Monday, September 09, 2013

Connecting Concept & Materials Reception and new piece ... Enigma!

(Above:  Art reception.  Me with The Last Bouquet, fiber art installation in Connecting Concept & Materials: Fiber Arts in South Carolina, an invitational exhibition at the Pickens County Museum of Art and History, Pickens, SC.)

Saturday evening was wonderful.  Steve and I drove to Pickens for the opening reception for Connecting Concept & Materials: Fiber Arts in South Carolina, an invitational exhibition.  I'm honored to have several pieces in this show including a selection of Grave Rubbing Art Quilts, my Spool Cradle, The Leaf Dress, and this installation.  It is always a big, big deal when an executive director asks for an artist to create site specific work, and this one was so much fun.  I truly loved transforming the circular alcove into a sacred setting with a mountain of artificial flowers collected from cemetery dumpsters and over thirty chiffon banners covered in free motion stitched epitaphs.  Love, love, love doing this ... and I think the result is just great.

 (Above:  Weaver Alice Schlein, art quilter Terry Jarrard-Dimond, and me.)

Yet, I was most excited to meet several artist whose work I have long admired.  The names of the artists showing work in this exhibit is incredible!  What talent we have in this state ... including weavings by Alice Schlein and art quilts by Terry Jarrard-Dimond.

(Above:  Gail Sexton and Marilyn Wall in front of Marilyn's work which Gail quilted. Marilyn also had her own personal work featured in the show.)

I was quite eager to meet Marilyn Wall too.  In fact, Marilyn agreed to transport a large stash of recycled, black acrylic felt back to Georgia ... to give away in the SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) booth at the Cobb County Quilt show. 

 (Above:  Marilyn's vehicle with the recycled felt in it!)

Serendipitously, our cars were beside one another in the parking lot.  Our husbands transferred the felt from vehicle to vehicle.  There's nothing quite like art quilters to arrange free recycled fabrics!

 (Above:  Terry Jarrard-Dimond, Jim Arendt, and me.)

I was also so eager to finally meet the talented Jim Arendt.  His work has won Best of Show at Fantastic Fibers in Paducah and, more recently, the top $50,000 Prize at Artfields, a 10-day festival in Lake City, South Carolina.  Jim was at the reception with his wife and two adorably cute daughters (aged seven and four.)  I stood with Marilyn while Jim was engaged in another conversation.  I think we both sort of felt a little star-struck.  We introduced ourselves and said how thrilled we were to finally meet him.  Unexpectedly, Jim's wife corrected my statement by saying, "Oh we've meet before!"  I shrugged this off saying, "Well, probably just in the same room at another art reception."  Well, NO!  She smiled and explained that she was, in fact, right.  About ten or twelve years ago, they lived down the street from us.  We'd met at a local microbrewery, Hunter-Gatherer (our regular hangout at the time).  She asked about our elder son Mathias ... did he continue dancing?  She asked about Alex too.  I was stunned. 

Honestly, this encounter hasn't triggered the slightest recollection of our meeting.  It has, however, made me think about time and memories (my constant concepts) in a new light.  How is it that they remembered us but we don't remember them?  What makes something memorable?  How much of our every day lives get lost in only a few short years?  Fascinating!  Inspirational!  Just what I hoped to gain by meeting these special fiber artists ... just in a totally unexpected way!

(Jim Arendt with his work .... PANTS ON!)

We all talked about our upcoming fiber art plans and opportunities and some of the shows in which we've had work.  Jim talked about this piece.  He added the denim shorts when the work was exhibited in a solo show in the Sumter Gallery of Art.  His daughters cheered for him ... to take off the pants.  There was almost an air of David Rose and his Orchestra's rendition of The Stripper ...

 (Jim Arendt and his work .... pants off!)

 ... when he pulled off the shorts.  His girls cheered.  One said, "Private parts."  "Yes", their mother said in a very matter-of-fact way, "Everyone has private parts".  There's something very wonderful about this family.  The two girls absolutely know that showing REAL "private parts" in public is "wrong".  They also know that nudes are totally appropriate as an artistic subject.  There was no embarrassment, no lengthy conversation, sense of shame, or indecency.  There was nothing but ART.  Jim Arendt also added that he completely understood why the Sumter Gallery of Art (and Pickens) elected to show the work with "the pants on".  That's okay too!  Tolerance!  Acceptance of different points of view ... easy going, natural, and always creative.  No wonder I was star-struck.  Wish I could remember Jim and his wife from ten to twelve years ago! 

 (Above:  Scraps of polyester stretch velvet all with Wonder Under/Bond-a-Web ironed to the reverse.)

So ... two blog posts in a row about art receptions.  Please don't think I haven't been working.  I have been working.  In fact, I've created so many "Stained Glass" series pieces that the scraps of polyester stretch velvet overtook my table top.  It was time to "do something about it".  I cut the scraps up into as many squares and rectangles as possible.  These are now being working into "In Box" series pieces.  Yet, I couldn't quite bring myself to toss all the smallest bits.

(Above:  Enigma, in process.)

I started ironing all the tiniest pieces onto a piece of recycled, black acrylic felt.  Another layer of previously painted WonderUnder/Bond-a-Web went over the top.  I added a bit of silver metallic foiling and a dark blue chiffon scarf.  At that point, I took the photo above.  From there, I free motion stitched ... creating a focal point from which the lines seemed to emerge.  Finally, I melted little lines through the piece using a fine tipped soldering iron and melted the edges.

(Above:  Enigma.  Polyester stretch velvets on recycled, black acrylic felt with free motion stitching and melting.  Unframed:  17" x 13".  Framed:  29 1/2" x 25 1/2".  Click on image to enlarge.)

I matted and framed the piece.  I'm very pleased with it ... and still waiting on a new shipment of mat board in order to show what else I've finished!

Today was also a wonderful day ... so great that I forgot to snap a photo.  Regina Dunn, an art quilter from Florida, and her husband stopped by on their way to visit family in Charlotte!  Oh well ... maybe next time I'll remember my camera!  I hope to see Regina again at Mary McBride's Focus on Fiber Retreat next March where I'll be teaching my HOT workshop!


Terry Jarrard-Dimond said...

Great to meet you and see more work! It was a special evening. Love seeing another of your works in progress.

Margaret said...

I continue to wonder if you sleep....!

Julie said...

Like you I marvel at the way memory works and what makes an event, sometimes quite a minor event, significant and capable of recall decades later. What is significant to one person may have no impact at all on another person who shared the moment. It makes you wonder how we connect with events so that they remain in our memories.

Wanda said...

It's wonderful that you have the opportunity to meet people who you admire. It must be thrilling. I also wonder about memories and wonder if there are people out there that actually think about me sometimes like I think about people. Probably not but it might be my way of hoping I have made a mark somewhere. Maybe I'll never know.

Enigma is awesome! Wow!!!

Wanda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wanda said...

I only deleted a duplicate of my message

Margaret Cooter said...

Those questions about memory are things I think about a lot - especially "why do they remember us and we don't remember them?" - what trigger would it take to unlock that memory for us, or is there something that is actually pushing the memory away....