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Odd Characters in the Studio

PaMdora Studio Leave a Comment

Mostly I work alone in my studio, but it often feels filled with lots of company because of the dress forms, toys and other odd characters I have hanging around. Yesterday I took this photo after wrapping up a day of quilting and had to laugh, because it looked like two headless woman and PaMdora watching over my work.

The hole above my quilting frame is my attempt this hot summer to improve the air-conditioning in my studio by cutting a hole through my photography wall and adding two fans:)

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Wait, I’m wrong. On closer look, one of the headless women has a very small head!

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Some people on my SAQA email list are talking about staying motivated when you hit a design block, and I was thinking how I try to make my studio a fun place to be. I try to tidy up between big projects, but still have toys, collections of vintage stuff, and left-over cutouts that sometimes I just play around with for the heck of it. Not really to make anything — it’s just sort of like having a ‘recess for the mind.’

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I Dream in Color

PaMdora Exhibitions, Yarn Bomb Leave a Comment

What a fun show! We did this last December at the Creamery Arts Center, and it was so successful that this year it became PoP ArT ReMiX2. As you can see, it’s a colorful exhibition that is sure to shake off the rainy day winter blues. The show will be up the whole month of December 2014 at the Creamery Art Center, 411 N Sherman Pkwy, Springfield, Missouri.

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Next to that is Darlene Prater’s colorful pug dog painting is my contribution is called “I Dream in Color.” She’s covered in knitted and crocheted yarns. The hair is crocheted curls of eyelash and bulky yarns.

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The table was an ugly old thing that I painted with gesso for a chalky look and then wrapped the legs with yarn. I’m kind of excited about this process and now am imagining all sorts of things I could paint and transform next.

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Happy Email and Pumpkin Cars

PaMdora Exhibitions 2 Comments

Although I wasn’t able to attend, the International Quilt Festival is happening this week in Houston. I did send a quilt – Prince Charming’s Shoe Sale. Patricia Kenndy-Zafred kindly send me a photo from Houston.

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The white ribbon is for Third Place in the Whimsical Quilts category. Patty’s quilt is across from mine in the Digital category.  She did better than me — she won a First Place in Digital Imagery with a silk-screened quilt! You can see her quilt “Shared Destiny”  her homepage and on the 2014 IQA  awards page at Quilts.org.

The award-winning quilts from IQA/Houston (which ends tomorrow) will be traveling to IQA /Chicago in March, IQA /Minneapolis next May, and to Quilt! Knit! Stitch! by IQA /Portland next August.

Looking at Patty’s website, I just realized we will also be in a couple of upcoming shows together – Quilt National 2015 in Athens, Ohio and Expressions in Equality at Visions Museum in San Diego in 2015. So it’s kind of cool that although, I can’t go all these places, my quilts can. And I can develop these long distance friendships!

Yesterday on Halloween I was looking at lots of creative pumpkin carvings. It reminded me that last spring when I made this quilt, I was thinking a lot about pumpkins. Although Cinderella may have ridden to the ball in a pumpkin carriage driven by mice, I thought a modern Cinderella could drive herself to a shoe sale. So I made a pumpkin patchwork SUV, VW bug, van and sedan for her and her step-sisters:)

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Curious Curium – An Alternative Quilt & Journal

PaMdora Exhibitions, Quilts Leave a Comment

photoLast year I made a quilt using alternative materials for an exhibition called Radical Elements. Each artist in the show selected an element from the periodic table and was asked to create a quilt to the same size dimensions and without relying on traditional fabric and thread.

We were also asked to make a journal incorporating work samples. Since I used my real work samples, the book is sort of messy and irregular. It is spiral bound with a nice orange fiberoptic cable.

Curious Curium – A Radical Elements Journal

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Curium is named for Marie Curie who pioneered research on radioactivity, was the first woman to win a Nobel prize, and the only person to win in multiple sciences.  I was fascinated that she like to ride bicycles. She and her husband Pierre went on a honeymoon bicycle trip after their wedding.

I had just bought a new bike and asked the bike shop to give me old used bicycle inner tubes to use in the quilt. Looking at photographs of Marie, I wondered how a forward-thinking person can look so old-fashioned to me?

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I collected vinyl remnants that had a retro print look because I am drawn to those patterns and designs in my stitching and drawing style. As I began experimenting with cutting shapes and sewing, I realized the vinyl would be hard to work with, so I simplified my design and concept.

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I started sketching, and from the beginning, I knew I would give her stars for eyes. Since at the time, I was also doing a lot of crocheting and yarnbombing, I decided to make the stars from yarn.

Blending images and concepts from 1895, 1950, and 2013 seemed impossible until I finally realized, regardless of our time or age, whether a scientist or artist, it is the commonality of curiosity that drives us forward.

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Curium is a radioactive element used in space exploration and space probes. Last year we had visited the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, and I had seen how varied and beautiful were the designs of space probes and satellites. It seemed a perfect fit for those starry eyes.

I collected odd metal parts to make my own space probes — door hardware, old sewing machine parts, brads, rivets, wire. My friends teach art in school, so I raided their stash of recycled junk and computer parts. In one box I found a folder of old classroom math acetates, so I cut and sewed them into the quilt.

Today space exploration seems futuristic, and yet at the same time, there is old space junk floating out there from years ago.

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Sewing all these objects onto the quilt was a challenge and an addiction. Once I started, I did not want to stop creating fantasy space probes.

By some odd coincidence, although the bicycle image was lost long ago in the making of this quilt, I found the best way to hand sew onto the vinyl was wearing leather bike gloves. I’m not very good at using a thimble, but wearing the gloves, I could push and pull the needle through very thick material.

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The end.

Here’s the quilt. At first I was going to finish it like my drawing. Then I realized that if I stopped right where it’s at now — instead of one face, there are three faces. This was purely an accident. Can you see them?

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The exhibition is now booked for the National Academy of Sciences on Constitution Avenue in Washington D.C. for April-September, 2015.

The concept and initial curation is by Jill Rumoshosky Werner, managing curator is Gigi Kandler with loads of help from SAQA traveling exhibitions coordinator Bill Reker, and the catalog designed by Deidre Adams. Other booking include the initial opening that was at Montgomery College earlier this year and in 2016, at the Funk Center for Textile Arts.

Detail photos:

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p.s. The blue spot inside the test tube is part of a yoga ball!

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Drawing Assassin

PaMdora Drawings 2 Comments

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It’s been a long time since I’ve gone to a figure drawing session, perhaps since college. I thought I wouldn’t like it, but maybe I’ve learned some things since then. Maybe I’ve also learned some things from one of my favorite drawing books, The Tao of Sketching.

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With only five or ten minutes to make a drawing, it seems you should just jump right in and draw as fast and as much as you can. But last night, I found myself sitting back and looking around the entire room. At the other people and things in the room.

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Asking what most interests me about this particular pose? How does the pose relate to the room?
Is there a mood to the pose?
What can I add to recreate the mood or moment?

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What in the room do I want to include? Leave out?
How can I make an interesting composition?

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How big is my page? My pen?
Should I add color or shading?

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I just imagined it might be a little like a rooftop assassin surveys a scene, taking in everything and then waiting for the right time to strike.

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These are all short poses with the same model from last night’s session.

 

 

 

 

 

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Morning Song

PaMdora Drawings, Journeys Leave a Comment

Early Saturday morning before dawn, we started the morning with poetry, bird calls, and frost on our feet.

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It was part of a sound installation sponsored by ideaXfactory designed and led by Gerard Nadeau of Drury University’s architecture department called Morning Song Evening Song. Starting Friday evening with a workshop led by Greater Ozarks Audubon members, we each put a wooden Audubon bird call on an orange ideaXfactory lanyard around our neck and headed up to Park Central Square.

There at sunset, we spread through the First Friday Art Walk crowd and started a slow symphony of bird calls noises, first a few, then many. Then more, then faded away.

The next morning we assembled at the ideaXfactory at 6 am, shared bagels and coffee and headed to the West Meadows future greenways park site.

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In the wet grass, Kate read bird poetry, then we started the morning crescendo of bird calls and watched the sunrise over the Grant Street bridge. The morning experience was much different, and I think, much more profound than the evening.

After it was all over, Ed Filmer showed up to video, so we got to do it all again. And I had time to make another drawing.

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For more photos, please visit to ideaXfactory’s Morning Song Evening Song post.

 

 

 

 

 

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First Friday Art Walk drawings

PaMdora Drawings, Journeys Leave a Comment

This Friday I had planned on drawing a sound installation sponsored by the ideaXfactory (more on that later) but it turned out to be harder than I thought. So instead I drew some other interesting things that happened downtown on the First Friday Art Walk. There were a  lot of people eating green cake as they walked around Park Central Square…

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Turns out Park Central Library was hosting an “Edible Books” event, and they had asked local cake shops to make Call of the Wild cakes. The biggest one was made like mountains covered with green pines trees. There was a whole row of ladies cutting and giving away slices of cake. I must say I was a bit relieved as I had originally thought people were eating parsley cake.

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The library was so crowded, it was hard to draw because people trying to get free cake kept bumping into me. I went back outside and saw this young guy spinning fire.  The fire glowed nicely against the twilight sky, and so did the string lights hanging across Park Central East. There was a couple wearing hoodies sitting on the edge of the fountain. I would have stayed longer, but it was so cold outside that I couldn’t draw a non-shaky line.

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Back at the ideaXfactory, there was a silent art auction going on organized by a lot of Drury University folks to raise money for Rare Breed. They had installed a beautiful folded paper installation on the ceiling for the upcoming Saturday night Drury Beaux Arts Ball, and the paper walls of the temporary gallery also glowed with changing colored light. A DJ wearing fingerless gloves played electronic music for the Friday night auction preview. In the glow of the “cloud” installation, it was a popular spot all evening long.

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Over at Art & Letters, a collaborative show organized by Meganne had an opening. She has started about 20 ink on canvas and paper paintings, then asked other local painters to finish them.

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 Cattywampus was playing in the corner in front of Christiano Bellotti’s painting.

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 Ryan Dunn of Smokey Folk played a few songs with the band.

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I really thought I knew this woman in front of a Tyler Estes and Meganne Rosen O’Neal painting. Turns out I know her sister! The best part about ending up at Arts & Letters was Russ and I had great luck at finding some funky retro clothes for the Beaux Arts Ball on Saturday.

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More Sketching at Crystal Bridges

PaMdora Drawings, Journeys Leave a Comment

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Finally! Beautiful weather for a whole weekend, so we rode and walked on trails both days at Crystal Bridges. A family from India was visiting, the father on one side of the stream telling his daughters across the water how to pose for a photo.

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These were all about 5 to 10 minutes sketches with a brush pen, colored with watercolors later. I didn’t know Russ took a photo of me sketching until I saw this on Instagram!

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Looking out a window to a Mark di Suvero sculpture — a little tricky to draw!

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From inside the museum, an interesting view of the outdoor plaza through a cast polyester “Big Red Lens” by Frederick Eversley. The whole scene becomes a puzzle to draw, and probably doesn’t make much sense. I got confused myself and drew trees on the ceiling which I had to cover up later with cross-hatching.

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Out on the plaza, there’s a funny orange-red Keith Haring sculpture. A museum staff person was passing out drawing boards, paper, pastels and pencils to invite the public to draw.

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At first I saw more people looking at their phones. Then Russ got into the act, so I sat down too and drew some more.

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Eventually I noticed a group of five girls, all with drawing boards. Some looked like they were seriously drawing.

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How interesting the plaza bowl was so large, and yet with all that room to spread out, they sat squished together so tightly, their boards almost touching.

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This guy sitting under a pavilion watching his kids was funny too. “You kids go run around the trails about five more times. And DON’T PICK THE FLOWERS!”

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Biking in a Hay Field at Crystal Bridges

PaMdora Drawings, Other Artists 1 Comment

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Russ surprised me with a weekend getaway, and we loaded our bikes onto our new bike rack and headed south. Riding around on the Compton Gardens and Crystal Bridges trails, Russ was determined to see a new sculpture that he read about at the entrance. After several trails and up many hills, we chanced upon this crazy installation of hay people by Tom Otterness.

“Makin’ Hay” is a series of sculptures made of bales of hay by Otterness in Montana in 2002 as part of a friendly hay contest. Later acquired by the Alturas Foundation, the sculptures have been exhibited in many places and must be newly arrived at Crystal Bridges because it’s not mentioned anywhere on the website.

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The whole thing was a total surprise as we had the fortunate opportunity to visit Otterness’s studio several years ago during an ISC Conference. Seeing so many of his roly-poly urban bronze figures there, I had no idea he had made these hay sculptures.

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Not only that, but happening upon the installation by way of a back door trail rather than the entrance to Crystal Bridges was perfect!

It’s also a good thing we were on our bikes, because these sculptures and the hay field installation were huge. So trekking across tractor ruts to get to the farthest hay woman was rough, but do-able.
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