Friday, September 30, 2016
It seems like a life time ago but it was only a single week! Last Friday Steve and I flew to California to visit Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks ... plus ... we spent a fabulous afternoon with my first cousin, Monika Lenz and her beloved Karl, an engineer whose hobby is collecting vintage tractors. I'll blog about the trip later. Suffice it to say, words cannot do the serene beauty of nature enough justice ... and the gears, bolts, and patina of rust on the tractors made my artist's heart sing!
(Above: Three seasons in two different sizes ... framed and leaning against my Wall of Keys here at Mouse House.)
Before leaving, I had six of eight new pieces completed and framed but not blogged. Above is a photo showing that work. What are they? Well, they are "Seasonal Leaves" ... one piece for each season ... in two different sizes. I'd made an even larger set and blogged it HERE. I liked the limited pallet and the leaf motif so well that I decided to make these in a "medium size" and a "small size".
(Above: Seasonal Leaves: Spring, medium sized. Inventory # 3841. Unframed: 20 x 15; Framed: 29" x 23". $495 plus tax and shipping.)
Although I've only been home for a little over a day, I finished the two missing pieces ... SPRING. Now, Steve and I are off to the University of South Carolina-Beaufort's Sea Islands Center Gallery where I'll present a public lecture called "Beyond a Series" and attend the closing reception for my solo show Anonymous Ancestors. I hope to get all this blogged next week ... but blogging is taking a back seat to "making art". Why? Well, I just received the jurying results from the American Craft Council. My work was accepted for both the Baltimore and Atlanta Fine Art Craft Shows. I've got lots and lots of new work to make! Below are the rest of the images of these newest pieces!
I am linking this post to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Fridays", a site for sharing fiber art.
Posted by Susan Lenz at 11:21 AM
Thursday, September 22, 2016
Just over a week ago I drove to Solon, Ohio to be filmed for three, upcoming segments of the PBS Quilting Arts television show. It was a big deal. I even had to get a manicure. There was a make-up artist (which accounts for how I look in these photos! LOL!)
The show is hosted by Susan Brubaker Knapp. Vivika DeNegre and Kristine Lundblad from Quilting Arts Magazine were there and so was Jeanne Cook Delpit from BERNINA sewing machines, show sponsors.
There were producers, television editors, camera men, and several other art quilters being filmed ... like Leni Weiner, Ellen Lindner, and Teresa Shippy.
There were at least three cameras, lots of fancy lighting equipment, microphones, a "green room", and a place to organize the "step outs" for each segment.
So ... what did I do? Well, I demonstrated how to make one of my Peacock Feathers, a fiber vessel, and use buttons with blanket stitching instead of traditional binding on an art quilt. Each of these three segments had multiple "step outs". So ... what's a "step out". Well, it is an illustration of the various stages in the development of a piece. For my fiber vessels, my first "step out" was showing nine various yarns being fed into the Bernina's cording foot ... and me zigzag stitching them into a cord. The second "step out" showed the finished cord coiled into a small circle ... and me zigzag stitching the beginning of a vessel. The third "step out" showed how I position the sewing machine off the edge of a table in order to continue stitching the half-formed vessel. The final "step out" showed how I finish the rim of the vessel. Now ... if this doesn't make sense, please visit my free, on-line tutorial called "How to Make a Fiber Vessel". Step-outs are necessary because the television crew can't spend the time for anyone to completely make a piece of art in front of the camera.
For the buttons and blanket stitching, I had three step-outs but also got to show some of my vintage buttons and several pieces from my Grave Rubbing Art Quilt series. For my Peacock Feathers, my first "step out" simply showed the cut fabrics and supplies. After that, I had three more "step outs" to show the various stages each piece goes through been made.
From Solon, Ohio, I drove to Slippery Rock, PA to visit with my parents and my ninety-seven year old grandmother ... and to have a great "Girls Day Out" with Mom and my sister Sonya. It was a great visit. We had loads of fun! Last Friday I drove back to Columbia, South Carolina and I've been working ever since.
Of course there were plenty of orders from custom picture framing clients, but I was also able to finish several of my own pieces ... including the three, former "step outs" for the Peacock Feathers.
(Above: At Rest with Quilting Arts. 12 1/2" x 10 1/2". Crayon grave rubbing on unbleached muslin combined with vintage lace and trim on a piece of an old damask tablecloth. Vintage buttons. Hand and free-motion machine embroidery. Click on any image of my work for an enlargement.)
I also finished one of the "step outs" for the button and blanket stitch segment.
There are two, very similar others but I plan on more hand stitching on each of them. I have no idea when I'll get to this stitching but it is nice to know I have handwork at the ready!
This is the reverse of the piece ... using more vintage household linens.
I also finished melting, mounting, and framing three pieces that were otherwise constructed before I left. They include Lunette XXIII and ...
(Above: Window CXXI. Inventory # 3833. Framed: 17 1/4" x 15 1/4". $265 plus tax and shipping.)
... and Window CXXXI and ...
(Above: Window CXXII. Inventory # 3834. Framed: 17 1/4" x 15 1/4". $265 plus tax and shipping.)
... Window CXXII. These pieces and the ones below are headed for my two big shows in November. One is a solo show at City Art here in Columbia, South Carolina. The other show is the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show. I still have lots more work I want to make before then!
(Above: Seasonal Leaves: Summer. Medium sized. Inventory # 3836. Unframed: 21" x 16. Framed: 29" x 23". $495 plus tax and shipping.)
Since returning home, I started making two more sets of "Seasonal Leaves". I made four earlier in the year. They are larger and I blogged them HERE. Thus, I am now in the process of making a "medium" and "small" version. Summer, Autumn, and Winter are complete. I will have to wait until next week to create Spring. Why? Well, tomorrow Steve and I are flying to California to visit Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks and to visit my cousin Monika Lenz who I haven't seen since I was about fourteen years old. I'm excited. Below are the rest of the new pieces in the two Seasonal Leaves sets.
(Above: Seasonal Leaves: Summer. Small sized. Inventory # 3831. Unframed 19" x 13". Framed: 25" x 19". $395 plus tax and shipping.)
I am linking this post to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Fridays", a site for sharing fiber arts.
Posted by Susan Lenz at 5:01 PM
Monday, September 12, 2016
(Above: Drew Baron, multimedia coordinator at the Columbia Museum of Art, filming detail images for six or seven segments to be included in the upcoming CUT! Costume and the Cinema exhibition. Click on any image in this post for an enlargement.)
Since coming home from Montana, I've been busy with my solo show at the University of South Carolina-Beaufort's Sea Islands Center Gallery and with the pieces for the upcoming Marked By the Water invitational exhibit slated to open on October 4th ... but that's not all I've been doing! I have two important opportunities in November. Both require lots and lots of work from my Stained Glass and In Box series. A day doesn't go by when I haven't put a hot iron to polyester stretch velvet. I need this art! I love making it but sometimes I get a little overwhelmed to blog it in a more timely manner.
I meant to blog my new work earlier ... but another exciting thing happened. Drew Baron, the multimedia coordinator at the Columbia Museum of Art, came to Mouse House to film several, brief segments to accompany the upcoming CUT! Costumes and the Cinema exhibit. I've seen the PDF of the object list. It is going to be an amazing show ... including historic designs seen on the likes of Angelica Huston, Maggie Smith, Kate Winslet, Natalie Portman, Heath Ledger, Renee Zellweger, Nicole Kidman, Jude Law, Uma Thurman, Robert Downey Jr, Sandra Bullock, Vanessa Redgrave, Colin Farrel, and Johnny Depp.
My part was simple. I showed a selection of buttons (tiny, gigantic, fabric covered, crocheted, mother-of-pearl, bone, etc.) and demonstrated the button hole stitch. I also covered trapunto, couching, faggotting stitch, draping, ruching, and beading. During these short (as in two-minute) videos, I was able to show my Grandmother Lenz's household linens. After all, if Grandma Lenz wanted a buttonhole, she had to stitch! Back in rural Hungary, her treadle machine didn't have a zigzag stitch. The local weaver's loom wasn't wide enough to make a tablecloth. If Grandma Lenz wanted two lengths to lay perfectly flat, she plied her needle using the faggotting stitch to connect them. It felt wonderful to share her precious dowry. I also got to show a few of my pieces. I can't wait to see the results because Drew Baron is a real pro! He created a video of my grave rubbing techniques and inspiration. CHECK IT OUT!
Filming with Drew was fun and easy. For me, however, it was also the "warm up" to another opportunity. Tomorrow I head north to Solon, Ohio to be filmed for three segments of the PBS Quilting Arts show. I'll be showing my Peacock Feathers, fiber vessels, and how I use buttons and the blanket stitch instead of traditional binding on my art quilts. I'm nervous but excited. Last Friday I got an email. I'm supposed to have my nails manicured and my cuticles smooth ... seriously! My hands generally look like those that belong to a working, professional artist ... which isn't the condition described. Today I went to Seasons Nail Salon and now I have tidy cuticles next to trimmed and polished nails!
So ... in the meantime, I've been working. The pieces shared here at headed to the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show and to my solo show at City Art ... both in November. I can honestly say that these deadlines are really pushing me to explore new avenues, new designs, and to simply concentrate on the process.
(Above: In Box CLXI. Framed: 33 3/4" x 21 3/4". $550 plus tax and shipping.)
So ... I've finished three, large "In Box" series pieces. I only took photos of one of them before they got into their frames.
Yet ... I took a detail shot of the one I remembered to photograph! Below are other new pieces.
(Above: Lancet Window LXXXIII. Framed: 31" x 11". $395 plus tax and shipping.)
(Above: Window CXXIX. Framed: 17" x 15". $265 plus tax and shipping.)
I'm linking this blog post to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Fridays", a site for sharing fiber arts!
Posted by Susan Lenz at 5:32 PM
Monday, September 05, 2016
(Above: Detail of Emily Oliver's poem, Self Portrait with Twelve-Mile Creek. Click on any image in this blog post to enlarge.)
For several weeks I've been working on three, unique pieces slated for exhibition in the upcoming Marked by the Water invitational show. This Jasper Project, multidisciplinary event will commemorate the first anniversary of last October's historic floods here in Columbia, SC. The show is at the Tapps Arts Center. The reception is appropriately on the anniversary date: October 4th from 7 - 9 pm. There will be a film premier, a dance installation, and a book launch. The book will include poetry and prose. The pieces selected for publication were determined during the summer. At that time, I contacted Jasper's editor-and-chief Cindi Boiter and literary arts editor Ed Madden with the hopes of turning a poem into a textile creation. They sent several poems. I couldn't help myself. I selected three. Cindi and Ed initiated the correspondence between these poets and me.
(Above: All three, finished flood poems.)
My idea was to create a background that resembled sheets of rain pouring down ... and to super-impose the words on this unique surface. I made sure my idea worked by creating Rain.
The experiment worked! It served as an example of my intentions when communicating with the poets. After all, how could anyone give consent to have one's work translated into a fiber art creation verbally described by the caption above? So ... Jennifer Bartell, Bill Higgins, and Emily Oliver looked at Rain, gave permission for me to stitch their poems, and I went to work!
(Above: Flood Poem I. A Flood of Breath: A Prayer by Jennifer Bartell. 84" x 27". Strips of plastic and sparkly bridal tulle stitched with silver metallic thread on Mokuba water soluble stabilizer to create a unique ground for self-guided, free-motion machine embroidered lettering.)
The first poem finished was Jennifer Bartell's. I took a photo of it using the same piece of over-sized foam-centered board as I used when photographing Rain. Of course, the entire piece couldn't be shown because I made the substrate seven feet in length. Snapping photos of an ultra sheer fabric is quite problematic. It's hard to really "see" what these fiber poems really look like.
Although one can't read the words, the photo above is a better one. It really shows the fragile nature of this material and the size of the works. (Thank you to the nice lady who visited Mouse House ... new to my neighborhood ... for posing in this picture!) The top of each poem is hand stitched to a cafe curtain rod. I have two brackets for each poem. The ends of the rods will connect to the brackets. This will allow the fiber poems to hand IN FRONT of the gallery walls ... as if suspended in air ... like rain pouring down ... words hanging in space and hopefully casting a faint shadow on the wall behind them.
So, how did I construct these fiber poems. First, I lay out strips of plastic, sparkly bridal tulle and ribbon on the "sticky" side of Mokuba's two-part, water soluble stabilizer ... covering the entire surface and then topping it off with the "unsticky" part. I drew lines ... knowing that the lines were on the "unsticky" part ... which, like the "sticky side" ... would wash away after stitching the poem. The photo above shows Jennifer's poem under the foot of my Babylock Tiara. Below is the continued photo documentation of the three poems during the creative process!
Above: This is Emily Oliver's poem under the sewing machine and ...
... here it is in the bathtub ...
... and drip-drying.
Above: Detail of Emily's poem while hanging above the tub.
This is Bill Higgin's poem being stitched and ...
... a detail shot of the stitching. Please note the surface on which Bill's name is shown. The "unsticky" side of the Mokuba looks like clear, plastic wrap.
After the two-parts wash away ... the surface looks quite different.
Above shows Bill's poem in the bathtub ...
... it got hung over a towel bar to dry. I can't wait to install these poems at the Tapps Art Center ... and attempt taking photos that truly reflect how they appear ... sheer, ethereal, and a combination of moving poetry and creative fiber experimentation.
I am linking this post to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Fridays", a site for sharing fiber arts.
Posted by Susan Lenz at 10:49 AM