Saturday, January 30
Friday, January 29
Thursday, January 28
We started off trying to match a paint chip (hmmm, this is just like the paces I put my color theory students through!)Tested the same dyes on both cotton and silk to see the differences. Tested the difference between dye mixture and overdyeing. Threw in a simple rubber band resist on the overdye below.
Our assignment this week is to put together color harmonies pulled from magazine pictures. Some people were just cutting out swatches of color and pasting them in rows, but I can't resist a little compositional play.
Wednesday, January 27
Things you read can touch you so deeply. Madeline L'Engle always wrote frankly about life, relationships, and faith, so when I read her I feel like she's talking right to me.
I always wish I could read minds. Not to be sneaky, but to communicate in a more essential way than speaking creates. Reading is like mind-reading, because you're able to envision the author's point of view and see how another person thinks.
Sunday, January 24
Saturday, January 23
Friday, January 22
Gallery Visit #2: Perelman Building PMA, "Common Ground: Eight Philadelphia Photographers in the 1960's and 1970's"
I'd originally been planning to visit and write about the Kantha exhibit (see previous post), and normally I would have walked right by a photography exhibit. However, I'm glad I entered, as hidden behind the room barriers, unseen from the entranceway were 2 photographic fiber pieces by artist Catherine Jansen. A quick internet search revealed her website, where she claims to be one of the first artists to use digital imaging in fine art. Both of the works in this exhibit span her early career as an emerging artist, and I was intrigued to note that she received her MFA from Tyler (where I'm currently a graduate student). At the right side of the exhibit, her piece "Self-Portrait" from 1971, is a cyanotype-printed image combining a photogram body print, photogrammed feathers, grid texture, grasses, and ferns, as well as 2 negative-printed self-portraits and 2 negative-printed stereogram views of Niagara Falls. Randomly placed indigo patches may cover up images or areas that didn't print well, and 2 patches that abut the main figure may even erase parts of her body, like bulges under the arm and along the back. Embroidery stitches define the frames of the stereograms, and french knots are scattered like seeds in one boxy area. However, this stitching and quilting is minimal and the work suffers for the uneven stitching as there are unintentional wrinkles and uneven surface tension.
The beauty of the piece is more in her exploration of self-portraiture rather than her craftsmanship. It is not a mere photographic representation of her features, but is a combination of elements that clue the viewer in to Jansen's emotions and personal history. The bed-like scale and laying figure coupled with the 2 negative-printed portraits showing her hands in alternate poses of choking and submission make this piece tread an uneasy balance between dreamscape and nightmare. After looking her through her website, it appears that this cyanotype bed-like imagery led her into creating an entire room reproduction in cyanotype, which fed into an entire 5-room installation from which the following piece is taken.
Thursday, January 21
Luckily I don't have that many school assignments yet and I've had time to work on these. The napkins are all complete and now I just have to do the tablecloth. Here are the 8 finished napkins:
And here's a close-up of the motif, a sort of Pennsylvania Dutch inspired Heart and Tulips design with the couple's initials springing out of the design. It's mostly double running stitch with some tiny lazy daisies and french knots.
The whole time I was making them I kept thinking- "Why don't I do things like this for myself? I'd like hand-embroidered monogrammed dinner napkins and a nice tablecloth!" But I don't think that's happening any time soon. It's easier to make crafty things for other people than for myself.
I'm thinking this will be the last crafty post for a while. School started this week and I'm plunging headfirst into 2 fiber studios, human development, and contemporary issues in art education. fun stuff. I do hope to post some images of my fiber students' sampler books next week though!
Wednesday, January 20
If you are interested in seeing this show it is at Fleisher Art Memorial, 709 Catharine St, Philadelphia, PA and will be up through March 6th.
Monday, January 18
Last summer I got to take 10 tweens on a field trip to his Magic Garden (seen above)- definitely worth a visit. The kids played hide and seek and thoroughly enjoyed themselves, cause it's like a dream castle. (of course they ended up pressing the patience of the staff- good thing we were almost ready to leave!!!)
Why is he an influence? He is absolutely committed to his artistic practice and vision. He pours his energy and imagination and joy and pain into his work. And he makes the most amazing encrusted surfaces. In his world, everything is fodder for art- emotion and objects. I think many emerging artists hold a bit of fear of their art- what it means, what it could be, what happens when you send it out into the world. We can learn from Zagar and just put it out there- no fear.