Nothin' But Rain

McKendree University moved their Get Out! Paint Out! plein air painting event back to the beginning of September this year. Which is wonderful because August was such a blur I would not have made it anyways.

But the rain.

It rained so much that Saturday, Lebanon became an island. They wouldn’t let anyone leave town. Luckily rain doesn’t mess up threads too much and I found a nice spot under my friend Amy’s porch. Her back yard is always full of magical plants and sculptures to embroider. This year I was particularly attracted to a grouping of terra cotta statues.

 Garden Nymphs in the Rain

Garden Nymphs in the Rain

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The light moves so fast! I wanted to work with the stitches as if they were large blobs of paint. I wasn’t so concerned with covering the fabric completely. It is nice seeing the purple peek through here and there.

I pulled out one of my new tricks for this piece. The rain drops in the back ground are iridescent thread. Depending on how it is lit, it shines. I was inspired by Van Gogh’s rain paintings. They are so masterful, it is breathe taking.

This Paint Out I decided to stay really small. Both pieces are only three inches by three inches. Sunday I went out for round two down on the main drag of Lebanon, IL. There wasn’t any rain but I still tucked myself under an awning just in case.

 I’d Rather Be Painting

I’d Rather Be Painting

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I chose a lighter linen with grey marbling to represent the cloudiness of the sky. Buildings are hard! It’s difficult to get the fine details and keep everything in perspective. I also think that the weave of my linen was a little too loose to allow me to be accurate.

As you can see, I was fighting cars and trucks all day to see the bottom half of the buildings. I made up my friend Amy sitting in the glow of the gallery doing office work when she would “Rather Be Painting”. No regrets embroidering here. Wouldn’t we all just rather be making art?

Look for me next @ Vulpus Bastille in Kansas City the First Friday in October. I’ll have some collages there with Justin Border and Jen Appel. We’ll be exploring Signal to Noise.

Farm Report

We’ve had a bumper crop of Thai chilies this year and I can’t wait to make Sriracha. I’m slowly drawing down the garden which means some epic fried green tomatoes and egg plant parmesan. It is apple season! I’m canning apple sauce and apple butter pretty much every day. Apple crisp has become my new breakfast of choice. Gotta use up those apples somehow.

Convergence

It took me longer to get this post written then I planned, August has been a very packed month for me. Thank you so much to everybody that came out to see me at the fair and support the huge undertaking that is a fabric installation. It was a great success and I really enjoyed my many hours of talking to people about it. Hopefully more people will take up art making and enter their works at the fair!

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I'd love to give a shout out to Stephannie Maskowski who helped me sew this massive project. Without her tireless dedication I'm not sure I would have been motivated to put in a few hours everyday kneeling before my cutting mat in the hallway pinning fabric. Luckily, I bumped into my art buddy Steven Gorman at the reception and talked him into helping me install those first two days. Without his excellent sense of space and spitballin' style who knows what this installation would have looked like. And lets not forget the gallery watchers that were always ready to hold the fabric or hand me my needle when it fell off the ladder. And a special thanks goes out to Alan Weaver who said yes to my crazy ideas. Thank you all so much. It takes a village to make artistic ideas happen.

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And if you haven't heard my "spiel", which almost became a mantra after repeating it hundreds of times a day for my five day residency, keep reading. Convergence is made of 100% recycled materials. The fabric come from the linings of skirts, shirts and dresses and was donated by Lauri Davidson of the Kansas City Fiber Guild. Stephannie and I serged the fabric for this installation over four months using a crazy quilt type approach because every scrap mattered. It consists of four panels that at 3' x 46' long. And it took a total of three days and a whole roll of fishing line to install.

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If you know of an institution or individual that would like to host this installation in the future please give me an email at meghan@madmegh.com

Dimensional Cloth

I'm in a book! Dimension Cloth came out at the end of June and you can now order it on Amazon. How cool is that?

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The book is gorgeous and is a compendium of extremely talented artists taking fabric into the third dimension. I am really honored to be included among people I have been following on Pinterest and Instagram for years. There are also several artists' works I haven't seen before which, I might add, are stunning. All the creativity featured in this book has given me so many more ideas for my work. 

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It's definitely no coincidence that a piece of my work is featured in the table of contents under space. In one way or another, all of my works are about space from carving out space or enclosing it. Moral, the piece here in the table of contents, was the piece I showed at the Missouri State Fair last year. The curator of the Springfield Art Museum saw it, contacted me for a studio visit, and now I'm going to be showing in the 4 x 4 show at the museum later next month. It's beautiful the way things intersect.

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It is just so neat thinking of myself in a book that you could find in a library on a rainy day somewhere far away. This whole process was started a couple of years ago. Part of me wishes that my current work was in the book, but that's learning and growing as an artist. The work you are doing now is the most interesting or innovative.

Upcoming Dates:

I'll be an Artist in Resident at the Missouri State Fair August 9-13th. I'll be installing a huge fabric installation from the ceiling on the second floor of the fine arts building.

Weaving the River will be at InterUrban ArtHouse in Overland Park from August to September for their big artist symposium on diversity. The opening reception will be August 17th from 5-8pm.

Opening reception for 4x4 at the Springfield Art Museum on August 24th, 5:30-7pm.

Farm Report:

We are in full tilt here. Chinese long beans, cucumbers and tomatoes coming off the vine in bushels. Blackberry jam has been canned and we are just about to can peaches this weekend. I'm thinking of both peach chutney and peach butter to fill the pantry this year.

Juneteenth with Weaving the River

Join Weaving the River in commemorating Juneteenth this Friday from 6-8pm at the Community Health Council of Wyandotte County. We are so excited to celebrate the Quindaro community with an evening of storytelling and music featuring Reverend Stacy Evans and the Allen Chapel Choir. Learn about the rich history of Quindaro, Allen Chapel AME and Western University.

If you can't join us Friday be sure to check us out for the closing reception June 29th 6-8pm when the Elder Statesmen of KC Jazz's Small Big Band will be playing.

This has been a truly amazing project full of so many great connections and stories. It's been a real treat to work with Jen Appel, Justin Border and Jillian Youngbird on this project. And it is impossible to express how much I've grown as an artist and a person through working together. My hope is that our work brings about positive change for the Quindaro community through acknowledging it's significance in our nations past.

Here's a few photos of us installing at the Community Health Council. If you can't make our receptions please swing by any time they are open to hear the soundscape and make a wish for the future of Quindaro. We will be releasing them into the Missouri river after all our installations are complete.

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Weaving the River will also be at the InterUrban ArtHouse in Overland Park. Our opening reception is August 17th 6-8pm.

To find out more about our project check out Weaving the River

Fondle Friendly

Fondle Friendly is a grande experiment. An entire body of work that can be touched, picked up and moved around. Touching the art in a gallery setting is so taboo. "Do Not Touch" is preached to us from childhood. But touch is key to how we interact with the world and it can be an important way to experience art. As a fiber artist, the feel of fabric and string is my favorite way to experience my work. It's the interplay in textures that sets textile art apart. I'm extending that pleasure to my audience and encouraging  interaction through arrangement. The components are modeled after vintage medical illustrations because the familiarity of the human body inspires a caress.

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It all started with a flesh colored velvet shirt that I cut up to make nipples. Those nipples turned into a ball of faux fur and vinyl. Something repulsive and intriguing, familiar yet strange.

Fondle Friendly

@Kansas City Artists Coalition

Snap Space

May 11th-June 1st.

Find me at the reception Friday, May 11th at 6pm.

Weaving the River

I'm  excited to share with you the culmination of a project that has been in the works for the last year and a half. On a warm night in January, the members of the PolyArtery Collective gathered at a KC coffee house to create an immersive art experience to reflect the magnificent history and the devastating circumstances of the Quindaro community. Our group is formed by Jen Appell, mistress of song, Jillian Yougbird, photographer and story teller extraordinaire, and Justin Border, graphic design guru. Weaving the River will be at the Quindaro Symposium, April 20th and 21st, at Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kansas. Follow this link for registration and more information.

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It has been amazing working with these three because our gifts and skill sets blend so well. We have collected inspiration from the old Quindaro site, visited museums, conducted interviews, and worked on grant applications. This has been a challenging subject but it was always the joy of working together and passion for our project that has led us forward. I've grown so much as an artist and a person through working with these immensely talented artists. I hope that you will come, learn the history and work towards a brighter future for the Quindaro community.

You can find out more about our project and supporters at Weaving the River

 PolyArtery touring Quindaro ruins

PolyArtery touring Quindaro ruins

Spooky Action at a Distance

As a quick update I have been in Wyoming since the beginning of January for my show with Maria Rose Wimmer called "Spooky Action at a Distance". The installation at Casper College lasted two full days and spans two galleries and an atrium. I couldn't be more delighted with the work and how it looks in the spaces.

My knees were bruised from kneeling in a glass box installing my interpretation of particles in space. I climbed an eighteen foot ladder for five hours to hang all the strings for the graphing installation. Who knew art would be such great exercise? It's like the installation process adds a performative aspect to the work. There are hyper-lapse videos to edit.

Our reception is on February 23rd at 12pm with the artist lecture at 12:30pm. We'll explain all our inspirations and the fun we had researching quantum entanglement. Albert Einstein, who came up the theory, called it "Spooky Action", hence the title of the show. I am also teaching a soft sculpture workshop at Casper College on February 21st from 2-4pm. The workshop is designed for hand sewers. Fear not those without a sewing machine!

In the mean time, I am the first artist in residence at Art 321, the gallery run by the Casper Artist Guild. The space is gorgeous and there are always interesting classes going on. They are really kind letting me use a table and an outlet for my sewing machine. My parents got a puppy making fiber art and concentration impossible. Spot is an alligator in puppy clothes! You can find me there most days of the week working on some crazy new sculptures and installation pieces for my upcoming shows. More details to come.

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I am also teaching workshops or giving lectures about ikebana. I have a workshop at the Nicolaysen Art Museum today. I am teaching down in Cheyenne at the Cheyenne Botanical Garden on February 18th in their new building. I am thrilled to bring a love of plants and Japanese culture to Wyoming.

Eating: Kiwano Mellon, a spiky orange fruit from sub-Saharan Africa. It is so odd looking and tasty. Do you think I could grow it?

Drinking: Wyoming has stepped up it's beer game since I've left. There are three bars within a block of the studio. I'm trying all the kinds, especially if they are on tap! Beer can be a good afternoon snack right?

Reading: Refridgerator Monologues by Catherynne M. Valente - It's the stories of the women behind the superheros. It feels like Marvel fan fiction but smartly done. And there are pretty pictures.