The McGuffey Art Center, where my studio is housed, has been closed since March. This means the galleries have been empty, the classes unattended, the life drawing sessions called off, and visitors to our studios non-existent. Itis the right thing to do. It is understandable, and in fact, the solitude (we artists are allowed in our private studios) has been better than I thought it would be. It has been a productive, if not solitary time for me.
This month two alternatives have been found. The life drawing sessions have resumed the last two weeks. We are outside and we are masked, but we are drawing again! This is also the best time of year (IMHO) for weather in Virginia. The sun is bright, the humidity is down, and the breezes are refreshing. All this makes for well attended and productive sessions! Here are some of my drawings from the recent sessions:
Just came home from the whirlwind weekend at the Quilt National Show. This was my first time entering and first time accepted and for that I am honored and grateful. It turns out that about 30% of the entrants were first timers. I would love to know the reason for this (even I like statistics now and then!) Is that normal? Did the more experienced not enter? Is there that much of a surge in new art quilters? A fluke? Judging criteria? Just one of those things that makes you go "hhmmmmmmm"
I must admit that after seeing the show I kinda wondered how my piece [stylistically] got/fit in! I think in the whole show of 90+ pieces there were about five "figurative" pieces, surrounded by colorful (and beautifully done) abstracts. There was one 3-d piece. Again, please understand I am not disparaging either the judging or the accepted entries, but I am confused about the ongoing intent of the show. There are so many wonderful directions that Art Quilting has taken recently that I was a bit confused about the lack of diversity in styles, medium and content. Is it a showcase for the trends that happened in Art Quilting, or is it an inspiring showcase for possibilities! Each show venue lives with a reputation and expectations. QN is grandmother of them all, and as such has both a history to live up to and laurels to ride on.
Now for the good part! My absolute favorite of the show was Jean Wells Keenan's No Stone Unturned. It was the epitome of that which could not be done in any other media. The colors are cloth colors. The textures are stitched textures (both hand and machine), The concept is both universal and intimate. It hit every tick box for me!
Betty Busby continues to be an innovative and positive force for the Art Quilt world. Never resting on a style or technique, she pushes ahead with obvious joy and skill! One year a quilt, one year a vessel, this year a wall sculpture. BUT all recognizable on some level (color? whimsy? craft?) as a "Betty".This year it was Coloratura. A piece inspired by Opera. Thanks for all you do, Betty!
Of the prize winners, I was so happy to see Dinah Sargeant's Riverstrong get recognized. This was another piece that took joy in fabric. Each surface considered. Each stitch meaningful. One of those pieces that is not "Art Quilting". It is simply "Art".
Here are a few details of some of the other award winners. Best in Show, Karen Schultz. Upper left: Emerging Artist, Irene Roderick. Upper Right: Heartland Award, Daren Redman. Middle left: Persistance Pays, Gabrielle Paquin. Middle Right: Quilt Award Japan, Dana Ziesemer. Bottom Left: McCarthy Award: Valerie Maserr-Flanagan. Bottom Right: Outstanding Machine pieced, Pamela Loewen
You know from the minute you see the gleaming mosaics on the outside and then the giant Icarus flying in the stairwell (shown on the left) , that this is not your usual museum. The exhibits right now were themed "Parenting" and the stories told were from all sides of the coin - parent and child. Recounts of childhoods spent in danger or isolation were seen in all media. From a man who spent 30 years sculpting a "family" and then making detail costumes for each doll, to harshly scratched out drawings of a life spent hiding from addicted parents. An imprisoned father's depictions of life were shown in detailed embroideries made from the unraveled socks he could get. So many lives told.
Here are just two of her images with the accompanying texts that were embroidered at the bottom:
One of my other favorite displays ran along the spiral staircase. It was a ten yard machine sewn illustration of scenes sewn by a man at the suggestion of those who stopped by.
Here is his story, idea of what it looked like, and some details.
It was a heart-wrenching visit, saved from being overly emotional by the gift shop at the end. What a place of wonder! Every trinket, accessory and fun things you could want for yourself or to give as gifts... will definitely be back there for the holidays!
I just spent two wonderful days seeing, talking about, and walking through art! I went to several museums with two of my fiber buddies, and we then talked art over good food, and while sitting in various transportation vehicles!
Monday we went to Washington DC. We decided to try out two of the smaller museums, the National Museum of Women in the Arts and the Renwick Gallery, before we hit the National Gallery.
The National Museum of Women in the Arts
As is often the case, we were too optimistic about how much time we would have, so it was a quick visit to the National Gallery. I decided to head over to the East Wing, and just say "hi" to the I.M.Pei building, and not worry about deciding what art to savor in only an hour. My next post will be about our next day at the Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore.... stay tuned.
in the meantime, here is a slide show are some of my shots from the national gallery, the Metro, and one from the wonderful deli/restaurant we stopped at for lunch.
Today I visited the Chrysler Museum in Norfolk Virginia. It is a great museum. Small enough to not be daunting, but large enough to have a comprehensive and high quality collection. First, I went back to see the glass collection. It is well curated collection that will give you an overlook of glass through the ages.
I blogged about the glass before click here if you want to see that post and a whole lot of pictures.
Sometimes, at a museum, I want to visit the "old friends" but other times I search out areas with which I am unfamiliar. That was today. These three gentleman were three of the "new friends" I made. I love these three completely different takes on the human form. Artists from a thousand years apart, taking inspiration from the same form.
Down another hallway was a captivating new piece; Daniel Rozin's "Mirror No. 10 (Sketch Mirror). As I walked into the room this framed image changed and redrew me with a zillion lines of shapes and colors. For those of us who don't spend a lot of time in front of Nintendo or other dance programs, seeing yourself on screen is oddly compelling. Renee, who was with me, and I spent way too much time goofing off in front of this!
To see a video of the fun we had, go HERE
All and all a fun day in a great little museum. Great Collection, Free Admission, and a working glass studio with demonstrations (and comfortable bleachers!)
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.
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)
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.
'The Matriarchs' took a road trip to Cary, North Carolina to be in the 'Reminiscence' show, put on by PAQA-south. I drove down this weekend to check on them and join them at the Artist Opening. The event was held in a beautiful venue. The Page-Walker Arts & History Center is a wonderful old building that now houses rotating art shows. They filled two floors with the entries juried into this show; and it made for a beautifully curated, diverse and high-quality exhibit of a wide range of styles of art quilting.
It was a real surprise to walk in and see my ladies, greeting everyone as they hung, front and center, over the guestbook! I also found out they had appeared in the mailings and advertisements for the show - I thought it looked like their heads were a bit larger than when they left home!
The show was fantastic and only surpassed by the wonderful people I met while there! The organizers from PAQA-south were enthusiastic and welcoming to all the attending artists. Great show - and a fun dinner of camaraderie out afterwards with many of the attendees. Here are a couple more shots of the venue:
But wait! There is more!
The awards were announced during the opening, and 'The Matriarchs' were given a judge's choice award!
A second judge's award given to Susan Lenz for the fabulous quilt made with vintage gloves and fabrics (shown below) and a gallery prize given to Cindy Pryer for her innovative 3d quilt (also shown below). Click on the photos to see them larger!
And a couple non-quilt related shots of the venue!
Last night we had an opening for the New Members show at the McGuffey here in Charlottesville. It was well attended and festive.
This is the third show I have participated in at the McGuffey. The first was a fundraiser, the second a Holiday show and this present show. I am so pleased to be involved with the caliber of artists represented by the McGuffey. It is a co-op that has been a mainstay of downtown Charlottesville for 40 years. The artist represent virtually every kind of visual art, and also dance and performance arts.
I am on a waiting list for a rental studio in the center. There are about 40 artists on site, each of whom is actively working, teaching classes, and participating in many outreach programs. In the meantime, I have accepted a position as the Liaison for the Associate (non-rental) members. Wish me luck!
This past week I had the pleasure of visiting The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams, MA. Honesty requires me to admit that I went there with low expectations, and avoidance of going sledding, but was pleasantly surprised! Contemporary Art is not my favorite genre. I often find it both self-serving and pretentious and not enlightening or uplifting in the least. Well some of it was. But the experience overall was wonderful and expanding.
The facility is both innovative and wonderful. It is a warren constructed of several buildings that once housed a 19-20th century manufacturing concern. They have retained the bricks and mortar and connected the buildings with tunnels and bridges that are interesting in and of themselves.
The highlight of the museum was the Anslem Kiefer exhibit. He is one of those artists that should rarely be shown in reproduction. The monumental size and the textural richness of his work is just not done justice no matter the number of dots per inch in reproduction! There is an entire building that has been erected to house three major works of his. The Museum will house these for no less than 25 years. The three works are vastly different in both concept and execution, but each as resounding as the other. For me, there have been few works (especially in the "contemporary" genre) that have moved me as the "Women of the Revolution" The literature about the exhibit explains the work as: It takes "its inspiration from Jules Michelet's 1854 study, Les Femmes de la Revolution, which chronicles the lives of specific women. who, in their uncompromising willingness to pursue democratic values, played an important role in the French revolution."
Click on any of the below photos to see larger and fully and at full crop.
Thank you Mr. Kiefer. You have done what art should do. Your craftsmanship is impeccable and supported fully by a strong concept and point of view, with not a trace of self-aggrandizing. You made me think on many levels.
This past weekend I attending the Quilt Festival in Chicago. This is a huge quilt exhibition, educational forum and vendor show. On day two of the show, I noticed a covey of young men outside the doors, and doubted very much they were quilters. I am both curious and forward, so I followed them up the escalators to see where they went.
There I came upon a world I had never seen before! It was a Grand Prix event for "Magic the Gathering". There was no admission and they were a welcoming bunch, so I went in. Amazing. Excited participants and camaraderie (just like downstairs at the quilt show); Vendors showing their wares (just like downstairs); Artists displaying their work (just like downstairs); People concentration on their work, making friends, competing, and using technology, all the same on both floors.
It made me think about how much more in common we have than we think we do. Perhaps, we just need to visit each others' sub-societies more often. Thanks guys for making me feel welcome, and introducing me to your world; hope you had fun when you peeked into the quilt show and saw mine!!
I am at a show this weekend, and a couple booths down is a booth filled with memories. Randy's Candies specializes in candies from years gone by.
I don't know about you, but I so remember the sophistication of Candy Cigarettes and the stuck teeth and cracking apart the Turkish Taffy. Here were Smith Brothers cough drops, Beemans and Black Jack gums, Bubble Gum cigars, and just about every sweet memory you can think of.
They also had glass bottled sodas like Nehi and Cheerwine. (I gave up Nehi Orange after an unfortunate incident after imbibing in birthday party involving chocolate cake and Orange Nehi!)
They even had the Dots on Paper candy and Wax lips. However, while reminiscing at dinner discussion tonight, we realized that none of us actually knew what to do with wax lips - eat them or throw away? We also realized how intensely personal candy preferences are...what are yours?
I asked Randy where the SenSens were, but evidently the demand for those do not equal Turkish Taffy or Candy Cigs! Evidently the legal rights to these old candies have lapsed, and small candy companies have taken to replicating them - I guess they have figured out how to take the Baby Boomer memories of penny and nickle candies and charge us $1-$1.50 per for them! More power to them!
If you are really into history, click here for blog posts prior to 2014 !