Friday, June 28, 2013

Good news and three different projects in the works!

 (Above:  Detail of Stained Glass XLII.  Click on any image in this post to enlarge.)

I've been busy and I have GOOD NEWS ...  really busy and some really exciting things coming up!

First, I've finished another, large Stained Glass fiber piece!  My last blog post included two others that were waiting for over-sized mat board for framing.  I was so happy when it arrived that I immediately completed the work ... forgetting to snap photos before the Plexi-Glas was installed.

(Above:  Stained Glass XL and XLI in frames, behind Plexi-Glas ... so there is a little glare ... but don't they look wonderful!)

So ... here they are in their frames.  The next piece is one that can hang either vertically or horizontally.

(Above:  Stained Glass XLII ... in a photo I took outside ... with too much bright sunshine that cast a shadow of the black linen liner at the top ... but ... you get the picture!)

(Above:  Lift and Tuck ... accepted into SAQA's Metaphors on Aging exhibit.)

My goal is to have two more of these large works finished before going to England for the annual Festival of Quilts in August. I'm thrilled to be going ... and seeing my piece, Lift and Tuck, in the debut of SAQA's (Studio Art Quilt Associates) Metaphors on Aging exhibit.  In addition to these large pieces, I plan on having lots of smaller ones done too.  I'm already working on two "In Box" series pieces.  I've consulted my calendar and written out a schedule to assure that I have enough work for both the Washington Craft Show and the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show ... both in November.  I'm hoping to have enough work to fill the booth at least twice ... closer to three times.

(Above:  Detail of Stained Glass XLII.  Click on image to enlarge.)

 Now for some good news!

(Above:  The Canopy, as seen at Studios Midwest, an art residency program in Galesburg, Illinois ... where I made the piece.)

The Canopy has been invited to be part of a summer exhibition at 701 Center for Contemporary Art here in Columbia!  I'm very, very excited.  This is a top-notch exhibition space that always features fantastic work of regional, national, and international artists.

(Above:  The Canopy, detail from the Artfields 10-day festival earlier this year.)

The show is called Interior Spaces. Obviously, The Canopy creates its own space ... under it ... a place for a bed or a location for a wedding.  Yet, the best part of being in this show is that I was given a unique opportunity to expand the work by creating an installation.  Thus, the new name for the work is Under the Canopy.  (Or Under the Canopy, Where Heirlooms Sleep ... I left the choice of titles up to the curator.)  

(Above:  Two walnut Victorian side chairs recently purchases at auction.)

My statement is:
A bed is an iconic symbol from fairy-tales, dreams, childhood, romance novels, historical interiors, and personal furnishings.  It means different things to different people.  Despite modern technology and changes in advertisements and parenting practices, most little girls in America still dream of a canopy bed … like their mothers did, like their grandmothers did.  For some, a canopy bed represents the security of the womb.  For others, a canopy bed represents an ideal or a “Happily Ever After” promise for the future.  Canopies represent protection but also sexual fulfillment or marital bliss.

Canopy beds are frequently associated with the preciousness of feminine childhood, a concept largely manufactured by an adult society.  In it, the idealized girl carries all the dreams for her parents. So, is this magical sleeping arrangement really the child’s desire or is it projected by the hopes of adults?  So often, childhood memories are searched as an explanation of adult discontent.  How does the fantasy of a canopy bed figure into the loss of happiness?

Personally, I am interested in the concept of childhood memories, especially how the canopy bed seems to stay part of little girls’ collective desires through generations.  I am also interested in the notion of a perfect wedding, especially how the canopy's vintage needlework, lace, and frilly white fabrics seem to conjure up such a vision … across Judaic marital traditions and into female imagination at large.  Toys, playtime, hopes for the future, stereotypical gender roles, adult nostalgia and romance, a parent’s vision for an archetype child, and the threads that stitch together fairy-tales are woven into the fabric of The Canopy. 

The opportunity to create an interior grouping of found objects in support of my concept has been quite rewarding.  Mismatched tableware, discarded foreign books, symbols of passing time, and furnishings in various states of disrepair suggest the half forgotten dreams promised through fairy-tales, ethereally beautiful but bittersweet.  They pay homage to all the anonymous women who made countless doilies for their would-be perfect homes and as heirlooms for future generations that didn’t come to value them.

This installation is meant to stimulate conversation with regards to all possible associations.  Creating it was a labor of love and a conversation with myself.  Sharing it is simply a joy.   

So ... to create this assemblage of discarded tableware, neglected linens, and assorted furniture in various states of disrepair ... I went to my favorite auction house.  The first two pieces I bought are the gorgeous walnut Victorian chairs above.  I paid $10 a piece.  Sure I was thrilled at the price but also shocked and conflicted.  I just couldn't bring myself to rip off the upholstery, make them look old and distressed.  I want a "pretty scene" but one that shows the signs of age and abandonment.  I want something with a first glance of romance that bears unfortunate truths upon closer examination.  I'd have to "ruin" these chairs.  I couldn't do it.  I went back to the next auction. 

 (Above:  Staging my assemblage.)

Over the last few weeks I managed to buy a cast-off table, another chair, and a tarnished tea set.  Most of the rest, I already had ... from other auctions over the years.  I really enjoyed "staging" my little "tea party".

(Above:  The table with an open drawer and mismatched china, etc.)

There are two hand stitched handkerchiefs, a homemade hourglass, a rosary, assorted old bobbins and a well worn pin cushion.  It was great gathering all this "stuff".  On the floor there's an old piece of needlepoint ... once a seat cushion but now a make-shift rug. 

(Above:  A second chair will be placed nearby with a little foot stool.  The foot stool has no upholstery, just a few antique quilt blocks made from recycled silk ties.)

(Above:  Unique end table with clock).

I didn't just want to "hunt-and-gather" my assemblage.  I wanted to add subtle, creative touches ... like using a set of  mid-19th century Swedish books (in various states of disrepair) to make a unique end table.  The top of the table is the cover of late 19th century book of chromolithographs illustrating The Sermon on the Mount.  I drilled holes in all the books, inserted a metal rod, and used plenty of glue to make this piece.  I also created to special tagged keys ... one is a clock key tagged "Time" ... one is a very rusted large antique key tagged "Family Heirlooms".  I've packed all this up now.  This Sunday is "Installation Day" ... when I'll hoist The Canopy and arrange this special "interior" under it.  I can hardly wait!


My work has been accepted for the 701 Center for Contemporary Art's Biennial.  This two part exhibition will open in September and November.  I don't know which part I'll be in but I'm thrilled.  

Also, I learned today that I was named the South Carolina Art Commission's Fellowship Alternate for Crafts!  It's just a title; only the actual Fellowship winner gets a monetary award ... but I'm elated!  (Plus, I really admire Robert Lyon's work.  He's a full professor in the University of South Carolina's art department and has served as chairman of the department too ... also, he's really nice! Congrats Bob!)

 (Above:  Jeana gluing on thumbnails of my family photos onto wrapped and stitched wooden spools.)

So ... my third project for this week (actually there's another one ... I'll share it later!) is that a whole bunch more little wrapped and stitched wooden spools got done.  Jeana, my new studio assistant, was invaluable.  She cut and glued all the thumbnails of my family photos onto the spools.  It took hours ... and then I shared with her the fact that I've got two more gallon-sized Ziploc bags full of wooden spools that still need stitching!  Around here, there's always work to do!

I am linking this post to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Fridays", a site to share fiber arts.


Lynn Cohen said...

Susan, there is no way to express my thrilled-ness for you! Each batch of art is unique and amazing in its own right. To have so many such wonderful assemblages by one artist is simply mind boggling. You never ever cease to amaze and impress me!
Congrats on each and every piece, title, exhibition, and sorry if I left anything out...then add that too! Xo

Wanda said...

I am SO excited for you! What wonderful art you are creating...and you even have a schedule! Oh Boy! I know why you don't sleep..........

Martha Ginn said...

Loved the Good News and More Good News; these exhibit opportunities are great. I'm so happy for you! Your stained glass pieces are amazing.

Anonymous said...

I'm so pleased that your wonderful work is getting the nattional recognition it deserves! It's been fascinating to hear your thought processes for the installation under the canopy. For me, the insight into the creative process is the entire key to being able to completely experience and begin to understand the work.