Saturday, September 05, 2009

More Art

Surprise! My niece, Jen, from my long relationship in Upstate NY came to visit over night. Families are getting much more complicated these days! She's traveling the country in her truck, learning about alternative building techniques, working on a farm on Whidby Island, heading to the Olympic National Forest to camp, to Olympia, and then to an alternative building conference in OR, someplace warm for the winter, maybe eventually back to Asheville, NC, if nothing else strikes her fancy along the way.

She is strong and can do construction...or make an Art quilt. From my ripe old age of 62, the world seems like a daunting and scary place for those between 20 and thirty, but there seems to be a movement, much like ours in the Sixties, to find and build on the things that are good and hopeful about this beleaguered world, and I applaud them!

I love my house on the hill and am doing my exploring here for now. I did my share of traveling and camping out back when I couldn't afford a hotel. I'm happy to have all those memories (luckily I've been keeping a journal since I was 22, so I still can look back and see what I did and what I thought about it all.)

I think of myself as having taken my retirement in my youth, when I could enjoy the benefits of freedom/poverty, which seem to go together in this culture. I didn't mind so much the sink traps in the schoolhouse in northern VT freezing in the winter, since I had a 24'x 36' studio and all the time in the world in which to create, cross-country skiing forever on any sunny day, riding a camel in Egypt, enjoying museums and cafes in Paris, snorkeling in the only underwater state park.

Now I get to travel through teaching. Also through exploring materials and inventing new combinations. The blue wall hanging was made for Anna Wianko Chassman's Sixtieth birthday...we all had to bring limericks, and read them before we got to share the carrot cake. She has a lot of very creative friends!

I keep looping back to all the media I've tried and loved, each time with a slightly different approach. The double-sided iron-on stickum, like Steam a Seam, makes assembling a small wall hanging very quick and easy. I wrote the limerick on paper and put it under translucent fabric on which I drew some of the black birds that Anna loves, along with fabrics and colors representing earth, sea, mountains of our Olympic Peninsula....any occasion is an opportunity for ART-making!

The Imitation of Life Construction Company show in San Diego is Such a great name, that I always use the exhibit as an opportunity to have a deadline prod me into doing new work...I work best under pressure, it seems. No more dithering about the Absolute Perfect way to do something, just DO IT!!! See, sometimes I do take my own advice.

I got the battered (nicely textured) metal box at an estate sale right in my neighborhood. Is it sad...or see a person's lifetime accumulated treasures going for a quarter apiece?

One of the show's themes this year is breast cancer research, so the plastic beads spell out BREASTS across the classically naked women on the back, whose breasts are carefully-concealed.

I used the layered, quilted body technique in the Seventies, and last winter for some of the pieces for the show in San Antonio at Laurie Brainerd's Gallery. This time the body is Facile, the lighter version of Ultra Suede, from the days when I used to do craft shows in Maryland, and go nuts in G Street Fabrics.

Here's another resurrected technique: acrylic paint on 3-D muslin forms. I did a lot of those during the Seventies and Eighties...I'll do flashbacks for you some time, if I run out of new things to talk about...or you can purchase my DESIGNING A DOLL AND MAKING FACES BOOK from the gallery on my website.

The Big Doll project has given me kind of a love/hate relationship with size...but I got a book of Niki de Saint Phalle's sculptures the last time I was at the Seattle Art Museum. There have been SO MANY stitches in the Big Doll, but on the other hand, Size Does Matter!

I think these skaters would look great Big...I need a quicker technique for size...Any ideas?

More small wall pieces in my repertoire recently..for the Fiber Arts Festival in Sequim at the beginning of October.

This one has been simmering in the back of my mind for several seasons. Last fall when I visited my mother in Iowa, she had saved a baggie of carefully-washed peach pits for me. My first instinct was to thank her and then compost them, but since she had saved them so specially for me, they seemed to carry a great baggage or aura--to put it in a more positive way. I instinctively assembled them with a snippet from a twist of her hair that was cut in 1945, as her handwriting on the envelope in the lower right corner records, and some of the rusty metal pieces from my collection.

Figuring out how to attach such disparate and three-dimensional items as peach pits and rusty metal was a challenge. After considering Apoxie Sculpt, glues of various kinds, and threads, I hit on the masterful choice of tulle ( a very fine netting), which is a bit stretchy to go around corners, but does not completely obliterate the item below.

I covered the envelop with my mother's hair and writing with a very fine batiste from Indian fabric samples that Pondicherri sells at the end of each season.

The large running stitch with a combination of red Oliver Twist and copper thread attaches everything under the net of forest green tulle and adds texture and line.

I'm entering Windsor House, a mixed-media sculpture I made last winter and these two wall hangings in the exhibit in Sequim.

This one was inspired by a set of poem fragments I made out of a box of "poetry words," the challenge being to use all the words in however many poetry fragments it took...words, images, colors, textures...a much more crisp use of shapes and color than the Marian's Hair piece.

Last weekend my work was interrupted by these two beasts sucking blackberries off the end of the branches just below my desk. They had undoubtably stopped off at the plum tree, too, on their way down through my yard.

Now, Hugh and Connie have just arrived and we have to decide what to do first, eat or hike...or go see Julie, Julia again.

More Later! Don't forget to sign up for classes at the Fiber Arts Festival in Sequim in Just One Month!

Two more days off now to keep going on projects...MUST start back on the HOT FLASH: A Celebration book again to be finished by spring.

I'm continuing work on the Big Doll, going back and forth between my computer and the doll to save my back, while listening to INEZ OF MY SOUL by Isabel Allende on DVD. The rain and sun come and go. Hugh is off to make a voice-over demo tape, so he can return to the acting he loves on a full time basis. Connie just found out that her job of many decades will be over next week...we never know what is going to happen.

One hopes that each crisis leads to opportunity!

We watched Seraphina, about a French Naive artist in Port Townsend yesterday...I identified so much with Seraphina's willingness to sacrifice Everything for her painting...I'm hoping I can have some minimal comforts as well. FOLLOW YOUR HEART!



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