Monday, November 30, 2009

A-MAZE-ING Hungerford Open Studios

DSCN4909 Notice that I’ve been way too quiet?!? It’s because I’ve been working on these lovely little 9” x 12” matted compositions ( the 9” x 12” ones are a mere $30!!) for this approaching weekend’s open studios in the Hungerford Building in Rochester, NY. That’s where I have my surface design studio.

Artists in our our newly formed Hungerford Artisans Association will be opening our studios for two days and sharing our work and processes with any and all who come to visit.(When you click on this link you will see a beautiful photograph of our building done by resident photographer extraordinaire Lou Allen)


LOCATION: Hungerford Building, 1115 East Main Street, Rochester, NY. Enter Door #2 or #5 to get a map that will guide you through the building. My studio is #366, third floor.

DATES AND TIMES: Friday, December 4, 5 – 9 PM; Saturday, December 5, 10 AM – 4 PM.

I will be selling original cards and matted works for $10-$30, along with special "Inspiration Packs", clear zip-loc bags each filled with one pound of fat quarters and half yard pieces of dyed , painted and surface designed silks or cottons ($15) to inspire new creations. Taxes are included.

While you stroll through the artist studios on three floors, you can listen to musicians playing and have a bite to eat at the Red Osier booth inside door #2. Maps will help guide you through our winding corridors and lead you on the treasure hunt to find the artist studios.

To reward you for finding us all, there will be drawings for a number of handcrafted prizes. All you have to do is visit the studios, fill out your entry form and deposit it on your way out. Hope you can come join us for A-Maze-Ing Hungerford!

It will be a busy weekend in Rochester with lots of great art events, from the Rochester Contemporary member exhibition opening (yes I have a piece in it!) to the Alternative Fair at the First Unitarian Church on Winton Road – so gallery hop on First Friday or spend all day Saturday in the city and enjoy all the wonderful events taking place this weekend!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Mid-Career Retrospective?!?

I’m doing an archeological dig in my fabric storage area, unearthing dyed, printed and painted pieces I haven’t really SEEN for years.



At first my goal was to fill garbage bags to bulging and donate them to Goodwill. I love the idea of one person’s discards becoming another person’s treasures and hoped that art students would find them and transform them.


But as I sifted through piles of dyed, painted or printed silks and cottons, ideas started popping in my head – the old marks, patterns and combinations began to inspire me.


It occurred to me they might inspire other textile artists, too. I decided to weigh and bag assortments of these pieces and sell them as “inspiration packs” for $15 each.


I’m viewing this as very own “mid-career retrospective” as I fill plastic zipper storage bags with one pound assortments of fabrics from my explorations of mark, color and pattern over the past 7-8 years.  Some are dyed solids, some are patterned and all of the packaging is totally random – the one unifying factor is that they all weigh one pound.

At the December 4th and 5th A-Maze-ing Hungerford Open Studios event (announcement about that soon!), I’ll be selling these for $15 each (includes tax), along with some wonderful cards and matted pieces that I’m making as well. You’ll see some of those soon.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Uncork the Bubbly!

I received a wonderful letter in the mail yesterday from Fiberart International, one that started with “Congratulations!”

After a brief pause to shed a few happy tears, I read that my “Seeds of Compassion” piece has indeed been accepted as one of 87 pieces that will be exhibited at Fiberart International in Pittsburgh, PA in 2010.

Seeds of Compassion full

The letter says: “Jurors Mary Ruth Smith, Rebecca Stevens and Vibeke Riisberg met in mid September to evaluate over 1,600 works of art by 703 artists from 30 countries – the largest and most diverse groups of entries ever in the history of Fiberart International.”

Arrangements for the traveling exhibition currently include the Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester (hey that’s MY Rochester!) and the San Francisco Museum of Craft & Design.

Am I proud and thrilled and beside myself with joy?!?!? You better believe I am!! This turning 60 is starting to shape up into a spectacular year!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Return of Quiet

Several people wrote to ask me about my SOFA experience; I’m finally settled back in from the trip and have time to write.


Nope I didn’t get a ride on the express train to fame and fortune! I had a wonderful time, met terrific people and enjoyed six days in one of my favorite cultural cities. I presented a talk about my work on Saturday morning and was interviewed by a Chicago reporter for the Art Enquirer.

Here’s a link to the article in the Chicago Fine Arts Examiner. At the bottom of the page there’s a link you can click to a slide show that includes this one of me standing by my work.


On Thursday I toured the fiber department at the School of the Art Institute with Friends of Fiber Art , enjoyed seeing the facilities and students in classes learning felting in one studio and improvisational screen printing with cut paper resists in another one. We followed that up with lunch in the new contemporary wing of the Art Institute.

Thursday evening was the VIP opening of SOFA, with plenty of free wine and hors d’ouvres and mingling. Artists stood by their work in the various booths to meet and greet and answer questions.


On Friday I attended the lectures sponsored by Friends of Fiber Art, where a panel of artists represented by Snyderman or Jane Sauer galleries spoke about their work, including Barbara Lee Smith, Carol Shinn, Jon Riis, Geoffrey Gorman, Marilyn Pappas and Marcia Docter. On Saturday morning the Surface Design Association presented Jan Hopkins and Lesley Richmond, who spoke about their techniques.

I finished up my live SOFA presence on Saturday afternoon and spent Sunday in the Contemporary Museum of Art and the Art Institute. There was an amazing retrospective of outsider artist James Castle’s work at the Art Institute – it was a real highlight of my weekend to move from the totally commercial, sales-driven atmosphere of SOFA to Castle’s completely private world of play and exploration. Read more about James Castle here.

Now that I’m back home, it’s time to get ready for a building-wide studio open house with the Hungerford Urban Artisans on December 4th and 5th.

I’m tired, happy and ready to go back to my quiet studio and return to work. Whatever new opportunities and adventures may lie ahead will present themselves and unfold in their own right and perfect ways. I can’t control or predict how my life as artist will continue to develop, just know and trust that it will.

In the interim, I get to return to the quiet, contemplative world of my studio, where I feel most centered and at home.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Countdown to Chicago

Two more days until I leave for Chicago. The opening VIP reception for SOFA is 5-7 PM Thursday and my talk is Saturday morning at 10:30 AM.

Preparing this lecture for SOFA has challenged me to consider the intentions and ideas that fuel my work, the meaty whys. Previously I spoke more about the hows, the techniques and tools that I use in making.

Artists’ techniques and tools will always intrigue us, but considering other artists’ ideas and the inspirations that fuel their work stimulates us on another level. Hearing other artists speak hopefully opens a window to seeing the world through that person’s thoughtful eyes. Listen carefully and it can reward our attention with new insights and connections; a dynamic ripple effect.

In contrast to the intense activity to prepare for this trip, my own studio practice evolves more slowly.


This Relics piece is 20” x 44”. It will be mounted on a 24” x 48” stretched canvas frame painted black.


Here’s a detail where I’ve screened subtle additions of vertical columns of text and added more layers of paint to the surface.

The previous Relics piece has been framed and is now on display at the Rochester Print Club Annual Member Exhibition, where it just won a Jurors Choice award.

For the next two days I’ll revisit the images for my talk, revising and honing the content. No one could possibly gain more from listening to my lecture than I am receiving in preparing it. Working to articulate the ideas that inspire our work – and it is a hard process for every person, no matter how well they write or how articulate they may appear -- helps to coalesce our focus and directions.

Being thoughtful and slow is a choice, just as are the times we choose to play with ideas and processes and be totally spontaneous and experimental. Both have value. It is worthwhile to learn to be comfortable moving back and forth between them both.