April 25, 2012

Silk Mill #1 Acceptance in Images 2012

To follow up  yesterday’s reveal of this new work, I am happy to announce that Silk Mill #1 has been accepted for Images 2012, the juried gallery exhibition of the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts. 66 works, including drawings, paintings, mixed media, photography, hand-pulled prints, watercolors, fiber, ceramic, paper, and sculpture, were chosen by juror Barbara McNulty.  Images 2012 will hang in the Robeson Gallery of the HUB/Robeson Center on the University Park campus of The Pennsylvania State University, from June 6 to July 15, 2012.
Silk Mill #1
This exhibit is a favorite of mine, and I have had the privilege of being accepted into it in previous years.   The quality of the work is always very high, and the gallery staff takes great care to display and light the work correctly and show it to its best advantage.  I’m looking forward to attending the opening reception on June 8th-perhaps I’ll see you there!
Silk Mill # 1 - Detail
If you are interested, my previous works in Images can be seen with these links for 2011, 2010, 2009,  and 2008;   The Organic Garden was there in 2007, but that was pre-blog.  I have been incredibly fortunate, and I am very grateful!

April 24, 2012

New Work - Silk Mill #1

Silk Mill #1
I am delighted to share with you another new work, Silk Mill #1, 42”h x 44”w.  It is part of my architectural set of art quilts, The Structures, and the beginning of a new series based on the former Ashley and Bailey Silk  Mill in Columbia, PA. 
The mill was built in 1899 and was a working silk mill, and later a garment factory, until the 1970s when it was abandoned.  It became a rather spectacular ruin, open to the elements and with vegetation growing throughout it.  I took a lot of pictures of it just before it underwent renovation that transformed a portion of it into a tourist destination, The Turkey Hill Experience.  I posted them earlier here and here

Silk Mill #1, Detail 1
As a prelude to this series, I did three small, framed Studies, which were exhibited last fall at the Marietta Art House.  I’ve got the large versions of #2 and #3 in progress, and am open to seeing how far this series takes me.  I’ve got a lot of powerful and compelling images to work with, and I’m really enjoying the process of bringing them to life.  As a homage to the original purpose of the building, I’m trying to use a lot of silk fabrics as I’m working.
Silk Mill #1, Detail 2
For Silk Mill #1, I had my image burned into a Thermofax screen, which I used to print onto both white and hand-painted cotton fabric.  I also had the image digitally printed on to silk yardage, which I cut up and used in the patchwork and for the borders. 

Long term readers, and those who followed the links back, will noticed that years have passed since I first embarked on this project; further proof, as if it were needed, that art-making is not always a linear progression.  I’ve been mulling over these images, off and on, while I completed my Watt & Shand works, and began the Flora and Fauna series, and worked on various botanical art quilts that demanded my time and attention for various reasons.  But at last the time is right for this one to become further realized, and I am enjoying it very much.

April 22, 2012

New Work - Bamboo Emerging - in MQU

I can finally reveal a new work-- Bamboo Emerging, 18”h x 24”w.
Bamboo Emerging
I created it in response to an invitation from the editors of Machine Quilting Unlimited magazine.  It’s part of a set of 12 art quilts, by 12 different artists, representing the seasons of the year.  I received the email asking me to participate last summer while I was in Bangalore, India, and I’ve been sitting on the news ever since, so I am really thrilled to be sharing it at last!
Bamboo Emerging - detail
Bamboo Emerging represents spring.  Years ago our neighbors planted Arundinaria gigantean bamboo, and every spring it makes a run for it towards my yard. I spend some time hacking it back, while pausing to admire its attractive qualities. 

The center portion is a cyanotype on silk, made from a culled shoot.  The panels are pieced from a variety of silks, with a bit of earthy wool mixed in at the bottom.  Over top of the panels I laid narrow strips of contrasting silk and silk threads and used a machine needle felter to meld them into place.  I then intensively machine quilted it, and added some hand beadwork.  I like the energy and movement it conveys.

I received my advance copy of MQU, the May/June 2012 issue, in the mail yesterday, so I can also share how it looks in the layout:
The best part of this experience is the company I am keeping.  The other artists involved are (Spring) Heidi Zielinski and Patty Hawkins, (Summer) Patricia Anderson Turner, Eileen Doughty, and Roxanne Lessa, (Fall) Judy Momenzadeh, Carol Ann Sinnreich, and Lea McComas, and (Winter) Patt Blair, Kate Themel, and Kathie Briggs.  Wow! It’s an all-star lineup, and the quilts are really, really wonderful.  The quilts will be touring various venues for the next 18 months, starting with the Mancuso Denver National Quilt Festival in May, so keep an out for them when you are out and about.
May 2012 Cover Page
Machine Quilting Unlimited, May/June 2012 cover
You are going to want a copy of this issue, not just for this feature but also for all the other great content, so if you are not already a subscriber, go here to get yours.  Seriously. It’s a good magazine.

April 20, 2012

Ohiopyle Hike - an ephemeral experience

I’ve been rambling the Pennsylvania woods my entire life, and I had never seen wild trilliums in bloom. Recently, at Ohiopyle State Park, I was finally in the right place at the right time. You can imagine my excitement when this red trillium flower was spotted:
Red Trillium
And then this white trillium flower:
White Trilllium
Then red and white trilliums, blooming side by side:
Red and White Trillium
It got better-- we rounded a bend in the trail and found a clump of them, backlit by the slanting afternoon sun:
White Trilliums
It got sublime--around another bend there were some open patches where conditions were just right for a carpet of them, rolling down the hillside.  Trilliums are spring ephemerals, meaning they bloom and develop quickly, before the trees leaf out fully, then retreat for the remainder of the year.  Catching them at the height of their glory was a significant event for me, a bit like the time I got to wallow about in pawpaws.  Being outside and hiking around is its own reward, but a moment like this is truly the icing on the cake.
Trilliums, Ohiopyle State Park
There were small, native yellow violets:
Yellow violet
And another tiny native wildflower that was new-to-me, Stellaria pubera, or star chickweed.  It’s much more refined than the common chickweed I pull, and pull, and pull from my flowerbeds.
Star chickweed
We were a month or so too early for the flowers in the groves of rhododendron:
Rhododendron leaves
But had perfect timing for the “flowering” of the mosses:
Moss with fruiting bodies
A close up reveals the beauty and delicacy of the fruiting bodies on the moss:
Moss with fruiting bodies, closeup
Fiddlehead ferns were also emerging.  Someday I hope to be in the right situation to be able to harvest and taste them; for now, their beauty is enough:
Fiddlehead ferns
The hiking path roughly parallels the Youghiogheny River:
Youghiogheny River
Which tends to run shallow and wide, with lots of flat rock formations.  Note to self--return in summer and go swimming.
Youghiogheny River rocks
 And a reminder to my readers, that all pictures are clickable to enlarge.
Youghiogheny River waterfall
The day held one more surprise--vast colonies of curious botanical structures on the rock faces in a shady glen:
Lichen fruiting bodies
My best guess is that they are the fruiting bodies of some form of lichen, but intensive googling hasn’t turned up a match.  Does anyone know the name of these?
Lichen fruiting bodies on rockface
I would love to know more about the life cycle of this lichen…..Whatever it is, it was a spectacular and otherworldly finish to an awesome ephemeral experience.
Lichen fruiting bodies, Ohiopyle State Park

April 12, 2012

“Juried Status” with the PA Guild of Craftsmen

Watt & Shand #4
 I am very pleased to share that I have been awarded “Juried Status” with the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen.
Groundhog and Green Bean
 From the website:  "Juried Status is recognition for a body of work that is exceptional and meets or exceeds these three benchmarks:
  • excellence in craftsmanship
  • resolved design
  • unique voice or style"
Deer and Mayapple
“Excellence in craftsmanship is reserved for work that shows the highest standards of quality. The work demonstrates a mastery of the medium, far beyond basic and intermediate proficiency skills. Attention to details and a thorough knowledge of the medium is demonstrated.”
Big Root Geranium
“In work awarded juried status, the design is resolved and individual to the craftsman. Good composition is expected. The use of tension and space enhance overall design. Choice of materials and methods show innovation and mastery with all elements working together.”
Watt & Shand #9
 “Style represents the true creative nature of the Designer Craftsman. A unique voice is an innate part of all juried craftsmen’s expression. The conceptual richness evidenced in the work shows the nature, complexity and execution that marks each individual’s work as distinctive and unique. It sets it apart from the work of others, not only qualitatively, but in achieving an individual identity, readily recognizable as belonging to that maker.”

It's meeting this guideline that I am proudest of, I think.  I have been sewing and stitching and creating literally almost my entire life, so a lot of the technical skills are second nature to me at this point.  But I have worked hard at developing my personal, recognizable style, and am honored at having my "voice" recognized.
I consider this an excellent set of criteria, and am very happy that my work met the guidelines.  Jurying is a two part process, where images, bio and resume are submitted digitally, and then the craftsperson brings in the work for a hands-on examination and review by a panel of experts.  The works shown above are the ones I submitted.  I am a good fit with this organization and plan on becoming more involved.