Thursday, December 31
I've had a really good year. Really. Knock on wood and all that.
I applied to grad school with a portfolio of cityscapes in pencil and embroidery, and found out soon after that I'd been accepted to Tyler School of Art at Temple University to get my Masters in Art Education. Hooray!
I got to be a part of Little Berlin's 80 person collaboration back in June, which led to new connections in the art community and a chance to explore my mapping ideas.
I continued to teach embroidery, color theory, and started teaching kids classes at Fleisher. With the new administration there it seems that fiber arts will continue and grow in the future.
In the summer I started to get involved with NLArts, teaching at their summer camp. Success there led to further opportunities to teach in their First Friday kids workshops and Winter Camp. Hopefully I'll get to be more involved with planning next year's summer camp too.
In September I got to teach an embroidery workshop up at Peters Valley Craft Center, which was a big highlight of the year... maybe even the decade!
I started attending the Philadelphia Cathedral and am happy to have found a faith community that feels like home. I've enjoyed singing with the Cathedral Singers, especially as much of the music is challenging and beautiful to hear in that space. They've learned I'm the creative type and have started to enlist my help with projects as well (more on that tomorrow).
Grad School is going well so far. I got to exhibit with my classmates back in September and my coursework has pushed me towards new areas of exploration both artistically and academically. My family has been supportive even though I haven't been able to pay as much attention to them as I'd like in this time. I've been incredibly busy and pre-occupied, and I'm glad I started this blog back in May to help me make sense of it all.
So- all in all, it's been a good year. Thanks for joining me on my journey, and health and happiness in the new year!
Tuesday, December 29
I forgot my camera today, but the highlights of Winter Camp so far were:
- seeing how much kids love to put themselves into their drawings and how they all interpret things in so many different ways
- reading stories to a bunch of captivated 5&6 year olds
- Not having to wait too long for the copy guy
- having one boy show me he could do 3 cartwheels in a row
- seeing the older kids leading and playing with the younger kids
I like getting to see a group of kids grow and change and become more responsible and kind to each other. I've known most of these kids pretty well for about six months now, some of them for 2-3 years, and they're growing up so nicely.
Let's see how it goes tomorrow!
Monday, December 28
Saturday, December 26
Thursday, December 24
Wednesday, December 23
I'm still being crafty. I actually got Christmas cards out into the mail before Christmas this year, but it required a mile trudge through the snow to get them to the post office. I'm felting, and sewing, and framing, and I can't believe tomorrow is Christmas Eve!
This is the first year in a very long time that I truly felt the Christmas magic coming back. You know, it sparkles in your memory of Christmas as a child- the anticipation, Santa Claus, lights. But I felt like I couldn't create it for my own family in the same way (Santa never was taken seriously by my pragmatic child). But I don't know, this year feels different. Maybe I'm just more content with life this year in general.
Monday, December 21
Saturday, December 19
Last night I enticed my daughter to come down and felt with me. She really like the part where you throw the piece on the table, and we both got splattered in the process. It was a fun thing to do with her, though. I wonder sometimes what moments she'll remember from her childhood. If I were her, rocking out to christmas songs on the radio, slamming felt on a table with my mom would be on the list. After one failed attempt at nuno felting resulting in a pretty cobweb felt scarf instead (see previous post), and a second failed attempt on a cotton print (I think the fabric was too tightly woven and I didn't felt it enough), I finally ended up with two successes. One, below is purple, blue, and white and has a thin strip of silk in the center, bubbling up a bit on the edges. The other is the one being felted above on a cotton gauze, and is now around my neck keeping me cozy. The cotton one only has felt on one side and the cotton side is very crinkly-looking like a cabbage leaf.
Friday, December 18
I'm not normally this crafty- it's the holiday season, I swear. I will return to art eventually.
Monday, December 14
Sunday, December 13
Friday, December 11
I managed to get lots of planning and deadline-meeting done today. I'll be leading arts activities at NLArts 2-day winter camp, so went over today to schedule the activities with the director. It's going to be fun! Then headed over to Fleisher to turn in all my contracts and syllabus for next session. Found out I have enough students for Stitch and Surface to run!!!! Hooray!!! So I'll be teaching 3 days at Fleisher and going to school 4 days, and life is crazy but wonderful...
Thursday, December 10
I interviewed 3 teaching artists and 1 high school art teacher to learn their views on art education and how they define themselves as artists and educators- something I'm trying to define for myself as well.
So the question of the evening is why do artists want to teach and how can teaching artists successfully encompass their dual roles as artists and educators?
Wednesday, December 9
(artist with whom I got to experience Fluxtask! seen below)
I'm hoping it will be a fun semester!
Tuesday, December 8
Unabashedly in the swing of things. One more class left at school, singing this song with the Cathedral singers on the 20th, and trying not to get sick.
On the art front, I cleaned out my studio at school and moved what I could into a locker in the fibers dept. I did sketch out another google streetview onto cotton this morning. My problem with school semesters and big projects is that once they're over I flounder, not knowing what to do next. So I'm trying to keep on a roll now. I think I'll attempt to finish the Trenton Ave piece I was working on over the summer but diverged from, and work on the streetscene panoramas.
Monday, December 7
Saturday, December 5
I picked up a terrarium from a lady who I think sells her work here. Some earrings from this fine lady and ran into the lovely and talented Rachel Udell, seen here in front of her installation.Rachel's a girl after my own heart, and was busily crocheting away while she talked and chatted with us and her customers. Her work was on display primarily for an exhibition going on in the 2424 skybox (up through December 18th, better catch it quick), but she came out with an additional table and wares for sale for today's craft market. I love how unabashedly explosive and colorful her work is, and how spontaneous it all seems despite the fact that it is all hand-made and must take hours of work.
Wednesday, December 2
Here is the Elizabeth Hudson of 1700 sampler I've shown you before from the Haddonfield Historical Society and the Sarah Stone 1678 sampler juxtaposed with a series of band patterns from the Gilbers 1527 Modelbuch I composed together as a band sampler. As soon as there is widespread printing of books there is dissemination of embroidery patterns!
These two embroidered pastoral scenes from New England show the "clip art" style of composition. I found engraving shop catalogues from the 18th century that listed "Children's lottery prints" with images of animals, ladies and gentleman, and assorted "droll subjects" which I believe would have been selected for embroidery compositions. I also believe that the foliage in the trees and the landscape style were influenced by the Indian Palampores, which would have been imported in Europe and the colonies and used as bedhangings.The American sampler moved from narrow bands of patterns to a more "painting-like" rectangular format with the bands becoming a decorative frame, and started to include more text. Instead of just an alphabet and the maker's name and age, the samplers started to include religious phrases and quotations as well as family registers listing the births and deaths of the stitcher's family members. I discovered a printed version of a family register by Brunton in 1808 which I believe appropriates the compositional characteristics of samplers that set the tradition. Moving into the Federal period, samplers become far more pictorial- graphic, decorative frames shift to more floral and representational imagery. Embroiders start looking more specifically at fine art for inspiration, and so Embroidered paintings become more sophisticated.This embroidered painting by Mary Esher is the only embroidery for which I found a specific reference, and that was to a Seymour engraving published in a 1791 edition of the Holy bible. Materials in this period shift from cotton and wool to fine silks. Text in sampler work nearly disappears, save for the maker's name. Unfortunately, the Civil war, the industrial revolution, and increased formal public education opportunities for girls meant that schoolgirls no longer made samplers and handwork no longer held the same high value. While Ladies magazines and pattern books abound between the end of the 19th century and continue through the 20th century, there does not seem to be a great deal of embroidered "masterpieces". Perhaps this is due to the more decorative application of embroidery in this period.However, the Feminist and Craft movements of the 60's and 70's brought renewed interest in textiles to the attention of artists. Fine artists look back on the traditions and continue the language of appropriation. Contemporary artists (like Elaine Reichek above) appropriate the visual language of historical samplers, quote various sources of information, refer to other artists and artforms into embroidered translations, and appropriate vintage textiles and the work of past needleworkers for new purposes. DIY embroiderers also carry on the handwork traditions in the decorative vein.
So over the arc of American embroidery, the craft moves from the hands of young girls as a method of education into the hands of women (and ok, some men, too) as a way of preserving traditions and making a feminist statement. Throughout the entire history of American embroidery, makers have always looked to other sources for inspiration and their work becomes a reflection of the times. I concluded my presentation with the burgeoning internet community for embroiderers, which allows for even more appropriation and dissemination of patterns, images, and ideas.
Tuesday, December 1
As a result of this class I've become much more aware of intentionality. I think my status quo is to be in a mode of process, but not necessarily making choices in my art for specific reasons. I've just been doing, under the guise of "making is thinking". But this course pushed me to be doing and thinking, and to really question my choices.
I'd like to move forward, not revert to old practices, but find a way to merge my practices and modes and materials, and....and.... and keep being an artist.