Monday, October 31, 2011

Checking in

November will be the last month of regular and weekly time in the studio...from December till March/April will be hit and miss.  About 1-2 days a week, maybe 3 some weeks.  Hibernation is my vibe til Spring.  I don't like it but it is a reality of the season that I have to contend with.

Around noon today, my brain finally kicked in and I was able to paint these 5"x7" canvases and mount the last of the Urban Egression postcards.  The exhibit at Iroquois branch library will not go up until after 5 tomorrow.  These will be included.




Saturday, October 29, 2011

Pop-up exhibit

This studio is located just inside the courtyard corridor.  It was recently vacated by a business that did something with the Derby events planning.  Myself and 9 other artists went in to occupy (ummm, interesting choice of words) the space during trolley hop yesterday.  If its not rented we plan to do another 1 day rental for the Friday after Thanksgiving.  The location is much better for foot traffic and we entertained visitors with art, cookies and hot apple cider.  It was fun watching what people gravitated toward since the art is an eclectic mix.  

The ChitlinCircuit1(click to enlarge)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Confession...

I am not an artist.  Surprised to hear me say that?  Let me tell you why I'm taking this stance...

Some people I've met, who like myself, have such a deep abiding love for the role of artists in our world that they speak to me as if I've arrived or as if I know intuitively the sacred magic that artists must have that they do not.  

My confession is that visual art is not something I was acclimated from birth...I didn't spend hours locked in my room drawing or looking at pictures as an adolescent, but reading and writing.  It was poetry that liberated my spirit.  My young adulthood was spent philosophizing around the written word and with others who knew the joy and pain of carving out a phrase into syllabic play that was larger than the words on paper.

It wasn't until 2004 that I began this visual journey, although my love of quilting goes back a couple of decades.  What I do is attempt to learn and experiment with the goal that the knowledge will become just as intuitive in my soul as the poetic drive once was.  So I continue to plug and forge ahead because I cannot not do so. This journey is impelling and I don't spend a lot of time asking why it is so because I know to trust the process.   The need to touch cloth and understand colour as a way to explore my personal limitations and sense of freedom drives me to keep trying to be "that artist" and to share and be open about what I've done and am doing with anyone who stands still long enough to listen.  Even if it takes me 'til I'm 99 for the light bulb to be rewired from over my head to in my heart, I will not regret one single day of this journey.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

When keepin' it real goes right!

Its been a busy exciting and overwhelming week so far.  I'm still riding on cloud nine from hearing one of the best journalist of our time...Amy Goodman!


 She was here for the annual ACLU fund-raising dinner and my daughter said Al Sharpton spoke at St. Stephen Church on Sunday...and Julia Butterfly Hill was here yesterday at Bellarmine University.  When I first heard a radio story on Hill when she was still up in Luna, the tree, I was on my way to work and had to pull over to the side of the road because the story, the dedication and the sacrifice, moved me to ball like a baby.  The other time a radio story had this effect on me was listening to Regina Carter cuts from her cd Paganini: After the Dream.  I didn't hear Sharpton or Hill but the fact all 3 dynamos where in the city so close together, puts some jazzy joy in my heart.

I'm going to hang 3 pieces (Cilium 2, Crowbonics: The Scroll, Crowbonics: The Prayer) in a pop-up group exhibit on Friday for trolley hop and then for the month of November I'll have about 8-10 pieces at the Iroquois branch library.  This coincides with the release of poet Makalani Bandele's debut publication, Hellfightin' (Mud Man, my brother, did the cover).  Bandele will be doing a reading at the branch and myself and one other artist will be present to talk about our art forms afterwards.  I don't know the details really, so I'm rolling with the flow for the most part.  

Wishing you peace and joy, beloved...

Friday, October 21, 2011

letting go and moving on

I let go of the November 7th is an annual show and there is always next year...too much had to be done for a new piece to be completed.  However, behind that decision, I pulled out most of my smaller works that I have left and will loan them to the Iroquois Branch Library to hang for the month of November along with some of my cloth.  I have to put sleeves on some, others will go into frames...I also will be in a pop-up show next Friday along with my neighbors at Mellwood.  The pop-up show will be in one of the vacant studios just off the courtyard where a live band will be playing so we're aiming for more visibility.  


Below is the 1st piece I was attempting to complete before November 7.  This one is done with dye paint...I applied wax over the boats yesterday and scrapped both sides with a mixture of jet black, turquoise, and navy.  I have another one that is done with fabric paints which will be the main piece.  This one I'll complete for practice and preparation for the other one.


the fabric on the right was using up the last of the dye and print is stamped with crookedly cut potatoes.

and inspite of me cleaning off the surfaces of my desks earlier in the week, this is how they look now, just a few days later...

The ChitlinCircuit

and thanks to Paradise Videos for filming and EDITING the short clip of me talking about what I do!  

Sunday, October 16, 2011

1 dead line met

and I'm still alive!  I made an accountability agreement with Juanita...I would email her daily photos of what I did each day in the studio in preparations to meet deadlines.  Form Not Function was met just with a smidge of a second to spare.  I spent a couple of hours reducing the size of my images with a finicky internet connection due to network issues (the man believes we have been the victim of malware).  I am slightly worried about the quality of my photos but I did the best I could with the time and equipment I had.  I borrowed a photo tent from Uneena, a studio neighbor at Mellwood and there was a slight learning curve with it and the lightening, etc.

Tomorrow I'll return to working on the boats for a November 7th deadline.  I'd like to be in this exhibit, but the juror has been the same juror for the last six-seven years and I don't know why they keep doing that.  It would help, possibly, if I was a fan of his work but I'm not and the exhibit has gotten predictable.  Textiles have been in previous shows but I was personally embarrassed by the shoddy care in construction and not by any means am I hard to please when it comes to textiles and fiber, since I'm excited by all of it.  But it was my impression that the artist threw it together without much thought or concern but just to have something submitted to the exhibit...and luck had it, that the piece was accepted.

Its that time of year where I start thinking about goals...what I'm pondering is placing myself on a production schedule for smaller work like the 12x6 or 10x10 sizes or either dedicating a month to an entire quilt from start to finish.  This might be too far reaching since winter is coming and I just don't handle the season very well at all.  I tend to pick the Learning Curve curriculum back up during the winter as it keeps me somewhat productive even if I'm not actually bringing anything to completion.

October 28th is the next trolley hop for Mellwood and Frankfort Avenue...myself and other studio neighbors will have a pop-up exhibit for that day.  Come by and do your part to help Louisville stay WEIRD :)  Plus the Canadians have come check it out!



Thursday, October 13, 2011


between this Boats111 or this  Boats112.

Giving myself 2 days to look at them and then will decide.

almost there

Two sides of the facing to sew on and then the sleeve...tomorrow I'll focus on photography and then I'll meet the deadline for Form Not Function.  My next deadline is November 7th, but unlike the piece I'm finishing up, I started a whole new piece for the November 7th deadline.  

I had a brief off-task activity thanks to a short trip into JoAnn's Fabrics.  I was enticed by these liquid beads described as I sampled them yesterday.

DSCN2698 DSCN2697
If you know of any elves looking for work or willing to do charitable work, send them my way!


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Mail by Snail

I just popped into a blog and saw that the U.S. Post Office released Romare Bearden stamps!!!!   I predict they will sell out!  

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Indigo: In Search of the Color that Seduced the World by Catherine E. McKinley

Kweli recommended this book to me by way of Facebook.  Being a fabric designer herself she was really provoked to think deeper about the state of contemporary fabric production of African fabrics and the history behind it.  I downloaded the book to my laptop but I should have trusted her judgement and purchased a hard copy of the book, because now for 14 bucks I have it on my computer but for 3 dollars more I could have had the hard copy and after reading it, I wished I had.   Not realizing my assumption before hand, I thought the book would be an informative straight forward historical read, but it was much more than documents one American woman's obsession with Indigo and the reason she is trying to discover why.  On a Fulbright Scholarship she journeys through West Africa looking for authentic Indigo production and use, but the cloth, not being in vogue compared to its past, is elusive.  Her adventure is told in antedotes which helps the book move ratherly quickly, but there are times I wanted more details of the story and wanted to get to know more about her feelings in relation to the people and places she visited.  But it is the search for Indigo that compels the story and the human relationships and geography take a back drop.

When I get taken with a book like I am with this one, I go off on a google search to find out more about the author and ended up requesting a FB connection only to find out she has a friend here in Louisville who I consider a good art-friend and has visited here before.   So I'm hoping there will be a chance to meet her and hear more of her stories sometime in the distant future.

McKinley's book led me to order In the Shadow of Slavery: Africa's Botanical legacy in the Atlantic World by Judith A. Carney and Richard Nicholas Rosomoff.  I started it last night and I tell ya it starts my mind spinning because I'm wondering if I can create a narrative in cloth around the crows, the faces I've sketched (the old woman who can be seen in older posts below), and my immediate challenge is to get centered and just listen for a bit.


Yesterday I started a do-over, from scratch...hand-painting with fabric and acryllic paint mixed with Golden 900 vs using thickened dye like I used on the first start.  Its fairly large and detailed for me and I just hope I can meet a mid-November deadline for a regional fine art show.


Remember when I said I was in the studio the day after Davis' murder by the state of Georgia and had the intent of doing one thing and then I heard this phrase in my head?  The phrase was, These are the Boats Carrying Us to Heaven.  I decided to put aside my intent and explore what this could mean.  As a result I have over 200 small "boats" to paint with distinct markings on cotton with a working size of 5 feet by 4 feet.  I would like to hand quilt it as the piece has a RAW art vibe on it.  But no way would I make a November deadline if I decide to hand quilt it.  


Also, yesterday, in preparation to attempt meeting another deadline I sent a completed quilt into surgery.  I wasn't happy with one side but did love the I removed the facing and, today will attempt to square it up better.

Tuonane baadaye (See you later in Kiswahili)