July 29, 2009

San Francisco - Armstrong Redwood Forest

It's time to catch up with myself and feature some pictures from my visit earlier this summer to the San Francisco area. This set of photos is from a day trip to the Armstrong Redwood Forest in Sonoma county, where the main claim to fame, along with a fantastic old growth grove and good, accessible hiking trails, is the Parson Jones tree, which is a mind-blowing 1300 years old. This was my first experience of a redwood forest of this size; the height and grandeur of the trees is difficult to capture photographically, which didn't stop me from trying:
Below is a fallen tree that was cut to clear the path. I like the textures in the cross section:
The main trail wound up the mountain and lead to views of the cool, foggy valley where the redwoods flourish:

The micro climate at the top was warmer and drier and supported a different class of vegetation, including my first encounter with manzanitas. I was smitten by the purple color of the bark and the twisty architecture of the branches:

Descending again, I took a moment to rest and contemplate my place in the universe as a puny human:

And to consider life as a hobbit:
After leaving the forest, we made a brief stop at Olompali State Park in Marin County. It has a fascinating history as an Native American settlement, ranch, battlefield, estate, and hippie commune. Over-driven guitar amplifiers at a late night revelry led to an electrical fire; the buildings await the funding necessary for restoration, and unfortunately it looks like it may be a long wait:

July 23, 2009

Vintage Wading Animals

It's summertime, and it's raining --it's been a very wet season here--and I've used that as a springboard to rummage through my collection of vintage textiles looking for water themed images to share. Above is a nicely executed embroidered stag, standing in a very generic puddle. Below is his offspring, a Bambi clone, getting a drink while his Thumper-clone friend gazes on with extreme admiration and approval:
Below is one of my very favorite vintage table runners, with a girl squirrel (obligingly wearing a pink ribbon, so we can tell) rafting out on a water lily to meet her floating mate. I love the implied story and general weirdness of this one: Here's a pair of what are presumably technicolor doves, hanging out in a spiffy fountain:

And last but not least a kitten, somewhat amateurly stitched, that is lounging out by the goldfish pond. You can guess the ending to this story.

July 19, 2009

Amanita muscaria in SAQA Journal

My Amanita muscaria was included in a critical review of Art Quilts XII: Lucky Break in the Summer 2009 edition of the SAQA Journal. SAQA - Studio Art Quilts Association - "is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote the art quilt through education, exhibitions, professional development and documentation" that is celebrating it's 20th anniversary this year. The reviewer, Linda McCurry, said my work "used photo printing techniques with great results" and was "very effective". I'm thrilled with the recognition and the opportunity to continue to bring my work before a wider audience. I'm also grateful to Diane Howell for her dedication in providing a forum for art quilts in this exhibition in Chandler AZ each year, and it was indeed my "lucky break" to be included!

July 16, 2009

Watt & Shand #4 In Progress

Here's another one of the images I'm planning on using in Watt & Shand #4, showing the inside of the facade and a historic building which was preserved in its entirety. Below is a quick snapshot of a section of the color palette for the work--the colors aren't quite true, but you can get the general idea. I have a lot more work to do before this one starts to come together, but I'm enjoying this part of the process immensely. I have an idea of where I want it to go, but I'm still working out some of the concepts, and I find it engaging and stimulating.
If you are new here, you can track back this work in progress and the entire series so far by clicking on "Watt & Shand" under Labels in the right sidebar.

July 12, 2009

Dandelion Prints

I'm really busy in the studio right now, with a veritable round robin of projects underway. Most of them are still in the preliminary stages, where I'm making prints, picking colors and fabrics, and doing the initial design work. I've made some cyanotype prints for a Dandelion quilt or quilts that are in progress and they turned out very nice and crisp. These are huge leaves from a garden bed that is slightly neglected, so I got to pull "weeds" and make art all in one go.

I wrote about the inspiration for this work in a previous blog post here, which also includes a picture of my grandmother, who had 15 children but did not obtain celebrity status.

This is my 200th blog post! Time sure flies when you're having fun.

July 8, 2009

More Columbine Prints

The weather here in PA has been just outstanding, and I'm busy making prints and painting fabric. I made a few more cyanotypes for the Columbine quilt; above is a shot of the plant material on the treated fabric, out in the sun for a timed exposure. You can see a reflection of the nearby zelkova tree, and my own reflection on the left, in the glass cover sheet.
And above is a partial view of the finished print. It's on a silk/cotton blend with a lovely sheen. The earlier prints captured the flowers in bloom, while these have the seed capsules.
I'm working on four large projects more or less simultaneously right now and having an enormous amount of fun in the process. These long days are very energizing.

July 5, 2009

Watt & Shand #4 Begun

I've started work on a new piece in the Watt & Shand series. This time I'm focusing on the view from inside the facade, just after the demolition had finished and before the rebuilding began. I've got some fantastic images that I went to great lengths to obtain, and I'm excited about finding a good way to employ them. So far I have printed some directly on fabric, and have also made some cyanotype prints with them:
The Watt & Shand series is based on the renovation and conversion of a former historic department store building in Lancaster, PA, into a modern convention center and hotel. I was originally captivated by the way the light came through the windows of the empty facade, and went on to take pictures at every stage of the construction project. You can read more about it and follow my creation of three pieces so far by clicking on Watt & Shand in the Labels sidebar at the right, and visit my website to see them in the Structures gallery.