Monday, October 30, 2006

Art Quilt Reviews

If you have been asleep and have missed this review by Joanie San Chirico, you need to hotfoot it over to -- the art quilt review blog we all need to read. The review is refreshingly honest and the comments that ensue make for a lively and stimulating dialogue we all need to have periodically. Go! On another note - today was play day at the museum. Judy, Joanie, Diane, Rachel, and I toted wax,dyes, screens, fabric, and priinting implements down to Newark and went to work. Of course, I left my compact flash card in the computer, so no pictures. Duh. Just as well. I was not happy with anything I printed today and fortunately, it all washed right out when I got home. I'm off to bed - but you need to go over to Art Quilt Reviews, look at the show on line, and jump into the conversation.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Gabrielle's short discourse on art as social commentary

Last night, when I finally caught up with Gabrielle Swain's blog, I was captivated by her as-usual-pithy/intelligent/thoughtful contemplations. I was also stunned, as I read her post on art as social commentary, to find this paragraph in which she referred to my work (Oct 12 post) Now let's look at Rayna Gillman's work with the antique photographs...some might be from her family; others she collects from various sources. Is this a political statement? Only Rayna can answer that but it certainly is a social commentary. Rayna is revealing something to us about herself....what she is drawn to, what memories effect her, how the imagery expresses something within her emotional, spiritual nature. Yes, I will answer -- but it will amount to thinking out loud here (which is why I started a blog in the first place, as I recall). Is my work social commentary? Hmmm... I suppose it is. As it happens, I have been infected with the "oh, jeez. my work is crap and it needs to change" syndrome that has been rampant among many wonderful arists I know - here in Blogland and elsewhere. I was going to rant about it anyway, so now you give me an opportunity, Gabrielle, to try and make intelligent sense of it. Thank you. It is obvious that my work is intensely personal. Social commentary - yes. The focus on memory and a sense of loss, both in society at large and as an individual.The disregard for the past, and certainly for human lives. Personal and collective memory pervade my work -- through my use of text and photographs. Yes, some of them are my family. Others are anonymous people who had real lives but have been long forgotten. Like the collage belo, which I have just mounted for an exhibit. Who is this woman? Where is she that she is dreaming of freedom? And what kind of freedom? What is her story? It is the ambiguity that fascinates me -- and the mystery behind her. And it is this same ambiguity that touches the people who buy my work. You supply the story and she becomes part of your life.


And this man: who is he? Is he the boss? What is his business and how does he treat his employees ( or is he, in fact, one of those employees?). Implied social commentary, I suppose. But more likely, human connection.


In fact, I need to get away from these people: they are taking over my life and my art. I am obsessed. And I am tired of working this way. I believe I need to work on design without content. Is this possible? Does content creep in even though we are not conscious of it? And is it necessarily a good thing??

I had a discussion recently with other artists about the connection between design and content: is it art if it is ONLY good design? Or does it need content? And if a good piece needs content, can it be in the artist's head without necessarily being obvious to the viewer? Or, can it do without content altogether? Who determines content? Maybe the viewer can supply his/her own content - and maybe it is not even necessary. In fact, content does not equal art. How do we strike this balance? Food for thought, thanks to Gabrielle's musings. So, I am on a mission to make pieces with design/no content. Wish me luck.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Thursday at home

I was actually in the studio tonight. This might be a reason for rejoicing, except that the muse has gone for a long walk on a short pier and is nowhere to be seen.I started with the piece to the left. I ironed some other fabric and threw it at the wall. I moved some around; printed some, and looked through my reducing glass. Nothing worked. So, I am going to bed early and perhaps tomorrow or over the weekend some lightbulb will go on. I honestly think I am out of the habit. I've always thought you had to be in the MOOD to work but there are other people who say you need to be in the studio, whether you are in the mood or not. Most of the day I was dealing with the kitchen. First, cleaning it so I wouldn't be mortified when the kitchen designer guy came over. Then, measuring and contemplating alternatives so I could ask him "WHAT iF?". Words to live by. We are going to redo the kitchen and when we met with the designer on Wed. night, he had planned a kitchen for someone who doesn't cook. The sink remained where it is but he moved the stove across the room. Since I work between the stove and the sink, it might as well be across the street. All i want is more counter space between them and a large sink so i can wash out my screens without hitting myself in the nose. Well, we will get there eventually. What happens in between doesn't bear thinking about. Maybe I'll make a piece about vegetables. When I was cleaning out the refrigerator today, I came across some snow peas. Before I threw them out, I put them on the copy machine. I don't think they will make a very interesting screen, but you never know. Creativity comes from the weirdest places.

waxed paper

While I was playing around with my own work in the evening at the Folk School, I printed these two pieces of paper with soy wax and dyes. I really like the effect and plan to do more with wax and paper as soon as I come up for air. In the meantime, I have been selecting pieces that need to go into my solo show at the end of November. Because the gallery has the Walker System, I need to reconfigure my sleeves and go buy new frames for some of my collages, which are in clip frames. Clip frames do not hang on the Walker system. Tomorrow's errand: go to Jerry's and see what they have. Gee, what a terrible thing to be forced to do.

Monday, October 23, 2006

check Judy's Blog for more

Judy Carpenter has posted her version of the workshop report - along with good pix of Helene Davis at work, and of Joan Hutter, who became the gelatin printing queen as she worked outside for two days. There is also a dorky picture of me, which you can ignore. Check it out and I'll be back later. I am cleaning my studio.

the class

Five days (and evenings) of studio time at Campbell in a large studio with lots of light, four sinks, and clotheslines inside and out. We stamped, screened, waxed, painted, dyed, and generally made a big mess. But what fun! I loved seeing what beautiful cloth came out of this workshop; some of it from people who didn't even know they were artists! It was a real treat to meet people I had already "known" from lists we're on together or from the blog. Here's Judy Carpenter showing off her work, with Mayme Mitcham in the background. Don't they look like they are having a terrible time? Mayme in one of her more serious moments...making contemplative work. And Belinda, giving one of her pieces another layer of paint. Rebecca Cox's piece generated an interesting critique and a discussion of what differentiates art cloth or a whole cloth piece from yardage. We never did finish the class discussion, but it gave us all food for thought.

I'm missing pictures of Barbara, Joan, Jan, and Helene - but will post them if I can get 'em from someone who took good ones. Now I need to go unpack.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

where have I been?

It may look like Shangri-La, but this is the morning view at the John C. Campbell Folk School in the Great Smokies, where I just spent a week. It is in a gorgeous setting. Hills turning all the colors of autumn, woods, and manicured lawns. If you leave the grounds and drive about 1/4 mile down the road, you'll see this sign.

Slightly to the right is the town center.

The Folk School has no radio, no tv (which was fine with me, since I never watch it anyway), no Internet access except for one room in the main building which is not convenient unless you are living in that building. We were not. Hence, silence from this end of the world. But now I'm home and will try to make up for lost time.

Helene and I stayed in one of the charming residences called The Farmhouse. Let's call it rustic. Here is the livingroom, taken at the end of the day when I was finally off my feet. The sign on the right says 'watch your head" and there is another posted further up the stairs that says "duck." It is a command, not the name of an animal. Ouch! I didn't. Our housemates included Raymond Houston, who was teaching in the quilt studio last week and had a very enthusiastic class. ( You may recognize his name from his posts to the QuiltArt list.) We hung out with Raymond and he is great fun!

The accomodations were so good that the local ladybug population decided to room with Helene and me one night. Ray had them in his room across the landing, too. Here is Fearless Helene, picking ladybugs off the curtains.

I am such a wimp, but that's what comes of being a City Girl. Yes, yes, I know that ladybugs are 'good' but not when they outnumber the civilians! They were mostly gone the next day.

The locals laughed it off - it's ladybug season, so of course you are going to have them living in the house with you. No big deal. Yes, big deal.

Tomorrow, a bit about the class.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

art in the park

Today, Barbara and I went to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens to see the wonderful, whimsical Niki deSaint Phalle sculptures frolicking amongst the plants. My battery (as usual) was running low, so I was limited to only a few pictures -- but oh, what a delight! This was an artist who clearly understood women's bodies. Isn't this fun? Here's a close-up.The place was overrun with kids, who loved the sculpture, much of which could be sat inside of, climbed on, and crawled through. The Art Cloth Network had originally planned a trip here last weekend but it didn't work out with our schedule.

I loved this totem, too. While there were quite a few plants in bloom, the only shot I made was this, mostly because I liked the juxtaposition of colors.

On the way home I got a guided tour of Peachtree Road. I couldn't resist this shot because it reminded me of one I took in London a couple of years ago.


Tomorrow, I leave Atlanta for the wilds of North Carolina. I'm glad I have a wardrobe of sweatshirts. I am charging my camera batter as we speak...

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

seen on the street

A few pix from around Decatur...

Tomorrow, back to work!

more from Atlanta

Still in Atlanta and staying busy. The Art Cloth Network meeting over the weekend was inspiring, to say the least. It was wonderful to spend intensive time with a talented group of artists who print such gorgeous cloth. I don't post art without permission, but Katherine Sylvan said it was ok to post a snip of her incredible silk. Wouldn't you kill to create fabric like this? But it is uniquely Katherine's. On Saturday, after our meeting, we took a break and went over to the Carlos Museum at Emory University. Here are Judy Langille, Susie Monday, and a couple of other members of our group at the approach to the museum. We saw Roman frescoes, still vivid; African masks and a collection of Pre-Colombian pieces. Here are my favorites.

The meeting was in Decatur, which is a charming little town with plenty of funky shops and wonderful restaurants. On Sunday, there was a Day of the Dead festival on Church St. Susan Ettl, Sue Jones and I wandered, took photos, and spent much time in Mingei World Arts -- yet again. I think I was there every day! My tjap collection is out of control. In the meantime, as we wandered, I photographed a few things. Will upload them in next post.

Friday, October 06, 2006

hello from Atlanta

Arrived yesterday afternoon for the Art Cloth Network conference, which begins officially in about an hour, this morning. My first stop was at Mingei World Arts to pick up the tjap I had ordered from them on-line. Fabulous place and I'll be back there again before I leave Decatur. Yummy stuff. If you want copper tjaps, theirs are well-priced and you can get on their e-mail list. (no affiliation, blah blah blah). NOT that I need another tjap...but this is especially gorgeous.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

osteoplantosis or plantorexia?

Remember the avocado pit farm from a few weeks ago? I gave one to my granddaughter, who called me the other day, ecstatic that the thing had grown huge and had sprouted at least eight leaves since last month, when I filled a ricotta cheese container with dirt and gave ot to her. On the left is my poor, bent over twig. I took a picture of this sad specimen earlier tonight and decided it was too embarrassing to post. Imagine my surprise when I looked again a few minutes ago and saw that it had decided to stand up straight. Perhaps after a few weeks of reaching for the sun, it decided the ceiling lights were more its speed. Whatver. It looks better - but for how long? I am leaving on Thursday for 16 days and my husband does not like to water my plants.

On another subject, I have had numerous e-mails asking "where are you?". The truth is, I have been home, dancing as fast as I can. Unpacking, repacking, packing suitcases, packing cartons, putting life on hold to celebrate the Jewish holidays with family; talking to kitchen designers; dealing with assisted living issues, and taking care of business, bills, and broken garbage disposals.

Every morning, the blogarithm alerts arrive in my mailbox. And every morning, I don't have time to read anybody's blog, let alone post to my own. But my fabric is packed, my boxes are shipped, and tomorrow I will clean up the place so people don't think the Collyer Brothers live here. Thursday morning, Judy Langille and I leave for Atlanta. And I promise to blog from there. it will, I hope, be infinitely more interesting than my life during the past 2 weeks.

soup weather in June and a little more

DISCLAIMER: Blogger is giving me grief tonight, which you will see by the varying sizes of the type. Ye p, soup weather and it's ...