Saturday, March 26, 2011

Learning to Focus

Lili at her Painting Project
For a child not quite two, my grand-daughter Lili amazes me with her ability to enter into what she is doing with complete concentration and focus. And she is not finished until SHE decides it is so. Would that I could be so clear and sure about what I do. It seems odd to want to emulate a small child so often, but here I am, thinking frequently "How would Lili approach this?".

In the meantime, I am working on several pieces for my upcoming show at Paul Smith's College called Out of Season, with my friend Lee Ann. All of my pieces in this show are new and all are inspired by and related to my recent trip through Florida this past winter. The piece de resistance in this show (in my opinion and for several reasons) is my set of handmade postcards that I mailed to 15 friends from the road toward the end of our trip and which they returned to me when I returned home. I am displaying all the cards in a 3D piece at the opening. I also scanned all the cards when I got them back, and I printed them, so I can use them in some fiber work. 

Here is the post card I sent to my mom, shown below first in its original form then made into a deconstructed fiber piece, still in progress.


Monday, March 14, 2011

Avoiding the Doldrums

This is what I see from my desk this morning in Night Rain Cabin, at an odd moment when the chickadees and red-breasted nuthatches are not at the suet feeder on that birch tree. Most of the giant snow pile is from the deep blanket of snow that slid off the roof in many Whoosh-Thumps over the past few warmish days

I have been away in some lovely warmer places when most of this snow fell, so I don't have the same exhausted outlook on this extreme winter here in the Adirondacks as many of my friends. But it has been a time of a darker outlook in past years because of the sunlight deprivation that gets intense for me by now.  This year I am holding up pretty well, partly because of our trips and partly because I have so many wonderful art projects and events that buoy me up. And I am so grateful for all of that.

On Friday, my friend Lynn and I went to the opening of the Cover Art Show over in Lake Placid. This annual show is sponsored by the Arts Council for the Northern Adirondacks, with the main objective of finding a piece of artwork to grace the cover of the arts directory for this region (which is getting heftier every year). As always, it was great party and an opportunity to see other artists and friends.

I entered a piece that I reworked from one of my fiber collages that I made over the summer. It is a little deconstructed digital photo of my cabin Hobbit House, with added fabric fragments and decorative stitching. Here is the original: 
Fernville Spring

I like this little piece, but originally it was mounted on a muted turquoise rayon background to coordinate with its ten sister pieces for a show. I decided that background wasn't what this one needed now. So I painted, stamped, and otherwise played on the background fabric to come up with this:
I popped it back into the original frame, renamed it Deconstructed Cabin, and entered it in the Cover Show. I was surprised and pleased to learn it received an Honorable Mention!

Two Saturdays ago, I went to the New England Quilt Museum in Lowell, MA to attend Wen Redmond's workshop on printing with natural materials. Really fun and interesting! There is also a wonderful show up at the museum by members of the Studio Art Quilters Association called No Holds Barred. The range of styles, subject matter, and materials used by these talented artists was mind-boggling! See it if you possibly can! After lunch, Wen talked about and showed her art quilts, starting with early pieces. All wonderful, beautiful, and inspiring. 

Using Wen's directions from a 2007 issue of Quilting Arts magazine, I made two pieces that were accepted into the Adirondack Artists' Guild recent juried show. Because these works are constructed with a photo printed on the top sheer layer and an opaque layer of the same photo underneath, separated by the depth of the stretcher bars, they look 3-dimensional (or "holographic" as Wen describes them). I love this technique - lots of potential for future work.
Low Tide Treasure
Winter Ferns
The photo below shows how the Winter Ferns piece was assembled. The lower opaque layer was glued to the back of the sheer layer which was attached to the stretcher bars by the border fabric.

So, on to the next project - finishing work for my April show Out of Season. Lots to do. More about that next time!