Archive for the ‘gallery’ Category

stop making small…

Friday, November 18th, 2016
scrap purses

scrap purses

One of the problems of being creative in a capitali$t society is people always say you could sell that. As an exhibiting member in artists’ co-ops, that has often been music to my ears as I have had an outlet for $tuff I could $ell!

It is also appealing from the sense that it is a great way to gain exposure for my large work while smaller work pays the rent. And I know they are some who mass-produce small items to make a profit in their respective galleries and good for them. But I have long struggled with the idea of making ‘stuff’ just to $ell.

For me it has always been a huge investment of my time and materials with little gratification in return. I am constantly retraining my brain so that when someone says you could sell that, I take it simply as a compliment and go no further with it. And yet I forget and once again find myself in sweatshop assembly line hell. Seemingly I needed this reminder once again.

I started sewing these small purses as a fun, quirky way to use up scraps. Each one is unique, one of a kind etc. They take on average 90 mins to construct, from scraps, purchased buttons and cord straps. Initially I sold many, which justified to me the rent I paid to show my larger work; the work that resonates in my soul; the true reason I am an artist.

Last summer I received a phone call from someone who had picked up my biz card in the gallery. She wanted to know if I would sew her a custom scrap bag in specific colors to go with (fill in the blank.) I simply said no! She seemed shocked that I would say no! Would I not be grateful that someone liked my work so much that I would welcome a custom order? What kind of ingrate am I anyway? Do I not appreciate the below minimum wage I am making for these fine bags? Sensing her palpable shock I added that I merely sew these to use up scraps from my large ‘museum quality’ work; and that making the bags was not my primary creative endeavor. She found a quick way to hang up. I felt liberated!

Then an artist acquaintance called suggesting I take my tote bags to a nearby boutique run by a friend of her sister’s neighbor’s brother-in-law, twice removed. I could sell those in this shop! I told her I wasn’t interested. I have been down that long narrow retail hallway before, selling hand-dyed, screen printed silk scarves. It is not what I want to do with my time. She was quite annoyed that I did not relish this golden retail opportunity!

I have managed to find the strength deep within to just say NO to painting shoes for sale. How many times have I heard you could sell those while wearing my painted chucks? I have painted them for friends, because I don’t mind doing that, but no way am I going to subject myself to hours of fumes for the almighty $. And besides do you have these in pink in a size 6? NO.

This said, recently I was asked to sew up a bunch more of the scrap bags for holiday sales at the gallery and elsewhere. Earlier this year I had sewn a bunch of ‘blanks’ i.e. the pieced scrap backs so essentially the work was already half done. And yet I could not pry myself away my current series to sew these little bags. Finally forcing myself to do it, the first one took me nearly 2 hours to get back into the sweatshop assembly line groove. Once I got a rhythm going it was better but I kept feeling like I did not want to be doing this.

You know how sometimes you just get a feeling about something, but you keep ignoring it? Well this time it took two artist friends, in the span of two days to tell me to stop making small stuff! Stop making stuff that other people want me to make and make stuff that I want to make! DUH.

Of course then the daughter-of-the-war-bride steps in and says, yeah, but…or as I like to abbreviate yebbit.. what am I to do with all this stuff I have made (that never sold although you could sell that?!) This is where the helpful people step in and say, you could open an Etsy shop! Yeah, that is also what I don’t want to do. I want to get out of the small stuff biz entirely. So for now I will just put it all away or I may just donate it to charity before year’s end and take a tax deduction. Yes I could do that!

Some of the small stuff I have made under the guise of you could sell that is… iPad bags & large tote bags made from early quilts, matted collages,

matted collages

matted collages

portfolio folders collaged with batik & painted papers & foreign newspapers; fabric postcards and note cards. The latter sell, some of the former has sold but there has also been a lot of could I get one in red and black? Could you make these in a smaller size? Could you make four for me to choose from?

quilted tote bags

quilted tote bags

So this latest round of spectacular scrap bags are a limited edition! I am finished thinking small (she says optimistically). I LOVE the museum quality work I am doing. I am done with small.

As a friend says…NO is a complete sentence! So I continue to learn to play attention to that inner nudge and take better care of myself. After all that is pricele$$.





Friday, March 4th, 2016

reflectionsI spent hours today looking for ‘new work’ to submit to two juried exhibits. It was a fruitless effort which brought up a major pet peeve on this subject. Dated work is something that happens predominantly in the quilt/art quilt world. It doesn’t happen so much, if ever in the fine art world. Galleries seldom, if ever, say no work made before 2013.

Since I have been engrossed in a three-year collaborative series since 2014 all my new work has been predominantly series work. I have taken time out to make a small piece for a fundraiser here or a members show there, but mostly nose to the grindstone on the collaboration.  It galls me no end that entry prospectus writers/curators request work made since a particular date; and that said date is usually just one or two years prior to today.

Granted there are clueless people who will enter the first piece they ever made in 1990 but most professional artists do not enter work to (a) “get rid of it” or (b) that is not their best work. Why on Earth would I want to show work that does not speak to who I am as an artist? Besides if they did allow entries from 1990, these shows are juried so the old work can easily be found and plucked from the pile. Think of the money they could make from all these fees for old work submissions! Another subject for another day…

People might say, well just make a new piece that fits the parameters of the call. I could but some 7-8 years ago I vowed to never make work specifically for an entry call. Never say never but mostly I do not create work for someone else’s muse, only for my own. So that said I have nothing that fits the DATED call and so will not be entering my work. It is their loss really, as I see it. My work could add so much substance to their exhibit, were they not so rigid in their vision.

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.



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

where i have been…

Friday, April 3rd, 2015
spring comes to Prosser, WA

spring comes to Prosser, WA

Holy Smokes…what happened to March?! I can’t believe it has been over a month since I have blogged.

To come up to speed, I continue on with the collaborative series, as I am now designing #7 of the twenty five. I am so enjoying this experience and the ever changing challenges of construction, technique, materials, etc.

Meanwhile I sold all my small scrap purses at the arts guild, so a brief interruption of the series for production sewing. This is something that often challenges me. I never want to do production line anything and yet these sweet small bags pay my rent there, so for now it is worth the tradeoff. If I end up sewing a dozen a month, it will not be worth it however! Each one is a design challenge and allows me to use up most scraps of my self-designed cloth.

scrap bags

scrap bags

Last week we interrupted this program with an impromptu road trip to eastern Washington for a memorial service.

along the Columbia River Gorge, OR

along the Columbia River Gorge, OR

Mt. Shasta, CA at 70 mph

Mt. Shasta, CA at 70 mph

We jumped in the car because it seemed the most expeditious way to get there and although we spent more time driving than we were actually there, we saw some gorgeous nature along the way. We also explored the small town and I stumbled across this incredible tree in an art shop. It was constructed from plastic water bottles that had been painted by someone with far more patience than I.

painted plastic bottle tree

painted plastic bottle tree

Fortunately I was never far from sushi. This beauty was from a grocery store…and it was yummy! So now back at home and back to work!

car picnic: sushi

car picnic: sushi

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

quick and easy…

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014
vineyard #3 and #4 - diptych

vineyard #3 and #4 – diptych

After struggles with machine stitching the third piece in the collaborative series, I knew I needed a quick and easy project to recharge my zest for free-motion stitching.  I also needed two small pieces for fall exhibits of members’ work at the Petaluma Arts Center and the Sebastopol Center for the Arts. And yet I was thinking beyond that…to showing at the Arts Guild of Sonoma and filling wall space.

Additionally I really like series work. A long time ago I touted that artists who worked in a series had no imagination or just one idea!  But I have learned better, on two fronts. One, usually when I pre-judge artistically I likely will be doing that exact thing within a short time. Remember when fusing was cheating? Well there you go!

And two I very much like working in a series. I like designing art that fits in with other work. And yet curators have told me that all my work looks like it was done by me, series or not.

So I made two more vineyard pieces. These are both fall unlike spring and fall I did previously, and they are a diptych. They may stand alone or together reflect a long line of autumn. They are each 20″ x 19″.

vineyard 3-4, detail

vineyard 3-4, detail

Now I am catching up on inventory of a few small gallery items and then onward with #4 in the Defining Moments series. Batteries recharged!

Earth Stories debut…

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

It’s been so long that I could not share my work for Earth Stories that the exhibit opened and I forgot all about it until I read Facebook posts this morning!  Over a year ago 25 international artists were juried by portfolio into the Earth Stories exhibit at Michigan State University Museum. I was honored to have my work chosen by the juror Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi. She chose artists who she felt could best interpret the theme of environmental awareness. Once chosen we then had several months to create work to fit the theme. Additionally the work had to be linked with a non-profit which does work that benefits the planet. The exhibit opened last week and runs until November 30.

My initial proposal was about living on the Pacific Rim among shifting tectonic plates. Months of research, thought, procrastination and finally construction lead me to Torn Earth, which is two panels totaling 66″ x 72″.  It took me four months from the first dye process to the final stitch.torn-earth-M

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.

The three panels that comprise Torn Earth were created using vintage linens, African batiks, and commercial fabrics, many of which have been dye-painted and screen-printed with original imagery. Multiple panels of fabric are pieced and stitched together to form the larger work.The right panel depicts Earth’s crustal instabilities.The left panel conveys the destructive energy released during an earthquake and the vulnerability of our buildings and structures when the Earth moves. The panels are offset to create jagged edges alluding to shifting and upheaval in the planet that results in collapsed buildings and loss of life.

We were to also create a small lead piece 14″ x 12″ to summarize the larger work for venues that could not present the entire exhibit, which is the piece to the right.lead piece-M-hi res-reshoot-whiteBG

A catalog was printed and is available here. The work of my good friend Marion Coleman is on the cover…a much deserved honor!  The catalog shows the work of all the artists and truly it looks to be an incredible exhibit. I am enchanted by much of the work. It is a joy to exhibit my work with so many other creative souls. This exhibit will be traveling for four years so perhaps I will see it at one of the venues one day.




REPO rerun…

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

This month is the annual REPO exhibit fundraiser at Arts Guild of Sonoma. All artist members and invited artists contribute work that is comprised of at least 75% recycled materials. REPO consists of opening/closing receptions with a month long exhibit.  The opening exhibit was well attended and the current price of each work is listed on the AGS website.  It’s surprising there is no online bidding!

The funds generated from this event underwrite community art programs. Right now my work #50 is available for a mere $75 and my friend Jonna’s beautiful IO sculpture #73 also for a paltry $75 .


So my word to the wise is this. If you are interested in bidding on this spectacular art call the guild 707.996.3115 any day except Tuesday between 11 am-4:30 pm PDT, and give them your name, your bid ($25 minimum increment) and phone number. Bidding ends at the closing reception on March 29th from 7-9 pm. The guild is located at 140 East Napa St, Sonoma, CA 95476 if you want to stop by in person.

This may be your one great chance to own spectacular, fun and intriguing art for a song.  Bid high and bid often!

two monkeys down…

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

ES_painted_bldgsIt’s now the end of August and I am still hard at work on my two large pieces for the Earth Stories exhibit.  I had a trip cancel this week so have taken this as a great opportunity to fill my unscheduled days with studio time. Today I was so successful to that end that I have high hopes that I might possibly finish construction this week.

Meanwhile two of the monkeys that have been on my back during construction of said piece were dealt with today. I out-sourced two stress-filled aspects of this project.

I asked a professional writer to craft my artist statement for this work and she replied with something like she would love to do it! Imagine that?  I love to write, as evidenced by my blog postings but this artist statement was giving me a headache.  So I have given her all the components and now wait for the magic to happen.

Then I contacted the Pixeladies about cleaning up the edges in PhotoShop after I photograph the completed work, followed by printing the image to fabric for the requisite 12″ x 14″ companion piece. I might possibly lose my mind if I were to construct such a small duplicate in that none of the edges of this work are even. So now my decision will be whether to include the background in the piece or not but I have plenty of time to fret over that!

Today’s image of this piece (that is not to be shown en todo before the exhibit premiere) is of a panel of buildings. I broke up the chaos of the neutral hue structures with paint. I am thrilled with the effect…it was just what I wanted.

One thing I can say for sure is I have pretty much enjoyed this all the way through as the design challenges have kept my creativity stimulated. Three months and two monkeys down…


new venue for my work…

Monday, June 3rd, 2013


My work was recently juried into the Arts Guild of Sonoma. This is a 30 year old artists’ cooperative  with a gallery just off the plaza in beautiful downtown and historic Sonoma, CA. I could not be more pleased to have a new venue for my work and will be showing this year in June, July, October and December.  This morning I took my work for the June exhibit over to be installed tomorrow.

I have always loved the town of Sonoma and have said that had we seen it first we would have made our home there instead of here. Mind you we love our hometown equally as well but that extra 15 miles inland brings with it more sunshine, less wind and of course higher property values!  In a previous life I worked for a doctor who had a second office in Sonoma where I occasionally worked. Then and now every trip over the rolling hills I am smitten with what a visually glorious part of the world this is.  If one can look past the cars speeding on the two lane roads and take in the hay being baled, the cows languishing in the field and the miles and miles of vineyards….just gorgeous!  So I think my four trips/month to Sonoma to take work, bring home work, work the gallery and attend the receptions will not be too difficult to manage. The trickiest part might be capturing the changing colors from the side of the road.

Meanwhile back in the studio….I am continuing to work on the altered book homage to my late parents. I am anxious to finish it as it pretty much covers my downstairs print table.  I have learned a lot about the altered book process including I will probably never do this again!  It’s never been my intention for this to be exhibit quality and that is a good thing as I continue to be educated in the limitations of gel medium.

And then there is the Earth Stories project….dominating my design wall and beckoning me to come into the studio and piece!