Friday, March 29, 2013

Getting ready for Runaway Runway and New Work

 (Above:  Lancet Windows XXIV and XXV.  Polyester stretch velvets, chiffon scarves, metallic foiling, free-motion machine embroidery on recycled black acrylic felt with melting.  Unframed:  28" x 8".  Framed 31" x 11". Click on image to enlarge.)

I've been very busy since last week ... working on several pieces all at once and coordinating details for upcoming events like Runaway Runway, which is on Saturday, April 6th from 8 - 10 PM at the Township Auditorium.  I've participated in this fashion show of recycled materials for the past three years.

 (Above:  Felicia Finney and me at Runaway Runway 2012.  Felicia just won the title of Miss Richland County Teen 2013 and has a UTube video HERE.)

Last year my neighbor's fifteen year old daughter, Felicia Finney, modeled a two-piece outfit made from recycled black acrylic felt covered in white buttons rescued from the floor of the former South Carolina Department of Mental Health's laundry and clothing department.  (Yes ... that's the historic asylum here in town!  Access is very rare.  I was honored to have this opportunity for art.)  The red handbag was created from painted tyvek mailing envelops collected at Lenz Travel Services, my sister Sonya's business in Slippery Rock, PA.  Sonya came for Runaway Runway ... with her tiny dog Lulu who was inside the purse, removed, and walked back the length of the runway ... too cute for words.  (Blog post with links to video is HERE.)

(Above:  The Recycled Bridal Party with me wearing two plastic garment bags at Runaway Runway 2011.)

In 2011 I created an entire bridal party from recycled materials.  The event happened to fall on the date of the royal wedding.  It was lots of fun.  I blogged about it HERE. 

 (Above:  Bonnie Boiter-Jolley and me at Runaway Runway 2010.)

The first year I participated was 2010.  I made my first garments from recycled flowers and greenery salvaged from cemetery dumpsters.  Bonnie Boiter-Jolley, a professional dancer with Columbia City Ballet, wore one of the multicolored ones.  As a designer, I wore The Leaf Dress ... but it was never on the runway or entered into the competition.  

(Above:  The Leaf Dress.  Click on image to enlarge.  To view how it was made, Click Here.)

The Leaf Dress was made on a water soluble stabilizer.  Thus, the resulting dress is simply "greenery and thread".  There is no "foundation cloth" ... just leaves and stitching!  It can be washed by hand and allowed to drip-dry.  Since 2010, The Leaf Dress won second place in a regional, juried all media event called Art to Trash; first place for recycling in the International Wearable Art Awards in Port Moody, British Columbia; first place in "wearables" at the LaConner Quilt and Textile Festival; been in two national juried fiber shows (one in Yonkers, NY and the other in New Smyrna, FL); and been featured in both Marieclare Magazine Italy and Greece

It still has never been officially part of Runaway Runway ... until THIS YEAR.  Felicia Finney, who was just named Miss Richland County Teen 2013, will model it for me this year.  My sister Sonya and her friends Stephanie and Karie are coming to cheer her on again.  Yippee!  Since I really wasn't "making" anything new for Felicia this year, I've had time to work on more "stained glass" fiber pieces ... which is something I really, really need to be doing!  One of my earlier pieces is being featured on the Artista Vista Poster ... a result of being named "Artista Vista Artist of the Year", an honor coming from being named 2013 Jasper Magazine Visual Artist of the Year. 
(Above:  Artista Vista 2013 Poster featuring a detail of Stained Glass XXIX.)

Thus, I'm showing my Stained Glass and In Box Series pieces at Ellen Taylor Interiors, as an exclusive sales arrangement in the Vista area of town .. hopefully for about a month or more.  Thus, I'm making more new work.  

(Above:  Lancet Windows XXVII and XXVIII before being melted.  Click on image to enlarge.)

I've got these two Lancet Windows ready to melt.  In my studio I'm working on a new, large Stained Glass fiber piece, 58" x 18".  I've got several more planned ... busy, busy, busy ... and the weekend after Runaway Runway is the Elmwood Park Tour of Homes and Gardens.  My home, Mouse House, and my home studio are part of this event.  If that's not enough, my new studio assistant Charity and I will be installing The Canopy at Artfields in Lake City on the 11th!

(Above:  Window LXVIII.  Unframed:  12" x 10".  Click on image to enlarge.)

I've got several, small "Windows" to construct before Artista Vista ... so this one is just a start.  This blog post is also being linked to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Fridays", a site for fiber art works in completion and in progress ... both of which I've got here this week!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Back from Paradise ... aka Key West!

(Above:  Fragment LXIX.  Unframed:  11" x 9 1/2".  Framed:  15 3/4" x 13 1 /4".  Dry felted wool rovings and chiffon with hand embroidery.  Click on image to enlarge.)

My week in "Paradise" went by too quickly.  The weather was warm and wonderful.  I got a little start on a tan (which will remain a UFO because I don't ever sunbathe!)  My husband Steve flew in last Friday.  We had a wonderful St. Patrick's Day weekend, a special way to celebrate two successful workshops.

During the workshops, I had my embellisher out and available for participants to try using.  In the box of wool rovings, yarn, felt scraps, chiffon, and other "materials" for the machine, I found this piece ... nearly finished.  I'd forgotten about it.  I'd started it back in Austria while visiting Sara Lechner's in the autumn of 2009.  Since then, it had been used as a "demo" piece for the embellisher.  When I took it out this time, I told myself, "Finish it!  Put some hand stitches in and call it quits".  So I did!

(Above:  The front of a boat in a clear, green water.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

Last year I enjoyed the entire month of March at The Studios of Key West.  I took loads of photos.  It would have been easy to shoot many of the same compositions again this year.  The place is just that intoxicatingly beautiful.  To avoid this, I made a promise to myself:  ONLY TAKE DETAIL SHOTS!

(Above:  Ropes on the pier.)

My aim was to capture some of the charming and unique things that make Key West such an amazing tropical paradise.  I shot over 500 photos in the week.  They've been pared down to a mere 160 and are on a Flickr! set HERE or as a slideshow HERE.

(Above:  Details from Key West's Oldest House, now a lovely museum on Duvall Street.)

If anyone wonders why I link both the "Flickr! Set" and the "Slideshow", please know that this is for my Dad's convenience.  He's told me, "I don't do Flickr!  I only do a Slideshow".  Since he is the person who initially taught me how to take picture ... back when setting shutter speed and aperature openings required knowledge of a light meter ... and taught me to always inspect the outer edge inside the view finder, I will always be in his debt for what "eye" I have for photography.  Thank you, Dad!  I'll always provide you the link directly to the "slideshow"!

(Above:  Theater Sign.)

So please enjoy my photos here and on Flickr!  It was a fun exercise!  Of course, I also took a few cute animal shots ... how could I resist those six-toed cats at the Hemingway House and the adorably dressed puppies prancing around in their St. Patrick's Day attire on Duvall Street?  How could I not snap a photo of a real, live, manatee ... just swimming beside Mallory Square? !!!  Key West is wonderful! 

(Above:  A Manatee coming up for air!)

I'm also linking this post to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Fridays", a site to share fiber art creations ... finished or in progress.

(Above:  Detail of a lamp in the Hemingway House.)

Enjoy the rest of the photos!

Friday, March 15, 2013

New Gallery Representation and Workshops in Paradise, aka TSKW

(Above:  Michele Beckman Tuegel in the foyer of her heart-of-St. Petersburg gallery.  Click on image to enlarge.)

The last I blogged, I'd packed my Scion to the hilt and was ready to head south for an adventure in paradise.  The drive went perfectly and took me to 320 Center Street, right in the fashionable shopping and dining district of St. Petersburg and the door to Michele Tuegel Contemporary.

(Above:  View of Michele Tuegel Contemporary from the street.)

I was totally blown away by the location, the great natural lighting, the outstanding presentation of such magnificent artwork, and especially by Michele's engaging personality.  To have new representation in her upscale gallery is a dream-come-true.  My work will grace the walls with the likes of Arturo Sandoval and Eleanor McCain ... and alongside pieces by other national and internationally known fine artists.

(Above:  Michele Tuegel behind her counter.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

Michele is actually closed on Monday, so it was a perfect time for her to meet me, take in my work, and for us to sign an official contract for representation in Florida.  Of course, once she opened the door for me to bring in my pieces, shoppers wandered in and made a few purchases!  Not bad for the middle of a lazy Monday afternoon when the place is supposed to be closed!  I wish I could witness the trolley bringing visitors for the area's monthly art walks!  Must be exciting!  I'm so proud to be in this fantastic gallery.

(Above:  Some of my work lined up against the sales counter ... waiting to be signed into inventory at Michele Tuegel Contemporary! Click on image to enlarge.)

Michele and I could have kept up a lively conversation filled with laughter for hours ... but ... I had a travel agenda to keep in order that I arrive in "paradise", aka The Studios of Key West, by the next afternoon.

(Above:  Dollar bill decorations at Robbie's on Islamorada, one of the keys on the way from Miami to Key West.)

Of course, my drive down the Florida keys wouldn't be complete without stopping at Robbie's on Islamorada.  I had a lazy, late breakfast and then watched other, braver people feed the giant tarpons that seem to "hang out" under the piers.

(Above:  Feeding the tarpon.)

The tarpon look like enormous cannon-sized fish.  Their mouths open up impossibly large when they spring through the sea's surface to grab the dead fish from the hands of tourists.  It is hilariously fun to watch.

(Above:  A tarpon waiting to be hand fed!)

The staff at Robbie's try desperately to fend off the pelicans but generally, the pelicans manage to steal a few fish ... sometimes right out of the buckets of fish purchased by the tourists.

(Above:  Pelicans at Robbie's ... anxiously waiting to steal fish from tourists.)

Leaving Robbie's meant driving further south, over the seven-mile bridge ... with the aqua and turquoise waters of the Atlantic (left) and the Gulf of Mexico (right) shimmering in the sunshine.  It is a perfect preparation for the paradise of Key West.

(Above:  Grilling dinner at The Studios of Key West.)

Everything at The Studios of Key West (TSKW) is magical.  There are three artists-in-residence here for the month ... just like I had been last March.  In charge of the dinner's cookout is Micheal Robinson, a talented poet, writer, and film artist whose work is making its way around the country through various dance film festivals.  Beside him is Miranda, a woman from Scotland who visits Key West annually in March and who took my HOTTER workshop.  Next is Lisa Sanders, another artist-in-residence and a talented sculptor living just over the river from NYC ... someone up on all the current trends and happenings in the pulse of the art world.  In the background is Thierry Bedoux, Painter/Installation/Mixed Media Artist from Morires les Avignon Provence, France.   They've been wonderfully inviting and fun.

(Above:  Teaching HOT, my first of two one-day workshops at TSKW.)

After settling in to the Mango Tree House, my tropical accommodations ... which isn't a "real" tree house but has all the atmosphere of being in an island paradise, I was ready for HOT and HOTTER ... two one-day workshops.  The classes were both nearly filled and the pieces created were fabulously diverse, totally creative, and served as inspiration for me too!

(Above:  Looking down on the workshop from the second floor walkway.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

The spaciousness of the workshop is a total luxury.  The amount of natural lighting is a distinct plus.  The set up and take-down always go very, very well because Lauren McAloon, gallery and facilities manager at TSKW is BRILLIANT and can transform the space from art exhibition to concert stage to workshop and back again within an hour or so.  (THANK YOU LAUREN ... You are the absolute BEST!)

(Above:  Cynthia and Claire during HOT ... and both came back on Thursday for HOTTER!)

The pace of the workshops is always exhilarating.  The participants come from all over the place ... not just residents of Key West!  Cynthia is from Montreal.

(Above:  Selecting mats for the various projects finished during HOT.)

All of the participants went on from their first project to at least one other during the first workshop.  The pieces were designed to fit inside provided mats! Good thing I'm a custom picture framer too!

(Above:  HOTTER, view from the second story walkway.)

It wasn't necessary to attend HOT in order to have a foundation for HOTTER.  The second workshop simply introduced other heat-activated processes ... including image transfers, transperse transfer paints, and new ways to incorporate these techniques ... like, creating a "wearable".

(Above:  Judi Bradford, a talented artist with studio space at TSKW, with her transperse transfer painted fleece scarf ... which she further developed using the embellisher to attach puffs of blue chiffon scarving.)

Transperse transfer paint was used to color off-white fleece.  The most amazing scarves were created all afternoon ... in addition to 2D works and even a 3D piece made by Lisa Sanders!  It was amazing.

(Above and below:  Cynthia with her scarf.)

The class beaded, stitched, embellished, painted, and generally spent the entire day exploring heat activated techniques in their own individual ways.

(Above:  HOTTER in action.)

Yes ... in addition to my Bernina sewing machine, I brought my embellisher.  Like normal, several participants were instantly in love with this "toy".  Who doesn't love stabbing fibers with lightening fast speed!

 (Above:  The embellisher in action on another transperse transfer printed fleece scarf.)

So, the rest of this post has more images from the two workshops.  It was a blast.  Finally, I've posted a few photos I took while on a walk around Key West.  I'm determined to take lots more "detail" shots ... no more general views ... while I remain here in paradise through Sunday!  It's been my honor to teach here.

I'm also linking this post to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Fridays", a site for fiber art sharing!

(Above:  The HOTTER workshop from the second floor ... all this area has been transformed into the AIDS Help weekend charity art event.  I donated a piece and hope to snap a few photos tonight at the champagne preview ... YES ... they "do it up right" here at TSKW!

(Above:  Free-motion machine embroidery in progress.)

(Above and below ... happy workshop participants with their pieces.)

And finally below ... a few of my "details" from Key West ... aka PARADISE!

(Above:  Sidewalk pavement. Below:  Sign along Duvall Street.)