It was a beautiful day to do leaf printing outside at Sugarland Visitors center. I had my pile of precut fabric ready to go, so with the help of Brad Free, I got set up outside. We printed at a table and examples of my work were on display behind me. I had so many interested kids that half way through my allotted time, I ran out of fabric. Brad came to the rescue with a ream of copier paper, so we switched to paper for our printing.
It was so fun to see the kids’ eyes when they pulled off the leaf and saw the resulting images.
Nothing to report… just stitched on the “Plein Air” mill.
Then came... Day 20.
It all started when I woke up. I am a morning person, so much so that my eyes open and my feet hit the floor pretty much simultaneously. Friday night, I stayed up later than usual (reading, appropriately, Carolyn Jourdan’s book “Bear in the Backseat”), so I was a bit concerned about getting the early start I wanted in the studio Saturday, but not enough to set an alarm.
When I woke up I looked at my watch, and read 8:13. That was about an hour later than I had planned, so I jumped out of bed, washed up, got dressed, and sat down for a piece of toast and tea. Then I looked at the clock radio. It said 3:03. I figured the power had gone off, so I decided to reset it. When I looked at my watch, I realized it REALLY WAS 3:03AM. Evidently 8:13 and 2:40, look a lot alike when you can’t tell the big hand from the little one.
So I went back to bed with my clothes on to catch another couple hours!
Once awake for good, I spent the day having fun with leaves. I am doing a demo at Sugarland Visitors Center Sunday, and there are not any fun old buildings to model for me, so I thought I would try to come up with an interactive idea. I had brought a bunch of fabric paints, but hadn’t got around to using them yet. I gathered some leaves brushed on the paint, and printed it onto fabric. Fun times! I decided to whip up a piece using the idea, and also cut up about 50 small pieces of fabric for the public to try it. So I am set for Day 21 activities.
Then came Jill’s taxi service for the day.
On the way home I noticed two Appalachian Trail through-hikers thumbing a ride from town back to the trail. The mom in me couldn’t resist, and without a TV, internet or even good radio reception, I could use the entertainment! They said they had been waiting over 45 minutes for someone to stop. A fact I found astounding considering the weekend park traffic. They had been hiking north to south (not the usual direction they informed me) since June, and were looking to finish the end of this month. The usual chit chat ensued for the next 15 miles as we drove to the trailhead, during which one of the guys said he was from Massachusetts. I told him my daughter-in-law was also from there. Long story short, it turns out they are both from the same small town in Western Mass, and he had actually worked in her parent’s coffee shop several years ago! Small world.
After I dropped them off and turned around to head back the 15 miles to ‘home’ I noticed the tourists were now bumper to bumper and crawling along. Knowing well my shortcomings, I stopped at the first turn-off that offered facilities I could use, so I could then sit in traffic in comfort.
As I waited to rejoin the parade, I noticed two young women crawling around their car, and trying every door. So they looked up, spotted me, and came and tapped on my window.
They had lost their keys while hiking. Well this is a problem our family is intimately familiar with, so I said “get in”. There is no phone service up there, and the Visitor Centers were now closed, so, unless a Ranger happened along, we figured I would take them into Gatlinburg so they could get help or AAA. Once in the car, one of them told me that her mom had told her that if she was ever in trouble to look for a mom-like person to help them. I guess I fit the bill. About half way down the mountain and after searching several times, the keys showed up in the bottom of a backpack. So we turned around and I saw them safely back to their car.
It was now dusk and EVERYONE was leaving the park, so I decided to enjoy the evening at the top. I took some pictures of yet another sunset, a pic of the way the streams turn gold at dusk, and looked for a good place to shoot a picture of the moon. Found it. Click on them to see pictures larger.
Day 17 and 18
On Wednesday, Jon and I decided to explore an area of the park I had not yet seen; Oconaluftee. It is the spot I will be working on site for most of the day next Tuesday, so I wanted to go and check it out in advance.
It was a lovely drive with short walks to a couple of streams, great vistas and turning trees along the way. It is up and over the mountain, so also a lot of turning roads!
The site is a historic settlers’ homestead complete with working garden, and piggies. The buildings are fascinating; the ingenuity to construct and survive is reflected in the workmanship and the creativity. There are barns and outbuildings homes and (on the way there) a turbine grist mill that is still working. And I never tire of the split rail zig zag fences so prevalent here. I am looking forward to going back on next Tuesday for a little “Plein Air” quilting! Checck out these photos of the place, and don't miss the kissing pigs!
Thursday, Day 18, was a “work day” for me! I donned my official volunteer hat and park shirt, and gathered my materials and headed to Cade Cove. We left early in hopes of avoiding the crowds, but I am not sure that is ever possible! The word is out that the best viewing of wildlife (Other than the tourist on the streets of Gatlinburg) is early AM at Cades Cove, so there they were – both the visitors and the wildlife.
Driving in was a slow stroll in your car, with total stoppage when an animal was sighted. Even with all the warnings, people jumped out of their cars and ran to take pics of the mama bear and her cubs. It was a fantastic sight though. The dew was heavy and the fog was light, and the morning light glowed on the fields and through the trees. I am so glad people could enjoy this beauty.
Once we arrived at the visitor center, where another crowd was gathered to watch an elk graze behind the restrooms, I found the park personnel who would help me know the ropes for my gig. They were a welcoming and warm group, and had a sign already for me! I found a great bench to set up my materials, a fence on which to hang examples of my work, and a lovely view of the water powered grist mill. Like Oconaluftee, Cades Cove is also a setting showing how the early settlers of the area lived and worked. While I worked, Jon tried (very successfully) his hand at photography – both of me doing my thing and of the site.
According to park personnel it was a very busy day, and I had many people who came to chat with me, ask questions about my art and the park’s artist in residency program, and tell me about their art adventures. My favorite quote of the day, “next to the bear I saw this morning, you are my favorite part of the park!”
Click on the below pictures to see them larger.
The weather was perfect, the people all pleasant, and a great experience. The artwork I did was a bit more traditional and unlike my usual, but it was fun, and it did the job of linking art to the park setting and providing interest and information for the crowd. I did a “Plein Air” depiction of the mill using small bits and pieces of fabrics, temporarily held down with glue. Then I took it back to the studio to add the stitching, texture and more details. Here is the result. Left; before stitching - done on site. Middle; after stitching. Right; finished.
NOTE: to see all posts from my Smoky Mountain Adventure, click on the category “Locale:Smoky Mountain Residency” on the right
Days 15 and 16
When I left you last, it was with a beautiful sunset on Day 14, so it is only right I start here with a sunrise for Day 15. The sunrises I have seen in the Smokys have not been as colorful as they have been an act of slowly seeing the valleys remove their nighttime coverlets of fog and mist to welcome the sun’s warmth. I have listened to Grieg’s Peer Gynt “Morning” so many times these past weeks because it is the musical equivalent of the visual display seen here (and it is one of the few CDs I brought!). Here is a short slideshow of my morning….
The rest of Day 15 and most of Day 16 were spent in the studio, working, planning, and experimenting… and waiting for Jon to show up for a visit. He got here Tuesday night and we headed off to explore the park I got to see some new places, and showed him some of my favorite places. Of course, he had to check out the “runs” “riffs” “ripples” and “pools” of the streams in the area. We had a great picnic lunch in one of the park’s “Quiet Walkways” – little gems of short walks that are very secluded and quiet. Here are a few shots of our adventures.
NOTE: to see all posts from my Smoky Mountain Adventure, click on the category “Locale:Smoky Mountain Residency” on the right
Day 14, continued
After the Conference closed, I couldn't wait to get back to the nature of The Great Smoky Mountain Park. I decide that even though it was tourist-peak Sunday, I would go to one of the most popular places in the park; Clingman's Dome.
I had started the day down at the bottom in the fog, but by the sunset, it was crisp and clear up on top and, as it got cooler, the clouds formed an ocean of waves below us. So here are pictures of the ride up, the top, and the sunset on the way down.
And one panorama for you, too!
These were the days of the Surface Design Association Conference, "Made/Aware". It was three solid days and evenings of great speakers, fantastic inspiration and really good people. The days were interspersed with workshops - mostly hands-on - and presentations. The presentations ran the gamut from very short talks by artists about their recent activities, to hour+ long presentations and discussion with key note speakers or panels. The subject matter dealt with examples, ideas and supply chains through which we could be more socially conscience while both doing our work and living our lives.
Three speakers of note were, Laura Sansone, Carole Lung, and Roland Ricketts. Laura Sansone is an educator and fiber artist who is working to promote the reuse and repair of clothing through street clothing labs at the farmer's markets in NYC. and linking in fiber artist and suppliers within her local Hudson Valley area. At the farmer's markets she dyes used clothing at the market using dye made from the available produce. She teaches people how to do this as well as how to remake the clothing they though they would have to throw away, or clothing they have purchased second hand.
Rowland Ricketts (pictured above) has spent his entire life studying and making blue. He is an indigo farmer. dyer and artist. He trained for many years in Japan, where his training started with working the fields and the daily stirring of the compost. He is now a world-renown artist who is presently in a show at the Boston Museum of Fine arts.
He was both passionate about what he does with Natural dying, but also realistic in his views about if they could ever replace the now prominent synthetics.
Beyond the Workshops and lectures, was an impressive show of fiber work in the hallway galleries of Arrowmont. Below is a slide show of some of my favorites from the show. I was impressive in both the craft and the content. Many of the pieces reiterated the social conscience theme of the conference. I have tried to include not only some of my favorites, but artwork that shows the diverse use of fiberous materials. From Susan Cavanough's Sheets, shirts, drapes and other textiles in her work "Ori-Kume", to the cyanotype imape on the strings of a mop in Howard Ptaszek's "Self Portrait". The effect of the fishing line and maps used in Mary Babcock's piece was outstanding. While Joyce Leatherwood and Molly Koehn used more traditional materials, their work was non-traditional in its subject and presentation.
Below are a few more pics of the park for you to enjoy... take a walk with me!
It was the final class day and our class merged with another for an hour so both classes could hear about Catharine Ellis's innovative shibori weaving. Shibori is usually done by taking a length of fabric and sewing small tucks and folds into it before dyeing to get very intricate designs. Catharine is a weaver, and so she has developed a way to weave 'pulling threads' into her woven fabrics, so that by pulling them the shibori designs are created without the need for the hand sewing step.
Catharine also collaborates with a small mill to have her patterns produced into blanks for dyers to purchase and dye in their own color ways. The pulling threads are woven into the patterns by the mill.
The instructor for the second class is Yoshiko Wada. She is an amazing fount of information - and as her website says:
"Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada is an artist, author, exhibition curator, textile researcher, and film producer and has long been an exponent of traditional and sustainable practices in fashion and textile production."
My friend Lotta Helleberg was in Yoshiko's class and the intricate work they did was incredible.
Tomorrow starts the Surface Design Conference, so more excitement to come... but one special excitement for today: a trio of bears! Outside of my studio, a mother bear and her two cubs were exploring the hillside. Evidently they are "regulars" to the area, and just mosey along at their own pace.
I have decided that Catharine Ellis is both one of the most energetic and patient people I have ever met!
She was the instructor for the Natural Dyeing class that I took at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts. She is made from five parts Chemist, twenty parts Weaver, twenty parts Dyer, and the rest just a great human being! She lead us through the dyeing through pounding plants onto fabric, then through indigo dyeing, on then to immersion dyeing, application dye, and indigo printing.. WHEW. I felt like a semester course in three days!
My fingers are blue (forgot the gloves a couple of times!) and my mind is boggled, but my heart is totally excited to learn about these processes.
I can't say as dyeing will be my focus in the future, But the indigo and the ferris/tannin applications were intriguing in their (relative) simplicity and ease! I might have to try dyeing some photos one of these days!
So here is a quick walk through of our class:
More rain today and I needed a studio break, so I decided to head to one of the outlying areas of the park (Greenbriar), and check it out. I figure, when it is wet, go to the wet parts! It was a great decision, enough people to not feel totally out of touch, but far from the madding crowds. I drove to the end of the road, and planned on hiking a bit into the area, but after seeing the signage about bears, decided that might not be a good idea on my own. In bear country it is imperative that you are with someone you can outrun! So I just drove abut 5 MPH and got out a lot!
Sat and watched some kayakers for a while... again, when it is raining, get wet I guess! I had gotten there early, and it was just misting at that time, and it was raining harder and I was getting hungry, so headed fr the exit. I met the ranger who was putting out "Road Closed" signs and turning away more kayakers. I guess the forecast wasn't looking good, so they decided to shut down for the rest of the day. Glad I got in and out when I did.
On the way back into town I stopped at the grocery store (yes "the" not "an") to return my Red Box movie and ran into the Park volunteer coordinator, who was returning hers also... small town when you can run into the one person you know!
Here are the pics I took today... hope you enjoy them.
Day 4 and 5
The rain continues to pour, so no silly hiking distractions to take me away from the studio! Started the day with that angst that is brought on by the [always happens] "this is crap" phase that every piece must go through just before you turn the bend! Compound this with the rain, missing home a smidgen and my initial adrenaline having been used up, and it took a while to find the groove. But thanks to cranking up some Bette Midler, Willie Nelson and Edvard Grieg, soon I was on a roll.
I got stitching well under way on the Green Lichen one I started the other day, and got two others laid out and auditioning for whether they will get a part or not. I noticed a lot of well soaked small branches outside my studio door, so inspired by the basket makers I saw the other day, I did a little weaving with them and some paper yarns. I think this will now be joined by some photos and lots of stitching!
I also pounded some leaves to see about using those images. Didn't get them quite right, but all that pounding certainly was a mood enhanced!!
Here are some of the works in progress... I will keep you posted on their progress!
Today I got to move into a studio on the Arrowmont Campus. What a joy and privilege. Arrowmont School for Arts and Crafts was founded originally as a general school, and later, morphed into what it is today.
It hold advanced level workshops for all types of craft: wood turning, textiles, ceramics, etc. You feel the energy just walking the grounds. There are several Artist-in Residences here - all staying for about eleven months, then there is the rotating calendar of classes that draw artists and instructors from around the world. Last month was the first month they provided a studio for the GSMNP arts, so my timing was pretty perfect!
I got the place all settled yesterday, and a piece cut and ready to sew. Today the gods have provided a day of heavy rain, so I will not even be tempted to go sight seeing instead of working, so enough said... I am off to work while you take a look here at the grounds.
Day one of my stay as the Artist in Residence at Smoky Mountain National Park was just a clean-up and move-in day. I got settled in my new digs, managed to make myself a quick dinner, and spent the evening studying maps and reading the logs left by the previous Resident Artists. Time for bed, and I realize what a city slicker I have become. Instead of the parking lot lights, the neighbors muffled voices, and the passing trains, there is total silence and complete darkness. So of course I had to turn on the radio for a while before I could sleep! I am sure within days I will get very used to it, and I will stop listening for bears to scratch at my door! Here are my new digs for the next month:
Day two was fog and intermittent pouring rain – in other words perfect! The tourists were not around and the colors were perfect for photography. In the morning I took a right on the main drive and explored one end of the park until it was time to meet the coordinator for a tour of Gatlinburg and introductions to Arrowmont. Thanks to Sheridan, I now I know where to get groceries, where the library is, who has good food and service, and where all the artists and craftsman are located. Most of them have left downtown Gatlinburg to Ripleys’ Believe it or Not, and the Olde Tyme photo and T-shirt shops, and moved out a couple of miles… so now I know where to go explore their studios and shops.
Next we went to The Arrowmont Arts and Crafts School. I can only say this: I now have a whole new definition of heaven. Tomorrow I will go back to move into my studio, so I will tell (and show) you more then, but now, let’s get back to the rain and fog.
It took me a moment before I understood what I was seeing before shooting this photo (above). I had turned into a shortcut through a meadow, and suddenly was present with an image that looked for all that is true, like an ocean shore and an island in the distance. In reality, it was ground fog and an emerging mountain top, seen past the meadow, but what a sight.
Here is a slide show of some more!
I will be leaving Monday morning for the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. I will be in an apartment in the park for the month as the Artist-in-Residence. The checklist is almost complete, and the art supply and fabric pile is larger than either the clothes or food piles, so I think I have my priorities right.
Some "plein air" landscape quilting is in the plans - putting down the fabrics on site and stitching later.
I have packed all kids of "toys"; dyes, screen print, paints, fabric crayons, etc etc. Because my real hope is to play, play, play, and experiment! I will also be trying some natural dying with a workshop that will be in the area.
The fall color should be in its full glory while I am there, so inspiration should abound for both photos and fiber.
Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts is just a mile down the road from where I will be living. It happens that the Surface Design conference is there while I am in the park, so I will also be attending that as well as the Natural Dying Workshop with Catharine Ellis. More inspiration I am sure!
I am so lucky to have this experience, and I will be sharing it with you here!
I have always been a vivid dreamer. I often wish I had a cerebral recorder, because I just know some of them would be great on HBO, or at least on Lifetime! I have often wondered where they come from, and this morning, in the fog between wake and sleep, I think I developed a theory.
It all started with this website. I have been struggling with the SEO and keywords and all for weeks now. So it gave me an idea: What if dreams are made from our brain's keywords from the preceding day(s)?
I was reviewing my last night's dream, as I lay in bed this AM, and it occurred to me that that might be the case. My head had taken a key word from many of the earlier activities of the day, and woven them into a cohesive (well as cohesive as dreams ever are) story! People popped up, places became part of the story, and then objects appeared, most of which could be traced back to events of the day. So maybe the search engines in our head and in our PCs are not that different!
Of course, that doesn't help explain all things. Take flying for example. I fly a lot. Well not really fly, more or less glide about 15 feet in the air in a prone position. Much like superman, but with my arms usually tucked in or flailing around, not out stretched! It is the most glorious feeling. I run to take off. Each step bounces a little higher until I am air-borne. I gently course over the landscape or cityscape viewing the goings on around me from a safe, but not unseen, vantage point. Occasionally landing to check something out, and then bouncing back up again!
Sleeping and dreaming seem to be a talent of mine, I still can remember dreams from many years ago. I have had reunions, adventures, and excursions everywhere! How about you? Do you have any reoccurring ones? Or ones you wish reoccurred? Do you find solace, or discontent with your dreams? Or can you simply never recall them? Please share!
Recently a friend heard I was headed to Virginia Beach. She used to live in the area and implored me to go to the Chrysler Museum of Art while I was there. I was really looking forward to a beach vacation, and so wasn't sure abut this, but decided to stop in. Boy, was that the right decision! Not only is it a beautifully curated museum with many early works and women artists with whom I was not familiar, but it has one of the largest glass collections of any museum and a glass studio on the premises.
Truth be told, I have never been a huge fan of glass artwork. Maybe because I had not seen much of it, or maybe because I am mostly ignorant of the processes involved with it (other than, thanks to Audry Handler, I learned it it takes a lot of lung power and a really big furnace!) But now that I have seen a lot of examples, and was led through a chronological tour of glass through the centuries, I am very appreciative of the art form! Isn't that exactly what a museum should do; make you appreciate things a little bit more.
There were shapes of every kind; From the earliest small vessels, through lava-like mounds, to geometric shapes to the organic. The organic shapes were some of my favorites.
(Click on any of these to see a larger picture)
The process that really blew me away was the engraving. This process involves several layers of different colors, or shades, layered upon each other, and then the glass is carved/engraved back to reveal the color that the artist want to appear. The center picture shows one of the artist's sketches for the large vase.
(Click on any of these to see a larger picture)
One of my favorite parts of Virginia Beach is the Pier. Especially in the early morning, when the gulls are flying, the men are fishing, and the sun is low. An added benefit is when a boat oor two come by also! This particular morning it was gray and soft, so the pictures are also.
This gallery is best viewed by clicking on one picture and scrolling through them so you can see the full crop!
It was hot, but the storms moved through the area bringing dramatic skies and solitary beaches! Consequently some nice compositions! Here is a range of the activities and colors around the beach from sun up to sun set.
The pictures can be seen best when you click on them to see full size and crop!
Don't miss yesterday's pictures in "part 1" or tomorrow in "part 3"!!!
I am so thrilled to have four of my recent art quilts in the upcoming Houston International Quilt Festival October 29 - November 2, 2015.
While the subject matter of the quilts are quite different they all started with one or more of my original photographs custom printed on fabric. It is my goal to make sure at the end, it is not just an embellished photo, but instead the photo and the stitching are so completely integrated that neither would be complete without the other.
I was hoping to get to Houston, but will be just ending a month as an artist-in-residence in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, so will head home instead! But if you are there, I would love to hear what you thought of the show, so please let me know through my Facebook pages (jill2day, or jillkerttulaphoto), or here!
Below is a gallery of the quilts that will be there and the names of the shows they will be in. Please click on them to see them in full crop and detail.
Such a fun day! Today the farms that participate in the Charlottesville City Market opened their farms to the public for tours. We went to two of the farms; Double H and Caromont Farms.
At Double H we saw the pigs, turkeys and chickens they raise. We met the dogs that guard the animals, and saw the gardens of veggies that are planted, rotated and after the harvests are done, grazed and snuffled by the poultry and the pigs. The owners, Armenian immigrants Ara and Gayane Avagyan, gave us a very informative tour through the pens and gardens. They are all organic and self sufficient; doing all of the work themselves for the lat 11 years. It was evident that it is hard labor and a labor of love. They supply both produce and meat to many of the C'ville restaurants we go to, and now we will appreciate that food so much more, knowing what has gone into the making. (click on any of the photos to see a large image)
Next we went to Caromont Farm. They raise goats and are spectacular cheese makers. We got to meet Gail Hobbs-Page’s herd of Alpines, Saanens, and La Mancha goats. The goats were very friendly and even tried to sample my shirt! They started the first year by selling 300 pounds of cheese locally, and now sell about 30,000 pounds nationally. We sample the cheeses and had brats made and served by yet another local farm, and brought some fantastic feta home for our salads this week. (click on any of the photos to see a large image)
Another great part of the day was driving on the back roads of this beautiful Virginia countryside. I still can not get over the beauty of the red clay land against the vivid green foliage and blue sky. A perfect day.
As I said in and earlier post, my photos are my sketchbook. They train my eye, inspire me, and are just plain fun! But I really like it when one (or more) inspire me to stitch, cut, bead, add, subtract, or whatever to them so that they may gain the textures that fiber art can bring to them. So here are a few ways that I use my photos in my fiber art.
As whole cloth ...
Sometimes the photo is printed to become the basis for a whole cloth quilt. I loved the composition of this photo and didn't want to change a thing about that, but I wanted to add the grit and texture of a sidewalk with embellishments that included dryer lint, leaves, and found objects, as well as yards and yards of stitching. This is "Where the Sidewalk Starts"
As the inspired beginning...
Again, I really likes the photo, but not so much the crop, so I "enlarged it" piecing other fabrics to the photo. I also let the photo inspire the directional flow of the stitches, and the type of embellishments that I would include.
This finish quilt "The Blue Brush" includes about seven different photos, some collaged within the initial fabric printing, and others added later. The subject matter was far less important than the colors and textures of the photos. Most importantly, the photos had to integrate with the stitching, added fabrics and each other to form a cohesive composition.
Here are three different "auditions" for placement prior to sewing the collage together...
I have been derelict in my posting duties lately! But I have not been derelict on my life activities! Not sure if anyone missed me or my musings... but I missed doing them, so I shall renew my posts.
My absence started with a medical excuse. I had "takotsubo" incident. It is like a heart attack, but without all the nasty long-lasting effects or required surgery. I am fine now, and all has resolved, but a few days on a heart monitor and a month of cardio rehab does funny things to your confidence and introspection! However, it has resulted in more trips to the gym, more veggies, and less coffee. so it is all good!
Then we moved into summer. One would think being retired was a relaxing avocation, but, alas, it is not. Trips here and there, books to be read, walks to be taken, laziness to indulge and grand kids to visit. And an Avocado to plant! All that adds up to a summer quickly passing by.
I have been creating, too. I have been derelict in updating those activities here on the site as well. I have been in a few exhibits. Sent out more for other exhibits, and won an award or two. I will shortly update the relevant pages here with that information as well.
The continued constant has been my photos. Someday I really need to sort and file the thousands that are accumulating! But they have been my journal, my touchstone, my fun, and have kept my eyes open and head working.
Now, I am getting ready for my next adventure! A month long artist residency within the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. I will be housed within the park for the month of October, and am very excited to explore and create. That is one of the reasons I am back here. I will be journaling the experience while I am there. So stay tuned... much more to come. I will be posting links on Facebook; Jill2day page and JillKerttulaphoto pages so watch for the links or... better yet. click the "follow" button on the top of this page, and I think you will be notified of updates!
I will be alone in the Park, so hope you let me know if you drop in to read my posts, so I will know I am not spitting into the wind!!
I have a large collection of sketchbooks and journals. All 98% empty. Artists are supposed to keep sketchbooks. I've been told, that we should be introspective and keep journals with our profound thoughts and creative musings. I am a semi-competent writer, and a better than average artist (so I have been told), but miserable at documentation.
This blog is the only journal-like-thing I have managed to keep going for any length of time!
One of my art professors, Walter Hamady, kept hand-bound, beautifully written and embellished journals. They were on hand made papers, and were works of beauty - meant to last the ages. My friend Lorie posts beautiful images from her sketchbook pages. Other friends have kept sketchbooks that were achingly inspirational; musings, sketches and collections of ephemera! I have scraps of paper, sometimes, kept in a cardboard box, and my collection of journals and sketchbooks that have the first pages desecrated with horrible attempts at self-conscience profundity.
But now I have photos. Hundreds - verging on thousands - not taken for reproduction or sales or even journalistic documentation (with the notable exception of the ones of my family). They are exercise for my eyes. They are calisthenics for my knowledge of design and composition. They slow me down and make me think and work - hard.
At first I just snapped away in 'automatic' mode with my trusty Fuji. but soon I found out that to 'sketch' the right photo, I needed to be able to adjust the depth-of-field, and pick an exposure. Just like sometimes you want to sketch in color, and sometimes in black and white - the same applies to photo sketching. So I upgraded the camera and learned more about my manual settings.
Photography is an art in itself. A laudable and incredibly diverse one. But not one that I (at least for now) find a satisfactory final artifact of my creativity. I use it as the basis of my fiber art; Sometimes quite literally when it is printed as an image in my whole cloth quilt pieces. More often, as the inspiration for the textures or colors in other pieces. It isn't about the specific photographic image for me. It is about taking that to a more universal place of color, texture, and emotion through the addition of other fabric, objects, and embellishments. In the end, I hope the photo is integrated with the fiber art to create something much more layered - both figuratively and literally - than the photo alone. Here is one example of that idea (click on either to see larger):
Here is a piece that uses seven different photos within the final piece:
Some say the computer is not the place to connect with people. They say it is shallow and all you learn is what they had for dinner last night. I choose to disagree. While I love being with people in person, I also value the communication possible with the internet.
Family and food: Our family is stretched from the Middle East, through the continental USA and all the way to Alaska. We also happen to be a tribe of foodies! So seeing where and what each other is eating is fun and, through Facebook, I have gotten to experience some great foods; fish from Norway, platters of goodies and 'care' packages in Qatar, San Francisco's best dining establishments, an anniversary donuts, freshly backed goodies of all ilk, and Alaskan Salmon on the grill - and shared Jon's culinary efforts back at them!
Facebook has let me stay in touch with relatives I would otherwise have lost track of. It lets me learn more about relatives I barely knew, and it lets me find new relatives! Sometimes we even talk about things other than food! The cross generational thing is what I value the most, so nice to learn and experience through the eyes of newer generations.
Flesh and Blood Friends: We have recently moved 700 miles. So Facebook has become my lifeline to the "old neighborhood"! I value seeing what is still going on 'back home', even as Charlottesville becomes our home. It is great to hear of art openings, job changes, new books read, and even politics! (and yes, more foodie posts!) What is really unexpected though, are the expanded and new connections... finding out someone and I have mutual friends; getting back in touch with people I haven't seen since graduation from high school; learning more about people who I barely knew, and now wish I had known better before leaving the area. It is all good and interesting.
Virtual Friends: Every morning for the last 5+ years, I have gone immediately to a facebook group where I chat with three other women. We met through Etsy, and have bonded through the internet. You couldn't have pick 4 more unlikely compatriots if you tried! Completely different ages, lifestyles, interests, and locations, but we have become fast friends. We have moved, some of our kids have grown and left home, some are still growing, our pets have died and we have welcomed new ones. This is a friendship circle, I can't imagine having formed anyway else and value a lot.
Professional Contacts (and friends!): Since the halcyon days of my jill2day shop on Etsy, I have learned the value and fun of virtual connections for business and information. Sure I sold through the internet, but I also learned so much about how to do what I was doing there. While locally there may have been a few folks pursuing the same goals, on the internet there is an international community to answer questions, commiserate, and whine to! I can not begin to acknowledge the Etsy sellers, the Fiber artists, fellow Art Fair Sellers and Photographers that have entered and enhanced my life through the 'interwebs'. Kudos and and thanks to you all.
Some have become friends, both in-person and on-line, but great friends either way. All have helped me to grow - sometimes in patience and diplomacy ;-) - but mostly in information and creativity.
So here is to the Internet - and my favorite, Facebook - may we all continue to connect, confer, converse, and conflict. OMG :-) CU soon!
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If you are really into history, click here for blog posts prior to 2014 !