Archive for the ‘Other Fiber Art’ Category

Just as I head off to Italy (today!) for vacation #2, I finished my first piece based on our trip to South Africa last month.

I made the linoleum blocks based on my quick sketches in the back of the open “safari-mobile” in which we traversed the bushvelt, on the lookout for the “Big 5.” This is a term widely used in Africa.  It’s origin was in hunting.  The “Big 5” were the hardest and most dangerous animals to hunt: Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Rhino and Cape Buffalo. Now their images grace the South African currency (with Nelson Mandela on the obverse.) And seeing them is a benchmark of success for your photo safari.

We didn’t get to see a Leopard.  They are the one animal which has the ability to cross in and out of the huge, fenced reserve.  Nor the Cape Buffalo.  It is nocturnal, and our brief 3 day visit did not include night time drives.

The Rhino here is a White Rhinoceros. They feed on grass, and their heads are always down.  The Black Rhino feeds on leaves of trees, and their heads are up.  They are more dangerous, as they can charge any time for virtually no reason.  Both are endangered. They are killed for their horn which is mistakenly said to have aphrodisiac powers.

This little piece will be a donation to the “Spotlight” Auction which is an annual tradition at the SAQA (Studio Art Quilts Associates) conference. This year it is in Lincoln, NE, and I will be attending.

my-first-safari-6-x-8

I’ve been asked to teach a class on hand embroidery.  Although I started embroidery at my grandmother’s knee at about age 8, I am no expert. So, I must learn. Thank goodness for Pinterest.

First I needed to straighten out my own collection of embroidery floss. I didn’t take a “before” picture, but, just think: “spaghetti.” I have a collection of 6 strand “regular” embroidery floss and #5 Pearl cotton (the non-divisible kind). I recently added a #8 Pearl Cotton to my collection, which is finer, and useful sometimes.

With the 6 strand floss, it’s OK to keep it wound in the two paper bands it comes in, as long as you carefully find the correct end to pull out. If you have the wrong end, it will tangle right away. So – let that go, and find the other end.  If you do have the right end, a length will pull out easily.

With the #5 Pearl, I can find no other solution that re-winding it right away onto cardboard bobbins. (unless it is the kind that comes in sort of a ball.  You can leave it wound on that ball.)

You can buy the bobbins (they’re cheap), or you can make your own out of pressed cardboard (the kind cereal boxes are made of.)

cards

The cardboard bobbins are also useful to organize and keep neat your 2-strands or 3-strands of the 6 strand floss that you have separated, but not used yet.

OK, so now my thread is organized.

box-1 box-2

I’ve been using embroidery as a surface decoration in my art quilts for some time.

steel-valley-16-5x13-small

But here is a piece I’m working on now that is all about embroidery.

hummingbirds

I also will make a sampler piece with about 6 basic stitches.  And borrow heavily from Pinterest to give my students ideas: feminist or subversive sayings, “Zenbroidery” using a pen and ink abstract drawing as basis, botanicals – there are a lot of ways to go with this.

I’ll post more in the future as this develops.

Any ideas you may have are welcome!

I’m supposed to be packing up my art quilts for the Mt. Gretna Art fair this weekend.

But I can’t stop myself. I’ve been making needle felted brooches for a few days to take and sell, and I keep saying to myself: “Just one more!”

I bought a Needle Punch Accessory Kit for my Bernina sewing machine, and I love it!  I’ve done needle felting for years, with a little five-needle hand punch.  But using the speed of the sewing machine is a game changer.

I have a good supply of vintage silk sari strips, which shimmer in these little compositions.  A friend gave me some wonderfully smooth wool suit samples.  The blacks and grays make great backgrounds for the vibrant colors.  Plus I have plenty of wool yarn, and many colors of felt pieces. I drawn upon my bead supply for the final touches.

I even forgot that my 11 year old art student was coming today. So — I explained the process to her, and soon she was needle felting a nice little landscape. She looked so grown up sitting at that machine! She took to it like a duck to water.

I visited the opening of Fiberart International 2016 and the all-day Fiberart Forum in Pittsburgh. The Forum is an all day, intensive walk through of the show, with artists speaking about their pieces, anchored by a key note speaker.

This is an exhibition of contemporary fiber art, shown both at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts and the Society for Contemporary Craft, from May 6 – August 21, 2016.

Full disclosure: this tri-annual show was the single most important inspiration for me to become a fiber artist. I visited the show in 2004 and 2007 in wordless wonder. I longed to be able to create like these artists did, but this dream seemed far out of reach compared to the reality of my life at the time.

Then, after a moment of profound enlightenment, I changed my life and began a now 10-year quest to become a fiber artist.

By 2009 that road had taken me to membership in the Fiberarts Guild of Pittsburgh, the wonderful organization that organizes this show every three years. So returning to “the Burgh” meant reuniting with my dear friends in the FGP as well.

The keynote speaker this year was juror Tali Weinberg, Executive Director of the Textile Society of America, and her topic was “Engaging Injustice Through Textiles.” She caught my attention by making the observation that textiles are interwoven with the history of injustice.  Think: enslaved labor picking cotton. Think: labor exploitation in textile plants.  Consider Ghandi’s movement to create hand woven products in India to counter British dumping of cheap manufactured cotton goods.

Her words echoed in my mind viewing the Best in Show: “THIS Revolution Will Not Be Televised: #13 Protest Series,” by Penny Mateer in collaboration with Martha Wasik. It is a giant (94” x 77”) quilt of the images of 80 unarmed persons of color who have been shot by the police since 1999. The border lists their names, ages, where they were from, and the date of their deaths.

Some other pieces that particularly intrigued me were “Snellandschap Luchtweg (Fast Landscape Airway) by Pauline MM Nijenhuis from the Netherlands. It is a canvas painted then hand stitched, and a statement on time – the fast and slow of it.

Susan Kathleen Doyle’s “Columbia” is a two-piece dress made from an encyclopedia her husband discarded. The muted colors and workmanship mesmerized me, plus I’ve a special interest in the use of old paper.

Margery Amdur’s “Amass #6” transforms cut cosmetic sponges with ink, gouache, pastel pigment into a lush landscape that you want to visually dive into and not leave.

“Mending, Roe v Wade,” is a small but powerful piece by Lori Zimmerman that gives visual, visceral representation to the erosion of the 1973 Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal.

Patricia Kennedy-Zafred has now made five “Tagged” pieces.  Each one, for me, has had special, personal meaning (my childhood best friend’s father was one of the 120,000 persons of Japanese heritage forced into internment camps under FDR’s Executive Order 9066).  This one, Patty says, is the best. She has learned more about the people pictured, and been able to add more information to the tags.

Finally, Emily Jan of Canada delighted me with her flying wolf adorned with peacock feathers. “Ragnarök” refers to the Norse Twilight of the Gods. A mysterious and beautiful world indeed.

I’ve been thinking about Amy Orr’s art. I had credit cards on my mind, as one more set arrived in the mail with “the chip” embedded. Woo-hoo!
But that means recycling the old one, and for me that means mailing it off to Amy Orr.
I’ve been sending her my old credit cards for years, and she makes beautiful art from them.
http://amyorr.net/Amy Orr coverage

I wear my gold star burst pin I bought from her years ago, and always get compliments. No, I explain, I didn’t make it — Amy Orr did. Keep going, Amy.  I’ll stick to the cloth, papers, plastics and found objects, and you make beauty out of credit cards!

I am pleased to be in a small group show at Some Things Looming Gallery, opening April 16, 2016, from 1-4 PM.

The artists are Lisa Jean Allswede, Marie Bergstedt, Kachina Martin and Martha Ressler

 

Source: ART CLOTH NORTH II

I follow my friend Maria Shell, and highly recommend her blog, talesofastitcher.com

What a great group show in Alaska!