Friday, June 30, 2023

More Pieces for my Patchwork Installation

(Above:  Tacking the pieces to previously black-painted frames.  The work above measures 18" x 23".  Click on any image to enlarge.)

Not all the pieces for my Patchwork Installation are as large as the one in the above image.  Some are only 8" x 10".  Most are somewhere in between, averaging 13" x 17" or thereabout.  My process is to first staple recycled, black industrial felt to a stretcher bar. (The felt was formerly the protective covering for a kayak or canoe while in transit from a manufacturer to my local outdoors shop.)  A bright yellow pencil line is drawn onto the felt ... around the black-painted frame ... establishing the perimeter of the final piece. Then ... leaving a half inch space between the scraps and the yellow line, I pin sections of quilts, lace, crochet doilies, upholstery trim, ribbon, bits of embroidery, and assorted textiles onto the felt ... constructing the piece.  Each piece is then hand-stitched together before being removed from the stretcher bar.  The half-inch border is important.  It allows me to tack the work inside the perimeter of the frame.  I have fourteen or fifteen different styles/colors of upholstery tacks, ordered from Lee's Decorative Showcase.  The excess felt is trimmed away using a soldering iron.  This process is not done one-at-a-time.  I generally construct at least ten pieces at a time.  I wait until they are all stitched before tacking them to their frames and melting away the excess felt.  Recently, I finished fifteen pieces.  The blog post shows most of them.  Unfortunately, I didn't notice the shadow of my own arm on some of the pictures ... but that's okay!  I'll do better with the next batch.  They are already being stitched!  More to come!  I'm closing in on my goal of one-hundred! 


Monday, June 19, 2023

Mandala CLXIII, Spinning Out of Control

(Above:  Mandala CLXIII. Custom framed: 40" x 40".  Found objects hand-stitched to a section of a vintage quilt. Found objects include:  Mahjong tiles; dominoes; clear, plastic candle holders for a Xmas tree or cake (?); copper-colored, red, and blue can pull tabs; external toothed lock washers; a brass lid; an ornate aluminum lid; light blue syringe plungers; blue plastic bottle caps; large and small screw eyes; a brioche mold; a blue casino chip; a coffee K-pod; a glass part of a table lamp; part of a rotary telephone receiver and ringer; 45 record adapters; toy motorcycle wheels; red and white plastic connectors from a child's building set; crystal chandelier prisms; buttons and beads.  Click on any image to enlarge.) 

For quite some time, I've thought about stitching another "spinning out of control mandala".  I did this once before.  The piece sold.  (CLICK HERE to access the blog post featuring this artwork.)  The original idea was to use some of the unique things I had in my stash, things that I didn't have in multiples.  Yet, I didn't want to try duplicating my design.  So, I didn't look at my earlier blog post or any of the images saved on my computer.  I thought I'd started with circles of buttons.  Looking back (and finally reading my own blog post! LOL!), I realize that's not what I did.

(Above:  The well worn, vintage quilt used for the mandala's base.)

I didn't remember that the base of my earlier "spinning out of control" mandala was made on scraps of a quilt that I stitched together.  I didn't do that either.  Instead, I cut a big square from this red, white, and blue vintage quilt.  The quilt was well worn and donate to my stash by a local friend.  Then, I penciled circles onto the surface and stitched rings of dominoes, Mahjong tiles, buttons, copper can pull tabs, etc. 

(Above:  In progress photo.)

Looking back, I now realize that I started with an off-kilter focal point made from three, large pinking scissors and three, strange piano parts. Inside my penciled lines, I started stitching randomly placed small objects. The design wasn't obvious enough. To correct this problem, I added the circles of bottons.

(Above:  Detail of Mandala CLXIII.)

Because this time I stitched all the circles first (and because they were made from so many different things), there really wasn't a good way to add random objects.  Instead, small circular arrangements looked better.  They were fun to construct.

(Above:  Detail of Mandala CLXIII.)

Now that I remember (LOL!) what I did, I will probably try again ... hoping to use some of the many found objects in my stash that just haven't found a place on a mandala.  I won't try to duplicate my earlier design.  In fact, I have a totally new idea and can't wait to start it.

(Above:  Detail of Mandala CLXIII.)

Unfortunately, I will have to wait.  Why?  Well, I'm deep into stitching pieces for my upcoming Patchwork Installation.  Thankfully, I love doing that too.  Both projects feed my soul, my desire to give "second life" to all these assorted things!

(Above:  Detail of Mandala CLXIII.)

Sunday, June 18, 2023

More pieces for my Patchwork Installation

(Above and below:  Individual units for my Patchwork Installation.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

Although this is the week when summer officially starts, autumn and September will be here before I know it!  My plan is to have at least one hundred pieces ready for the solo show opportunity at the Imperial Centre's art gallery in Rocky Mount, NC.  The idea is that these pieces will be hung abutting one another ... meandering up and down and across the gallery wall.  I've envisioned a stream of pieces that will even turn the corner in the gallery space.  There's a free standing wall.  The end is only 7 3/8" in width.  I have a piece for that narrow space too.  The pieces in this blog post number 70 - 78.  Already, I have about fifteen more constructed and just waiting for me to stitch together.  It is a real joy to give "second life" to these old, often well worn, and generally neglected pieces.  Now ... back to stitching!


Thursday, June 08, 2023

Mandala CLXII and the Patchwork Installation Continues

(Above:  Mandala CLXII.  Custom framed: 25 1/4" x 25 1/4".  Found objects hand-stitched to a section of a vintage quilt.  Objects include: A trivet made from Popsicle sticks and beads; two different sizes of blank, glass slides; bamboo styled salad forks; copper beverage can tabs; keys; brass screw eyes; clear, plastic candle holders for cakes; vintage film capacitors; brass buckle slides; assorted buttons and beads.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

Even though I'm hard at work creating more and more units for my Patchwork Installation, I had to stitch another Found Object Mandala.  The vintage Popsicle stick trivet had been sitting on my mat cutter for weeks and weeks.  It seemed to be calling to me, "Susan! Use me!"  When I acquired the blank glass slides, I couldn't ignore the trivet any longer! LOL!

(Above:  Detail of Mandala CLXII.)

Most of my Found Object Mandalas are presented in floater frames, frames that don't lip over the perimeter.  This one, however, is in a traditional frame.  I've had the frame for years.  It had another, older piece in it.  That piece has been cut up and made into greeting cards.  To be honest, the greeting cards look better than the piece ever did ... and the mandala looks better in the frame than the piece ever did too!

(Above and below:  Individual pieces for my Patchwork Installation.)

In the meantime, I've been stitching up a storm in anticipation for my solo show at the Imperial Centre's Maria V. Howard Arts Center in Rocky Mount, NC.  The exhibit runs from September 1 to December 31, 2023.  My vision for this installation is a running, linear arrangement of the individual units ... meandering down the length of the gallery walls ... flexibly hung with the sides abutting one anther ... moving up and down, around the corners, above and below other artwork.  My goal is at least one hundred pieces.  So far, I've got sixty-nine!  Each piece features scraps of quilts and other textiles stitched together and then tacked to black painted frames.  So far, so good!


Sunday, June 04, 2023

Trip to Wilmington, NC for an invitational fiber show

(Above:  Selfie on the day after the art reception! Click on any image to enlarge.)

Recently I was selected to take part in a national, invitational fiber exhibit curated by Susan Kranyik.  Our correspondence was amazing, fun, and included an undeniable connection that goes beyond fiber and stitch, politics, family dynamics, and even the willingness to be supportive.  Susan instantly understood that the pieces I most wanted to exhibit were ones created during the pandemic that had never been shown outside my blog, social media, and my own studio.  Basically, I wanted to let a few of these works have "their day in the spotlight".  I wanted REAL EYES to see the artwork.

(Above: A photo near the time the reception ended ... including my Cemetery Flags being viewed by one of my longest friends who just happens to live in Wilmington!)

The show is up through June 25 at ArtWorks, an incredible warehouse in which more than sixty artists' studios exist.  The space includes more than one area for temporary exhibitions, a gift shop, offices, and a sales area.  Confluence-Connections, the fiber exhibit, occupied a large, well lit, professional gallery area, and I was so pleased to see my work hanging alongside the works of many friends including Patricia Turner, Richard Lund, Penny Mateer, Beverly Smith, J. Bruce Wilcox, Mary Mazziotti, Michele Jaquis, R'hea Roland-Singer, and Robin Lyn Haller.  I was especially happy to have an opportunity to see Cemetery Flags on the wall.  Let's face it, at just over nine-feet, it needs a very tall wall and this space was perfect.  My other works included The Protector, Lost & Found VI, and Capitals on Blue and Gold

(Above:  Selfie with Steve in the Belvedere/upper attic of the Bellamy Mansion.)

Most of the time, I simply ship my artwork to a venue and include a pre-paid return shipping label.  I don't actually go, but Susan Kranyik's vision, excitement, and overall personality made both Steve and I want to attend the opening reception.  We are so glad we went!  We were able to go to dinner with my one-and-only true friend from elementary/middle/high school.  She happens to live in Wilmington.  We were also able to visit several historic sites in Wilmington.

(Above:  The front of the Bellamy Mansion.)

We really liked the self guided tour of the Bellamy Mansion.  It was like peeking into the lives of an elite family and their slaves during and after the Civil War.

(Above:  A parlor at the Bellamy Mansion.)

For the most part, Steve and I were the only ones in the grand house ...

... admiring the china, silver, gasoliers, faux-marble fireplaces, and period furniture.

(Above:  The parlor at the Burgwin-Wright Mansion.)

We also took a guided tour of the nearby Burgwin-Wright Mansion ... which was like stepping further back in the history of Wilmington ... to pre-Revolutionary days.  On the grounds was a small artisan and arts festival.  We also went to the Farmer's Market, walked the Cape Fear River boardwalk, and had lunch in a great craft brewery.  If possible, Steve and I will return to this charming city instead of having that pre-paid shipping label put on the boxes that brought my artwork there.  Another trip to Wilmington would be great fun!