Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Four New Windows for the next week's Philadelphia Museum of Art Show

(Above:  Window CXLIII. Framed: 17" x 15". Inventory # 4107. $265.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

This time next week, Steve and I will be in the Pennsylvania Convention Center in downtown Philly setting up booth 107 for the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show.  I have only one more, large piece to finish before that time!  Yippee!  I'm on schedule!

 (Above:  Window CXLIII. Framed: 17" x 15". Inventory # 4107. $265.)

On the trip north, we will stop at the GreenHill Center for North Carolina Art to drop off one, Large Stained Glass piece and two "Lancet Windows".  These will be part of the annual Winter Show.  This show is outstanding and I'm particularly proud to be among the very, very few non-North Carolinians invited to take part.  My gallery representation at the Grovewood Galley (Asheville, NC) and IAGO Gallery (Blowing Rock, NC) along with having a solo show at Waterworks Visual Arts Center (Salisbury, NC) brought attention to my work.
 (Above:  Window CXLIII. Framed: 17" x 15". Inventory # 4107. $265.)

Yesterday brought other news ... not necessarily "good" but definitely not "bad".  My work has been wait-listed for the Smithsonian Craft Show in April.  This show, along with the Philadelphia Museum of Art Show, are widely considered the finest, most prestigious, and most competitive for inclusion.  This will be my third time in Philly (which take 190 artists in all craft media from across the country.  I've never been accepted into the Smithsonian show (which take only 120 artists).  So ... I'm in limbo.  Basically, someone has to decline an acceptance or die before someone from the waiting list advances, but there is still hope!  I'm happy to know my work scored this well in the jurying process.

(Above:  Window CXLIII. Framed: 17" x 15". Inventory # 4107. $265.)

Saturday, October 28, 2017

HOT workshop at Aya Fiber Studio in Stuart, Florida

 (Above:  HOT Workshop at Aya Fiber Studio in Stuart, Florida.)

This week was wonderful!  I taught my two-day HOT workshop for the incredible Suzanne Conners, a talented indigo dyer, at her business Aya Fiber Studio.  Aya Fiber Studio is truly an art destination for all forms of textile work.  The space is FABULOUS.  The lighting is great; the air conditioning and breeze was perfect; there was plenty of space for everything; parking was easy; and Suzanne is totally organized plus a perfect hostess to everyone!  The weather was grand.  Accommodations are a short, easy walk along the marina. Lunch was ordered and delivered from the nearby restaurants. I could go on and on!  Best of all, I've been asked to send available dates for a return engagement!  I can't wait!

Suzanne took some of the photos in this blog post.  I took the others ... when I remembered to retrieve my camera from my purse.  Most of the time, everyone was busy, busy, busy making multiple pieces.  The workshop is an exploration in heat-activated processes for contemporary embroidery ... and thus, more than one piece is accomplished by everyone!  There's just so many ways to put the materials together and expose them to heat!

One of the unique things I bring to my workshops is the a demonstration on proper mounting of textiles under a professionally cut mat.  Of course I do this!  My day job is custom picture framing!  It's always fun to rummage through the mats, looking for the perfect one for every piece!


This is me doing the matting demonstration.  On the table were examples of my work ... and amazingly, they sold during the workshop!  I am so honored!


This photo shows one of the stations of materials.  Yes, I bring all this "stuff" for participants to use.  I even brought a package of dyed emu feathers from The Thread Studio in Perth, Australia.  Such fun!

There is no set design and the materials I provide vary greatly.  For me, it is such a pleasure to see very different pieces developing side by side.


It is wonderful to see so many pieces finished, matted, and ready to hang on the wall!


After the first day of the workshop, many of us went on a great boat ride around the marina.  We saw a great blue heron that seemed to be doing his very best Audubon pose! LOL!

We talked and laughed and didn't want the ride to end.  The captain almost had to throw us overboard just to get us off his Pocket Hopper, Inc. electric boat! 

Several from the workshop went to dinner together at Gettin' Crabby.  I had the royal red shrimp appetizer.  I'd never heard of this deep water species but they were delicious.  I also sampled alligator sushi on another night. 

Below are several more photos from an exciting workshop!  Enjoy!

Friday, October 27, 2017

Lancet Windows CCIX, CCX, and CCXI

 (Above:  Lancet Window CCIX, CCXI, and CCX.  Click on either image to enlarge.)

This is a quick blog post.  Why?  Well, I've just returned from a conducting a fantastic two-day workshop at Aya Fiber Studio in Stuart, Florida ... and I'm crazy busy!  First, I had to put my studio back together.  My workshops don't have specific "workshop supplies".  I use all the same materials and equipment every day in my studio.  Thus, I pack up the studio and take it all with me.  When I return, I have to put everything back in place ... especially today!  I've got a large Stained Glass piece to construct over the weekend to replace one that was ear-marked for the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show.  Why?  Iago Gallery in Blowing Rock, NC just sold the one they had and needed another.  It was delivered last Sunday.  I also had a lot of picture framing to do today.  Plus, I've been writing for Jasper Project on the Columbia dance scene.  One of my recent articles was just posted and needed shared to social media.  Finally, I finished mounting and framing two of the three Lancet Windows pictured above.  One of them (the one in the middle) was ready in time to go to Florida.  It served as an example for "top mounting" in a custom picture frame  ... basically a way for me to show how to create space inside a frame by using "walls" to keep the glass from coming into contact with the artwork when that artwork sits on top of a mat.  Amazingly, one of the lovely workshop participants purchased it!  I'm always so pleased when a piece finds a home!  Thank you!

(Above:  The same three Lancet Windows ... as they looked last weekend ... waiting to be melted.

This is how these three pieces looked before melting.  Tomorrow I plan to post images from the amazing workshop!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Large Stained Glass LXXXII

 (Above:  Large Stained Glass LXXXII, detail.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

This past weekend and especially today have been a whirlwind of activities.  I've finished another, large piece and have seven small ones in various states of construction.  Most importantly, I've been busy packing up the supplies and equipment for a two-day workshop I'm conducting at Aya Fiber Studio in Stuart, Florida.

 (Above:  Large Stained Glass LXXXII.  Framed 63" x 23". Inventory number 4102. $1300.)

When Hurricane Irma tore through the Caribbean and hit the Florida coast, I was worried.  When the news reports for the Atlantic side indicated lots and lots of damage, I feared my workshop would be canceled ... especially since one program actually said Stuart was terribly impacted.  Thank goodness, Aya Fiber Studio was spared ... and the workshop is still "sold out".  I'm very much looking forward to the experience, especially since at least one person is flying from Minnesota to take it!  Quite honored!
 (Above:  Large Stained Glass LXXXII, detail.)

Now, I'm really pleased with this new Large Stained Glass series piece.  The elongated tulip form with the teardrop interior shape is intentionally Indian in design.  The five-pointed star at the top worked out so well that I've attempted to recreate this piece as a smaller Lancet Window.  So far, so good ... but I won't be sharing images until I return from Florida!

(Above: Large Stained Glass LXXXII, detail.)

This piece and most of the others are headed to the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show ... next month!  All of my Large Stained Glass pieces are now being framed with crystal clear, anti-reflective, UV protecting glass.  It has added an extra $100 to the total price ... but this glass really is amazing!  I can stand in front of it, snap a photo, and see absolutely no reflection of myself in the resulting image!  Incredible!

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

Friday, October 20, 2017

Busy, busy Thursday and a Transparency Update!

 (Above:  Anonymous Ancestors, my solo show at USC Upstate's "Gallery on Main" during the third Thursday art walk and the Tri-State Sculptors Conference.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

The reception for my solo show, Anonymous Ancestors, was last month during Spartanburg's "Third Thursday" art walk, but I was invite back again this month ... to give a gallery talk!  The place was very, very crowded because nearby Converse College is hosting the Tri-State Sculptors Conference and the art walk (along with my gallery talk) was on the program!  It was quite an honor!

When Steve and I arrived, there were people already gathering ... enjoying the photos, albums, even sitting in the furniture.  It made me very happy to see the installation truly functioning as if a real sitting parlor!

My husband Steve took these photos while I talked to students, artists, and people who simply came for the art walk.  He didn't get any good images during the gallery talk because he was standing in the very back, next to the door ... where his only view was space between the Grid of Photos and its shadows on the wall.

I'm really pleased with the way this piece looks because part of my concept was to suggest that the hundreds of anonymous photos are fading away into history ... just like the traces of shadows behind them.

 (Above:  Wall of Ancestors, Polio is a Bitch.)

I don't think I'll ever tire of this installation.  I'm still making more work ... hoping for more opportunities to share it.  To get ready for my gallery talk, I made this one.  Steve suggested the words.  I couldn't improve upon them.  Polio really is a bitch.

(Above:  The filmmakers at the 2nd Act Film Festival 2017 ... including the filmmakers' choice award winner, Smith Austin.)

If I hadn't been in Spartanburg, I would have been at the 2nd Act Film Festival in Columbia.  Why?

 (Above:  2nd Act Film Festival Filmmakers' Choice Award.  Framed:  11 1/2" x 9 1/2".  Anonymous, vintage negative, three film slides from my travels in Europe during the 1970s, found Super-8 reel, collage of clipped letters, and a key tagged with the phrase:  Nothing Happens Without Light.)

Why?  Well, a couple months ago I was asked to create the award.  This is what I came up with.  Had I been in town, I would have really enjoyed seeing the films.  The festival provided filmmakers the first and third acts (one page each) of a script.  Each filmmaker wrote and created the SECOND ACT.  Many entered; ten finalists were selected by a professional panel for last night's event.  It would have been so much fun to have been there!

 (Above:  The Transparency Project, in progress.)

Some times, there are just too many things to do.  Perhaps that is why I've no longer receiving any more suggestions for The Transparency Project.  (CLICK HERE to see my initial blog post about this artwork.)  Thus, I am updating it's progress.

(Above:  The Transparency Project, in progress.)

I have used just under two-thirds of the little corked jars.  I need more ideas to fill them. Thank you to everyone who sent a phrase.  You can still send more!  Please leave a comment here or send you suggestions to me at mouse_house@prodigy.net.

So far, these are the phrases inside the jars:

Lied and got away with it
Hide candy in my desk drawer
Cheated on my first husband with whom I shared my work commute
Snaked from the grocery bulk bins
Fed my dog cheap dog food
Lied to my doctor about the amount of wine I drink
Didn't exercise
Claimed to be a virgin several times
Chose a candidate with "the right background" over qualifications
Billed an insurance company for a test not performed
Pretended I didn't get an e-mail
Pretended I didn't get a text message
Knowingly gave a guy the wrong phone number
Went twice for a free promotion
Smoked pot during a work break
The check is in the mail
Had a margarita as lunch
Left the bar when I spotted my blind date
Claimed to be 47 for several years
Called in sick when I wasn't
Cheated on a test
Love to gossip
Spread rumors I knew were untrue
Returned a damaged library video
Didn't stop after hitting a dog
Made a prank telephone call
Falsely exaggerated family stories
Complimented someone's art work that looked like crap
Cried real tears only for affect
Found a wallet and didn't return it
Checked my email while driving
Got drunk and kissed a stranger
Urinated on a tree in a public park
Shot a gun at a passing car
Have a crush on a married friend
Vegetarian ... but tried veal
Lied to get out of a meeting
Stole a library book
Ignored the item the grocery cashier didn't get scanned
Committed adultery in my heart
Ran a red light on purpose
"Forgot" to pay a bill
Didn't report my rape
Believe in angels
Don't shave my legs in the winter
Don't shower every day
Leave dirty dishes in the sink overnight
Bumped into a car and left the scene
Lied about my voting record
Hit my spouse
Falsely said "I love you" in order to have sex
Spent time in jail
How are you? I'm fine.
Egged a house
Drove drunk
Told a Polish joke
Belittled someone with special needs
Accepted a bribe
Didn't take NO for an answer
Didn't pay child support
Stalked an ex-wife
Stalked an ex-boyfriend
Peeked through the neighbors' windows
Used a fake ID
Sneaked into an R-rate moved when underage
Spanked my kids
Claimed a charitable deduction I never made
Let someone else take the blame
Stole liquor from my parents
Said "sorry" but held a grudge
Spray painted graffiti on a public wall
Bounced several checks
Jealous all the time
Flunked out of school
Littered at the beach
Blamed traffic for running late
Flipped someone "the bird"
Never repaid a debt

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

A Mother's Love

 (Above:  A Mother's Love, mixed media.  Found silver gelatin photograph, free-motion machine stitching, hand stitched gold buttons, metallic gold pencil, collage of clipped vintage letters, and artist- made frame with hand stitched buttons.  19" x 16".  Inventory # 4100. $295.)

I'm the fortunate recipient of all sorts of things, mostly other people's old yarn, crocheted doilies, scraps of fabric, keys, and wooden thread spools. But every once in a while, I receive other "treasures" like this silver gelatin photograph of a Madonna and Child stone sculpture.  I don't know who the sculptor was or the photographer.  I do know that professional photographer Molly Harrell gave me the picture.  At the time, she said, "I can't wait to see what you'll do with it."

 (Above:  A Mother's Love, detail.)

I really do try to use all the things given to me but often I can't remember "who gave what" by the time I use it.  This photo, however, seemed to haunt me.  I knew instantly that I wanted to add buttons.  Why?  Well, I'm not entirely sure but the notion of adding beads and/or buttons to a halo has always been with me.  It feels right. It is just the sort of appropriate embellishment for an icon ... at least any icon I'll ever make. 

(Above:  A Mother's Love, detail.)

The 14" x 11" photo was first fused to fabric.  I used a gold metallic pencil to create the aura around the Virgin's head.  Then I free-motion stitched the background before hand stitching the smaller, gold buttons.  Finally, I added tiny letters clipped from the October 1946 issue of Fortune Magazine.  (Unbelievably, Amazon and eBay list a copy at $125.  I paid quite a bit less ... as in under five bucks).  To finish the work, I built a very special frame and liner.  After drilling holes through the frame, I stitched larger, gold buttons onto it using button threads.

While I stitched, I thought about the criticism I received last May from a local arts administrator regarding my "Button Proposal".  I was told that I "romanticized my materials" and "didn't push the boundaries of my studio art practice."  (To read how I handled this criticism, CLICK HERE.)  Sure, the words hurt but the button artwork that started flowing out of it has been awesome!  Plus, I've now gone from romanticizing buttons straight to idolizing them! LOL!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Freiheit I and II

 (Above:  Freiheit I and II drying in the garage.  Click on any image in this blog post to enlarge.)

An idea for a new series surfaced months ago when I wondered about pouring epoxy (one of my favorite substances for experimentation) over the layers of polyester stretch velvet with which I normally work.  Experimentation happened over the summer as I created Celestial Orbs, an installation that is currently on view in my solo show at Waterworks Visual Art Center in Salisbury, NC. 

 (Above:  Freiheit I and II, framed and leaning against a big mirror in my home gallery.)

That installation went very, very well.  I learned a lot about sealing the porous surface of my material and the best way to pour the epoxy ... but I wasn't really satisfied.  Somehow or the other, I wanted MORE!  I wanted a series on which I could continue to work.  After all, the original idea wasn't really to make shiny circles but to pour epoxy over work that looked more like In Box CCLXXXIII.

(Above:  In Box CCLXXXIII and me ... back in January.)

When I made In Box CCLXXXIII, I knew I was channeling my inspiration from Gustav Klimt.  I didn't know if I could successfully emulate this piece but I wanted to try ... plus experiment with the epoxy. 

 (Above:  Freiheit I and II drying in the garage.)

The last week or so provided a bit time to try ... to start ... to seal the surface with fabric stiffener ... to glue the piece to mat board ... to attach them to stretcher bars ... and to pour the epoxy!

  (Above:  Freiheit I and II drying in the garage.)

Now ... photographing the shiny surface is really, really hard but I'm very, very pleased with the resulting work.  I have learned a few other things too.  Future pieces will manage to be the same size as one another, and I will not be gluing them to mat board and a stretcher bar.  Instead, I'm going to try Masonite. (There was some slight warping due to the moisture of the glue and the flexibility of the mat board.  I was able to solve this problem. But since I want to make even large pieces, Masonite will eliminate any future issue.)
 (Above:  Freiheit I.  Framed:  31 1/4" x 19 1/4". Inventory # 4098. $625.)

Naming this new series was hard.  My husband Steve and I will probably continue calling them "the Klimt-like" work but that is a terrible name!  (The explanation for this is in the blog post about In Box CCLXXXIII.)  I researched Gustav Klimt, the Wiener Werkstatt, and the Vienna Secession ... looking for a title, something suggestive of my inspiration without trying to imply a specific genre. 

 (Above:  Freitheit II.  Framed:  32 1/4" x 20 1/2".  Inventory # 4099. $695.)

For several days I considered Ver Sacrum, ("Sacred Spring" in Latin) and the name of the official magazine of the Vienna Secession, published from 1989 to 1903.  Something was just not right about it. 

  (Above:  Freitheit II, detail.)

This morning, I went back to my saved Internet sites.  Almost immediately I read: Der Zeit ihre Kunst. Der Kunst ihre Freiheit.  ("To every age its art. To every art its freedom.")  This is the phrase over the Secession Building in Vienna.

(Above:  The Secession Building in Vienna.)

Freiheit.  Freedom.  Love it!  I love the idea that my work is part of the 21st century but freely inspired by the art of the early 20th.  I love the idea that the artwork I so admire has the freedom to evolve under my sewing machine's needle into the art of today.  The notion of freedom isn't unique to the Vienna Secession.  It might easily apply to the freedom of changing my mind, changing my work, changing my materials.  Love it!

   (Above:  Freitheit II, detail.)

I also love the fact that the material is just slightly underneath the shiny surface.  It has the look of autumn leaves at the bottom of a puddle ... just out of touch ... almost gem-like.  I can't wait to make more!

 (Above:  Valerie Summers giving me a large bag of very carefully sorted letters clipped from magazines.)

I can't jump into production with this new series yet.  I've got other commitments ... like this past Saturday.  I demonstrated "How to Make a Fiber Vessel" at the Grovewood Gallery in Asheville.  It was so much fun.  I also brought a Large Stained Glass piece stapled to its stretcher bars ... ready to be melted.  It can be seen in the background of a video Steve shot.  (CLICK HERE to see the video of me stitching a fiber vessel.  I didn't even know Steve was filming!)  I've got to finish this piece and a couple others first.

 (Above:  Clipped letters donated by Valerie Summers!  THANKS, Valerie!)

The demonstrations went on all day.  I talked about my "Stained Glass" pieces and switched back and forth between my two Bernina sewing machines ... showing how I make cording from skeins of old yarn and how I make the fiber vessels.  One of the people who came was Valerie Summers.  I met Valerie in a workshop I taught at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg.  Valerie brought me an incredible box of vintage household linens and a big bag of letters clipped from magazines!

 (Above:  Wall of Ancestors: Her Today Gone Tomorrow, It's Never Too Late to Live.)

Valerie know all about my obsession with clipped letters.  She's even been to my solo show, Anonymous Ancestors, at the University of South Carolina Upstate's "Gallery on Main".  It's currently on view and I'll be there this Thursday to give a gallery talk at 6:00 pm.

  (Above:  Wall of Ancestors: Her Today Gone Tomorrow, It's Never Too Late to Live, detail.)

The gallery talk is during the monthly art crawl in downtown Spartanburg.  This month is particularly exciting because nearby Converse College is hosting the annual Tri-State Sculptors Conference this week.  Lots of artists are supposed to be out and about on Thursday night.

 (Above:  Wall of Ancestors: Life's Not Fair, Don't Grow Old.)

Like most of my series, I never quite end them.  Despite the fact that Anonymous Ancestors is in a gallery, I'm still making more work for it ... including these two pieces.  The ornate, antique frames came from Bill Mishoe's auction.  The letters were clipped from all sorts of sources, mostly vintage magazines and sheet music.  

 (Above:  Wall of Ancestors: Life's Not Fair, Don't Grow Old, detail.)

On these two pieces, however, I also included a phrase cut directly from pre-1945 Fortune Magazine advertisements.   "Don't Grow Old" and "It's Never Too Late to Live" didn't need their letter's clipped apart.  They are perfect as is!

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