(Above: The Georgia/South Carolina SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) regional workshop I taught in the gallery space just outside my studio at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios. Click on any image to enlarge.)
Last Tuesday and Wednesday were "big days" for me! I taught a two-day workshop in the gallery just outside my studio door at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios. It was the first time I've actually conducted a workshop without boxing up all the supplies, materials, equipment, handouts, ironing boards, and transporting it all to a space in which I've never stepped foot! That also meant it was an opportunity to show off my own studio and the artwork created by the other resident artists, including my mentor Stephen Chesley whose giant landscapes and seascapes appear in the background of many of these images. The maximum number for my workshops is generally twelve participants ... but this workshop went to fourteen!
(Above: Cut from the Same Cloth, an exhibit of twenty original 12" x 12" art quilts made by GA/SC SAQA members in response to a recent "challenge". Over a year ago Paula Brown, Victoria Rondeau, and Meg Filiatrault dyed up three color-waves and mailed 14" squares randomly to all regional members. Everyone was to create a 12" x 12" art quilt using the provided fabric. These are the results ... and they hung in the gallery during the workshop and also for the monthly "Vista Nights", a third-Thursday art crawl in downtown Columbia.
(Above: Esther and what was left of her donated fabric. This is much less than half what Esther donated! Her generosity is remarkable!)
This workshop had a fabulous "bonus"! Esther, the wonderful lady in the photo above, spent the last eighteen years collecting fabric. She loves the texture, color, and endless possibilities of material. She intended to make things. Yet, she has all sorts of other interests too. She'd come to a point in life when it was time to "release" all the fabric, donate it to people who would finally use it ... to make quilts, art, home accessories ... anything! I'm Facebook friends with her neighbor, an artist named Julie. Julie contacted me. It took two trips to totally load my Scion with all the fabric and notions. I erected two makeshift tables in the atrium at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios ... and gave away fabric to workshop participants, people who came for "Vista Nights" (Third-Thursday art crawl), to Richland School District Two (to be used with four brand new sewing machines purchased over the summer thanks to a recent grant), and to volunteers at the Lydia Project ... for making totes and needed items for women facing cancer. THANK YOU, Esther! Every workshop participant went home with literally arm-loads of fabric!
(Above: GA/SC SAQA regional rep Judy Alexander from Marietta, GA and one of her creations!)
The workshop is called HOT: Heat-activated techniques for Contemporary Embroidery and includes instructions for properly mounting fiber art into professionally cut mats. Everyone made at least two works ...
... including Victoria Rondeau ...
... and Paula Brown ...
... and everyone else in the workshop!
My husband Steve and I hosted a SAQA "Meet and Greet" at our home, Mouse House, on Tuesday night. It was a nice chance for everyone to mingle, chat, and have a great dinner together. Unfortunately, I was too busy to remember photos.
(Above: Am I a Pretty Boy? by Molly Eckes Samuels of Bluffton, SC.)
I did, however, shoot images of some of the 12" x 12" art quilts in the exhibit Cut from the Same Cloth. These photos were used in all the publicity ... which wasn't as much as I would have liked but I didn't get information in a timely manner.
I really tried to have some of the variety and originality of other members' work featured in the publicity.
Yet, it was my work that Erin Shaw focused on for her "Arts Planner" weekly article in The State Newspaper which went under the title "Making a 'Bouquet' from Discarded Cemetery Flowers". Of course I'm flattered ... and very happy that the coverage brought many people to Thursday's art stroll!
The Sunday, August 16th article reads:
"Making a 'Bouquet' from Discarded Cemetery Flowers"
FABRIC FUN AT VISTA NIGHTS
Columbia fabric artist Susan Lenz is one of many who promote quilting as a fine art form. "Cut From the Same Cloth", an exhibit opening at Gallery 80808 in the Vista next week, is intended to prove that notion. The show, on loan from the South Carolina/Georgia region of Studio Art Quilt Associates, will feature twenty original contemporary works created with tie-dyed fabric.
Lenz, who is hosting the show with Robert Kennedy, said members of the Studio Art Quilt Associates received a 12" x 12" tie-dyed square to make a piece out of. "I stared at that square for three days," she said, unsure how to work with the shockingly bright colors. "My palette is somber, usually brown and black and off-white." Her subject matter is somber as well - some of Lenz's recent work deals with mortality and memory. Lenz stayed true to her motif while incorporating bright colors by utilizing artificial flowers found in cemetery dumpsters. The result was "The Bouquet," to be displayed in the exhibit.
The show opens August 20th for Vista Nights, a monthly event where galleries and shops in the Congaree Vista Guild stay open late with special offerings. The gallery is at 808 Lady Street. www.vistastudios80808.com.
THANK YOU, Erin!