Friday, January 20, 2017

The 70273 Project

The low point of this year's campaign had to be watching Trump mock the handicapped reporter.  Or maybe it went even lower when we realized that even that was not enough to end his candidacy.  When I heard about Jeanne Hewell's 70273 project, I knew it was just the compassionate antidote I needed for a while.  

Started before Trump's performance, Jeanne wanted to commemorate the 70,273 mentally and physically disabled people who were murdered by the Nazis.  After reading their charts, not even seeing them in person, a doctor would mark a red X on the chart if he judged that the patient should be murdered. Two doctor's red X's on the page determined the patient's fate.

Jeanne is collecting 70,273 white blocks that have two red X's on each one.  She will turn them into quilts that will be displayed at various venues when they are done, in memory of those who lost their lives.

I set the goal of making 60 blocks before my big, significant birthday this Feb.  I was a little speedier than I thought and got 60 done just in time for inauguration day.

I challenged myself to make each block different and was amazed at how much variety you can get with a few different pieces of red fabric and a few different weights of red thread.

Jeanne still needs many more blocks, so check out her site if you would like to participate.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Arranging Components

I've been playing around with arranging the individual components from my 2016 daily stitch project.  I like their rough and irregular edges.

When I was making the components, I thought they would go together into one large piece when they were done, with the days flowing into months, the months into a whole year, but now that looks crazy, busy and all the nice edges get lost. 

I could join them with some transparency in between, so they are together but separate.

I think I'm liking the long, skinny arrangements best, but each month's panel will end up over 10 feet long. I'll have to play with these for a while.  Each month may get broken into two separate panels, so they can fit on a wall. 

Judy Martin has a beautiful blog post about Dorothy Caldwell and her latest work.  You can read it here.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Breathing Space

One of the painting series I did last year was called "Breathing Space."  I wanted all the paintings in the series to have a feeling of openness to them, a moment of expansiveness, of catching your breath.

11x14"  Acrylic and mixed media on paper

This one is called "Morning Caravan" and was based on the many thoughts that travel through my head when I'm trying to have a peaceful morning of writing Morning Pages.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

A Fresh Start

Well there's quite a mess to clean up when you haven't blogged for 3 years!  Guess I'll just plunge right in.  I've been needing some time to fully focus on the process of making with little concern for product.  As soon as showing my work is anywhere in the back of my mind, it's impossible not to think about the final product.  It's been a nice, long three year period of exploring in paint and stitch for me, but I have missed blogging, especially at the end of each year.  I miss having a visual record and seeing my thoughts as pieces develop when I share my work.  I also miss having deadlines to push me to finish things.

I thought about starting a fresh blog, but it seems appropriate to continue from my last post here--Dorothy Caldwell's workshop--since that formed much of my current direction, as did an abstract painting workshop with Steven Aimone, more on that later.  

My focus has narrowed some over the last couple years to pretty much entirely abstract work, but still in both paint and stitch.  I'll be playing some catch up here and blending in projects from the last few years along with current work.

One of my favorite projects last year was my daily stitch project.  Each day I hand stitched small, fabric collages that represented the day.  The piece above is my Jan. 2016 pile.  Here are a few of the individual pieces:

The colors and textures were largely influenced by the season, and they shift throughout the year.  I'm still finishing the months I got behind on, so daily stitching is used quite loosely.  I'm not sure if they will be joined together or if I will keep them in monthly bundles.  Right now I'm really liking how they join in long verticals.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Dorothy Caldwell Workshop

I was lucky this year to get into the workshop of my dreams--the Dorothy Caldwell Mark Making workshop at Nancy Crow's art barn in Ohio.

It was worth the price of admission just to worship at the shrine of Dorothy's work.  I spent lots of time returning to this gorgeous wall, trying to absorb it all.

Along with her own work, Dorothy set up displays of world textiles and mark making.  She shares a wealth of information about the processes and stories behind these pieces.

 This beautiful red and black piece was a gift from Dorothy's Australian students.
Besides just gazing in awe, we did work, and lots of it.  We stitched, drew, pierced, painted, waxed, discharged, burnt and in general made marks in every way we could.  This is a collection of the class's randomly stitched pieces.

 We went from working minutely to working outside on large scale paintings.   Mine is on the left.

I really want to show all the beautiful work that was produced in class.  It was amazing how much variety came out even when all we did was make a single mark on the page.  We did, however, agree not to post each other's finished work.  Here is a glimpse of some of the gorgeous piles of materials around the room.

My table as I start to assemble my main book.

Our main project was putting together a book of samples of all the techniques we covered in the week.  The assembly of the book was especially challenging as we tried to get the pages to flow from one to the other and read cohesively.  Here are some of my pages.

I loved that I was working without a plan, but after working on about 4 pages, I found that there was a theme of flight and eggs developing.  My mind has been on empty nest syndrome a lot lately as my boys get closer to leaving home.  It's funny what shows up even when we're not conscious of it.  I went with it and made my cover with that in mind.

Working with Dorothy was a fabulous experience.  She has a beautiful, quiet way about her and an almost childlike wonder about every mark she sees.   I have always found her work deeply soulful, and after hearing about her process and her connection to the land, I understand where that comes from.  A generous and amazingly talented woman who will inspire me for years!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

I made a grungy Valentine this year with a nod to roses, X signs and lace.

Hard to believe that I need any help making messy things, but I found this great stencil.  I've done my own blobs and drips in the past, but found this really helpful in controlling exactly where the mess ends up.  Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Moon Garden

I finally finished this piece I've been working on for a while.  It's titled "Moon Garden" and is the first in a series I want to do called "The Secret Garden."

In my last post, I was pondering several problem areas, and Suzanne suggested I flip it.  I did and that seemed to solve a number of problems.  Of course, it caused a few new ones, but with some readjusting and adding more weight to the bottom, I'm happy with it.  (Thanks Suzanne!)  I also changed the too light area at the middle to integrate the whole piece better.  Finished size is 9"x34".

Besides a few handpainted bits, it's made entirely out of scraps I scrounged--old sari fabrics and scraps left behind at a quilting store.  Nothing makes me happier than making something for nothing!

My goal for this piece was to experiment with getting a more painterly look in fabric, trying to keep things loose and spontaneous looking and playing with soft and hard edges.