Friday, May 30, 2008

Celebrating Blog Diversity

As a result of having workmen in the house over the last couple of days, I have spent a lot of time on the computer instead of in my attic studio. The computer is downstairs next to all of the action going on in my living room.

So, I have visited LOTS and LOTS of blogs. I have done some surfing. By the end of the day yesterday, I was exhausted. Yes, I know, it is not quite the same as spending one's day coal mining. There's just something about technology that sucks the energy out of the user.

While I have noticed that my blog is not the hottest place to be (some other bloggers may get well over one hundred comments per post), I do not think it is such a shabby blog. Others might. As Vice President Cheney says, "So." I've noticed a great deal of diversity among my links. I'm not sure it is what other bloggers are looking for. Perhaps some come to a fiber artist's blog looking for other fiber artists, and nothing else, to link to. But I think that many of my return visitors will appreciate this, and they will get more insight to me as an artist and person.

My diversity was not intentional. Yet it does reflect the type of art I like and display in my home. I love visiting other blogs whose links are diverse as well. It is great fun to discover a new artist, especially in a medium I know little about.

Lets see whose blogs are among my links:

mixed media artists

fiber artists

encaustic artist


watermedia artist

assemblage artists


collage artist

jewelry artist



What am I missing? I do need a ceramic artist or two, perhaps a wood carver. Please let me know of some of your favorite links. Or, if you have been reading, but not commenting, let me know who you are.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

There Are Other Squares Out There

Well, another day of having workmen in the house. Since I am unable to go upstairs to the studio, I will loiter on the computer all day. Good thing, too. I have located some other squares.

I feel pretty sure they would not want to be considered squares, but tough. I'm into the square, they are into the square. I'm going to make the connection regardless.

A new post on Kelly Rae Roberts' Blog has photos of several recent 5x5" affirmation collages.

A recent discovery, by me anyway, is the watermedia artist David Castle. Much of his work is in a square format, with the components of his art being rectangles and squares.

A daily painter, Karin Jurick often uses a square canvas.

For years I have purchased sketchbooks and journals, but have rarely used them. About two months ago, I purchased a 5x5" sketchbook & I find that I am often doodling in it. There is something about this shape that makes me want to work. Perhaps the confines of the square are liberating somehow. Artwork confined to a square seems "full". As if the art has actually spilled over the edges. This fullness gives the artwork more energy, more life.

No doubt there are way more artists out there than this who often work with squares. I'm sure that are many fiber artists. But who are these other square artists? If you know of any, please let me know.

Friday, May 23, 2008

More Square Than Ever

For some reason, "everyone" has been asking what I'm working on lately. It seems that when I am not actually working on a piece, I more often asked what I'm working on. I'M NOT WORKING ON ANYTHING. So they say, "Oh, so you're just playing around?"

O.K. I'm just playing around. Having a great deal of fun. Really. I'm making little squares. Cutting 3.5" squares and then stamping them. If I make a mistake, all I have to do is toss a small square in the trash. I have carved a few simple stamps, but my favorite activity involves kid's sticky-backed foam.

I went to Michael's this week to pick up some supplies (why do they cost so much money?), and ended up with a package of obnoxiously colored sticky-backed foam. Why, I could cut this into little shapes and stick them onto small squares of foam board. Could this be easier? Not unless I had magic scissors. Here are just a handful of the foam board stamps I have made.

I also purchased two sheets of stamp-carving material. I traced a few circles, carved them in just a few minutes time, and was stamping happily all afternoon. What else can I do to simplify? Perhaps just paint the bottoms of my feet and use them for stamps?

This all feels so elementary. My six-year-old daughter could do this. Actually, she was in my studio learning how to use stamp-carving tools the other day. No bandaids were necessary. Don't think she is ready for the Exact-o knife yet. Not sure I am either. Maybe I should simplify further and banish scissors. Use my teeth for tearing things. There is only so far I can go back to basics before I attempt to complicate things again. I will try to refrain a bit longer from deciding how to put these squares together (IF I decide to put them together) and just play some more.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

It's Hip to Be Square

Square: 1. a rectangle having four equal sides. 2. Honest, direct. 3. One characterized by rigid conventionality or lack of sophistication.

O.K. I would not characterize myself as rigid or lacking sophistication. Others might. Oh well. I just love the square. Did anyone read my earlier post on being square? If not, here's the link.

I relate to the square. Call me simple.

Since I seem to have run into a wall since my most recent commission (I believe it was a rectangular wall), I have decided to back up. Not necessarily to go off in a new direction. Just back up. Put the car in idle.

I have begun playing with squares. Small squares. Painting squares, stamping squares, cutting squares, arranging squares. The square may be simple, they may be complex. I don't know yet and don't care yet.

We will see what happens. I am going to get to know the square very well. I may introduce the squares to a few circles and see what happens.

If one looks at my list of favorite reference books, they will notice the book Handmade Tiles. I've probably looked at this book fifty times. I love the way square tiles look next to each other. I love the grid, the beautiful geometry,especially when each tile is somewhat different. I have no intention of ever making tiles (never say never), I just love looking at squares.

One of my favorite artists is a ceramic artist who obviously adores the square. I have yet to purchase any of his work, but I still hover over his website like a buzzard. Most of his tiles are square, yet very complex and textural.

I am off to see where the square takes me. Or where I take the square. Back to square one. I really do not want to reinvent the wheel. I doubt that I can reinvent the squre. I'm going to work "inside the box" for now.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Apology to Readers (?)

I do apologize to my readers (if indeed you are there). I have been dull. I have been lazy. I have been in a slump. Literally. I need to stand up straight and get going.

I think part of my problem is a result of reading other blogs. I see such magnificent work and read such uplifting posts -- yet I feel worse. I am not jolly jolly jolly. I am not a whirlwind of creativity. I need to accept this (for now, anyway) and stand up straight and get going.

When I do not feel productive, I do not feel happy. When I am "just" doodling and experimenting I feel bad. Outside of extensive therapy, I don't know how to get past this.

Shown above are some doodles. I have no plan for these doodles. Will I make them stamps, will I make them quilts, will I just turn the page in my sketchbook and forget about them? I am thinking about simplifying my work (even more) and starting fresh. I know some readers may be thinking, "How could she get more simple?"

I have been fantasizing about being a master quilt artist. I just purchased Masters - Art Quilts by Lark Books. Such beautiful and meaningful work inside. I am on page 18. HA HA HA HA HA. Just kidding. Perhaps I will be in the 42nd edition one day. I do understand these things do not happen overnight. Years and years of work and exploration go into this. Yet right now, I feel I must go backwards before I can go forwards. I must play with circles and squares. It does not feel right for me to set afire Tyvek, apply 10,000 beads, or dye cotton with far-flung monks. I will do small things.

What do readers look for in a blog? My goal is to get things off my chest (otherwise known as bitching and complaining), tell a funny (or probably not so funny) story, encourage other artists, make some new friends, share information (when I have it), etc. Does anyone want to read a "one hundred things about me" list? Remember, you do not even have to like my work to comment.

I am sending out a portfolio this week to a somewhat local gallery. I think it looks great. I think my work will complement the other work in the gallery. Let's see what happens.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Incredible, Ridiculous, Astounding

So, I've got creator's block again. (That is not the incredible part).

This morning I "worked' in the studio for an hour. I moved a few pieces of fabric around and then I paced. I tried a new piece, but it actually disgusted me. So I left.

I had to visit the cabinet man this morning and check on the shelves that are possibly to be delivered next week. YAY! That only took a few minutes so I went into the bookstore across the street.

I purchased two magazines. One, Elle Decor, is always inspirational and my subscription had run out. The other, Ornament, seemed mighty inspiration this month. I got home, flipped through them quickly and I determined that I would subscribe to both.

Funny thing, though. No inserts. No subscription cards. In either magazine. (That is the incredible part.) What is the world coming to?

Is that freaky or what?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

This piece is O'Keefe Country. Currently for sale on my website. This is one of those pieces that I would love to use as an example when somebody asks "How long did that take to make?" Then I could say "six months." Then they would say "Wow!" Sorry for the teeny photo. I kept requesting a large photo. Blogger kept giving me this bitty thing.

I had the pieces laid out for 2 months. Finally, I stitched it together. Then it sat for 2 months while I tried to decide what type of beading to use. I kept asking myself what else was necessary. Then I sandwich quilted the pieces. Then it sat for 2 more months. I decided to keep the quilting and beading simple.

I attemped some fabric beads. I liked the process, yet added some gloss medium to the beads to keep them from fraying and give the piece additional texture. I then decided one of the pieces needed additional stamping, and, terrified of destroying the piece, I added some spiky blue leaves.

Then the darn thing took 2 weeks to name. My hubby was in a hurry to get it on the website (as with all pieces) and wanted a name. I couldn't give it to him. So he attempted to name the piece. Usually this gets me going, as his idea of a name and my idea of a name are completely different.

At six months to complete, this thing should cost a fortune. As for the next piece I would like to finish, I expect completion in eight months after initial layout.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Collecting Colors

When in doubt, play. A certain teal fabric had been sitting on my table for months. I had attemped to use it in a commission, but it had been eliminated. I think its time has come. But perhaps after a little alteration.

One of the fabrics I had been playing with had somewhat of a seaweed print. I traced the print, altered it considerably, and carved a stamp. Then I carved a smaller, less complex stamp, then I carved an even smaller, much less complex stamp. Then I stamped.

What will come of any of this? Right now it is a mere collection. Possibly not a lively enough collection. But I do like the subdued colors for a change. I feel a sea theme coming on.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Easy Does It

As I mentioned below, I have been hung up. Stuck. Lost. Not working. Desperately seeking new ideas.

I have perused my collection of fiber art books. I have searched websites. I have doodled. I have stared off into space.

There is a great deal of complex fiber art out there. You will find some on my blog links list. I love it all. Yet when I think I will take the route of others by using intricate stitching or layers and layers of painting, I become so overwhelmed I can do nothing.

I have seen juried show opportunities that demand certain themes, complex and potentially dangerous methods, innovation, and I become so overwhelmed I can do nothing.

I read blogs that have dozens of posts for each comment, have dazzling photos of works in galleries, show extensive listings of where the artists' work has been published, and, once again, I become so overwhelmed I can do nothing.

So I tried doing nothing and found it frustrating. My newest, most innovative, extreme, trend-setting idea is to "create" the most simple things. How about circles? With holes in them? I think its a fine idea. Been done many, many times. Nothing wrong with that. Could squares be next?

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Hung Up

I just returned from a trip to Altoona, PA, where I have hung 15 pieces at the Quaint Corner. The Quaint Corner is a combination children's museum, art gallery, teaching space for arts and yoga, and apparently all-around gathering place. The director for the museum is Emily Dimov-Gottshall, an artist herself.

As can be interpreted by the photo, the museum is in a large Victorian home, embarking on a new phase in its architectural career.

It has been two years since I have had an exhibit & over one year since my work has been shown outside of my home. I have done little to pursue exhibiting anywhere, choosing instead to build my website, blog and Ebay and Etsy stores. I do plan on entering a couple of shows in the next several months & will select some small galleries to send my portfolio out to (guess I'll have to update that).

I have been a bit hung up lately. I did the small series entitled Spice Route. Yesterday I finished (I think) a commission. I took several breaks from the commission to brainstorm on some new ideas, but, well, got hung up. Now since my pieces are hung up at the Quaint Corner, and the commission is done (I think), I cannot come up with new ideas. No new inspiration. No old inspiration. My sparse sketchbook seems to be mocking me. I've had a few days of experimentation, but now my trashcan is full of failed experiments. Even color is proving to be elusive. Oranges are leaving me uninspired. I'm reluctant to even take a peek at my studio today.

Tomorrow is another day. I'll trudge upstairs and see what awaits me. Perhaps I shall play with some SIMPLE shapes and SIMPLE ideas and see what happens.