Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Look at me! I am in Wisconsin!

Oh, aren't I cute? This is me in Wisconsin. Oh, how I love cheese!

Okay...I have not had any cheese yet, however Pat Sparks made me a fabulous ham and avocado sandwich for lunch! I am fading fast as I have been up since 3:00 a.m. I am ready for dinner and a glass of red wine and off to sleep. We will leave early tomorrow to Madison to get set up and get teaching! I begin with 2 days of felted figures and will post images as they become available tomorrow if I can get a wifi connection.

Pat and I are surfing the net and finding some very cool needle felted tapestries from the czech. republic and Israel. Fascinating. Pat is such a well fo knowledge!! She's a well OF knowledge too!
Visit my site www.andrea-graham.com

Sunday, July 26, 2009


This is one of the pieces that will be at the auction that I started at Spark and just finished... Glass by Mark Lewis of Beaver Valley Glassworks.

This is me all packed up.
I am sure I have forgotten something.

No, really...I am actually packing very light as I shipped all the materials for the workshops ahead to help limit customs issues. One suitcase and my computer bag and I am good to go. I have not even packed yet, truth be told, but have it all set aside and ready. 3 workshops at the Midwest Felters Symposium in 5 days and then back home. Felted figures, pictorial felting, a lecture and dimensional landscapes. Nothing too complicated- all beginner classes but it will be lots of fun to connect with some felting friends and meet some new ones, too.

The boys will miss me (and I them) but we will all hopefully be too busy to notice too much. My mother has taken some time off work to be with the boys and I hope that once I return we can do some fun things before I leave again mid-August for the Felters Fling and a workshop with Karoliina Arvilommi from Finland. See you in Wisconsin!

Visit my site www.andrea-graham.com

Friday, July 24, 2009

Final day of "Spark"

Well, I have not been so great at keeping you all posted, have I?! We have had a great few days and late nights. My hands are devoid of any surface ridges and I am running on caffeine and artist adrenaline...the kind that keeps your head spinning and wakes you in the middle of the night with ideas swimming about. Spark, indeed. The internet connection in the studio (a fabulous barn converted into a glass blowing studio) is touch and go so posting pictures has been slow. People have been exploring precious metal clay, flame work and glass blowing. I. of course, have been felting (and felting and felting) and some others have been as well. Actually, I think almost everyone has done some felting. We have one more full day and I am hoping to get an early start and work on some blown glass "seeds" to make a coats for them in a grouping or " seed colony". I am attempting to attach an image of a pod I created over a cool blown glass form Mark made (our kind host!) It is filled with Lentils and wool and encased in felt a la Andrea. The Lentils where Jim's idea...truly an artistic collaboration. The only piece I have made this trip that I am happy with! Davoud has devised a create way to felt (he was so excited about his "machine") and Jim and Caitlin loom over the loom! I made some felted pieces for some copper clay jewelry made by talented Shannon.. more later...off to F-E-L-T.
Visit my site www.andrea-graham.com

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Gettin' Ready

Okay...Feeling much better about heading out of town next week!! All ready for SPARK... 1 studio, 12 makers, 72 hours of creative collaboration with a group of fine craftspersons from many disciplines. Check out the link and you can go to the websites of the other artists. The event will them evolve into an exhibtion and auction in October. Can't wait to see what we create together! We will head to the glass blowing studio first (Jane and I - and Fish, the pottery dog-are the "we") and have a BBQ with beverages (thanks to one of our sponsors, the Wellington Brewery) with all the other participants of "Spark". We are staying in a lovely place. I had anticipated sleeping in sleeping bags on a barn floor, so my expectations were low! It's going to be a great few days with some amazing creative energy.

I have everything ready for the following week in Wisconsin at the Midwest felters Symposium other than completeing my powerpoint presentation. I am speaking to an audience that has probably already seen images of wool fibres under the miscroscope and the first felts found in ancient tombs, so I have to tweek my existing presentation. I will probably focus on my work and other arists who have inspired me. Once I have about 100 images filed in, the rest is just talking, which comes easy for me.

The guilt and angst will creep in and out, no doubt. But, I will muscle through and be in the moment wherever I am. This is all we can do, No?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

If only there were two of me...

Diane Arbus‘Identical twins, Roselle, N.J.,’1967

Oh, If only there were two of me, or more than two of me, I could do it all.
I could be the best Mom, the best wife, the best daughter, artist and financial contributor. I have spent the last few days agonizing over my recent and upcoming committments, juggling childcare.

Feeling out of control is not a good thing and too many irons in the fire just is not working. I am so blessed right now with tremendous opportunites and saying "No" to things that I have spent years laying the groundwork for seems counter productive, but it will have to be done. The travel all over every month must be limited.

I will be at the artists lockdown event "Spark" which, while I am having a difficult time justifying, especially after having childcare issues. I am looking forward to it, if I can just get there, emerse myself in the experience, and get home ready to head to Wisconsin for a week to teach. I thank my wonderful husband for the gentle push and support that I needed today and my Mom for giving me permission to listen to my heart.

I then have an amazing gift of a huge (to me, anyway!) grant to fund courses that take me away for 2 weeks in August (and 5 days again in October). The Mommy in me aches at the thought, but knowing that my Mom will be available for my boys means everything to me. After a private teaching engagement in Quebec in September, I am going to take some time to reflect on the direction of my professional artist career and what area I would like to focus on.

Perhaps I will hole up in my basement studio and crank out scarves (not likely!), but I know that time away from my boys is difficult for me. When they are babies, there is this belief that being away gets easier, but as time passes you realize how short our time on earth with our children really is and I want to hang on to everyday with my wonderful boys.

Visit my site www.andrea-graham.com

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Happy Dance

It's a good day. My fibre arts group came and we had a wonderful presentation by Toronto artist, Sandy Groeber (currently an MFA student at OCAD). She shared her sketches on wood (a departure from her figurative paintings) and fine hand carved sculptures inspired by ribs, structure, canoes, so much more, and gave us some direction for inspiration. A sincere "Thank You" to Sandy and for Hana for inviting her. Truly food for thought and connections that I think will reach beyond today. Speaking of food, I am dining on left-over potluck goodies (yum-curried deviled eggs!)
I also received word that my piece "Adaptations" has been juried into stage I of the "Out of the Box" exhibition in Cheongju, South Korea to take place at the Cheongju Biennale in September. While it is truly and honour to get to this stage, I really do hope it makes it to the next stage. The challenge, at this point, is having my piece arrive within their required window on the other side of the planet for stage II. I am hopeing if they have asked to have it sent that they will keep it (naive, perhaps, but one can hope!)

Visit my site www.andrea-graham.com


Ready for "Stitching Day"

I am chair of a group called the Kingston Fibre Artists. There are 16 members. All fabulous artists and a huge personal inspiration to me. An amazing group of women that I am so lucky to be part of. Today we are having a potluck "Stitching day" here at my place. Some just chat, some stitch, but we always enjoy good food and good company. Today we have a guest coming to talk about "creating a series".

I have the house all tidy so am showing you my dining/living area. I am standing in the kitchen. I love the open concept. You can see my desk to the left. This is where I am sitting on my computer now. I created this space so I could be where all the action is for my boys who are always running about. This is a bot of a curse as my computer is just too accessible at times. The desk top is glass over top of a mosaic I made based on an old batik pattern my mother had. The shelves have a few things that have special meaning and on the walls by my desk, a few small paintings by local artists. The large colourful painting on the main wall in the living room is by an artist, Mark Graham. Same name as my husband, coincidentally! This was commissioned in the memory of my best friend who died in Dec. 2001.
Visit my site www.andrea-graham.com

Monday, July 13, 2009

Scale Reference

I decideded to show you how the pin looks on the jacket so you get an idea of scale. I love big and funky. This was done on some hot pink net organza and I I love the raw edges. I am going to fray them out a little more. The wool was some red c-1/pelsull and some silk fibres that got eaten up in the fulling process, a bit of merino, some yarns and locks and, of course, the beads and metal washers. The jacket is short and fitted with a 3/4 sleeve (which I usually hate) and has a great fit, which you cannot see here.
Not sure what is in the cards for today...post office to mail a custom order ring to someone at the Ontario Crafts Council and back to here to see what the boys would like to do today! Oh, yes...and a powerpoint presentation to prepare for the Midwest Felters Symposium...

Visit my site www.andrea-graham.com

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Funky pins

Four fun-ky pins to dress up some great jackets I got at a killer sale. I wear a generally neutral (black and grey) wardrobe and have a few special pieces and dress them up will funky jewelry either made by me or by other favorite artists. I made these last night and today and I will be taking the necklace I posted a while back to be strung properly tomorrow. I will have lots of fun things to wear when I teach/travel/etc. They are really fun. I thought about putting them on etsy, but think I will keep 'em!

Visit my site www.andrea-graham.com

Monday, July 6, 2009

Red. Blood. Life

I was looking back at my recent work and see it has been all about red. What is it about RED and what it says on a truly "cellular" level. So primal. Evokes so many emotions. Such deep connotation, and so beautiful. The above image looks like lucious candy, red dried apricots, rose petals, open vessels with subtle folds and curves. They are, of course, red blood cells. Fundamental to life. Circulating with every unconcious beat of our heart as we live our complicated lives. Simple beauty in colour and form. Painfully beautiful.

Visit my site www.andrea-graham.com

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Momma's got a Brand New Bag

More like a tote, really. It is just the right size for my day planner and sketch book and other things I need on the go. There is a convenient pocket for keys and cell phone so no digging around. The bag is about 13 inches wide and about 16 inches tall so it is larger than it may seem in the images. The handles are made from fine leather and are really quite nice for a change as I usually do felted handles. Just fun to switch it up a little. Well, me making a bag is switching it up a little...not my usual! I really enjoy working with the c-1 Pelsull...
Playtime was fun...although anytime felting feels like playtime...on to other things!
Visit my site www.andrea-graham.com

Friday, July 3, 2009

Bag Layout

Last night I decided to layout a bag for myself using a beautiful batt of C-1 Pelsull from New England Felting Supply. The colour is a fabulous rich brick red. The green is some Shetland, we think, wool that Chris White dyed in a vivid green. It made a wonderful bright sample. I know the red underneath will change it a bit, but it will be nice with the red,
in any case. The bag will be a simple rectangle with rounded bottom corners, pocket inside, and I have a very nice set of black leather handles that I bought recently. I have ordered my materials for the Midwest event and have been working on some planning for that. I have my work ready to go to Colorado and a piece to work on for a juried exhibtion. Won't be long and I am headed for "Lockdown". Accomodations will be rustic, inspiration plentiful...
Visit my site www.andrea-graham.com

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Artists Collaborative Lockdown

15 Craftspeople x 3days= Infinite possibilities
Sound like fun??! I have been invited by the Ontario Crafts Council to be one of the artists this year participating in the "artists lockdown". We begin on July 21st and I will be blogging about the event as it is happening and taking pictures of the craziness. The work we create (a series of one-of-a-kind collaborations in several craft media) will then be exhibited at the Ontario Crafts Council Gallery and auctioned to support the OCC programming schedule. The exhibtion will be over the International Day of Felt so I am hoping to create at least one piece in the themed colours (as well as the other work I plan on for Felt United- agricultural installations). The lockdown should be interesting and I am sure it will push me in many ways. I have asked other artists to create work for me to incorporate into my own, but I have never been forced to share an artistic vision. My friend, Jane, has been invited as well so at least there will be a familiar presence! I will keep you posted!

Today, I am looking through sketch books, books, magazines, photographs and gathering inspiration for my next pieces. I may actually create a textural 2D piece. I have not created a wall piece in ages. Maybe not...I also feel like making myself a cute, funky bag to go with some great leather handles I bought. I also have paperwork, 3 boys to feed and amuse and other things to do, but that doesn't sound like near as much fun! (except the boys part...they are almost always fun)

Visit my site www.andrea-graham.com

time to relax

time to relax
Liberatio Captivus