October is a busy month

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October is one of my favorite months. And this one is no exception. I can open my studio windows to get an occasional breeze. The gingko trees are about to turn into yellow clouds. And the studio is awash in preparations. It’s a month of anticipation and excitement.

I’m preparing class materials for two workshops at Arrowmont this month. A powerpoint show, class notes, exercise materials and a few surprises. First I’ll be attending a workshop by Beatrice Coron on MASKING AND REVEALING: THE WILD SIDE OF PAPER CUTTING for a week and then I teach my FOLLOW THE THREAD workshop the week after that. Two full weeks in the mountains playing at art. What could be better than that?

 The workshops at Arrowmont allow for everyone to spread out and stretch their creative minds.

The workshops at Arrowmont allow for everyone to spread out and stretch their creative minds.

While I am at Arrowmont The World of Threads Festival, a contemporary fibre and textile art exhibit opens in Canada. It features 303 artworks by 65 artists from Canada, Denmark, England, Hungary, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Norway, Russia and the USA. I was chosen as one of the artists with a solo show in the corridor galleries. I won’t be able to attend the opening but I will see the show in November.

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Everything I know about this show makes it a must see event. If you are anywhere near Oakville (a short drive from Toronto) please plan on attending. Click here to learn more about it.

Or choose this link to download a complete brochure.

Opening day: Sat. Oct. 20, 2018 1:00 – 3:30 pm.

World of Threads Festival

Queen Elizabeth Park Community & Cultural Centre
2302 Bridge Road Oakville, Ontario, Canada.  

Dates: Sat. Oct. 13 - Sun. Nov. 25, 2018
Hours: Mon. – Sat. 10:00 am – 6:00 pm.  Sun. 12:00 – 5:00 pm
Admission: FREE

19 days, 1800 miles, countless thoughts

Road trip. A respite from habit. A chance to see new. We chose to travel the back roads between big cities. Louisville, Cincinnati, Morgantown, Gettysburg, Washington DC, Staunton, Roanoke, Knoxville, Nashville, home. Whew! Museums to nature trails to museums. It was delightful, nourishing and, in some cases, revelatory. 

What I saw: Rural American towns are dying. Many are already dead, supplanted by roadside marquees of chain restaurants. Sometimes it's just a McDonald's sometimes it's a nest of brand names. None serve food that delights me. But there are exceptions. Gettysburg is a delightful town full of history. Staunton, Virginia is soaked in Shakespeare and Mozart. And Kathy's Diner in Staunton has the best cole slaw that side of the Mississippi.

 Staunton Virginia had a delightful mix of art, music and shops. They are clearly devoted to preserving their history and promoting the arts.

Staunton Virginia had a delightful mix of art, music and shops. They are clearly devoted to preserving their history and promoting the arts.

We spent 5 days in DC walking through museums. The Renwick had an exhibit titled No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man which started off our day with feelings of elation, concern, drama and humor. I wanted to take this particular costume and use it as my avatar. The exhibit gave me an inkling of what it must be like to party like there is no tomorrow in the middle of the Nevada desert. 

The National Portrait Gallery made me want to draw, paint and sculpt portraits. Their presentation of historical figures as well as current heroes gives you a glimpse into our better selves. The Hirshhorn had Mark Bradford interpreting the Pickett's Charge Cyclorama in collage. Having just seen the original painting in the Gettysburg museum I was over-awed by Bradford's interpretation.  The work wrapped the entire gallery in layers and layers of paper. See this link to get a hint of the enormity of the work. 

And what could be better than walking into a full gallery of Calder's work. And Modigliani, Pollack and Rothko. The National Gallery of Art had them all. I walked until my toes bled. 

Jackson Pollack, detail

Modigliani, detail

I spent a lot of time looking at patterns and details. These are the ingredients of my art. A little pavement here, a little texture there.  All anchored by an underlying current. 

And now, back to work. 

Emigrating to Norway

Glyphs is on a journey. Maybe lost, maybe stored in a warehouse in Florida, maybe in a customs house in Norway. Maybe hanging in someone's home between here and there. I shipped it on December 10, 2017 along with a few little scraps of raw materials for my friend Kerri.

And now it's lost.

The USPS doesn't really have an answer for me about where it might be. Their tracking is limited to this: The package arrived safely in Miami on December 11 -- not quite what I expected from a tracking process. Our local post office is no help.

I have shipped many pieces to many places. I've never had a piece disappear so thoroughly before. It's a little like watching a child go off to college. Though I am reassured by many folks telling me it may yet turn up this is a real test of letting go for me.

It seems ironic that the news is filled with the idea of immigrating Norwegians when my piece is emigrating to Norway. I hope it learns a new language soon.

taming the bulge

It happens every time I leave the studio for a trip. My head gets filled with images, words, doubts, wishes and ideas. Then I get back to the studio. And freeze.

TMI

My brain is like a whirlpool.

So it was no surprise yesterday when I decided to pursue one of my ideas....in a rush of optimism.....and the medium was not cooperating. Who knew that not basting a piece of linen to a frothy assortment of batting would result in chaos as I stitched inward on a spiral?

I did. I knew it. I was just too impatient to take the time for prep.

I spent the afternoon hand basting the bulgy layers together resulting in a brain-like texture similar to the confusion in my mind.

Spending the afternoon tucking mass into ripples with a basting needle gave me time to reflect. And that reminded me that I chose this medium because of that meditative quality, that time out of space contemplation, the quiet of one stitch at a time.

Seen at the Frankfurt airport

I'll use this image of a dandelion that I shot in Frankfurt as a reminder. Life is fast and can be full of hard surfaces. Some ideas lead to spent flower heads. Others shine brilliantly in the sun. Both are worthwhile and require wild abandon and dogged pursuit.

I didn't take notes

Traveling for a month dislodges old habits. I didn't bookmark articles to read later. I didn't create rough drafts of journal posts. I didn't balance my checkbook (with the disastrous result of forgetting to pay our mortgage). I didn't wake up with a to-do list. I didn't work in the garden. I didn't exercise. I didn't draw.

I did take pictures. A paltry record of abundant input.

And I wonder when some of these images will start to show up in my work.

And I found new (to me) artists to explore.

Mosaic from St. Peter's cathedral in Rome.

Images and ideas travelled through my mind with a flutter of recognition:

Trees planted too close stretch skyward and are turned to pulp.

Trees bent with the wind have deep roots.

We visited a churchyard where the 16th century cathedral was blown down by the wind. The bell tower remained reminding everyone how tenuous life can be.

Spires point to infinity.

Antennas reach to capture waves.

Sculptures of saints often have pillows of stone.

Time is both vertical and horizontal.

Does any of it make sense?