Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Alterations Exhibition

In the mood for some inspired cloth? The ArtCloth Network has an exhibition opening this week in Crystal Lake, Illinois. The ArtCloth Network (ACN) was formed to provide a forum and support network for artists who are actively creating art cloth. Part of the mission of the group is to provide exhibition opportunities for those engaged in creating ArtCloth. The organization has sponsored an ArtCloth exhibition every other year for the past 6 years. This exhibition was juried by Elin Noble in 2007 and has previously appeared at three other venues. It features a variety of styles and techniques from some of the premier textile artists in the United States. If you can't make it to Illinois to see the show in person, enjoy these photos from the exhibit.

108 Beads, Barbara Schneider

Boundary Light, Connie Tiegel

Spring, Darcy Love

Segmented Vertical Forms, Judy Langille

Oh, Give Me a Home, Katherine Sylvan

Connections: A Map, Lynn Harris

Erosion, Peggy Sexton

The Devil's Highway, by Susan Ettl

Self Portrait: Leaf #4, Sue Copeland Jones

Where Have All the Cactus Gone?, Susie Krage

Borderlands Desert 2, Susie Monday

Ground Cover: Lichen 1, Wrenn Slocum

The ArtCloth Network has an exhibit opening up this fall in Houston. Stay tuned for more information.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Small Works

Here are photos of the smaller pieces I've been working on this past week. They are all stretched over a canvas frame and are 12" x 12" or 10" x 10". The first four are a series using silk organza with a variety of resist and screenprinting techniques. The image above, Fingerprints, employs flour resist, screenprinting and metal leaf.

Cell Dance, was created with several resists, paper lamination, screenprinting, metal leaf and appliqued organza.

The Colosseum, was created with several layers of flour paste resist, paper lamination and hand painted with silk dyes and paints.

Secret Whispers, was created with flour paste resist, soy wax resist, screenprinting, discharge and metal leaf.

Beginnings was created a year ago, and I finally got around to the beading. It is cotton, dyed and overdyed with a metal leaf image.

Cool Breeze, is one of the 10 x 10s. It is cotton that has several resists, screenprinting, and metal leaf.

I have a few more in the works, but need to get started on a class assignment, so I probably will abandon them for a few weeks.

Some of these pieces are available for purchase on the ArtCloth Studios website.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Artist's Way - Week Four: No Reading

A week without reading. That's what this week was supposed to be. I willfully chose to ignore that prescriptive.

I've been pretty faithfully following the book The Artist's way, by Julia Cameron for the past four weeks. The book is designed to unlock one's creativity. The idea is to read a chapter each week, and complete the accompanying exercises. Most of the exercises revolve around self-reflection - identifying ways in which you sabotage your creativity and self worth, identifying things you enjoy or have enjoyed doing in the past. Readers are encouraged to make time for themselves each week, to write in a journal, to do something fun by themselves, to create.

Julia's premise about not reading is that it takes away from other, more creative and enriching pursuits. I suppose that could be true, although I find the computer to be more of a potential time waster. The book was written in 1992, so I suppose the prevalence of computers in our lives has changed a lot since then. She might very well change that to a week without computers if she wrote the book today.

So, I have decided to spend 2 weeks on this chapter. Next week I will go with minimal computer time. Yes, yes, I'm sure I should go completely without, but instead I have decided to limit my computer time to 30 minutes a day. That means I won't have time to open up all those emails from yahoo groups, newsletters from vendors, and all the other stuff that clogs the inbox. The challenge is to limit email usage to meaningful communication. I typically spend several hours a day on the computer, so that should really free up some time. Now, what to do? I won't have any excuses not to clean and organize my studio, or to work on an art donation for a silent auction fundraiser. Oh dear, I may actually have to cook dinner!

So, do you think you could go for a week without a computer?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Creative Capital

I had the privilege of attending a professional development workshop for artists three weeks ago, sponsored by the San Antonio Office of Cultural Affairs. Forty two artists submitted a proposal to the city, including photos of their work, an artist statement, resume and a statement of why they should be chosen. Twenty-four artists were selected to participate. Each artist prepared a 5 minute presentation of themselves and their work. As I watched the other visual artists, performing artists, film makers, writers and musicians in the group, I was both humbled and honored to be a part of such a talented group. Although later, we were given feedback that indicated the instructors felt that most of our presentations could use a lot of improvement. Oh well, isn't that what we were there for?

It was a great workshop that not only provided tools for planning, but also inspired me to think about my art and my career a bit differently. Goal setting was one of the many topics covered in the workshop.

I'm a strong believer in goal-setting and visualization. I remember a quote I heard years ago that really resonated with me (I don't know the source) - "If you can see it in your mind, you can have it in your life." I have always been goal oriented and I usually achieve the goals I have set. I find that just the act of visualizing what I want and writing it down seems to help bring it about.

I needed a week after the workshop to decompress. There was so much information, I didn't feel that my brain was capable of doing any planning at that point. After I had a chance to let the information percolate, I spent a few hours last Sunday contemplating what I want for my future. Not an easy thing to do. It is very easy to get caught up in someone else's definition of success. I tried to focus on the kind of life I want. It brought back a visioning exercise I used to do in the career development workshops I facilitated. It involves visualizing yourself in 10 years, visualizing all aspects of your life - where you live, what kind of house, what people are in your life, what you do with your free time, how much free time you have, what kind of work you do. I haven't done that exercise in about 8 years, and it was very helpful. If you are interested in trying it for yourself, you can download the entire exercise as a Word document.

The workshop was presented by Creative Capital, a national nonprofit organization that supports artists pursuing adventurous and imaginative work in the performing and visual arts, film/video, innovative literature, and emerging fields. The workshop has been described as a "crash course in self-management, strategic planning, fundraising, and promotion." As artists, we often forget that we are a small business. It's easy to overlook the business aspects of our work, because it's not as much fun as being in the studio.

All but one of the instructors were artists, so we had the benefit of learning from their experiences. It was inspiring to hear how they had used the tools in the workshop to achieve their professional goals. Now, I come from the corporate world, in which goal setting and strategic planning are annual activities. I know what I'm supposed to do. I just needed a little kick start.

Do you need a kick-start, too? A great way to start is to think about what you want in your life. Take 10 minutes to visualize your future and remember, "If you can see it in your mind, you can have it in your life."

Friday, June 19, 2009

12 x 12 x 122 Revisited

Do you like to hang pictures? How would you feel about hanging 488 pictures? That is what BECA Gallery owners Melissa Roberts and Kurt Schlough faced with the 12 x 12 x 122 exhibit. Each of the 122 artists in the show created four 12 x 12 canvases. The exhibit, which opened June 6th, features a variety of work, including painting, fiber, photography, mixed media, and sculpture, each on the surface of a 12 x 12 inch canvas. The artists include emerging artists who have never shown in a gallery as well as established artists from around the world.

Below are some group shots from the exhibit. The BECA Gallery website, http://www.becagallery.com/index.php, features the work of a few of the artists.

This wall has my pieces. They are a bit difficult to see. On the bottom row, count over to the 9th column from the left. Mine are the four at the bottom of that column. (See photos at the end of this entry.)

I enjoyed creating pieces for the exhibit. It was a challenge to work so small, but my muse came to the rescue. I created four for the exhibit, plus an additional five. I'm now working on some 10 x 10s. I still haven't photographed them all, so look for more photos in my next blog entry. Here are photos of the four that are in the exhibit. I just found out this weekend that the first one, Connection, has sold.


Cellular Memory

Labyrinthine Dream

The Sacred Path

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Happy Birthday from the President

Alright, alright, I'll admit it. I didn't really receive a birthday card from the president, just one with a photo of the president on it. Still, not a bad way to start the day.

My father called me in the morning and said that I get to call the shots on my birthday and to do whatever I want. I told him I was already on it. My husband took the day off so we could have a fun day, and I had the whole day planned. We spent the morning hiking in one of the local parks and went out for lunch. Most of the trails at the park were sunny, so we decided to try the Shady Creek trail. It was not well named, because most of the trail was in the full sun. We also hiked up to the observation tower. It had a great view of the city and the surrounding hill country.

The afternoons have been too hot to be outside, so I thought it would be a great idea to rearrange the furniture in my home studio. That may not sound like a fun way to spend one's birthday, but it was exactly what I wanted to do. I've had the itch to reorganize my studio for a few weeks now. I'm sure many of you can relate - the "stash" has gotten so big it's spilling outside of the closet and has taken root on the floor of the studio. I heard about a contest Dick Blick is having for a studio makeover. My husband said that if I sent them photos of what my studio looks like now, I would be sure to win! I realized that not only did I need to organize all the "stuff", I also needed to rearrange the furniture. It now is laid out much more efficiently, and I have more room for working. I'm now researching storage and organizing systems to figure out what will work best in my space. If anyone has any suggestions, I would love to hear them!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Twelve Voices From One

Work by Jane Dunnewold

A new fiber exhibit opened up June 5th at Gallery Nord in San Antonio. The exhibit features the work of 10 artists - Jane Dunnewold plus 9 of the 12 participants in her ArtCloth Mastery Program, a study of advanced education in surface patterning techniques, design concepts and color theory. The group has been working together for the past two and a half years, learning new techniques and building their voice. The exhibit reflects the transformation in their work over that period. Because the classes are held in ArtCloth Studios, where I am a member artist, I have had the opportunity to see how each individual's work has progressed. I was so impressed when I attended the class presentations last fall, that I decided to take the class this year. (More on that later.)

Each artist created four 12 x 12 pieces and several larger pieces. The work is stunning. Here are just a few pieces.

Joanne Weis

Patt Wilson

Kathleen Williams

Laurie Dodd

Laura Beehler

Mary LeBlanc

Patti Pitts

Annette Blair

Cathy Stechschulte

The exhibit showcases many styles and many approaches to artcloth. I find it fascinating to see how each individual took essentially the same surface design techniques and created such a varied body of work. If you have the chance to go, I highly recommend it.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Bacchus in a Junkyard?

I visited the San Antonio Museum of Art last week. I've been there a few times, but have not seen all the rooms. This time we focused on the contemporary art section. Later in the evening, we discussed our "favorites". The piece pictured above was the one that really intrigued me on this visit. It is a photograph titled Bacchus Astride a Barrel, by Brazilian artist Vik Muniz.

At first glance, I thought "Oh, just a remake of an old master's work." Muniz did recreate the composition from Rubens painting of Bacchus. When I moved in for a closer look, I saw that the background consisted of junk. Lots of rusted metal, old tires, an old refrigerator, a filing cabinet. At first I thought it was a collage of photos, assembled to create the composition. On closer inspection, I realized that it was not a collage, each piece of junk was carefully placed to create the image.

This piece intriqued me enought that I did some research on Muniz. This photo was from his series titled, Pictures of Junk. The artist raided junkyards in Rio de Janeiro, and transported his finds to a warehouse, which became his studio. With the warehouse floor as his canvas, and the junk as his paint, he recreated old paintings of Greek and Roman mythological figures. His "canvas" was about the size of a basketball court, and a group of neighborhood boys helped him arrange the junk to create his compositions. Once the junk was arranged to his satisfaction, he took a photograph from a catwalk above. The series was created in 2006, each photo approximately 9' x 6'.

I really like art that has a "bonus" for those who move in for a closer look. This piece definitely had a bonus. It made me think, not only about the message within the junk, but also about how it was created. I guess that's what good art does - brings the viewer in for a closer look and inspires thought.

So, what piece of art have you seen lately that inspired you? I would love to hear your stories.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Design Explorations with Elmer's Glue and India Ink

This week I spent time playing with Elmer's glue and india ink. The ink and the glue react to create an interesting crackle effect. I read about this technique in the book Design by Accident, by James F. O'Brien. I tried both wet-on-wet and wet-on-dry techniques, all on watercolor paper. First I applied the glue and let it dry. Once dry, I brushed on india ink. It doesn't seem to do much at first, but as it sits, the glue resists the ink and a crackle pattern is formed. The way the glue is applied to the paper will determine the final pattern. Straight lines vs curved lines, bristle brush vs foam brush, fingers or sponges vs brushes - all will create a different effect. Then I scanned each image and manipulated it to create additional patterns. See some of my results below.

The second technique I tried was to brush on the india ink while the glue was still wet. This seems to result in a greater crackling pattern, although it is harder to get a pure black and white image. The ink tends to mix with the glue to make gray in spots. Below are some of the results from the wet-on-wet experiments.

I'm having fun with these explorations, but now I have so many images, it's a bit overwhelming! Next week I plan to take some time and cull through them to see what might work for my next series.

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