June 29, 2009

Art of the State Reception

I had a fine time at the opening reception of the Art of the State exhibit at the PA State Museum. They really did it up right. Above is the obligatory shot of me standing and beaming in front of my Big Root Geranium, and below you can see it in context. The work to the left of mine is Wyoming, by Linda Fanning-Lefevre. I met Linda a few weeks ago at the Susquehanna House opening, and it was a cool coincidence to meet her again and find her work next to mine.
Here's a general crowd shot to give a feel for the gallery space:

And another crowd/gallery shot. It was a large crowd, hundreds of art enthusiasts, and there was a lot of good energy and amazing work in the space. I had poured over the images online, but as always it didn't prepare me for how impressive, diverse, and innovative the art was up close and personal. The exhibit runs until September 20 and is well worth a visit if you find yourself in the Harrisburg PA area.

Leaving the show, I got this shot of the curved exterior wall of the museum in the twilight:

And one looking across the street to the State Capitol building.

June 28, 2009

Machine Quilting Unlimited Article

I'm very excited to announce that I've been published in the latest issue of Machine Quilting Unlimited. I'm the first artist to be chosen for their new feature called Art Studio. I wrote about how I employ the quilting line as a design element in my work. It's lavishly illustrated with detail shots of my quilts that clearly demonstrate the specifics addressed in the text.

This is a great publication that balances good photography ("eye candy") with deep content relevant and useful to all machine quilters (longarm and domestic sewing machine users). Check out the cover and table of contents for the July issue here to see what I mean.

The editorial staff was great to work with and I thoroughly enjoyed the process of producing the article. I've found I have a lot to say about how I work and what's important to me in the process, and I'm delighted to have had the opportunity to share it.

June 24, 2009

Plume Poppy Progress

I've unearthed the Plume Poppy quilt, code name The Beast, and resumed the quilting work on it. I am very pleased to report that the new machine is easing this task considerably. The wider harp lets me work without tightly scrunching the fabric and hunching my shoulders, and the improved thread tensioning is eliminating a lot of fiddling around with that little screw and expressing myself with nasty euphemisms. I'm excited to be working on this one again, it's going to be very dramatic when it's finished.

I now have two machines set up in my studio; I'm using my faithful old Pfaff for piecing, and the new Janome for freemotion work. This allows me to work on two or more projects (almost) simultaneously, which is enjoyable and a boost to productivity. If you are new here, you can track back this work in progress by clicking on "Plume Poppy" in the right sidebar under Labels.

June 23, 2009

Parade of Homes Installation

I have some installation photos from the PA Arts Experience exhibit at the Parade of Homes builder's showcase house. (See my previous blog post here for info and links to the architect, builder, and house plans.) Above is The Organic Garden hanging in the master suite; to the left is Rob Evans' pastel, West Side, Deer Isle.
Above is Tall Blue Lettuce hanging in the dining room; below you see it again next to Sumac. I really like the wall color in this room, it was neutral without being boring, and was a great backdrop for the art.

The artwork filled the house, and looked like a million bucks. The builders were very pleased with how well it complemented the home, and they received a lot of interest and comments from the the touring public. It was definitely a worthwhile project for all concerned.
Below are two views of the countryside as seen through the windows in the rear of the house for your viewing enjoyment.

June 20, 2009

Columbine, New Work in Progress

I'm back at work in the studio, and it's making me very happy and energized. I've got a new work-in-progress, based on some columbine cyanotypes. They came out very crisp, and the flowers are so transparent and lovely.
Above is a quick snapshot of the partial color palette. The print fabric is the last of the remnants from a dress I had, and loved, in second grade. Yes, that was some time ago, but I remember it well. The fabric is in excellent condition, as it was a very good quality cotton to begin with. Back when people bought fabric for dressmaking as a matter of course, the standards were much higher than they are now for fabrics made for the low-end craft trade. The pale fabric with the dots and splotches is a sugar dye from Deb Lacativa. I don't use a lot of hand-dyes in my work, but hers are unique and I'm finding them very useful. The pale purple and green splotchy strips are a sateen I handpainted, and the shiny purples and greens are silks brought back from India.
I am very particular about the fabric I use, I have a stash that goes back for decades, and I can remember where nearly every piece came from and why/how it was acquired and used previously. I'm mainly concerned with color, value and texture when I'm putting together a palette for a new work, but the history of each fabric also weighs into the somewhat arcane selection process. Pieces like that second-grade dress print get me all fired up.

June 17, 2009

Sacred Threads 2009

Sacred Threads opens today in Ohio. To quote from the website, "This biennial exhibition was established to provide a safe venue for quilters of all faiths who see their work as a connection to the sacred and/or as an expression of their spiritual journey."
I think this is a wonderful concept, especially in its embrace of ALL expressions of faith. The world needs more acceptance and celebration of diverse points of view. I've had work in previous Sacred Thread exhibits, and I thought it was such an important project that I did some volunteer work in the form of typing chores and such that could be done long-distance. This year, thanks to the work of Lisa Ellis in putting the submission and jurying process online, I was privileged to be able to serve on the show committee and help jury the show.

Jurying was a very intense experience. The guidelines for the show place an emphasis on the artist's statement as well as the images. I spent a LOT of time reading all the statements, looking at the details of the images, and reaching my decisions. Quite frankly, all of the works submitted deserve to be shown, they were all personal and meaningful works of art, and only space considerations made selecting necessary. I really enjoyed the jurying process, have a new appreciation for what's involved, and would love to do more of it in the future.

My two quilts, Mystery Fern (top two pictures) and Wood Poppy (bottom two pictures) were juried in, and will hang in a section with the works by other committee members. New this year will be a CD of all the works in the show, including the accompanying statements. I had a preview of the CD and it's very well done; it's reasonably priced and will be available at the show and on the website. Also new this year is a exhibit of 17 quilts crafted by inmates from the Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville. These quilts are incredible moving, and what they may lack in traditional technical skills, they more than make up for in honest and relevance of expression.
My congratulations and thanks to Vikki Pignatelli, Wendy Bynner (Wendy is quoted in a newspaper article here), Lisa, and everyone else who works so hard to put on this exhibit. Go if you can!

June 16, 2009

Images 2009 Reception

I had a great time at the reception for Images 2009 at Penn State. The quality of the art was very high again this year, and I loved seeing fiber so well represented. Here's a quote from the Essay by Juror Judith Hansen O'Toole: "I do not believe in the separation of craft and “high” art so the coming together, especially in the fabric pieces submitted this year, of formalist and utilitarian (or potentially utilitarian) was wonderful to see." I couldn't agree with her more. I also appreciate how well they light the fiber pieces at this show; the textures are highlighted without being washed out, and the colors are true.

My good friend Jan rode with me, and we met up with Pat Dolan (my thanks to Pat for the picture above), and a good time was had by all.

Cold Cave is on my website here, and you can track it back as a work in progress under Labels in the right sidebar.

June 15, 2009

Susquehanna House Opening Reception

I love opening receptions; great artwork to admire, artists and patrons to converse with, and delicious snacks--all good! Last Friday's reception at the new Susquehanna House Gallery was a lot of fun, and once again I was reminded how lucky I am to be associated and exhibiting with the very talented members of the PA Arts Experience. There I am above with my work; I had the opportunity to talk with people about the inspiration and the execution of it, which is a pleasant adjunct to all the hours I spent in the studio making it. I snapped a few shots of some of the other artists in attendance; below is Carol Oldenburg with her gorgeous painting of the river:
And Rob Evans, in a snapshot that doesn't begin to do justice to the beauty of his work:

And Phyllis Koster, with her intricate weaving:

Here's Cindy Hinkle (l) and Carol Foley Bolt (r) (holding the exhibit postcard), who work tirelessly on behalf of the artists to make exhibits like this possible:
And Kristan Winand, the Gallery Director, who did a great job of putting it all together:

Here's a crowd scene of the meeting room, adjacent to the gallery rooms, which has windows looking out onto the river:

A view through one of those windows of the Susquehanna River at Long Level at dusk:

Also adjacent to the gallery is a room that Rob is using as a temporary studio, taking advantage of the view. What a great place to work!

The exhibit is up until September 5th, be sure to stop in if you are in the vicinity of Wrightsville, PA.

June 11, 2009

Quilt Odyssey 09 Acceptance

I'm pleased to announce that Sycamore has been juried into Quilt Odyssey, July 30 - August 2, in Hershey, PA. I like this show because the work is always of such high quality, and it's close enough for me to attend easily.

June 10, 2009

Artwork at Susquehanna House Gallery

My Skunk Cabbage and Possum will be at the inagural exhibit at the Susquehanna House Gallery, along with work by other artists from the PA Arts Experience. The gallery space is in a beautiful 1890's era former general store building overlooking the Susquehanna River just outside of Wrightsville, PA--a fitting venue since so much of my work celebrates the beauty of the river and the river hills.
I plan to be at the opening reception this Thursday, the 11th, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Hope to see you there!

June 9, 2009

Portland - Silver Falls

For our last day in the Portland area, we wanted a hike that would be challenging but not death-defying, and Silver Falls State Park fit the bill. There are 10, count 'em, 10 falls in the park, with four that have space to walk behind them. Most are large; in the picture above, in the center left you can see a few people for a sense of scale.
Walking behind a waterfall is a very pleasant, if damp, experience.

It seemed like each waterfall we came to on the trail was more beautiful than the last.

And we had another perfectly sunny day to add to the enjoyment.

Here's another falls with a path behind it:

Leading to a view like this:

I'm running out of superlatives, the pictures say it all:

As a perfect postscript to the trip, yesterday I received a surprise gift of art in the mail from Terry Grant. She had driven me past marionberry fields, and introduced me to marionberry pie, and now has she generously given me a permanent memento with this beautiful small art quilt, "Marionberries". I've been a fan of Terry's work for years, I really like her crisp representational style, and this is a great example of how well she designs and executes her ideas. I'm going to have this framed and hang it in my studio--thanks so very much, Terry!

The extra cool part is that when I opened the envelope, I recognized the work immediately, because I had followed its progress on her blog. (Scroll through her May archive here.)

June 7, 2009

Artwork at The Parade of Homes

Three of my art quilts, including The Organic Garden, above, will be on display at a stunning house in the Parade of Homes in Lancaster, PA, June 13 - June 21.
The home is an open, light filled contemporary, designed by Donald Maim of MM Architects, Inc., and built by Ebersole Brothers Construction, Inc. Since the home is sold and the clients are set to move in after the event, they decided to showcase it as a gallery space rather than stage it with borrowed furniture. My work, including Sumac, above, and Tall Blue Lettuce, below, is joining that of others from the PA Arts Experience. Sumac and Tall Blue Lettuce are in the dining room; The Organic Garden is in the master suite. Click here for a view of the floor plan and more information about the house, including the address and directions.
I stopped by the home yesterday to drop off my work, and am very excited about how fabulous all of the art looks in this elegant home, which is sited overlooking lush farmland. I think it also provides a good forum to illustrate how well fiber art can be integrated into a art collection and displayed effectively in a home setting.

June 4, 2009

Washington St. - Mt. St. Helens

We began our exploration of the Mt. St. Helens region with a helicopter tour. It was a bit of an extravagance, but well worth it for the overview of the area, the pilot's explanation of how the landscapes we were flying over were shaped by the eruption, and the stunning views. I was a bit trepidatious about going up, not for fear of life and limb but for fear of motion sickness, but the ride was smooth and steady and I enjoyed it greatly. Below is the Toutle River valley, you can see where trees are slowly reestablishing themselves.

Below is the view travelling up the valley and approaching the peak. The gray parallel lines on the hillside are trees that were instantly snapped and toppled by the force of the blast:

Approaching the crater:

Getting closer. I love the contrast and the patterns formed by the snow:

We flew fairly far into the crater, you can see the dome on the right:

Leaving the crater and flying past Spirit Lake, with Mt. Rainier in the background. The gray mass in the far side of the Lake is composed of thousands of trees deposited there in the course of the eruption and tidal wave that followed. Because the site is a National Monument, they are left undisturbed.

Back on the ground, we went to several of the Visitor's Centers and did some short hikes around the area. Below is Coldwater Lake, which is an amazing shade of turquoise green that the picture only hints at:

From the grand views to a focused one; Oregon Grape Holly blooming:
This was a fabulous day, exciting and awe-inspiring. I had been aware of Mt. St. Helens in a general way, but was not prepared for magnificent the mountain was, and how extensive the area of interest was. I especially enjoyed seeing how plants and animals were regrowing and recolonizing the devastated areas, it was very life-affirming.
One more chapter in the Portland vacation saga coming up--stay tuned!