Friday, October 29, 2010

Recent Trip to Plymouth, UK....with side trips too!

(Above: Jacqui Frost's embroidery from "Good Grief", an exhibition we saw in Exeter Cathedral. Click on any image in this post to enlarge.)

Last week Steve and I went to England. It was a fantastic trip filled with sight-seeing, artistic inspirations, and ballet! I leaked tears while nervously holding my breath while Mathias, our elder son, danced the role of Mercutio in Birmingham Royal Ballet's Romeo and Juliet. His emoting death scene took a full two and a half minutes. It was glorious. His girlfriend sparkled as one of Juliet's friends. The triple bill (which was earlier in the week) was also dazzling with fun (Balanchine's Slaughter on Tenth Avenue) and elegant (Concerto....with Mathias dancing one the lead for the first pas) and exhausting (Twyla Tharp's In the Upper Room to the Philip Glass commissioned score). Of course, there are no's against the rules and copyright laws....but boy do I wish I had some!

(Above: Embroidery by Jacqui Frost. Click on image to enlarge.)

I do, however, have hundreds of "vacation" picture. I've posted them on "My Family Blog" because this blog is really an artistic journal. Travel is inspiration....but....let's get "real"! If you'd like to look though:

Click HERE to see my post about Cardiff, Wales, including the gorgeous, Neo-Gothic castle interior

Click HERE to see my post about Plymouth, including my quest to find "The Plymouth Rock" (above)
Click HERE to see my post about Exeter
Click HERE to see my post about Buckland Abbey and Lydford

(Above: Another embroidery by Jacqui Frost. Click on image to enlarge.)

So.....I also have photos for use in further work. These are shots of cemetery angels, church angels, great epitaphs, and other images relating to my "Last Words" installation. But, I also have photos about some of the embroidery I found....and LOVED!

(Above: Click on sign to read about Jacqui Frost's exhibition.)

First is the incredible work of Jacqui Frost whose exhibition "Good Grief" appeared in Exeter Cathedral. It touched me; it touched others.

Everything was displayed on nice folding panels.

The delicately stitched handkerchiefs were laced onto narrow metal frames. These contemporary works carried a timeless message. Her website is also great.

(Above: Click on image to read more about Jacqui Frost's exhibition.)

(Above and below: More artwork by Jacqui Frost. Click on any image to enlarge.)

The other location in which I found great artwork was at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport. Concourse E is AWESOME....even though there are no title signs or information about the artists. (I even asked at the airport information desk located in this concourse. The person "helping" me looked stunned by the if he was unaware that the building even had art. He said...."You could look it up on-line".) Any time in this airport would be best spent here....and, yes, the Internet has the information.

I, however, recognized the work of Amalia Amaki at once. Her solo show at the National Women in the Arts Museum in Washington, DC was accompanied by a small exhibit curated by the museum staff. This small exhibit featured female Blues singers and was the catalyst for my Blues Chapel. I loved Amaki's work from the moment I saw it. How could I not love it! The buttons, the ornamentation, the scene of nostalgia mixed with injustices.

Above and below: Work by Amalia Amaki at the Atlanta Airport. Click on any image to enlarge.

Above and below: Work by Amalia Amaki at the Atlanta Airport. Click on any image to enlarge.

I found a new artist to admire in Lillian Blade's Quilted Passages.

This giant Plexi-Glas box enclosed artwork is just outside the elevator on Concourse E at the Atlanta Airport.

(Above and below: Lillian Blade's Quilted Passages.

Above and below: Lillian Blade's Quilted Passages. Click on images to enlarge.

Of course, I've also been working on my own fibers....both during the trip and since returning home. New Grave Rubbing Art Quilts are almost ready for their "photo shots" and I'm also installing "Keys for the City" in the display window of the former Tapp's Department store on Main Street....unveiling next Thursday during the monthly "art crawl".

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Leaving for Plymouth, UK

(Above: Detail of In Box LXXVII. Click on image to enlarge.)

Later this afternoon Steve and I are flying off for a week of sight-seeing and ballet in Plymouth, England. We'll be seeing Birmingham Royal Ballet's triple bill earlier in the week and Romeo and Juliet later in the week. Steve has several day trips planned as well. I'm taking recent issues of Fiberarts and Craft magazine and two back copies of the Surface Design Journal that were sent by a member with the intention of getting me to join. I haven't even begun to scratch the surface of the opportunities available with my SAQA membership but am considering joining this group too. I'd love to hear what others like best about each organization. I've also basted together two Grave Rubbing Art Quilts on which I'll work while traveling.

Like most people getting ready for a week away, I've been busy "tying up loose ends". Exhibition proposals were mailed and my friend Ashley came by for a photo shoot. I need images (front and back) of my cemetery flower dresses for an upcoming juried show.

(Above: Ashley, our cat Max...who wanted in the photo...and me...ready to go to the cemetery for a photo shoot in the dresses I made from artificial flowers collected from cemetery dumpsters. The dresses were made on a water soluble base. These garment are now just artificial flowers and thread...totally washable....totally recycled!)

So....we got dressed at Mouse House (my home/business)....

...and drove to the cemetery (about two blocks away)....

....and snapped a bunch of photos by grave sites that I had scouted the day before....

....including these great images. (Click on any of these photos to enlarge.)

I also finished In Box LXXVII. The detail photo is above. The full view is below. It's framed to 35 1/2" x 23 1/2" and is headed to the Grovewood Gallery in Asheville after we return. It is GREAT to be represented by a place that actively sells me work!

So....we're off for a week! I found one more image of BRB's Romeo and Juliet featuring our elder son Mathias as Mercutio....dead on the floor! I can't wait!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Lots Going On!

(Above: Photo from Birmingham Royal Ballet's website of Romeo and Juliet. Mathis is dancing the role of Mercutio....the one on the left in the mask! We'll be seeing it next week in Plymouth, England! Click on image to enlarge.)

I haven't posted in a week but a lot of things are going on! First, my solo show "Personal Grounds" just closed at The City Gallery at Waterfront in Charleston. Steve and I took a Penske rental truck and broke it down. It's sure easier and takes less time to remove artwork rather than to mount it! The Decision Portraits are now "in storage"...which means they are stacked against a long wall here at Mouse House, our business.

(Above: Over one hundred framed Decision Portraits stacked at Mouse House, our business...waiting for another chance to be seen! I'm in the process of sending exhibition proposals. If you know of a location, email me! Click on image to enlarge.)

(Above: More tagged keys....including five "Thank You" keys for the staff at City Gallery in Charleston. Please notice the little "miniature" book too. Click on image to enlarge.)

Last week I worked on more "tagged keys"....including five for the staff at The City Gallery. These simply say "Thank You!". I've been working on these keys on-and-off all month. The last time I posted a photo is HERE. Absolutely none of the tagged keys above were in that photo! The keys in this new photo used to be in the clear plastic container....and, as you can see, there's STILL MORE keys waiting to be tagged! There are now hundreds and hundreds of tagged keys. They are all supposed to be part of an installation opening on November 4 in the storefront display window at a former department store on Main Street here in Columbia. I'll be hanging keys from the ceiling, from the window treatments, from the background walls....everywhere! I can't wait to start!

(Above: Miniature. Artist Book. Click on any image to enlarge.)

Since I have had all my clipped "letters", matte medium, and papers out for the keys, I thought about making a little artist fact, it is called Miniature. The text is simply the definition of the word taken from several different sources.....all snipped letters from various 19th century publications glued to paper in "ransom note style". There's even a "table of content" listing the chapters as "A Noun", "An Adjective", and "Synonym". The cover measures 3" x 2 1/4". Below are several images. All photos can be clicked on for enlargement.

I guess I've been thinking about "miniature" because there's an upcoming juried exhibition at the Florence Museum in Florence, South Carolina. I made the book even though I knew I couldn't enter it into the show. Only 2D work is accepted. I just really wanted to make the book. Yet, I also made another "miniature".

(Above: Greater Love Hath No Man, Miniature art quilt in a flag inspired frame. Unframed: 3 1/2" x 4 3/4". Framed: 9" X 11". Tattered US Flag pieces from a cemetery dumpster, navy blue felt, previously painted WonderUnder, silver metallic foiling, a chiffon scarf overlay, and stitching. Click on image to enlarge.)

(Above: Greater Love Hath No Man, miniature art quilt. Click on image to enlarge.)

I guess I really just wanted to make this little piece too! It used a few tattered pieces of US flags that I rescued from cemetery dumpsters while collecting artificial flowers for my "Last Words" installation. I know there are lots of people who think my Grave Rubbing Art Quilts and the artificial flowers are somehow sacrilegious or disrespectful because I am actually touching the graves and raiding the trash. I am, however, not the one THROWING AWAY THE FLAG! I have a two gallon plastic zip-lock bag full of US flags that I found in the dumpsters, washed, and am looking for a way to use in my work...respectfully....even though I know to do so is technically against the official "flag code".

As much as I like this miniature flag, I don't really think it is a great "competition" piece. So....I have nothing to enter in the Florence miniature show. It's a special exhibit for me. In 2000 I entered the show. It was the very first time I ever entered anything! No one, other than my husband Steve, even knew I was interested in "making fiber art" or "art" in general. I told no one about entering and was dumbfounded when one of my two pieces actually won an honorable mention. Although I haven't entered every year, I've entered frequently enough to have also won second place, Best of Show, and another honorable mention since then. I've also had several pieces rejected too! I was planning on "starting something new" until late last week. I got an email from the Florence Museum curator inviting me to be this year's juror! I am SO HONORED!

(Above: Mathias' as Mercutio in Birmingham Royal Ballet's Romeo and Juliet. Below: Mathias' as Mercutio, dead in Romeo's arms! Click on images to enlarge.)

Finally, Steve and I are preparing for a week in Plymouth, England where we'll see Birmingham Royal Ballet's triple bill (Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, In the Upper Room, and Concerto) earlier in the week and Romeo and Juliet during the later part of the week. Mathias and his girlfriend Laura-Jane have several roles in all these productions....but we are most excited to see Mathias sword fight to the death as Mercutio!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Another Review and "Looking For a Mate"

(Above: Looking For a Mate, an art quilt prototype for an upcoming public art project. Click on image to enlarge.)

I'm absolutely thrill that my solo exhibition received another, positive review. This one was written by Tom Starland, publisher of Carolina Arts, a monthly, regional arts newspaper. To read it, CLICK HERE.

Yesterday I also finished the "prototype" for "Looking For a Mate", a humorous public art project that will take place on November 18th - 20th at Vista Lights, the 25th annual art crawl in Columbia. My proposal is HERE. Basically, the project has invited the public to bring their "mate less" socks to Vista Lights and help create a unique art quilt. The substrata is recycled acrylic felt donated by Guy Jones' business River Runner, the canoe and kayak shop in town. In fact, the event will take place in his store. It promises to be fun. The public assisted art quilt will become the property of the Congaree Vista Guild who sponsored the project. I can't wait!

(Looking For a Mate, detail. Click on image to enlarge.)

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Quilt National Rejects: Milestones and At Rest

(Above: At Rest, Grave Rubbing Art Quilt Series. 53" x 44". Crayon on vintage sleeping gown. Hand quilted and free motion embroidery. Click on image to enlarge.)

I didn't really start making art least "intentionally"... until I started my Grave Rubbing series in the fall of 2008.

(At Rest, detail. Click on image to enlarge.)

So, I had no real expectation of acceptance into the very prestigious Quilt National exhibition. I wasn't going to enter....but....I was working on these two pieces this time to finish easily before the deadline. Thus, I never posted images of them or included either in any public exhibition (following the very strict rules!). I entered.

(Above: At Rest, detail. Click on image to enlarge.)

As expected, both were rejected in a nice form email this weekend. (Only 85 pieces made it into this international exhibition. I'm in excellent company with this rejection! Please note....I'm not upset in the least. Rejection is a part of every working artist's life!) Thus, I can now share these pieces. I'll have them on display in the upcoming Artista Vista art crawl here in Columbia this November. I will enter them into other juried shows too. They mark a departure from most of my earlier Grave Rubbing quilts in that the human form is quite evident. They are from the distant past and one from not-so-long-ago.

(Above: At Rest, detail. Click on image to enlarge.)

The first is called At Rest. It was created using an old, stained sleeping gown....possibly even from the late Victorian era. The grave rubbings were carefully selected. Each phrase mentions something about "sleep" and an eternal rest.

It was harder than I thought to position the garment over the tombstones and place the words in such a way that the gathering didn't obscure the written passages.

(Above: At Rest, detail of the top of the garment along with the bedspread and coat-hanger. Click on image to enlarge.)

I cut a white vintage bedspread for its "center" or "batting" and pinned all three layers together....including a custom-built coat-hanger. Then, I stitched....and stitched....and stitched. Running stitches everywhere! Finally, I did the free motion machine embroidered stitches around each word.

(Above: At Rest. Reverse. Click on image to enlarge.)

I envision the piece hung from a single cord tied to the ceiling....suspended in air....visible from both the front and back....a ghostly reminder that "rest" is ahead.

(Above: At Rest, detail of reverse. Click on image to enlarge.)

The second piece is called Milestones.

(Above: Milestones, Grave Rubbing Art Quilt Series. 44" x 36 1/2" x 7". Crayon on tea-length wedding gown with veil on heavy peltex interfacing. Hand beaded through all layers except the veil. Free motion machine embroidery. Click on image to enlarge.)

This wedding dress was worn by an artist friend during her first marriage ceremony. She donated it to me for my artwork. (She is one of the very few people who has seen this piece before today!)

(Above: Milestones, detail. Click on image to enlarge.)

My friend is a very small framed marathon runner. The tea-length dress is likely a size zero....unless there's a size even smaller. The grave rubbings were meant to signify the stereotypical life markers in a woman's traditional life: Born, married, died.

(Above: Milestones, detail. Click on image to enlarge.)

The veil includes these words as well as the title "Wife". They were free motion stitched on a water soluble stabilizer which was washed away. I'm not cynical about marriage or life and death or conventional role models. (Steve and I celebrate our 30th next September!)

(Above: Milestones, detail. Click on image to enlarge.)

The words include "Beloved Wife and Daughter". My personal hope is to be remembered in both these capacities. At the same time, I'm also hoping that I'm remembered for my art, for my personal uniqueness, and as an individual apart from convention.