Monday, April 28, 2008

Blogging for TWO Years!

(Click on image to enlarge. Above: Fairy of Gold from my Sleeping Beauty series. It was created last April and part of an exhibition at Fish or Cut Bait Gallery on Edisto Island. Leave a comment on this post and it could be yours! It is hand and machine embroidery and beading on water soluble fabric, mounted on a white silk, framed with plexi....yeah, yeah, yeah....I know; it didn't sell but it's still quite nice!)

Two years ago on April 28, 2006 I wrote my first blog post. It was an experiment born from an accident that has gone wildly and fabulously awry. Now is a time for celebration....HAPPY SECOND ANNIVERSARY to my blogging experience.

In a nutshell, the Gallery 80808/Vista Studios' new website has a "page" called "News/Events". It is a blog. At the time, I'd never heard of a blog. This "blog" needed to be "updated". Without having the faintest idea what this meant, I volunteered. I went to the website; I clicked on "News/Events"; I saw the word "Login"; I was prompted for a "username" and "password". Confused, I put in my email address and my password. I knew this was going to fail because I'd never divulged my password to anyone. To my amazement, a new blog was created. I telephoned for the correct "username" and "password". Within a few minutes, I posted the "update" and then went back to find the mysterious blog I'd order to delete it...but....maybe I'd keep it...see what might happen. A blogger was born.

For months, I wrote and wrote. Blogspot is good for writing; its imaging capabilities are dismal. This didn't matter. I was happy writing. No one was reading anyway. Then, I went to Varna, Bulgaria...for the International Ballet Competition...the oldest of such events...where Baryshnikov and other legendary dancers won gold medals (now, including Mathias Lenz Dingman!) A few people from an on-line dance forum knew I was going, knew about my blog, knew I'd be posting from an Internet cafe. They told others. Little did I know that I was the only person in the world leaking information about the competition. The ballet officials knew that all the "right people" from international magazines were in the audience. They'd publish articles...several weeks or a month later. Timely information wasn't their concern. Yet, plenty of people wanted to know, to read, to follow my blog for two weeks. From next to no hits, I had thousands.

All this was very nice...but it was ballet, not fiber artists. I knew I wanted a place for, an embroiderer, an artist, a complete person. Slowly, I'd found a few blogs to Dijanne Cevaal. Eventually, I found Blogspot and all the wonderful photos. I created this blog on August 10, 2006. For a while, I wrote on both blogs. I found other blogs and blogrings.

I tried to join "Fiber Arts Friends" blogring but was rejected the first time. There is this statement: RING DESCRIPTION: THIS RING IS CLOSED TO NEW MEMBERS AT THIS TIME. Something exclusive, serious, top-notched! I looked at member's blogs and knew that it was the group in which I wanted to belong. I sent a resume, digital images of work, statement, etc. to the blogring owner, Sue Bleiweiss. I tried again several months later and WAS ACCEPTED. My life hasn't been the same. It's better than I ever imagined. This is my personal reason for mounting CYBER FYBER. It is also the reason I'm having my first ever GIVE AWAY!

Leave a comment on this post. Next Saturday my husband Steve will draw a winner and several "honorable mentions"! Thank you to everyone who's ever read and/or commented. The inspiration and support has made a world of difference. I am truly grateful.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Decisions, An Installation (Finished!)

(Click on images to enlarge.)

, a mixed media installation, is now part of the annual spring exhibition at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios. I finally had an opportunity to really photograph it. In fact, I made a video.

Creating the video was bittersweet....happy to have been successful at a new venture and sad because this had always been something Alex had done for me. He's been gone now for over two months.

Above is the view while approaching the installation....which I especially like because it hides the size of the work upon first glance. A few more steps and the art opens up for inspection.

Above and below are views from the top of nearby partial walls separating studios from gallery space.

The group exhibition includes twelve other artists with studio space in the building. The title for the show is "Personal Grounds". My statement is:

"Personal Grounds is a location in life. It is the place in which one exists as a result of doors opened, keys turned, and options exercised."

I thought of Alex quite a bit while creating this work...with hope that he comes to his senses soon.

In the meantime, I'm hard at work on Blues Bible, an altered/altared book.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Blues Chapel in Edgefield...a video!

I took several videos of the recent installation of "Blues Chapel" in Edgefield. I kept three of them. Two are posted on my family blog, here and here. I took these with the camera on a tripod. The video here is hand held. It ends on the exhibition sign which reads:


A style of music evolved from southern African-American secular songs and usually distinguished by a syncopated 4/4 rhythm, flatted thirds and sevenths, a 12-bar structure, and lyrics in a three-line stanza in which the second line repeats the first.

"The blues is an expression of anger against shame and humiliation" BB King.

Installation and work by Susan Lenz

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 were exploited, mistreated, or simply neglected but their music is still played. The Blues helped change the world for today’s young, black, female vocalists.

Tapestry in Blue honors twenty-four early female blues singers, depicted as saintly martyrs. The mixed media grouping takes the form of a traditional block quilt. Heavy embellishment is reminiscent of the lavish costumes worn by Blues singers on the touring circuit. Music, candles, fans, a church pew, and a floral altar have transformed the space into a chapel. Viewers are invited to pay their respects.

Other exhibited work includes hand and machine embroidery, mixed media triptychs, a beaded icon, and a quilt called “Bessie”.
Susan Lenz

This installation for made possible through the support of family and friends, including Mr. John Whitehead, Columbia Music Festival Association; Karen Watson, Sumter Museum of Art; Chuck Herin, Pegheds, Inc.; Jessica Coppin; Gita Larsen; Dorothy Warren, Region 2 Discovery Center; and Steve and Alex Dingman.


(Click on images to enlarge.)

Steve and I installed Blues Chapel in the Region 2 Discovery Center in Edgefield, South Carolina yesterday. The work went very smoothly and I'm pleased with the atmosphere and overall look of the exhibition. A reception is being planned and the show is likely going to be extended until June which time I move it (and the rest of the work....yes....there's more for the larger space in Pickens County Museum of Art and History!)

I've written about and posted just about all the work in this, I guess just two photos are enough for this post. If, however, anyone wants to see more, I put additional text and images on "My Family Blog". It is

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Art Season is in Full Swing!

(Above: What do you think? I can fit a few more things in my studio? Click to enlarge the mess! For a visual "translation"....this is a picture of my rusted damask hanging to dry on Decisions, my installation for Artista Vista with spreads/pages on the floor from the Blues Bible, an altared/altered book for my solo show at the Pickens Country Museum of Art and History...I've taken to wearing no shoes and tiptoeing.)

Spring is always a busy art season. This year is no exception. In fact, nearly every moment is filled. Yesterday I worked in my studio, went to Sumter, South Carolina for "Roots, Memories, and the Southern Bottle Tree" (my piece is here) opening, and to the Alvin Ailey II performance that followed. Today I'm packing for the installation of "Blues Chapel" which Steve and I will take to the Region 2 Discovery Center in Edgefield, South Carolina on Monday. Wednesday is the annual Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Award luncheon and art sale...the highest arts awards in the state...I've got three pieces in the sale. Thursday Steve and I install Decisions in the gallery outside my studio door and attend an art opening in Aiken, SC....I've got two pieces there. The following weekend is the annual Artista Vista event...which brings hundreds through my studio plus a charity event: "Dining With Friends"....I've donated a platter for this. The following weekend is "Open Studios" in Columbia...another time for the public to visit my studio. I'm teaching a workshop for Lander University on May 7, and I just had one of my "In Box" pieces accepted into the statewide juried art exhibit that will be on view from April 25 until early September....not to mention I'm planning a new round of CYBER FYBER trading in May! I'm also still working on the images and posts from my trip to England!

Basically....I'm booked solid....but still committed to creating art and stitches everyday. What's getting left behind is my blog, please forgive me...especially for not thanking each and every individual who's left a comment recently and those who have written to Deirdre Mardon of the Vista Guild. It means the world to me! Thanks so much!

So...about that rusting fabric. I have an idea for a quilt. The concept/working title is "Industrial Revolution"....okay....I did just return from England...a land of railways and afternoon teas....or, at least, there's signs of this earlier age! Using a vintage, damask runner and a tablecloth with some of the rusted bits found down the street from my studio, I set out to rust the fabric. Unfortunately, it got gray and even rained. I wanted a little more heat. Jeff Donovan (whose studio is down the hall from mine) suggested putting my containers on his ceramic kiln...which would have melted the plastic he put additional "shelves" on top.

We created some space to diffuse the heat...and the system worked wonderfully. Steam rolled out of the containers when we opened them to add additional vinegar/salt/water. Within a few hours I had great rusted fabric.

Above (clickable) is one container. This is the tablecloth with wire wrapped around the rusted bits and a few pieces just thrown in.

Above (clickable) is the fringed tablerunner, folded with rusted washers and flat pieces set between the layers.

Above is the detail of the tablecloth...wear the wire wrapped around the small rusted bolts and screws.

Above and below are Alvin Ailey II dancers mingling with some of the local dancers at the reception following their performance

Above and below are photos of "Roots, Memories, and the Southern Bottle Tree" exhibit .

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Hurrah for the Vista Guild Board!

Deirdre Mardon is a WONDERFUL lady! Her Vista Guild Board is a WONDERFUL group! They voted to fund CYBER FYBER with $1000. I'm thrilled pink!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Vista Guild Board Meeting

I generally try not to post too much CYBER FYBER information on my "personal" blog....but....just in case there are people reading this one who might be planning a trip to the's the latest!

Last night was one of those sleepless ones....filled with anticipation and worry....wondering what words to choose during a brief presentation before the Vista Guild's board of directors....pitching CYBER FYBER and hoping for funding. The wonderful Deirdre Mardon (she's the nice lady closest to the camera) arranged for me to speak. I prepared packets of information including the working budget and a list of the countries and states involved. Each one received one of my fiber ATCs too. Most were interested in the possibilities of visitors coming from outside our city, if anyone is planning to come to Columbia next January, drop Deirdre an email. All in all, the presentation went well. My fingers are crossed that these folks voted to support the show financially! Thanks to Deirdre, I feel positive energy! This has been quite a learning experience.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Arte y Pico award.

I have been given the Arte y Pico award by Doreen.
There are 5 rules attached to this and they are :

-1. You have to pick 5 blogs that you consider deserve this award for their creativity, design, interesting material, and also contributes to the blogging community, no matter what language. (Sorry, but I can't live with this limitation! I can't pick and refuse to try!)
2. Each award has to have the name of the author and also a link to his/her blog to be visited by everyone. (This ties to rule # 1 which I'm not following!)
3. Each award winner has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her/him the award itself. (See link to Doreen above.)
4. The Award winner and the one who has given the prize have to show the link of "Arte Y Pico" blog, so everyone will know the origin of this award.
5. To show these rules...(I have managed this part.)

These days I'm absolutely flooded with work. Time is at a premium. Balancing framing, art, and CYBER FYBER is a delicate job. It generally doesn't allow me to participate in many of the awards and interesting Internet surveys....though, I fully admit to enjoying them...clicking on a link to a new location of dazzling stitch, color, and texture. This award, however, intrigues me. It's from a blog written in SPANISH from URUGUAY! Though I've never figured out how to translate a blog, I'm hoping a bunch of South Americans will find CYBER FYBER, translate it, and participate in the upcoming round of trading scheduled for May! So far, I haven't traded with a single stitcher from this entire continent! I'd really like to!

In the meantime, I'm color and contrast correcting the images shot last week in England and drafting my posts of this experience abroad.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Back from Manchester....and WANDA'S GETTING MARRIED!

(Above: Laura-Jane Gibson, me, and Mathias at Costa Coffeehouse in Salford Quays, England.)

It took twenty-one hours from the time I left the hotel until I arrived in Columbia, but I'm back. The trip was WONDERFUL. Above is a photo of me with Mathias and his girlfriend. They were both spectacular in Birmingham Royal Ballet's production of Swan Lake. I took 699 images, wrote dozens and dozens of pages in my journal, went to York, Bradford (Texera Mills), Chester, and to the Whitworth Gallery in Manchester. I will be working with these images and posting over the next week the following entries:

1) Going without embroidery...seeking inspiration and learning to relax
2) Swan Lake
3) Texera Mills
4) York
5) Chester
6) The Whitworth Gallery
7) Final Thoughts.

In the meantime, I'm dealing with all the framing that piled up in my absence! Thank God Steve does housework...otherwise returning home might be unbearable!

While I was away, my sister Wanda called. She and Reinhard are flying from Germany to Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania (where my parents live) to get married! Reinhard has never been married. In a sense, he's always carried a torch for Wanda. Wanda has been married twice...although the first one lasted only about three months. In a sense, she's never really been in love....except when she was sixteen years old....with Reinhard! It's like a fairytale....childhood sweethearts uniting! I'm so happy for them both. Steve and I are, of course, driving to Slippery Rock for this very special occasion.