Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Three more Found Object Mandalas

(Above:  Mandala LXXXIII. Custom framed. Hung as a diamond: 23 1/2" x 23 1/2"; as a square: 16 3/4" x 16 3/4".  Found objects hand-stitched to a single block of a vintage quilt. Found objects include: a green valve; felt covered piano hammers; brass screw eyes; keys; Tinker Toy connectors topped with brass anchor buttons; casino chips; inlaid wooden backgammon pieces; palmetto tree charms and ribbon holds with the word "commerce"; round prisms from a chandelier; four faux coins; and buttons. Click on any image to enlarge.)

This past week I finished three more, small mandalas.  These will go with me to the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show, Nov. 5 - 7.  I think I am stitching more just to remain calm.  Shows like the PMA Craft Show are expensive, and this will be the first time I've been in a booth with just my mandalas.  Sure, I know people like them, but will some of them find permanent homes?  Will I "make booth rent?"  Will I "make expenses"?  Will I "bomb"?  It's kind of crazy but stitching is my way to relax.  So ... I'll just continue making more artwork!

 
(Above:  A composite photo of me dismantling a piano with a broken sound board. Photos taken by my friend Dolly Patton, the new executive director of the Arts Center of Kershaw County.)

My search for unique found objects took me to the Arts Center of Kershaw County. Sure, I was also there to look at the exhibition space where my Blues Chapel installation is currently on view, but I got to dismantle an old piano with a broken sound board.  It was such a cool experience!

 
(Above:  Me with the parts of the piano I most wanted!)

The Arts Center kept the black-and-white keys, the piano framework (for its potential to be made into a great desk), and other parts.  I got the part with the felt hammers ... exactly what I wanted for my found object mandalas. 

 
(Above:  Mandala LXXXIII, detail.)

Around the inlaid wooden backgammon pieces are brown, plastic rings.  I don't know what they were once used for.  I got them at YLI in Rock Hill when purchasing a very large cone of very strong thread.  YLI distributes all sorts of thread nationally but I needed super strong thread similar to buttonhole thread ... but on a cone.  I use this thread for all sorts of things ... including stitching my found object mandalas to acid-free foam-centered board during the mounting process ... but also for wrapped, wooden thread spool Christmas ornaments that will be available at the PMA show.  The nice owner took me up and down several aisles at YLI to look for a suitable cone.  In the process, I found a box of these brown, plastic rings.  He didn't know what they were for either ... so he gave them to me for my mandalas!  I am so grateful for all the people who are helping with my search for unique objects!

 
(Above:  Mandala LXXXIII, detail.)

I am still using some of the Department of Commerce Awards donated to my stash by Sonoco Recycling.  The little palmetto tree charms and the ribbon hangers with the word "commerce" came from this donation. 

 
(Above:  Mandala  LXXXV. Custom framed. As a diamond: 23" x 23"; as a square: 16 1/2" x 16 1/2".  Found objects hand-stitched to a single block of a vintage quilt. Found objects include: a glass circle that was once part of a table lamp covering a clock gear; dominoes; felt covered piano hammers; the tines of eight silver plated forks; hinges from the Department of Commerce award boxes; four wavy curl metal curlers; four shower curtain hangers; sewing machine bobbins; vintage capacitors; four English pennies; four eyeglass lenses; and buttons.)

On Mandala LXXXV, I used some of the tiny hinges from the Department of Commerce's award boxes along with more of the felt covered piano hammers.  The fork tines came from Bill Mishoe's auction.  Apparently, someone consigned the remains of a short-lived craft life. Whoever this person was, he or she used the handles for jewelry.  I didn't even purchase the lot.  I got a plastic bag with these tines from the flea market dealer who did purchase all the jewelry supplies and tools!  I just wanted the tines!

 
(Above:  Mandala LXXXV, detail.)

The wavy curl curlers also came from Bill Mishoe's auction.  They were on a table overflowing with never used salon supplies.  I didn't purchase the lot. I made an offer to the flea market dealer who did buy it all.  As a result, I ended up with 240 of these silver, metal curlers.  Obviously, there will be more of them used on future mandalas.

 
(Above:  Mandala LXXXV, detail.)

As far as my husband Steve is concerned, it is his contribution to this found object mandala that is most important.  Steve recently got new lens in his eyeglass frames.  He found an even older pair of lens from an older pair of glasses.  Proudly, he said I should incorporate them.  They are really great and add a unique feature to this found object mandala ... transition!  Yup!  When I took the photos outside, the lens turned dark.  Back inside, they are clear again!

 
(Above:  Mandala LXXXV, detail.)

I'll be going to Bill Mishoe's auction again tonight.  Maybe I will find new "found objects"; maybe not!  I guess it doesn't matter as long as I have generous friends who give me things locally and generous cyber friends who mail things to me!  (If you are thinking of doing this, my address is 2123 Park Street, Columbia, SC 29201!)

 
(Above:  Mandala LXXXIV. Custom framed. As a diamond: 16 1/4" x 16 1/4"; as a square: 22 7/8" x 22 7/8".  Found objects hand-stitched to a single block of a vintage quilt. Found objects include: a glass ring from a table lamp over a clock gear; four, orange plastic circles cut from a six-pack beer yoke; keys; laminated Tampa Nugget cigar bands; vintage slot machine tokens; laminated 2-cent stamps; silver-plated spoons; blue water bottle caps; eight brass shower curtain hangers; four Samuel Adams Octoberfest bottle caps; brass screw eyes; four inlaid backgammon pieces; eight, very well used blue-handled paint brushes from the Mad Platter; and buttons.)

Margaret Neville is another, very generous friend of mine.  She owns the Mad Platter, a studio for painting ceramics, fusing glass, summer kids camps, and adult parties (plus more)!  Margaret saved all the paint brushes that were so well used that some had no bristles at all.  She saved them just for me!  The handles are triangular in shape and therefore lay perfectly flat. I have more of these too!  For this series ... there's no end in sight!  They are keeping me sane as I approach the PMA show!

(Above:  Mandala LXXXIV, detail.)
 

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Three, small Found Object Mandalas

(Above:  Mandala LXXX. Custom framed: 16" x 16". Found objects hand-stitched to a single, vintage quilt block. Found objects include: an entire, wooden set of chess pieces; a glass floral frog; wooden alphabet letters; casino chips; bronze colored perfume vial funnels; sewing machine bobbins; and buttons.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

I've been busy stitching more found object mandalas in anticipation of next month's Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show.  This past week, I got my booth assignment.  I'll be in booth 102.  Due to this on-going pandemic, the show really didn't feel real until I got my booth assignment.  Now, I'm getting a little nervous.  When this happens, I stitch more!  As a result, I have these three new pieces finished, photographed, and entered on a brand new blog!  This new blog documents the entire series.  CLICK HERE to access it.

(Above:  Mandala LXXX, detail.)

Even though my fingers were itching to stitch, I had serious reservations about this found object mandala.  It just wasn't looking "right".  Something seemed "missing".  Then, totally unexpectedly, the mail came.  A cyber friend sent exactly what I needed!  The wooden alphabet was in the box of goodies!  THANK YOU, Connie!  Truly, there's more than a bit of serendipity at play in this series!

(Above:  Mandala LXXXI. Custom framed: 12 1/2" x 12 1/2".  Found objects hand-stitched to a single block of a vintage quilt. Found objects include: an orange valve; New Castle Brown Ale bottle caps; casino chips; laminated Tampa Nugget cigar bands; keys; insulin needle caps; and buttons.)

This little, found object mandala was totally inspired by the orange valve.  I bought it at an antique shop in Carlsbad, New Mexico while enjoying a month as the artist-in-residence at nearby Guadalupe Mountains National Park.  I found several other "treasures" there which will appear in future works.

(Above:  Mandala LXXXI, detail.)

I'm really having a great time using colors that generally don't work together especially well on such a small surface.  Putting together orange, pink, blue, purple, and yellow is actually fun!

(Above:  Mandala LXXXII. Custom framed: 11 1/4" x 11 1/4". Found objects hand-stitched to a single block of a vintage quilt. Found objects include:  a part of a meat thermometer mounted on a red, plastic bottle cap; dominoes; parts of a brass light fixture; round-shaped, crystal chandelier prisms; laminated Tampa Nugget cigar bands; brass screw eyes; vintage capacitors; and buttons.)

This mandala almost didn't happen.  Why?  Well, whoever made the vintage quilt must have run out of the light-colored, printed fabric.  So, instead of a nice, rose-colored fabric "cross" in the center ... with the four light-colored, printed fabric in the corners ... one of the corners was also the rose fabric.  It looked ridiculous.  It screamed, "I'm all wrong."  But, the arrangement of dominoes hides this mistake nicely.  Everything fell into place as soon as the "error" wasn't obvious!  I really love bringing new life to old things.

(Above:  Mandala LXXXII, detail ... and if you look closely, you can see the substitution in the original fabric selection!  Lower left!)

Monday, October 11, 2021

Sue Goes to the Protest

(Above:  Sue Goes to the Protest.  Nineteen, vintage Sue Bonnet Sun blocks altered with miniature, hand-stitched protest signs.  49" x 100". Individual frames: 16 1/4" x 16 1/4".  Click on any image to enlarge.)

Unbelievably, I came across another set of Sun Bonnet Sue quilt blocks.  The first set became The Feminist To Do List. (2019) The second set became Sue's Environmental To Do List. (2020) When I recently got these nineteen blocks, I wasn't sure I could come up with another modern twist.  I had to think about it for a couple weeks.  More than that, I had to think about another presentation.

(Above:  Sue Goes to the Protest, seen from an angle.)

The earlier works were put into embroidery hoops.  This wasn't possible with this new set.  The figures were positioned very close to both the top and bottom of the muslin squares.  Imposing a circular presentation would severely cramp the design, even cut off parts of the dress. To make matters more complicated, there was an uneven number of blocks.  I really had to think long and hard about this series.

(Above:  Making decisions about the hanging presentation.)

I'm not altogether sure how I landed on the concept of protest signs.  It might have been one of the potential slogans considered for Sue's Environmental To Do List:  I axed the slogan "Save the Whales."  I axed it because the list was made up of active, daily measures ... a real "to do" list ... like "conserve water" and "pick up litter" and "reduce food waste".  Saving whales isn't necessarily a daily activity even though it was one of the global issues during the 1970s when I formed my own opinions on political, social, and environmental issues.  Axed from the second series, "Save the Whales" stayed in my mind. 

(Above and below:  Details from Sue Goes to the Protest.)

When I thought about "Save the Whales", my imagination pictured a protest sign.  The more I thought about it, the more protest signs seemed like a good idea.  Conceptually, Sue Goes to the Protest was born ... but in actuality I had to solve a couple of problems!  There really wasn't enough space for the sign.  The muslin blocks weren't really large enough for embroidery hoops or protest signs.

As a custom picture framer, I solved this problem by using a two-inch wide, off-white linen liner.  Each block was pinned over acid-free foam-centered board ... eliminating two inches of blank material behind the figure and showing as much of the fabric as possible in front of the figure. 

I had a long list of potential slogans.  It was hard to narrow the list to just nineteen.  I wanted to touch on several issues and eras. The signs were made by fusing unbleached muslin to card stock.  The pole was a Starbucks coffee stirrer.  (I didn't swipe them; I asked!)  The hand-stitching and pinning were done while at Guadalupe Mountains National Park during my month long art residency.  French knots were stitched in three of the signs' corners ... directly through the fabric and acid-free foam-centered board.  Only one corner remained detached.

 

Back at home, each piece was put into its linen liner and frame.  Then, a tiny hole was drilled through the linen liner.  The last French knot attached the sign to the linen liner through this hole. 

My final problem was finding a location for the photography.  I don't have a blank wall large enough for this work.  I did, however, have an idea.  I contacted the University of South Carolina's art department and asked if I could use their empty studio at Stormwater Studios.  The studio has been empty because of the on-going pandemic.  The university can't put a graduate student in the space to create work for a public BFA or MFA show because the space has been closed to the public until very recently. (The artists renting the other studios do have access ... just not "the public".)  I got the key early today, hung the work, took the pictures, filled the holes in the wall, and returned the key.  THANK YOU, USC !

I'm not sure if this series will ever have a chance to hang again.  It will be part of my exhibition proposal for Once and Again: Alterations.  I have a show with this work scheduled for spring 2023 but no idea if the space will accommodate all the work I already have.  As an artist, it is my job to simply "make the work".  Only the future will tell if this series sees the light of day again.  Right now, it is stored in a box in storage.  Nevertheless, it was fun to alter these quilt blocks.  It was fun to think of people carrying these signs at real protests.  It was a great way for me to stitch my opinions ... to "save the whales", etc.





Monday, October 04, 2021

Blues Chapel at the Art Center of Kershaw County

(Above:  Blues Chapel, my solo installation at the Art Center of Kershaw County.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

Back in July 2006, I started this blog in order "to hold on to some of the wonderful, artistic things that have happened to me" ... and that statement was written regarding my solo installation, Blues Chapel. At the time, Blues Chapel was my first museum exhibit.  I thought it would be the biggest, most important, and life changing event of my entire arts experience.  

It was life changing.  

Little did I know that this show was really just my own beginning.  Little did I know that I would create lots of installations and come to identify as "an installation artist".  Had some soothsayer whispered the future in my ears, I wouldn't have believed the words.  Neither would I have believed that Blues Chapel would be resurrected fifteen years later and its opening reception would be the kickoff to a four-day Blues Festival ... but that's what has happened!

This morning Steve and I installed Blues Chapel in the Bassett Gallery at the Art Center of Kershaw County.  The opening reception is this coming Thursday from 5:30 - 7:30 which is also when Camden's 24th Annual Carolina Hometown Blues Festival starts. 

The statement remains mostly the same:

Early female Blues singers lived in a male dominated society, in a segregated country, and worked in an industry that took advantage of their lack of education and opportunity. Physical abuse, drug and alcohol dependence, and poverty plagued most. They struggled, made sacrifices, and sang of their woes. They helped change the world for today’s young, black, female vocalists. Blues Chapel is an installation inviting visitors to reflect on the music, lives, and the changes brought about by these pioneering vocalists, including Beverly “Guitar” Watkins who was an annual performer at the Carolina Downhome Blues Festival for many years.

The focal point of the installation is a unit of twenty-four portraits called Tapestry in Blue. Each singer is depicted with a gilded halo and most are embellished with buttons, beads, found objects, and acrylic paint. Among those pictured are Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Dinah Washington, Nina Simone, and Koko Taylor. Images include reverse glass painted names. Blues music adds atmosphere. The work can be enjoyed while sitting on a mahogany church pew and reading a faux-service bulletin or using the summer blues fans.

In keeping with Tapestry in Blue is a new, haloed portrait of Beverly “Guitar” Watkins. The Arts Center suggested this inclusion to honor Watkins who passed away in 2019. Photo permission was secured from Bill Blizzard’s. The work was created on a section of an old blue-and-white needlepoint rug. Other exhibited work includes hand and machine embroidery based on Gothic and Romanesque architecture, fiber art "Stained Glass Windows", and another art quilt depicting Bessie Smith.

When I first created Blues Chapel, three of the twenty-four singers were still alive.  Sadly, they are now all deceased but their music fills this exhibition and The Blues will be honored for years and years to come.


 This show is much more spartan than most of my other installation but it seems appropriate to the feel of a sacred space.  I am proud of the work and looking forward to the reception.

Friday, October 01, 2021

Mandala LXXVIII and LXXIX

(Above:  Mandala LXXVIII, detail.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

Before leaving to be the month-long, artist-in-residence at Guadalupe Mountains National Park, I had most of this found object mandala stitched.  Since returning, it was finished, mounted, framed, and today it got photographed.  I am nearly caught up with all the work on my "to do" list!  There are still several loose ends awaiting my attention, but I can finally see the light at the end of my own work tunnel.

(Above:  Mandala LXXVIII.  Custom framed: 37 1/4" x 37 1/4".  Found objects hand-stitched to a section of a vintage quilt.  Found objects include: a clock face; a brass light fixture (center); keys; crystal chandelier prisms; plastic red peppers; beer caps; laminated Tampa Nugget cigar bands; screw eyes; small doilies; heart shaped and red cherry charms; buttons; yellow hair curlers; and bright blue registration leg bands for racing pigeons.)

Lots of the found objects came from thrift stores and Bill Mishoe's Tuesday night "walk around" auction of used household "stuff".  Most everything at the auction is sold by the "table lot".  That means, everything on and under a card table is sold together.  I didn't get the table lot that included the red peppers.  I simply asked the successful bidder if he would sell them to me.  Lucky me!  He said I could have them for free.  (Okay ... I admit it.  He looked at me like I was perfectly insane, but that's okay!  I got want I wanted!)

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

(Above:  Mandala LXXVIII, detail.)

The bright blue registration leg bands for racing pigeons, however, came from Canada.  I cyber friend sent them to me.  Thanks, Linda!  Each little band has a different number and a website:  www.crpu.ca.  This series of found objects is an adventure!

 

(Above:  Mandala LXXIX.  Custom framed: 14 3/4" x 14 3/4". Found objects hand-stitched to a block of a vintage quilt.  Found objects include:  Four old Christmas light bulbs; wooden Christmas ornaments; binder rings, buttons, chandelier crystals; a red plastic bottle cap; and bright blue registration leg bands for racing pigeons.)

I had just enough registration leg bands left to use on this, small mandala.  I do have more Christmas ornaments though.

(Above:  Mandala LXXIX, detail.)
 

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Artwork for the Grovewood Gallery

(Above:  Four, new Peacock Feathers.  Each one is 31" x 11" framed for $395. Click on any image to enlarge.)

Generally, I am very diligent about snapping individual images of all my artwork.  This week is different!  All this work was finished (as in framed) earlier today but none of it will be here for much more than twenty-four hours.  Why?  Well ... I'm very happy to report that the Grovewood Gallery in Asheville, NC has requested more artwork.  In fact, the message came while I was enjoying my month as the Artist-in-Residence at Guadalupe Mountains National Park in west Texas.  Thankfully, I brought my stash of polyester stretch velvet and other material with me.  After hiking in the morning, I started constructed these pieces in the afternoon.  I didn't stitch them though.


(Above:  Detail of one of the Peacock Feathers.)

Actually, the Grovewood Gallery let me know that they were down to a single peacock feather before I left for Texas.  I really couldn't do anything about this because I didn't have any peacock feathers either.  (Yes ... these pieces encapsulate a real peacock feather.)  My search for peacock feathers was simple:  Google.  I found Moonlight Feathers almost immediately.  Inside of three days, a box of one hundred arrived.  Who would have known that peacock feathers can be dyed? (I didn't buy them but I was tempted!)  Who would have known that they can be ordered in different lengths? Who would have known they can be ordered in different quantities and that the website also sells ostrich, turkey, duck, pheasant, and all sorts of exotic feathers? Well ... now I know!

(Above:  Peacock feathers from Moonlight Feathers.)

I was also quite impressed with the feathers I got.  It will be a while before I run out! LOL!  I didn't actually add and stitch the peacock feathers in Texas.  I just constructed the polyester stretch velvet bases.  I also didn't stitch any of the In Box Series pieces either.  I just constructed them.  Since returning home, I stitched, melted, and framed them.  They've all been entered into my inventory book.  On Saturday, they will all go to the Grovewood Gallery.


(Above:  One large and three medium In Box Series pieces.)

So far, I've completed one large, four medium, and four small In Box pieces.  I have two medium and two small ones left to complete.  I might get them done tomorrow but probably not.  Why?  Well, I've also finished stitching another Found Object Mandala.  I have to mount and frame it too!  There's plenty to do after a month away!


(Above:  One medium and four small In Box Series pieces.)

The large In Box piece is $550. The medium sized ones are $325.  The small ones are $235 ... same price at the Grovewood as when purchased directly from me.  Consistent pricing is always a good idea! 
 

Monday, September 27, 2021

Julian Cope, a commissioned portrait

  

(Above:  Julian Cope, a commissioned portrait.  24 1/2" x 19".  Image printed on fabric with hand and machine embroidery, beading, and trapunto.  Custom framed with decorative tacks and a brass plate.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

Right before leaving for a month as the artist-in-residence at Guadalupe Mountains National Park, I received the honor of transforming an old, black-and-white photo into an embroidered portrait.  Julian Cope (known lovingly as "Aunt Julie" to everyone in her extended family) was Stephen Wade's great aunt.  He remembers her fondly, playing the banjo at every family gathering.  Everyone loved Aunt Julie and cherishes the memories of her music.  Stephen Wade was already familiar with my artwork, especially Persistence and Resilience.   He liked the idea of a halo.  There was a problem though.  The only picture of Aunt Julie with her banjo was cropped at the top ... leaving less room than a beaded halo would need.

(Above:  Detail of Julian Cope.)

Thankfully, Stephen had a digital file and I had time to play around in Photoshop.  I extended the top, just getting creative with the background.  I altered the black-and-white tones to a warmer sepia too.  Then, the image was uploaded to Spoonflower.  When the printed fabric arrived, I was already in Texas but my husband Steve mailed it to me.  I was really glad.  Many evenings were spent seed stitching the background. 

  

(Above:  Julian Cope, detail.)

After returning home, I stuffed the figure from the reverse ... trapunto.  This gives the figure a three-dimension quality.  I added several stitched lines straight through the stuffed areas to outline her sweater and emphasis the banjo.  Then, I worked out the framing.  One of my favorite things to do is to add decorative tacks to the frame ... plus a brass plate. 

(Above:  Stephen Wade holding his commissioned fiber portrait of his Great Aunt Julian.  He's wearing a t-shirt featuring the same picture!)

It was a great day when Stephen Wade came to collect the portrait.  He talked about how this artwork will be handed down in the family.  It's already an heirloom!

Sunday, September 12, 2021

My last post from Guadalupe Mountains National Park

(Above:  Selfie with the Guadalupe Mountains National Park Sign which is located alongside Highway 62/180. Click on any image to enlarge.)

Although I am writing this post on Sunday evening and not leaving Guadalupe Mountains National Park until dawn on Friday, this will be my last blog post as the park's artist-in-residence.   Why?  Well ... STEVE IS COMING!  I'm very excited that this opportunity allowed my husband to visit.  He's flying into El Paso on Tuesday.  We will celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary (which is technically today!) over the next few days.  I plan on taking Steve to the park's sand dunes, Frijole Ranch, and over the Smith Spring Trail.  If he's willing (and it isn't too hot on Wednesday afternoon), we might even hike to Devils Hall.  We also have Thursday reservations for nearby Carlsbad Caverns and plan on seeing the evening bat flight.  (I've already gone to see the half-million bats leave the natural opening at Carlsbad Caverns, and this morning, I went to see them return! Absolutely AMAZING!)  Steve and I will leave here for an overnight in Marfa, Texas where we also have reservations to see quite a bit of the artwork on permanent display.

(Above:  The old highway at dawn.)

So tomorrow will be my "wrap up" day.  It will also be a time to properly clean the provided studio apartment.  Having been a Girl Scout, I live by their motto to always leave a place cleaner than found.  I've had a wonderful and inspirational time here.  I've met some lovely people, gave a Power Point presentation to the Carlsbad Rotary Club, familiarized myself with my new laptop, hiked a lot, presented my Clothesline Project over Labor Day weekend, volunteered to pick up trash along the highway, seen a wild javelin and deer and two rattlesnakes and a Texas hare, and so much more.  

I adore art residencies for many reasons, not the least of which is the chance to live for a month following a lifestyle that was not the one I picked.  At home, I'm a married "city girl" who works behind a custom picture framing sales counter, someone who answers the phone, goes to art events and an art house movie theater, walks to Starbucks, and is never more than a block from a busy intersection.  Yet, for the last month, I've been on my own in a sparsely populated, desert landscape, without a paying job, away from unsolicited telephone calls, and living in a rural setting under Milky Way nights and within sight of a designated wilderness area inside a National Park.  This is indeed a different sort of life, a true blessing. 

 

(Above:  Roadside memorials along the old highway ... and within Guadalupe Mountains National Park.)

I've also intentionally stayed on Eastern Standard Time.  It has allowed me to hike on trails before the intense afternoon heat.  I've seen the sunrise most mornings (and I've been up and about before dawn every day whether I've seen the sun rise of not!)  Never before have I been so in tune to shifting light, the position and phases of the moon, changing seasons, wind, the noises of night, and other, every day natural occurrences.  All these things happen at home but I never notice. 

This month has been a time to reflect on prehistoric events that shaped the mountains, on the native populations who visited the natural springs, the early settlers to this region, and the changes to the environment over time ... including the replacement of the old highway ... which is often right beside the 1860 stage coach route.  Walking along the old highway is like stepping back into history.  I've found myself thinking about the both the past and the future all at once.  This is truly how my creative spirit is inspired and revitalized.

 

(Above:  My makeshift work table inside the provided studio apartment.)

During this month, I've also been working on several artistic projects.  I've constructed thirteen new In Box Series pieces.  I positioned a plank of wood found in my studio apartment on top of my own ironing board and the back of a chair.  I've also stitched a new series called Sue Goes to the Protest, using a collection of vintage Sun Bonnet Sue quilt blocks.  A hand-stitched portrait commission is nearly complete too.  All these things need further work and will be finished when I'm back home.  Yet, I've also been thinking about the artwork that I will create as my donation to Guadalupe Mountains National Park.  I have a year to complete and ship it.  Ideas are plentiful for this!  


(Above:  Two of the Park's mules getting new horseshoes.)

After all, inspiration is everywhere!  All I have to do is open my eyes.  I was fascinated by the specialized horseshoe nails and the giant rasps used by the farrier when reshoeing the Park's mule team.


As a fiber artist, texture is everywhere too ... even these hairy tarantulas!  There are so many possibilities for my donation, a more-than-fair exchange for this amazing month.