Saturday, October 30, 2010

Six Years, but whose counting...?

There are 2 exhibits with November 1st deadlines which I've just given myself permission to not submit. My focus has been dye painting and screening and my muscles are feeling fatigued and I'm releasing the will to push myself the next 2 days.  I did make it to the Open Studios and many artists were in their studios which is always energizing but rest will be the focus for the weekend.

There are 10 pieces of dye-painted fabrics wrapped in plastic that will cure over the weekend, possibly until Tuesday or Wednesday.  I'm on the schedule to to do some campaign calls for Monday and will be at my Mother's for bit also.  Tuesday I'm on the schedule for a few hours to drive folks to the polls so I'm not sure when I'll return to do the wash out.  The piece shown in the post below had very little dye wash out but I dye painted it again yesterday with a chocolate brown.  Here it is before the brown was applied:


I'm sold on curing AND steaming.  

It dawned on me yesterday that I'm focusing on dark colours...for no apparent reason but if I were to go all hyper-analytical I would say because I'm dreading the onslaught of winter and the need to readjust my activities due to it getting dark earlier.  But really that would be over-reading the intent.  I think it boils down to 'I'm just dyeing dark colours', (insert shrugging shoulders)

My presentation at the Carnegie last Saturday was a lot of fun for me and hopefully for those who shared the morning with me as well.  What keeps coming back to me is the clarity in which I knew that art-making is a conversation with my body and I used the metaphor of it being a dance that allows me to explore my limitations and sense of freedom.  The surface applications on fabric is hip-hop and the quilt design and construction is the waltz and modern dance sequels. 


This was the last piece I did yesterday and I was tired and don't know where the face came from but right before I did the face I asked myself "what else can I do with the writing?"  I've been doodling faces on scraps of paper and looking back over my attempt at faces in old journals...I do think it'll be a long while before faces as a motif makes it into a quilt but I'm open.

November 4th will be my 6 year anniversary of blogging...for 6 years I've been typing out loud about my journey with the main focus being my own art.  I hope casual readers and dedicated readers of Seamless Skin find some nugget that moves us closer to kindred spirits that keeps and increases the use of the internet as a fully positive human one.  

Beginning next week I'm going to add a new feature on my blog with interviews of local artists.  I'm starting with members of Louisville Area Fiber and Textile Artists.  When I'm at meetings I'm overwhelmed with all the creative vibes and the group experience that I'm wanting the interviews to be the counter-part and allow me to connect and get to know members as individuals.  The first one will be with ceramist and shibori artist Elmer Lucille Allen (see the video below) who has an upcoming show with Valerie White at E & S Gallery.





Monday, October 25, 2010

The Rent!!!! too damn high...

This piece was dye painted last week.  This is the fourth layer of over-dyeing.  In this picture it is still wet so I know it will be a tad lighter once it dries.  The effect is full of intrigue and mystery and I can see it paired with a smoky gray and a deep red for speaking to the root of turbulence that life sometimes holds.


 I've been wanting to get that rich, saturated depth of colour that I see in some quilts.  I purchased a red piece of fabric from Nancy Crow and she said she dyed it 4 times with 4 different reds to get it. My piece batched over the weekend and I steamed it today and will wash it out tomorrow.

Last week I batched AND steamed to see if it makes a difference and I think slightly it does but since I was not doing a controlled test, its hard to say for sure.  I also was a little heavy handed with the dye powder too, again, not really controlled testing here.  I also think I need to get a tighter woven pfd to get the depth I'm seeking. 

Elmer Lucille reminded me that Ed Hamilton and Sam Gilliam along with Mr. Gilliam's older sister, Lizzie Miller, were in conversation last Thursday at the Speed.  It was 6 when she told me on her way out and I was still dyeing, so hurriedly cleaned up and made it over 15 minutes into the program.

I wanted to introduce myself after the presentation...I know Mrs. Miller from my days of working as she stays active in her church and wider community organizations involving human services.  I really would have loved to have a photo with Gilliam and Hamilton but folks swarmed the stage afterwards and I was physically beginning to drag.

Sam%20Gilliam%20Carousel%20Form%20II%201969_jpg SamGilliamLightDepth
These pieces are huge by Gilliam. He said this came about from a question he was asked by a bar mate where he hung out at the time who asked him "why bother to stretch your canvas before you know the painting is good".  I recall reading that he kept wanting to get away from the limitations of the "frame" during his retrospective show here.

The other statement I took away from the presentation was the need for the artist to be larger than their art by getting about in the world in order for the art itself to have substance, the ability to speak to the human state.  He felt that installation work has gone on too long and most of it lacks substance.

Hamilton still resides here in Louisville and one question he says he gets asked frequently is "why he never left?".  His opinion is, "if the work is good enough, it will be found". 

I never want to be guilty of over-romanticising the past, but one of the things they spoke of and Mrs. Miller validated about the early years here in the 50's was the comraderie and accessiblitity of artist in the community.  I wasn't born until '60 but I grew up being able to identify, even if I didn't know them, artists, poets (who I would come to know) in the community.  Is it the same today?  Not really sure, but it doesn't seem so.  


I've been trying to upload this post since Friday...the problem was the browser...Peter switched over to IE9 which is still in beta and Typepad doesn't support it yet...I'm using Google Chrome and the problem is solved.  I'm so very much an end user...I just want the computer to work the way I anticipate is should, ya know?!  

Every day for the last 2-3 weeks I've woken up to a different resolve about moving from my current space in Mellwood...take the other space, stay where i am, take the other space, stay, other space, stay, yada yada and on and on.  IF I do decide to take the space behind me, it will not be until the end of November.  The Tenant's Council is promoting the Friday after TG and I wanted to stay in my current space for it.  

Today someone cleaning out there space gave me a great desk that was on its way to the dumpster.  I had to move stuff around to accommodate it and today I was like, moving around the corner isn't worth it.  I was whooped when I finished and I really didn't do that much!  I relaxed enough to clear my head and think about "whats next?" creatively which lead me to writing on fabric.  There is a November 1 deadline I want to meet but I'm not sure I'm going to meet this one.  I hate to blow it but my focus is split this week over items that require my attention outside of art-making.  

The title of this post has nothing to do with what I've written...I just like saying it :).  I'm really tired tonight...sleeping in tomorrow is on the agenda.  Peace,


Friday, October 22, 2010

Some things in life are better when you share them. What are your favorite things to share with friends and people you love?

Also, I can talk endlessly about my art-making processes to anyone who stands still long enough.

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Some things in life are better when you share them. What are your favorite things to share with friends and people you love?

I love to cook for other people. Pound Cake is a no-fail stand-by and I have a brussel sprout recipe that has converted brussel sprout haters...but I really like to try out new recipes and get feed-back.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Talking myself through the dark...

Yesterday I set up a test for the 3rd quilt for Crowbonics because the internal eyes and hands were working on it in spite of me wanting to do something else externally.  The 2nd-2nd quilt (second attempt on the second quilt) is not close to being finished but that didn't seem to matter to my internal eyes and hands.  Not having the energy to protest or object, this is what I started:

DSCN1607 torn papers layered under a sheer after medium applied but not yet dried

It is a small sample...about 10"x17".   I left it to dry yesterday and tomorrow I'll soak it in a bucket of water and scrap off the pieces of paper that didn't adher to the fabric.  The result will be a fractured image.  I applied more medium and more pressure on the faces.  I want less fracturing on the faces. If it works, I'll repeat with a larger sheer that will be a part of the actual quilt.

I also worked with redeeming a failed sheer lamination by cutting out the pieces I liked and then sewing them together.  I also wrote over the laminated sheer with a fabric marker as I'm thinking about what it would look like if the same images are repeated on all 3 visible layers: the paper, the sheer and the cotton fabric underneath.  I know, I know, I'm rattling on and talking to myself and not considering how tedious it is for a visitor to my blog to make sense of what I'm talking about...but a part of what I do here is like talking myself through the dark...


Monday, October 18, 2010

Generally Speaking, nothing is happening...

I had a sweet tooth craving over the weekend and both attempts I made to satisfy it by baking just fell flat...first on Saturday I attempted an apple cobbler I found on too dry and I just wasted some really good apples we picked over at Huber's in Indiana.  Then come Sunday I made an applesauce spice cake and just as I was getting ready to frost it I took a pinch and discovered I had left out the SUGAR!!!!!!!!!!!  I was pissed very upset but attempted quickly to readjust my attitude by playing  Scrabble against Maven, the built-in artificial intelligence for the game...between endless losses and cups of ginger tea with a little honey (doesn't count on the sweet-tooth craving scale) I resolved that it was just as well since I'm not suppose to have concentrated sweets in my diet anyways. I'm really more of a salty snack woman than sweets but every now and then I hanker for some really good and worth the effort of indulging something-sweet.  I did eat half a Snickers (cheap but delicious substitute) today and now I'm good for about a month or two.

After running an errand with Mama today, I did make it to the studio...chatted with Janet and Elmer Lucille and mixed up 3 different consistencies of print paste and 3 dye concentrates.  I kept waiting for a definitive goal to strike.  I'm in a fuzzy head space which is typical after focusing on meeting a deadline (really does take a lot of mental focus for me to follow through).  I was informed today that the one coming up requires images to be in a format I'm not familiar with...EPS or PDF.  Of course I've heard of PDF, just have never created a file in pdf.  I had to google EPS format.  If I'm understanding correctly it is a format which can be created in Illustrator and newer versions of Photoshop.  Anyway there is a learning curve (joy ;/) but I also got a name of a local art photographer that is extremely I'll see what I can do first or either Ade, but I am only talking less than 2 weeks. 

Peter dropped in to visit me today while at Mellwood.  He helped me set up when we first moved in and dropped by one other time for short pop in...but today he was off from work and came and sat for 2 hours.  The mixing of dyes and print paste appealed to the scientist in him even if my answers were not that scientific sounding ;)  We are extremely supportive of one another even though art(ists) are a weird lot to him and test tubes and math is too concrete for me.  Politics, music and cultural histories have always been our common grounds.  Maybe when he is on vacation I could get him back to assist me with some dyeing and printing...just will not hold my breath.

*****If you're not doing anything Saturday morning, come over to the Carnegie in New Albany...I'll be having an hour long conversation about art-making with disabilities and grant-writing.  Its part of a 9 month long series that is a project by the Indiana State Art Council.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

What I'm doing with this one precious life.

DSCN1602 144:2 (in progress)

Tomorrow is photographing day.  I have 2 pieces I'm going to submit to Form Not Function (deadline is this Saturday, the picture above is not one of them, just thought I needed a photograph in the post).  Even though these 2 pieces are complete I still find myself talking to them in a way that deepens my understanding of what I was attempting to do and weighing if I succeeded...success is defined as full excavation (thanks to Grace for using this word yesterday...a light bulb went off for me) of an idea and my emotional response to it while in the process.  Here is a sample of some of the questions I ask:

  • Did I short change my thoughts and emotions by not full pushing the technique to communicate them back to me? 

  • Was/is there a better approach that would have expressed myself better?

  • What ideas and emotions and associated images did I discard and keep and why?

  • What works? What doesn't? and why?

I cannot get away from describing what I do as "abstracting emotion".  For myself, it is of no value to me for a viewer to understand or relate to the idea/and emotions that I abstracted while planning and creating a quilt.  I want viewers to walk into a piece on their own terms...if they like it, I love it; if they love it; then I've found a member of my tribe.  Somewhere on line I came across an artist (can't remember who it was) whose statement was "if you like, then it is art; if  you don't, then it is not".  For me this is a more open and honest approach...I'm free to do what I need to do and stay in my head, heart, and soul while putting a quilt together and the viewer gets to relate to the piece and me on their terms as well.  Win-win.  Kinda.  Because then from there I go into thinking about culture and gender and myself as an artist and weighing if I've challenged in someway either myself or others to ask questions or perceive ideas differently.  Most of the time I try to provide "hints" in the title, but that is the writer in me, and do the words become an extension of the visual image? 

I become more philosophical when I'm charged with writing an artist statement...I'll settle my mind after the weekend but then I have 2 other deadlines next month ;)


This is this and nothing more.

Every day I wake up to a new resolve about the studio situation...thus far, I can tell you that option 3 is no longer an option.  The other day my daughter and grandson were visiting and he is one busy body and it hit me that I wouldn't want to increase my worry when he is there over having materials and art by someone other than Nana's.  He has yet to grasp the concept of boundaries.

If I can work it out with management to not move in until Dec., I'm going to take the space around the corner.  The last respectable trolley hop will be the Friday after Thanksgiving and I want to stay in current location just in case I get the traffic flow like I did for the Art Fair.

Soooooooo...thats that!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Its All Good!

I'm going to stamp this in the blogosphere and then get a good night sleep and trust the process that I'll know what to do by Monday.  There are 3 choices:  stay in my current studio location in Mellwood; move across the hallway; or move into a larger space and share with a wonderfully energizing artist.

Option 1 Pros and Cons:

I've 5 steps from the big sinks!!! 2 doors down from a great neighbor!!!!!  The space has been blessed and I'm rooted!!!  2 doors provide a wonderful flow to entering and exiting during special events.  Closest to the bathrooms.  The heating and cooling pocket is stable and adequate.  The negative is the burden of covering the rent. 

Option 2 Pros and Cons:

Better lighting and exposure to oustide windows.  10 steps from the sink.  space size is almost the same as current and rent is 75 less a month.  Get to keep my neighbors Janet and Michael. Negative is it is off a secondary hallway that dead ends and visitors during special events rarely walk down that hallway.  Unsure of the heat and cooling as some spots in Mellwood are get too warm/too cold.

Option 3 Pros and Cons:

Space is larger than current space and very adequate for sharing and I vibed really well with the other artist.  There is better lighting and exposure to outside windows.  Shared rent is cheaper than the other options 1 and 2 and would save 140 each month.  If for some reason I end up in the studio alone later, it still would be less than my current cost.  Negatives are further, much further from the sinks and would tax me more physically and thus could lead to even less time in the studio and working even slower than I already do.  (I could pull a little red wagon to and fro or learn to balance a 5 gallon bucket on my head like my African sisters do)  This space is further from the bathroom and I'd loose my neighbors and the neighbors in that hallway do not seem to be in much during the day and when they are I hear power tools buzzing and banging on that end.  The foot traffic is better than option 2 and prolly the same as what I have now because it is closer to the entrance but it also deadends.  Lastly, I'm unsure of the heating/cooling flow.

Now, since living involves facing challenges and dilemnas, I'm thrilled to have this problem when I look back over my life and see how far I've come...oh, excuse me, I thought this was the part of the program where I testify.  Eitherway, all the options are good.  It is just a matter of coming to a conclusion about where to place priority and the compromises.



Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I'm one of 1.6 million!

My goals for October:

1. 50 postcards for JD Green's cd release event.

2. Retake photos for Form Not Function, cd and application

3. Complete quilts (binding and sleeves)

4. Flyers (see #2 below)

5. Start a portfolio cd

Thanks it...Here is how it went on last months goals:

1. Have 25 postcards and 25 fiber brooches ready for sale by Sept. 9thscrapped the brooches but did the postcards

1a. backing, sealed, on placards, etcrelated to above

1b. on cards, take 5 to retailers.  decided against it due to dropping prices on postcards and discovered there wasn't a need, postcards sold very well.

2. Flyers on renting space by hr/intro to dye in lobby and Mellwood/LAFTA email list.

3. Make up price list  completed

4. Complete applications for 2 exhibits  (still working it out)

4a. 2 pieces quilted and completed  (1 piece used for postcards, still working on it)

4b. Ade to photographed  (need to retake them)

5. Begin putting together a cd portfolio.  (still working on it) 


Yesterday I read Kyra Hicks' new booklet, a true gem!  It is packed, I mean packed with information for such a small book.  It goes a long way, I mean really long way, in filling the gap in quilting resources and information.  I intentionally left it at the studio for fear that I'd start searching out the online resources and sites, close to 300, and would never ever get up from the computer all in the name of fun and expanding my brain.  There are six original applique blocks by Francine Haskins included and I thought how fun it would be to make them and send images to both Kyra and Francine.  Even though I can't handle making them now because my plate is full and I work so slow as it is, I do intend to make them within the coming year.  Also, for someone whose head is as thick as mine when it comes to statistics, Kyra writes with such transparency on the topic and takes a layperson's tone toward presenting the info that I found myself really interested in something that would normally make my eyes go wide trying to understand.  I had to pinch myself to make sure it was me!  Thank you Kyra for being so kind for the thick-headed among us when it comes to numerical data.  

Kyra Hicks