Monday, October 26, 2009

Fiber and Quilt Symposium in Sumter and more angels

(Above: Detail of After the Toils of Life, Angels in Mourning Series. Framed: 37 1/2" x 29". Paper: 30" x 22 1/2". Xylene photo transfer, found objects, hand stitching. Click on image to enlarge. Family members, please note: a small piece of Grandma Lenz's financial ledger. I think her handwriting is wonderful! It "makes" this piece for me!)

This past week has been full of inspiration. It started out with a presentation at the Crooked Creek Art Guild. I brought my Embellisher and plenty of "stuff". Everyone got to try....making a fiber bookmark. It was a blast.

During the week I worked on several projects, finishing three new pieces in my Angels in Mourning Series.

(Above: Eternal Happiness, Angels in Mourning Series. Below: Between Light and Dark, Angels in Mourning Series. Framed: 37 1/2" x 29". Paper: 30" x 22 1/2". Xylene photo transfer, found objects, hand stitching. Click on images to enlarge.)

I'm really enjoying the process of arranging vintage scraps of lace and hand written letters with old canceled stamps, pieces of costume jewelry, keys to unknown locks, eyeglass lens, and other ephemera that suggests lives in past times and the various things left for future generations. Stitching through the printmaking paper is easy but must be very precise. I have lots of ideas for the future images too.

(Above: After the Toils of Life, Angels in Mourning Series. Below: detail. Framed: 37 1/2" x 29". Paper: 30" x 22 1/2". Xylene photo transfer, found objects, hand stitching. Click on images to enlarge.)

On Saturday I attended Talking Threads, a quilt and fiber arts symposium at the Sumter Gallery of Art. The first speaker was Dr. Marlene O'Bryant Seabrook of Charleston. Because she lives so close, she opted to present a "trunk show" and brought many of her quilts, especially those stressing her concept of education through quilting.

(Above: Dr. Marlene O'Bryant Seabrook at the Sumter Gallery of Art's Talking Thread symposium. Below: Dr. Marlene Seabrook with my friend Doni Jordan....who started her blog in order to participate in CYBER FYBER and is wonderfully still writing and sharing her artistic journey!)

I never got a good photo of the second speaker, Laural Horton, a folklorist and internationally renown quilt researcher. Her presentation was great. It focused on the the innovations that are continually happening in the process of traditional art making through the ages. She was excellent.

Gustina Atlas, right, formerly of Mississippi but recently relocated to Denton, Texas, conducted a workshop on string quilting. It was fun. Although I've been creating grave rubbing quilts now for one year and three weeks (to be exact!), my knowledge and abilities in traditional quilting are limited.....and likely to remain so! Thus, I really enjoyed the simplicity and ease of "string quilting". Recently I've been fighting the urge to just quickly and randomly stitch together scraps of vintage linens. I just didn't know how to effectively do this....until now!

(Above: Jon Eric Riis, tapestry artist, with Karen Watson, Director of the Sumter Gallery of Art.)

The final speaker was Jon Eric Riis, the internationally great tapestry artist whose work I've admired countless times in several venues, including the Textile Museum and Renwick in DC; the Museum of Craft and Design in NYC; and gracing the pages of Fiberarts Magazine, etc. To hear him present his own life's work was a real treat. He is so gracious, kind, and generous with his time. It was my honor to simply be in his presence....but it was my privilege to actually TOUCH the two pieces he brought with him!

The entire symposium was one event associated with the exhibition on display at the Sumter Gallery of Art. Tradition/Innovation: American Masterpieces of Southern Craft and Traditional Art is an excellent show. The signage addressed many important issues, including the history of both traditional and studio craft in the South, the affects of culture and location on craft techniques and ideas, and the ways in which tradition is modified by innovation as well as the foundation of tradition for contemporary exploration.

(Above: Portal to Portal by Shawne Major. Click on image to enlarge.)

Easily, my favorite piece was Portal to Portal by Shawne Major of Louisiana. It is massive(88" x 60"), fun, well made, and speaks volumes about obsessive stitching, a consumer society, and the fragments of life. I LOVE THIS! It was created in 2005.

Finally....we have a new "rescue cat". My artistic mentor Stephen Chesley....who has a solo show opening later this week at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios (Article written by another friend, Jeffrey Day, is HERE.)...helped rescue several cats and kittens. We agree to take the older, female cat.....because she's totally black......just like Shadow, our cat who's been alone for over a year now. They aren't friends yet, but we are hopeful. We've named her Sissy because, well, it suits her. Most days she's under the sales counter. She terrified of everything, very timid, but purrs like an engine once she feels safe. She had already been spayed when found. We have a feeling that she'd been a house cat that was unceremoniously dumped when owners moved. She been bitten (jagged ear) and is still very under weight, but gaining.


beadbabe49 said...

Wow, what an exciting week, AND rescuing a cat as well! What a blessing you must be to her!

Margeeth said...

Is that Sissy who's already sitting on your lap? If so, that's quick, she probably will be totally allright with you. If it is your other cat, I guess Sissy just needs more time to adjust.
We also have a rescue-cat who spent her first week hissing and slapping at people and is all right now too.

Jenna Knight said...

I work for the Southern Arts Federation, the organizer of the Tradition/Innovation exhibit. I am writing a spotlight on the symposium in Sumter for an enewsletter and came across your great blog! Could we include a link to this entry in the article? Could we also have permission to use one of your photos? Please respond to my request at if you are able. I'm so glad that you enjoyed the event. Thank you!