Sunday, April 29, 2007

fun day!

This is the before picture. I was so busy I hardly took any pictures, but the food was pretty much gone by the end of the day and this has a lot of new names in it.
We must have had about 200 people at our open studios today - it was nonstop between 1 and 4: artists, curators, relatives (not mine), and friends of the artists. Our neighbors in the complex also stopped in to see what we were about, so it was good to meet them. A rap artist from downstairs gave me his new CD, the custom furniture makers from a few doors down stopped in and chatted, and a whole load of people from the Bhuddist Temple across the parking lot stopped in and stayed a while. None of them is in this picture. I sold one piece,and a number of matted and framed postcards. People really liked the concept of Art for Small Spaces! I also sold quite a few scarves, which I brought back in at the last minute. One customer is a jazz singer who plans to wear it on stage!

People loved our space, enjoyed the art, and now they know we are there in case anybody wants to schedule a private visit to any of us. We had thought about doing this twice a year, but since there are only seven of us, it seems like overkill. Especially since that puts the pressure on to have 20 new pieces each in the next 6 months. No thanks.

Tonight I will go to bed early, and tomorrow, back to my real work!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

getting closer

To tomorrow's Franklin Street Studios Tour. I stayed up really late last night to finish a few more small works (aka postcards) for tomorrow's studio tour. I could have done a few more if I hadn't been so blotto by 1:am.
I have to tell you that this Janome 6500 is a dream: it's the first time in my life I've done a zig zag edging without angst. Not that I needed the edging, since I have double-matted and framed all of these small pieces in 8x10 size. They look beautiful this way (or might, if I could take a picture that wasn't crooked). I think I shall call them "Art for Small Spaces."
Need I say I have my favorites? Marty told me today I have to decide whether I am going to make work for my own walls or be an artist who makes work to sell. I think I can do both - but unfortunately, not with the same piece.

Ran around buying wine and food for tomorrow,tidied up the studio some more, and even brought my mother over for a tour. Tonight, I have more to do but I really want to go to sleep right this minute. That, or caffeine. We'll see what wins.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

getting ready

I decided yesterday that I had better start cleaning up and hanging work for Sunday's Open Studio tour. I had brought in my monotypes and collages weeks ago and now I have brought in some fiber pieces, as well. Spent yesterday hanging the work. I pinned some finished pieces to my design wall and left the piece I'm still working on, just as it is. The place looks pretty nice, if I do say so.

Then, today, I brought in some fabric postcards and scarves. The last time I had some postcards at a craft gallery, I overheard people saying "$30 for a POSTCARD?!!" So I double-matted and framed them in 8 x 10 clip frames; now they look like ART and maybe some civilians will buy them. Right now, they are lying on the table that will hold the wine, cheese,crackers,& fruit on Sunday.The scarves did not make me happy, so I brought them home and will decide whether or not to bring them back with me over the weekend. I don't want to clutter up the place too much.

I spent a good part of the afternoon making a price list - the worst part of the whole deal. Some of my studio mates, most of whom have done this before, insist that people come to studio tours looking for bargains and you have to have $15 things and "studio tour" pricing; i.e. - 20% lower than the would otherwise be. I don't make $15 items and am reluctant to lower prices across the board. My friend Lisa Westheimer, who had an open studio last fall, told me that she had a bunch of $5-15 items she wanted to get rid of. Nobody bought them - they bought the $300 pieces. Is there a lesson here? I continue to struggle.

Got back a little while ago from my artists' crit group - 3 painters,a collage artist, Lisa, a photographer, & moi. A young woman, who is a college student majoring in art, brought two paintings in for crit. She told us she has a university professor who looked at a painting of hers and said "I hate it." Can you IMAGINE? The arrogance! Not only useless, but destructive. We were much more helpful to her tonight.

Tomorrow, back to the pricing thing and I really do have to print some fabric...

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

another city day

I started to take a picture of a gritty factory from the PATH platform this morning on the way into NY to meet Jette and Joanie. Before I could, a security person told me I was forbidden to take pictures from the train platform because I might be a terrorist. He said it would be ok to take pix from the train, but I am sure he knew that the grime on the train windows would make it impossible. No problem, I made up for it later. Here are my friends in front of B&N at Union Square. I am not sure what this guy was about, but I don't think he was recruiting for the Gotham Writers' Workshop. We had lunch at Blue Water Grill, where I did NOT take a picture of the food - and then we walked to SOHO to find the Drawing Center. On the way, we stopped in a clothing store where we managed to resist the $450 skirt on this model. Actually, the exhibit at the Drawing Center was amazing. Minimalist work by the late artist GeGo - wire, pen and ink, monoprints - so simple and so interesting at the same time. Jette bought the catalog and I ordered it from Amazon when I got home.I wasn't going to, but later, at the World Trade Center, I saw this wonderful art and it reminded me that I needed the exhibit catalog.But I am jumping ahead. New York is full of visual stimuli. Here are a few as we walked down from 14th St. through SOHO. Jette needed embroidery floss, so we stopped at Pearl Paint's annex and she bought a bunch to take back to Antwerp.Here we are among the crayons. Joanie went on her way and Jette and I continued our walk down to the WTC where I caught the PATH back to NJ and she took the subway back to Brooklyn. We wandered in St. Paul's peaceful graveyard and I remembered that it looked as though it were covered in snow on that day in September.They are filling in the hole now and you can watch from the terminal. It should, by rights, be a park. It will be another multi-gazillion story office tower.

Monday, April 23, 2007

temporary Spring

That's what they say -- and I believe it. 75 degrees and divine today - but by Thursday, they predict rain and 50's. How sad. On the other hand, it was HOT today in that beautiful, sunny studio of mine -- and on the 2nd floor of a two-story factory building from 1880, I can imagine that we might just need either a gigundus window fan or an air conditioner. Not to mention a fridge! I overdyed the yellow fabric from yesterday with -- aha - YELLOW! Can't wait to see what it looks like by the time I get there on Wed. Tomorrow, Joanie San Chirico and I are meeting our friend Jette Clover in NY to spend the afternoon doing who-knows-what? We haven't planned anything, which means we won't be disappointed. Jette lives in Antwerp and we haven't seen each other since last year when we taught at the Kansas Art Quilters. What fun! WHAT? Might you ask, is this? Con Edison's motto is "dig we must" - but here's a manhole cover that is still intact. Can't say how old it is, but I couldn't resist the photo - and maybe tomorrow I'll get to take some more pictures of such wonderful things. Wouldn't this make a fabulous rubbing? In New Jersey,when they create havoc on the roads, the signs always say "The inconvenience is temporary, the improvement is permanent." Hasn't anyone told them they have it backwards? More NYC pix tomorrow - in lieu of my own artwork, which is non-existent at the moment.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Sunday in the park

This has nothing to do with art but everything to do with a day in The City. I never get tired of this view on the approach to the Lincoln Tunnel; today it was a little hazy. Traffic was light and we had parking Karma, so we wandered a bit on Columbus Avenue before we met our friends for brunch. I pretended I was a tourist. I love this building: I don't know what it is, but it must have been designed by the same architect who did the Ansonia. Très belle époque. But my favorite on the way to brunch was this elegant woman, just ahead of us. It made me think of this photo I took in Paris a couple of years ago. After brunch, we walked over to Central Park. Behind us, the Dakota. Ahead of us: The park was full of sunbathers, musicians, and the usual assorted wackos. On our way out of the park, this was our last sight. Only in New York!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

the kitchen sink

Tonight, for the first time in ages, I mixed up some dyes and went to work. Determined to create some brights, I gritted my teeth and did the best I could. Here they are wet, before I washed them. They look as though they wandered over onto the wrong blog.

I've run cold water over them to set the dye molecules (what do I know about molecules?) and now they are headed for the hot water and Synthrpol. As I am writing this, they are in the dryer. Monday morning, we are all heading to the studio and the print table - after an absence of two weeks. I can't wait to cover up all that brighness!

I finally did a little unpacking of the supply boxes. I have to give FedEx a pat on the back here: I sent my teaching supplies home 3 day express saver and they got here in 2 days. Anyway, it was interesting to look at the demo pieces I did in the workshop and contemplate what else I can do with them. Here is one. There was something else that flitted through my head but it's gone -- so I will call it a night and maybe I'll remember. Oh, yes!

Joanie San Chirico has already posted that I will be teaching at QSDS in June '08, so I figure I'd give you all a heads-up and mention it here. More fun!

Tomorrow, Marty and I are heading to the Upper West Side to have brunch with our friends. If it's a beautiful day, as today was, I'll try to get some pix of Sunday in NY.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

the day got brighter

No, the sun did not come out. But I went for a walk. Amazingly, with all the food and all the drink and all the desserts, I did not gain one ounce while I was at the Claremont Hotel and Spa. Maybe it was because, with rare exceptions, I took the stairs. Or maybe not. In any case, I have a lot of excess energy (and excess other stuff) that I need to walk off.

I forget what it was a while ago that prompted my post on life's little gifts - but today I got another one. While I was walking, I came upon this beautiful object lying between the sidewalk and curb on some newly dug dirt. When I picked it up, I realized it was one of those little fences they put around newly planted trees. But honestly, I don't recall a tree. I continued my walk and down the street, on the other side, was a crew of hardhat GUYS with shovels and a truck that said something like "NJ Tree Commission." One of them saw me and started to walk across the street with his hand extended, apparently to take the treasure from me. They thought I was coming over to give it to them because I was annoyed that they had left it there...said there was a cleanup crew coming by later.

I asked "do you want this?" "Do YOU?," said he. And because he had the good grace not to ask what I wanted it for, I told him that I am an artist. Guy #2, hearing that,walked over to ask me whether I was a sculptor and whether I had a gallery. I told him I had just been in California teaching what I would do with this wonderful gift, and he wanted to know where I had been. Turned out he used to live in Berkeley, on Oregon St. right near Telegraph. The world gets smaller every day. At any rate, they offered me more fence but I thought it might be overkill, so I declined.

Sorry I am not a sculptor. I wish I were. I can't seem to think three-dimensionally --at least when it comes to making art. So I will have to think about what else to do with it. What would YOU do with this beautiful object? Feel free to comment anonymously.

Spring in New Jersey

I like to gauge the seasons - and I suppose, my mood, by my beloved woods. Here they are this morning - halfway through April and most of the way through the alleged beginning of this season. The brown leaves on the tree never change. They are there even in summer - I suppose to remind us that winter is always two steps behind us. I am waiting for the sun to show its face. In the meantime,I did find something green. Off now to go finish the laundry, have another cup of coffee, and get back on track. Will check back later.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

home again

Blogger is not letting me upload pictures tonight, so words alone will have to do. The week was very special on all levels - my students, seeing all the art unfold, meeting those of you in person I've been talking to here and in e-mail and feeling as though you are old friends; meeting new friends, etc. etc. and ETC. I just walked in - it is almost midnight eastern time, and the refrigerator is empty. I am eating matzoh and peanut butter:so much for gourmet meals. It is drizzling here and in the 40's and some local roads are still closed due to flooding. I think I will stay home tomorrow. hugs to all.

days and evenings in Berkeley (long)

When you spend your days with a group of talented artists who are also fun people, time flies. Here are the lovely Gerrie Congdon, Dee Danley-Brown, and Kristina Adams paying close attention to something. Or someone. Andrea Van Voorhis, Patricia Smith, and Denissa Schulman look equally rapt - so we must have been having our critique session today. I was delighted that Patricia had signed up for the workshop - she was a friend from New Jersey who moved to Berkeley, so it was a great opportunity to see each other again. We did two days of printing, and then spent the third day doing creative exercises and working with the fabric they had printed. Dee had gelatin-printed a beautiful piece in grays with some copper paint added (yesterday's first post). She cut into it (ouch!)

and by today she had a clear idea of what else she was going to do with this piece. Gerrie's happy with a board full of small studies and things to finish at home.
I was especially pleased to see the results ofthe people who had never done surface design or made an art quilt before! Look at this piece that Denissa Schulman put together.

Not only were my days busy, but evenings were full, too. We went back to the classroom every night after dinner and a speaker.

Sunday night, my class played without me because I had an important dinner engagement with the handsome and talented author and erstwhile blogger on this site -Ted Orland, of Art & Fear and The View from the Studio Door. To protect his privacy and keep him from being beseiged by fans and groupies(other than me, of course) I did not reveal his identity to my class until the next day. Unfortunately, I was too flustered in the face of his fame to ask him to autograph my dinner napkin. But he was full of good advice on a number of topics, so it was a rewarding evening.

I have to get up early tomorrow to catch a flight, but I expect to be sitting around the airport because of weather in Newark so I will have time to post some more work from the classroom. Tune in tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007