Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Artistic Sharing

I enjoyed and appreciated reading online this written presentation of artist Kesha Bruce discussing her work that was actually presented to a live audience in France...ummm, I wish she would have thought to tape it and upload it to You Tube...but then it would have been in French, so ex-nay that idea for the monolingual (but bi-dialectical) me.

I Survived Being Being An Artist in France!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

What Happens to A Dream Deferred?

Alg_raisin It is not often that I actually sit down and watch 3 hours of television but I was hyped about the new A Raisin in the Sun that aired last night.  The time seemed to go by quickly which translates into I was pretty enthralled.  The cinematography was fast moving which I think helped to conveyed the intensity and the life of this family, The Youngers, living in Chicago in 1959.  Two of my mother's siblings relocated to Chicago from the south looking for better wages and a better life...this embodied their story and still embodies many stories of anyone immigrating to the U.S. today.

Even though I've watched the original version several times the newer one still seemed fresh...its a great story and hopefully introduced a younger generation to this classic.  Ade, my youngest, made me smile when he recited the poem What Happens to A Dream Deferred by Langston Hughes as part of the intro to the start of the movie.  Up until recently, this blog turned up most frequently in searches for Langston Hughes...some time ago I posted one of my favorite poems by him.  Now my blog comes up most frequently for searches on "skin carvings".  I know that is from my stamp carving but what in the world is up with the interest in skin carving???


Do you ever come across art that just makes you shake your head and wave your hand in the air and renders you speechless?  And sometimes you have to avert your eyes because the vision is so breathtaking?  Music, poetry, literature will sometimes get ahold of me like this and when I look at the artwork of quilter Valerie White I hear music and see poetry and literature.  Yesterday I received word that she has finally established her place on the web.  Check out her quilts at . My prediction is that Wynton Marsalis will come across her work and give her a call to illustrate the cover of his cd...I think it would be a perfect marriage of her art and his music.  Also, some talented children's writer should contact her to illustrate a story.  Her quilts would be a wonderful accompaniment to a children's story. I would predict Virginia Hamilton but she has passed already.  But this is a small portion of what happens to me when I view or hear something that gets me excited...immediately ideals start to flow about all the possibilities...sometimes I have to calm myself down. Valerie's work is exciting like that. 


Woohoo, I love getting goodies through the mail among bills and coupons.  On Saturday I received a Pay It Forward gift from Nellie Durand . After I opened the envelope this is what I saw: Dscn2826

wrapped with such care that I waited a day to open it until I could get a photo.  Then when I unwrapped it and struggled over whether to save the paper for a future project, (this going green is not easy), this is what I saw: Dscn2829

A lovely beach scene which is refreshing here in cold Febuary.  Thank you Nellie!  It is very textured which I love running my hand across. 


Speaking of dreams deferred...the last space I looked at for a possible studio was too was a great location but wouldn't allow me to move all the stuff I want out of this apartment plus it squeezes my budget by 50 bucks. 

The space that seems perfect is in a warehouse. It has 4 really giant-size windows that run across the front and is in a very long room that would be great for viewing a design board.  The room is painted a stark bright white.  Other artists are there, but the location gives me pause...the other locations I've looked at have some measure of being open to foot traffic although they were too small or way over my price range.  This location is in a humungous warehouse that use to be a woolen mill that folded during the depression and since the 1930s through the 1960s was used as a warehouse by one of the tobacco manufacturers.  The area is a combination of residential and old commercial buildings that I wouldn't feel comfortable working in after dark.

In the same neighborhood a few weeks ago a warehouse burned down to the ground. It housed about a half-dozen, maybe more, artists' studios and living space.  A man and his dog lost their life.  This put a chill in my bones about this "almost perfect space" and I knew that if I go this route I'd definitely want insurance which would be another cost I hadn't really given too much weight to.  But this warehouse is about 100 years old or more and fixed up "just enough" and there is a glass artist who works in the undeveloped basement where there is a lot of "stuff" and dust.  I hope these second, third thoughts are a sign of wisdom trying to seep in and not fear and procrastination...   

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Tasks at Hand

Visual_design Here are the results of an exercise on line and shape from Dunnewold/Morgan/Benn's book on Visual Language.  What was reinforced for me in these examples was how to use line and shape to move the eye across the surface.  I'm still struggling with intentionally conveying emotion in lines and shapes...everything I start out with appears so cliche.  Maybe this is my metaphor for breaking down the wall until I come to a complete breakthrough.  I'm going to try again and I'll post to get some responses here.

I also played with the Shiva paintsticks Dscn2749and did a little sketching...Dscn2775 Self_portraitI'll eventually add other layers to the cloth when I have more time and space to not worry about leaving a mess.

I really need a haircut...

How would you convey magical realism in a quilt?  Crystal does writing prompts on her blog and the last one she did was for conveying magical realism and now I'm pondering how to convey that in cloth...Kathy Nida, an artist in the art quilt ring came to mind and also Faith Ringgold's and Betye Saar's works. 

Fear, mystery, whimsy, etc. are descriptives that can be applied to magical realism...I would go for welcoming and mysterious...something that would make myself or viewers want to stay in the piece but yet not quite sure why or what they are I'm going to work on creating some images and more ideas for this idea.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Living Black History

Dscn2799It was a weekend filled with the quilts and quilters of Gee's Bend, Alabama!  In the picture is GB quilter Lucy Mingo, 2nd from the left, with (from L-R) my Aunt Shirley, my Mama, and Aunt Francis.  I managed to make a small exclusive gathering of a gallery talk with 3 of the quilters and I dragged Petra, a non-quilting friend, along to meet living history...Petra lives under a rock and only heard about the quilters about 2 weeks ago.  Then Saturday my mother, sister, 2 of my aunts, and myself attended the demonstration and exhibit.  The quilters worked on 2 a blue, white, and black one with bold graphic lines and shapes and a blue jean quilt.  We were there for a couple of hours and just had a great time.  Sunday morning I rolled out of bed early (for me) and made it to church were the group of women I quilt with hosted the quilters for service and they were recognized before the congregation and we hosted the reception afterwards before they where whisked off back to the museum.  I felt like such a groupie and I guess I am because I was lifted by the interaction I had with them and hopefully in the next couple of years will make a trek to their homestead. Dscn2801_3 For more photos, click  here.


I wish I had a better photo of Ron accepting an award for one of his pieces in the show at Actor's Theatre but I just couldn't capture a good one...Ron is smack in the middle of the photo with his back turned.  Dscn2745He is building his resume and me thinks it is time that he builds a professional website.  I'm praying that his pieces sell before they come down from this particular exhibit.  He is also the featured artist at a coffee shop in Lexington, KY...I think the name of the place is Third Street Stuff Cafe.  He is also the featured artist at Southeast Kentucky Community College in Harlan County, Kentucky through the end of Feb.


For the last month or so I've been looking at studio spaces...The 2 that excited me the most are out of my price range but I had hoped to share 1 of the spaces with a hand embroiderer but that didn't pan out.  I ran into another artist today who may possibly be interested and I waited to look at another space today that is doable alone but the person showing the space didn't show up at the time designated. All the looking and searching and hoping has opened an opportunity to set up a table to sell on the first Friday Trolley Hop free of charge.  If I do this it will be after April because my initial reaction felt like this would be a distraction.  Being the slow thinker that I am, I just need to ponder it some more. The remainder of this week is dedicated to resting.  Maybe I shouldn't say that too loud just in case drama and chaos are listening. :)


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Well, what can I say?!





A pictorial metaphor for my life in Huntsville, Alabama.  Deb, my sister, fulfilled a dream last week by attending a heirloom sewing class with Martha Pullen.  Deb was in heaven and was at the top of her game from the excitment of sewing...she nearly finished a christening gown that is going to be for one of her granddaughters.  I managed to see a little of the city but mainly just kicked back and relaxed by reading, crocheting, or doing some of the design exercises from the Visual Language book by Dunnewold/Benn/Morgan while she was in class.

The month has been a busy one and I hope I can get through the rest of the month's plans.  Tuesday I returned home and now have a touch of Bronchitis which has made me re-evaluate some of my plans for this weekend.  I'm taking a super-duper antibiotic and steroids so I hope to make it to some of the activities related to the Gee's Bend quilters being here along with the exhibit at the Speed Museum.