Monday, December 9, 2013

Nine reasons to visit

You need to come to Western Avenue Studios. Look what's waiting for you:

One of my all-time favorites: A Dog Lamp by Barbara Fletcher
Just a few shots from this last weekend's open house.
There's so much more.
 You'll find yourself inspired.

Floor cloth by Karen Cabral Sullivan 
Purse from hand-printed fabric by Linda Dunn
  Sculpture by Glenn Szegedy
 Crocheted "Soft Stones" necklace by Gwen Stith
 Hand-dyed vintage linens at Lowell Fiber Studio
  Pottery from Muddy Girls Studio 
 Felted vessels by Judi Davidson
 Paper lamp by Barbara Fletcher

The place is huge - don't expect to see everything in one day. 
But wear your walking shoes, and come enjoy a blast of creativity. 

Big hint: the main elevator is SLOW. For a faster ride, enter where in the "elbow" where the two mill buildings meet. Buzz the freight elevator. Lovely young people will be running it both Saturday and Sunday. When you get in, ask to go to the fifth floor. Then drift as your whimsy takes you: down halls, stairwells, across the bridge between buildings and back again.

Looking for me? Bring this map. Or just ask where the 5th floor bathrooms are. My studio is right next door.

Open Studios

122 Western Avenue Studios, Lowell
Saturday and Sunday
December 14-15

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Do you have enough for the day?

Sometimes life hands you what you need.
Even on the internet.

I was trying to stream Diane Rehm, and instead stumbled on these two essays. 

Bill Harley, on getting by with less than you thought you needed:
Lost luggage on a beach.

And Philip Gould, on how imminent death illuminates how much one actually has: 

Makes the work, whatever it is, make more sense. Put your shoulder to the wheel. Carry the water. And call a friend.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Alexandra Sheldon Collage Class this weekend
Alexandra Sheldon

This just arrived in my email in-box. Alas, I'm gallery sitting the Loading Dock in Lowell. But you can sign up for this class tomorrow. All supplies are included. Alexandra is a generous, experienced teacher. You will come home with tons of materials and ideas. Can't make it? Check out her website for other classes and times.

Autumn Leaves Collage
Still a few spots open for this Saturday, October 25.
The workshop runs from 1pm to 6pm.
I will have twenty plus fall leaf colors all mixed up for us to play with. 
To sign up, contact
Alexandra Sheldon

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

art with the elderly

Three-week painting
Two more classes this week, first in Assisted Living, then in the Alzheimer's wing. Various conflicts meant only a handful of students in each, but that gave me time to sit with the each student, and help them, again, to face the blank page and come out with art sixty minutes later.

 The start of class is always the hardest. People are "all over the place:" restless, tired, doubtful. My job each week is to open an emotional window and let the fresh breeze blow in.

 We talk about the subject matter.  I demonstrate a technique. Then, one by one, they begin to find their way.

Autumn still life
 Autumn is the easiest time to teach. Subject matter is everywhere, just waiting to be brought inside.

Working with stenciled designs
I brought stencils this week. They charmed even the most hesitant into painting.

New student, autumn tree

A new student in the Alzheimer's class did not speak until the very end. But she painted, fully engaged for nearly an hour. She smiled when the painting was done.

Autumn landscape
This landscape is by a woman who's worked with me for nearly five years. She'd never painted before I came. Now she can scarcely hold the brush and uses her non-dominant hand. But look at that work: Energy. Color. Life.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Free Form Fabric Collage

Free Form Fabric Collage last night. Thank you, Arlington Center for the Arts, for bringing such wonderful students together.
 Last week, we started with VALUE: what it means in life and what does in art.
 Students made value scales for each definition. We talked about color preferences, the "whys" behind what had seemed like random choices.
Then they worked from photos to make small abstract collages, keying to value instead of color.
This week we worked with fusibles, making collages and then small screens. We'll print next week and collage some more.   This week we used fusibles, including fusible vinyl to make screens and stencils, which we'll use in the coming weeks.

So this morning, everything looked like collage material to me.
 I got out some "failed" paintings and rustled up a bunch of  tiny narrow collages.
Of course I had to do some printing.

 Then out came all kinds of other bits and pieces.
 Bookmarks! They'll be on sale this weekend at Lowell Open Studios. 
Find me in Studio 512
122 Western Avenue.

Sunday, 1-3 is demo day: I'll be printing away outside the studio.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Late Summer series

Several pieces been waiting for months to be finished. Finally this week I turned my hand to these:


The series comes from thoughts, photos, and sketches made during late summer visits to the beach.


I made the stencils last year, as part of demo for my Free Form Fabric Collage class at the Arlington Center for the Arts. (Still a seat left if you'd like to join us. We'll be making stencils this week.)

The monoprint portion of this one was made with watercolor on gelatin, then layered with collage.

The series will at Open Studios next weekend in Lowell.

One piece remains. It's more like yardage, and hangs from my studio door, asking what comes next?
what next?

Friday, August 16, 2013

Sue Benner, Expressive Painting

A look back at a class I took two years ago. 
My summer dye-work has been interrupted by a bad knee (all the supplies are in the basement, two floors down. And the water is in the kitchen, two floors up. Good knees required.) But the t-shirt blanks are waiting for me. Meanwhile, I sort my thermofax screens, collect color swatches, and remember this inspiring class. 
Just coming back into my body after a 5-day workshop at Pro Chemical and Dye in Fall River, with Sue Benner.  Speechless with delight. Five days in a huge workshop, with fourteen talented people, plus all of Pro Chem's power behind us.

The week filled us with energy, ideas, images. Officially, the class  ran from 9 til 4, but they opened the building at 8AM and let us stay until 6. My roommate and I got there when the doors opened and closed the place each day. Such intense joy, to work all day, in an optimized studio, with room, tools, supplies, and good company.  I haven't got any photos yet of my work, but here are some images of other students.

repeat-like freehand design
Students came from around the US and from Canada.  The room was full of energy and curiosity, with Sue a marvelous, generous teacher to lead us.
Sue Benner

 After a half-day of set-up, we began with straight monoprints. The second morning we worked just with black on white. Here is one such piece, with a second layer of painting and a fine mist of color:

I love the sense of depth here

 The range of vision was wonderful to see, from abstract to literal, and from carefully considered to the wildly improvisational.
Flowers! layered print by my wonderful roommate

Wednesday the Pro Chem people set up a big print table for us on the loading dock. Everyone got at least two chances over two days to work large. I snapped up extra hours, even squeezed in a last hour before final cleanup on Friday.
Silk scarf and smiles.
If they'd offered the option, I'd still be there. Instead I'm home, setting up a dye station in each of my work places, rationalizing my supplies, and calling the plumber about a sink in the basement.
sunset on last day.
Here's a piece from this weekend, painted on half a vintage table cloth:
dye painting, vintage linen
Heaps of ideas and energy.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Garden of the mind

Lie still, where there's a breeze.
Summer heat wave into its umpteenth day. I feel my Scottish blood, and retreat to caves, dark and cool. Both studios have huge windows, and no AC -- they are off-limits until the weather breaks.

The tomatoes and nasturtiums seem quite happy.  Me, I'm tidying up the to-do list, tilling mental soil.

I'm working on course plans for my fall classes at Arlington Center for the Arts and Emerson Arts Umbrella.  In Arlington, I'm excited to offer "Free Form Fabric Collage" again. This tour of techniques and design issues debuted last spring. The students brought such energy to the class, and made some terrific work.

The Emerson class, "Musketquid Fabric Printing: Designs from the Garden," is new. We'll meet for 8 weeks, taking our inspiration from the garden they grew this summer. For my own inspiration,  I've ordered Stitched Flowers, by a new artist I found through Pinterest, Bobby Brindell.

Time to sit in the shade with some watercolors and dream.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Fiber Workshops in June

One seat left in my 

 Saturday, June 15
122 Western Avenue Studio, Studio 512
If you've been thinking about it, now's the time to sign up.

Interested in the sculpture possibilities of fiber? 
This month you can  work with artist Jodi Colella.:

June 9 and 16
10 am-3 pm
24 Eliot Street, Jamaica Plain MA 02130
June 22-23
10 am-3 pm
102 Prospect Hill Road, Harvard MA 01451
Check Eliot School and Fruitlands Museum links for more information and course descriptions.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Thermofax printing

My husband gave me a pile of old white t-shirts. Raw material. 
Four left now. Bottom one random dyed.

What to do? Print print cut dye print.
I had a pile of new screens I've been wanting to test.

My dad's class photo

a relative, a diagram, a design

And here's the first finished t-shirt:

I believe I wear it to work today.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A Pair of Classes Coming Up

Lowell Fiber Studio offers you two path to fiber art this June.

 Make your own custom-printed fabric one Saturday. 

The next week, transform fabric into a small art quilt. 

Saturday June 15
Thermofax Printing

Learn how to use screens to create layered design.   We'll cover what goes it to making a screen, then you'll use a variety of images to make your own custom cloth.  Bring plenty of fabric and a sense of adventure.  Linda Dunn

Saturday June 22
Fabric Collage

Create a personal collage using fabric scraps. Learn the "stitch and flip" method and the essentials of hand-applique. You'll create a base and decorate it with beads, trims, and hand-stitching.Transform your piece as a pillow, pouch or wall quilt. Cathy Granese

Classes meet in Studio 512, 122 Western Avenue, Lowell, MA, and are $50 each.  Space is limited! Reserve your seat now. Send a check to Cathy Granese, 100 Park Terrace Drive, Unit #146, Stoneham, MA.