Thursday, June 30, 2011

Dawn Goldsmith's article in HandEye

(Above: Young, Strong, Beautiful, Grave Rubbing Art Quilt featured in HandEye magazine!)

I'm thrilled to have my Grave Rubbing Art Quilts featured in HandEye magazine. Dawn Goldsmith did a tremendous job finding the perfect words, flow, and balance for the article! Read it HERE!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Back to work!

My time in Pennsylvania and England went by so quickly. I shared lots of photos on "My Family Blog". Click HERE to access the post.

(Above: Father's Day in Foxburg, PA. Left to right: My Dad, my husband Steve, my Mom, my youngest sister Sonya and her husband Vipin, my sister Wanda, and me.)

In a nutshell, we celebrated Father's Day in Foxburg ... riding segways. It was a blast!

(Above: The Weaste Cemetery outside Manchester, England.)

I flew to England on Monday and spent Tuesday in Manchester, England ... checking out the Weaste Cemetery and making grave rubbings at the parish church in nearby Bury. I took the train to Birmingham later that night.

(Above: Laura-Jane and Mathias in their costumes for BRB's Carmina Burana.)

In Birmingham, I was treated to three performances (out of six) of Birmingham Royal Ballet's Carmina Burana (choreography by David Bintley, Artistic Director). My son Mathias danced the role called "Boiling Rage". He was one of three fallen seminarians featured in the piece. It was AWESOME. Laura-Jane, Mathias' talented girlfriend, was in every show. Each time meant five costume changes. Undoubtedly, her favorite was the one above! The usually subdued English audiences were quite responsive ... giving standing ovations.

(Above: Two Hours at the Beach, art quilt made of trash collected during a two hour period at Folly Beach outside Charleston.)

While away, I learned that Two Hours at the Beach was accepted into Art Quilts Lowell 2011: The Sea, a juried show in Lowell, Massachusetts at the Brush Gallery. This exhibit is part of the Lowell Quilt Festival. I'm thrilled with this news! (To read the blog post with several detail images, click HERE.) Soon I'll have images of several new works. None are quite finished; all are managing to get done at the same time. I don't know why this happens. Nor do I know why there seems to be three weeks of work piled up waiting for my attention when I was only gone for less than two weeks!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Going out of town ... again!

(Above: Photo by Joanie Battaglia of me as Ophelia in my performance art piece/window installation. Click on image to enlarge. To see an entire collection of photos ... mostly shared on Facebook ... from this "First Thursday" art event, CLICK HERE. This is a link to a Flickr! set ... all images include photo credits if I didn't snap them!)

Although I haven't been blogging more than once a week, please don't think I'm not busy! I am! Steve and I went to Washington, DC last week, came home to a pile of work, and are now preparing to leave town again! This time we are headed to Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania. My youngest sister Sonya and her husband Vipin live in the house my parents raised our family. My parents now live in a beautiful, custom-built log home by a 10-acre lake that they own! My sister Wanda and her husband Reinhard are coming from Munich. We will all have a blast.

Yet, I'm not returning directly to Columbia. I'm flying out of Pittsburgh next Monday for a week's visit in Birmingham, England. My elder son Mathias has a principal part, "the second Seminarian" in Carmina Burana. He's a first artist with Birmingham Royal Ballet. I'm hoping to see the show several times during my stay. (This is my all time FAVORITE piece of music ... and Mathias is dancing this role on my 52nd birthday, June 24th!)

Last weekend I stitched during the car ride. I finished hundreds of little running stitches on the rest of the antique scraps of quilts that I got from Connie Akers in Texas. The light blue leather gloves are vintage and came from a local auction of used household items. I've decided NOT to make this into an art quilt diptych. I've got another plan ... for later in the summer! While in my studio (yes ... I go every day when "home" ... even if for just an hour or two!), I've been working on the free-motion embroidery for my largest grave rubbing art quilt to date. Thus far, I've got well over 15 - 20 hours into it! I'll finish after my return on June 27th.

Well ... I put the two "glove" pieces into the share bedroom. I don't know why I call it that. It really doesn't have a bed in it. I should start calling it the "In Process" room. This is also where I store all the artificial flowers recently collected from cemetery dumpsters. Some of the giant black trash bags are filled with dissected flowers ... waiting to be washed. One bag is fill waiting for me to remove all the wire and plastic stems. Yet, one of the other bags is filled with the hundreds of socks from the remains of the State Mental Hospital laundry. (They've all been washed already!) The big box contains the neglected Christmas tree and decorations from this former facility. Please note the pile of tattered American flags. I retrieved them from the cemetery dumpsters ... and have another plan for them too!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Trip to DC and Rocky Mount

(Above: Steve in the courtyard of the Textile Museum in Washington, DC ... at the very beginning of the "Urban Picnic". Within a half hour, the whole place was filled with people!)

This past weekend Steve and I traveled to Washington, DC. We arrived on Thursday night in time for a really cool event called "PM at the TM: An Urban Picnic". Hosted by the Textile Museum, this was a great time for young, local professionals to "hang out" and listen to some great bluegrass music while sitting on provided packaging blankets in the courtyard ... eating BBQ. We arrived early and sat in the gardens with a beer until two of my fiber Facebook friends, Lorie McCown and Elizabeth Woodford, arrived. They live in the Fredericksburg area and joined us on the first of three tours through the "Green: A Color and a Cause" exhibition. Lee Talbot was one of the curators. He led the tour, starting with an explanation about the participating artists. Evidently, 35 pieces from over 1000 were selected. The artists come from five different continents. Before this, I was really thrilled to be included. With this information, I nearly fainted! Of course, Lee Talbot didn't know one of the artists was on the tour. I wanted to see which pieces were singled out during such a program ... and I was beyond excited when he talked about Wasted Words: Global Warnings. Lorie and Elizabeth then told him that I was the creator of the work. Later we took photos! Such fun!

On our return trip, we stopped at the Imperial Art Centre in Rocky Mount, NC where I'll be mounting "Last Words", my solo show of Grave Rubbing Art Quilts, epitaph banners, and mixed media photo transfers of cemetery angels. This is also the show in which artificial flowers will line the perimeter of the space.

It's a gigantic room. It is the space for which I hoped my work would hang. Now, all I have to do is more than double my collection of artificial flowers collected from cemetery dumpsters! I've been working on it. Mother's Day evening and Memorial Day evening were great dumpster diving times!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Ophelia ... Time lapse video by Heather Bauer

(Above: Photo taken by Molly Harrell during the performance art piece Ophelia.)

People are posting their photos of my "performance art" piece, Ophelia on Facebook. I'm collecting them and will create a Flickr! album soon ... but ... one of the very best ways to appreciate the project was taken by collaborator Heather Bauer. It is a 1:39 long video ... a time lapse of approximately 45 minutes of shooting! The music is incredibly perfect too. (Thanks Heather!) It can be seen on Facebook HERE ... where there's an option of watching with a high quality resolution ... and a larger format. For those not on Facebook, however, I've put it on my "video blog". Just click HERE to access!

Monday, June 06, 2011

Two Hours at the Beach

(Above: Two Hours at the Beach, art quilt ... yup! It's more than three layers ... two of which are fabric ... held together with stitches! 51" x 38". Click on image to enlarge.)

I generally don't create work for specific competitions or juried shows. My "to do" list is already too long with my own ideas. Adding another project just seems unreasonable. So ... when the Brush Gallery's Art Quilt Lowell 2011 announced that there would be a theme for this year's event, I thought I wouldn't enter.

(Above: Two Hours at the Beach. Click on image to enlarge.)

Their theme is "the sea". I don't do "the sea" ... but a nagging idea kept haunting me. I couldn't resist the challenge. I couldn't resist the concept of using "trash" collected from the beach as the raw material for an art quilt. The piece is meant to resemble a cross section of the ocean ... from the rock floor, the plant life, and the white capped surface of the water.

(Above: Two Hours at the Beach, detail. Click on image to enlarge.)

My first trips to the ocean resulted in almost no waste. South Carolina's beaches are kept very, very clean ... especially in the late winter and spring months. Then, I went to Folly Beach ... to a location with easy access to the inlet just around the bend from the wide sandy areas. Here, trash was EVERYWHERE. It took only two hours for me to pick up all this "junk". Later, I separated all my "materials", washed them, and lay out my design on a large piece of acrylic felt that had once been used as packaging material for a kayak being shipped from a distributor to the local outdoors shop. (I blogged about this HERE ... with images of all the "junk".)

(Above: Two Hours at the Beach, detail. Click on image to enlarge.)

I used wedding tulle ... leftover from my I do / I don't installation ... over the top of the design. It was then placed on an over-sized piece of acid free, foam-centered board. I stitched straight through the tulle, the felt, and the foam-centered board. Some of the pieces had to be wrapped in tulle separately ... then stitched down. Some of the container tops were places on top of the tulle and held in place with a button from my stash. Most of the objects were either "couched" in place or stitched around to encapsulate them in the tulle. I trimmed the foam-board as I stitched the edge.

After it was finished ... something seemed "missing" on the top. I added the crab shells that I collected while visiting Daytona Beach last month with my parents. Since they are so fragile, I filled them with hot glue first. Since they were added after the back was complete, I can easily replace/remove them if they are damaged.

I used a piece of hot pink acrylic felt (which I have no idea why I owned) for the back ... stitching it along the edge ... straight through to the front. Black, wooden strainer bars were cut as a hanging device. I stitched it straight through the entire piece to the reverse and added a wire.

The old license plate dates to 1959, the year of my birth. It was given to me by my neighbor Gita who cleaned out her storage shed recently! I painted out the numbers using tinted shellac and added my name and the title of the piece.

Most importantly, I finished in time to enter it in this competition. Whether it is accepted or not isn't really important to me. I loved the challenge and the results. I love the message. (Can you believe that I found TWO plastic dental floss tools? Who flosses at the beach? Why do so many people leave all this trash along our seashore?)

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Ophelia ... dress rehearsal !

(Above: Ophelia. Dress Rehearsal/Photo Shoot. Reflection from suspended mirror above the claw-footed bathtub. Photo by Stephen Chesley. Click on image to enlarge.)

The dress rehearsal on Tuesday night went very, very well. I learned several important things:

1. Do not apply make-up, colored hair spray, and a wig when wearing a summer dress that requires it to be removed over one's head ... unless to take off the dress first!
2. Do not spray red hair coloring after applying make-up ... unless you want to reapply your face!
3. Lying in a bathtub under heaps of artificial flowers in window exposed to afternoon sunshine in the South is HOT ... but not as hot as the photographers felt while snapping images!
but ... most importantly ...

At 5:30 this afternoon the curtains will be pulled open and I'll be back in the bathtub posing as Ophelia, dead.
At 7:30 my husband Steve will be acting as the "funeral director", allowing the public to form a line for semi-private "viewings" inside the installation window. This will allow people to really get up close to both me ... and to the amazing graffiti-styled suicide note created by Michael Krajewski.

Michael spent over ten hours scrawling in pencil all over the back wall and pull-down doorway for the space before painting "I Love You Hamlet". (Click on any of these images to enlarge.)

The oddly shaped words, tally marks, scribbles, and phrases really reflect the rantings of a confused, lovesick, mental case with a final sentence before death. It is beyond perfect ... better than I dared to hope ... positively excellent. It adds to the overall experience of the installation and space in the best way possible.

Heather Bauer and Eric Parton snapped all sorts of images on Tuesday. Two have been printed in large format and framed. They are FABULOUS and will function this evening to entice the public to "form a line" for the "viewings". By tomorrow, they will be in the window as the central focal point for the continuing window installation.

During the dress rehearsal/photo shoot, my mentor and friend Stephen Chesley came by and snapped several great images from the street outside the window. I've hung a large mirror at an angle over the bathtub in order to provide a more intimate view directly into the bathtub. Stephen captured the reflection beautifully.

I've even used the photo above for a new Facebook profile. (Thanks, Stephen!)

The interior of the space actually looks like the the image below. It is "dark" because the theater curtains are drawn shut. The white trash bag is stuffed full of additional artificial cemetery flowers.

After the performance art piece tonight, I plan to leave the bathtub filled with flowers ... and the red wig...

(Above: View to back wall with reflection from the suspended mirror. Click on any image in this post to enlarge.)