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.

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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,



  1. Hi Karen,
    Thanks for the peek at Sam Gilliam's draped canvases. I am very fond of his (stretched) work - LOL and it's very exciting to be able to hear him speak, I am sure. Sigh...I know about the rent is too damn high but there's no place for me to go that would be better or cheaper than where I am; quite the contrary.
    Love the writing on fabric - as you know, that's one of my favorite things to do since about 10 years ago - and it doesnt matter if anybody can read it. Text as a design element works for me!
    I was a kid/teenager in the 1950's but I think that it is true that artists had more of a community than they do now - they shared, they influenced each other and didn't make a big deal about how sinful it was, and the world was a better place.

  2. The Speed Museum purchased one of his pieces, Restore. I haven't gone yet to see it but it is the only piece in a dedicated room.
    I can't think of anything more specific as a creative mark then one's own handwriting and now that we're in a keyboard culture, hand-writing really has that archaeological impact that I'm attracted to.
    And speaking of keyboard culture, (I guess our generation is somehow on the cusp) I don't even hesitate to think of my artists blog friends as my community right along with the ones I interact with off-line. Fifty years from now there will be a generation nostalgic for how the internet use to be...LOL

  3. Can't wait to see how that yummy piece of dyed fabric turns out! Please post a pic!
    Loved those draped pieces by Sam Gilliam!
    Just read your reply to Rayna, and I both agree with and find interesting your comments both about our keyboard culture and the internet! My handwriting has always been quite atrocious, so it is wonderful for me to just pick up my laptop and punch the keys. That said, my handwriting is also very distinctive....but who wants it?!!!

  4. There was very little dye wash out when I rinsed it yesterday...I'll snap a photo and get it up in my next post before the week is out.
    Handwriting was a "subject" with devoted class time when I was in elementary...I don't even think they do that anymore. And I see a lot of teens who still write in block so I'm almost certain that cursive writing isn't really a required focus. When I'm writing on fabric, legible writing is the furtherest from my mind. I intentionally eliminate spacing and like for the writing to overlap...POP! incoming brainstorming idea...a quilt with loads of handwriting from other people all in one quilt! Look for solicitations in my next post!