Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Basketball, Art, and Breakthroughs

My weekends are anchored by little league basketball. Both of my grandsons, ages 3 and 5, are playing. Before it turned cold (although today it was 61 and sunny, reasons for it be damn, ya know I wasn't complaining!), I was taking the 5 year old to his bus stop in the mornings and after his bus arrived, I would keep on going (most days) to the studio.


I took much of December off and January's days were filled with more Nana duties in the day and evenings with the other 2 grand-delights.  As much as I love them, there is a very good reason for menopause...50something year old women should NOT have day in and night in care of small children.  But we now have daycare!!!!!!!! (and the crowd goes wild!!!!!!!!!!).  So now Nana and Papa just have the evenings with them. Ahhhh, much better.  


Last Friday was an art reception for Hope and Healing. Twenty-one artists donated work to a non-profit that serves women, men, and children who are victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.  I sent Urban Exodus (formerly Urban Egression) on "permanent loan".   (excuse the bad photography, it's the camera's fault ;D )


DSCN2958Carter and Anaya and my Mother went with me.  I could not have had two toddlers in tow without my Mama's help!!!  Here is Anaya saying "look look".  This is the only quilt she responded to...It is a Penny Sisto quilt.


DSCN2959Carter was going through the exhibit saying "wow, wow, wow".  It was mostly abstract work that he liked...the few he said he didn't like were realism in landscapes.  Here are snapshots of the two that "wowed" Carter the most.  


The ChitlinCircuit3The work on top was created by Keith Kleespies and my apologies to not remembering or being able to find the artist who created the work on the bottom.  


Negotiating Territory is now hanging in the newest gallery at Mellwood, The Kore Gallery.  It will be there until the end of March or April.   Lafta2


I'll be returning to some semblance of what passes for normal at the Studio.  I was there today for 6 hours...5 of which I hand embroidered 8 of the boats for a total of 13 completed...only 164 more to go.  I have to mentioned a breakthrough I had while stitching (Obama is going to beat the pants off of ANY republican candidate! okay, politics aside).  My breakthrough was this...I had been isolating embroidery thread colour within colour segments on the boats...and then I thought, why not use the thread across colour segments...use the thread to bridge the segments...here is my breakthrough in a picture:  DSCN2965



Friday, January 13, 2012

A day with angels...Lauren and Penny

Last Saturday I met up with Lauren for breakfast at Toast and after some great catching up conversation we drove over the bridge to New Albany, Indiana to see the Form Not Function Exhibit.  Just as we were arriving (and unbeknownst to us)  the end of the juror's gallery talk was going on and we were able to hear the last comments being made. Tomorrow is a family workshop on freezer paper screen printing from 10-12.


These are just my general observations from a first time viewing, but it appeared that fewer quilts were selected compared to previous years and that the lowest percentage was representation art compared to previous years.  I'll make more trips to the exhibit before it comes down in March.


After we left FNF, we went to The Gallery on Pearl where Penny Sisto has her latest solo exhibit, ANGELS.  I would have missed this if not for the mention by the Director at the Carnegie.  Penny has a diverse community inside of her and she expresses them so beautifully and hauntingly in her art.  She is giving a gallery talk tonight that I had planned to attend but the temps have dropped down into the 20s with a below zero wind-chill factor and Mama (meaning me) just can't cut it.


Penny honored me by using one of the fabrics I made at the Crow Barn as a background fabric for one of her Angels.  I didn't have a clue and would not have known if I hadn't seen the show.  Here is a photo:


Photo (4)


Photo (7)


Penny is among the angels in my own personal journey.



A day with angels...Lauren and Penny

Last Saturday I met up with Lauren for breakfast at Toast and after some great catching up conversation we drove over the bridge to New Albany, Indiana to see the Form Not Function Exhibit.  Just as we were arriving (and unbeknownst to us)  the end of the juror's gallery talk was going on and we were able to hear the last comments being made. Tomorrow is a family workshop on freezer paper screen printing from 10-12.


These are just my general observations from a first time viewing, but it appeared that fewer quilts were selected compared to previous years and that the lowest percentage was representation art compared to previous years.  I'll make more trips to the exhibit before it comes down in March.


After we left FNF, we went to The Gallery on Pearl where Penny Sisto has her latest solo exhibit, ANGELS.  I would have missed this if not for the mention by the Director at the Carnegie.  Penny has a diverse community inside of her and she expresses them so beautifully and hauntingly in her art.  She is giving a gallery talk tonight that I had planned to attend but the temps have dropped down into the 20s with a below zero wind-chill factor and Mama (meaning me) just can't cut it.


Penny honored me by using one of the fabrics I made at the Crow Barn as a background fabric for one of her Angels.  I didn't have a clue and would not have known if I hadn't seen the show.  Here is a photo:


Photo (4)


Photo (7)


Penny is among the angels in my own personal journey.



Thursday, January 12, 2012

Tracy Pennington, Madcap Mosaics

 


MARtisans42photo by Deborah Stanley 2011


 


1. Share what you do and WHY?


Tracy Pennington:  I make mosaics. During a difficult time in my life, a counselor suggested I do something artistic as therapy. I wandered around Hobby Lobby looking for something to do. I walked out with a beginner's mosaic kit and some stained glass. I thoroughly enjoyed the making of that first mosaic, and felt a new awakening in my soul. I realized that not only did I like making art, but I MUST make art. I love the mosaic medium because it is a slow, reflective process. I can think and feel my way through the work.


2. Where was your studio located prior to coming to Mellwood? and how do you describe your studio at Mellwood? and what do you enjoy the most about it? (I know this is kinda 3 questions in 1)


Tracy:  I worked in the guest room at our house. The room was crammed with stuff I picked up off the curb that "I was going to do something with", and little shards of glass were flying everywhere while I worked. I also felt guilty when working at home, like I should have been doing housework or spending time with kids instead. My husband suggested I find someplace else to work, and we were thrilled to find Mellwood! My studio is MINE! (said by the mother of 6 children : )) It is my place to come and create, reflect, and listen to my soul.


3. So I take it that upcycling and refashioning are a big part of what you do. Do you look at a curb find and then create a design for it, or do you create a design first and then look for a curb find? How do you go about pulling it all together? (and you look wonderful and peaceful to be the mother of 6!)


MArtisans3


Tracy:  It bothers me to see reusable materials going to the landfill, so if I see something I think I can use I pick it up. Sometimes I start with the material and design with it in mind, but more often the stuff just sits around waiting for inspiration to strike.


I have a sketchbook where I get everything off my chest. Some designs never become anything, while others nag me until I follow through. I find a base for the design, prime it, and sketch on it. Then I glue on tiles, glass or wherever else I'm working with. Sometimes I pry them off and rework it. Sometimes I let a half done piece sit around until I can figure out what is wrong with it. When I am happy with the piece, it gets grouted, cleaned up and hung up.


4. What do you want from your art? What would bring you the greatest joy?


Tracy:  My art helps me process hopes and disappointments, trials and triumphs. I want my art to mean something. It is my soul reaching out, asking for understanding..."Do you feel this way?"..."Am I alone in the world?". I feel the greatest joy when I see others connecting with my work...that is the greatest validation to me.


5. What question would you like me to ask the next artist?


Tracy:  I'd like you to ask the next artist....How do you define 'success' as an artist?  


Thanks Karen! Some difficult questions....


To view more of Tracy's artwork and workshop offerings, go here.



Monday, January 2, 2012

We made it babee! The grace of another year!

This will be my 3rd year in a row to give "learning curves" (reading and following exercises with daily accountability) another attempt.  In previous years I maintained a seperate blog page to share my schedule with any blog visitors who might have been interested in joining me, but then the page tab was haunting me after I abandoned the practice so I deleted it).


The 1st year I thought diversity would be the key to make "learning curves" fun.  The 2nd year I thought a central focus would be the key and I had 4 books all related to digital art.  This year, year number 3, I'm going to limit it to 2 books and keep the digital focus.  I'll decide on which 2 books by Friday, but I'm leaning toward Gloria Hansen's Digital Essentials and Lura Schwarz Smith's Digital Quilting.  


As far as "distractions" I'm adding the Strathmore free workshops to the mix and when I take a notion, the Sketchbook challenge.  I will not be taking any major workshops this year although Jane LaFazio will be coming to the area in the spring and I'm tempted but I do not want to rearrange my plans to accomodate the change in budget.  As it relates to the previous post, my goal is to obtain a larger space at Mellwood or a 2nd smaller space.  The idea space right behind me has once again come open but I'm not ready to take it.  


There are other books I'm working through but I'm not sharing the activities just yet...mainly because the pace depends on how often I get into the studio during the cold weather and they are not imperative as my other goals around creating and finishing a minimum of 5 new large for me quilts along with small-to-medium size pieces prior to Sept. 2013.


My word for last year was jubilation...the experiences that gave me jubilation after they were done and over...namely my mother's surgery last spring and her move...alongside those events, the time spent with Claire and Leslie and seeing my 2nd Quilt National exhibit at the opening weekend with my good friend Bev and the day I spent with sistah-friends Penny in her studio and wooded retreat and Valerie on a day the Lord held us together.  


My drive word this year will be tenacity!   



The gift of burden or the burden of gift? ORGANIZING.

This morning I started reading Organizing Solutions for Every Quilter by Carolyn Woods. Organization is just an ongoing reality that I seem to address at least every 6 months.  The start of a new year is a good time as any to deal with it.  


My 2 main causes of clutter (following the book's to do) is 1. not enough horizontal work space.  I need a designated space to put thing I'm using when at the print table to keep the print table clear to move on; and 2. not good use of vertical space (do I keep the windows clear for good energy circulation or do I block the windows? has always been my dilemma).  


The next thing Woods instructs is to do a list of pros and cons...here is mine:


Room Characteristics to Change


 Insufficient heat when below 20 degrees F in winter (space heater and work from home more)


 Not enough drawers (chest of drawer conversion to consolidate plastic drawers awkward to slide or use metal drawers to create storage and more horizontal space).


 Not enough shelves (use chrome shelf that is in storage)


 Not set-up for quilting larger quilts (possibly bring in other folding table)


 Insufficient design wall (?)


 No natural lighting (take track lighting out and replace with shop light)


 Focus is mostly on wet work (more balance if other folding table can fit)


 Dislike paint colours (paint in the spring)


 Poor use of vertical space (chrome shelves and stack blue wire shelves on top of desk)


 Inconsistent use of mixed media to justify space it takes up. (if the other folding table comes in, use for mixed media)


 Room Characteristics to Keep


 Great cooling in summer (work in studio more)


 Concrete floor (mats and rugs)


 Location to sinks (love this!)


 Location to other artists (love this)


 Can work from both sides of print table (better than from one side)


 Mixed Media set-up  (materials need to stay but take of less space)


 Small-medium sized quilts can be constructed. 


 One window dedicated to display.


 2 doorways great for Open Studios


Shared space.


Along with blocking some of the windows (energy) is the on-going situation with having 50-feet of oxygen tube attached to me when in the studio...I try to keep an open in the middle floor plan to keep it from getting caught on something as well as keeping the energy flowing and not being blocked by visual clutter.    I prefer having furniture anchored against a wall instead of extending out to the middle of the room.  The sewing table extends but that is because it keeps me facing both doors (it is an energy thing) and the print table extends toward the center but it is good for energy because I can work aroun it and neither of these items is over the bottom ledge of the window.  This probably only makes sense to me, but if you've read this far, you deserve kudos!