Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Emperor's New Clothes

The above illustration is used with permission from the talented artist Ashley Smith .

I have been thinking about honesty. Honestly, I have. Am I the only one who has noticed that there is a lot of not-so-great felt work (and other craft) out there that people ooo and ahh over?
it leaves me confused!

I so often see work on-line that people have offered comments of support and encouragement but there is very little kind, constructive critique or discussion. It is not always wanted, mind you, so we need to tread lightly!

While it is nice to offer someone positive comments when they are truly genuine, it is a disservice to tell the emperor (or empress!) that their work is wonderful when you are not so sure it is. I am finding that legitimate praise is meaning less and less because it is offered so freely, with complete abandon! When I was a kid, 100% got a "good", maybe a smiley stamp or a (watch out!), check mark. I have typed and retyped this entry wondering what my point is...and I am not quite sure! This being said...I am grateful for all of your comments and your sincerity and you can know when I dish out a "good job" to you it comes complete with a smiley face :o) and it is from my heart.

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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Delivered!! (art that is)

Oh,, I did not really "deliiiiiver" in the true sense, but I did deliver 15 pieces of fine felted art to the John M. Parrott Gallery. That counts for something, I would say. No? The labour pains were less intense over a much longer period, but there are some parallels. Work with me.

I went to load up and realized I had not sewn on a hanging device. So, last minute stitching and pack up the van. I had my lists with images and hanging instructions so the curator and hanger would know how I wanted them hung. I was greeted at the back door by Bernard, the man who will hang the show according to the curators placement. When I began explaining things, he shared the number of shows and pieces he has hung to date and I thought, Okay, I'll shut-up now!

The Curator, Susan Holland, and I unpacked and did some placement and I am very excited to see it all hung. Of course, I have been staring at these pieces for months, but seeing Susan see them all for the first time was fun. She promised she would stop giggling by show time. I am looking forward to next week when Tracy Olan will set up lights and peer through her lense with her artists eye and capture the pieces in print-worthy glory.

Now, I have an empty nest, the "kids" are away at the gallery, hanging out with the rowdy crowd, not doubt....they say the pod does not fall too far from the tree (is that what they say?)

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Been Shopping!

I have all 15 pieces labled, numbered, bubble wrapped where appropriate, ready to go to the gallery. Gallery, you ask? What gallery? Oh, do you have a show coming up, Andrea? Geez, you will all be happy when it is done. Then I can ramble on about something else! Delivery Saturday, photographer, Tracy Olan, shoots the show the next week and I will keep you informed about the possibility of a small catalogue. If you go to her site, make sure you turn on your sound.

On the drive home today, I was filled with the prospect of getting to play with some ideas. I do need to start preparing for my bags class at New England Felting Supply and I can "play" with some ideas while I do so, my samples will just end up...bags! I also bought an awesome, artsy Nanette Lapore dress (above) to wear to my opening and the take to Pittsburgh and want to make something special to go with it. I get all excited thinking about it! On that note...I am going to do some paper work so tomorrow I can play!

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Last One..."Precarious"

I had a student in my studio yesterday so this had to wait to be felted today. It was taken on my orange studio wall and it is still drying, so a proper image will be taken later!

I'm pretty pleased. I love working with the C-1/pelsull, although it is a bit hard on the hands when hand rubbing for long periods. I am bitter-sweet about having the work done for my show (to be delivered next Saturday). Am I happy? what would I have done differently? All steps in my arts career and part of the learning process. I still have a couple of hanging devices to complete, pieces to pack and label, but the "art" part is done. Excited about what will come next....
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Thursday, February 18, 2010


I have been working on the master list for the gallery show and really needed one more piece. I always have a sketch book handy and draw anytime I am waiting to meet a friend, pick up get the picture. These pieces evolved over the last few days. I like the long one, but was told it looked like a bowling alley (nix that one)

I began the day making some prefelt with c-1/pelsull and the "tails". Then I began the layout, some of which will be done after it is wet out.

To make the most efficient use of my hand-made prefelt, I cut paper templates and arranged them before cutting the felt. I was really excited to finish the layout, but, as I said, I will wet-out mid way. I do need to get this felted enough tomorrow that it can be moved as I have to get my studio set up and ready for a student on Saturday! I actuall thought today was Wednesday instead of Thursday...that's what happens when I get totally emersed! I'll keep you posted (of course!)

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

What's New

Ghost Tree (detail)...

Once Upon a Pine (detail)....

Kyle the Plumber and my new sinks!
Now, of course, I am down to the wire for my show making last minute pieces to hang. So, it makes complete sense that now I have my studio tied up getting sinks put in. Not normally a big deal, but my studio being in the basement means pumps and pipes and vents and other plumbing related thingys, to use a technical term. I have a student on the weekend and another next week and it will be nice to be all set up although I would prefer a little more room to move around the table. That will happen when my store is sold...knocking on wood for end of June.
I know I am a thrill a minute tonight, but it's just been one of those days...too much to do and it is all waiting for me!

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

From Inspiration to Interpretation

Above is a work by Hundertwasser

As I was preparing work and sketches for my upcoming show, I was aware that my "grey" work just did not stand out enough on the gallery's grey linen walls. While this upcoming gallery has excellent lighting, I decided some colour was in order! As I made the sculptural pieces, I really liked the playful nature that colour added to the form. One evening, I was looking through some art books, as I often do, and got lost in Hundertwasser. I love his use of vibrant colour and the graphic nature and dark outlines that remind me of paintings I have at home by a local artist (Mark Graham- no relation even though he has the same name as my husband!)

In the piece above, I really liked the form to the left; a spine/tree-like form. I first made a 2d piece in yellow and teal and red. While I like it, I was not "wowed" and it will not be in my show. However......

....this was the next progression, which I do like. It is difficult to see here, but the teal has a dark outline. I incorporated 3d elements. This spine like form, as I felted it looked pleasing horizontal and vertical reminding me of things growing from the ground. I thought of Hunderwassers colour and the simple line drawings of Picasso, where a few sparse lines coming together suddenly appear to be a human figure. I though of cave drawings and primitive landscapes and how we may be faced with a sparse barren "Modern Landscape" given the environment situation (fitting nicely with the theme of my show)...Now.... this. The spine/tree like lines- vertical and horizontal... anomalous colour as in my sculptures. The blocked out edge seemed a natural continuation of the "horizon" and I enjoyed the challenge of laying out in this shape and maintaining that line and clean edge. The dark outline is seen in work by the wonderful, Karoliina Arvillommi, and given her use of vibrant colours, one may make an association with her work, although in this case, the composition all began with Hundertwasser, seeing lines in an other's work and through exploration and playing, finding a new interpretation.

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Sunday, February 7, 2010

Hanging devices

Hanging option. Described below in post...


3D option...

Modern Landscape II and III waiting for their hanging devices.

One of the big steps in getting work ready for the gallery are the hanging logistics. You can create wonderful felted work, but if it does not hang properly, it can look really amateur. I have seen it...Heck, I have done it.

Even before I begin to felt a piece, I often consider how am I going to hang this as I may structure it in a way based on this, especially the 3d work. I also sometimes consider photography as, if you cannot take a good image, it is very difficult for a piece to find it's place in a juried show or to be included on my website if it cannot be truly represented in an image.

Sometimes it is trail and error and, whenever possible, I try to hang the piece for several days to make sure that how it hangs does not change as gravity sets in over time! The large "Modern Landscape" I recently completed has an "arm" on the bottom of each side that I was concerned might flip a bit once hung. It was steamed completely flat and hung right away and weeks later, still looks good. I need to know that when in the gallery for a month it will look the same as when it was hung on day one. For my pods, wire is sewn on and each hung to make sure they hang exactly as desired and with little margin for someone to hang it incorrectly, as I rarely get to hang my own work.
Once my 3 large pods were complete, I noted that if I were to expect to put the price on the I require to pay for my time and materials (see previous post on the real cost of work), A set of 3 hooks from the garden centre would not do! I have commissioned a local artist/blacksmith to create a custom hanging device. I akin it to proper framing. It can be costly, you must build it in the cost, but it elevates the work to where it needs to be rather that devaluing it. Must be done here.
As a member of a fibre group that includes art quilt makers with flawless work that hangs from the wall poker straight, I recognized I need to strive for this myself. You can still have an organic edge, but it must hang cleanly.
This is my system:
1.) Sew on velcro. Stitch 2 inch wide "velour" part across the back top edge, pinning in place so it is stitched on completely flat.
2.) staple the "crochet" part to a 2 inch wide piece of wood
3.) screw 2 little eye hooks on the top edge of the wood.
4.) put the 2 together. They stay this way, do not take apart, roll up for transport.
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Thursday, February 4, 2010

New Work

Finish... (that's a sunbeam not the design, FYI) "Modern Landscape II and III"


These are 2 pieces for my show and will hang with the larger long green one. I decided with all the sculptural work, some 2D work was needed. The colour will go nicely with the pods and other coloured pieces. It is funny to think I have been largely in neutrals for so long. I Love neutrals, but I found at another show my work disappeared into the wall. This gallery has excellent lighting, so less of an issue, but I will be so curious to see these pieces hanging in the gallery. My hands are, once again, bleeding, so a day of rest/sketching/layout is ahead. I also have things to do away from the studio tomorrow and family festivites this weekend. It may be a good time to clean up the studio, put away some things and have a fresh start. That always feels so good!

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Monday, February 1, 2010

Getting Closer!

Preparing for a show means much more than making a whole bunch of art. I have:

filled out contracts, signed grant forms, tracked expenses, ordered invitations (three times!), measured, photographed, printed pictures, attached hanging devices and typed out detailed hanging instructions. In the image you see some of the pieces ready for transport to to gallery. I still need to find some cheap bubble wrap for some pieces (you would think I would know where to find that). I am trying to get them ready as I go because all of this takes longer than one thinks and I want to avoid all the last minute rushing around. I do have 2 more pieces laid out and hope to get them well underway today. So far just the first layer is down. I am running low on my favorite finn wool, so I am being cautious with it's use! This first layer is my "filler" Harrisville wool and there will be Finn and other wools on top. I will show when the layout is done!! Oh, I get excited at the prospect of it!

I am procrastiating on my Lark books entry as I cannot decide what to submitt. I know we can submitt 5 images, so I should not have such a tough time. The process is a bit daunting with all the image restrictions, but I know myself well enough that I will regret it if I do not enter! Anyway, to the studio!

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time to relax

time to relax
Liberatio Captivus