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great news…

Monday, September 26th, 2016
detail, Defining Moments 12: No Means NO

detail, Defining Moments 12: No Means NO

Apparently I did not blog post earlier about this piece and now I have very wonderful news. The Cliff Notes version is Defining Moments 12: No Means NO has been juried into the biennial Quilt National 2017.

With just 11% of the entries chosen for the 2017 exhibit it is a highly competitive process to have one’s work accepted. I have entered other years and my work never made the cut. The last time I entered was 2009 as knee replacements stole my attention after that. This year I entered just the one piece as I felt it conveyed a very important message as well as good crafts(wo)manship. Traditionally the rules have disallowed online publication of said work before the exhibit opens, so the piece is not on my website nor have I posted it in total anywhere. But I will give you a taste, a detail of the hand-stitching which made this work so remarkable.

The design evolved when the Stanford swimmer got such a lenient sentence for his sexual assault on campus. His ‘victim’ wrote a very profound letter which stirred my repressed feelings about my own campus rape over 50 years ago. I got really angry, and I felt shame (for not reporting it). I was just about to commit to fight for social justice for women on college campuses nationwide when I realized I hate being an activist! I’d rather make art. So make art I did. I made a new #12, squeezing it between two previous pieces in the series.

I screen printed my own story to white cotton, slashed to represent the shattering of my sense of personal safety and trust, and then hand-stitched like crazy. As I neared the bottom of the piece my stitching became much more intense and deliberate. Afterwards I realized that was old emotion leaking though.

There has been some rumbling on social media from artists whose work was declined. Some say no one wants to see narrative work, no one wants to be told a story. They want to see only beautiful quilts, work they would love to hang in their home. To these artists I say three things.

One, everyone is different. If we were all the same and made all the same work, how bloody boring would that be? Secondly, while I appreciate a beautiful quality piece suitable for the living room as much as the next person, I feel storytelling/narrative work also has a place. It takes great courage to excavate these old stories but in doing so we give others permission to think about and tell their own…and everyone has a story! This work starts conversation. Just think what a different world we would live in if more people felt permission to speak their truth instead of bury it in addiction or aggression. And finally, it is simply good karma to be happy for your colleagues’ success.

 

and another one bites the dust…

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016
detail, Shadow Self

detail, Shadow Self

This month I finished Defining Moments #11. This piece is titled Shadow Self and hopefully is the last piece I ever do about being shortened. I wanted to make it simple yet impactful and know I accomplished that. I screen-printed text about mixed messages and body image onto both silk organza and commercial batiks. I took the 6″ slice from the current profile and embroidered it to the shadow. The most challenging aspect of this piece was the stitching as it is a whopping 76″ long. I keep pondering investing in a bigger machine, especially so when fighting with this much yardage plus batt.

I continue to love working on this series and soon will be halfway through it! Now I am ruminating on how to apply text most effectively for #12. One of the most remarkable things about completing this series so far is how many materials have come from my own stash and collection. I really have not purchased much cloth at all;  although I did buy an entire roll of batting!

And coming up soon… the opening receptions and events of the Diaspora exhibit. I am honored to have my work included in this 5 month long exhibit at the renowned Textile Museum in Washington, DC . My daughter and I will go have a girls’ weekend and enjoy the festivities! Life is good.

Stories of Migration: Contemporary Artists Interpret Diaspora
April 16–September 4, 2016
In this juried and invitational exhibition, forty-four textile artists use the medium to comment on migration: historic events that scattered communities across continents; today’s accounts of refugees from Syria, Africa, and Latin America, and others adapting to new homes; and personal accounts of family members. Co-organized with Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) and with assistance from GW’s Diaspora Program in the Elliott School of International Affairs. Learn more at museum.gwu.edu/diaspora.

 

11, 12 and new…

Sunday, February 28th, 2016

I recall my grandmother at about my current age telling my 20 yr old self that time passes more quickly the older one gets. At the time I just thought, well, she’s old. Now I get it and I see it everywhere, like on laundry day. Is it really 12 days since I last did laundry? On the Wii Fit, what? 5 days since I last used it? Or today, as the second month of the New Year draws to a close and I haven’t blogged for a month?

What I have been doing this past month is working on the collaborative series, doing Arts Guild board biz/lead communicator for our big fundraiser, and searching for a new rescue pup.

Defining Moments #11 in process

Defining Moments #11 in process

I am now stitching #11 which I hope will be the last piece I ever do about my surgeries. I thought long and hard about how I wanted to make a profound yet simple statement and I am thrilled to say that has been accomplished. What also feels like closure to the tale is the backing fabric is from the early Tall Girl Series art cloth I designed. I plan to use more fabrics from that series for the facings and sleeve as well. As number 12 is percolating in my brain I am thinking a lot about hand-writing the stories to cloth rather than printing them. With a total of 25 to do, coming up almost to the halfway point is very gratifying!

In the meantime my exemplary skills as a volunteer were heralded in the latest issue of the SAQA Journal. And I have been worker bee extraordinaire for the annual Arts Guild off Sonoma REPO show. This is a very quirky show comprised of donated artwork made of minimally 70% recycled materials. Over seventy artists are donating work. The show is up March 5-26 . Check the website for details.

Keeping Up Appearances #11, vintage cotton tablecloth

Keeping Up Appearances #11, vintage cotton tablecloth

I am submitting two pieces of the Keeping Up Appearances series; #11 and #12 to REPO.  KUA #11 is a dye-painted screen-printed vintage 50’s cotton tablecloth. When viewed close-up the stencil printing of that era is apparent through the surface design. In addition KUA #12 was also dye-painted and screen-printed with etiquette text on mid-century pink and red monogrammed linen dinner napkins.

Finally, ever since we lost our old dog Millie last summer I have been perusing rescue sites. We rescued/then  surrendered a jack russell mix last fall. It was heartbreaking and I was pretty sure then I was finished with rescuing dogs. As defiant I was in my resolve I continued to search and last weekend cast a wider net finding exactly what I was looking for…a terrier mix that was neither pittie nor chihuahua. So this week we went to Monterey and adopted this wire haired sweet girl we have named Mopsy.

Mopsy

Mopsy

And so we begin anew…she is already in training to be my ever faithful studio companion!

field trip

Monday, January 25th, 2016
Torn Earth, detail

Torn Earth, detail

Today hubs and I took a field trip to see Earth Stories at the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles. The stars aligned with a dry forecast, moderate weekend traffic as opposed to heavier weekday traffic and best of all no Super Bowl festivities! We returned through San Francisco on a gorgeous clear, sunny winter’s day. It was well worth the trip and a fun date!

All the work juried into this exhibit dealt with an environmental issue. My work Torn Earth celebrates the work of Architecture for Humanity, a non-profit firm dedicated to building a more sustainable future through the power of professional design. The organization’s projects focus on post-disaster development, design and reconstruction of seismic resistant housing.

Torn Earth

 

 

 

I had perused the exhibit catalog but there is nothing like seeing the work up close and personal. It was really intriguing to see how each artist dealt with their own particular cause. I was really pleased that my work was installed correctly and that the journal of my work was holding up well despite lots of travel and handling. Several of the journals were falling apart; some were detailed and interesting while others left me wondering about the artist’s process.

Light Towers by Mirjam Pet-Jacobs

Light Towers by Mirjam Pet-Jacobs

 

 

The pieces I most wanted to see did not disappoint, like Dutch artist, Mirjam Pet-Jacobs’ Light Towers about energy saving lightbulbs. The piece was silk organza with lights wired within the layers. The engineering feat alone was impressive, and made an impact; yet it had to be flexible enough to pack and ship abroad.

Another that had caught my eye was Alternative vs. Fossil Fuels by Cynthia St. Charles. Her extensively screen-printed background was stunning and engaging using different texts, in varied fonts but in similar color paint.

Alternative vs. Fossil Fuels by Cynthia St. Charles

Alternative vs. Fossil Fuels by Cynthia St. Charles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kathy Nida’s Wise Choice was a piece was one that could be examined for hours. There was so much intricate detail. Just beautiful and intriguing work!

Wise Choice by Kathy Nida

Wise Choice by Kathy Nida

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Both Kathy York’s Crowded House

Crowded House by Kathy York

Crowded House by Kathy York

 

and Paula Kovarik’s Stream of Consequences were chock full of surprise. Kathy decided to count the stuff in her house which took her six months. She then wrote all the 56344 items on the work. After the exhibit will she have 56345?

Crowded House, detail

Crowded House by Kathy York, detail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One could’ve breezed by Paula’s and think, oh, pretty work, until stepping closer to examine the stitching which was remarkable. The story lie in the details!

Stream of Consequences by Paula Kovarik

Stream of Consequences by Paula Kovarik

Stream of Consequences by Paula Kovarik, detail

Stream of Consequences by Paula Kovarik, detail

 

 

Hope is The Thing With Feathers by Mary Pal, detail

Hope is The Thing With Feathers by Mary Pal, detail

Mary Pal’s cheesecloth image of Dr. George Archibald in Hope is the Thing With Feathers was really gorgeous.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While Valya’s He Knew That She Knew That I Know was stunning on a bright red wall. The detail was as interesting as the entire piece.

He Knew That She Knew That I Know, by Valya

He Knew That She Knew That I Know, by Valya

He Knew That She Knew That I Know by Valya, detail

He Knew That She Knew That I Know by Valya, detail

Tender Gardens by Marion Coleman

Tender Gardens by Marion Coleman

 

I also loved Marion Coleman’s Tender Gardens about community gardens in San Francisco’s Tenderloin where there are no grocery stores.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And Leni Levenson Wiener’s It’s A Shell of a Problem about the endangered turtle and tortoise species worldwide

It's A Shell of A Problem by Leni Leveson Weiner

It’s A Shell of A Problem by Leni Levenson Weiner

Lynn Krawczyk’s Latte Landfill  was about 40% of stuff in the landfill being paper products and coffee cups.

Latte Landfill by Lynn Krawczyk

Latte Landfill by Lynn Krawczyk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And Noriko Endo’s Woodland, another intricate and stunning piece from her woods series

Woodland by Noriko Endo

Woodland by Noriko Endo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The exhibit is up until February 28. You might want to go see it!

Earth Stories at San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles

Earth Stories 

 

 

Earth Stories at San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles

Earth Stories

 

 

on getting out of my own way…

Wednesday, January 6th, 2016

TG Series clothI have spent most of this day fighting the voice that tells me I must go downstairs (to the cold basement) and create two new thermofax screens to print cloth for #11. This sense of urgency is based on two things; that #10 is nearly completely stitched and with 15 more to go, time is a wastin’. Even with all the self awareness work I have done I still seem to occasionally believe that old family mantra that procrastination = laziness. Unbelievable!

Way back last year though I began to see procrastination = process & fermentation so why should I feel the least bit poorly that I am not interested in making those screens right this minute, or worse yet applying them immediately to cloth? After all it is just January 5 and I have 361 more days thanks to Leap Year to make those 15 pieces, or at least ten of them.

So utilizing the best excuse possible of a cold basement on a rainy winter’s day I chose to stay upstairs and stitch more of #10. I put on some Bach and stitched for quite some time. I accomplished a lot not the least of which was I got out of my head. It occurred to me that the real reason I had not wanted to go make the screens and use them was I was not yet content with my choice of fabrics for this piece. I had pinned some choices to the design wall, based entirely on the available length of the fabrics. Today it came to me that I could use instead other fabric I had not even considered; fabric that makes total and complete sense. For the theme of #11 is what I hope will be the last time I tell in cloth the story of my shortening surgeries.

The new cloth for #11 is already printed with imagery. It is a piece from the very beginning of my work on the TallGirl Series. It is printed with tall girl tales for which I had changed the font so the stories were illegible. It was designed a decade ago when I’d just begun to find my voice, but still was fearful of the repercussion of doing so. How totally appropriate and relevant to use cloth from the project conception to put closure on it today.

Thanks be to Johann for the clarity! We must visit more often.

 

quick trip to Cincinnati…

Sunday, June 28th, 2015

cincy.art.zombieLast weekend I made a quick trip to Cincinnati for an art opening. My work Currents #13 was juried into Art Comes Alive 2015 sponsored by Art Design Consultants of Cincinnati.

Currents 13, detail

Currents 13, detail

There was one direct flight from the Bay Area to Cincinnati so I jumped on it, flew all night and arrived none the worse for wear!  I stayed at a really fun hotel recommended by a local friend. the 21cMuseum Hotel was possibly the best hotel I have ever stayed in.

They have an entire 2nd floor in-house gallery, hallway and lobby art with both permanent and changing art exhibitions. They have an award winning restaurant and a great staff. And because I often read hotel directories, while looking for room service menus, I also found they have a great sense of humor. Thus the ICE zombie apocalypse instructions!

cincy.art.hotelartcincy.art.hallway.artcincy.art.hotelart.2Ironically I took more art photos at the hotel than I did at the opening. The yellow penguin snapped in the elevator moved curiously around the hotel.

The reception desk contained molded human hands thrust upright under glass. And the hallway to the lobby restrooms had a Keith Haring vibe to it with motion cameras changing the pattern as folks walked on it! The jungle scene was painted on all four lobby walls with other art by Abano Alfonso installed on top. It was fascinating!

01-Dunham_No.-16.3264.6_SRED-1

work of Natalie Dunham. image courtesy of ADC

The art at Art Comes Alive was stunning as well. Mostly I just took in the scene with my eyeballs absorbing every minute. That said, two of my favorite works, both award winners were:  Natalie Dunham, painted & chopped sticks, which looked a lot like yardsticks, and then fastened with bolt and rod to torque the angle. This piece was was stunning and she won both People’s Choice award (got my vote!) and a contract.

work of Amy Genser . image courtesy of ADC

work of Amy Genser . image courtesy of ADC

 

 

Amy Genser’s work also was captivating. At first I thought it might be fabric but upon closer inspection proved to be paper, rolled in sushi-like parts and constructed on painted board.

It was such an honor to have my work exhibited with this spectacular fine art, let alone designing the sole textile juried into this competition.

 

 

And on the return trip my window seat ensured I captured lots of aerial shots of our beautiful country…literally art is everywhere!

salt ponds on approach

salt ponds on approach

Rocky Mountains

Rocky Mountains

Colorado River

Colorado River

this and that…

Sunday, April 26th, 2015
glorious NM clouds make for fantastic sunsets

glorious NM clouds make for fantastic sunsets

Last week I traveled with a friend for a mixed media art class in Santa Fe, NM. Anyone who knows me well knows I am a total NM junkie. It takes little to convince me to go to NM, and this my 14th trip was no exception. This time I spent no time in galleries, the cooking school or on the plaza, however.

All my time was consumed with art-making, eating and sleeping. With possibly 100 great restaurants in Santa Fe, we chose repeats at our favorites! And with preparation I was able to consume everything I loved including an entire week of green chile and blue corn anything.

green please!

green please!

foodWe also crammed in two errands, one to see the SAQA NM region’s Cultural Red exhibit at the capitol roundhouse and the other a visit to our favorite indian jewelry trading post, the Santa Fe Exchange.  It was delightful!

We studied with Betty Busby whose work I have been in awe of for a long while. I bought a piece of her work in 2011 from the SAQA auction and having it hang in my office is such a treat, and daily reminder of all that is possible to explore in this medium. Spending the week with Betty really demystified her work for me and made me appreciate even more its detail and intricacy. Additionally she is such a generous soul and funny person so it was overall a great experience. As I was fully ‘in the moment’ I was also able to appreciate the art immersion, the relaxation and the gift of time away.

painted leaves

painted leaves

We painted non-wovens, such as these leaves and the outline of an aged cactus, which strangely looks a bit like a totem.

old cactus sketch cut in fabric

old cactus sketch cut in fabric

We also painted several pieces of silk under/over textured mat surfaces…

painted silk over plastic mat

painted silk over plastic mat

 

And used Shiva paint sticks to create patterns on previously painted fabrics.   shiva

Now that I am back I am picking up where I left off on the collaboration as well as enjoying an online class titled iPad for Artists which reminds me I best get started…

 

creeping along…

Sunday, March 1st, 2015
the right side of the vintage chenille baby blanket

the right side of the chenille vintage baby blanket

Back in the day when I was a hand weaver, before discovering I could buy fabric already woven, I used to hear stories from brave souls who chose to weave with chenille yarn. The horror stories were how it creeps. Being a non-chenille weaver I never quite understood the creeping properties until this weekend, when I set out to free motion stitch some chenille.

This piece for the collaborative series is partially constructed from a vintage chenille crib blanket. So vintage in fact that it was my own crib blanket.

ridgeback stitching

ridgeback stitching

I spent quite a bit of down-time pondering how to stitch the chenille. I very nearly hand-stitched it. Only last minute while designing the piece did I decide to reverse it so that the rows of sheared cloth would actually be inside next to the batting. I started stitching at the top which gave this really interesting ridgeback effect. Once I hit stride where most of the cut design work was did it get really difficult and began to creep big time.

the reverse side of the vintage chenille baby blanket, clown detail

the reverse side of the vintage chenille baby blanket, clown detail

Interestingly the creep gave it more of a 3-d texture and while it still looks rather ridgeback it also appears stiff as a board. Yet I am so happy, relieved, never need to do that again, over the top, overjoyed to be finished stitching the chenille.

The other portion of this piece is fused images on handwoven wool which might present its own set of challenges but certainly none as difficult as the creep. One hopes anyway…

sometimes my work gets out more than i do…

Sunday, February 1st, 2015
Awakening from Tall Girl Series

Awakening from Tall Girl Series

Last year I was presented with an opportunity to submit work to an international exhibit. Ségolène Diamant-Berger  had recently returned home to France after living in Louisiana and was curating an exhibit on the theme of freedom. She had personally invited several members of African-American quilt guilds, one of whom sent me the prospectus.

At first I had reservation about sending my work abroad as shipping can be astronomical and often one has to pay duty on their own work returning home. Was it worth it? I agonized. After listening to those who had shipped work abroad with success I eventually decided to enter the exhibit. Awakening from my Tall Girl Series: A Body of Work was chosen as it best fit the theme of Liberte! 

I shipped the work to France last spring. Since then this piece has been in four different exhibits throughout France. This is far more exposure than I could have hoped for and certainly more than the work would have had, had I given into the fear and not entered the exhibit initially.

Now I wish I had grabbed my passport and gone with the work!  This is where it has been:

U.S.A. Foundation, International University Campus, Paris, FR 2015
American Foundation for Arts & Sciences, Paris, FR 2015
Angers Catholic University, Angers, FR 2014
Université Catholique de l’Ouest, Library, Angers, FR 2014
Saint Eloi chapel, Angers, FR 2014

on reinvention…

Saturday, January 3rd, 2015
carwash

carwash

We have arrived at the reinvention time of year. That time of year when optimistic folks think they need to change the very behavior that makes them human. And being such they lapse back to their comfort zone generally within the first month.

I have not set New Year’s resolutions about as far back as I can remember. It is part of my herd-free mentality. I never want to be doing what everyone else is doing at the same time.

This is the primary reason I have not allowed my hairdresser to color my hair lavender or aqua or green. I will wait ten years until no one is doing it and then if so motivated will go for it. After all, I was the first white woman in suburbia with an afro back in the ’70s. As soon as the grannies got into the ‘fro act I was done. For me it is the same with self-improvement resolutions. I continue to be a work in progress year-round.

For the past several years I have been setting art goals for the year ahead, however. Often they have been quite optimistic yet when revisited have often come to fruition. And yet in December I was unable to find the motivation to set goals for the 2015 year.

And then it hits me. I have not written my art goals for 2015 because I am still thick in the middle of my art goals for 2014. So the primary goal is to continue on, to continue the work that is hammering me physically and psychologically. The work I have chosen to do, the work that further examines how my upbringing shaped my world view. And how I have lost balance, have no leg to stand on, have been rendered paralyzed numerous times in the past six months which has in turn kept me from my work, from my studio, from the progress I need to make to achieve this goal.

I am reminded of a therapist nearly 30 years ago when after months of talking about all the obvious said, are you now ready to deal with your childhood? I said no, I am not. I felt then it would be a gigantic can of worms that I was just not ready to look at. How wise I was then to recognize the can of worms. For now I am in the can, wiggling about, and it is still not very comfortable, let alone without the wisdom of another to guide me. And yet I feel I have only scratched the surface.

My current art goal is to continue to wade through the grief, to unravel the pain, to remember, to forgive, to have compassion, to make the work. And to create yet another body of work that impacts others to look at their own stories. I guess that is what they call ‘pay it forward’…it informs my life, both as teacher…and student.