Saturday, June 27
Thursday, June 25
The top declares "Juicy as Shit" and the bottom comments "Ya man. He shouldn't let you out the house alone". I'm amused by the placement of the blooms, covering up the areas we see waaaaaaaaaaay too much of this time of year.
Wednesday, June 24
Monday, June 22
- Make art everyday. Even if it's just a sketch, or putting together possible materials for a project, keeping your hand in the process keeps your creativity flowing and fears at bay. Try setting aside even half an hour to work every day. If you want to make art, make time for it.
- Be more concerned about PROCESS than PRODUCT. When I worry too much about how it looks I get blocked. Focusing on the process, turning it into a sort of meditation, erases worries about "mistakes".
- There's no such things as "mistakes" in art- just serendipitous occurrences that offer new possibilities for the work.
- Do practice runs- sketches help plot out the work, getting it out of your head and into some more tangible form. Making decisions on cheap paper can save you a lot of time and money/supplies.
- Photocopy works in progress, and doodle on the photocopy to plot out your next decisions
- Break the blankness before you with a wash of color, or build an image off a drawing or print you made before.
- Be Brave!
Friday, June 19
This week in Stitch and Surface we made a collaborative screenprint.
Tuesday, June 16
This week my students created grids of color mixtures. The dots along the edge represent each warm and cool primary, with additional rows for white, black, and burnt umber. It's interesting to see how varied their results were depending on which order they placed their colors, and how balanced their mixtures were. It is plain to see that different starting pigments create vastly different results. Some of the individual squares are brighter than others. Some are extremely "muddy" looking.
Emily Erb's painted silk maps are jaw-droppingly precise and elegant. I couldn't resist getting a detail shot of my neighborhood from PTC Map of Philadelphia. What is it about maps that I love so? Playing navigator on childhood vacations perhaps. Never completing an evening meal without the globe coming down off the shelf to aid discussion. Having a drawing or picture mean something in the wider world perhaps. These remind me of William Kentridge's tapestries at the PMA last year.
Shannon Donovan hides the map in grids and compass points, elevating the grittiness of things found on city streets to be ready for high tea. Chintz Hubcab uses the imprint of crocheted doilies in the clay, floral decals, and feminine color scheme to make me see coasters and my grandmother's deviled egg plate. This reminds me of how everyone I know from the suburbs prays I'll be safe in the big bad city. Shannon playfully gussies up the grit so even the DAR ladies couldn't complain.
There's a certain synchronicity that ebbs and flows in my life and my work. I seem to see exactly what I need to see, or find the exact book I need, or speak to the exact person I need right at the moment I need them in order to continue the flow of my thought processes and inspiration. I felt it the moment I entered Disston Saw works to see the work of John Phillips and Carolyn Healy. John had created a video montage of blueprints and maps and mechanical drawings projected over a screen of blueprints. The images and ideas fed directly into my brainstorm for what to do with my Woodford project (see previous post).
The space was dimly illuminated shrouding all in a certain mystery of sound and flickering light from John's video projections. The photo above shows Carolyn's series of rollers mounting upwards toward the ceiling and draped in silver silk. It caught the light, shimmered, and undulated like mercury. Some elements were harder to capture. The image above consisted of plexiglass box forms arranged under a series of hanging screens made of woven metal lattice onto which was cast a constantly shifting projection of blue- documents? The light made the entire construction feel ephemeral despite it's weighty materials. This was the piece in which it was most difficult to decipher where one artist's ideas stopped and the other's began.
I am fascinated by how an artist can take seemingly ordinary materials and spaces and make them extraordinary. The two artists were permitted to sort through the "archives" of the company, and found scads of original drawings and sample forms and source material. Their exploration ranges from formal arrangements of the detritus of years to historical references of the building and neighborhood to an echoing of sound and action and form of ongoing processes that occur onsite. John Phillips and Carolyn Healy honored the workers of this place both past and present by showing us the beauty of the materials they work with, and they helped us see the mystery of the rituals of their work and craftmanship.
Friday, June 12
I like to start off stitch classes with the idea of a sampler. Our great-great grandmothers all started off learning not only stitching, but even their ABC's and 1,2,3's with a needle in hand. However, if you wanted to make a sampler like theirs, you would have gone to a cross-stitch shop and picked up a kit. I abhor kits- make something from yourself! Most samplers have the common elements of a border, some words or letters, and an image. Within those loose guidelines is a lot of room for creativity. Seen above is a sampler that started off as a demo on Lazy Daisy stitches (see the orange blossom in the center?). It then grew and grew as I played with different stitches and textures, adding words that felt right with the image as I went along.
Samplers are for you. They're for learning and referring back to. Mistakes are part of the process. I saw a reproduction of a sampler by Emily Dickinson today, and half the alphabet was incomplete and some of the words in her proverb were squeezed in smaller than the rest to fit. When I'm making a "sampler" I feel very free. I have no preconceptions for it. It's totally outside of my regular train of artistic thought. It exercises my fingers but doesn't tax my mind. Like doing scales on a piano.
This was a Wordle I created on http://www.wordle.net/ using words from my blogpost. It's called "doodlestitching". It would make a great sampler.........
Wednesday, June 10
Now that I've done the paintings and split the color photocopy into sections, I'm easing into fabric. I thought it would be great to have an element from the site worked into the final image. I went back to the site, picked some of the leaves off the weeds and used them for a screenprint. Screenprinter pros: please ignore my lack of formal repeat! This is all getting cut up anyway. I have a solid area printed in blue, and over top is printed a linear version in pale green. The linear motif is very subtle and barely visible from the photo.
Tuesday, June 9
Above is an image of Goethe's color wheel c.1810. I know..... Goethe was a poet, writer, philosopher kind of guy not a famous artist, but modern artists use color in profound thanks to great theorists and scientists throughout history. Newton, Goethe, Chevreuil, Itten, Albers, and Munsell are the names that come up most often when talking about color theory.
Goethe's wheel shows 6 hues, namely the three primaries (red, blue, and yellow), and the three secondaries (orange, green, and purple). Our artist's Color wheel shows 6 tertiaries as well (red-orange, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, blue-violet, and red violet) for a total of 12 Hues around the color wheel. Color Wheels show each Hue at its purest, and only show one dimension of color.
Itten's Color Star takes it up a dimension, by not only showing the 12 hues but also showing Value gradations for each hue from light to dark. The color wheels I had students do in class were more like Itten's star. However we just took each hue up and down one step by mixing in white and black. In class we sorted color chips on a table and found it difficult to place neutral tones. The difficulty was due to working on a flat surface- color is 3-DIMENSIONAL
Here is an image of Philipp Runge's Color Spheres also c.1810. You have to imagine color as a globe. Each longitudinal section represents a hue or color family with all of the purest colors on the crust. Each latitudinal cross-section represents a step on a value scale, with white at the North Pole (think polar bears) and black at the South Pole (think penguins). A Slice across the equator would show the color wheel around the outer edge with colors becoming duller at the core. This is the view that illustrates Chroma! Any slice across a hemisphere will show how opposite colors mix together and become grey. They cancel each other out and lose chroma.
So, Hue, Value, and Chroma are the 3 dimensions, the 3 characteristics of color. If you have any collections at home, try organizing them by H,V,C. Perhaps its a stash of beads or fabrics. Maybe it's your sock drawer. Whatever it is, see if you can make smooth gradations of color, and you may find it easier to find things! Check out this link to see some bookshelves arranged chromatically: http://www.flickr.com/photos/santos/27538777/
Down the street at Highwire Gallery, the Northwest Artists Collective was on display with "Go Fishin". Melissa Maddonni Haims' hanging sculpture "The Ocean" seemed the most fitting to the theme. Her piece is entirely knitted in a variety of yarns. I find the flat ocean animals distracting compared to the wonderful colors and forms that create the water. I wonder what would happen if the animals were given the same depth and texture as the water...
I think both of the works above were featured in the Focus on Fiber show at Art in City Hall this past Spring. It's nice to see them in a different context.
Thursday, June 4
Our piece consists of a wooden armature encrusted with 3-dimensional mylar "nodes". The drawings on the mylar in sharpie and acrylic grew out of a 2-week map-making exercise. The finished piece feels like an explosion of all our paths and emotions and experiences during the time we worked together. It is unlike anything the 4 of us would normally have made and yet it still contains a spark of each of our personalities and art practices.
It hangs and twists in the drafty rafters, every glance a different perspective.
Wednesday, June 3
So today I went out to Woodford Mansion to take a tour of the house and get inspired. The mansion was built by William Coleman in 1756 as a one-story, 3 rooms + basement country house. Coleman was a friend and investor of Benjamin Franklin's prior to the revolution. The house changed hands and in 1771 David Franks, a wealthy loyalist triangle-trade merchant, built a second story and added a back wing for upper ballroom, grand staircase, and kitchen. After the Revolution, in 1793 Isaac Wharton became the owner, and the house stayed in the family until 1868 when the Fairmount Park Commission was formed and started buying up riverfront property in an effort to preserve Philadelphia's water resources. The house now holds the Naomi Wood collection of antiques, and each room in the house is set up to display items that reflect the various time periods and styles of its 3 main owners. Check out the website: http://www.woodfordmansion.org/index.php
The tour guide seemed to stress the English loyalist aspect of the house, calling Franklin a turncoat, and nearly taking offense when I called Franks a Tory! He also emphasized how the architecture of the house illustrates class divisions- the servant quarters and areas are all on a lower level than the family living quarters. I'm intrigued by all the dichotomies involved: loyalist ve Revolutionary, upper class vs lower class, country vs city life, etc. I have about 2 months to create something. I'll keep you posted.