, just a section of it in a new binding. Some of the pages were missing. Some of the engravings were also missing. We framed and sold the remaining images. I turned most of the volume into a altered sketch book that I used during the one-week artist residency on Pritchard's Island in 2003. On other pages I applied a coat of gesso to one side. These were the pages I found. On one page I decided to collage the spool labels. I fused fabric to the gessoed reverse using my large vacuum-mount press. (Yes, it is good to own a frame shop!) Then I free motion stitched on the page and added the cigar silk that was also uncovered during the hunt for Nutcracker images.

This piece was fast and fun. I'm planning on doing more...because it was fast and fun! The title Ephemera refers to the transitory and diverse nature of so many paper labels, advertisements, and books with missing pages.


MosaicMagpie said...

I have not commented in a while, but wanted you to know I am still here, still reading, still in AWE!

Connie said...

Once again, WOW! I have the feeling that you have visited my dreams and turned them in to art. I had LOTS of old wooden spools (most went to new homes in the 2010 clean out at daughter's insistance). My ancestory is full of stitchers who I've often planned to honor...someday I will do it. In the meantime you continue to inspire.