Archive for the ‘travel’ Category

…on documentation and dawgs

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015
hand-dyes

hand-dyes from Soderlund class

A few years ago I added an important form of documentation to the categorization of my work. I put together a 3″ thick binder, in chronological order, of all the work I have made since 1998. Initially resistant to the idea as I already have a website and hardcopy portfolio; the reasoning behind this was posterity. So when archaeologists are digging through my house in 2500 they will know why I made this work and what it entailed. Yea, I know, a big stretch.  All the same it is good information to have especially laid out in chronological order.

So I was a tad astonished today, while looking at my documentation binder to find a small work finished since 2013 to enter in the local arts center member show, that I only had two pieces that qualified and one of them I showed there last year. The remaining piece is the other half of the diptych and even though looks slightly different I am certain there would be outrage that I showed the ‘same work’ there two years in a row!

I was also surprised that in 2015 I have completed just four large pieces of work. Throwback to 2009 when I made over 60 pieces in one year. It seems I have slowed down a bit in the past 6 years! Of course I have all kinds of reasonable excuses; both knees replaced, my father’s death, and a year plus of chronic debilitation, so that is understandable. I also have been engrossed in the 3 year collaboration, so the four pieces I made this year were for that. And there are all big ones!

It really is somewhat of a personal accomplishment that I have slowed down production so much. I’d been so prolific in the past in comparison. Maybe just maybe I am living life more presently and making art differently as well. Before my work was fairly spontaneous whereas now it requires a lot of research and introspection before even drafting the design.

Mizu in dog friendly, fancy hotel dining room

Mizu in dog friendly, fancy hotel dining room

And then there are the additional procrastination modes: the aforementioned rescue pooch who is both delight and terror barks at anything that stands still, or in hubs’ case exhales. My days are full of interruptions to calm the dog, to work towards ending her fear aggression. It is exhausting and yet somehow I get the message that maybe this is the point. The point is to get me to stop, breathe, stay in the moment, and chill.

And by default I am the tech guru in the family. So a new modem-router threw everything connected to it out of whack. I have managed to reconfigure a few things but still have daily technology reconfiguration headaches. I’d much prefer to sit back with my crazy pooch and toss bonbons than try to reprogram the solar panel connector or the Netflix device that won’t allow me to sign in.

In a perfect world someone would come in with a magic wand, make everything work and calm the dog in their wake. Yea…and I believe in the tooth fairy too.

life stories…

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015
Medical Research from the TallGirl Series: A Body of Work

Medical Research from the TallGirl Series: A Body of Work

It has been nearly a month since I posted. I used to be so good at this! Well I do have my list of excuses… As a wizen woman once told me, what good are excuses if we don’t use them? 

I continue to work on and enjoy the process of the collaborative series. I am now stitching #9 while simultaneously drafting the design for #10.

Number eleven will likely be the surgery piece of which I am still uncertain. A therapist long ago told me I might never get over the drastic changes made to my body. This subject has literally defined my life so it absolutely needs a place in this series; yet what to say that I have not already said?

Appropriately enough I have, for the past year had major inflammation & debilitation issues with one of my knees which was replaced four years ago. All tests have proven the prosthesis is stable but there is definitely something amiss. Some say more surgery, others say no more surgery!

This reminds me once again just how unique my medical history is and how I continue to be a medical oddity. And yet I push through, a day at a time, putting one foot in front of the other. I do admit though to being envious of those who move with ease in the world without so much as a thought. Sometimes I just watch people walk, in complete awe of how effortless it seems. Yet everything is relative, as I feel cheated by those who can walk, run and sprint; there are those who have felt cheated to have been cut down in their prime.

Last week another such wonderful person, a strong and courageous friend of over six decades, died. Chris and I met in utero as our parents were university neighbors and life-long friends. Although we lived in different states, our families gathered together almost yearly. Chris and I really connected in our adolescence and stayed in touch throughout high school, college, marriages, divorce, kids, careers, retirements and cancer. Whenever I feel the least bit of sorrow for my broken body I am also aware of just how blessed I am to be otherwise healthy. I am a little slower but still putting out the art and increasingly grateful for the opportunity to do so.

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…

 

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

unexpected nirvana…

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014
the view from our room

the view from our room

I just returned from a fabulous five-day art retreat on the shores of Lake Tahoe. What could have been a disastrous turn of events actually turned into nirvana for me. The classroom I was assigned to was midway up on billy goat mountain. I traversed it slowly with cane and friend in tow four times on the first day and that night my knee cried “uncle!”

In the night I decided that the best plan was to have my sewing supply bag and workshop machine brought down from on high to our large room. There I set up shop & laid out designs on the spare bed. Sewing primarily by hand, I worked propped up on the bed with pillows and ice, with lovely Lake Tahoe out the window and Pandora cranking out the tunes on my iPad. It literally was divine! What I actually needed on this retreat, without realizing it until then, was long periods of solitude, to rest my brain and body.

The teacher Lorie McGown, texted me during the days and asked permission to come to studio solitude to check out my work progress. That too was great as I got to know her, had private instruction and got her good feedback on my work. A kindred spirit indeed!

My intention for the retreat was to get going on another piece in the 25 pc collaborative series I have been working on this year.  This piece is about my handcraft heritage and I planned to incorporate hand-crocheted doilies, hand-knitting, my great grandmother’s hand-crocheted head scarf, my father’s christening gown, etc.

What I hadn’t been able to figure out was how to make it pop as the french vanilla beige was boring to me. Lorie encouraged me to layer and incorporate pieces of my own work into it and from there it just took off.

father's christening gown on handwoven cloth

father’s christening gown on handwoven cloth

For example, this piece still in progress of my father’s christening gown is sewn to my handwoven silk scarf and my great aunt’s handwoven shawl. Another piece incorporated a lovely quilted belt my mother had made for herself in the ’90’s. She was a world-class hand piecer and quilter.

layers of doilies and Mom's hand-pieced quilting

layers of doilies and Mom’s hand-pieced quilting

Now I am back and rediscovering the challenges of not being able to hand-stitch 8 hours a day!

another day, another art class…

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014
wine country

wine country

I am just back from my 2nd trip in two weeks…a short two-nighter to the Pacific Northwest. It all started with an air credit on Alaska Air, and where could I go for $120?

I decided to take a one day class at the Pacific Northwest Art Center in Coupeville, WA on Whidbey Island.  This was my fourth trek there for a class so I knew the territory well.

I flew out of our regional airport where there are some really gorgeous vineyards and wineries quite close by. One of the things I love about this route is the scenery. One can literally hop along the Cascades all the way to Seattle.  Never have I seen Mt. St. Helens so close-up as on the return flight.

mount st helens, wa

mount st helens, wa

The class was a one-day dye workshop with Carol Soderlund. My primary objective was to figure out how I can continue to dye fabric in a drought. While I haven’t done much dyeing as of late because of the drought and how much water it takes to rinse out, I have continued to screen paint onto cloth to layer and add color.

Carol is extremely knowledgable about dyes and colors, mixing etc. I was reminded immediately that I can produce any color, plus neutrals from the basic primaries of red, yellow and blue.

Therefore all the fancy schmancy dye colors that are sold are simply money makers for the companies. There may be an ounce of color in 3 ounces of filler. Of course I knew I had fallen victim to this scheme! My thinking being based on convenience…oh why not just buy the deep purple instead of having to mix it up?

I went downstairs to my wet studio this morning to put away class supplies from the weekend. I decided just to check how many fancy schmancy dye colors I had? It was shocking…I have about 8 jars of primaries and at least 40 x 4 oz jars of lapis and charcoal, rust brown and maroon brown, navy blue and chartreuse, curry,  periwinkle, raspberry, avocado, victorian blue and olive green and on and on and of course a BIG jar of deep purple!  Besides the fact that all these dyes are minimally 3 years old yet likely even older.

pastels ready to be over-dyed

pastels ready to be over-dyed

Predictably there was a slight bugaboo in my class dye experience. I had received some very unsettling news the night before I flew to WA. Toss in your average travel stressors and I admit to being distracted in class. So much so that I inadvertently confused the dye recipes and used half the dye that I should have. I used the recipe for 1/4 yard fabric on 1/2 yard fabric.

I also lost the advantage of having the cloth batch for a day or longer as I had flown rather than driven from home. The cloth had to be nuked, rinsed, washed and dried before I left the class.

I was shocked when most of the cloth came out pastel! I am not a pastel person normally but now I own 12 yds of pastel fabric. I was not overjoyed. It was not until the next day that I realized my mistake.  Last night I pressed all the cloth and re-sorted. I have intentions of over-dyeing the pastels soon with the correct recipes.

enough saturation

enough saturation

All in all it was a fun class, a good learning experience but tiring after two trips in two weeks. In the past two weeks I have walked through ten airports and been on six flights.  I am ready to stay home for awhile and get my hands dirty making art again.

out and about…

Thursday, September 4th, 2014
bucolic snow farm

bucolic snow farm

I just had the great opportunity to visit the East Coast for 9 days. There were many special aspects of this trip including my first solo trip in many moons. And I had not been to CT since my folks lived there in the ’80’s.

It took me 17 hours door to door to get there and I joked that I could have gone to Paris in that time. And yet I was relaxed and flexible because really once we walk into the airport our life is no longer our own anyway.

I visited with friends in CT for the weekend, enjoyed the regional SAQA meeting, revisiting with acquaintances and making new ones, sipped lancaster limeade poolside near the beach, ate gelato, and just hung out. One of my personal highlights was also missing the big No CA earthquake as I did Loma Prieta in 1989. Two for two!

On Sunday I was graciously transported back to the airport where I picked up a shuttle to traverse to Williamsburg, MA with hordes of over-packed college bound students, headed to Smith, Mount Holyoke and Amherst.  I spent the week at the bucolic Snow Farm, headquarters of the New England Craft Program, on a Road Scholar trip, studying Metal and Jewelry Design.

pond where a bullfrog or two live

pond where a bullfrog or two live

door of the welding studio

door of the welding studio

One thing every artist knows is how important it is to study outside of their particular media. My week was dedicated to just that. And as a collector of hand-made jewelry I wanted a better understanding of the design process.

My husband was extremely worried I might jump media and become a jewelry designer, whereas I had no expectation of that.  My intention was simply to learn to solder without burning myself (fail) or my clothes (success!); avoid picking up hot annealed metal (fail), to meet other artists also studying alternative media (success!) and to just relax in a different environment (success!).

Accommodations were rustic at best, the food fabulous and well-catered to my allergies and sensitivities. How could I pass up the dessert when it was made specifically for me?! I wouldn’t want to hurt the chef’s feelings, y’know!

copper.pendant

brass sheet metal pendant with braided copper/brass wire works collar

copper.cuffs

4 ply braided copper/brass twisted, knitted cuff and copper/brass serpentine cuff

I can now cross jewelry design off my bucket list.  It was very interesting to learn but clearly I am no threat to the professionals!

copper foil cuff, copper bangle and ring

copper foil cuff, copper bangle and ring

installing new exhibit…

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

“Forming Our Lives: Three Women, Three Phenomenal Stories” July 26-Sept 14, 2014 San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles, San Jose, CA

I drove down to San Jose Sunday afternoon to be in position for a Monday exhibit install at the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles. Sadly traffic patterns control my schedule in this part of the world so I knew it wise to position myself outside of my commute zone.

I stayed at a wonderful Air BnB place which was a treat. This cute little house with the beautiful garden is owned by a fun and friendly gal who frequently rents rooms to finance her home improvements. And it was a scant 10 mins from my morning destination.

We arrived just as SAQA regional members deconstructed their beautiful ‘Northern California Expressions’ exhibit (the one for which I made the two Vineyard pieces that sold right off my design wall in spring, so I couldn’t enter the exhibit). We began to unpack and lay out our work on sheets placed on the floor and as soon as they patched and dabbed paint on the walls, we got to work!

Bonnie J. Smith‘s husband was our main ladder man as he has much experience hanging her work.  After a couple OSHA-inspired tool juggling tricks we got down to team-work and in no time had installed the first wall which is a mix of all three women’s work and the artist statement for the exhibit. Forming Our Lives: Three Women, Three Phenomenal Stories was starting to transform the space and in a beautiful way.

This wall shows work from each of us and the artist statement about the exhibit

This wall shows work from each of us and the artist statement about the exhibit

 

four pieces from Tall Girl Series: A Body of Work

Next we hung work from my Tall Girl Series: A Body of Work

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

then pieces from Bonnie’s Swimming Upstream series…about her rehabilitation from a debilitating work comp injury.

 

from Bonnie J. Smith’s ‘Swimming Upstream’ series

and finally five pieces from Cristina Velasquez Dresses series… a fabulous and inventive parody on all the ‘shoulds’ society & culture put on women.

Christina installing her 'Dresses' series

Christina installing her ‘Dresses’ series

We finished early enough that I had time to hit the highway home rather than staying another night. Of course I was in time for the “pre-commute” traffic!

the joys of living in the 'burbs

the joys of living in the ‘burbs

 

“Forming Our Lives” at the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles July 26-Sep 14, 2014 . (Closed Mondays and Tuesdays) Do see it…and while you are there check out the ITAB exhibit.