Collage

Solar Eclipse

The solar eclipse is only 43 days away! Have you made plans? I'm elated that we are so close to the path of the eclipse since we will not be able to make it out to Wyoming this summer. My piece, "Bargaining" was accepted into the show, SOLAR, hosted by the Potter Art Gallery at Missouri Western to coincide with the eclipse. The show will open from August 7th to September 15th.

 "Bargaining", Collage, 5"x5"

"Bargaining", Collage, 5"x5"

Friday we drove the piece up to the art gallery and had a fun little museum/art vacation along the way stopping at the Walter Cronkite Memorial, and then down to Weston, MO to see the Nation Silk Museum. This collection was unbelievable. It was silk tapestries from around the 1700s to the early 1900s. The time and attention to detail to create these pieces was astronomical. Then you look at the weaving and it's clear like a photograph. The museum curator said they have the resolution of our HD tv. If you have the ability to stop and check out the collection it's well worth the drive.

silk museum ruins
silk tapestry spinning

We also got to see the reverse sides on some of the tapestry. This little shepherd girl is extra creepy in reverse.

Excellence

I got some great news this weekend. I won an artistic excellence award at the Mid Missouri Artists Spring Show. Woot! Though I have to admit the idea of excellence in art is ridiculous. How can you measure an excellent artist? Why would you? Art is just a product of a long journey learning and relating to the world.  Slowly but surely I've come into my voice as an artist and accept my limitations. I'm no where close to excellence.

What I really liked about this show is that it allowed me to meet some artists in the area and the judge actually gave an in depth critique of our work. That so rarely happens in the art world. We are all sensitive about what we create it can be frightening. Usually a judge just presents their choices or works are rejected or accepted before they are even seen in person. I'm really interested in critiques because I need to improve my work so desperately.

Our judge was Sarah Nguyen, a professional artist and professor at the University of Central Missouri. From her I learned the importance of presentation. "To frame or not to frame" has haunted me since college. As my husband points out the presentation of the work really matters in the context of the show. Now I'm steadily working towards shadow boxes. Some other interesting ideas I need to ponder are those of scale and story telling. I've never given too much thought to story telling in my art but it's vital to keeping a viewer engaged and crafting an artist statement.

Much rumination.

Fun things that have been happening in fiber art the last couple of weeks.

I've been embroidering into this molded paper packing material that was lying around the studio. I'm trying to replicate mold and fungus. Wouldn't it just been the coolest to create my own larger scaled molded paper? Ian thinks I should paint it. Something is holding me back.

I am inspired by this bright yellow fungus that was growing on the wood chips across the street. The most amazing variety of fungus grows out there. I should really document them through the seasons and figure out what they are. It's just so fun to see what's growing next.

More progress has been on our mural:

Next week is going to be the big push to get it almost completely done. All that would be left would be the fiddly bits I would need to paint. It's gonna be so cool!

More cool stuff to come:

I'm giving a presentation on Koginzashi, a traditional Japanese counted embroidery, to the Greater Kansas City Fiber Guild on May 11th at 7pm. Check out their website for more details.

My next ikebana class at Powell Gardens will be on Saturday, June 4th from 10-12pm. Check out their website to register!

Farm Report: Things are growing! Trellising of the peas has been successful. Now I have to figure out something for the cucumbers.  I just acquired some Mexican tarragon. Now to figure out how to use it.

Reading: Grow Cook Eat A Food Lover's Guide to Vegetable Gardening by Willi Galloway

Listening to: TED Talk Art "Insightful Human Portraits made by Data" by R. Luke DuBois.

Cooking: I was grocery shopping with Bea and saw that the whole coconuts were pretty cheap. So I got one and got Bea all excited about cracking it open when Ian got home from work. It's just so fun and important to explore and learn about different foods. We had a grand old time learning how to drain out the juice and crack a coconut. Too bad it wasn't any good to eat. Maybe it was moldy? Old? Just didn't taste right. Another day.

Lull

The sky goes flat, no wind, and you can just taste the rain in the air. That's how it feels around here today. The storm that hit my parents in Wyoming seems to have fizzled out to some light showers and dead skies. It's that humid lull of spring after a storm when all the birds are chirping and plants are lush with promise. You can practically feel the growth energy in the air.

Look at me talking about the weather, there must not be much interesting in the way of art going on. We are in the waiting phase around here before our projects can progress. The MUNS mural is penciled up on the wall and we've been receiving a lot of positive feed back. I'm hoping that now that people can see it that we'll be getting people to come out and help us paint, especially the families. Now we wait for funding. But I'm not worried, we've already devised different ways that we can break up the whole process as the money comes in.

Last week was spring break for Bea's preschool so not much artwork got done. It's quite challenging to keep a preschooler occupied all day. Luckily, Bea initiates her own "projects" and sculptures so I can set her up with supplies and then go clean. So much cleaning!

I had a friend come over with her boys last week and we got a little adult creative time in the studio while the kids played in Bea's room. We had lots of fun gossiping over tea and creating collages. There would be these moments after a loud bump that we would hold our breathes, stare at the ceiling, and wait for the screams. It must been a mom thing because we do it so perfectly in sync. I imagine antelopes with raised heads on the savanna. Now I want more adult creative time.

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The Farm Report: Bea finally came to me and wanted to plant some seeds. I think she liked the way that I'm always turning our milk and juice containers into planters. We spent the afternoon planting Bea's favorites, carrots and cucumbers. I tried to turn it into a mini lesson by practicing our letters by making signs and counting out the seeds. No wasted opportunities for learning. P is for the pickle plant.

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My peas are really taking off. We've got basil, thyme, rosemary, cilantro, carrots, and cucumbers planted. But will it all live? Seeds are still being hardened off. Ian is building me a garden box as we speak so I'm hoping to actually get my bok choy planted.

Reading: Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. I can't put this book down and every time I reread it there's more. I should probably read the rest in the series but I'm so scared that it will ruin the characters for me.

Watching: Archer! Season 6. It just keeps being horrible. Why did Lana name her baby that? We live in a hole guys, and are really behind in our media.

Cooking: Asparagus and artichokes my favorite spring time treats.

Secrets and Paperwork

I've got very little that I can actually show you this week. I'm working on two secret projects! This first one is my husband's valentine collage. Here's a little preview of the components. Maybe. The other is the Spouses Dining In. It's a fun little twist on military tradition just for spouses where we are competing in costumes, skit, table decoration and limericks. My husband's theater set skills have been employed to great effect. Family collaborative art is so fun.

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Beyond that I've been applying for a couple of grants. Money is pretty important for artists to get a body of work together. You either have time or money and I don't really have either so maybe money is easier to get until Bea is in school full time. I'm also working on my application for Brush Creek artist residency program (time!). All of this due between now and the mid of March. Wish me luck.

Reading: I am Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout. This was so good. And such a fast read, mostly because I was so sick. I'm going to have to read some of her other books.

Binge Watching: Sense 8. I really can't stop myself. Hernando! Wolfgang! but sometimes there's just too much of the hitting over the head with the stereotyping and character development.

Cooking: Bacon, Onion, Artichoke Quiche. I make quiche a lot and I make pretty awesome quiche so this is not much of a surprise but frying the onions in the bacon fat made it even better. Not to mention we bought a meat bundle from a local butcher and the bacon we got is phenomenal.

 

Gallery Receptions

Last night was the reception for the Missouri Top 50 show at the Missouri state fair. I was pleasantly surprised. The top 50 show is in the upstairs gallery of the fine arts building. I didn't know what to expect as far as art at the show but there were some really strong pieces.

Bruno David from Bruno David Gallery in St. Louis selected and judged the pieces for the show. He gave a speech at the beginning that was really an admonishment of the artists that who won prizes but hadn't showed for the gallery opening. I think maybe two people that had won awards were in attendance. This doesn't really surprise me because the work comes from all over Missouri. I have not been at every opening of every show that has my work in it. But Bruno also talked about the lonely place that a studio is, how much time it takes to make work for a show and how opening receptions are a time to party. I fully agree, which is why I love going to opening receptions. And free wine.

I think there was a good showing of pieces. A lot of diversity of mediums. It was mostly two dimensional but I think that's fairly common. I was a little sad to see that there were no fiber pieces. Bruno did say that he would only select one of the pieces from a particular artist, even though we entered two. So there were 50 artists shown and not say fifty pieces by 25 artists.

I was talking with my friend about how you would go about selecting works for a show like the Top 50. You don't have a theme, or a unifying medium. It must be really tough not just to pick work that's really technically well executed or is from one of your favorite genres. Everyone would be sad if all the artworks ended up being landscape themed. Maybe part of it would be picking works that you don't particularly like. There were a couple of paintings that made me cringe. Every piece of work has it's value, right?

If you are a Missouri artist reading this, enter the Top 50 next year! The prize money is ridiculous, the reception is a lot of fun, and the bunny barn is a hop away.

Nostalgia

While I was in LA I stayed with my friends from college. Twins living in north Hollywood and working at Universal Studios. I love them to smithereens and was so excited to be able to visit them for the first time in five years! That's way too long and I feel like I'm getting old.

Walking into their apartment was like traveling in time back to college. Stacks of DVDs and books, artwork all over the walls, patterned fabrics pinned to the white walls of a one bedroom apartment. I love their taste for crazy patterns combinations and clutter. It makes me feel at home. Then I started looking at their art collection and it really took me back to college. They are probably the biggest collector of my artwork. I'm pretty sure they have half the works I made in college, from oil paintings to collages.

It's always interesting to see where you've come as an artist. The ideas that are still present in your work. While I don't do paintings really any more, I still love collage. My drawing style is still this swirling vortex of scribbles like I would make in Microsoft paint when I was in middle school.

I taught the twins to quilt while I was their roommate in college. You should have seen the fabric strewn across the apartment. They have still been quilting, more so than myself. We tend to do these crazy mish-mash of patterns and colors from fabrics we collect from clothing, thrift stores and yard sales. You can see all the crazy fabrics in my ugly quilts. It was a real joy to see scraps of fabric that are in my quilts in their quilts. It's like the perfect way be friends over long distances because you can look at the fabrics and remember who they came from.

Quilting Buddies Forever!

Reading: Pinkalicious by Victoria and Elizabeth Kann

Listening to: My daughter sing Wheels on the Bus

Eating: My mother in laws white cake, super tasty.

Feelin' the Love

Happy Valentine's Day! Know that you are loved, maybe not by a significant other, but loved just the same.

Ian got me orchids! We went to go pick them up plus whatever other flowers I would need to make an ikebana arrangement. Such a lovely man.

Horse tails, orchids, hypericum berry, razor fern.

It's my take on an upright moribana style. Ian ordered from Corner Floral because they were the only ones that carried an orchid that wasn't neon blue. They had a lot of lovely and interesting greenery back there and were gracious enough to let me come have a look at their cooler and back room. Florists are super busy on Valentine's Day and I'm so happy they took the time for me.

Ta dah! Ian's valentine.

Valentine 2015

Valentine 2015

It might be a bit too busy. I should have edited a little. But I didn't realize this until I had built the frog gut window. The other idea is that it might need another layer that is shorter than the gut window. Ian is happy with it so that is all that matters, right? I'm continuing with the vegetation dripping black blood theme. 

Home made puri and palak murgh (chicken and spinach) for lunch. Nothing like a home cooked meal on Valentine's day.