Thursday, October 25, 2012

falling into place

Fall is finally here. The leaves are twirling in the air and coating the ground. The mornings are crisp and sweaters are brought out from storage. Personally it feels like pieces of my life are falling into place. I recently started a new job, or more accurately I restarted an old one. I am thrilled to be back with my friend Laura at Roseberries, and delighted to discover that my old skills are still intact. A bit of light dusting should be all that is needed.

While I am now devoting part of my week to graphic design work, the rest of my time is spent making art. Art that no longer is constricted by financial worries or seasonal production schedules. Art that will grow from within, following its own time table. Things are still hectic as I prepare for the upcoming Artisans Studio Tour, and for holiday sales, but by restructuring my time and my goals, I feel less pressured – contradictory as it may sound.

This week I played some more with walnuts, made magic iron potions, and stitched book covers. I am slowly, but surely cleaning out our house, organizing, sorting, and giving things away. The garden is still a mess, but even that feels less stressful at the moment. Life is good.

A few things on the horizon. The show "nature prints on cloth and paper" is still up at Over the moon bookstore, in Crozet. It will be there until December 6. Next week signals the start of the World of Threads Festival in Toronto/Oakville in Ontario. Two of my pieces are included in the De rerum natura exhibit at the Joshua Creek Heritage Art Center in Oakville. I wish I could travel to see this wonderful textile extravaganza in person! The Artisans Studio Tour, takes place November 10 - 11, in and around Charlottesville, Virginia. I will once again be a guest in Mary Beth Bellah's studio (no. 8), along with master woodworker Brian Rayner. It would be lovely to have you visit one or several of these events!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

walnut magic

The dye pot was waiting for us when we arrived to class. Three days old, filled with simmering walnuts and remnants from dye attempts past. Thick and almost sirupy, ready for the magic to begin.

The walnut pot was of course only one part of the enchantment taking place during the two day long botanical alchemy workshop in Cleveland with dye master and artist extraordinaire India Flint. The class was expertly arranged and organized by Christine Mauersberger, who besides making sure we were well fed and equipped also shared her own useful insights and beautiful stitching. All of my fellow class mates where so talented and energetic. They generously exchanged knowledge, fabric swatches, and plant materials.

My work space.

Walnut marks.

And then there was Ms. India, who made the two days whisk by with lightning speed, while still making sure all of us accomplished many, many things. We learned to wrap cloth directly around the fresh walnuts for amazing colorful patterns. We learned to play with  metal scraps, iron potions, milk paint, and tangerine juice. Her wonderful teachings were carried out with grace, patience, and a great sense of humor.

Magical hands.

The last day we were assigned to make a special piece. Starting out with white on white, layers of cloth stitched together, embellished with thread, fabric scraps, and stitches, lots of stitches, before ending up in the dye bath. The purpose was to create a personal companion piece, that would continue to be enhanced by dye and stitch over time. I am thrilled with the outcome and I will carry my piece along as a reminder of friendship, camaraderie, and the pure joy of making art.

My special piece.

While in Cleveland I also discovered the beautifully curated art museum, the botanical garden, and a great little exhibit of India Flint and Susan Gaylord's work tucked into the midst of the residential neighborhood of Cleveland Heights. And I got to reunite with a wonderful friend from the past. Happy times to be had by all.

Eco printed repurposed book pages by India Flint. © India Flint

Eco printed vintage kimono by India Flint. © India Flint

Spirit book by Susan Gaylord. © Susan Gaylord

Friday, October 5, 2012

new exhibit and other adventures

Nature prints on cloth and paper is the theme for my exhibition at Over the Moon Bookstore, in Crozet, Virginia. The show opens next weekend, and includes new leaf print collages and samples from my field study series among other things. The work will be on display from October 12 to December 5, and the opening reception is on Saturday, October 13, from 6 - 8. I hope you will join us, for an evening filled with art, treats, and book browsing!

Before then I am off on another adventure. I will be in Cleveland Ohio early next week, for a two day dye workshop with India Flint. I am giddy with excitement to meet up with old friends and to make new ones, which is inevitable at these fun events.
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