Friday, January 28, 2011
(Above: Detail of LOOKING FOR A MATE, a public sock art project. Click on image to enlarge.)
The public donated their "mateless" and threadbare socks during Vista Lights, the autumn art crawl in downtown Columbia. Several people stitched on the socks and the recycled acrylic felt that evening. Later, I finished the piece....with some help from my new studio assistant. Now, less than two months later, the piece is finished and ready to go on display during the spring art crawl, Artista Vista, April 21 - 23rd.
(Above: LOOKING FOR A MATE, a public sock art quilt. 56" x 56". Click on image to enlarge.)
The piece will become the property of the Congaree Vista Guild, an organization that sponsored the newspaper advertisements informing the public to bring their extra socks. This group is now looking for a permanent display place....perhaps even City Hall! My fingers are crossed.
(Above: Looking for a Mate, reverse....an old, recycled tarp!)
For the back, I posted a request on Facebook. I asked if anyone had an old camping tarp or tent that was headed to the trash. After all, the socks were all recycled and the white acrylic felt "batting" was recycled from River Runner, the kayak and canoe shop in town. (Believe it or not, there's a distributor in North Carolina that ships its vessels to retail shops wrapped in giant acrylic felt bags....meant to be thrown out. River Runner's owner, Guy Jones, has been giving them to me for over two years!) Anyway....with everything else being "used" and "repurposed"....the back just had to be recycled too! My friend Jane Friedman read the message and was more than happy to donate an old brown tarp. The grommets were fashioned into a unique hanging device. I used a bunch of old, vintage buttons to "stitch" the layers together.
I'm very please with this public art quilt but I'm even happier that a few parent volunteers from Rosewood Elementary happened to come by, get inspired, enlist the art teacher, and started TWO art quilts for the school's upcoming auction!
They sent me an email and invited me to share the public project with the students. I also took the opportunity to present my "Four Family of Stitches" demonstration. The photos below are from the time I spent with the kids. There are even more images on Flickr! Just CLICK HERE!
Posted by Susan Lenz at 4:00 PM
Sunday, January 23, 2011
(Above: Endless Life, Grave Rubbing Art Quilt. Crayon on silk rubbings on repurposed painter's drop cloth. Hand and free motion machine embroidery. Click on image to enlarge.)
I've been working on this piece for weeks and weeks. It's been my evening handwork after dinner while watching television. It's been on our road trip to Slippery Rock for New Years and on the plane and back from Seattle. There must be a million little "seeding" stitches.
(Above and below: Endless Life, details. Click on any image to enlarge.)
I made three of the rubbings (the folk art angels/skull) while in Lydford, England. The markers were from the late 18th century.
Two of the other angels date from the same time period but were in Maine. The epitaph, however, comes from Rock Creek Park Cemetery in Washington, DC. Two of the letter....the ones right before the date....were not quite defined in the rubbing. I went to my computer to check the photos I snapped that day only to discover that the recent hard drive crash claimed them. I really thought I had all my images backed up....but apparently I'll need another day in that cemetery! I stitched what I could make out....almost an "I" or an "L" and almost an "R" or a "B". Fortunately, I don't think it matters at all!
The background of this piece is sort of special too. I friend here in Columbia, Libby Gamble, moved to California to pursue an MFA in photography. She gave me her stash of vintage clothing, material, and other assorted fabrics....including an old painter's drop cloth. I don't think I could have intentionally created a more perfect ground for these rubbings. Occasionally, I'd hit a patch of more solid, acrylic paint through which it was harder to stitch....but it was worth it!
(Above: Endless Life, reverse. Vintage embroidered cloth on vintage damask. Click on image to enlarge.)
Posted by Susan Lenz at 10:16 AM
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
(Above: LOOKING FOR A MATE, a public sock art quilt, in progress .... on my studio floor. Click on image to enlarge. This quilt top is complete!)
Last November during the annual autumn art crawl, Vista Lights, my public art quilt project called LOOKING FOR A MATE was held at River Runner, a local kayak and canoe shop. The Vista Guild sponsored the project by designing and paying for several advertisements in the weekly, free newspaper. People came....with lots and lots of cool, mateless socks! (The blog post covering this fun evening is HERE. The original proposal is HERE.)
Well, since that time I've been stitching the donated socks to the recycled felt. (The 100% acrylic felt was originally packaging material for brand new kayaks and canoes being shipped to River Runner.) At last the top is complete! I've also just acquired a great plastic tarp from my friend Jane Friedman. Her family had no further need of camping gear and needed to "dispose" of it. Thus, the sock art quilt will have a repurposed backing. More photos coming!
(Above: Genius, sock art miniature quilt. 17" x 14". Recycled socks and felt. Hand stitching. Click on image to enlarge.)
Yet, I didn't use all the socks on the quilt. There were frankly too many blue and black dress socks and white athletic tube socks. One sock was donated long after all the socks were pinned and mostly stitched....but it inspired me! How could it not! Thus, I created a miniature art quilt featuring this particular sock with a few of the other "leftovers"!
(Above: Genius, reverse. Click on image to enlarge.)
The batting for this miniature quilt is more of the recycled acrylic felt from River Runner. The back, however, is repurposed acrylic auto upholstery felt.
(Above: Central lobby at Warehouse Theatre, Greenville....with a selection of Decision Portrait Series. Click on any image to enlarge.)
Socks, however, are not occupying all my time. Just yesterday I installed a selection of my Decision Portraits at the Warehouse Theatre in Greenville, South Carolina. The artwork will be on display during a run of Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? starring Mimi Wyche, Chip Egan, Debra Capps, and Brock Koonce, January 21 - February 5th....although my exhibition will be up through Wednesday, February 23rd....when I'll give an "artist's talk" before taking down the work.
The first photo was taken from the front door. The photo above is the view back toward that front door.
Above is the interior wall with a break leading to the restrooms. The concession area is just off the image area above on the left. There are stairs leading down to the theater just off the image above to the right.
The short flight of stairs from the central lobby bring audience members to the theater seating. This wide, long hallway includes the window treatment above. I hung fifteen Decision Portraits from a provided black metal ceiling grid in front of the windows. Title cards are placed on the lower right side of each piece.
It was difficult to select the pieces for the show...especially since I have another exhibition with the Decision Portrait Series that opens at Waterworks Visual Arts Center in Salisbury, North Carolina before this show comes down. The work I picked for Warehouse Theater includes:
Argentine Tango Dancer
Family Role Models
Gift of Life
Happily Ever After Again
I Buckled Up!
Living With HIV
Making a Difference
On Fighting Cancer I
On Fighting Cancer II
Overcoming Domestic Abuse
Standing Up for Peace
State of the Economy
Twenty-Five Years Sober
Vintage Clothing Vendor
Yet, in one sense, all 107 portraits are there because I printed another book with the story behind each piece. The pedestal below is right inside the front door!
Posted by Susan Lenz at 3:14 PM
Friday, January 14, 2011
(The Last Bouquet, a window installation at the old Tapp's Department store. Click on any image in this post to enlarge.)
I'm a little behind on my blogging, especially since Steve and I just returned from an unexpectedly long weekend in Arizona! (Our return was delayed by two days due to the recent storms!) I'll be "catching up" soon!
Before we left, however, I installed The Last Bouquet, another window installation in the old Tapp's Department store at the corner of Main and Blanding Streets here in Columbia. From November through December my Keys for the City was in the largest, corner window....but....now my work is in one of the more intimate windows facing Blanding Street. I had a blast transforming this space, and I had help from the building's art coordinator, Brenda Schwarz Miller too. Brenda took several video clips.
Brenda's daughter Syna helped with the artificial flowers. I created a nice, two-minute video HERE.
It's nearly impossible to get good images during the day. There are too many reflections.
It looks so much better at night....sort of haunting and eternally beautiful. I put a sign in the window.....just enlarge the image below to read it!
The next photo shows the window from a further vantage point....to illustrate how the side of the building looks to passing vehicles.
Posted by Susan Lenz at 2:34 PM
Thursday, January 06, 2011
(Above: My mom posing with her Christmas present, Lancet Window I. Click on image to enlarge.)
This is my 800th blog post and also the first one in 2011. I've reflected on the past year, my artistic progress and the goals I'd set out to accomplish. (Yes, I generally do succeed with my resolutions!) I've also thought a lot about new resolutions, ways to advance my work and outcome negativity and my personal doubts.
So...I've come to a conclusion! My New Year Resolutions are:
1) work on my website more regularly
2) include sales information, even on this blog (something I rarely do because I allow "doubt" to interfere....thinking "No one will purchase anything over the Internet", etc....which has been recently proved false
3) look for new sales venues
4) continue applying for artist residency programs and solo shows
So....before recapping the end of year holiday in Pennsylvania, I want to share a blog post on "My Family Blog" about our trip to Seattle during the first week in December. It is HERE. Also, I created several Flickr! sets of photos:
Slideshow of general photos from Seattle
Slideshow of ferry trip to Bainbridge Island
Slideshow featuring artists' studios open during Seattle's "First Thursday"
and most inspirational:
Slideshow of artwork from Seattle Art Museum
The museum photos are all high resolutions...and include pieces and details.... like:
(Above: Foreground: Do-Ho Shu's Some/One, 2001. Garment made of stainless steel military dog tags. Hanging: Anselm Kiefer's Die Welle (The Wave), 1990, Lead, clothes, steel wire, and ash on canvas)
I also took dozens of images of tribal art. It was an excellent day! I can hardly believe it was a month ago but December just flew by....and we are about to spend another long weekend outside South Carolina. On Saturday we travel to Arizona for three days!
I also posted a video of Seattle's International Fountain....an amazing display of water choreographed to music. It is HERE.
(Above: Christmas window in one of Harmony's log buildings. Click on image to enlarge.)
So....now....New Year's holiday was spent in Pennsylvania with my parents. We went to Harmony for Silvester. (Harmony was founded in 1804 by the Harmony Society and later became a Mennonite settlement. Silvester is the German celebration of New Year's Eve!)
Inside several of Harmony's log buildings are great shops....like this full service cafe.
The Silvester celebration includes pretzels....
....and pork with sauerkraut....and beer! (These are my parents!)
The art gallery had lots of great work....and this interesting denim/skull covered chair!
I couldn't resist snapping this photo attached to a porch running along the main street of Harmony!
During our trip we also visited my Grandma. She turned 92 earlier in the month. I gave her five of the wrapped wooden spools with family thumbnail sized photos on the ends. These are call Ancestors.
We also exchanged Christmas gifts. My mother received Lancet Window I. Unframed 28" x 8"; Framed 31 1/2" x 11 1/2". Click on image to enlarge.
It is now hanging in her log home between two-story windows overlooking the lake!
Posted by Susan Lenz at 2:26 PM