Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tinder and Sparks

 As a rule, there are in everyone all sorts of good ideas, ready like tinder. But much of this tinder catches fire or catches fire successfully only when it meets some spark or flame from outside, i.e. from some other person. Albert Schweitzer.

Stuart Low, a thoughtful, insightful arts writer from the Democrat & Chronicle, our Rochester newspaper, interviewed me recently because my work is included in the Fiberart International exhibit that will be opening at the Memorial Art Gallery on April 30.

The interview left me revisiting familiar questions, in an effort to flesh out clearer answers. Why DO I work in fiber? Why DO I work with language as imagery? What is it I wish to express as an artist? Why do I make the choices that I do? Talk about an encounter generating sparks. 

As far as I know, my profile will be a brief segment in a larger article about the abundant number of fiber-related exhibitions that seem to be happening concurrently in this area. What light will his summation of our hour and a half talk reflect back to me; how will my work be seen through an arts writer’s eyes?

In and around the enjoyment of being interviewed and photographed and looking forward to a special opening night VIP preview reception for Fiberart International this coming Saturday evening, I just keep working in my studio. I appreciate these interactions and the ideas they stimulate; that energy ignites new ideas and refines existing ones.


The inspiration for the new tube pieces that I’m currently working on is “writing in air.” Here’s the first segment for the next one;. I almost hate to roll it into a tube and attach it to the substrate. Maybe it will stay an open cylinder instead so the substrate is visible behind it.


There is less dimensionality plus sharper value contrasts on this piece than on the first one. The added fragment of found handwriting also is working.


Here’s the prepared substrate for attaching the completed tubes.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Life as a Verb: “Whirr”

whirr , definition of whirr , meaning of whirr - 1  ( verb ) whir, whirr, whirring, birr sound of something in rapid motion "whir of a bird's wings"; "the whir of the propellers" 2  ( verb ) whizz, whiz, whirr, whir, birr, purr make a soft swishing sound "the motor whirred"; "the car engine purred" 3  ( verb ) churr, whirr make a vibrant sound, as of some birds

I am “whirring.” Soft, swishing sounds abound. After two years of not updating my website, I finally have a site that I can manage myself. If you have a few minutes, please check it and let me know if you have any problems loading or viewing the pages on your monitor. Next I’ll learn how to upload images, edit text and manage the site myself.


Work progresses on “The Fluttering Pages of My Life”, so here is a quick update detail of my design wall with more contrast being added to the pebbly, textural surfaces. The rippling aluminum rods for hanging these will work beautifully to make the pieces gently undulate.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Work Continues for the Artist-Slash-Swashbuckler

 This week has been filled with sampling and re-visioning, which from the outside may look a bit tame, but inside it feels very much like a swashbuckling Errol Flynn swordfight.

Happily I am casting myself as Errol Flynn aka Captain Blood in this fantasy!!

The three pieces now have a name, "The Fluttering Pages of My Life”.


After a lot of samples and fancy footwork and sword parrying, I chose the idea of painting directional “swooshes” across the surface to suggest movement and motion.


I’m also adding subtle bits of invented text to help convey the idea that these are “pages”. Don’t ask how many other ideas I ruled out before selecting this one. 

Using more strongly contrasting values in this sample also made me realize that I want to amp up the contrasts on these pieces. I need to complete these revisions before I add the swooshes, so I spent all day yesterday painting elements that I can collage to the current works.


Here’s another idea still to be tested out. I’m bending a set of aluminum hangers for both the top and bottom of each hanging in the hopes of creating  a gently undulating surface, as in “rippling in the breeze.”  Will I like them rippling when I get to my studio again on Tuesday and see what it looks like? Or will I decide to keep the pieces hanging flat?

Hey, there’s always the option of  a giant fan in the room blowing the heck out of the work -- and my neighbor the sculptor is more than willing to teach me how to mechanize the piece with small motors so it undulates!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Work in Progress: Fluttering Pages

After cutting out all the rectangular papers and laying them out for this triptych, I’m mounting them row by row to fiberglass window screening. The sides and bottom are unattached.

DSCN6704 DSCN6716

I’ve completed two of the three basic 48” x 60” structures. Here is the first one.


A detail. The individual painted papers are lovely; the random, pebbly patterning within the repeating shapes feels like flickers of light reflecting off the surfaces.

DSCN6690 To complete the pieces and add the language elements, I’ve been taking some of the rejected rectangles and trying out a variety of ideas. One option is to draw a variety of language symbols on the surface. Above, graphite.


Here, colored pencil. Another consideration is whether to punch up the contrasts by punctuating the surface with some ripped or cut shapes of painted papers like the piece of painted tissue above.

Another option is to add some hints of gold foiling and draw into that. Obviously, options abound.

As of today, I’ve completed two of the three and will finish the third one today. Then I can relax and take some time to reflect on what will best communicate the idea behind these pieces.