Friday, October 21, 2016

The Espanola Fibre Festival, a Mary Pal workshop, and new work!

(Me!  In Canada!  At the Espanola Fibre Festival ... right before delivering Precious: Making a Plan for Your Precious Possessions, my TEDxColumbiaSC talk!)

The last week has been marvelous!  Steve and I drove to CANADA, to the Espanola Fibre Festival ... for me to present PRECIOUS: Making a Plan for Your Precious Possessions, my TEDxColumbiaSC talk at the festival's Friday night opening.  It was quite an honor.  The festival is awesome and working with coordinator Jody Pilon was fun and easy.  She made everything possible and I am very, very grateful.  

Jody and the festival's volunteer staff really publicized the event.  My talk was SOLD OUT!

One of the people attending was the very talented Judy Martin ... a cyber friend of Margaret Blank, my cyber friend!  Judy lives on nearby Manitoulin Island, the largest inland, fresh water lake in the entire world.  Steve visited there on Sunday.  I didn't go.  Why? Well, I took the festival's workshop ... an adventure in cheesecloth with internationally renown Mary Pal.  Mary Pal gave a Power Point presentation on Saturday night ... which I also attended. (For more on the workshop, scroll down!)

(Above:  Sunrise at Agnew Lake Lodge.)

But first ... let me show you the fabulous accommodations provided at the Agnew Lake Lodge!  Steve and I were really excited to experience "autumn".  Sure ... some of the trees in South Carolina do turn vivid colors ... but not as many or for as long a time as those in more northern environments.  We loved the nippy morning temperatures ...

... the views to the lake over yellow and orange leaves ...

... the big windows in our two-bedroom cabin ...

... the comfy armchairs in front of the wood burning fireplace ... and the real bear skin decor.  With no television, no telephone service, no Internet connection (though available in the Main Lodge), this was an ideal place to read, relax, and enjoy "fall"!  We loved it!

(Above:  At Rest in October, a Grave Rubbing Art Quilt. Crayon on fabric rubbing combined with vintage lace and household linens, buttons, and both hand and free-motion embroidery.  12 1/4" x 10 1/2".  Click on image to enlarge.)

While enjoying the cabin, I finished At Rest in October.  Now, I know it looks a lot like my last blog post where I shared another piece called At Rest ... and also like another piece shared over a month ago. There's a reason!  These three small pieces were designed to be "step outs" for when I was filmed for the Quilting Arts television show.  The program requires "step outs" ... in order to show three stages of a work's progression.  Naturally, I decided to finish the two that showed earlier stages.    

(Above:  At Rest in October, reverse.)

I've never really intended to make similar work in this series ... but I'm glad I did.  It allowed me to give something very special to Jody Pilon.  She got the "second" At Rest piece ... and deservedly so!  I'm really glad Steve and I got the opportunity to be part of the Espanola Fibre Festival!

(Above:  Blessed Sleep III, a grave rubbing art quilt. 12" x 12".  Crayon grave rubbing combined with vintage household linens, buttons, and both free-motion and hand embroidery.  Click on image to enlarge.)

On the return trip, I worked on yet another "step out".  This one came from a little over a year ago ... when I was filmed for The Quilt Show with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims.  (CLICK HERE for a blog post about this unique experience!)  I had three "step outs" for that occasion.   The first one was donated to the SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) annual on-line auction and just purchased by Rona in New Zealand!  THANK YOU, Rona!  This piece is the third and final one!

(Above:  Blessed Sleep III, reverse.)

I love making the reverse of each Grave Rubbing Art Quilt from additional vintage linens.

 (Above:  Mary Pal's Cheesecloth Tree Workshop.)

Before returning home, however, I took the workshop offered through the Espanola Fiber Festival ... Mary Pal's Cheesecloth Tree.  The facility was perfect ... large, well lit, with easy access to water and with plenty of parking. 


I'd seen and admires Mary's work before and found the instructions perfect.  Mary also showed images of her work and shared her inspirations and personal creative history.


She had more than one variation of the workshop's design ... as a more vivid art quilt, as a more pastel art quilt, and mounted to a stretcher bar without any quilting at all!  These variations helped me slip into a comfortable mindset.  After all, I can't even remember the last time I was in a workshop with a "set design".  What was I going to do with a piece that simply screams, "I took a Mary Pal workshop!"?  Because Mary Pal presented different options and stressed personal freedom, I started thinking about how I might incorporate some of the techniques she used into my own work.

 (Above:  My cheesecloth tree, paper pattern, and clear piece of Duralar)

I have no desire to work in cheesecloth or even to create realistic images in fiber and/or a fluid medium ... but I can certainly see the advantages of using a piece of Duralar (a thin, clear piece of polyester film) or other, similar products ... and I now know how to transfer color to fabric in a way that seems to suit me. 

Quite a bit of the workshop time was spent with Caran d'Ache's Neocolor II Watersoluble oil pastels.  I actually own a wear-worn set of thirty.  (Used while traveling on sketch book drawings)  I just never thought to use them on fabric.  This idea is BRILLIANT.  I now know how I want to address some of the fabric created during last spring's Nike's Advice public art performance!  (Click HERE for a time lapse!)  The only thing I didn't really like about the yards and yards and yards of material made last spring was all the "unpainted" areas.  Well ... with these oil pastels (which I'm very comfortable using ... unlike using a dreaded paint brush!), my mind is filled with new possibilities.  I'm excited!  Of course, this idea will have to stew, simmer, and wait until January.  My schedule is too full before that time.  It'll keep!

In the meantime, I'm back to work on pieces for the upcoming Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show and my solo show at City Art ... both next month.  November is just days away!  

(Above:  Steve and me at Niagara Falls.)

Last but not least, Steve and I went to Niagara Falls.  How Steve had managed NEVER to have been there is a mystery to everyone in my family.  Having lived in Western Pennsylvania and gone to college at The Ohio State University and with cousins in Toronto, I'd been to Niagara Fall more times than I can remember.  Steve has driven BY the exit numerous times ... but until returning from Espanola, he'd never been there.  It was a great way to end a fabulous trip.

I'm linking this blog post to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Fridays", a site for sharing fiber arts.


Wanda said...

OH wow...sold out. How awesome! In fact, the entire experience looks like it was awesome. I'm so happy that you could combine work with such a great scenic trip as well. I know your Tedx talk in SC is on YouTube (you linked to it) but is the talk from there in Canada also online? I know you are now busy at home. Very, very busy at home getting ready for next week. Oh wow. I am always thinking of you! By the way, it's so neat that you meet cyberfriends! Love you guys!

Rona said...

Thanks so much for your lovely comments and the link to my blog. I feel very honored to own an artwork by you. I was so excited when I won the auction that I shared the news with the Oceania SAQA group - and then forgot to tell you how pleased I was! It's been a crazy time, moving house, end of the school year in this hemisphere etc.

Your quilt will have pride of place in my bedroom. I've even chosen the paint colour for the walls with it in mind!