Thursday, January 27, 2011

It's beautiful...but ENOUGH already!

The weather person underestimated last night's about 12"! What was to be a rather ordinary 4-8" forecast became 18" by the time morning broke. This is on top of the 24" that had not melted from previous snowfall. It's noteworthy for us here in Connecticut because it's so unusual. There are many winters where we have very little snowfall and rarely is it a white landscape for days on end.

Snow. Melt. Snow. Melt. Snow. Melt. Spring. Is our usual meter.

This second pic is from my studio. I decided not to use this exit today. I did venture out. I decided, instead of having lemons and making lemonade, that having snow, I would make a batch of snow-dyed fabric.

I had to do this in a very clandestine way. By way of explanation: we are a three generation, two dog household. One of the youngest generation LOVES my projects and I knew that if she knew I was snow dyeing she'd be right in the midst of it. It's another snow day for the school children. So I snuck out the garage door and quickly filled five bags of snow. I'll try to share the results tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

More Journal Vessels/Fiber Bowls

My Bento Journey Vessel is made from Japanese fabric with a print that reminds me of Hiroshige's Wave, however, when I cut it into strips to make this coil bowl that imagery was lost. I wanted the bowl to remind the viewer of traditional lacquerware bento (lunch) boxes. I have put in it an assortment of those things that I've gathered from many abacus, chopsticks, a wind chime, several cards with prints by Kawase Hasui, one of my very favorite woodblock artists, some old coins and various bits and pieces gathered at shrines and in temples.

This second coiled bowl was created from two cotton fabrics from Australian Aboriginal designers. I decided not to put a top on my big, flat, open bowl. Those words, indeed, reminded me of some of the adjectives used to describe Australia. I've gathered into it some of the things I collected on my "bushwalks" in the Red Center. There are seed pods from acacia, eucalyptus, wattle, and kapok, Aboriginal clapsticks, seed necklace, some carvings, cards and a plastic lizard that I beaded to remind me of the several interesting ones we met on our hikes.

Now that I've made three of these journal vessels, I may not need to create anymore....until I've returned with more stuff that I can't bear to toss and feel the uncharacteristic urge to tidy. Thankfully, this most current urge has now been satisfied and I can get back to some pressing deadlines.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Identity in Fiber Opening

Identity in Fiber's Opening Reception at the Windsor Art Center last night was a huge success! AND a ton of fun! The place was packed the entire time and at seven o'clock people needed to be reminded to leave ;^) That's when you know people are having a great time!

This first photo is a detail of Kate Themel's piece. There were knots of viewers around it ALL night. Kate answered everyone's questions...patiently repeating that her wonderful, detailed stitching was just like drawing...only with the sewing machine. Many were understandably skeptical that it was something just anyone could do.

Next...yep, me with DH standing in front of my work and Karen Loprete's just peeking over his shoulder. Hers also garnered a bunch of attention....marvels over her incredible embroidery. Thank you, Cathy for taking & sending this pic to me.

This last photo is a snap of friends and fellow SAQA members Cathy Smith and Betty Warner with a good view of Barb McKie's celebratory piece.

I was SO pleased with the turn-out. Lisa Chipetine (former SAQA prez came from NY!) and Susan Ferraro (former SAQA/CT co-rep) were a welcomed addition to the night's lively conversations. Lisa's very brave Flowers for Allah (I THINK that's the's my sad little grey cells that are becoming harder and harder to depend on) was another conversation starter for the crowd.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

I'm Going to Australia!!

We leave for Australia, first stop Melbourne, on Feb. 14! I'm blogging about it a little early for a reason. I'm hoping that there are Aussie readers out there in blogland who will be kind enough to tell me "what's happening" in the art world, especially the fiber art world.

We begin our journey in Melbourne for a couple of weeks. We'll have a car and hope to visit various old haunts in Victoria before we fly to Broome on Mar 1 for a week.

We've never been to Western Australia. Sad, I know. Hard to believe...and soon to be remedied ;^). Eons ago I represented some Aboriginal communities in promoting their artwork in the US. (It's one of those careers mentioned in my profile which was not so successful....but very enjoyable.) I've been to many remote communities, camped in some very interesting places, and met some incredible folk but there's one place that I've never been and I really, really want to see....the Bungle Bungles.

But I digress. Our next stop will be Perth for a week, then a week in Adelaide, before we return for some more visiting in the Melbourne area. We return to the US March 30.

I'm hoping to meet Dijanne Cevaal in Geelong (where we will spend several days as we used to live there). I'm going to become the proud owner of some of her books, of that I'm sure. I've heard from Gloria Loughman...who will not be on the Bellarine whilst we are there. She'll be in the US!

Oops, another digression. The real point (and there is one) is that I don't want to miss anything. Wouldn't it be sad to have gone all that way and miss seeing or doing something?

And the image above? It's a detail from "If I Hear Music It Must Be Copland!" that I made in 2004 and joyously expresses how I feel at the prospect of several weeks "Down Under".

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Journey Vessel aka Fiber Bowl

I am a textile artist with a passion for travel. I'm also really, really good at collecting stuff...bits of this and that...that I keep as memories of my trip. That's not to say I don't also take hundreds, and now, thanks to digital cameras, thousands of photographs.

This coiled fiber bowl is made from a Kente cotton fabric that I purchased in Ghana. The black fabric, also from Ghana, is used for funeral garments. The amount of red printed on the black denotes the closeness of the relationship the wearer has to the deceased. The "knob" on the lid is stack of fabric samples given to me by Esther, our host in Akosombo, in the hopes of finding buyers for her fabric in the States.

The bowl is home to assorted bits that I found or was given along the way from Accra, Akosombo, Kumasi, Offenso and Cape Coast: invitation to a chief's anniversary Darbar, a bit of tile from rubble in front of the Peace Corps office in Accra, cedi bead necklace from the factory outside Offenso, bits of driftwood and shells from the littered beaches on Cape Coast. The best, that always gives me a smile, is the biscuit/cookie wrapper that I picked up on the ground of a park in striped pack of Obama Biscuits with President Obama's image.

I'm on to making a couple of other Journey Vessels. They are the perfect thing for me to house my trip memories. I'm really good at j-o-u-r-n-e-y and not so good at j-o-u-r-n-a-l.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Identity in Fiber

Yesterday I volunteered to help Kate Themel, SAQA/CT co-rep AND curator of Identity in Fiber, the exhibit that was installed by the very capable team at Windsor Art Center. Images on the postcard that the Center produced for the event are details of work by Judith Plotner, Mary Ellen Latino, Eileen Lauterborn, Gail Kotowski, Martha Wolfe and me.

I was so impressed with their team! We took about two hours deciding where each of the pieces would be shown to their best advantage....and while we tidied, said our good-byes, the team had two whole sections hung.

The Center is hosting an Opening Reception next Saturday, Jan 22, 5-7pm....complete with live music, and catered by Lilly's Soul Food Restaurant! A not-to-be missed event!

As a post-script: I had to dawdle putting on my coat and gloves long enough to get a quick snap of the team hanging my piece Family Ties which will hang next to a big, glorious piece by Karen Loprete. I can hardly wait to see the "finished product" next Saturday....fingers crossed for NO SNOW.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Old Friends

"I Dreamt of Mary's Quilt" is big, about 74" square and for the last thirteen years has lived in a closet. When I traveled to Florida and North Carolina recently, I packed up several rolls of work for my newly-single son to look through with the aim of making his new house a home. To my surprise...and delight...he chose eight pieces! His home is a virtual (not that kind of virtual) gallery of my work....especially if you factor in the paintings and other art quilts that he has been gifted over the last several years.

This piece actually did begin as a dream. I dreamt of my friend's indigo art quilt that I had seen on exhibit. Of course, it really wasn't anything like this....but every time I see this I think of her and her little Japanese indigo art quilt. I had always imagined that my "Mary" would hang somewhere special, not languish in a closet. So I was overjoyed that my son chose it.