Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Consumer hell, art paradise

So I wasted several hours over the past few days, trying to restore nearly $100 worth of minutes to my Verizon pay-as-you go account. I'll spare you the details. Suffice it to say, the folks on the other end of the line, with their endless repetition of "I'm sorry, but you failed..." got the better of me. Then I remembered this poem; heard on Writer's Almanac:

Meditation on Ruin by Jay Hopler

It's not the lost lover that brings us to ruin, or the barroom brawl,
or the con game gone bad, or the beating
Taken in the alleyway. But the lost car keys,
The broken shoelace,
The overcharge at the gas pump
Which we broach without comment — these are the things that
eat away at life, these constant vibrations
In the web of the unremarkable.

Add cell phone customer service to that list.

Meanwhile a wonderful-sounding exhibit it on at the Danforth Museum, Material Drawing:From Left: Audrey Goldstein, Michelle Samour, Debra Weisberg, Julia Shepley,Courtesy of the Artists

The exhibit explores the use of material as a jumping off point for image-making. Sounds familiar.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Printing away

I made some spectacularly ugly fabric last week. But I had so much fun it doesn't matter.
I was printing off screens I'd loaded with dye months before,using an accidental mix of dark brown. I wasn't thinking clearly about colors, just process, so the results, well, let's just say I now have great base fabric for experimenting. It can't get worse!

Today I want to get three nearly-finished projects off my desk. Six prints need to be packaged up for a sale at ArtStream Gallery. They are a collection from my bird series:They will be part of an Affordable Prints show this spring.

After that, I have a slew of keybags to finish, and some lovely square Advice pieces too.I've been holding off because I can't decide if they are pillows or Art that needs mounting: They are clearly decorative, but beautiful enough I don't think they deserve to be sat on.
Under THAT I have a commission to sort out: two small hangings in honor of a friend's mother. I must buckle down and create both a proposal and a schedule, or else it will be 2010 and still in the "in a minute from now" pile.

So I thought I'd stop work, blog, and tell you all that the movies Duplicity and Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist are both totally wonderful: non-stop intelligent and witty. Nick and Nora is also thoughtful and moving. Go see one and rent the other.

How else can I procrastinate?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Hold me back

Finally, a home-version of real screen-printing technology:
Craftervidz: Screen Printing with Yudu from Handmade Detroit on Vimeo.
O my stars and garters. Of course, they want you to use only their screens and inks. But still, it's fun to imagine.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Art all around

Recently I received an email from the woman who bought this piece at my Etsy store a year ago. She just wanted to let me know where she'd hung it, and how much she still enjoyed looking at it. The same day, I had an exchange with Diane Wright about buying art. Selling my work has changed how I think about owning art.

Back when I made Real Money, I used to think art was a luxury I couldn't afford. Silly me. Now I don't make much at all, but I know that art nourishes. Spend money on art, live theater or music, a painting: you enrich yourself. Art gives back, every time you handle the object, remember the performance, or look at the painting.

So Friday morning I took off for the Paradise City Fair - a high-end arts and crafts fair about 50 minutes from my house. I meant to look at people's booths, but of course I became totally involved in their work as well. Wen Redmond happily talked about where her work had been and where it is going. . Vitek Kruta's work brought me back for a second look:He trained in Europe, doing large set painting. This piece is about twelve inches high. The picture doesn't do it justice. The light is golden, molten. If I could shrink, I could walk through it into my childhood stories.

There was more, of course. I am full of ideas and colors now. Back to work.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

New work

New piece up today. I think it's called Breathe. Click on the image to see it clearly. I printed it in two takes on an old linen dish cloth. Here are details:

The drawing, the photo, and the script are my images. The printed text is by Emerson, about a life well-lived. You can't make it out, but I know it's there.

On the production side, here's one of a series of pillows in progress. I feel pooped. So many ideas. Plus we are rearranging Lowell Fiber Studio again - wonderful new paint going up all around. Wish I could work all night.

Here is the Emerson text. I think I'd like to sleep with these words under my pillow:

To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”
~~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, March 16, 2009

Adventures with Epson

"If you want a thing well done, get a couple of old broads to do it." --- Bette Davis
However, if you want something screwed up first, give me first chance.

I've been lost in printer hell this afternoon, of my own making. Comes of trying to feed the beast non-brand-name ink. It shut down and wouldn't talk to me. After loupy hours trying to help, I tricked the monster into coughing up the offending cartridge. Then I took my daughter out for cupcakes.

The good news is it's dawned on me that I can print my own images beautifully right here at home. Fiber-head that I am, I just used the machine for printing on fabric. But now I'm going to play with making my own reproductions. Here's the one I printed out today:Rayna will recognize the "adopted ancestor" - she's an image Rayna generously shared at her class, years ago, at Friends Fabric Art. Her class and Laura's were where it all started for me. Well, that, and the hall closet when I was a kid, where my mother kept piles of fabric and glue and whatnot handy, for her little girl to play with.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

More and more birds

The images just keep flowing, combining and recombining on my work table. Is this what they mean by "personal style"? I can't keep away from the bird imagery, and the trees layer through everything. I mounted these on 6x8 stretched canvases, and posted them to my Etsy store.
Yesterday I spent a glorious morning dyeing old lace and linen in hot spring colors. Time for green, yellow, even pink. I'll post the results soon. Then I printed on a thrift-shop dress and changed it into duds for the opening tonight.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Women In Print

My piece, Notes to My Daughter, will be included in the upcoming show, Women In Print at the the Bunker Hill Community College Art Gallery. Here is the description from curator Laura Montgomery:

"The assembled group of Boston-area women printmakers provide a broad range of work including abstracts, portraits, cityscapes, socio-political, domestic interiors and the autobiographical in printmaking techniques ranging from mono-prints, etchings, fabric printing, serigraphs, woodcuts, holographs, and digitally assisted processes. The work is as varied as the interests and styles expressed by this intergenerational group of local women printmakers. The participating artists include the seasoned artist veterans Esther Garcia Eder, Linda Dunn, and Carolyn Muskat, as well, as the soon-to-graduate Umass art Department emerging artist Angie Melchin and recent Leslie University graduate Fiona Logusch and printmaking newcomer Blair Boudreau. Female imagery is abundant as seen in the work of Jennifer Hughes, Virginia Fitzgerald, Jackie Miller, Nancy Popper, Christiane Corcelle-Lippeveld, and Randy Garber. The lush and vibrant prints by Rani Sarin, the black and white mono prints by Catherine Carter, and the print-on-fabric quilted squares by Jeanne Williamson supply the exhibit with an array of abstract imagery. The work of these 29 local women artists in more than fifty pieces are on view as part of the BHCC International Women’s Month events and celebrate the diversity of art making within this well networked printmaking community. "

The opening is this Thursday, March 12, 6-8. Hope to see some of you there!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Finished Chair

Just realized I only posted details yesterday. Here's the chair's before and after shots. The actual color is more like this than the creamy white in yesterday's photos. Hmmm. Maybe I need to do one now in cream.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Chair Project

Household Goods Recycling of Massachusetts is a not-for-profit group. It collects unwanted furniture, stores it, and redistributes it to those in need.

They noticed that, while folks welcomed dining room sets, single chairs went unclaimed. What to do? Make art. A call went out to local artists: come claim a chair. Paint, decorate, take the chairs apart and remake them into sculptures – anything you want - as long as you had the results back by March.

I got the very last chair, a homely, cracked maple chair right out of my childhood:A collage I'd been working on became the backrest. It also got me thinking about spring: I imagined the chair sitting outside, plants twining up the legs. Words joined the piece:A little bird built its nest out of twigs and fabric scraps:

Voila. I called it "Nest/Rest" and dropped it off last week.

You can see another transformation, by Margot Stage, here.

Chairs will soon be displayed in local libraries and businesses. The finished works will be auctioned on-line through cMarket in April, 2009 and on-site at Powers Gallery in Acton on May 1, 2009. All proceeds will go towards HGRM. Wheee!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Work by Rania Hassan

I love these. Mysterious and elegant at the same time.

Fiber Art for a Cause

Finally, this year, I've submitted work to Virgina Spiegel's fund-raiser for the American Cancer Society: Collage Mania - Fiberart for a Cause. Today she accepted both: "Forever" (above) and "Wonderful" (below).
Virginia is a force of nature, and a constant source of inspiration for me. If you work in fiber, you still have time to join this year's auction. Here's the instructions: one low-res jpeg of one 8x10 inch piece by April 1. That's all it takes.

All collages will be offered for a minimum $40 donation through Fiberart For A Cause to the American Cancer Society on May 6 and May 7. Collage Mania 2008 raised over $13,000 for the American Cancer Society in two days.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Women In Print

I am thrilled to be included in the upcoming show, Women in Print, at Bunker Hill Community College.
The extra joy comes from the fact that the pieces, Grasp and Notes to My Daughter, have been rejected from more than one other show. (Is it "done" to admit that on the internet?) To have them seen by more than my crit group feels like a circle completed. The curator, Laura Montgomery, mounts powerful shows. This one will be worth the trip.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Imagination Rewarded

Art is about expectation. Pattern established, pattern broken, pattern restored. A music history teacher used to take the needle off the record just before a piece would come back to the home key and say "sing the tonic!" A painter in a neighboring studio came and looked at a piece I was struggling with and said, "You need rhythm here. Think of Beethoven. Simple repetition, within the melody... let's you know where you are, where you're going."

So after listening to John Lehrer on the science of decision making today, I went reading, and came upon this, part of Lehrer's discussion of why science needs art:Symphony No. 7 in D Minor, Op. 70, 1885,ANTONÍN DVOŘÁK