Saturday, December 29

New Space!!

 I'm so very happy to finally have a studio! I have enough moved in now to start some work. After hauling boxes up the 4 flights of stairs this morning I sat in my new chair and started an ori-nui shibori piece inspired by the landscape panorama in my previous post. I didn't spend a lot of time on it, but just the fact that I sat and made something there felt wonderful!
 One reason I couldn't resist renting the space was because of the great light through the 2 windows, and the view that looked out over Port Richmond to New Jersey. I can see the el and the trains passing, the church near my house, and the Betsy Ross Bridge from my 4th floor studio. It's worth the stairs.
Sometimes the city landscape is too much, though, and I long for trees. After my studio time this morning we headed down to Wyeth country and visited the Brandywine River Museum. The river at sunset was gorgeous. I love driving down Route 1 through the hills. It seems I always come down here at Wintertime when the landscape around Chadds Ford most matches Andrew Wyeth's stark watercolors. I'm filled up with the beauty of his contrast and restrained palette. I think I'm still going to stick with my love for the panoramic.

Thursday, December 27


We walked through a crisp and quiet landscape on Christmas Eve. The lake had a thin layer of ice feathered over it, and we skipped stones across the surface, making a hollow echoing ping, ping, ping.

I'm looking for inspiration. Teaching sucks up a lot of creative energy, and I haven't made much besides project exemplars in the last few weeks. (Oh yeah, and Christmas cards) So, the other day in a spontaneous whirlwind, I stumbled upon an opportunity to rent a studio, and so I did. I've been in just to start setting things up, but hopefully some art will be made soon too. Hopefully having a space (something I've desired for over a decade) will help me focus.

In the meantime, Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 9

Stitch and Surface Wrap-up, Fall 2012 edition

It's been a few weeks now since it ended, but this past semester of Stitch and Surface at Fleisher was truly remarkable. I had some returning students, some trained artists, several art teachers, and some stitch enthusiasts, and they all were bursting with creativity. Plus, once again we were an all female crew, making it a relaxing and sometimes raucous stitch-and-bitch. Heads would pop in from the class across the hall wondering what was going on with all our laughter!
 Everyone made a reverse applique needle book cover in felt as a stitch sampler introduction project. Shapes were cut out of one felt piece, then the "holey" piece was layered over another color, and stitched were done through both layers. When complete, the edges were blanket-stitched, and a blank piece of felt was seamed down the center to make the book. Some chose to add a closure loop or tie.
 Our major project was a stitched self-portrait. We tried out painting with walnut ink as a surface technique. One artist used the walnut ink for a portrait, which was transformed into a portrait of her mother. The piece above incorporated couched dreadlocks, feathers, and cowrie shells, and has intensely colored hazel eyes that are riveting. The artist, Robin Turnage, is a fellow faculty member at Fleisher and a former Leeway Grant recipient.
 Alia's larger-than life-size portrait was very ambitious, and has a more linear approach.
 Best friends for more than 20 years, Nan and Pat decided to each do their own version of a photograph of themselves from college with their mouths stuffed with grapes. It's fun to see how color, pattern, and texture can make an image so different.
 Our final project was a paper stitchery. I demonstrated how to stitch on paper with the picture at the bottom right. I found a painting of a schoolteacher by Winslow Homer in an art magazine, cut it out and glued it onto watercolor paper in order to have a stiffer surface to stitch upon. By pre-piercing the holes it's easy to add embroidery to any image on paper. In the center below, one student found a reproduction of a photo of John Brown and added a red halo or horns depending on how you look at it. And to the left, another student printed out a picture of "The Dude", and added text and completely embellished sunglasses. I really like this doubling of the appropriation tradition of embroidery. It's not just copying a pattern, it's borrowing and adding to another image to make it one's own.
I love my new "embroidery schoolteacher" stitched paper picture ala Homer.
Next semester I hope to do a letter sampler, a whitework valentine, a dye painted landscape, and maybe even some fiber ATC's. If you'd like to join me for an adventure in Fiber Arts visit Fleisher to register now for Winter classes starting January 10. Stitch and Surface runs for 10 weeks on Thursday nights from 6:30-9:30. Hope you'll join me!