Monday, March 18, 2013

New Explorations: Chapter 1

So many of you have expressed interest in what my new directions will be. The core of my ideas and concepts are not changing, I’m just not using dyes and silk as my materials.

I am still deeply committed to considering the effects of time and aging on memory and personal identities through my “fluttering pages” series.

But yes, a new series of pieces using paper pulp is now underway. Raphaela McCormack, a talented artist and friend, is teaching me about working with it. Do go to her website and look at her work; I love her sailing vessels and canoes.


            First, Raphaela showed me how to form basic sheets of paper.


             Then we set up the wet room to dive into testing out a few of my specific ideas. On the right is a sample threadwork memory map dipped into and layered with pulp.


My first “paper and threadwork” sculptural sample hangs on my design wall. So much potential!

Like every first try, my eye sees issues to resolve for the next ones, but it’s an exciting beginning.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Hungerford Artists: Thaw 3 Delivers Diversity

For the third year, artists from the Hungerford Building combined forces March 1 –8 to show their work in “Thaw 3”. “Thaw” exhibits have taken place all over Rochester and surrounding areas, a collaboration of Regional Gallery Directors’ Forum at Roberts Wesleyan College.


The diversity of mediums and subject matter in the Hungerford “Thaw” shows are always inspiring, but more so are the commitment and focus evident in the artists’ works.


Even with over 20 artists displaying multiple works, this huge studio space in the building could have held more! Here is a small selection of the works in this years THAW 3:


Robert Rogaliski’s (studio #222) wonderful imagination comes to life in this mixed media work, titled “Falling Leaf”.


Detail, “Falling Leaf”, mixed media, Robert Rogalski


Cody Kroll’s “Chadogu – Tea Utensils”, an installation featuring vessels using 16th century and modern American shino glazes.  Cody writes in his artist statement at his website, “In the last few years I have become fascinated conceptually by the "living" nature of clay and themes of impermanence.” See a full view in the image at the top of this page.  Cody’s studio is #228.


 Larry Moss and Kelly Cheatle, “Light Snack”, Airigami, studio #234, silver halide print, young girl with balloon sculpture.

Hungerford is home base for Airigami, where Larry Moss and Kelly Cheatle design balloon installations for venues all over the country. They’re currently awaiting publication of two children’s books they’ve written and illustrated with – of course -- their innovative balloon works.

One of my favorite artists in the building is Michael Pigett, who paints cloud paintings that are gentle, sensitive contemplations of light and movement. I left some the background surrounding this painting in because the two interact in such an interesting way. 


Michael Pigett, “Clouds”, oil on canvas


Olivia Kim, “Walking Woman”, studio #335, hydrocal and encaustics. Olivia’s love of the figure and her supreme attention to realistic detail inform her body of work.

Many thanks to Constance Mauro and Jennifer Buckley for coordinating the Hungerford Thaw 3 exhibit.

 If you live in the Rochester area, please visit the Hungerford Building, 1115 East Main St., Rochester, NY,  on First Friday Gallery Nights (go to this page for a listing of the studios open each month) and enjoy offerings of art and craft in every conceivable medium.

Visiting First Friday at Hungerford combines adventure, inspiration – and good exercise! – all in one convenient indoor location.

Parking is crazy on First Fridays, but here’s the way to avoid the crowds: Just park across the road in the bank parking lot or half a block down on the same side of East Main at the Greenovations building. Plenty of room in both! And do make sure to come visit me in studio #366!


Friday, March 1, 2013

2013 Niche Award and JGK Galleries’ Art ROC Showcase Winner


This excellent week started with discovering that Book of the Ancients 8: Bethel Park Elementary, won a 2013 Niche Award in decorative fiber. My piece, among 40 professional and 19 student winners, will be featured in the spring issue of Niche Magazine. This was the first time I entered Niche, so I was doubly pleased, first to be selected as a finalist and then to receive this prestigious award for my work.

J_Beck_bookoftheancients8 My Book of the Ancients pieces consider the effects of time on memory and personal histories.

But that’s not all the delightful surprises this week brought.  Last night Bob and I attended the closing reception for JGK Galleries’ Art ROC Showcase, which features 12 regional artists. This juried exhibition offered a first prize of gallery representation and a solo show for one of the artists. Last night when the winning name was announced, it was – mine!

IMG_0071JGK’s space is warm and inviting with brick walls, gleaming hardwood floors and generous wall space, as well as ample room for 3-D works. IMG_0070


Out of twelve artists, Renee Simone-Lee and I were the two women selected to exhibit in the JGK Galleries Art ROC 2013 Showcase. Of course we rock!

Tonight will be the last night to see JGK Galleries Art ROC Showcase 2013, which will be open for First Friday gallery night in Rochester. Check out JGK’s Facebook page and you can see work by all 12 artists in the exhibition.

If good things come in threes, that means I can look forward to one more bit of good news arriving. It is fun to imagine all the good things that might be!


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Janet Echelman: Imaginings


 “When Inspiration finds me, she will find me at work.”  Picasso

Today I’m writing a press release for the Surface Design Association’s upcoming June 6-9 In-ter-face Conference in San Antonio. Janet Echelman is our keynote speaker; her lecture title, “Taking Imagination Seriously.”

Janet, a 1987 Harvard graduate, started her art career as a painter. As she describes in her TED talk (below), she applied for and received a Fulbright to travel to India in 1987 and create paintings. The artist arrived, but her paints did not. As she watched fisherman weaving their nets along the beach, a new idea emerged, to create a three-dimensional woven structure that could move and float in the air. That initial project has evolved into designing massive floating sculptural installations for urban spaces around the world.

While I am awed at the scale and fluidity of these forms and impressed at how they animate and engage the steel and concrete environments and human populations that surround them, what impresses me most is Janet herself as a creative. As the TED talk reveals, Janet has candor, humor and a passion for creative process and the power of imagination that are contagious.

In this new year, as I challenge my own imagination to be bolder, more daring and confident, this artist is the first one I am choosing as a touchstone. The above image of Janet seems to encapsulate her energy and creative vision.

I am drawn to the communal nature of Echelman’s work.  Rendering her ideas into form engages experts in engineering, science and even aeronautics in a collaborative process. When artistic vision mingles with science and physics, all contribute to a creative process that leads to awe-inspiring results. 

Janet broached this same subject as a TED talk in 2011:

I am eager to hear Janet speak more fully on imagination at the Surface Design Association conference. This artist/imagineer, her history, ideas and experiences as a maker will be a fitting launch for a conference that always inspires and informs my own creative practice.

(For more, read this Huffington Post interview with Echelman.)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Art of the Steal at Hungerford Studios

The time has come to let go of many of my experimental surface design works and samples along with my dyes, silks and cottons, both undyed and dyed and printed -- and all of my sundry collected-over-15-years assortment of books, magazines, tools and equipment. It's a mega letting go and I'm excited. The old "one door closes, another one opens" adage fits here. I am committed to my new body of work and the directions it is leading me; these materials no longer fit.  

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                     The piles for pricing keep growing and it's amazing how good it feels to let it all go.

This shift has meant pulling everything out of storage areas in both my home and studio and piling boxes and bolts and etceteras in my soon to be painting and printing space.  I'm pulling out the stove, washer and dryer to paint the walls and set up additional work space.  

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As I prepare for the sale, I am visualizing a lovely clear space in my artistic life that is making room for new ideas and new works.  I am ready to pare down, let these much loved and carefully collected raw materials move along to people who will actually USE them!

The sale is mushrooming from my personal studio sale to a building-wide January clearance sale. Turns out that a whole lot of us need to let go of the old as we usher in the new year!

So if you are in the area and want to help me make this shift, please come to Hungerford Studios' "Art of the Steal Sale" on Friday, January 25 and Saturday, January 26, 11 AM - 4 PM. Hungerfordsaleflier 

Friday, January 4, 2013

Hey There’s Nothing Wrong with the Old, But…



IN WITH THE NEW!! It’s 2013!!

A New Year always brings the energy of change and new directions with it and I love the feeling.

For years I’ve been a goal setter and list maker – every day checking off and adding to a never ending list. It feels great to be action-oriented and productive, but all my to-dos started to feel like an endless sea of chores. This year, after reading, reflecting and opening to new ideas for the past few months, I have a new focus: I’M FOLLOWING THE GOOD FEELINGS. That’s it. That’s my compass and map for the year.

How to set that exciting new energy into motion?? Make a list, of course! Here it is and I love it:

My Awesome Desires for 2013

Read more juicy, brilliantly written books that inspire and uplift me and transport me to other lives and times

Enjoy my body. Dance, swim, stretch, walk, bounce and skip through all the seasons and enjoy a limber, fit and trim body.

Savor delicious, healthful foods that nourish my being and delight my senses. Make eating and cooking adventurous and live-enhancing.

Laugh and play more every day. Sing my favorite songs.

Spread kindness, generosity and laughter. Lots of laughter.

Discover wonderful artists, musicians, writers and filmmakers and appreciate their creative offerings.

Practice hope and positivity for myself and for the world. All is well.

Share my thoughts, dreams, hopes and discoveries through my my art and my writing.

Delight in my creative process and make ample time to explore, research and flesh out exciting new works.

Speak about and to myself with kindness, love and nurturing.

Think and speak and practice positive thoughts and words about others. Share laughter and joy and appreciation with each member of my family.

Travel to fun, stimulating and exciting locations and find the best that each has to offer.

Update and refresh my home and studio environments so they truly allow me to feel open, expansive and fully at home, at ease and nestled snugly in comfort and beauty here.

Bring more art into my life. I've added some new pieces to my home in 2012; let this continue in 2013 and fully enjoy the process of selecting each piece. Love and appreciate each one and surround myself in beauty.

Enjoy discovering and purchasing wonderful new clothing and jewelry that convey my love of all things creative and artistic.

Thrill to new discoveries and growth in my body of work so it continues to be become more visually compelling and irresistible.

Accept and appreciate my authority and expertise as an artist, writer and wise woman. Radiate confidence in all that I do.

Connect with my inner compass and trust what it tells me.

Innovate and experiment feeling confidence and trust in the creative process and my connection with my inner compass.

Affirm and bless the gifts that my life brings me each and every day and appreciate how wonderful my life is.

Let my spirit soar and boldly express in every thing I do.

I wish you a joyful New Year filled with many creative adventures. We’re on our way!