May 31, 2011

Kelly's Run Hike

 We had a great hike over the holiday weekend in the beautiful "southern end" of Lancaster County, starting out at Pinnacle Overlook and looping down to Kelly's Run and back.  The weather was warm and pleasant, the stream and river were running high due to a rainy spring, and we saw many wonderful sights, like this Eastern Fence Lizard:

We felt very lucky to spot this little guy, as they are a "species of special concern" and somewhat rare.  We also captured him on video, check out the push-ups he does to show off his brilliant blue belly: 

 The mountain laurel was at the peak of its bloom:
 This bridge over Kelly's Run was closed:
 The framework sits on old stone piers:
 The patina of rust and flaking paint was fabulous:
 It looks even funkier with the camera's panorama setting:
 We hustled over to the tracks by the river when we heard that clickety clack:
 We made the universal arm-pump sign for "please blow the train whistle" and the engineer whistled and waved:
We headed up the rocky and rigorous trail that runs in the ravine along the creek.  It's very beautiful, with lots of small waterfalls and rills, and rhododendrons and pawpaws lining the banks. 

 The sound is both relaxing and invigorating:

A lush mossy stone wall along the creek:
 A shelf fungus on a decaying log:
 The underside of the fungus:
 Every here and there we found a fallen tulip poplar flower.  These are very tall trees, and the flowers are borne up high, so the ones knocked down by thunderstorms and wind are the best ones to admire:
 Back at the picnic area near the trail head, there was some excitement when a gorgeous black racer snake came slithering through.  I was pleased to observe that everyone stayed mellow and let it pass, and the snake stayed mellow also:
 A snake in the grass video:
And finally, a view I never tire of--the mighty Susquehanna River:

May 28, 2011

Acceptance into Tactile Architecture

 Still more good exhibit news!  Both my entries for Tactile Architecture, Watt & Shand #6 and Watt &  Shand #10, were accepted.  The exhibit debuts in Houston at the Quilt Market (open to the trade) in October, and at the International Quilt Festival in Houston, TX from Nov. 3 -6, 2011. It then travels to the Cincinnati Festival in April, 2012 and the Long Beach Festival in July, 2012.
 When I originally embarked on this series of works, I did so because I was so incredibly excited about the subject and had a driving need to make artwork pertaining to it.  I worked it obsessively for about a year, partly to meet the original solo show deadline, but mostly because it was all I wanted to do--the rest of my life had to fit in around it (and the important people in my life were extremely understanding and accommodating).  Part of the way in, I realized that it might have limited appeal outside of the local area because of the subject matter, but I was committed and it wasn't an important consideration at the time.
 But now I've realized that eight of the nine I have available (#2 sold to a local collector) have been or will be out and about in national exhibits this year.  I'm going to extrapolate two things from this astonishing run of luck:  A--  I should probably start playing the lottery, and B-- The work can stand on its own, purely on the strength of the design and execution, apart from the significance it has in Lancaster.  This is a hefty dose of timely encouragement.  I need to finish up my spring gardening so I can get back to more obsessive creativity in the studio.  There are always more and higher mountains to climb!
If you are new here, you can see the whole series on my website, and/or track it back as a work in progress by clicking on "Watt & Shand" under Labels in the right sidebar.  And if you've been following along, many thanks for your continuing interest and support.

May 23, 2011

Vientaine - Art in Embassies Exhibit

 The Art in Embassies exhibit for Vientaine, Laos, including The Organic Garden, is now on line.  You can view my page here, and the entire exhibit here.  It includes work by Sue Benner, Carol Cassidy, Michelle Korte Leccia, Barbara Schneider, and Judith Trager.  Such beautiful work by very talented artists--I am once again thrilled and humbled to be included.
 It's the time of year when I put the rest of my life on hold, as much as possible, and spend time tending my organic garden.  It's a bit challenging this year, as we are having an unprecedented and almost constant string of rainy days, but it's challenging every year.  There's always something--rain, drought, weed or insect infestations, unexplained die-offs, etc.  On the flip side, there are always unexpected pleasures--volunteer plants in just the right places, things that shouldn't have survived the winter but do, a bumper crop of something delicious.  This year the moisture loving plants have exploded with lush growth, and in between showers I wander about and admire them.
The bulk of my time is spent, however, grubbing out poison ivy, garlic mustard and bindweed, dividing and moving things that have exceeded their space or welcome, spreading mulch, and planting new seeds and starts.  It's hard work, and a very solitary pursuit, as I strive to approximate a certain internal vision of paradise on my suburban lot in life.  It's creating order out of chaos, or more precisely the attempt at creating order, that I find so compelling.

It all translates into my work in fiber, as I start with disparate elements and images, many of them taken from the garden, and merge them into a coherent whole.  I'm not aiming for perfection, either in the garden or in my quilts, but rather for the space where there is enough order and pattern to reassure yet enough chaos and surprise to be of interest.
I am fortunate and appreciative that I have the means to spend time and energy on purely ornamental plants, and that the edibles I grow, while important in my diet, are supplemental to the wholesome food so readily available here in Lancaster County.  I'm hoping that my work in the exhibit in Laos is able to strike a chord with everyone who grows, or admires, or depends upon a garden.  It's a universal theme in any culture.

May 8, 2011

Watt & Shand #1 Acceptance into Structures in Cloth

I'm delighted to announce that Watt & Shand #1 has been into accepted into the SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) exhibit Structures in Cloth.  The exhibit will debut in June at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, Arvada CO; then travel to The Sangre de Cristo Arts Center, Pueblo CO; and then to The Fort Collins Museum of Art, Fort Collins, CO, finishing in April 2012.  The jurors for the exhibit are Sandra Sider and Bebe Alexander.

Watt & Shand #1 was the first (obviously) in a series of 10 works I made chronicling the transformation of the former Watt & Shand department store in Lancaster, PA into a hotel and convention center.  The facade of the original building was preserved with an elaborate scaffolding and integrated into the new construction.  I was fascinated with the whole process and took hundreds of photos that were edited down for inclusion in the works.  You can see all ten on my website, and/or track them back as works in progress by clicking on Watt & Shand under Labels in the right sidebar.
The images in #1 are from June 2008, when workers were disassembling the scaffolding.  I got very lucky in shooting this image of a welder taking apart a join--I love all the angles in the composition, and the way the camera captured the sparks flying:

This shot below didn't make it into the finished work, but it's worthy of sharing--again, great angles and lots of sparks, all in front of the beautiful Beaux Arts architecture.  I got the know the curves and the details of the building very well while doing all the intensive stitching the work required.

May 6, 2011

Vintage India - Bombay (Mumbai)

 During my travels in India in my student days I spent some time in Bombay (now known as Mumbai).  I had some rolls of black and white film, and a desire to try and take some "arty" photos with my Instamatic.  Considering the limitations of my equipment and experience, I didn't do too badly, and of course now they look charmingly vintage.  I captured some street scenes, above, and some tourist sites, below:
 But I was most successful with  shots of people on the streets, like these dabbawalas sorting lunch boxes (do follow the link and read about them if you are not familiar; it's amazing):
 A dabbawala making a delivery:
 An old man on a scooter:
 A  talented chalk artist, whose work would perpetually vanish in the daily monsoon rains:
 A street musician counting his tips:
 A woman who was exhorting me, in a language I couldn't understand, for reasons unclear:
 A man selling tea and snacks, with a great deal of dignity:
 And one of the best pictures I have ever taken, anywhere or anytime, of three children playing on a tricycle. Look at the glee in the little girl's eye.  I can still remember the moment.

May 3, 2011

Groundhog and Green Bean selected for "State of the Art"

 I've received word that Groundhog and Green Bean has been selected for The Studio Quilt, No. 6: State of the Art by  noted artist, critic, curator and author Sandra Sider, to be published later this year.
 The list of included artists (see below) reads like a who's-who of fiber artists and art quilters that I admire, and I'm thrilled to be included in such esteemed company.
 Groundhog and Green Bean is from my newest series, Flora and Fauna, where I am working with the skulls and bones of local wildlife.  For this piece, I started with extreme close-up photographs of the groundhog skull, taken from several angles.   Below is the view looking down into the interior of the skull:
 From that photo I prepared a transparency, which functions as a large negative for making the cyanotype print:
And here is the resultant print, which I flipped when designing the quilt.

You can track it back as a work in progress by clicking on "Groundhog and Green Bean" under labels in the right sidebar.

Here's the list of artists, with congratulations to all.

The Studio Quilt, no. 6: State of the Art
List of Artists and Quilts:

Annie Helmericks-Louder, Outlaw Jackrabbit
Aryana Londir, Compartments #1
Barbara Wills, Land Marks #36
Benedicte Caneill, Units #9: Cityscape
Bonnie Smith, View from Above
Camilla Pearce, Rustbelt Shade Garden
Carolyn Carson, Deborah’s Decision
Catherine Smith, Grey Hay
Charlotte Ziebarth, Urban Reflections #2: Lake Merritt Series
Clairan Ferrono, Darkness Surrounds Us
Deborah Bein, Roots
Deborah Fell, Witness Trees
Deborah Weir, Daylily
Denise Linet, Garden in Blue
Diane Savona, Looted Artifacts
Eileen Lauterborn, Breaking News
Erika Carter, Cradle 6
Ezther Bornemisza, Pending Matters
Gay Lasher, Abstraction I
Gloria Hansen, Lost in Illusion
Grace Errea, Le Chapeau Extraordinaire
Holly Altman, Tidal Pool After the Storm
Jamie Fingal, Apron as Personal Armor
Jean Judd, Contaminated Water #1
Jennifer Day, Old Hands
Jette Clover, White Wall 2
Jill Rumoshosky Werner, Dispensed
Jo-Ann Golenia, Push
Joan Sowada, Fall Line Up
Judith Plotner, Soul of an Iris II
Judy Langille, Splintered Forms
Julia E. Pfaff, Contours V
K. Velis Turan, Major Deegan 2
Katherine Allen, Peace Like a River
Kathleen McCabe, Protea
Kathy Nida, Primal Scream
Kim Lakin, Rio
Leisa Rich, Architects in Flux
Linda Robertus, Magnificence
Louise Schiele, Gecko
Marcia Decamp, Jet Trails #10
Margaret Brown, Alike But Not the Same
Marianne R. Williamson, Babbling Brook
Marlene Parillo, Faces
Mary Pal, Homeless Love
Mary Vaneecke, Circlesss III
Melisse Laing, Seeing the Light
Micaela Fitzsimmons, The Road Home
Nancy Cook, Kousa: A New Dogwood’s in Town
Olga Norris, Snagged
Pat Owoc, Return
Patricia Gould, Coastal Symphony
Sarah Smith, Joshua
Sheree Rasmussen, Night Wind
Sue Reno, Groundhog and Green Bean
Susan Schrott, Fiddler on the Couch
Tiziana Raveri, Unstable Balance
Virginia Speigel, Boundary Waters 51
Wen Redmond, Perception of Trees
Yael Cohen, Mystery