Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Groovy People

Recall Lou Rawls singing that song, Groovy People?  It describes my time spent in Athens, Ohio and an impromptu visit into Yellow Springs with 3 good friends.  My brother and his partner, Crystal, have been telling me about Yellow Springs for a few years.  I left here on Thursday for Athens thinking that Yellow Springs was on the opposite side of Cincy and out of the way.  I picked my friend Bev up and the first thing out of her mouth was "would you be interested in going to Yellow Springs?"  A quick flash of Thelma and Louise in my head and the answer was yes.  Yellow Springs was too short but we did make a couple of gallery connections thanks to Bev come what may marketing style.  Bev is not a fiber/textile/quilter but she is a highly imaginative artist who works in several mediums.

We arrived in Athens Thursday night and just chilled out.  On Friday, Kel, clay artist who is currently working in precious metal clay, and Dee, masterful story teller and poet joined us on Friday.  Whenever we're together there is always plenty of gab and laughter.  Family, art, health, politics, movies, tv, work, books, the usual.

Friday's highlight was the bead shop Kel took us too and it was a pretty damn awesome shop with wonderful customer service (the shops here leave me cold when it comes to customer service) and the diversity of items this bead shop has is lacking in Louisville shops.  I'd have to run around 3 shops locally to find half of what this shop had in inventory. 

Saturday morning we spent hours at The Diary Barn oohing and ahhhing...After the first round of viewing Bev had us go back around and pick our favorites for 4 catergories...of course I took notes but since then, they are lost...but from what I'm recalling, I had selected these 3 for the 3 of the 4 categories (can't remember them either):  Tunicates 1 by Andree Fredette, Nothing to Fear by Susan Else, and Architectural Squares by Christine Tedesco.  As a group we spent a considerable time in discussion on Africa Scarified IV by Sue Ackerman, Ruffled by Jessica Jones, Communicating with the Past by Aaron McIntosh, Little Fish in a Big City by Kathy York, Nothing to Fear by Susan Else, Quilt Drawing #9 by Daphne Taylor, When Nature and Industry Collide by Christine Milton, and one that I thought was entitled Eating Roses that made a direct feminist statement but I do not see it on the QN page.

Bev most frequent question was "what makes this a quilt?" and pushed the question about what materials she could use to push the definition further from the center and toward the edge.  Sunday morning Bev posed the question to us about which quilt was still the most memorable and for me it was Nothing to Fear by Susan Else (at the base of my memory lies humour), for Kel it was Ontario Quest Triptych, for Dee it was Ruffled by Jessica Jones, and for Bev it was Quilt Drawing #9 by Daphne Taylor.  

I did not buy the book but I'm trying to recall 3 was done in shades of gray and had a pyramid and a cross as motifs and the other was a close-up portrait (small size) of a friend who passed away from cancer and another portrait (large size) done in yo-yos that had been painted over...if anyone can tell me the names of these 3 pieces it would be appreciated.

The bead shop is in a house in a residential looking neighborhood off the path of downtown Athens but close by a church turned art center.  Another must stop gallery is Passion Works Studio which is a studio/gallery of works by disabled and non-disabled artists.  Having been intimately involved with the start-up of a similiar group in New Albany, Indiana, I'm always most interested in artists who are disabled as well as how arts programs reach out to non-traditional audiences.  The highlight of dining was The Star of India which was right across from a Mexican restaurant that we ate at the day before.  This is the only photo that immediately struck me for a blog post since photos are not permitted of QN. 


This is turning out to be a season of opportunity...I'm considering an invitation to do some demo'ing at a gallery in Yellow Springs along with showing some of my work during gallery hop night...just have to weigh the initial investment cost over exposure and potential sales.  Also, Lisa Engelbrecht, author of Modern Mark Making will be here in October leading a 2 day workshop, and I'm going to be a resource artist for Kentucky Foundation for Women August 6 in Elizabethtown, Kentucky...for more info, go to their website at

As far as taking time to rent studio space to dye fabric for a month, I'm now undecided...just have to repriortize.  Is this the time to place my resources in process and materials, education, or exposure???  I'm giving myself 10 days to weigh it and will then make my decision.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Working out the knots


First attempt at bullion knots...I'm so glad there isn't an embroidery jail for those who offend the discipline...but these look like french knots on steroids. 

Below is my third set and I finally got the sequence correct.


Again, as with the calligraphy, I'm not trying to become an embroiderer...I think in surface applications which explains why I selected the piece of silk paper as a base, (a material I love), instead of the Aida cloth recommended for beginners.  My initial thought was "this red and muddy grays look great together".

I joined the Take A Stitch Tuesdays at Stitchin Fingers (see side bar).  I might make a sampler, I might not.  I'm thinking I'll make postcards, atcs, or just small cutesy framable pieces...just think if I do this for all the 52 weeks...that would be 52 small pieces. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Muddied Mind Needs a Good Cleaning.

Monday at my workshop I did a lot of piddlin'.  I couldn't open up a clear path of thinking on what to do.  I had cut stencils over the weekend but wasn't focused enough to work with them...I used up the rest of dye paint that was left in a screen from last year but no pizzazz...the colours ended up as muddied as my mind.  I did remember to get the gelatin mold out and was really surprised at how solid it formed.  I thought it would be slightly mushy but it felt rubbery.  My reference books for the gelatin printing were Rayna Gillman's book, Create Your Own Hand-Printed Cloth, and one from the library, Making Monotypes Using a Gelatin Plate by Nancy Marculewicz.  I managed to ignite enough brain cells to do these fabrics but afterwards my brain went to sleep so I followed suit.  I used Jacquard's screen printing inks and regular block printing ink and extender with the screening and gelatin mold.  The glue resist worked very well, so I'll be investing in more blue glue and gelatin powder...does anyone know if Costco or GFS (restaurant supplier) carries gelatin powder?  


top-bottom: gel print, gel print, screen print


both fabrics gel prints

When I return I'm going to be about damage control on the red and green graffiti panels shown in the previous post.  I wasn't thinking and what I did to them on Monday showed it.  I've invested too much time in them to just chalk it up...hopefully the super hero within will come to the rescue.

I rested all day concentration was still poor and this morning feels the same...but neverless, I'm going to venture to my workshop for a little while and see what I can do...hangeth in people!


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Smallview of Mega-Artist Date

 Karoda's Workshop3

glue drying in screen, auditioning fabric, gelatin plate in the making, reference books

I ended the week feeling very productive.  I did push it to the limit though but feel it was worth it every second!  I did some brush calligraphy, continued with graffiti and writing on cloth, set up some buckets of soda-ash solutions (one for over-dyes, the other for white cloth), made a gelatin plate, mixed dyes for dye painting, and set up a screen with glue resist, and held steady with 3 hours in the gym.  I increased my time on the reclining bike from 10 minutes to 30 last week.  All which has brought me to today: the hardest thing I'm doing today is rolling in and out of bed.  The humidity has increased which is horrible for me so going out I'm not!

My social highlight of the week was an artists' date with friends, old and new.  Here is Emma, Pat, myself, and Juanita inside the theme hotel 21C.  The theme is 21st century art.  The C in 21C could stand for Cutting Edge and Conceptual also.  The hotel is a series of gallery spaces.  Below we are standing between the elevator interacting with a video tech. exhibit.  When you walk around the corner there is this wall screen/camera that puts you into the image of fallilng cascading letters...the letters bounce off of you or your body acts as a blockage to the letters falling.  This is highly entertaining!!!!!!! and addicting!!!!!!!!!


This is the lobby of the hotel and the 2nd picture below is a projection on the floor in front of the hotel desk of a couple in bed trying to get comfortable.  It is in video format so if you stand there long enough you see them adjusting pillows, checking the clock, tossing, turning.


The man and woman at the desk where just as stoic as the figures above their heads, as if they, too, are figures in the art.


  The art in the hotel is not just compatible or complimentary, the hotel is more gallery space from every nook and cranny, than hotel.  Even the bathrooms provide an ecletic artistic experience with projected video words in the mirror and one way mirrors that allow you to see out in the hall ways of the hotel.

Local artists are represented along with internationally known artists. 



Artist Date

digging this white on white embroidery


one of the galleries held a solo exhibit of lithographs by Kara Walker's grotesque antebellum imagery.  This is the 2nd exhibit I've seen of her work. I've read a dissertation turned book on it and I'm sorry to still say, the full meaning escapes me.  For work to be so intense and disturbing, and it is to me, I still can't fully grasp the intent of the artist.

We also headed to the headquarters of the Embroidery Guild of America to see the LAFTA show. Here are just a few shots from the show:


DSCN0307 by Joanne Weiss


And sometimes it all boils down to a sense of humour! This is a bust by Alyce McDonald:



We ended the outing at the Carnegie Museum of Art and History in New Albany, Indiana where Penny Sisto's newest solo exhibit is hanging.  I'm always so engulfed and interested in her work but this show, a series of portraits of faith/religion, left me feeling mediocre.  Even hearing her give a gallery talk some weeks ago did not tie me into the work beyond a cerebral/academic connection.

I'm looking forward to returning to my workshop next will be my first time doing a gelatin plate and using glue as a resist.

Peace and blessings, immeasurably.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

this is what I'm talking about

Our weather has been really nice the last week...humidity not as high and temps in the 80s with dipping into the 70s at night.  Some spots of rain but nothing troublesome...even the gray overclouding we had I found relaxing. 

I can actually say now that going to the gym is habit.  I don't feel right when my routine breaks as it did on Saturday.  For those who know how I feel felt about exercise CAN I GET A WITNESS?!  Last week I went up to 30 minutes on the reclining bike with the programmed hills.  The exercise aggrevates the fibromyalgia but not to the point that I can't move or don't eventually feel better on the days I don't go.  And it really all boils down to my philosophy of "if I'm going to be uncomfortable or in pain, I might as well be so while doing something I want to do or have fun anyways".  That waiting for the perfect time or when things are just right or all the lights are green just doesn't happen...

Congratulations are in order to MudMan, my brother.  But I can't say why because there is the need to keep it hushed for reasons personal to him.  I've been bursting at the seams wanting to share it here since it relates to his life as an artist.  pssst, family and friends, email me for the news on the downlow ;)

DSCN0283 As for me, I'm working into a groove but not quite there yet.  I've made this cover for my iPod and was proud of myself for figuring out how to put the snap on.  Its a project from Alissa Burke's book, Canvas Remix.  It (the case, not the book) is coated with polyurethane which makes it feel coarse.  I'm going to make another one without the coating.

I'm still playing with the graffitti look on canvas and the combining of techniques from the online class, Graffitti Chic, taught by Alissa.  I love the Ning format for taking online classes compared to the other formats I've taken.

Taking this class has got my eyes tuned to graffitti as I drive around town.  Yesterday I found myself wanting to make a sudden spontaneous stop to get out of my car and walk across a large gravel parking lot of a industrial business, cross train tracks to get a closer look of some very ornate lettering on parked train.  I didn't.  But I experience that urge daily whenever I come across graffitti now.  I like to think of graffitti artists as calligraphers who think really big.


I cut this stencil out from a photo of Peter when he was a young fierce teen-age warrior for the revolution. ;)  (incoming divergent thought:  we already know that the revolution will not be televised...but, will it be blogged?)  I might do another stencil of him as the now aged fierce tomato grower.  I get a daily tomato plant report with such detail and passion.  He is so cute with his serious passion for his tomato plants.  Reminds me of the days when we spent hours sitting in the Afro-American Reading Room solving all the social and political ills of the world when I decided he wasn't as square as I thought he was.  Oh my words, I'm cracking myself up here.


This piece has gone through some changes.  The base is silk paper.  Its been beaded 3 different times.  Yesterday I removed the beads and painted inside the squares with pearl-ex powders mixed into a textile medium.  In spite of really liking it just as you see it here, I'm leaning toward making it a cover for a journal.  It is 3 layers, but the edges of the silk paper which I didn't want to tame extend beyond the bottom 2 layers which end at the sewn line.

Right before leaving my workshop yesterday I sat and took in the space that I've been in now for a little over a year.  I sat reflecting on the on-going challenges of health, finances, deferred dreams, family conflicts, etc. and felt thankful for the Grace which is allowing me to have a space and abundance of materials to explore my imagination and artistic heartbeats.

To top it off, I came home to Kyra E. Hicks' new book!!!! I waited patiently to open the package while I listened to Peter's tomato report but just as soon as he finished I ripped it open and was like "look, look, look"!  I had to explain who Harriet Powers was to him and why the book was signficant and then I saw the pink sticky notes...couldn't contain my excitement...Kyra is kind enough and gracious to have blessed me by mentioning Seamless Skin.  Seeing myself and my blog referenced gives me an ethereal feeling.  Do you ever ponder humanity from a soul-physics point of view?  My mind is too small to grasp it but I do ponder it often...even tring to conceive how each individual small inhale and exhale we take effects change across the globe and if one breath has impact then what can be said of our breaths compounded.  Have you ever seen the African cylinder sculptures of humans interlocking to form a tower?  Maybe this is the way that particular culture or artist(s) understand what I our small individual lives connect to form spiral cylinders that increases our humanity for the greater.  Lord know that scholarship on Harriet Powers is not exhausted and I never could have imagined or envsioned that my small breath would ever be of assistance.  But we can only see what we can see and living life larger means keep trusting the process and stepping out on belief (i.e. what I cannot see but know to hold truth).

I'm going to commune with some trees today with a grand-sistah-poet and tomorrow will be hanging out with Juanita, my quilt guru, who is here teaching some classes! All praises to the Most High!