Saturday, April 28, 2018

The Smithsonian Craft Show and a new article about my work and me!

(Above:  View of the Smithsonian Craft Show inside the gorgeous Building Museum in Washington, DC.)

I'm blogging from Washington, DC and the Smithsonian Craft Show.  The experience is everything I hoped it would be.  One couple browsing down my aisle commented that the artists selected for this opportunity are the "cream-of-the-crop" and that there isn't any "skim milk" in the building.Several pieces have found permanent homes.  I'm having a wonderful time talking to all sorts of people.  Tomorrow is Sunday, the last day.  I will be sad to tear down my booth and tired after all the work it will take to load everything back into the cargo van.

 (Above:  Me in Booth 110 on the evening of the fancy gala opening.)

On Wednesday evening there was a very fancy gala. Everyone was dressed up and it was a perfect way to start the show.  All the artists in my immediate area are so nice, friendly, and exceptionally talented.  We are having a good time together.

(Above:  Appropriately one-third of the show.)

Exhibitors are welcome in a special lounge on the second floor.  The walkaway goes entirely around the spacious atrium.  From this vantage point, one can look down into the booths.  My booth is in the upper right corner of the photo above.  While here in DC, Steve and I also visited the National Gallery of Art to see the Sally Mann exhibition and to the Smithsonian Museum of American Art and Portrait Gallery to see the recently unveiled presidential portrait of Obama and Michelle Obama's first lady portrait.  They both look great!  We also saw the show on Diane Arbus.

Another wonderful thing happened too!  A lovely University of South Carolina journalism major finished an posted a great article on my work and me!  The link is below!

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

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

A Lunette, a Window, and a ballet review

 (Above:  Detail of Lunette XXXII.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

As normal, time is flying by and soon my husband Steve and I will be on the road to the Smithsonian Craft Show.  These are the last pieces I'll be able to finish before we pack the cargo van.  Earlier, I thought I would be making a few more smaller works instead of a larger, "Lunette".  Something wonderful changed my plans.  A nice lady who saw Large Stained Glass LXXXI at Art Quilt Elements at the Wayne Art Center outside Philadelphia contacted me and bought a one of the Lunette Windows I had here in South Carolina.  So ... I made Lunette XXXII to replace it.

 (Above:  Lunette XXXII.  Inventory # 4276. Unframed: 17" x 23". Framed: 22" x 28". $495.)

This really is one of my favorite designs even though no two ever turn out alike.  Sometimes I put a right-side-up heart at the center.  Sometimes I change shapes on the outside edges.  Never are the colors the same.  I guess this design is really a "variation on a theme". 

 (Above:  Window CLI. Inventory # 4275. Unframed: 13" x 11". Framed: 17" x 15". $265.)

The first time I cut a five pointed, palm-shaped piece of fabric I wasn't thinking about a hamsa symbol.  I simply liked the shape.  Perhaps future pieces will include a more intentional created hamsa because I truly like the idea of a protective amulet.  There really are so many more motifs to explore!

Finally, Sunday marked the final ballet performance for me to review for Jasper Magazine.  It's been an interesting year of watching and writing.  I don't know yet if I'll continue next season but seeing principal dancers from New York City Ballet on stage with the University of South Carolina Dance Program performance majors was certainly a great way to end a literary assignment!  The review is HERE.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Two Windows, headed to the Smithsonian Craft Show

 (Above:  Window CXLIX. Framed: 17" x 15". $265.  Click on either image to enlarge.)

Although it's been two weeks since I learned that I have booth 110 at the Smithsonian Craft Show, I'm still a little in shock.  It's been a goal for years.  Now, it's just days away!  Earlier this afternoon, I learned that my assigned "move-in" time for unloading the cargo van is on the evening of Monday, April 23rd.  That's in ELEVEN DAYS!  How do I cope with the nervousness and excitement?  Well, I make more art, of course!  Here are two recently finished pieces in my "Window Series".  There's not much more time but I do plan on a great upcoming weekend in my studio!

(Above:  Window CL. Framed:  17" x 15". $265.)

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Focus on Fibers 2018

(Above:  Second Life Workshop at Focus on Fibers, a program of workshops and retreat time conducted at the Atlantic Center for the Arts outside New Smyrna, Florida.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

Last Thursday after making a presentation at the Swamp Fox Quilt Guild in Florence, South Carolina, I drove down I-95 to Florida.  Specifically, I was headed to a most amazing place, the Atlantic Center for the Arts. Everything about this place is special. The eco-friendly buildings have lots of natural light.  The above ground boardwalks make every walk one with nature. The food is terrific and the company is awesome.  I've taught my HOT workshop there before.  (CLICK HERE for that post from 2014.)  This time, I conducted my other workshop:  Second Life.  I bring EVERYTHING needed for a successful experience, including about half my enormous stash of vintage and antique household linens, lace, and ...

...even this embroidered apron!  Participants are welcome to whatever they need to create their artwork.  My only "rule" is: Promise to USE whatever you take!  It is fabulous to watch once neglected guest towels and crocheted doilies find a place in a new piece of stitching.  It is great to know that this nice lady will continue to wear this apron to future workshops!  (Considering the pristine condition of the apron, I don't think it had ever been worn before!  It was high time someone claimed it for its intended use ... and doesn't it look perfect on her!) 

(Above:  Some of the workshop participants working on pieces for the 8" x 10" frame I brought for each to use.)

My workshop description is:

SECOND LIFE is a workshop aimed to inspire participants to create fiber art heirlooms using vintage and recycled materials and to discover unique ways to stitch expressions of personal legacy. Various exercises are conducted to tap into hidden artistic desires, including stream-of-consciousness writing and tagging old keys with significant words. Crayon on fabric grave rubbings are incorporated with beads, buttons, old lace, and anonymous photos. This workshop delves into both memories from the past and hopes for future remembrance. Susan shares her vast collection of grave rubbing art quilts and her daily studio approaches to making art. Participants leave with more than a finished work but with ideas for their own action plan with regards to their own family treasures and personal fiber stash.

 (Above:  At the Edgewater-New Smyrna Cemetery making grave rubbings.)

Early on the second morning, we visited a nearby cemetery.  I'd already scouted the location and talked to the two maintenance men.  They told me all sorts of interesting stories about the place and pointed out significant markers for us to consider for a crayon-on-fabric rubbing.  Some of the participants did not go on this outing but it didn't matter.  I bring a broken tombstone with a lovely rose motif and an epitaph that includes the words: Blessed Sleep.

I used this tombstone on the set of the television program hosted by Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims.  I've made several small pieces from rubbings made on it.  (CLICK HERE to see two of them.)

Most of the participants brought family memorabilia.  This photograph, necklace, cosmetic compact, hanky, and eyeglass case were perfect on the antique crazy quilt scrap with the tatted doilies I brought.  Carefully, we designed the work to fit into a standard 16" x 20" shadowbox frame that she can find later.

This same lady designed another work first ... using an anonymous photo, lace, a scrap of embroidery, and beads coming entirely from my stash.  The beads were a recent donation to me from my friend Dolly Patton.  Years ago, Dolly's mother made fancy wedding cakes and decorated the setting with all sorts of tulle and these beads.

The beads also went on this wooden spool Christmas ornament made by Susanne Miller Jones.  I didn't get photos of all the keys that got tagged in this workshop or any of the other wrapped-and-stitched wooden spools ... but all sorts of things did get created, even a 3D piece or two!

(Above:  The Key to Harmony and an anonymous bride photograph with a tagged key reading: Happily Ever After.)

Like my other workshops, I teach by going a demo and then allowing participants time to work on their own.  I always finish my demonstration pieces.  In this workshop, presentation is very important, especially the "how to frame it" demonstrations.  So, I created the Key to Harmony in order to show how to "top mount" the work on a mat but get it into a frame without the glass touching it.  If you look closely, you can see the pure white "walls" that are glued to the interior sides of the picture frame.  They create the space/shadow box for the work.  Then, I took an old, anonymous photo previously fused to fabric.  I stitch on it, beaded it, and attached a tagged key.  The final demonstration showed how to attach a mat and lift it up to create space for the beads. 

(Above:  Tagged keys.)

In the evening, I worked too.  All these tags were made during the Deckle Edge Literary Festival last March.  (I blogged about this public art event HERE.)  The public used all my letters clipped from vintage ephemera to make bookmarks.  I knew even then that I would turn all the ones I made into tagged keys. While in Florida, I did it!  I also brought all the letters for the workshop too.

 (Above:  The one-meter telescope at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.)

One evening, however, I didn't work on any project or artwork.  Instead, I went to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to peer through their one-meter telescope.  Several times every year, the telescope is open for public viewing.  It was aimed at Ceres, the asteroid/dwarf planet.  I was thrilled.  I knew about the asteroid belt from middle school science class.  Everyone in the class had to write a report and my assignment was Ceres!  It was pretty cool to actually see it twinkling in the night sky!

I also visited Canaveral National Seashore which was just beautiful!  My time in Florida was grand!

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Second Shot! Ready, Aim, Fire! II

 (Above:  Ready, Aim, Fire! II.  Recycled police practice target fused to 2-ply rag board with hand stitched buttons.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

On April 22 the SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) international juried exhibition Guns: Loaded Conversations opens at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles in California.  Ready, Aim, Fire! is part of the exhibit.  It is even featured in the SAQA website's banner promoting the show.  The opening show runs through July 15th.  I'm very proud to be part of it.  The catalog arrived in this past week's mail. It's great! The exhibit is very, very strong.  I gladly signed the show contract permitting a two year loan of the piece.  It is hopeful that during this time additional venues will be found.  I was perfectly happy about all this until something happened.

 (Above: Ready, Aim, Fire! II, detail.)

An Atlanta based curator contacted me in regards to an autumn exhibit she was putting together.  The show focuses on contemporary artists who transform ordinary objects into unique works of art.  She requested Time, my 3D found object sculpture and Ready, Aim, Fire!  Of course I was thrilled to have my work noticed and wanted for a show. 

 (Time, found object assemblage of clock cases and parts with other objects.)

Time is most certainly available but Ready, Aim, Fire! will likely be sitting in the SAQA shipping center in Ohio next fall.  It's not appropriate to ask for it "on loan" from SAQA when it is already "on loan" to SAQA.  What's an artist to do?  Well ... I asked the curator if I could simply make another one.  The answer was YES!  This is the result ... a second shot!  I don't have the final details for this invitations exhibit but will post it when available.

(Above:  Ready, Aim, Fire! II sitting on my front porch for its photo shoot!  Ready, aim, snap that camera button!)

Monday, April 02, 2018

Celestial Orbs at ArtFields 2018

 (Above:  Celestial Orbs and me!  Click on any image to enlarge.)

Last summer I created an installation of circles for a solo show at Waterworks Visual Art Center, a regional museum in Salisbury, NC.  I called it Celestial Orbs.  It was made in part as a response to the total solar eclipse but also as a response to Waterworks' executive director who challenged me to make my fiber pieces in such a way that they didn't need custom picture framing.  CMFA (Columbia Music Festival Association) hosted me work-in-progress over the summer.  I blogged every week as more and more parts were made.  Finally, I submitted the installation to ArtFields, a nine-day competition held annually in Lake City, South Carolina. (April 20 - 28, 2018 ... obviously, I will not be at this event as I'll be doing the Smithsonian Craft Show in DC.  Still ... my work will be on view for this entire time.)

 (Above:  Installing Celestial Orbs at 122 Sauls Street in Lake City, SC.)

Today was my installation day.  It was quite an honor to be the first artist to put holes in a brand new wall in a brand new gallery space.  The fact of the matter is, the building isn't quite finished yet!  The "punch list" for the construction crew is underway in this fantastic new space.  The renovation of this once neglected store front is totally first-rate.  The wooden ceiling beams are exposed.  There's plenty of natural light in addition to great track lighting.  There are rolling, temporary walls too ... which are amazing units.  I'm on a permanent wall.  The place is truly beautiful. My husband Steve and I even got to meet the architect! 

 (Above:  Celestial Orbs at ArtFields in the new gallery space at 122 Sauls Street, Lake City, SC.)

It took less than an hour for me to attach the comet, the orbs, and all the little circles I call "comet dust".

The shadows cast on the wall are great too!