I bought the new Aranzi Aronzo book and can't wait to make "The Kidnapper."
It's up to me to embellish it, and at the moment, I'm leaning toward embroidery. Maybe some french knot flowers with running stitch stems and leaves?
The fabric I used for the dress is called "Magic Rabbits" and was designed by Ruth B. McDowell for Andover Fabrics. This was a fun project - I hope it fits!
This week, my sister and I knit oven mitts using a pattern from Beverly Galeskas' book Felted Knits. Before felting, the mitts are extra, extra large.
To felt your knitted items, place it into an old pillowcase and secure the pillowcase with a rubber band. Put the pillowcase into the washing machine and set the water temperature to 'hot' with a 'cold' rinse.
We pulled on the mitts here and there to adjust the shape, then laid them flat to dry with plastic bags inside them to prevent the fibers from sticking together. Don't be afraid to pull and stretch your project into the look you are aiming for!
Remember that your yarn must be 100% wool or it will not felt completely. Darker colors will felt better than lighter ones. We had excellent results knitting with Mauch Chunky yarn.
It was that easy. It took an afternoon to knit the mitt and an hour to felt it. They work well on hot cookie sheets and we love the way they look!
On the way home from Chicago, I picked up a magazine called Mental Floss to read on the plane. It was advertised as the place where "Knowledge Junkies Get Their Fix." I dunno about that..... My issue had two full pages of little known facts about Elvis.
But the MF ad for bookcrossing.com caught my eye. Book crossing is the practice of leaving a book in a public place in the hopes that others will pick it up, read it, and then do likewise.
The website is a free, electronic registry that allows leavers to track the whereabouts of their publicly abandoned books. Or, if you are interested in finding a book, you can log on to the website to look for clues.
Only 14 books registered in Montana, but that's probably going to change..........
What follows are my thoughts about art as communication. That is, communication among and between multiple and differing levels of human awareness within the artist. The residue, or evidence, of these relationships is artwork. Art as communication cannot not communicate.
Art is Communication (Knowledge)
Art communicates, sends a message, anticipates a dialogue, and encourages discussion. The engagement with artwork, both for the originator (production artist), and subsequent viewers (consumer artists), creates automatic trances, simulates induction to thinking and emotional states, and presents opportunities for the integration of varied awarnesses.
Everyone Speaks Art Everyday (Comprehension)
Examples of everyday communication through art is easily found in art museums; confessionals of implicit conversations. In addition, art as communication is also found everywhere else, everyday, by everyone. For example, in 1959 my mother arranged three sofas in the living room, integrating them into her sense of balance, beauty and design. (I thought the space was ridiculously overfilled and detested the mismatch of colors and styles.) Or, when my grandmother, knitting bedroom slippers in a trance-like state conversed and watched TV. Was she caught in a never ending world view of "on one hand and then on the other?" (I recall my satisfying touch of the sculptural texture of perfect, perfect blue rows.) Or another example, my father's chaotically arranged tool shed. It was an assemblage of farming tools communicating the lack of time, or just the right amount of time, or possibly happiness, or despair. (I found the dark shed as upsetting as mom's living room.)
In all, these everyday examples represent an unintentional participation in learning a language, found in the communication of art in my cultural environment. I do not know the internal conversations of my mother, father, or grandmother, as they were never spoken. While these internal conversations remain forever unarticulated, my memory can immediately visit my own interior dialogues as confirmed by sentences found in parenthesis. I was a consumer artist learning language.
Unheard Art (Application)
Art is my narrative, my story, over my life span. I study art as a foriegn language (AFL) and find that it has two separate, yet nearly simultaneous natures; a speaking nature and a listening nature.
As in listening to a couple, a threesome, a family, in regard to an event, each voice must ultimately be heard and understood to result in integration and settlement. In art this mediating process is often lost as the artist reveals little about their personal experience as it interfaces with producing artwork. I, as a consuming artist, distracted by the artwork often fail to hear the personal story or even seek the deeper conversations of the artist. Thoughtlessly, egotistically, I make the artwork about me and habitually keep even that conversation hidden. The result is artwork that is seen and not heard. The fullness of creativity, all that it could teach is lost, as if a language not worthy of practice or use.
When I do listen to the artful conversations within I learn the linguistics of my own language and culture. Within my internal studio I can notice the nearly undetectable accent of where I have come from. Could it be that my artwork is a reflection of cadence, tone, volume, timbre, of a child learning English and Art (AFL) from ancestors speaking German, Bohemian, and Art?
What remains essential is that I continuously practice art daily to perfect the voice, the language, the communication within. In prace this means going about making another collage, or congregating plants in the garden, or putting my accordion under the expression of continuous, interior, discussion. Aristotel probably said, a number of times differently, "The soul never thinks without a mental image." We do not relate to ourselves, or to another without an image. Embedded in this image is language.
Learning Art (Analysis)
I am learning that art is not only the language of the unconscious but also the conscious. That it may be difficult, maybe impossible, to determine the speaking source of as well as the listening source of art. Nonetheless, communication transpires. It may be that the artist that is best able to take us into the language of art is the seasoned, intuitive, artist that for years has become so practiced in these conversations that articulation of the process is quite easy. Opportunities for articulation of experience, punctuation of trauma, grammar of understanding, inflection of colorful desire, shapely need, and density of want, are placed before us. Whether I want to listen to my own vocalizations or not, my art reveals my inner relational universe.
I Know Nothing about the World of Art (Synthesis)
In reviewing art as communication, as a language equivalent to Spanish, Chinese or Hmong, I arrive with some refreshing questions:
Art then is a voice, an informant that enriches the day-to-day experience of living. Practiced art invites a sustained understanding of linguistic nuances of my internal, diverse, simple, and complex self.
by Guest Blogger Debra Tomson Williams
Blam. The first thing I see at the Fiberart International 2007 show is a she. A white mannequin in full wedding garb, and looking lovely. Step up and tiny red text appears. Bridezilla is her name, and all of her private, non-pure thoughts are printed on her white dress. This impressive visual contradiction is the work of Noel Palomo-Lovinski.
Beyond her, a repetitive design of circles catches my eye. Up close, I see that it is Mi-Kyoung Lee's creation. Five thousand black rubber bands hanging on 2,500 tiny nails - an oval the size of arms extending. The materials surprised me. Later, when I read the definition of fiber art on the wall, I learned that it is "work that is made of flexible, linear materials and/or constructed using textile technique such as stitching, weaving, dyeing, embroidering, etc." A broad definition.
Adjacent to rubber bands is Wall of Vessels by Joan Webster-Vore. Small forms are cradled by - and cling to - curled found sticks. They're hung on lines of monofilament in vertical rows, like dreamcatchers - or suncatchers. They look more like tiny boats that you lower into the ocean to collect water than vessels designed to float or nest on air, as the branches suggest. The shadows are seductive.
Since mixed media and conceptual work tends to draw me in, I almost missed some of the more seemingly traditional work. But I retraced my path through the gallery, and two pieces caught my eye.
The first is a digital print on cotton by Joan Dreyer, called Tree Loss #2. Hundreds of sets of stitched score marks - sets of five, four up-and-down and one diagonal. They swarm around the tree like countless bees that have gone without nectar - their nicotine - for too long. It is at least four feet high.
The other piece that I planted myself in front of for awhile was Rustbelt Garden by Camilla Brent Pearce. Antique kimono silk and a vintage chiffon scarf with velvet embossing. The rust and transfer-dyed fabric are layered and stitched together with white silk thread. It is beautiful. I almost didn't notice how it was hung: five sewing needles, evenly spaced along the top. Perfect, I thought. Conceptually complete.
In my car, I contemplated. The presence of the hands behind the work was palpable. The energy and love invested in these pieces is on display in the gallery.
My next stop was Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Fiberart International's second venue. Also inspiring and many favorites there. Marita Lappalainen's The Tradition of Karelia features fish scales and organza, quilt pattern and straight stitch. Unscented...marvelous! Sea Anenome by Yvonne Wakabayashi looks like the world's most luxurious sleeping/shower cap. It's made of Japanese Gunma silk. Netherlandish artist Tilleke Schwarz's Re Do looks like a freehand embroidery-n-bitch sampler. I love it!
Emma Barletta's Bury Me Gently, Adrienne Sloan's Cost of War, and Dorie Millerson's Attachments II are a bit somber. Barletta's piece is a handmade, crocheted throw. Its bright colors and unusual shape combinations drew me in, but when I read the title I started to process it physically. Adrienne's piece is timely and tense: small, similar, crocheted bodies lie limply on their sides - pinned to the wall, and part of "the count." Dorie's cotton thread figurative work is a delicate web, a depiction of a woman trying to hold on to what (or whom) she's created.
Much to my delight, I found a sculpture by Josef Bajus on display at the Brew House's "Vessel" exhibit. TwoKitties' writer Heidi and I met at one of his fiber art workshops at Haystack. The title of this piece was "Deadly Wave (or We Are on the Same Boat)." Screen-printed, cut-and-stitched felt becomes a boat in traction on a newspaper-like sea.
Fiberart International 2007 doesn't blink, spin, project, or animate, and I can't help but find it refreshing. It is silences, processes, text, tradition, impact and beckoning. It isn't the sort of show that happens TO you. It invites, like a fragrant garden. It is an intimate, inspiring experience in public spaces. I wouldn't have absorbed half of what the show had to offer if you hadn't asked me to share it. Thanks, Heidi. Full size photos of the artwork can be viewed at Heidi's Fiberart International photo album.
The Fiberart International 2007 show is in Pittsburgh until August 19. The show is at multiple venues, including The Society for Contemporary Craft, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, and The Brew House. Debra Tomson Williams is a mixed-media artist living and working in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her work was featured on Two Kitties recent post.
I leave on Saturday for the big museums conference, part of my real job as an arts consultant. I'll be busy all weekend going to sessions and checking out all the booths. I need to look for stuff to write about for an upcoming article in the magazine.
I'm thinking of writing about the various ways in which new technologies are capturing visitor experiences at museums, recording their feedback and their stories and hopefully looping all that information back to management to inform how museums curate and present programs. But I'll see what people are talking about in the sessions and then decide.
The other article I'd like to write, never to be published, would be about museum conference fashion - the diversity of choice and the messages communicated or not communicated by your clothes. Somewhere in there, I'm still the cultural anthropologist I thought I'd be.It's really quite a fascinating crowd - from New York Prada to New Mexico hippie - and its always agonizing to pack my bag for this event.
While I'm away, three guest bloggers will post on topics close to my heart. The artist Debra Tomson Williams will review the Fiberart International show currently taking place in Pittsburgh. Writer and artist William Goodman will present a three part essay that will ask you consider what you would learn if you would only listen to art, not just look at it. And finally, the artist William "Sandy" Overbey writes a personal narrative about the aesthetics of adornment.
I'll be back with my own fluff on Friday, May 18th.
This summer, I'm going to try to do some things I've never done before: For once in my life, I want to run a mile; I'd like to build a website for my arts consulting business; and, now that I'm a person with an art studio, I'd like to submit some artwork to a couple of shows.
I'm thinking about a couple of interesting calls that came across my desk this morning and I thought I'd share with Two Kitties readers:
"The Five Senses" - Deadline: July 1, 2007. The Northbrook Public Library in Northbrook, IL announces a call for "The Five Senses." Works selected for the show will be on display in the library September 28-October 29-2007. $2000 1st Place Purchase and three other prizes, including viewer's choice. The exhibition is open to any artist 18 years or older working in 2D, 3D, spoken word or film art. $25 for 3 entries. Download the prospectus and application form at www.northbrook.info/lib_5senses.php. Questions? Contact Sue Conat/Donna Hicks at email@example.com or call (847) 272-6224 x 361.
Brand 36: Works on Paper "Secrets and Confessions" - Deadline: June 27, 2007. Associates of the Brand Library and Art Center announce a call to artists for "Secrets and Confessions", held October 6 - November 16, 2007 at the Brand Library Art Galleries in Glendale, California. Open to artists residing in the United States. Entries must be original work recently executed and not previously shown at the Brand Library Art Galleries. $4000 in prizes. Juror: Lita Albuquerque. $20 first image, $10 each additional with 3 maximum. For details visit http://www.brand-arts.org/Brand36page.htm Questions? Contact Irena Raulinaitis at firstname.lastname@example.org (please state topic in subject line) or call (818)-244-0654.
Every morning, I walk a lush green path to my art studio. It meanders next to the creek and what I find on my walk is different every day. Today I came upon this little moss kingdom, its miniature soldiers waving dozens of tiny flags at me to draw my attention to their secret forest cause.
A couple of weeks ago, a friend sent me links to the website of artist Carin Mincemoyer. My backyard moss kingdom reminded me her piece - Model Landscape No. 48. I love the layers underneath the little world she created and how some of her materials are alive and some are very, very dead.
Carin is currently artist-in-residence at the world famous Bemis Center in Omaha, Nebraska. There are incredible things happening at Bemis, and you should put it on your once-in-a-lifetime "must see" list - alongside Roden Crater.
Until then, walk through Carin's model landscapes on her website and think hard about "little worlds." I want to put my chin down on the table in front of every one of them and stare inside the plastic, looking for the slightest movement beneath the green.
I spent much of the weekend down with a bad cold. Had a long nap Saturday afternoon and when I woke, I found my sweet, sweet husband beavering away on the floor in my art studio! We put down the rest of the bamboo together, then Mike cut baseboards and filled the old cabin's many holes with foam.
Mike's a great guy, in case you don't know him! He understands the connection between creativity and happiness in my life and always encourages me to pursue my work. I would have taken the old cabin "as is", bats and all, but he's helped me make it better than I could have imagined on my own. So, thanks, Mike, you're the best!!
I spent my rainy Thursday afternoon blowing off all my responsibilities to sew Lotta Jansdotter's "All Day Tote." It's a little floppy for such a big bag. I'm convinced they must have stuffed it tight to get it ready for the book's photo shoot. Usually bags that size have some kind of plastic web to reinforce the bottom so it will stand up.
And anyway, I like the bag. Moda's "Urban Chix" fabric works well on the inside and I think you could argue that it could be reversible. There is a pocket for a thermos, a slot for magazines, and plenty of room for knitting or library books. I just may keep it for my commute to the art studio.
It's pouring here - oh wait, now it's snowing - and I woke up grumpy and fuzzy-headed. I had a late night of trying to weave too big straps through the dark tunnels of a denim drawstring handbag I designed.
Note to self: Creativity doesn't always work as well in sewing as it does in collage. Next time? Follow the pattern, Heidi.
Here's a list of some of the movies I'll be watching this month during Montana's spring downpours:
Last week I asked for comments on a post about The Secret. The responses were nothing short of heroic. I realize now that it was totally unfair to ask you to consider the problems of vacuuming and serious illness in the same paragraph. I apologize. It won't happen again.
But your comments DID help me. I've been asking myself why I continue to procrastinate on tasks big and small. Especially those that will connect me to some of my larger goals life - making art, rewarding work, writing, spiritual connection, abs of steel - just to name a few. So I guess I'm figuring out what I need to do.
Using a random number generator online, I picked three winners and one "ultimate loser" from the batch of comments I received. The winners are: Simi, Wilsonian and DebraT. The "ultimate loser", the person who gets a prize just for playing the game, is Teent.
A very special thanks to all of you! For Trade4, JulieW and Simi for giving me practical advice about how to get things done. I took all of your suggestions and got my art studio cleaned out in one afternoon! To DebraT for suggesting I keep a list of truths about myself on the fridge that I can consult when I'm having a bad day. I spent a meditative day sewing and thinking about what those truths might be. I'm still working on it. To Wilsonian, Teent and Jeff for reminding me that there is a greater truth out there than my own.
But maybe Alison summarized it best when she said, "Basically, Heidi, you just need to suck it up and quit whining."