March 31, 2011

Fiber Show at "Weavings, Ink." Gallery

 I am delighted to have four works in a group fiber show at the Weavings, Ink. Gallery in Wrightsville, PA that opens this Friday, April 1.  Above is Deer and Mayapple, and below is The Old Bridge, which is just back from being exhibited at the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, KY.
 Here's the details:
“200 Years in the Making”, a group fiber art exhibit  will be shown at the “Weavings, Ink.” art gallery at 208 Hellam Street (a.k.a. Rt.462), Wrightsville, York County, PA from April 1 – April 30, 2011.
This exhibit will include the work of these 3 York and 3 Lancaster County artists:
Ann Booth, tapestry weaver, York
Phyllis Koster, weaver; wall hangings, Hellam Township
Sylvia Lehman, contemporary basket maker, Elizabethtown
Vivian Narehood, contemporary weaver; wall hangings, Mt. Gretna
Deb Roberson, knotted miniature basket maker, Hallam
Sue Reno, contemporary quilt maker, Columbia

An opening reception is scheduled for Friday, April 1 from 5-8 p.m.
A closing reception is on Saturday, April 30 from 1-5 pm. The reception is free and open to the public and many of the artists will be on hand to talk about their work. Refreshments will be served.

This group of artists represents over 200 years of experience in the medium of fiber. All of them are masters of their chosen craft and this is a great opportunity to see some of the amazing fiber work being done in Pennsylvania.
Also included are Watt & Shand #3, above, and Watt & Shand #10, below:
Here are the bios of the other artists.  I feel privileged to be in the company of such talent!

Ann Booth, Tapestries
Ever since I can remember I have worked with yarn. As an art student in the early 70’s I would come home from painting all day to knit. When I discovered tapestry in 1977, It was such a joy to realize I could combine my 2 loves painting and fiber. Although I stopped weaving for about 15 years to work in glass. Tapestry was always in the back of my mind. In 2004 I just stopped doing my sandblasted glasswork and returned to tapestry. Since than I have been enjoying the creative, and meditative process of tapestry. I love color and value change. I dye most of my own yarn in order to get just the colors I want, and to achieve value change you. Recently I have been using images of nature, to illustrate my own spiritual journey.

Sylvia Eisenbise Lehman, Contemporary baskets
I love textures, forms, possibilities and hardware stores. A complexity of contrasts and unexpected connections please me. I look for appearance rather than referencing function. With this attitude, the whole world becomes an art supply store. My favorite hiking paths in the woods and fields around my studio provide a wealth of potential. Some of my gleanings become handmade paper, allowing me to explore the correlation between pressed fiber and woven fiber. A traditional weave structure with unexpected and nontraditional resolution invites us to look at and consider everyday objects in a new way and perhaps helps us be present and alive to what’s around us.A friend who knows me well stepped into my studio one day and said,“You’re weaving your life.” I feel fortunate to “tell” myself in this way, but the main event is visual; a complexity of textural forms, contrasts and unexpected connections. I am a juried member of the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen and a participating artist in the PA Arts Experience. View the craft fairs and events I will be exhibiting and selling my baskets and paperwork by clicking my show schedule.

Phyllis Koster, Woven hangings
The craft of weavings has intrigued Phyllis Koster since the age of 12, when she was allowed to sit on the loom bench and weave at the Landis Valley Farm Museum in Lancaster, PA. While studying at Millersville University, she attended Penland School of crafts, near Asheville, NC, where she received most of her formal weaving training. In 1976, after graduating from Millersville University with a BA in Art, Phyllis started her own hand weaving business, The Flying Shuttle, now located in a renovated garage on their farm property. She has received awards from the Philadelphia Hand Weavers Guild, the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen and the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts. Recent shows include an invitational show at YorkArts in 2007 and “Fiber Celebrated 2007” at the Durango (CO) Arts Center where she won the Juror’s Choice Award. She and her husband, artist, Robert Oughton recently opened a gallery in Wrightsville, PA called “Weavings, Ink.”.

Deb Roberson, Miniature baskets
Deb Roberson has been a baskets maker for over 30 years. Her focus of interest recently has been miniature knotted baskets in the Native American tradition. These exquisite baskets are measured in inches and are intricately woven.

Vivian Narehood,  Contemporary weaver
Vivian came to her love of weaving in the early 1970's when she won a raffle for a public radio station to take a weaving class at Fiberworks, a wonderful weaving studio in Oakland, California. She fell in love with the way fibers absorb and reflect light and color depending upon how they meet, encounter and interlace. She has been weaving ever since, despite numerous life changes. Increasingly, she dyes and spins her own fibers to accomplish the result she is looking for which is, in part, planned and, in part, incorporates some of the random unpredictability of nature. Her themes are always nature based, some-times pure inspiration from nature rhythms, sometimes an effort to evoke a particular scene of water, clouds, rocks, etc. She uses fibers of different textures and widths to create the effect she hopes to achieve.

March 28, 2011

Watt & Shand #7 Accepted for "New Legacies: Contemporary Art Quilts.”

 I'm very pleased to announce that Watt & Shand #7 has been accepted for the 29th annual New Legacies: Contemporary Art Quilts  Exhibit at the Lincoln Center in Ft. Collins, Colorado (formerly known as"Fabric of Legacies").  The exhibit will run from October 7th to November 13th.  The Lincoln Center is undergoing an $8 million dollar renovation, including a brand new art gallery, so it promises to be an outstanding venue.

Watt & Shand #7 features one of my favorite pictures from the entire renovation project--the Leaning Man.  I love all the lines, angles, and contrasting textures in this image:
 It was a fortuitous walk-by shooting, as they were hoisting construction supplies up to a temporary scaffolding , and this worker equipped with a safety harness was poised to receive them.  Here's the original snapshot, where I hit the shutter button at just the right moment:
 Here's the same photo after a bit of digital manipulation. I've cropped it to the area of interest, lightened it, increased the contrast, and upped the saturation.  It looks a bit garish here, but that's necessary when printing on fabric--some of the ink is absorbed by the fiber, so you need to start with an excess:
 Here's another lucky shot, although at first I thought it was too dark and unworkable: 
 But through the  magic of photo manipulation, I was able to come with a image that gave me this delicate cyanotype print:
If you are new here, you can read more about the Watt & Shand series either on my website, or by clicking on "Watt & Shand" under Labels in the right sidebar and scrolling back through my blog posts about the works in progress.

March 14, 2011

New Work - Squirrel and Locust

I am very happy to unveil my latest work, "Squirrel and Locust", part of my newest series, "Flora and Fauna".  I began by photographing a squirrel skull found in the woods and using those images to make cyanotype prints.  These were combined with heliographic prints of the leaves of my locust tree that the squirrels take refuge in while raiding the bird feeder, along with a print from the fern beneath the tree.  I added a vintage embroidery panel and handpainted fabrics.  It's very extensively stitched and hand beaded, and I added some painted highlights at the end of the process.

The cyanotypes came out particularly crisp and detailed.  Above is the view looking down on the inside of the top portion of the skull.  You can see the sockets for the grinding teeth in the middle of the picture, inbetween the eye sockets, and the huge incisors, pointing inward, at the bottom of the image.  Below is a side view of the top and bottom halves of the skull--look at the size of those incisors proportional to the rest of the head!
Below is the vintage embroidery panel, half of a former table runner.  It's one of my all time favorites--such a beautiful pastoral scene, with squirrels inexplicably floating on lily pads, rafting out to a tete-a-tete with the twinkle of romance in their coy little squirrely eyes.  Anthropomorphism at its finest!
Here is a detail of the locust leaf print, made on white cotton, heavily stitched and then beaded.  The leaves on the left side of the work were drawn with freehand stitching, then painted and beaded.
I am having more fun than the law probably allows with this series, and this was a particularly joyous piece to work on.  I read somewhere that the key to squirrel's survival as a species is that they have a very rapid and effective response to danger--run away!!-- but then their brains forget about it almost instantly, giving them the chutzpah to make another foray.  It's the squirrel version of the zen of be-here-now, and the essence of what I was working towards with this piece.  What do you think--how does it "read" to you?

March 6, 2011

State of the Studio, early March

 There's a lot happening in the studio right now; here's a hodgepodge of photos.
 I spent many cold, dark winter evenings ensconced in my easy chair near the fire, sewing beads to "Squirrel and Locust", the newest work in my Flora and Fauna series, and I finished it up today. It's enormously time-consuming work, but in a pleasant, meditative way, and it has added tremendously to the overall look of the piece so I'm glad to have made the investment.  (You can read more about how I do the beadwork in this previous blogpost.)  Above is just a quick detail snapshot; I'll take the official pictures soon and get them up on the website.  I'm really looking forward to sharing this one and getting some reactions!

I've just about finished a complete studio re-do.   My reorganized space is already a joy to work in, everything is easy to find and the work flows more readily from station to station, so I'm predicting I will be able to up production a notch or two. Today I pinned up the prints and fabrics to audition for "Skunk and Garlic Mustard" on the design wall,  so that I can give that composition some consideration, and just for fun I used my new spacious work table to paint some fabric:

I've discovered some buried treasure, like these shirts and pants I had tailored from handwoven Indian khadi cloth back in my student days in Mysore:
 The colors and textures are so lovely, and all the more interesting from having been washed and worn quite a bit.  As I'm making preparations for a return visit to India this summer, I'm conceptualizing a series of artworks using these garments.  One of the shirts has a prominent stain and will be cut apart, but the rest are so interesting as is that I'm hesitant to deconstruct them.  Stay tuned as I puzzle out their highest and finest re-use.

I spent a snowed-in day scanning a raft of old documents, pictures, and ephemera from my study abroad that are also tweaking the creative neurons in a stimulating way.  I love, love, love this bit of Kannada script that I wrote for an exam.  At one time I was proficient enough at it to get a "B"; unfortunately that knowledge has faded from disuse, but I still admire the graceful beauty of the letter forms:

And last but not least, I rediscovered my fabulous vintage Indian religious comic books, including Shiva Parvati:

Isn't that a cool cover?  It's a very dramatic story, told succinctly in comic book format, and it only set me back 2 rupees.  Good stuff.