Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Focus on Fibers 2018

(Above:  Second Life Workshop at Focus on Fibers, a program of workshops and retreat time conducted at the Atlantic Center for the Arts outside New Smyrna, Florida.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

Last Thursday after making a presentation at the Swamp Fox Quilt Guild in Florence, South Carolina, I drove down I-95 to Florida.  Specifically, I was headed to a most amazing place, the Atlantic Center for the Arts. Everything about this place is special. The eco-friendly buildings have lots of natural light.  The above ground boardwalks make every walk one with nature. The food is terrific and the company is awesome.  I've taught my HOT workshop there before.  (CLICK HERE for that post from 2014.)  This time, I conducted my other workshop:  Second Life.  I bring EVERYTHING needed for a successful experience, including about half my enormous stash of vintage and antique household linens, lace, and ...

...even this embroidered apron!  Participants are welcome to whatever they need to create their artwork.  My only "rule" is: Promise to USE whatever you take!  It is fabulous to watch once neglected guest towels and crocheted doilies find a place in a new piece of stitching.  It is great to know that this nice lady will continue to wear this apron to future workshops!  (Considering the pristine condition of the apron, I don't think it had ever been worn before!  It was high time someone claimed it for its intended use ... and doesn't it look perfect on her!) 

(Above:  Some of the workshop participants working on pieces for the 8" x 10" frame I brought for each to use.)

My workshop description is:

SECOND LIFE is a workshop aimed to inspire participants to create fiber art heirlooms using vintage and recycled materials and to discover unique ways to stitch expressions of personal legacy. Various exercises are conducted to tap into hidden artistic desires, including stream-of-consciousness writing and tagging old keys with significant words. Crayon on fabric grave rubbings are incorporated with beads, buttons, old lace, and anonymous photos. This workshop delves into both memories from the past and hopes for future remembrance. Susan shares her vast collection of grave rubbing art quilts and her daily studio approaches to making art. Participants leave with more than a finished work but with ideas for their own action plan with regards to their own family treasures and personal fiber stash.

 (Above:  At the Edgewater-New Smyrna Cemetery making grave rubbings.)

Early on the second morning, we visited a nearby cemetery.  I'd already scouted the location and talked to the two maintenance men.  They told me all sorts of interesting stories about the place and pointed out significant markers for us to consider for a crayon-on-fabric rubbing.  Some of the participants did not go on this outing but it didn't matter.  I bring a broken tombstone with a lovely rose motif and an epitaph that includes the words: Blessed Sleep.

I used this tombstone on the set of the television program hosted by Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims.  I've made several small pieces from rubbings made on it.  (CLICK HERE to see two of them.)

Most of the participants brought family memorabilia.  This photograph, necklace, cosmetic compact, hanky, and eyeglass case were perfect on the antique crazy quilt scrap with the tatted doilies I brought.  Carefully, we designed the work to fit into a standard 16" x 20" shadowbox frame that she can find later.

This same lady designed another work first ... using an anonymous photo, lace, a scrap of embroidery, and beads coming entirely from my stash.  The beads were a recent donation to me from my friend Dolly Patton.  Years ago, Dolly's mother made fancy wedding cakes and decorated the setting with all sorts of tulle and these beads.

The beads also went on this wooden spool Christmas ornament made by Susanne Miller Jones.  I didn't get photos of all the keys that got tagged in this workshop or any of the other wrapped-and-stitched wooden spools ... but all sorts of things did get created, even a 3D piece or two!

(Above:  The Key to Harmony and an anonymous bride photograph with a tagged key reading: Happily Ever After.)

Like my other workshops, I teach by going a demo and then allowing participants time to work on their own.  I always finish my demonstration pieces.  In this workshop, presentation is very important, especially the "how to frame it" demonstrations.  So, I created the Key to Harmony in order to show how to "top mount" the work on a mat but get it into a frame without the glass touching it.  If you look closely, you can see the pure white "walls" that are glued to the interior sides of the picture frame.  They create the space/shadow box for the work.  Then, I took an old, anonymous photo previously fused to fabric.  I stitch on it, beaded it, and attached a tagged key.  The final demonstration showed how to attach a mat and lift it up to create space for the beads. 

(Above:  Tagged keys.)

In the evening, I worked too.  All these tags were made during the Deckle Edge Literary Festival last March.  (I blogged about this public art event HERE.)  The public used all my letters clipped from vintage ephemera to make bookmarks.  I knew even then that I would turn all the ones I made into tagged keys. While in Florida, I did it!  I also brought all the letters for the workshop too.

 (Above:  The one-meter telescope at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.)

One evening, however, I didn't work on any project or artwork.  Instead, I went to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to peer through their one-meter telescope.  Several times every year, the telescope is open for public viewing.  It was aimed at Ceres, the asteroid/dwarf planet.  I was thrilled.  I knew about the asteroid belt from middle school science class.  Everyone in the class had to write a report and my assignment was Ceres!  It was pretty cool to actually see it twinkling in the night sky!

I also visited Canaveral National Seashore which was just beautiful!  My time in Florida was grand!

1 comment:

Ann Scott said...

You seem to be a very generous teacher - lucky participants! I'm sure you feel the same; I know I always learn from my students. So neat that the apron is hugging that perfect somebody! Thanks for sharing.