Archive for October, 2015

I visited the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore last weekend. For one thing it gave me a new appreciation of Visionary (AKA “Outsider”) art. The museum describes itself as the “official national museum for self-taught, intuitive artistry.  Since opening in 1995, the museum has sought to promote the recognition of intuitive, self-reliant, creative contribution. . . [the museum houses] wonders created by farmers, housewives, mechanics, retired folk, the disabled, the homeless, as well as the occasional neurosurgeon — all inspired by the fire within!”

I loved looking at the art, especially the fabric pieces, and art made from found objects.  There was a lot of that!

I bought a book in the shop called “Who’s your Dada — Redefining the the doll through mixed media,” by Linda and Opie O’Brien. It gave me some much needed insight into how to attach found objects, and spurred me to think about trying out something different with my stash. So far I’ve been using found objects as texture and interest in a piece, not trying to construct an object with them.

Here is my first piece, a fun one inspired by my friend who hangs her wash out to dry.

I’ll also include some other pictures from the museum.

Martha Ressler, Barb Hangs Out the Wash, fabric and found objects. 12 x 12", framed.

Martha Ressler, Barb Hangs Out the Wash, fabric and found objects. 12 x 12″, framed.

We actually got to meet Bob Benson, as he was at the museum. This is a small piece, about 12 x 12 inches.

We actually got to meet Bob Benson, as he was at the museum. This is a small piece, about 12 x 12 inches.

Part of the outdoor public art portion of the museum.

Part of the outdoor public art portion of the museum.

Gallery-A-Go-Go bus by Nancy Josephson

A charmingly obsessive bus, completely covered.  It is right outside the door of the museum.

A charmingly obsessive bus, completely covered. It is right outside the door of the museum.

Detail of Stegosaurus, by Leo Sewell, b. 1945.

Detail of Stegosaurus, by Leo Sewell, b. 1945.

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I received such a welcome email recently. It was one I had always wanted to get.

“Last year your unique ‘Off Season’ hung in the Hawk Mountain Visitors Center and later at Goggleworks in Reading, PA. Your work of art is one that has stuck with me and truly is one of a kind. Your entire quilt collection is quite interesting, in how you honor the art of quilting and create a fresh modern view. Curious as to whether or not “Off Season” remains available. Thanks again for sharing your work at Hawk Mountain and bringing the off season mountain to vibrant life.”

Don’t you wish that your art remained in someone’s mind for a year? I certainly have longed for such a response.

Of course I wrote the young gentleman back, saying that I still had the piece, and we arranged for him to visit my studio to see it.

He came, and bought it, after I made a small change in its presentation, mounting it on stretcher bars covered with linen.

The buyer is a volunteer at Hawk Mountain, a lover of nature, and a delightful human being.

He understood right away why I went to the trouble of making this image using plastic shopping bags, as a nod to the conservation efforts of Hawk Mountain.

I also contacted the art organization that organized the original show, Berks Art Alliance, and sent them a check for a percentage of the sale.  That’s only fair, as the buyer saw the work through their efforts.

off season off season detail3

On Art Teachers in-service day at GoggleWorks Center for the Arts this week, II taught two 50 minute workshops for Art Quilt fusing techniques.  I managed to explain what an Art Quilt is, demonstrate two techniques, and still give the participating teachers time to practice on their own, and come up with a small piece.

I worked hard on organizing my materials and what to say and do. I even practiced on my husband with a timer going.

I’m happy with how it all turned out.  See some pictures of my smarty arty teachers!

Art teacher showing her very artistic piece that she made in about 30 minutes, using heat activated fusing and fabrics.

Art teacher showing her very artistic piece that she made in about 30 minutes, using heat activated fusing and fabrics.

class 2

Two art teachers with their final products. It tickles me that people so often choose colors that they happen to be wearing. You like what you like!

class 3 class 4 Class 5 Class 6 Class 7

I was surprised and so honored to have my piece featured on the cover of the SAQA Journal (Studio Art Quilts Associates). I will be traveling to Houston October 30 to speak briefly about my work during the opening of Wild Fabrications.  The show will be held in conjunction with IQF, the International Quilt Festival, in Houston. I’ve never attended IQF and am thrilled to have the opportunity to do so.

This piece, Cat and Mouse Game, came together fairly quickly.  I made it specifically for Wild Fabrications. The prospectus challenged,  “Let your imagination run wild as you create interesting and unusual interpretations of animals using unexpected or unconventional materials and adornment, and/or unusual techniques.”

I tried to do that, using lottery tickets, discarded junk food boxes, and found objects.

Here is my artist’s statement:

Cat and Mouse Game

The head of a cat and the body of a mouse on a crazy, trashy background of used lottery tickets and junk food boxes. What fun! Wanna buy a lottery ticket anyone? More losing tickets for me to dumpster-dive for.

Materials: Basket, lids, other found objects, used lottery tickets and junk food boxes, material, thread, batting. Also painted fusible web and dimensional fabric paint.

Techniques: Dumpster diving. Collecting found objects. Glued, sewn, painted.
Anyway, here is Cat and Mouse Game, and the cover of the SAQA Journal, Fall, 2015.

Cover of SAQA Journal, Fall 2015, with Cat and Mouse Game by Martha Ressler

Cover of SAQA Journal, Fall 2015, with Cat and Mouse Game by Martha Ressler

Martha Ressler, Cat and Mouse Game, Detail

Martha Ressler, Cat and Mouse Game, Detail

cat and mouse game 20.5 x 28.5