Monday, April 30, 2012

Will it go 'round in circles? Will it fly high like a bird up in the sky?

See these knots?  Can I tell you how they happened?  Saturday morning a friend who lives in another time zone called...noting that it was 6:30am for her, I grabbed the phone.  We talked for a couple of hours on numerous subjects and got around to mentioning text in art...the night before I saw Glenn Ligon on Art21 talking about script, she recalled a work by artist Houston Conwill and a line from a poem I wrote about my great-grandmother praying with knotted handkerchiefs and a type of writing done by ancient folk  that was made by knotting...I googled knotted writing systems after we hung up and found Quipu by the Inca. Noted this info in the recesses of my mind just in case I found myself on Jeopardy as a contestant.
once thought to be used for accounting, a wife/husband team, one an archaeologist the other a mathematician, have researched and studied them and they are now believed to also be narratives. 
Come Sunday...I was in the studio for 2 hours before picking up another great Sista-friend and heading over to a reunion concert.  I had no plans other than straightening up and layering a few small pieces since I was wearing "good clothes" (clothes that do not have any paint or dye on them)...while there I was reflecting on the phone conversation and the idea of using knots to communicate and asked myself how I would do it...picked up this cloth and some coordinating thread that was close by and started this...
working title is "docked boats"  

see the knots in green on green?
While doing the knots, something the authors from the book I mentioned in the post below came to I was using a knotting technique traditional to quilting in a new way...not as a method to hold the layers of the quilt together (Lisa, my cousin, has made her first quilt and used knots to tie the layers together...her first grandchild was born 2 weeks thus, the quilt...can I confess, I have never made a quilt for any of my grandchildren...the shame, the shame)...anyways, as I was saying...not as a method to hold the layers together but as a technique that holds memory about my great-grandmother which becomes embellishment on this small piece.

Fast forward to the reunion concert... back in the 70s (some will say before then) an icon of Louisville social life was Joe's Palm Room.  They had a house band called Crisis.  In the 80s I was old enough to go because I would have never ever pretended to be older with a fake id to get by the all to complacent doorman before I was of legal age just to enjoy the live band!  Anyways, as I was saying, in the 80's Joe's was the place to go if you loved jazz and live music which I did and Crisis could make the music talk and walk, if you know what I mean.  Over time, life changed, as it always will, and my lifestyle changed and so did Joe's and so did Crisis.  The members, some who are no longer with us, did a reunion concert last night...and Good Lord!  memories flooded me with such clarity while they were playing and all I could think of was to expand a line from the last poem I wrote about a decade ago that read "I have no memories without these poems" to I have no memories without these poems, music, and cloth.

Beloved, I leave you with this...Mr. Clements was a staple with the Crisis and one of the original members I believe...anyways for your listening pleasure.  Okay, as a result of sharing Billy Clements 4 tracks, I've just discovered Tom Waits, new to me, I like his voice, narratives and sense of humor in his lyrics...just added him to my wish list.  See...thats how it goes 'round for me...who knows, I just might be lucky enough to be a loosing contestant on Jeopardy!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Creative Dissonance

Some days ago I was trying to imagine how my work will look hanging at the Wayside Gallery in September and started to get a little bluesy thinking my work will appear too disparate in tone and voice and not cohesive. Until a few hours ago that belief was still rolling in the recesses of my mind.  I'm reading The Hearing Eye and an essay about the work of Norman Lewis shifted my perspective.
click on the book cover to go to Amazon...this is the Kindle edition
Lewis painted abstract expressionism but because he seemed to be exploring through re-contextualizing styles of artists who came before him, he couldn't be pigeon-holed as a solid abstract expressionist and thus critics wrote somewhat dismissive of his work in the mid-40's.  The authors, however, suggest that the critics may have been limited in understanding Lewis by trying to understand his work comparatively to his peers who became well known and the definitive artists for the style.  The authors submit that Lewis' work needs to be understood in reference to Jazz beyond just a subject matter and if the critics of the time could have had that understanding that Lewis would have rightfully held his own or exceeded art recognition.

What is submitted is an understanding of Jazz as confrontational, experimental and traditional nature of the music.  Confrontational, in that it challenges the audience beyond mere that it builds on traditional chords, but rearranges, add, subtracts, to create creative dissonance in sound and in performance.  Experimental and traditional in that one of the innovations was to take previous tunes and analyze the chords and layer them with new chords, rearrange the chords, take out chords, etc.

Hearing about dissonance described this way and applied to visual art just made me breath a lot deeper and placed what I have done in my own art in a perspective that is both comfortable and challenging at the same time...comfortable in that it describes the way I work and challenging because there is always that push to stretch traditional quilt methods/tools into new forms of expression/use.  I've already acknowledge the discovery that I tend to work circular in building a series...from one piece to another are different series until I come back around.
pieces started 18 months ago or longer and came out of 8 months of storage, excited me all over again...I was like "I DO like my work!"
This particular chapter has been so right on for me in multiple I could not just hum right along as if I was only being informed on a cerebral level...I was again, recently reminded, to take it to the spirit to really know whats up ;).  And that's whats up! (a phrase that references my oldest son).

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Salonpas patches and Aperture

ai yai eyeee...every muscle in my body is hurting...Peter and I cleaned some stuff from the storage unit last Saturday and dropped it off at my studio. It involved moving and rearranging heavy boxes around.  The mission was to bring the sewing desk out and take it over but we ran into a challenge which the details when summed = desk too big for the back of the truck.  I prepared a fairly involved dinner on Sunday and then yesterday did some near major rearranging in the studio to accommodate the stuff from storage.

Peter has some Salonpas patches which I stuck on my lower back and neck shoulder area...too bad the patches don't come in strips that I could wrap myself in fully...I would have slept mummified!  It is 9:30am and I'm undecided if this will be a go or stay day.

I'm still trying to wrap my mind around aperture...its that inverse thing that keeps confusing me...the higher the aperture number the lower the depth of field, the lower the aperture number the greater the depth of the field.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The beginning of a love affair

This tramp (wipe up cloth) dressed up very well, that I swooned as I pulled it from the dryer and my heart did a little pitter patter while I pressed it ever so lovingly...

Do you see this as a background piece or a finished piece?  I see as finished.  There is not one thing on this I want to cover up!  It could be printed on paper, on a sheer or raw silk, quilted or not...maybe some small beads...but this is just lovely.  It has the ethereal look that I can't get with intent (and I keep trying).

Okay, I've got to go, my granddaughter is bringing me cookie cutters which means she has gotten into something and Papa is asleep.


Monday, April 16, 2012

Let's get this party started!

Are you ready for the week ahead?!  I am!  Just can't wait to return to the studio to rock the quilting needle and thimble!  Last week was such an inspiration...Kyra Hicks' booklet (see post directly below) on self publishing revved me up along with receiving Seth Apter's The Pulse of Mixed Media.  The questions he explores with other artists are fresh and entertaining...the kind of questions I'm enjoying answering for myself.  Apter has a blog but I've not yet spent time reading it yet...I'm waiting until I complete the book.

Also, my first arrival of solids came from Pink Chalk Studios Solid Club.
I think one of the oranges will go behind the 19" boat (see a couple of posts down).  Here is how I sketched out a composition for it.
Nothing complicated about it.  In fact I wrestled with the simplicity of it.  I might possibly use multiple values  of orange for the sun.  I also considered doing a laminated quilt and placing the boat on top which would rev up the layers of meaning.  My other thought is to write on the fabric in the background and the sun and then attempt to machine quilt in writing another layer.   But I'm not sweating it too much since this will be a shape I'll continue to work with and will make other opportunities to explore and making this particularly boat was a break from hand quilting.  I liked it enough to want to save it.  The projected size is 40"x40".  

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Lets self-publish our own quilt/art catalogs! We can do this!

I just finished reading How To Self-Publish Your Own Quilt Catalog by Kyra E. Hicks at 3something AM and popped right up to write this review!  Every quilter should know Kyra E. Hicks!  What I mean is if you're a quilter and you come online, you should know Kyra.  She has had an internet presence for at least 20 years which is how I "met" her 20 years ago when Prodigy was the hot commodity in a quilter's forum, (this continues to amaze me in a good way).  In addition to being a quilter, she is also a quilt researcher and journalist.  This book and accompanying blog is her recent adventure and offering to quilters!

This very affordable 24-page workbook, Kyra reminds us the importance of documenting what we do for the sake of prosperity and historical purposes along with walking us through the options (Blurb, Lulu, CreateSpace) and steps for print-on-demand to create catalogs of our quilts/art.  Catalogs that can be shared with family/friends/galleries/collectors in addition to being a stream of revenue.

It is written so straight-forward, personal, and plain, that now I'm adding this as a personal monthly goal (gulp, did I just type this aloud?!).  It really feels like something I can handle.  And it is quite timely since a few weeks ago I made the decision to reclaim my D40x from Ade, my youngest son, and signed up for Karen Walrond's monthly sessions to give some focus in learning the camera.  It is a necessity for me to learn to photograph my own work beyond just posting here or on Facebook.  (This month's goal is to play with aperture and snap shots of what we're grateful for).

Kyra's book is available in paperback and as an e-book, but I suggest the paperback to make it easier to use the workbook pages. Or if you're a dedicated e-reader, the books are so inexpensive you can buy both.

Okay, it is after 4 now, and I'm planning to be in the studio before 9.  Today is demo-day at Mellwood and I'll be hand-quilting the "abandoned" piece and on a 2 other "boats" pieces.  Peace and sweet dreaming...

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Studio Happenings

After a couple of hours of hand quilting my eyes require a break and my mind needs something that is not controlled as hand quilting.  I just had to let go with...
walnut ink and dye-na-flow

I fused the back with misty fuse...
and was digging the lacy pattern it made.

I fused it to a black piece of fabric to give it more body and cut it out.
it is 19" wide.  Before I left I pulled some background fabrics to audition on  Thursday.

Then from the big boat of humanity, I jumped to writing on fabric.
This pen was so much more vibrant than the Jacquard fabric marker. This pen was purchased from Borders many, many years ago and it is not labeled so when its gone, its gone.

then I used various inks to color over the writing after cutting out the small boats of humanity, followed by fusing them to this orange cloth.

I'm trusting the process that it all will come together.  How did your day go?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Talk to the Hand

back side

The working size is about 4'x3' and for someone who hasn't hand quilted a piece of any substantial size in a long while, I'm not doing too bad.  I'm using a size 11 quilting needle and can only rock 2 stitches at a time but it seems to be going faster than I recall me being able to do before.  This piece will not be densely quilted so I'm not freaking out over the time it will take.  I did go with the subdued thread colours but I can also see some machine stitches in a metallic in some spots being a highlight and compliment to the hand work.  

Friday, April 6, 2012

Auditioning Threads

When I left the studio today I resolved to use the subdued threads to allow the image to get all the attention but looking at the photo now, I'm having second thoughts.  Trying to be true to what I think this quilt needs, I'm going to hand quilt it.

I layered another piece today that is ready for some couching and machine quilting.  It is a landscape piece that has paper lamination.

As I've been pulling unfinished pieces together I'm thinking how unrelated my work appears one from the other.  Yet they all feel like my pieces of me.  Even though I always intend to work straight through on a series, it hasn't happened like that.  I tend to work in circular rhythms, moving from one unrelated piece to another, eventually moving back around to a series.  What patterns of creativity have you noticed about yourself?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Power in the Chitlin' Circuit

Yes, yes, yes...thank you Lord (stomping feet, head bowed, right hand held high, left hand over heart)...yesterday I was feeling the power, (I GOT THE POWER...hearing the voice in that song that I can't name...anybody???).  I held up to a long day at the Chitlin' Circuit, my studio, and made what felt like progress.

DSC_0381 DSC_0382
Untitled at this time but finished.

added the color...since this is of an boarded up storefront church, I'm thinking hand quilting, but I might succumb to machine quilting.

another toilet paper insert intent was to go with subdued colours...then i changed my mind.

One last thing and then I gotta go...but Enchanted Arts Studio has this hanging outside their is a work in progress.  It took me by surprise when I saw it.

Looking forward to seeing what comes next...paper maiche, clay, fabric...all of the above

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Expectations and Gratitude

Not much went as expected this weekend...University of Louisville lost to University of Kentucky.  I didn't make it to Trolley Hop or to the studio yesterday and today.  

The upside of what wasn't expected was meeting my great-nephew, the newest edition to our family, yesterday and my sisters and great-niece converging at my mother's for the basketball game.  None of who live in Louisville.  

Today I've been lazy, napping and snacking, reading and computering most of the day.  As part of finding gratitude everyday through the lense of my camera and using aperture setting, this is today's offerings:

DSC_0351dandelion from Carter

Sucession: September & October 2003, Juanita Yeager that hangs above the couch.

Its obvious I have a lot to learn about aperture...but I have a whole month.