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.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Work in Progress, finally

I was so happy when my art group decided not to continue our holiday show because it would allow me time to work on bigger, more complex pieces.  Of course, I quickly found out that freedom + challenge = artistic paralysis for me.  After sitting and contemplating for way too long, I finally started getting back on track after taking a fabulous 5 day workshop with Sue Benner.    I could go on and on about everything I loved about the workshop, but I especially appreciated Sue's willingness to work with us individually towards our own personal goals.  For me,  that meant experimenting with ways to keep fiber work looking loose, more painterly and also incorporating in handstitching and mark making.

I began this piece in Sue's workshop and am really enjoying the process of it.  There are many challenges in trying to figure out how to do Sue's method of fabric fusing while keeping the loose edges I like and also being able to incorporate handstitching on top of it.

I'm working on this in two sections.  The top half is above and has the hand stitching done.  The lower half is ready to be hand stitched.

They will go together into a long, narrow piece something like this, probably with a smooth edge all around as on the left.  (the gray frame is the background I shot it on.)

Now looking at the photo, I'm bugged by the light area in the middle, and I'm kind of liking the gray frame, and I can see adding more weight to the bottom......This one might keep me busy for a while.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

New Horizons Party

I've been silent for a while, figuring out my new direction and just fully enjoying the lazy days of summer.

A couple of months ago my art group made the big decision not to have our Dec. show anymore.  It was a hard decision because our shows have been a lot of fun and have been hugely successful, but to many of us, myself included, they took over our life and our art too much.  

 Our group has been adjusting to the idea of not having a show this year. Some of us felt a loss of not having the show to focus on and look forward to; others were thrilled with the idea of new possibilities, and most were experiencing a mixture of emotions.  We decided this would be a good time to have a party--both to acknowledge where we've been and to celebrate where we are going.

To map our journey, we were all given handmade, accordian-fold journals, covered in our choice of artful papers.

Suzie led us in a journaling exercise in which she took us through all the stages and events we experienced over the years in connection with the show, ending at what we are feeling right now.  Using a pen, we made marks to represent each of these stages.   Some used realistic images, others abstract ones.

We then added colors to our pages.

Some of our members in deep contemplation.

When we were done with the exercise, we went around the room and silently held up our journals one-by-one.  We didn't comment, we just silently witnessed each other's experiences.   And of course, the pages were all unique. 

We were asked to each bring 1" squares of paper that somehow represent us or our artwork.  We took these home to add to our journals and will share the final results at our next meeting.

 We each went around the room and talked about our new art goals.  Some wanted to learn new techniques, others become more proficient in ones they already know.  Some wanted to try new media, others wanted to work in series.  Some wanted to find new avenues for showing their work, others wanted to do more personal artwork.  We toasted to our new goals and support for one another.

Of course, there was lots of great food.

And party favors.  We each chose a bird with a word that resonated with us.

We've shared many wonderful events in our almost 10 years together, and I think this was one of my favorite ones.  As Stephanie said, "I love that the focus is now, not the show, but us."

Lorraine responded with this beautiful post:

"So often for us women the focus is outward, for others.  Now we get to check in with ourselves and ask, 'What have I been wanting to create?  What new art challenge do I want to take on without fear of failure or judgment?  Can I spend time in the present moment, in the process, with no concern for the finished product?  Can I learn something new?  Can I say goodbye to something that does not work for me anymore?  Can I give myself permission to release a tried and true art form and recreate myself as a beginner again?  Can I forgive myself for the time I will spend creating art just for me?'"

I am thrilled to have the opportunity to rediscover how to work from a place deep within my heart without concern for producing something to sell.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

New Mexico Journal

I've been away for so long that it feels overwhelming to catch up, so I'm going to jump right in with a recent trip and new journal love.

I made this journal to take to Mexico several years ago and never used it.  It was done in Mary Ann Moss's wonderful Remains of the Day class.

Luckily, it was a perfect fit for my trip to New Mexico.  I had enjoyed making it, but wasn't sure if I would like keeping a journal in it because I'm used to working on blank pages and these pages were already pretty full with collaged bits and trims.  But I loved working in it!

The pages added little challenges to find areas to sketch or write or collage in.


It pushed my sketching in new ways as I had to figure out how to fit things in.

 I didn't add as much to the pages as Mary Ann did.  I knew I wanted some blank pages for sketching such as these for sketches from the Museum of International Folk Art--one of my favorite places on the trip.

 I did put in quite a few pockets like Mary Ann does and they are now filled with gallery cards and other bits of paper.

 I enjoyed working in it so much that I came home and made another one for my upcoming trip to Los Angeles.  This one has a lot of my hand-painted fabrics on it and that gorgeous button I picked up in Taos.

 The back:

A few of the busier pages inside and many are blank with a little edge or two.

 And a few of my favorite shots from the trip:  Love the adobe architecture.  This is Mabel Luhan Dodge's house, one of the prettiest.

 The colorful shrines reminded me of Mexico.

 These wonderful masks were from a children's art center.

Lots of places to take in Folk Art.

And some quiet beauty too.