Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Alabama is WONDERFUL!

 (Above:  My two-day HOT workshop in Mobile, Alabama.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

Last week was wonderful.  I drove to Mobile, Alabama on Tuesday in order to conduct my two-day HOT workshop for the Alabama/Mississippi regional group of SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates).  The workshop was sold out and SO MUCH FUN.

 (Above:  HOT in Mobile.)

One of the SAQA members was able to secure a very large fellowship hall in a local church.  It was an ideal setting with lots of light, access to the outdoors for the "melting" phase, and more tables than ever.  At the end of the second day, we had show-and-tell.  The diversity of colors and designs that come out of this experience are truly amazing.  Everyone created multiple pieces. Some made as many as six!

 (Above:  One of Dean Mosher's "Castles" in Fairhope, Alabama.)

From Mobile, I drove across the bay to beautiful Fairhope, Alabama.  My solo show, Anonymous Ancestors, was in its last days at the Eastern Shore Art Center.  In fact, Saturday was the very last day.  I gave a gallery talk at 1 PM that afternoon.  Amazingly, over fifty people showed up!  Then, the show was dismantled, packed up, and taken back to Columbia.  Before this happened, however, I had a little time to look around Fairhope.  I didn't have to go far to see Dean Mosher's "Castles".  These hand-crafted, fairy-tale looking buildings are diagonally across the street from Eastern Shore Art Center.  My husband Steve and I even met the artist!    

 (Above:  My one-day HOT workshop at Eastern Shore Art Center.)

Yet, the most important thing that happened in Fairhope was my one-day HOT workshop.  Like the workshop in Mobile, it was sold out.  The last thing that happened was also show-and-tell.

 (Above:  HOT in Fairhope.)

The one-day experience is really just an abbreviation of the two-day experience.  There's not enough time to really "melt" a piece resembling my Stained Glass and In Box work ... but participants get the idea.  Everyone went home with at least two finished pieces.

 (Above:  The interior of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Mobile, AL.)

After teaching a workshop, I'm always ready to go exploring a new area.  Mobile was great.  I was able to visit the cathedral and admire the recently restored interior and ...

... the beautiful stained glass windows.

I walked the length of Dauphin Street and had dinner in two great restaurants.

The architecture was a marvel, especially this former Masonic Temple that is now only rented out for parties.

(Above:  Steve and me at the pier in Fairhope.)

Although I drove myself to Alabama, my husband Steve managed to secure a very affordable one-way airline ticket.  He arrived late on Friday night and was indispensable during the break-down of the show and especially with the long drive back home.  All in all, Alabama is WONDERFUL!

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Guard Duty

(Above:  Guard Duty, 34 1/2" x 30". Image transfer on fabric with both free-motion and hand stitching and trapunto/stuffing; beads and sequins, four grommets, buttons and genuine army camouflage.)

When I initially took my friend Cat Ayre's photo, I envisioned another piece in my obsession with buttons.  In the future, I might add a large, military button right over her mouth and call the work Don't Ask/Don't Tell.  It's always a possibility. But since snapping the picture, I found a SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) call-for-entry looking for art quilts falling under the themed exhibition title From Dusk to Dawn

Every solider in every branch of the armed forces has experience with Guard Duty.  It is at the heart of a nation's responsibility for protection.  Watching over a barracks of sleeping comrades is a task that Cat often performed, literally from dusk to dawn. She was really pleased with the resulting quilt.  I was excited to use real military camouflage made right here in South Carolina.  I was also thrilled to use four, gold grommets in the corners.  They remind me of camping and tents, so appropriate! I'd never used a grommet before.

(Above:  Guard Duty, detail.)

I liked adding an outline of gold-toned buttons.  They are sort of brass like in color and bring to mind military brass insignia.  Waving lines of stitching and assorted star shaped sequins suggest the US flag, stars and stripes.  I have no expectations for this piece to successfully be selected for the SAQA show but it doesn't matter.  I wanted to make the work long before I saw the call-for-entry.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Nike's Advice II

 (Above:  Detail of Nike's Advice II.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

One of the last pieces finished in 2017 was Nike's Advice I.  I blogged about it HERE.  I had a total blast stitching it and started basting down Nike's Advice II right away.  There will be more! Free-motion stitching around all the little marks and paint dribbles is so much fun, and I have plenty of painted material.  When initially painted in public, I had 130 feet!

(Above:  Nike's Advice II.  A whole cloth art quilt of assorted paints and oil pastels on canvas with self-guided, free-motion machine embroidery.  64" x 54".  Hand-plied buttonhole stitched binding.)

During the two days of Artista Vista 2016, I painted with the public.  Barry Wheeler and John Allen created a great video of the project.  Then, I rolled it all up until I decide to quilt some of the sections.  I'm really pleased how this second piece turned out.

 (Above:  Nike's Advice II, detail.)

Looking at this section, I am reminded that I used a couple carved wooden printing blocks from India.  These made the blue designs.  I also used a 4" rolling brayer to smear the yellow paint in interesting ways.  I'm already at work on the next piece!

 (Above:  Nike's Advice II, detail.)

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

Friday, January 12, 2018

More Mended Words and Good News

(Above:  My pieces selected by curators Susan J. Torntore and Kathleen Kok for Photographs and Memories, an invitational group exhibition at the Pacific Northwest Quilts & Fiber Arts Museum in La Conner, Washington.  Most of the pieces are from my Decision Portrait Series.  From top, left to bottom, right:  Behind in the Mortgage, College Student, Illegal Immigrant, My Bluegrass Roots I, Self Portrait, Gift of Life, Fighting Illiteracy, Organic Farmers, My Bluegrass Roots III, and Soul Mates.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

When a museum curator contacts me, I'm immediately excited!  I'm especially excited now that these works are hanging in an invitational group exhibition at the Pacific Northwest Quilts & Fiber Arts Museum in La Conner, Washington.  Curators Susan J. Torntore and Kathleen Kok made the selections.  I shipped the work.  Sometimes I ship work and never hear a single word about the exhibition, but this time was different.  The opening reception was two evenings ago.  Amazingly, I got a Facebook comment yesterday morning telling me how great the work looked!  Definitely exciting!

Above:  Mended Words IX: Henry VI.  Ripped and stitched antique engraving collaged with Shakespeare quotations.)

This week I've finished a couple more pieces in my new Mended Words Series.  I'm really enjoying everything about them ... from ripping the image, stitching it back together, researching for an appropriate quote, and especially selecting the individual letters to apply the words to the page.

(Above:  Mended Words X: The Tiff.)

This particular scene just begged to be ripped.  Elizabeth Barrett Browning's quotation was equally perfect.

(Above:  Mended Words XI: Madonna.)

I thought about using words more specifically from the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary but none were more touching than this better known phrase.

(Above:  Mended Words XII: Cleopatra.)

When I first started this series, I looked for only the black-and-white engravings but I found several that had some color.  The color is not original.  Once upon a time, Mouse House (the custom picture framing business I own with my husband) paid a budding artist to hand color some of our antique engravings.  This was nothing new. We'd had other, more competent people doing this in even earlier years.  This last person's attempts weren't particularly good.  She didn't want to "make a mistake" and thus rarely finished any of the engravings.  She had only applied burgundy to Cleopatra.  So ... I finished by adding more colors, ripping the piece, stitching it back together again, and adding words from Shakespeare's play.

(Above:  Mended Words XIII: Juliet and the Nurse.)

This engraving was half colored too.  It had only burgundy and very little yellow.  I had fun finishing the color and transforming the print.  I've been working on several other things too.  Hopefully, I'll be able to get some photographs this weekend!

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Lunette XXIX, a commission

(Above:  Lunette XXIX, a commissioned piece. Framed: 22" x 28". Polyester stretch velvets on recycled black synthetic packaging felt with free-motion machine stitching and melting techniques.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

Last week I started a blog post saying, "The New Year has certainly started out well!"  It has! In addition to installing my solo show at Eastern Shore Art Center in Fairhope, Alabama, I had a commission to work on!  Lunette XXIX is the result.  Every time I receive a commission like this, I take loads of in progress photos and create a PDF for the client.  This blog post includes some of the pictures.

The client wanted a work that was similar to an earlier Lunette.  I printed a photo of that piece to use as a guide.  Then, I cut the foundation pieces.

Here's the second layer of polyester stretch velvets.

This photo shows all the pieces in place.

Here's the work under my sewing machine and ...

having holes melted through the layers using one of my three soldering irons.  I also created a video of the last phase, melting the work with an industrial heat gun.  The video is HERE.

Now the work is being stitched onto a piece of acid-free mat board ...


... before being fit into its frame.  The artwork has since been double-boxed and is on its way north to the client who viewed the photos I sent and LOVE THE WORK! 

(Above:  Lunette XXIX, detail.)

Now ... this is truly a great way to start a new year!  I am linking this blog post to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Fridays", a site for sharing fiber arts!

Monday, January 08, 2018

Great Quotations

(Above:  Great Quotations: Courtship. Quotation from Dorothy Parker.  Antique or pre-1945 image and letters clipped mostly from vintage magazines and ephemera on a page from Charles Richardson's English Language Dictionary, 1846.  Click on any image to enlarge and read!)

Once upon a time, I bought a two volume dictionary at auction.  I paid six dollars plus 10% buyer's premium.  Both books are in terrible condition.  They date from 1846.  I thought I would cut selected words from them and tag more keys for my installation, The Wall of Keys.  Keys have been an obsession for a long, long time ... but somehow or the other, the way the dictionary words were grouped and written phonetically didn't really appeal after I brought the volumes home.  So they sat around for a couple YEARS.  This was ridiculous.  Part of my New Year's resolution is to USE more of my collected found objects.  Thus, the new "Great Quotations Series" came about.

(Above:  Great Quotations: Artistocracy. Quotation from Tennessee Williams.)

This New Year's plan also meant cutting up a stack of old engravings and photogravures that have been on shelves and boxes for longer than I've had the dictionary set!  None of these engravings had much, if any, value.  Few people are decorating with antiques nowadays.  It was great fun to cut them all up and pair a few with a page from the dictionary.

(Above:  Great Quotations: Sorrow.  Quotation by Lady Gaga.)

Each dictionary page was first fused to fabric using a framing product called Fusion 4000 inside my dry mount press.  In exactly five minutes, the paper adheres to the fabric under the 28 pounds of pressure per square inch and by the totally controlled 180 degree temperature.  I love this stuff!

(Above:  Great Quotations: Love.  Quotation by John Lennon.)

First, I collaged the image to each page using matte medium.  Once dry, I did a little free-motion stitching.  Not until all eighteen of these pieces were stitched did I start looking for an appropriate quotation.  To be honest, I didn't think I'd be able to do anything with a few of these!  Who would have ever believed that the scorpion and camel would find a useable phrase?

(Above:  Great Quotations: All's Well That Ends Well. Quotation by William Shakespeare.)

One by one, I found a great quotation and collaged each one onto the paper.  Each work is signed.  My signature is really small because I didn't want my name to compete with the printed page.  I used a fine tipped Koh-I-Noor Rapidograph pen.  This pen is what I use for French matting.  Sometimes I wrote the name of the person quoted using the Rapidograph too.  Sometimes I cut letters from the dictionary and spelled the name out.

(Above:  Great Quotations: Spine. Quotation by Ayse Aslihan Koksoy.)

Frequently, I altered the heading for the page ... changing the SPI on the page for "spine" to actually say "spine" on one side but "wings" on the other.

(Above:  Great Quotations: Justice. Quotation by Mahatma Gandhi.)

Sometimes the quotation included the word on the dictionary page, but sometimes the quotation just worked with the image or concept behind the word.

(Above:  Great Quotations: Camel. Quotation by Jacqueline Kennedy.)

I have lots and lots more cut images and literally hundreds more dictionary pages.  It's been fun to create "something" from these old, neglected, and semi-forgotten things.  I hope to do more.  After all, it's not every day one can put John Wayne, Coco Chanel, Mark Twain, Lady Gaga, William Shakespeare, Jacqueline Kennedy, Tennessee Williams, Theodore Roosevelt, John Lennon and Mahatma Gandhi together!

(Above:  Great Quotations: Scorpion. Quotation by DeShanne Stokes.)

Each page measures 11" x 8 1/2" and is "top mounted" on mat board.  That means that all the edges show!  A 20" x 16" outer mat surrounds each one.  I've priced them all at $75 each.  Seems fair for so much fun!

(Above:  Great Quotations: Ophelia.  Quotation from William Shakespeare.)

Scroll down to see the rest!

(Above:  Great Quotations: Work. Quotation by Theodore Roosevelt.)

(Above:  Great Quotations: Wild. Quotation by John Wayne.)

(Above:  Great Quotations: Fly. Idiomatic expression from a Biblical adage.)

(Above:  Great Quotations: Pretty is as Pretty Does.  Idiomatic expression just about every mother has said to her daughters.)

(Above:  Great Quotations: Classic.  Quotation by Mark Twain.)

(Above:  Great Quotations: Exotic. Quotation by Erin Van Vuren.)

(Above:  Great Quotations: Fashion.  Quotation by Coco Chanel.)

(Above:  Great Quotations: Scotland. Quotations by Robert Burns.)

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Anonymous Ancestors at Eastern Shore Art Center

 (Above:  Anonymous Ancestors, my solo show at the Eastern Shore Art Center in Fairhope, Alabama.)

The New Year has certainly started out well!  My husband Steve and I loaded the cargo van, drove to Alabama, and installed my solo show, Anonymous Ancestors, at the Eastern Shore Art Center.  This is the first time I've mounted this exhibition without having physically been in the space prior to "the big day".  Amazingly, I wasn't nervous a bit!  Communication with the excellent staff was perfect.  I had a floor plan. Most importantly, I knew I had more than enough work to fill the space!

Eastern Shore Arts Center was open from 10 - 4.  The last time we installed, it took six hours.  Steve kept an eye on the clock while we worked.  We work wonderfully together and finished with a half hour to spare!

This is how the space looked after we hauled in all the boxes, furniture, carpets, and hand tools.

The last thing we did was to snap photos and count the number of works we hung.  This time, only 160 pieces went on the wall.  Approximate 70 came back home!  Yes!  I now have about 230 individually framed "anonymous ancestors".  Each time I mount this show, the room dictates how many will be used.  The ceiling is lower here than in previous shows.  Thus, the vignettes of images did not extend as far up the wall ... and therefore fewer pictures were used.

 Another difference between this installation and earlier shows is the fact that I had one, large space instead of two smaller areas in which to work. There's a fabulous openness to the layout and it looks much more like the nostalgic, Victorian interior that my initial idea envisioned.

The wooden floor also enhances the feel of the show.  Plus, one wall opens to the permanent collection. That area is used as a board room and includes a massive, center table.  If I lived closer, I would have asked to spread a table cloth and set out china and crystal for times when not in use for meetings.  It truly looked like a dining room just off my "parlor".

Here's Steve and Adrienne Clow, my contact and the center's marketing and exhibits manager. I can hardly wait to return for the workshop I'm teaching at the end of the month.  Scroll down for a few more shots of the show!

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