Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Slice O' My Life: What's in the mail today?

Hmm, let's see, "What is in the mail today?" I ask myself as I pull alongside my mailbox in my van on the way to pick up my boys from school. Sometimes it is a glossy magazine that I can't wait to leaf through and permit myself to do so at the red light (if it is a felting magazine, some swerving may occur). Sometimes it is a plain white envelope that looks too much like a Visa statement to warrant my attention. Today, I took a look at what I received and recognized it is a perfect snapshot of where I am at.

I remember a time, not so long ago, when it was unusual for me to even receive mail. Maybe a birthday card from my aunt or a solicitation of donation from Greenpeace. Now I know that at least 50% of what is in that green mailbox has my name on it..even sometimes "Andrea Graham-Feltmaker" as if my craft is an extension of me, which, incidentally, it is.

Today I find:
1.) A postcard from Jean Hicks (with a little personal note) inviting me to attend the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft exhibition (Jean will be in booth #319, if you can make it)
2.) A "thank you, but no thank you" letter from the Niche Awards (oh, well..a shot in the dark considering I have no "production" work)
3.) A request to participate in a fundraiser "The Great Furniture Revival" for the Andy Fund (for children with cancer) to give life to an old piece of furniture using art.
4.) A CD if images from curator Gail Perrone of my past group show in Colorado
5.) A letter from the Embroiderers Association inviting me to teach next summer.
6.) Organic Gardening Magazine- a magazine that I aspire to actually one day read and put in practice.
7.) A catalogue from a supplier for my other business that I am not even going to open, but will pass on to the new owner (yet to be determined)

What this all says to me is that it is clear that my art life is not something I could ever deny. I wonder why I am forever seeking outside confirmation that this is so? It took a mail box full of art related correspondence today to affirm "Hey, you are an artist!". I suppose it is normal to have insecurities, especially when the nature of our business is being vulnerable and allowing our soul to be viewed by the public on a daily basis. Now, speaking of denial, I think that white envelope got left in the van. I'll bring it in tomorrow.

Visit my site www.andrea-graham.com

Monday, October 26, 2009

Penguin Killer

I was running late today which meant there was no time for a shower before leaving the house. I was still wearing my PJ's and slippers and the youngest had breakfast on the road, truth be told.

This meant that when I returned home I had time to let the shower run long and hot. No rush. Lots of steam. The boys, if witnessing, would accuse me of being a penguin killer with all the fresh, precious water that was streaming from the shower head and down the drain. Long, hot showers cleanse more than the skin. All cares, thoughts of growing "to do" lists, and occasional salty tears merge with each water drop, spill over shoulders and swirl like a tiny hurricane at our toes. Running late has it's advantages.... as long as you are not a penguin, that is.

Visit my site www.andrea-graham.com

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Shifting Gears

After cruising around the last several months with my standard transmission on cruise control, it is now time to start shifting. All the teaching from the last year had been set long before and I have drifted from place to place meeting wonderful people and teaching fun things. Now, with exhibitions ahead, it is time to take control and take the long winding road inside my head and see what comes of it through my hands.

My work for a solo exhibition must be done by the end of February and I am also part of 2 group shows in the same time frame. I am not sure what work will go were as I am also waiting to hear about 2 (3?) other juried exhibition's. All this with the holidays coming and a busy time for my other business...the business I am getting ready to sell, which complicates things further! Of course, the 3 boys and the rest of life occurring simultaneously.

I am setting boundaries and budgeting my time, guarding my home/studio space carefully. No visitors/shoppers and only one day per week in town for business matters. I anticipate lots of bumps in the road, a pothole or two, and days I may be stuck in neutral, but I am moving forward.

Visit my site www.andrea-graham.com

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fiber Dynamics with Christine White

YES! I am back. I really did have the intention of posting while I was at Chris White's taking my (invitational) Advanced Felting Lab, but I was so immersed in the experience day and night, I really don't know where the time went. Long days in the studio exploring different fibres and listening to the wool. Fiber Dynamics is a term Chris uses to "...describe the change in position and spatial relationship of fibres during the feltmaking process." Such a mystery continues to unfold under our hands as we felt. I think so many of us have not considered how we can tune in and use our observations to create the best felt we can . I have set a standard for myself and felt that something was missing...I was missing a piece of a on-going puzzle and I needed to find it before I could advance. I have a need to have a greater understanding of how to listen to my wool , have a "dialogue"and make observations to acheive the best felt I can create. I am just beginning to understand and Chris has allowed this monumental change in the road possible. It is like she has held my hand and shown me the path of knowledge in this medium that I personally need to follow. The creative aspect, the art aspect, will come. I would like to know that centuries from now, perhaps my felt may be around as an example of felt in our time. Chris has worked for a long time to learn what she has and I am so happy, honoured and humbled to follow...

Visit my site www.andrea-graham.com

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Road to Happy (ness)

If only it were this easy! Today I am split in several directions. I am thinking about: packing and getting ready for Massachusetts, wondering if I lay out a scarf in the next few hours if I can get it done to take, planning my day on Tuesday since tomorrow is a holiday (Canadian Thanksgiving) and hoping I can get out of town by noon with all that I need to get done and making sure I spend some quality time with my boys (all of them) before I go. None of which is going to get done with me sitting here! I will check back with you and let you know if I have found the road to happiness on the google map, in the meantime!
Visit my site www.andrea-graham.com

Friday, October 9, 2009

On the Road Again

After a busy weekend of taking kids here and there, Canadian Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday, and trying to cram in making another scarf to take, I am off to Massachusetts to visit my beautiful friend, Chris White, author of Uniquely Felt. I am spending the last of my grant from the Ontario Arts Council and taking Chris' "Felting Lab". I will spend 4 days up close and personal with lots of wool and taking a structured scientific approach in the creation of felt with Chris' guidance. I am so, so ready for this and find that I am ready to really deepen my understanding of the process and result and challenge myself in whatever way I can.

I have a submission to put together before I leave and I will take a couple of scarves for Chris' gallery shop at New England Felting Supply I have another entry to put together as soon as I return...then work for the galleries and my show...The timing for this lab is so perfect, I have a tear in my eye. To have all that I have worked so hard for in my heart, and head, and fingertips ready to turn inward in my studio is such a gift.

Visit my site www.andrea-graham.com

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Toronto: Cashmere, people watching and personal safety

Hey! Just noticed this is my 101th post. How is that possible? Dunno!

Yesterday, which you already know, I was in Toronto. What a city Toronto is! Ya' know, I have always thought of myself as a big city girl living in the county, but must admit feeling out of my element yesterday. I was in an unfamiliar area and I really dislike the driving here and there and trying to find parking ($40 in parking yesterday!) and I am a scaredy cat for the subway unless I am with a seasoned subway traveler to hold my hand!

I arrived early and went to the art supply store (missed my package-already mailed), the guild shop (bought 2 pair earrings that I l-o-v-e) and then putzed around (regretting already being dressed for the evening wishing I had on my Chuck Taylors). I parked across from where the auction would be and started walking, knowing I would eventually find a Starbucks, which I did. I had a brewed bold, with more cream and sugar than I care to admit, and sat next to a very handsome gay couple talking on their smart phones of slate tile and early meetings, and looking jaunty with their Burberry scarves and distressed demin (faces-not distressed). I sat and sketched in my sketch book, people watched (without staring or I might get my ass kicked), eavesdropped on conversations and admired some great (and curious) fashion statements. Note to self: Feb. birthday, cashmere hoodie (yum)

My beautiful, supportive friend, Jen, has just moved to TO with her talented and beautiful daughters, Zoe and Max, and she met me at the Spark event. Lots of fab stuff. I bought raffle tickets and yet another pair of fabulous earrings and a piece I made that I could not let go. Great to see everyone. Back to Jen's to see the girls, have tea and headed home in the dark, dark night to arrive home in the wee hours only to wake a few hours later to make sub sandwiches. I can wear cashmere to make sandwiches, right?

Visit my site www.andrea-graham.com

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Toronto today

I head off to Toronto today as I have an opening and auction event for the Ontario Crafts Council. This will center around Art made by a group of us over the summer at "Spark" collaborative lockdown back in July (which seems an eternity ago!) I am really looing forward to seeing my fellow "sparks" and continuing collaboration in the future. I will get the boys to school and take the 2.5 hour drive in and make some stops at Above Ground Art Supply (they were suppossed to send me supplies last week that have not arrived, so need to...enquire)

I will also check out Romni Wools (of course!) and stop at the OCC Guild Shop to say "Hi" to manager Rob Ridgeway and see all the fabulous fine craft and maybe support a crafts person or 2 as much as my limited bank account will allow!

Tracy has completed my images from the farm installation shoot and I already have some publication interest. I have also just mapped out the hanging space for my March exhibit.91 feet of empty wall space is a bit daunting. Ablank slate, and an experienced and very competent curator, I might add will make this an exciting time for me. Fingers crossed for my exhibition grant. I will keep you posted.

Visit my site www.andrea-graham.com

Monday, October 5, 2009

FELT UNITED- "Harvest"

These are the 2 images I have seen so far from my shoot with Tracy Olan of Beautiful Day
Perhaps an explanation is in order...I have been working for some time now on organic form in my art that, to me, is much about the politics of food, the safety of food and the terrible things our consumer culture does to the environment.
For the International Day of Felt, the required colours to work in were red/orange/yellow. I decided to create and installation/performance piece for this day that would then also be part of my solo exhibtion in March. I am pictured harvesting my pods from the garden and collecting strange 'eggs' from the nests of hens as if I am simply doing this as a course of my daily rountine, as people who grow food do everyday. I think so few people think about if what we have done to our food on the inside was manifested in it's appearance, our food would not be something we would readily accept. Are we aware of what is grown right in to our pesticide laden foods? If you could see it, what would it all look like? I had a thought of me harvesting these in a haz-mat suit...overstating the issue. I don't know.
Thanks to Rick and Janet (and the "girls") of Cedarstone Acres
and Frank the Farmer and keeper of beautiful sheep for the use of their farms.
A very special Thanks to Tracy who can expect big things ahead. She has a fabulous eye.
Visit my site www.andrea-graham.com

Sunday, October 4, 2009

My Day...so far.

Gifts from Frank's garden.
My day began early for a dreary Sunday morning. It was one of those mornings I could have stayed cuddled under my down comforter, turning on my side lamp and reading for a couple of hours before being swept away back to dreamland. But the damp morning air met me full of anticipation for what the day would bring....

I met photographer Tracy Olan and her assisitant (who's name I can't recall, but was super wonderful!) at the farm of Janet and Rick. They photographed me collecting my strange dismorphic felted "eggs" in the chicken coop. The chickens were very cooperative with their confused expressions as the looked at the eggs... and me... and tipped their heads. There were moments of flapping wings in my hair and poop on my hands and gently encouraging clucking and pecking hens into places they did not know they wanted to go. We then went up the road to Frank's farm where I "planted" some of my felted pods and they captured me "harvesting" them with the backdrop of beautiful fall colours. Both of these were done in the colours for FeltUnited so will be submitted to the event. They will also become part of my exhibition that will take place at the John Parrott Gallery in Belleville in March.

The day is young, although I am thoroughly pooped. The plan is to spend the rest of the day on work to send out to some galleries, a gift for a very special friend, or just some reflection on the day and a few hours with my sketch book...or perhaps I will pick up where I left off this morning with my comforter, lamp, book...zzzzzzz....

Visit my site www.andrea-graham.com

time to relax

time to relax
Liberatio Captivus