(Above: Me after installing a selection of Decision Portraits at the University of South Carolina Sumter campus earlier this morning! Click on any image in this post to enlarge.)
I blogged last Friday ... right before jumping into a packed car and heading back to Tennessee. I'd been in Tennessee just two days earlier ... presenting my Grave Rubbing Art Quilts at the Bits 'n Pieces Quilt Guild in at the Norris Community Center. Five hour drive up. Five hour drive back. Originally, I'd hoped to tie this presentation into the same trip as the one to McMinn County, but it didn't work out that way. Fortunately, last Friday I wasn't driving.
(Above: Set up at the McMinn County Living Heritage Museum)
By 10:30 AM on Saturday morning I had a sampling of my work arranged over a long table and was talking to early visitors. This was an important day, the opening of the annual quilt show. This year's exhibition title was "The Year of the Art Quilt" and I was engaged as the "featured speaker"! What an honor!
(Above: More people start to arrive at the museum.)
This juried show had entries from all over the country, great prize money, fantastic lighting, and wonderful community support. The work was incredible ... also well hung, lit, and with proper labels. Everything was first rate. The opening day festivities included ...
... a welcome message by Executive Director Amy Blackburn (above) ...
... a few well spoken remarks from the fourth generation owner of Crescent Socks, a community industry with strong ties to the people of the area, on the McMinn County Living Heritage Museum, and the quilt show's sponsor .... (It really was an uplifting message of artistic support) ...
... and then ME !!! I gave a motivational speech meant to inspire quilters to take the plunge into "art quilts" and to inspire those who haven't tried quilting to take up the needle-and-thread (whether by hand or machine!) I talked about the definition of an "art quilt" and about my own work and history. I tried hard to demonstrate how recycled objects and found materials function as familiar objects in my stitching ... ways to communicate a message and to express my thoughts. I stressed the fact that an art quilt doesn't have to be the translation of a photograph into fabric.
(Above: Me on the porch at Pinhook Plantation Bed & Breakfast.)
One of the most lovely things about this experience was the provided housing! The McMinn County Living Heritage Museum booked Steve and I into the Pinhook Plantation B&B. It was charming and I even had time to stitch on the porch while the sun set over the hills in rural Tennessee. On Sunday morning, however, we had to leave early ... and drive across the entire length of Virginia for another exciting art event!
(Above: Steve and me at ManneqART in Howard County Maryland.)
Some time ago I submitted two artful fashions to ManneqART, an art-to-wear international juried fashion show with several other components ... like a hair and make-up competition, a three-week public display of the accepted outfits, and the production of t-shirts and calendars. The gala information encouraged women to wear "art" and men to either don outlandish ties or come "in drag". Steve said, "absolutely not" to the idea of women's clothing; so, I made him a lei of artificial flowers collected from cemetery dumpsters to match my dress.
(Above: One of the guests at the gala.)
Well, none of the men came in drag and few of the ladies were wearing "art" but MANY had totally exotic make-up and matching jewelry! It was great!
(Above: Two more guest wearing artful make-up.)
(Above: Unfortunately I can't find this nice lady's name on the ManneqART website ... but she is the talented make-up artist who did several models .... including Hannah Floyd (who wore The Button Dress) and Boi Carpenter (who wore The Pantyhose Dress). Photos of these models in her make-up are in the 2014 ManneqART calendar.
This is the photo in the ManneqART calendar for The Button Dress.
Some of the accepted garments were not in the fashion show but decorated the lobby of the Horovitz Performing Arts Center for the gala.
I took several shots of models in the art-to-ear garments ... but low lighting and too much movement blurred most. There were some incredible ideas and some beautiful models.
Unlike Runaway Runway here in Columbia, South Carolina, these outfits could be made from "anything", not just 100% recycled materials. I don't know what I might make for an artful fashion show if I had such freedom. Fortunately, it didn't matter to the judges. In fact, it might have helped! The Button Dress won $500. I think there were about 15 - 20 awards for this amount! Unfortunately, there was no official awards presentation. Each award, however, was sponsored.
(Above: Boi Carpenter in The Pantyhose Dress with me in The Flower Dress.)
The fashion show went from 7 - 8 PM and then the party continued while professional photographers gathered model, artist, and sponsor for group pictures.
Above: People in line for their photo op and presentation of awards.)
(Above: Boi and me ... even though these garment didn't win an award. The ManneqART website has another model in The Pantyhose Dress ... but Boi is depicted in the calendar.)
(Above: Nightmare Graphics president and vice president, a model in The Button Dress and me ... award presentation.)
Here's the photo for my award ... with Samuel Andelman, President of Nightmare Graphics (far left) and Robert Andelman, Vice President of Nightmare Graphics (far right.) It was very much like being in the spotlight.
Unfortunately, I didn't get the model's name ... but I don't think it was Hannah Floyd who wore the dress for the calendar shots! Shortly after Steve took the photo above, we left. It had been a long but exciting weekend. We drove back home yesterday (Monday) and uploaded the vehicle. Then, I packed it again!
(Above: Installing a curated selection of The Decision Portraits at University Gallery in Anderson Library on the University of South Carolina Sumter campus ... with Laurel Hooten Jordan, gallery associate.)
I packed the car with all the artwork, signs, and installation hardware for the Decision Portraits solo show in Sumter. I was on site by 8:30 AM and we finished before noon. I'm very grateful to Vision Gallery in Chandler, Arizona for all the signs they created and sent back to me with the work. In the photo above, Laurel is hanging them under the appropriate pieces. The USC Sumter website lists the show HERE.
(Above: View to the back wall, oppose the doorway from the main library entrance.)
(Above: View of the doorway off the main library entrance.)
(Above: View of the wall just inside the doorway to the main library entrance. In this photo, the signs aren't yet hung.)
(Above: The same wall as in the photo immediately above this one ... but from the other end!)
I can't wait for the Friday reception and artist's talk. It is from 5:30 - 7:30 and promises to be a very moving and wonderful experience. Working with Laurel has been great!
(Above: Mathias and his girlfriend Laura-Jane on opening night of Birmingham Royal Ballet's current, touring production of The Sleeping Beauty.)
I'm glad to be home and turning my attention back to my stitching. Steve, however, is only here in Columbia for a short while. He's booked a flight to England to see Mathias when he dances the role of Prince Charming in Birmingham Royal Ballet's current, touring production of The Sleeping Beauty. In the photo above, he's in the costume of one of Princess Aurora's four, unsuccessful suitors. He also is first cast for "Blue Bird". Dance Europe Magazine's photo gallery includes one photo of Laura-Jane as "Fairy of Song" (Above) and four photos of Mathias as "Blue Bird". I can't "grab-and-share" them but they can be seen by clicking the link above and using the scroll buttons at the bottom of the page that will automatically open. (They are GORGEOUS images!)
(Above: Stained Glass LI. Unframed: 56" x 16". Framed: 64" x 24". Polyester stretch velvets, metallic foil, chiffon scarves on recycled, black acrylic felt with self-guided, free-motion machine embroidery and melting.)
At least I finished Stained Glass LI before this past weekend's adventures. It is a good thing because I'm going to need even more work than ever before. Why? Well, in addition to being part of both the Washington Craft Show (Nov 1. - 3) and the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show (Nov. 5 - 8), I just learned that this work has been accepted into the American Craft Council's flagship exhibition, the Baltimore Craft Show! (Feb 22 - 24)
(Above: Stained Glass LI, detail.)
I will really be working hard this month ... because I also have a solo show at the Tapps Art Center ... next month!
(Above: Where Have All the Flowers Gone? Mixed media triptych.)
The title of this show is I Am Not Invisible. The concepts are all about the nature of memory. The work questions whether our earthly existence will be remembered a generation or two in the future and whether the artwork of today will be treasured, valued, and considered a "family heirloom". I have LOTS of work in various stages of progress and absolutely must finish a lot of it NOW. One piece did get finished before last weekend.
(Above: Mathias holding a pane of glass onto which I poured epoxy and attached dozens of plastic parts from artificial flowers collected from cemetery dumpsters.)
It's a good thing this one got finished because it was started during Mathias' visit during the summer of 2012! At that time I poured epoxy over a pane of glass and attached dozens of the plastic parts of flowers collected from cemetery dumpsters. My thought was only a title: Where Have All the Flowers Gone? I just wasn't sure what I wanted to do to make this statement visible ... to tap into the sense of memory after death and repeated trips to a graveyard.
(Above: Detail of Where Have All the Flowers Gone?)
Little by little, it came to me. The pane of glass was fitted into a unique black frame with the flower parts facing the back. Onto the glass, I mounted a nude photo of myself posed atop a grave with a spray of funeral flowers. I built another frame to go over the front of the black one ... creating a "space" between that frame's glass the the pane with the flowers. Artificial flowers were layered and glued into the bottom of the void. Then, I built two "wings" ... to make the work a triptych. Plexiglass is used to secure hundreds more plastic flower parts in these triptych wings. Most of this came together after I discovered the coolest picture frame moulding ... moulding with SKULLS!
(Above: Where Have All the Flowers Gone? Detail.)
Even the nude photo is in a unique moulding with motorcycles, skulls, and "dark" motifs. I really like this piece. It conveys the message, the title, and is more than a little unsettling ... exactly what the topic of death generally does to an art audience.
(Above: Steve with our newest art purchase.)
I had enough of the skull moulding leftover to frame a piece we bought at a recent "First Thursday" on Main Street. Tattoo artist Leah Bennett drew this exquisitely detailed kitchen scene with a knife wheeling vixen presenting a man's head for supper. The title of the work is Dinner. It is just my sort of cooking ...
... and truly PERFECT with the skull moulding!
I hope that the rest of my work for next month's shows comes together quicker than Where Have All the Flowers Gone? LOL!