Saturday, April 30, 2011

Visitors make the Trolley Hop!

Last night's Trolley Hop went a long way in reviving my spirit.  For the woman who actually came looking for my demo on screening with thremofax machines, the 2 women who inquired about prices in their colorful jackets, the close to retired gentleman who is thinking about looking into Paducah's Artist Relocation program, to a friend of Nancy who previously purchased Sankofa Bird and has it hanging in her kitchen, I say thank you for stopping in.  Visitors really are challenged to walk through the building which is huge to find artists in their studios which looks sparse due to the size of the building and the number of spaces where artists select not to participate coupled with the vacant spaces.  I'm always trying to recruit artists to consider leases there, as it generates energy when working around other creative folks.   

Some of what I saw that amazed me last night was an artist who carves hummingbirds and butterfiles using wine corks, chopsticks and other recycled items.  I was stunned thinking about how his mind visualizes wine cork to very detailed and intricate hummingbirds.  I tend to think in broad strokes and fluid gestures so it leaves me in awe to think out another may see in small miniature details.  I can't recall his name and I've checked the Louisville Artisans Guild website looking for his work and its not there, otherwise I would share with you.  I'll get it today when I go over to my studio.

The first demo cloth was testing out freshly made screens and getting a view of how they might play together in a design.   DSCN2063

The second demo cloth was one that I immediately fell in love with and the screen will be one of my "go-to"s.   I drew the image in response to "branching out", the April theme for The Sketchbook Challenge (see button in the side bar).

DSCN2057 DSCN2058

My Mother came through the first surgery beautifully.  She will be having a second surgery on Monday and will need a little more care and support.  Going over to the studio will be "catch is as catch can".  Peace.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Does my sign look silly? (silly is a good thing)

I'm beginning to think there is no such thing as "routine".  Not sure if it speaks to an inability to gain some edge of control over my time and what I react to...or if "control" is a  myth that doesn't really work.  This morning was about excercising just the opposite of both of these.  I was drowsy, sleepy, and dopey all rolled into one but I went to the studio anyways.   Nothing intentional happened...did some breakdown printing with the screen seen in the previous post below this one.   Also, made a sign to hang in my window.  This is found embroidery from who knows where...I thought about making a quilted sign and at some point I might feel disposed to actually doing that. 

I might go back and wiggly waggly outline some of the letters to create more visual play.  Even though there is a cultural, social, and economic reasoning behind the name, it mostly tickles me when I say it so I thought why not add a little visual comedy to the appearance of it.  I thought about using burlap, lace and cheesecloth but thought it best to just keep it simple in time, appearance, and process.


Deb, my sister is on her way here to stay with my Mother for about a week or so and I am preparing to go over and spend the night as well if I can get the stationary 02 tank at her house I have one here and one there)  filled tonight.  I recently learned that the liquid tanks evaporate on their own even when not being used and the one there is on E.  My mother is having what we expect to be an out-patient surgery and has to be at the hospital at 5:30AM tomorrow!  I believe I just got sleepy typing at the thought of it!  

Hangeth in yall!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Love a good storm...

Its storming here.  Pot of coffee.  Ice Cream.  House work.  Books and mags.  Sketchbook.  Sweetie snoring.  Computer.  Scrabble...describes my day.  

Mo left to take Carter to the barber and if I had had myself together I would have been dropped off at Mellwood while its storming.  I don't feel up to driving in this and then having to walk across the parking lot with my rolling pink book bag while juggling an umbrella overhead.  

The end of May I have a workshop with Claire Benn and Leslie Morgan at The Crow Barn.  I had already decided that this would be my last major workshop to travel to for a long while.  Since last summer I have had the overriding feeling that I really have everything and more to create the art work I want and that my focus should be concentrating on staying in the studio as much as I possible to even begin to make a dent on my ideas.  

The first of April, however, I decided to try and sell my spot.  So, if you're reading this and have an interest in taking an advanced workshop with 2 hard working instructors with incredible insight into the creative process, or know of someone who might be, email me at seamless_skin at yahoo dot com.  Go the and check out the workshop, Working With Intent before emailing me.

Shortly after I made this decison I learned that Jane Dunnewold will be running a year long workshop based out of Louisville.  If I sell the spot at The Crow Barn, then I'll enroll.  If not then I plan to enroll with Jane the 2nd year.

If I haven't sold the spot by the end of April, then I'm going to forge ahead and plan to attend.  I have to set time frames for holding on and letting go of issues in order to move on.  

and in the vein of counting my blessings...I'm a recipient of a textile collage from Marion Coleman! I finally hung it a few days ago and when I turn my head left from my desk, this is what I see:


And this lovely inspirational card from Carol sits above my desk at The Chitlin' Circuit:



Here is what I left on Thursday:



Saturday, April 2, 2011

Valerie C. White, Artist Interview

Valerie_white_at_homeValerie White in her studio (2009 Courier-Journal Photo Image)

Karen Davis:  Describe how your childhood as it relates to your art making and creativity? What were your influence and how do you think growing up in Somerset, NJ influenced you as an artist? 

Valerie White:  I grew up in Somerset New Jersey, then a very rural town in the northern part of New Jersey.  We had chickens and ducks, Mom and Dad always had a big garden.  It was their love and appreciation for the earth that will always be with me.  They valued the opportunity to grow food and we always enjoyed fresh vegetables the entire year.  The last series that I did, “Earthworks”, was all about my relationship with soil. The beauty of the root system held a particular fascination for me.  

My early memories of trying to make art include attempting to create ceramic bowls from a natural clay deposit that was in the front of our house.  I even tried to use our home oven as a kiln.

Sometimes I would gather weeds to fashion a kind of primitive weaving.  Recently, I asked my Mother why I didn’t have dolls growing up. Her reply was that I was always drawing or making something and never asked for a doll.

KD:  What are some of your memories growing up with art?  When did the interest become an engaging one? 

VW:  My mother sewed Couture garments and practiced exceptional craftsmanship.  That made a lasting impression. My early interest in Art was nurtured by some really good teachers. I took all of the courses that were offered in my small town.  I received a scholastic gold key award in the 11th grade, that affirmation is all I needed to decide to study Art.  I taught Art for 15 years in DC public schools.  It was a rewarding experience.

_SLS1662 Sun Goddess and green leaves 2008

Sun Goddess and Green Leaves, 2008 (c), Valerie C. White

KD: What led you to your choice of medium(s)?  What/who were your influences in those mediums?  How do they relate one to another, if so?  What other mediums have you attempted? 

VW:  I studied many mediums before arriving at fabric. While at Howard University my second major was ceramics.  In my sophomore year I changed that to Graphic Art and Printmaking.  My work has some of the sensibilities of strong graphic art imagery.  As far as influences in ceramics it was Winnie Owens and Martha Jackson.  In Graphic Arts, Winston Kennedy.

I was blessed to study with some of the most important voices of the 20th century.  My professors were on the cutting edge of developing and defining the new Black aesthetic to include: Lois Jones, Starmanda Bullock, Ed Love, Wadsworth Jarrel, and Jeff Donaldson.

KD: Describe your daily art making practices.  Include how your approach to design.

VW:  I try to work everyday.  Recently, I hit a dry spot...seemed I could not focus or decide what I wanted to do next.  However, I continued to work through it.  I’m better now and on to some new work that I’m excited about.  I like to begin by doing some research on my theme or subject followed by a small watercolor of the intended piece. That seems to work for me in that way I can work out any problems early in the planning, which doesn’t mean I don’t have any problems in the piece later but the extensive planning does cut down some design issues.

_SLS1666 Sun Goddess and the blowing Leaves
Sun Goddess and The Blowing Leaves, 2008 (c), Valerie C. White

KD: Artistically speaking, what challenges did (do) you face and how did you (plan to) overcome them?   

VW:  While in my “dry spot” I spent time looking at work of artist that inspire me …Lois Jones, John Biggers and Wadsworth Jarrell.  Sketching some really lose ideas and concepts for potential piece.  Often I will just turn on the sewing machine and frees me and once I get in the zone I might get motivated to see something else.

 KD: Do you work in series? Or does each piece stand alone?  Share your reasons for either approach. 

VW:  I really like to work in a series.  It sort of directs my thinking and gives me a course of action to follow.  I find that a series is an opportunity to explore a topic.  Using a variety of techniques can offer new ways to present age old subjects.

Valeri C  White Full image of Sarah and Bird

Sarah and Bird,  (c) by Valerie C. White

KD: Share the milestones that mean the most to you as an artist. 

VW:  When my work, The Guardian, was selected to be on the cover of Quilting African American Women’s History: Our Challenges, Creativity, and Champions written by Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi I was thrilled! The book is filled with many wonderful works.  I felt proud to be in the book much less to be on the cover.


The exhibit that has meant the most to me was the Quilts for Obama show at the Historical Society in the District of Columbia. The exhibit was created to welcome President Obama and his family to Washington DC.  The opening was the weekend prior to the inauguration and the city was alive with hope and pride….it was an electrifying experience and I will never forget it.

KD: Whether it is the intent of an artist to become an entrepreneur, artists are thrown into the role the first time someone wants to purchase something they’ve created.  What advice can you share that speaks to the business side of art?

VW:  I’m  just now understand how that part of making art works, I had to pay taxes last year on the work I sold.  Finding a good accountant that understands how I need to operate has been most helpful, advice would be to find a professional.

KD: Which Artists and/or Art Movements hold the widest influence on your art? 

VW:  My favorites are John Biggers, Lois Jones, Wadsworth Jarrell, and Elizabeth Catlett. I seem to like what was done post Harlem Renaissance and find my self emerged in the African- American experience during that period that would also include the works of writers as well.

KD: You are a member of a critique group. Is this something you would recommend for other artists? Why? Or why not? 

VW:  I am a part of a very successful group of Quilt Artists that inspire me to challenge my self.  We support each other in creating the best work that we have the potential to create .The emphasis is doing your personal best.  I think a critique group is good provided the group allows you to create in your authentic voice. The critique group should not be a cookie cutter for making art and should exist to promote the very best work from each of the members. The group I belong to has only 5 members and we find that it works well for us, we meet once a month and on occasion will schedule a play day to explore new techniques.

DSCN0025 Blest it be the tie that binds
Blest It Be the Tie That Binds, (c) by Valerie C. White

KD:   What are your future goals and what should we be on the look out for you in 2011?

VW:  I am working on series that I am most excited about. I will be ready for show and tell soon. I will keep you posted.

Please take the time to view Valerie White's Art at her Gallery of Quilts.

Gallery of Quilts

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