Wednesday, April 24

freshly fired

In the last post I shared my sketches from the first night of animal sculpture class. I thought I'd share the resulting sculpture as well. I hollowed him out last week and here he is already fired! I think I'll glaze him to soften up his surface. Tonight I sculpted a copy of a horse's skull.... so much harder!

Tuesday, April 16

beginnings and middles

 Last week was the beginning of the semester at Fleisher. My embroidery class sadly lacked enrollment and was cancelled, but that means I got to sign up to TAKE a class instead. I'm taking Darla Jackson's Animal Sculpture class (with my honey) and our first night was all about Beep the bunny. I did a bunch of sketches before working with the clay because I need to draw things to really see them. Beep kept moving around, too, making it hard to capture just one pose, but gesture drawings are a great way to capture a quick pose.
In the studio yesterday I began stitching the Port Richmond Panorama. There's going to be so much backstitch! The picture above is about 5 feet of thread stitched in, covering only about 1 x 4 inches of the drawing. It's tedious sometimes, but it was a nice break from the wall:
Forgive the giant hoop marks (Yay! Finally used my standing embroidery frame!!) The white section is now completely covered in sashiko patterned running stitches to give a brick-like appearance. The original background wall is mostly gray up to the apex of the triangle, and I did get some gray thread for it, but I think the whole piece will feel more lively if I switch to the rust color for bricks.

I didn't make it to the studio today, but I did finish observations for two of my student teachers. Finishing things feels wonderful. At least it should. My prayers for the Boston runners whose "Finish" was ruined this afternoon by cruel terror. Although it seems futile at times, I'm going to just keep trying to put out beauty in the world. We need it to balance out all the ugliness.

Sunday, April 7

Unusual threads

It was First Friday! It was Spring! There was finally art worth seeing and weather worth going out in to see it! Unfortunately I forgot my camera. But there were two great sights in Fishtown on Friday night. Firstly, Holiday Campanella showed off her felted "Fleisher" at Philadelphia Sculpture Gym, capturing two of my loves (fibers and my favorite community art center). Secondly, Jason Hackenwerth had an installation/environment at 2424 York that was magical. With light plastic sheeting, clear packing tape, and fans, he created a series of tunnels, domes, and cave-like spaces to move through. The air pressure as the doors to the space opened and closed would dramatically alter the inflation and movement of the plastic structures. It reminded me of the rare occasions the gym teacher would let us play with the parachute and you could run underneath the puffed up cloth and be enclosed.

The next night brought a new adventure out to West Philly to Seeds Gallery to see a collaborative show including Genevieve Coutroubis, Johanna Marshall, and John Karpinski. Genevieve's photos of Greece were the playground for John and Johanna to explore. John's drawings captured the magic of childhood and Johanna's stitchery added nostalgia for the past. 
 I especially loved this scrollwork over the strap on the statue's shoulder:
Seeing these stitched photos makes me want to play some more with stitching on paper. Maybe if I printed out some of the panoramas I've been doing lately. Fabric is more fun to stitch on though. Maybe I could do some digital prints on cotton or silk..... Seeing art makes my mind spin.

I figured out that in my hour and a half in the studio today I was able to stitch about 60 stitches a row, each row was about 2 feet... there were 12 rows making my total for the day about 24 feet of thread and about 720 stitches. I'm hoping for more time tomorrow so I can get a section of my wall piece totally finished.

Monday, April 1

View from the studio

 On this last day of Spring Break, I spent a beautiful 3 hours in the studio. It was a balmy 63 degrees finally- no need to bundle up! My "wall" got another inch of running stitch. I also spent about an hour up on the 5th floor drawing the skyline in water soluble marker on a 6 inch by 6 foot length of white cotton. The 5th floor is really nice- no dividing walls, just the full expanse of wooden floor, 16 foot wooden beamed ceilings, and windows running the length of both sides of the building for an almost 360 degree view of Philadelphia. My panorama covers only the northeast to southeast view over Port Richmond and Fishtown, from Tacony bridge down to the Ben Franklin. Eventually I'll stitch it up for a nice line drawing. Maybe when I get sick of running stitch on the wall I can shift over and do some backstitch on the drawing.
*sigh* back to school in the morning. Just 10 more weeks till Summer vacation.