Artist Talk and Reception at William Woods

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The reception at William Woods turned out pretty good. Lots of family and friends showed up, and WWU brought two classes of students into the gallery for the talk, so we had a lot of interesting questions, including, “Do these quilts glow in the dark?”

I didn’t really plan a formal presentation — I had 3-4 hours on the drive to think about it, and I write about my work so often on my blog and for interviews that I’ve gotten pretty good at rambling in an on-topic sort of way.  So I prefer to remain flexible and adapt the talk to the interests of the crowd. Plus with all my years of waiting tables and delivering singing telegrams, I’m not too intimidated by crowds.

I did bring a couple of my original patterns to show the students and talk about process of moving from original inspiration to finished piece. Also talked to them quite a bit about setting up your own studio and how to stay networked in the art world after school.

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Here’s some important folks who showed up — mom, dad, step-mom, and the head of the art department at WWU my drawing and design teacher Paul Clervi. Notice anything interesting about all these photos? Why does everyone want to pose by the quilt about dog poop?

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Next morning my dear old friend Janis blew into town, and we caught up on the last 20 years over Denny’s pancakes, how appropriate. I gave her a private tour and talk talk talk (and here’s her take on the show — be sure to pay attention which quilt we pose by on her blog) and then I put her to work taking down the art.  Then it was time to pack up my three fat burritos and go home.

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Super Emergency Announcement

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Hey everyone, your attention please!

William Woods University asked me to change the date of my artist talk and reception at the Cox Art Gallery to Thursday, February 26, 2-4 p.m. (I think because of a couple of student classes that want to attend the talk.)

But being the blog slacker that I have been lately (umm, my dog ate my blog….) I forgot to change the date on the original post and my Facebook photo album. Till today, when a dear old friend from far away commented that she’d be visiting on Friday….uh oh.

I was planning on taking down the show Friday, so if anyone is planning on showing up that day, let me know by email or Twitter or Facebook and I’ll be sure to be around. And I won’t take the quilts down until you get to see them, we’ll have a grand time visiting, and then maybe I’ll even make you help me pack them up! Deal?

Oh, and here’s a great photo of the show my dad took.

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Installation of my show at William Woods University

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Here I am with my installation pants on — one side pocket holds my spy camera and the other my phone. Although I was dressed for it, I didn’t really do much of the work because I had so much help! And the good photos were taken by Russ. (Photo by Russ RuBert of course.)

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The last few days have seemed like, a fast-moving blur! I didn’t have a lot of notice for this show because of a schedule mix-up last November. But seeing as it was my alma mater, I was excited to hustle up what work I could (end count – 30 quilts, 7 drawings.) Actually, I was an English communications major at this school, but my art classes and art profs made a much more lasting impression on my life.

This art center and beautiful gallery didn’t exist when I was a student — our old art building burned down (I had nothing to do with that!) So I wasn’t really sure what that the new gallery looked like in real life. When we first walked in, the bottom dropped out of my stomach. The gallery looked huge, and I thought, there’s no way I was going to be able to fill the space. But soon it became apparent, that actually we needed more walls. Well…..like magic, walls appeared.

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Although the show still has to be lit properly before it opens tomorrow, I wanted to show you these cool sliding panels that come out of a closet and move on tracks built in the ceiling. Once you arrange the sections or walls that you like, you anchor them to the floor, and just hammer nails though the neutral-colored carpet covering the walls. Easy to hang stuff! The hard part is deciding where to hang it.

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But here’s the one who deserves the real credit — my own Superman! He’s the guy who is always working quietly behind the scenes – organizing space and structure, amazing with tools, and making everything I do work and look better! It sure is nice being married to a sculptor.

We also had a wonderful helpful crew from the gallery. Vikky, the director brought in her whole family and Amanda, the student assistant was a better worker than me. Okay, now it’s time to go home and crash.

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(for some more photos and explanation of how we setup the exhibition, go to my Facebook album here.)

You can see this show February 2-27, 2009
New Time: Artist talk and reception, Thursday, February 26, 2-4 p.m.

Mildred M. Cox Gallery
William Woods University
One University Avenue
Fulton, MO

9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday – Friday
1-4 p.m. Saturday – Sunday.
Admission is free and open to the public.
For more information
call (573) 592-4245

Call for entries: A Sense of Humor

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I’ve been asked to be juror for a exhibition called Sense of Humor, sponsored by SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) that will be shown in a gallery space at the International Quilt Festival in Houston next October and will published in one of SAQA’s handsome catalogs. The postmark deadline is January 30, 2009.

You may submit up to 3 entries measuring H=26″-60″ and W=26″-30″, completed since Jan. 2007, and fitting the SAQA definition of an art quilt: a contemporary artwork exploring and expressing aesthetic concerns common to the whole range of visual arts: painting, printmaking, photography, graphic design, assemblage and sculpture, which retains, through materials or technique, a clear relationship to the folk art quilt from which it descends.

You must also be a member of SAQA, an organization to devoted to promoting art quilts, but there are many benefits to membership beyond just a few exhibits. They have conferences, publish portfolios, have an on-line wiki university, and probably more stuff I’m forgetting to take advantage of. You can get the prospectus off the membership “call for entries” page.

I’m not sure why the size restrictions for the show, now that I think of it, I don’t even have anything that fits this size. Of course I didn’t for the New Focus exhibit curated by Kim Ritter and Judy Dales that is going up in the Coos Art Museum in Oregon later this month — so I made something. You can see “Surprise!” at the top of this post, just shipped it off late last night. So glad the main Fed Ex office is only two blocks from my studio.

Interesting mail from the Netherlands

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Got this in the mail the other day from the Fries Museum in the Netherlands. It’s the exhibition card for the “Quilts Kunstmet een Q” exhibtion that opens November 15, where I will have two quilts “Skating on Thin Ice” and “Blue Christmas.” Not your typical quilt exhibit show card is it?  Wish I could read the Dutch writing on the back.

holland_mail2.jpg When the editors of Handwerken Zonder Grenzen learned my work would be in the Fries Museum exhibition, they had an arts and culture writer from Holland interview me last summer for this article. It’s in the Oct-Nov. issue, and just got my copy. Can’t read it either, but the photos are nice. When I translate the website on Google, looks like the title of the article is “Comic Strips of Fabric” which I thought was pretty funny.

In other news, working on my photos to contribute to Ricë Freeman-Zachery‘s next book titled Creative Time and Space:  Making Room for Making Art. And although I submitted a portfolio to my alma mater a couple of years ago, just found out that I have a solo show coming up there in February. So better get back to work…

“Quilts – Art with a Q” at the Fries Museum

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Quilting the ice is what I was most worried about. I finally decided that I that I wanted a swirly, skatey pattern, and was thinking about how ice skates leave those white scratches in the ice that get covered over and over.

What was that term that Jason Pollen used for layers and layers of drawing marks made on top of each other, like on an old chalkboard menu where yesterday’s image is ghosted behind? Can’t remember, oh well.

The skating marks slowly transform from swirly to crackly at the bottom, where PaMdora’s skate blade precariously balances. Not sure how successful that was, but it was an interesting experiment.

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Here’s the finished quilt, Skating On Thin Ice — it’s 42″ x 61″. Today I have to ship it off to The Netherlands along with another winter-themed quilt for a November-March exhibition at the Fries Museum. For a couple of weeks now, I’ve been stressing about how to do the shipping, but this morning got it worked out with the museum register. She was very nice, and told me that some of the hundreds of quilts — both traditional and contemporary — were already arriving at the museum.

Cakes and more Cakes

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The other night I had a dream that I should draw some cakes. Not just a few, but a whole lot. Here’s all I got started with, then ran out of ideas, so I’ll have to look up some recipes. And I don’t know where that silly elf in the chef hat came from.

johnhimmelfarb1.jpg Here’s probably what inspired the idea of a massive drawing (although not sure about the cake part.) This is a huge drawing by John Himmelfarb that I saw in a private collection in Nebraska. Not sure about the scale? Look at the reflection in the glass — that is a spiral staircase for scale.

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It’s made up of hundreds of little scratchy drawings, sort of silly like mine, but of course more organized and thought out in the layout. I really love this guy’s use of line, which Angela noted, “drives my work.”

We were up there, Lincoln and Omaha, for some International Sculpture Centers meetings and as a consequence, got lots of art saturation — the Sheldon had a really lovely Elizabeth King retrospective, a Christo and Jeanne-Claude presentation at the Kaneko, and a sneak peek at the artist residencies of the Bemis. Enough to make one feel very small and awkward in a world of huge talent and inspiration.

Collages for the Creamery

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When our studio flooded, a lot of framed art got ruined. Since the Creamery Arts Center has lots of odd spaces, I cleaned the old frames and designed some collages to fit into them for the show.

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Here’s the finished quilts in the show, but for fun I included some framed pages from my sketchbooks to show where the ideas come from.

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“Paris – wish you were Hair.” The old vintage postage from my collection is from 1904 and someone wrote their postcard message on the front of the image.

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“Seattle, the Space Needle – wish you were Hair”. Haven’t done the quilt for this this idea yet.

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Actually, I drew this idea for “Twin Bridge”, then happened to find the postcard that matched. ooohwaa!

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We had this really huge frame, so I put my actual pattern for “Athens – wish you were Hair”, with alternations into it. There was a little extra room, so I added some sketches and graphic inspirations at the bottom.

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This one I called “Elements of an Art Quilt” because I included a stitch test for “St. Louis – wish you were Hair” to try out the effects of different thread colors on fabrics (and left the edges unfinished so that the astute observer could see the top layer, batting and backing), some graphic research and inspiration images, a pastel pencil practice for stitch patterns, and a wad of thread I picked up off the floor of my studio.

The little drawing in the corner gives a clue what “King Tut” (a variegated quilting thread) is because I used the reference in the labels on the stitch test on the left.

ThreadLines 2008 and other opening nights

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ThreadLines opening last week was a huge success. The gallery was packed all night long, and the show looks amazing thanks to MSU Art & Design Gallery director Robin Lowe and her staff and of course all the wonderful artists who made and shipped their work. Jason Pollen was there to judge the quilts in person, to award the prizes and to honor us with a exhibition of his recent work.

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Here Jason Pollen is talking about the Best of Show by Deidre Adams, as Arleta Johnson, our prize chairman (very important person!) looks on. Told you you should have come to the opening, Deidre! Of course we didn’t know until 5 p.m. that night that she was a winner. Here’s a post about the rest of the award ceremony.

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Several artists traveled to the opening, but the prize for farthest goes to Barbara Winoski from Canada. Here she is on the left, discussing her quilt with my friend Sue, who happens to be a seamstress but not quilter.

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The Creamery Art Center usually doesn’t get as much traffic on First Friday Art Walk since it’s off the path. But here I’m giving an artist talk right after Emmie and Lettie gave theirs in the Creamery art library. You can just barely see my new quilts from the Wish You Were Hair series through the windows to the exhibition space. All together, I have 20 quilts on display and 11 framed drawings and mixed media collages.

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And this is one goofy grin I just couldn’t wipe off my face at the end of the night after surviving a month I thought I wouldn’t survive. Remind me never to schedule two show openings including visiting artists for a two-day workshop on the same weekend as Quilt National deadline ever again. Thanks for the photo Russ — it really sums it all up!

Message in a Bottle, uhm, I mean Box

message-in-a-box.jpgOne  of the reasons that I started making art quilts back in 2004 was that I thought I could make big colorful stuff, roll it up in a box, and easily ship it to faraway places. I realized this has come true when I was updating my exhibitions page and saw that this fall I’ll be showing quilts in California, Colorado, Oregon, the Netherlands, the UK, and Africa.

Wish I were there!

Even though it’s easy to ship, I always stall out in the packing stage and procrastinate until the last minute. Besides, I don’t want my stuff sitting around in some mysterious storage room. As I drew the clock with the 8:30 pm FEDEX deadline, I noticed that it sort of looked like an un-smiley face. Gotta change that bad habit!

Sometimes it’s a little weird shipping your art off to who-knows-where. You wonder where it’s going (don’t always know on these traveling exhibitions) and who’s going to see it. Reminds me of the old Police song, Message in a Bottle:

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A year has passed since I wrote my note
But I should have known this right from the start
Only hope can keep me together
Love can mend your life but
Love can break your heart
I’ll send an s.o.s. to the world
I hope that someone gets my

Message in a bottle yeah….

Walked out this morning, don’t believe what I saw
Hundred billion bottles washed up on the shore
Seems I’m not alone at being alone
Hundred billion castaways, looking for a home….