Wednesday, May 28, 2014
(Above: Lancet Window XLII. Inventory # 3161. Unframed: 28" x 8 3/4"; Framed: 31 1/4" x 11 1/4". $375. Click on image to enlarge.)
I adore holiday weekends. Memorial Day weekend was great! I got so much done ... which included helping my husband Steve install additional insulation in our attic. (Oh, joy! LOL!) Several new art pieces are in the works and these two are now finished.
(Above: In Box CLVIII. Inventory # 3160. Unframed: 16 1/2" x 13"; framed: 21 1/2" x 17 1/2". $325.)
I'm getting into a good habit of updating my "sales blog" for these pieces. That Internet location is HERE. Doing this only takes a little more time. Time is something I value highly because ... well ... there's never enough of it. I wish every day would be spent hour after hour in my studio, like a holiday. That just isn't the case. I have a "day job" as a custom picture framer. Fortunately, I own the business with my husband so I can steal a few minutes here-and-there for my art. I actually like framing most of the time. Over the past twenty-seven years I've done some very challenging projects. Today, we were framing flat screen televisions ... which required the Dremel tool (to make an allowance for the little section that juts out at the bottom). These are going to a fancy new restaurant's bar area.
(Above: Framing a large, flat screen television at Mouse House ... just one of the things I do to support my art habit! LOL!)
I am linking this post to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Fridays", a site for sharing fiber artwork.
Posted by Susan Lenz at 3:59 PM
Monday, May 26, 2014
(Above: More thread donations collected from Nicholl Ransom. Thank you, Nicholl! Click on any image in this blog post to enlarge.)
I work on several fiber and art project every day. I love multi-tasking and finding a balance between my "day job" and my "art career". Recently, I unwind every night ... literally ... by unraveling miles of donated thread for the upcoming recreation of Threads: Gathering My Thoughts, an installation that is currently at Studio Cellar but will grow in size for next September 18 - 30th exhibit at Gallery 80808/Vista Studio. Fortunately, nice fiber artists continue to mail old, neglected thread to me at Mouse House, 2123 Park Street, Columbia, SC. That includes the terrific Nicholl Ransom who has dropped off multiple donations ...
(Above: Box of old thread collected by Sylvia Lewis from quilters in Sanpete County, Utah. Thank you, Sylvia and friends!)
... and Sylvia Lewis who collected all these spools from quilters in Sanpete County, Utah!
(Above: Donation of old keys, strange wooden spool-like "things", and bottle caps from Sonya Lenz.)
I also received two other recent donations for my creative adventures. This box came from my sister Sonya who has been collecting old keys for my Wall of Keys plus other items she knew I'd like.
(Above: Baskets donated by Ed Madden and Bert Easter.)
Threads: Gathering My Thoughts will be an enormous installation. I'm also collecting baskets that will be suspended from the ceiling. The unraveled thread will cascade down and through all these baskets. I had just enough for the current installation and need at least twice to three times the number for September's event. I regularly go to Bill Mishoe's Tuesday night auction of used household items in search for more. One of my friends, Bert Easter, also attends. He and his partner Ed Madden (who posed for my Decision Portrait Series as Poet) know I need baskets and left these on my doorstep! Thank you Ed and Bert!
(Above: Interior of Gaudi's famous Sagrada Familia.)
For the past few weeks, I've been spending a little time every day working with the photos Steve and I took on our trip to Spain. Finally, I'm finished! I shot well over 2000 images, saved just under 1000, and created ten albums on Flickr! Below are photos ... one from each album ... with links to those images. The main reason we went to Barcelona was to experience Gaudi's architecture, especially
Above: Rooftop at Gaudi's incredible LA PEDRERA
We also went to two of Gaudi's masterpieces of residential building, La Pedrera and Casa Battlo; his miraculous Park Guell, and the Gaudi Museum. On Sunday we took a day trip to nearby Montserrat. There's several other albums too! Enjoy! (Dad ... there is no longer an easy link directly to a slide show. Sorry! Just click the link here. When the pictures pop up on your screen, click the first one. There will be a little arrow along the right-side margin of the image. Click it to go to the next picture! Trust me, it is easy!)
Above: CASA BATTLO
Above: PARK GUELL and the GAUDI MUSEUM
Above: Other amazing images of architecture in Barcelona.
Above: Old city Gothic churches ... including the Cathedral, the Church of Pi, and the Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar.
Above: Photos from some of the museums where photography was permitted ... including the National Museum of Art of Catalunya and the Andries Tapies Foundation.
Above: Photos from our day trip to Montserrat
Above: Other photos from Barcelona ... including the beach, Columbus Monument,
Posted by Susan Lenz at 1:29 PM
Friday, May 23, 2014
(Above: Bouquet, 12" x 12" art quilt. Artificial flowers collected from cemetery dumpsters, recycled bridal tulle, and beads on hand-dyed fabric by Paula Huffman Brown. Self-guided, free-motion machine embroidery and hand stitching. Click on any image in this blog post for an enlargement.)
This weeks has been wonderfully productive! Not only did I start this 12" x 12" art quilt but I finished it too! The ground fabric (of which I should have snapped a photo) was hand-dyed by Paula Huffman Brown, Victoria Rondeau, and Meg Filiatrault, my SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associate) regional co-representatives. Try as I might, I can't find the paperwork that came with the fabric. Thus, I don't actually know where or for what this piece is intended to be shown. I just know that the deadline is this coming August 1st. I've carried the fabric around with me for months. Why? Well, it is bright yellow and red ... not exactly my natural inclination for art quilting! Most of my art quilts are in my Grave Rubbing Art Quilt Series ... in monochromatic browns, blacks, and off whites. I wasn't sure what to do. Then, the idea of using my artificial flowers collected from cemetery dumpsters presented itself. At first I didn't think I could hold them in place ... too many pins. I finally came across a piece of a bridal veil that I didn't use when making In Do / I Don't. Perfect! I lay out the flowers, covered them with the netting, inserted very few pins, and had the entire surface stitched in under an hour! Okay, I spent more time adding a few tiny flowers and beads on the top and blanket stitching the edges ... but ... the piece was completed within twenty-four hours ... after several months of "thinking about it!" LOL!
(Above: Bouquet, reverse.)
For the reverse, I used another piece of Paula Huffman Brown's uniquely hand dyed fabric. She presented this piece to me after I gave a trunk show at a regional meeting. What I really loved about the fabric was the excuse to use both the tatted doily and the Austrian fabric. At some point, I tried to sun print an old photographic negative onto the doily with the tatting. It didn't work. I thought the doily was ruined but couldn't bring myself to throw it away. Though I grew up spending summers in Salzburg, Austria, the cute fabric was not from those many trips. It came in a box lot purchased at Bill Mishoe's auction. Together, the two pieces of fabric provided a perfect place for me to machine stitch my name and date (enlarge the image to see!). Better yet, the colors made sense of the red-and-yellow variegated threads of the blanket stitched edges. As soon as I know where this piece is headed, I'll update my blog.
(Above: Window CIV. Inventory # 3157. Framed: 17 3/4" x 15 3/4". $265.)
In the meantime, I've finished three more pieces in my "Stained Glass Series" ... which are also on my "sales blog".
(Above: Window CV. Inventory # 3158. Framed: 17 3/4" x 15 3/4". $265.)
(Above: Wall at Mouse House ... hung with several recently finished pieces including "Windows", small "In Box" pieces, and medium "In Box" pieces ... plus other artwork.)
It is difficult to get a semi-decent photo of the finished pieces here at Mouse House because of the glare from the glass ... but the photo above does seem to show the size, proportions, and how the framed work looks when hanging.
(Above: Lancet Window XLI. Inventory # 3159. Framed: 31 1/4" x 11 14"/ $375.)
I also made another Lancet Window based on the design of St. Martin's Cross on the isle of Iona. I love this Celtic pattern!
(Above: The cover of the new USC Press edition of Archibald Rutledge's story Claws ... illustrated by my artistic mentor Stephen Chesley.)
Although I blogged earlier in the week, I didn't write about last weekend ... which was a wonderful experience. Every year Columbia's Convention Center is the location for the South Carolina Book Festival. I love being around so many volumes of text, so many educated and scholarly people, and browsing through the booths of antiquarian works. This year, however, was even more special because the University of South Carolina Press just released a new edition of Archibald Rutledge's Claws. My artistic mentor, Stephen Chesley, provided the illustrations.
(Above: Panel discussion for Claws. From left to right: Ben McC. Moise, Stephen Chesley, moderator Jacob Rivers III, Skip Webb, and Jim Casada.)
The panel discussion was excellent ... and very well attended except the front row of seats! LOL!
(Above: Stephen Chesley during the panel discussion for Claws.)
After the panel discussion, Chesley, Casada, and Moise signed books.
(Above: Jim Casada, who as an expert on Archibald Rutledge wrote the introduction for Claws; a nice lady wearing a fantastic kantha stitched Indian quilt re-fashioned into a reversible jacket ... having her volume of Claws signed; and Ben McC. Moise, who as a former conservation and wildlife author wrote the afterword for Claws.)
Jim Casada and Ben McC. Moise were at one table ...
(Above: Stephen Chesley's booth for Claws ... with framed original illustrations.)
... and Stephen was in his own booth ... but there was one more signature to find. Pat Conroy wrote a glowing statement for the back of the dust cover! I stood in line on Sunday I got that signature too! Pat Conroy is a really nice man in addition to being an international celebrity author. It was an honor to meet and talk to him for a few seconds. Unfortunately ... no photo!
(Above: Born to Die, Ancestor Wall Series.)
While at the SC Book Festival, I found 35 old photos in a booth operated by Rutledge Books. The price was right and now I'm busy making more pieces for my Ancestor Wall Series. I don't have a future exhibition scheduled for this work ... but I love making more pieces.
(Above: I Had Imaginary Friends, Ancestor Wall Series.)
(Above: I Would Take on the World, Ancestor Wall Series.)
(Above: Life Was Tough, Ancestor Wall Series.)
(Above: Prayed For All, Ancestor Wall Series.)
(Above: Ready, Willing, and Able, Ancestor Wall Series.)
(Above: Square Peg in a Round Hole World, Ancestor Wall Series.)
(Above: These Were the Days My Friends, Ancestor Wall Series.)
(Above: When Main Street Was the Main Street, Ancestor Wall Series.)
I am linking this blog post to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Fridays", a site for sharing fiber art work.
Posted by Susan Lenz at 11:32 AM
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
(Above: Five Windows in various stages of being melted over the same five pieces finally finished! Click on any image in this blog post for an enlargement.)
My last blog post showed five "Window" series pieces on their stretcher bars and in various stages of having holes melted through the layers of polyester stretch velvet on black, acrylic felt. I couldn't finish any of them. Why? Because the tip of the miniature soldering iron broke. It was the last one I had. More were ordered and now ... Ta-da! They are finished! Each piece is then stitched to a a piece of Edelweiss linen mat board and put into linen liners and a frame with glass. Before the framing was complete, I lay the five out in the same order and snapped the other photo.
(Above: Window XCIX, Inventory # 3143. Framed: 17 3/4" x 15 3/4". $265.)
So ... here these pieces are one-at-a-time. I'm still a little skirmish about listing the prices but most people say they don't mind. I'd hate to have anyone think I blog in order to generate sales. That's just not the case. I've been blogging much longer than I've been selling art! LOL!
(Above: Window C. Inventory # 3144. Framed: 17 3/4" x 15 3/4". $265.)
To see how these pieces look framed, please CLICK HERE and scroll down. This is my "sales blog". At least that's what it is supposed to be. All the "In Box" and "Stained Glass" fiber work currently available at Mouse House (my business) should be pictured. I have other work in galleries ... for the exact same price. I'm not the sort of artist who tries to cheat a gallery by selling work for less. It's just not right. I've had it happen to me ... had an artist sell work to someone else for less than I paid. Yup! I bought a piece from an exhibit in the same building where the artist's studio was located. The artist sold it to me. We put the "red dot" on it together. The next month, after the show came down, she sold everything for less than half the price! (The commission was only 20%!) It didn't feel good. It certainly wasn't professional. I will absolutely never do anything like that to anyone! I will also never buy anything else from this artist ever again!
(Above: Window CI. Inventory # 3145. Framed: 17 3/4" x 15 3/4". $265.)
Once upon a time, my mentor Stephen Chesley told me how the relationship with a gallery ought to be. He talked about how a gallery should be EARNING their commission through quality, loyal, representation ... knowing who their artists are, what they do, how they do it, and showing the work to the clientele they'd built through years of constant work. He also said that if an artist couldn't live with the net price after commission, then that artist needed to work on their own quality and craftsmanship. That's a tall order ... one on which I'm constantly working. Stephen said that a customer should be able to buy with confidence at any gallery or directly from the artist because the prices should be consistent. Prices should be based on the quality of the work ... not the time, materials, or commission ... just on the piece itself. If a piece is worth $265; it should sell for $265. Period. What the artist retains of that amount will change with the commission or lack of commission but the price should be consistent. Mine are.
(Above: Window CII. Inventory # 3146. Framed: 17 3/4" x 15 3/4". $265.)
I've already started a new batch of "Stained Glass" pieces. Since I have plenty of new soldering iron tips, there will be no delay in finishing them.
(Above: Window CIII. Inventory # 3147. Framed: 17 3/4" x 15 3/4". $265.)
Posted by Susan Lenz at 9:06 AM
Friday, May 16, 2014
(Above: Soldering irons ... including two miniature Antex soldering irons without tips!)
Some artists work on one piece at a time, only moving to the next work after completely finishing the one on which they are currently working. Intellectually, I understand this approach. Practically, I have no understanding of it at all. I can't remember the last time I only had one piece in process. Perhaps, never!
Generally, I have at least one "handwork only" piece going (some sort of art quilt); multiple wrapped-and-stitched wooden spools in various stages of development; an installation in progress (right now that means unraveling miles of old thread for Threads: Gathering My Thoughts' next incarnation in September); and several "machine stitching only" pieces under construction. The machine work is most often work for my "In Box" and "Stained Glass" series. I posted the last six, small In Boxes finished on Monday of this week. CLICK HERE to see them. Even then, I had several "Windows" started.
(Above: Five "Windows" ... on stretcher bars ... in the garage ... in various stages of being melted with the soldering irons.)
The first five "Windows" made it onto stretcher bars and were in various stages of being melted with my soldering irons when DISASTER occurred. The last tip of my miniature Antex soldering iron broke. I knew I only had this one, last tip. I should have ordered more long before last week. So ... everything went "on hold". (A free, on-line tutorial for how these pieces are made is available HERE. It includes images of how I melt through the layers of synthetic fabric with soldering irons and then zap them with an industrial heat gun.)
(Above: Two more "Windows" ... waiting to go onto stretcher bars to be melted.)
While waiting for M. M. Newman Corporation to send a dozen new tips, I constructed and stitched two more "Windows". They will go onto the stretcher bars as soon as at least two of the earlier works are finished and taken off the stretcher bars.
(Above: Soldering iron tips from M. M. Newman Corporation.)
Yesterday, the new tips arrived! Thank goodness! Work is waiting! I'll be posting the finished "Windows" as soon as these new tips are in operation! I'm also linking this post to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Fridays", a site for sharing fiber art work.
Posted by Susan Lenz at 10:05 AM
Monday, May 12, 2014
(Above: In Box CLII. Inventory # 3137. Unframed: 14" x 10"; Framed: 19 1/4" x 15 1/4". $225. Polyester stretch velvets, metallic foiling, previously painted heat-activated adhesive. Self-guided free-motion machine embroidery and melting. Click on any image in this post to enlarge.)
I spent Mother's Day doing exactly what I love best ... working all day in my studio making ART! As a result, I've got plenty to share! These six, small "In Box" series pieces will be added to my "sales blog" by the end of the day. I'm also working on another batch of "Window Series" pieces which will be finished before the end of the week. Love, love, love productivity!
(Above: Donation of thread from Anne Larsen in Ithaca, NY. Thank you, Anne!)
In the evening, I'm still unraveling miles of donated thread for my upcoming installation at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios. Threads: Gathering My Thoughts will run from Sept. 18 - 30th and promises to be even bigger than it is right now (on view at Studio Cellar through June 1st.) Obviously, I'm still accepting donations of thread at 2123 Park Street, Columbia, SC 29201.
(Above: Donation of thread from Marilyn Davis on Plainville, Vermont. Thank you, Marilyn!)
I'm also busy wrapping all the old wooden spools with wool and embellishing them with embroidered stitches. I also have a plan for all the old plastic spools. It is still in the "foggy vision" state. This is a time of mental planning but I'm almost ready to attempt moving it into reality!
(Above: In Box CLIII. Inventory # 3138. Unframed: 14" x 10"; Framed: 19 1/4" x 15 1/4". $225.)
So ... here are the other "In Box" pieces! I'm very happy with them but I need MORE! This work has been accepted for a solo show in Durham this coming September. I have my work cut out for me!
(Above: In Box CLIV. Inventory # 3139. Unframed: 14" x 10"; Framed: 19 1/4" x 15 1/4". $225.)
(Above: In Box CLV. Inventory # 3140. Unframed: 14" x 10"; Framed: 19 1/4" x 15 1/4". $225.)
(Above: In Box CLVI. Inventory # 3141. Unframed: 14" x 10"; Framed: 19 1/4" x 15 1/4". $225.)
(Above: In Box CLVII. Inventory # 3142. Unframed: 14" x 10"; Framed: 19 1/4" x 15 1/4". $225.)
(Above: A lovely card and note from Meridian Fibers in Charlotte!)
I have to thank Laura Sutthoff for this lovely card and note. It was her way of thanking the members of Fiber Arts Options, an invitational fiber group in Charlotte, NC to which I belong. We visited Laura's new fiber business Meridian Fibers. I blogged about the experience ... and now she is thanking me. I'm flattered beyond words ... because Laura blogged about us too ... including this post with a really nice photo of our group! Thus ... this photo is my "thank you" for her "thank you" ... and we are all properly, politely, and in silly ways ... THANKED! Thank goodness! LOL!
Posted by Susan Lenz at 6:52 PM