Wednesday, November 29, 2017

A Special Commission

(Above:  In Box CCCIII, Framed:  57" x 26"; unframed 17" x 48". Click on any image in this blog post for an enlargement.)

I was honored with a special commission for an "In Box Series" piece to fit over a king-sized bed in a room with a decor mostly in burgundy.  It was so much fun making this piece, my largest in this series and uniquely a horizontal.  Yesterday I sent a PDF to the nice lady who ordered the work.  She already loves it ... just from the photos!  Below are some of the images I sent in the PDF documenting the process.

First, I ironed out a piece of Wonder Under the size of the finished work. This foundation allows me to see exactly where the edges need to be.

Then, I lay out the initial layer of polyester stretch velvet squares inside the perimeter ... using red, magenta, burgundy, light pink, purple, lavender, tan, light blue, turquoise, medium blue, royal blue, dark teal, metallic gold, metallic copper, metallic silver, and a psychedelic pattern with plenty of colors.

Another layer of Wonder Under is ironed over the blocks.  To this, I apply heat-activated metallic foiling ... in purple, magenta, royal blue, gold and copper.

Then comes the most fun part of the construction. Lots and lots more squares and rectangles are piled onto the initial shapes, often as many as six layers.  Each shape is progressively smaller.

Another sheet of Wonder Under is ironed over the surface.  To this, I add strips of chiffon scarves. These thin strips serve two roles: first, they allow my machine to more easily glide over the uneven surface and second, they as color shifts and extra interest to the palette.

I forgot to snap any photos while I stitched the work ... but afterwards, it was stapled to a stretcher bar (except for one short end ... which was laced to the wooden framework.)

From there, I go to the garage.  Wearing my carbon-filtering ventilator mask, I melt holes through the synthetic layers using three different sizes of soldering irons.  Finally, I zap the work with an industrial heat gun.

Here I am stitching the finished piece to mat board.  The mat board is already in a gold liner.

This is how I took the photos of the finished work ... on our back steps.  The gold liner was placed into the outer frame.  I snapped the photo before fitting crystal clear, anti-reflective, UV glass between the liner and the frame.

This is a detail of the work. I can't wait to show it to its new, wonderful owner. She's already written that it is perfect! Today is a good day ... in fact GREAT!  It is always such an honor to be trusted with the creation of something that will be hanging and admired for years to come. 

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

Friday, November 24, 2017

All I Want for Christmas

(Above:  All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth, The Wall of Ancestors.  Click on any image in this blog post to enlarge.)

I need more framed images of anonymous people with collaged phrases like I need a hole in my head, but how can I resist?  I can't ... especially when coming upon a few perfect photos that seem to beg from a distant past for a future as art!  I also can't resist picking up antique walnut frames and original, hand wrapped velvet mats.  As a result, I think there are now over 250 pieces in The Wall of Ancestors for my Anonymous Ancestors installation.  Thankfully, this work gets to come out of storage for the month of January when it will be on view at the Eastern Shore Art Center in Fairhope, Alabama.

(Above:  Always Said My Prayers, The Wall of Ancestors.)

Creating these pieces was a perfect way to spend some of Thanksgiving day. I am particularly thankful for the art opportunities I've been given and for the support I have in pursuing new ones. My husband Steve will helping load the van, install the show, and do all the driving.  That's a lot of support!  I am also thankful for all those who recently purchased Christmas ornaments!

(Above:  Boring!, The Wall of Ancestors.)

I am also very grateful to a nice lady here in Columbia who has commissioned me to create an "In Box Series" piece to hang above her king sized bed.  I've been working on it and plan to share it soon!  It is always such an honor to be sought out for such original art!

(Above:  Business Partners: Looking for a Fast Buck, The Wall of Ancestors.)

The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is always very, very busy.  Custom picture framing work continues to arrive at our business, Mouse House.  One day I hope to be a self supporting artist, but in the mean time I'm thankful for those who financially keep those dreams alive!

(Above:  Could Have Been a Contender, The Wall of Ancestors.)

One of the best things about this time of year is MUSIC!  My most refined Pandora Internet radio station is called "Classical Christmas".  I've added and eliminated suggested melodies to the point that "Grandma never gets run over by a reindeer" and no one "rocks around the Christmas tree".  Popular covers of traditional carols have also been eliminated.  My Christmas music is seriously traditional ... just the way I like it!  Generally, I don't listen to music in my studio ... but I love this!

(Above:  Daydreamed My Life Away, The Wall of Ancestors.  Please notice the original, hand-wrapped red velvet mat ... true Victorian!)

My favorite Christmas carol is Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming ... whether sung in English or in its original German, Es ist ein Ros Entsprungen.  My Pandora station has several versions of both.  I can never tire of this melody.

(Above: I Preferred Cats, The Wall of Ancestors.)

As I look toward the coming weeks, I can honestly say that all I really want for Christmas is more time in the studio and continued support from those who care about my art as it moves into the coming year.  When people truly care about my passion, I feel extremely thankful.  This weekend reminded me of all those who are so supportive, loving, and kind.  Thank you!

(Above:  It Took Courage to be an Independent Woman, The Wall of Ancestors.)

(Above:  A Man's World or Board of Directors, The Wall of Ancestors.  I couldn't quite decide the title for this one, so I went with both ideas!)

(Above:  No One Knows the Troubles I've Seen, The Wall of Ancestors. Please notice the original, Victorian hand-wrapped blue velvet mat that came with this ornate antique frame!)

(Above:  We Pretended to Have Money, The Wall of Ancestors.  The hand-wrapped red velvet mat is Victorian. Unfortunately, the frame in which it came was beyond all hope.  This is a new frame.)

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

Thursday, November 16, 2017


 (Above:  Wrapped-and-stitched vintage wooden thread spool Christmas ornaments.  Click on any image in this blog post to enlarge.)

This past weekend's Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show was WONDERFUL!  Lots of artwork found permanent walls on which to hang and hundreds of wrapped-and-stitched vintage wooden thread spool ornaments went home with holiday shoppers.  I made HUNDREDS of them.  Because my booth space had a limited space for the ornaments (and because I had hundreds of them!), not all were even made available.  Every day, I put out more to replace those sold.  Still, I came back with about 150 of them.  Because I shared them on Facebook, I got requests to sell some "on-line".  Well ... I'm not experienced in on-line shopping but today I made an attempt to try.

 (Above:  Forty-two groups of three ornaments ... neatly arranged in numbered sections!)

My camera went onto a tripod focused on a piece of linen mat board.  I shot forty-two groups of three ornaments each.  The groups were carefully placed in slotted foam-centered containers.  Each row is numbered.  I just uploaded them to a Facebook album with this message:

Wrapped-and-stitched vintage wooden thread spool holiday ornaments by Susan Lenz. Hundreds were made and sold at the recent Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show. Every day, more were made available but not everyone of them actually made it out into the booth for sale. (Limited space!) These are the ones that are left. At the PMA Show, I sold three for $40. I am offering each group of three for $47 including tax and shipping anywhere in the USA. (South Carolina actually charges tax even on out-of-state sales!) To make a purchase, send me a private Facebook message or email at PLEASE INCLUDE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS. I will send a PayPal invoice. Once paid, I will ship immediately and remove the image from this album. You do NOT have to have a PayPal account to pay the invoice! You can also call me at Mouse House at (803) 254-0842 to pay by credit card. My regular hours are 9:30 - 5:00. If you purchase more than one group, the shipping will only be $7 regardless of quantity. Thanks! Susan

 (Above:  Ornaments, Group One ... SOLD!)

Obviously, I'll sell them to people reading this blog!  Same information applies ... except, if a group actually does sell, I'll write SOLD in the caption!  Just scroll down to see the other forty-one groups!

 (Above:  Ancestor Wall: Like Mother Like Daughter.)

Before sharing all the holiday ornaments, I'd also like to share three more pieces for my solo installation Anonymous Ancestors.  The next time the work will be exhibited is this coming January at Eastern Shore Art Center in Fairhope, Alabama.  I really do love making more and more work for this show!

 (Above:  Ancestor Wall:  Sisterhood Forever.)

 (Above:  Ancestor Wall: The Long Exposure.)

Now ... here are the available groups of Christmas ornaments!

(Above:  Group TWO ... SOLD!)

(Above: Group THREE)

(Above: Group FOUR)

(Above: Group FIVE .... SOLD!)

(Above: Group SIX)

(Above: Group SEVEN ... SOLD!)

(Above: Group EIGHT ... SOLD!)

(Above: Group NINE ... SOLD!)

(Above: Group TEN)

(Above: Group ELEVEN ... SOLD!)

(Above: Group TWELVE)

(Above: Group THIRTEEN ... SOLD!)

(Above: Group FOURTEEN)

(Above: Group FIFTEEN)

(Above: Group SIXTEEN ... SOLD!)

(Above: Group SEVENTEEN)

(Above: Group EIGHTEEN ... SOLD!)

(Above: Group NINETEEN)

(Above: Group TWENTY ... SOLD!)

(Above: Group TWENTY-ONE)

(Above: Group TWENTY-TWO)

(Above: Group TWENTY-THREE ... SOLD!)

(Above: Group TWENTY-FOUR)

(Above: Group TWENTY-FIVE)

(Above: Group TWENTY-SIX)

(Above: Group TWENTY-SEVEN ... SOLD!)

(Above: Group TWENTY-EIGHT ... SOLD!)

(Above: Group TWENTY-NINE)

(Above: Group THIRTY ... SOLD!)

(Above: Group THIRTY-ONE ... SOLD!)

(Above: Group THIRTY-TWO)

(Above: Group THIRTY-THREE ... SOLD!)

(Above: Group THIRTY-FOUR)

(Above: Group THIRTY-FIVE ... SOLD!)

(Above: Group THIRTY-SIX ... SOLD!)

(Above: Group THIRTY-SEVEN ... SOLD!)

(Above: Group THIRTY-EIGHT ... SOLD!)

(Above: Group THIRTY-NINE ... SOLD!)

(Above: Group FORTY)

(Above: Group FORTY-ONE ... SOLD!)

(Above: Group FORTY-TWO)

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