Sunday, July 20, 2014

Dallas Art District Outing

We had a super fun time Friday night! Benjamin was off at taekwondo camp, so Jeff, Claire and I ventured out to a restaurant in the Arts District that I've been wanting to try. Tei-An is always on the "best of Dallas" lists. It was great! The ramen is the house specialty, but I think I'd order more of the other small plates next time. Especially the white seaweed salad. (!!!) There is a classy rooftop patio that Claire and I explored after the meal.

Then we ventured to the Dallas Museum of Art for their Late Nights event that happens every third Friday. The Museum was full of activities and people! It's so exciting to see all kinds of people of all different ages and backgrounds, in groups, in pairs, in families crawling all over our beautiful museum.

There are tons of activities through the night, including this project in the Center for Creative Connections.

An image of a painting from the museum was printed out, cut into squares and then the squares were distributed to be recreated by museum guests. Then the painted squares were reassembled on the big bulletin board in the studio. Above: the state of the project when we came into the studio.

Here's Claire working on her square.

Here's my finished square and the small image I had to copy.

Here's the painting almost finished when we left.

 And here is the original hanging in the gallery. Such a super cool project!

Then we went on to the main event of the evening... a murder mystery game. Here's the outline of the body found in the China Gallery.

This huge event included actors placed all through the museum, dressed as various works of art, acting as suspects in the murder. We (and hundreds of other museum goers) explored the museum, met and interrogated the suspects and examined potential murder weapons, which were actual museum artifacts in cases in galleries throughout the whole museum. We were able to determine the location of the murder and the proper suspect, but we couldn't quite identify the proper weapon. But, it was so fun!

What a great way to get people deeply engaged in exploring the museum.

It was a beautiful night.


This blog has been a journal of my life for nearly ten years. Since it's a collection of experiences, it would be incomplete without a post about my father's recent, unexpected death. I really don't have many words to share. I am full of emotions and they change day to day. Here are some memories and pictures of the people I love.

My parents were on a biking trip in Ohio at the end of June. This is one of the last pictures of my dad. He fell off his bike and scraped up his leg, but kept biking and enjoying the experience. As he always did.

You can read his obituary here.

We had a reception at Mom and Dad's church the day before the memorial service. My dad loved to collect hats. We each chose one to wear that afternoon.

My parents live in a house right on Lake Ontario. Here is our family after the memorial. 

My mom with her three grand children.

My super cute nephew, Kristofer.

A bagpiper played When the Saints Go Marching In and Amazing Grace at the service.

My dad was known for his ridiculously colorful and fun socks. Several of the acolytes at the service, and many of the priests in attendance, wore colorful socks.

Sunset over the lake during our time with my mom.

I cleaned out several baskets of papers and stuff in the office to help my mom organize the mountain of paperwork she'd have to deal with. I found this collection of embroidery floss and an old political button.
My dad loved needlepoint and created many beautiful pieces over the years and he was a dedicated democrat and social activist. We share that.

We missed sharing ice cream with dad.

The arch entering the prayer garden behind mom and dad's church...

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Art Assignment: Off

I love the new Art Assignment. You know The Art Assignment, right?

The Art Assignment is a weekly video series produced by PBS Digital Studios, hosted by curator Sarah Urist Green and author/vlogger John Green. We take you around the U.S. to meet artists and solicit assignments from them that we can all complete. Watch our videos and then post your responses with #theartassignment.

The most current assignment is called Off. You can watch the excellent video introducing the assignment here. You'll also learn a bit of art history, meet a cool artist, get inspired to think about things differently and see John and Sarah Green in the snow.

I hope you'll watch the video to get the whole concept behind the assignment otherwise you won't really get it, but here's my contribution.

Pink blooms, leaves, sky.

Front door with forsythia wreath.

Lantern and tin bird.

Studio table and design wall.

I am most inspired by what Lauren Zoll had to say about being off. Feeling off. Turning off.

"When something is off, it can still have the potential to be productive, to do something different. When you're off, other ideas might come to you... and those are important moments to have."

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Dallas Design District Outing

I dragged my kids to the Design District in downtown Dallas last week. Mostly, I really wanted to see a small show called "Saddle Stitch" by Lisa Kokin at the Craighead Green Gallery. I'm so glad I went!

Lisa's show was promoted in newsletters from the Dallas Area Fiber Artists and Quilters Guild of Dallas. She describes the show as "new horticultural works made from pulp cowboy novels and new lace cowboys." Yes! It's fiber art!

I wasn't sure if photos were allowed, so I just snapped these two.

There are much better pictures on Lisa's site. I really love all her work. I'm drawn to her three dimensional pieces, especially those incorporating text. I had a nice chat with the gallery manager about introducing Lisa to the Dallas market and educating people about fiber.

Since I have several drawers full of vintage linens, I've been inspired to think of new ways to create with them.

Lion outside the gallery. Roar!

Throw back political street art?

We ventured down the street of the "design district" to a few other galleries. It was Thursday late morning and no one was around.

I'm guessing the Design District is mostly visited by "designers" buying art, furniture and accessories for wealthy home owners. It feels a little cold and business oriented.

We strolled through Smink where I was happy to see two of Kathryn Clark's quilts from the Foreclosure Series. I remember reading about these quilts somewhere quite some time ago. It was cool to stumble upon them.

I love the grid structure, the ragged edges, the delicate stitches and the subtle-yet-provocative subject matter. You can see the quilt above is framed, which I'm not sure I love. I think of fiber as so essentially tactile, and putting it behind glass obscures the ability to appreciate the tactile nature. 

I found this odd, "actual textile"  

I spoke briefly with someone at the gallery and I asked about those words. She rolled her eyes and said "You would not believe the questions we get. I've even had people ask if this is a print." What? I guess this is part of why some fiber artists (quilters) think their work is not appreciated or accepted in the fine art world. How could someone not see that the art is made from fabric stitched together? I just don't get it.

Then we ventured around the bend to the Dallas Contemporary. We were greeted by this awesome Shepard Fairey mural. This is a panoramic shot... so it's small on the blog. You should be able to click to make it bigger.

The Contemporary is huge. Warehouse-like. Cold. Overwhelming. Provocative. I'm glad we went, but I wasn't drawn in.

Here's a bit of the Richard Phillips exhibit, which includes a giant Mitt Romney portrait you can see through the archway.

We ended with lunch at the Meddlesome Moth, a trendy gastropub. Cool sign and ivy covered building. It was only ok. Maybe better for dinner with cocktails and my husband rather than lunch with the kids.

I follow lots of these galleries on Facebook, so I'll be eager to go see more shows in the future.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Five Projects: Review

On March 26, I wrote a blogpost about the "five projects" I wanted to complete before June 6. It felt like a large undertaking and I thought sharing it on my blog would keep me focused and push me toward success. 

It did! I am thrilled to say that all five projects are done! (Kind of. I did opt not to complete one, but replaced it with another.) What did I learn in the process?

I enjoy writing about my process. I ended up writing an additional 18 posts about my efforts. (You can read them all by clicking on the "five projects" tag from the list in the sidebar on the right.)

But, I only enjoy writing about the process when it's going well. When my Festival of Quilt Art piece stagnated, I didn't post about it for almost three weeks. 

Neighborhood, 35x30
Entered into Tactile Architecture special exhibit, rejected

It's ok to be rejected. I really like this quilt. I can think of lots of reasons why it wasn't accepted into this particular exhibit. I'm disappointed. I try not to feel defeated, rather I strive to continue to try to create quilts that fully express my vision. I'll enter it someplace else in the future. In the meantime, it's hanging in our dining room for us to enjoy.

Radiocarbon Dating: Oldest Living Tree, 48x24
Radiation Exhibit at European IRPA Congress

When I started the five projects endeavor, I thought I could teach myself to work on more than one project at a time. I can't. I work almost exclusively on one piece from start to finish before moving on to another. I guess I just have to be ok with that. It's good to settle into the reality of the creative process which is different for everyone.

Waning Crescent Mantra, 60x24
entered in the Dinner at Eight special exhibit Reflections, accepted

I have a pretty clear set of steps that I follow in creating my art quilts. After focusing on these five project so intently over the past several weeks, I think I can articulate that process pretty well. (I'll share that in another blog post.) Going forward, I may be able to identify (and avoid) problems in the creative process, but thinking about which steps might not have received the attention they needed.

Nightfall, 12x12
SAQA Auction 2014

I learned it's difficult create work to fit a theme. I struggled to find inspiration for the Radiation exhibit. I had intended to enter "Coming Up Roses." I decided not to enter mostly because of the time constraints, but also because I was not feeling particularly inspired by "roses." On the other hand, I think it's almost always possible to find some nugget of inspiration and I think it's ok to just go with that. In fact, I think it's good to be unpredictable and unexpected.

Festival of Quilt Art, detail
full image cannot be published

I learned -- or re-learned -- that creating art is work. There are times when it goes well and times when it's a struggle. It's important to feel comfortable with the struggle. Comfort within the discomfort. The more I create, the more familiar I am with the bumps and I'm learning how to avoid them. I'm also more familiar with the moments when everything works and I'm making note of how to recreate them in future works.

I think Waning Crescent Mediation is my favorite of the five projects. Which is yours?

Friday, June 13, 2014

The Last of the Five Projects: SAQA Auction

Yippee! I finished all five projects. I've been thinking about what I learned from this endeavor... but for now, let's just look at this last art quilt.

It's my 2014 SAQA Auction donation. Studio Art Quilt Associates holds an online auction every year and I'm always happy to donate.

This is Nightfall. It's 12x12 inches.

It was fun to use similar fabrics and shapes that I used in another of the "five projects" Waning Crescent Meditation.

These red leaves seemed a bit gutsy... totally outside of the rest of the color palette, but I think they really work.

Stitching, handwriting, wavy lines...

Those gumdrop shapes are stamped onto the fabric with acrylic paint and a rubber coaster.

Here's a close up of the moon. I posted the technique using fusible webbing and foil paper yesterday. I added a bit of matching stitching to emphasize the shape.

I'll tell you more about the auction when it rolls around in September. In the meantime, you can view all the quilts on the SAQA website. Or... my favorite way to view the donated quilts is on the SAQA Pinterest board. I've repinned some of my favorites from both 2013 and 2014 on this board.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Foil Paper Crescent

Mostly I'm finished with the "five projects." More on that later. Here's a little review of the process of creating my SAQA Auction quilt.

I finished some of the hand stitching. Before I finished my planned embroidery, I needed to add the crescent moon and some machine stitching.

I decided to use silver foil paper for the moon. Here you see the moon shape drawn on fusible webbing and the piece of silver foil paper I'll be using. Apparently I used it to foil an "S" on something in the past.

Here I've cut out the crescent and fused it to the quilt.

Here I've peeled off the release paper. You can haze of fusible there.

Now I've placed the foil paper over the crescent shaped fusible and iron. Then peel away the foil paper, leaving some foil fused to the crescent.

I'll show you the finished quilt tomorrow.