Thursday, March 07, 2019

Everybody has one...

An opinion? A belly button? No—a website! And now I have mine.




This was a New Year’s resolution, to finally build an online home for my stuff. It was probably good that I waited so long because it is finally easy. I tried creating a site years ago and gave up—way too fiddly, but the modern website builders are really user friendly. What I did wait years too long for, however, was to buy a domain name, using just my name. All the other Terry Grants in the world had snapped up the easy ones, like terrygrant.com (international stunt driver!) and even some slightly more obscure ways of using the name. Disappointed, but not surprised. Over coffee, one morning, my husband, son and I brainstormed and Ray suggested “terrygrantastic”. It was available, and thus my new identity was born—terrygrantastic.com. I hope that’s memorable enough. 

Check me out!  terrygrantastic.com
terrygrantastic.com

Monday, February 25, 2019

Here we go again...



Copyright. Intellectual property theft. My work is mine, not yours. Why is all of this so hard to understand? Someone made a copy of my campfire quilt, above, and posted it on her blog and on Instagram and even entered it into a contest, all without my knowledge or permission. I won’t reveal her name or show you her copy. I’m not out to shame her or embarrass her here, but rather to just continue to help spread the word that, common though this practice is, it is unacceptable. I truly think that most of the people who copy the work of artists are not doing it for malicious reasons. They are well-meaning people who would be shocked at the idea that they have committed a theft. But the theft of intellectual property is theft in the same way shop-lifting, pirating movies and plagiarizing are theft. It is illegal and it is unethical. They will protest “but I gave you credit” or “I’m not trying to make money off of it.” And, yes, this copier said both, though the mention of where she got this image was buried pretty deep, but that’s not the point. The point is I did not give her permission to use my work. 

“What’s the harm?” you might ask. Maybe I seem petty, getting upset over such a small thing. After all there are artists who have been ripped off in far more harmful ways. Paula Nadelstern, for example, had her original designs ripped off by a big carpet manufacturer and used on carpeting in a large Houston hotel. She sued, and won.  So the possibility of such brazen theft that financially benefits the thief is one harm. The other, I see, is that the small-time copier may not gain financially, but she gains in reputation and credibility for a skill she doesn’t have. When I discovered the copy posted on Instagram, there were complimentary comments, praising her imagination and skill.  It hurts, a little, to see that. It was tempting to leave my own comment, but I didn’t. And the real harm is that if people aren’t called out for this, it goes on and on and grows ever more common.  I am far from the only person this happens to. In my online communications with other fabric artists I read about it ALL THE TIME and everyone hates it. 

Artists work hard. A piece like the one above requires weeks in planning, experimenting, making design decisions, discarding what’s not working, picking out tight little stitches and redoing sections. There was a lot of invention in that piece. It was a lengthy process. The woman who made the copy wrote that hers was made in less than a week. I had already done the hard part. I’ve never made another one like it and probably never will. I have no desire to see other versions or copies. It is one of a kind, which is kind of what art is. I’m proud of it. It might be one of the best things I’ve ever made. I sold it to a woman who truly loves it, which is the highest compliment I could get. Does this help you understand how I feel about it and how I feel about seeing a poorly executed copy?

So, I say, if you really, really want to copy someone else’s work, really think about what you are doing, then if you just can’t help yourself, make that copy and hang it in your bedroom, but don’t show it to anyone else. Don’t enter it in a show, don’t enter it in a contest and, for goodness sake, don’t post it all over the internet with your own contact name and information watermarked prominently on the photo. Just DON’T.  

Sue Siefkin pointed me to this brilliant chart  explaining intellectual property theft, designed by Ginger Davis Allman.  It covers it pretty well. 

Monday, January 21, 2019

Taking Care of Business





This is what I’ve been feverishly working on these past three weeks. It is my submission for the Oregon SAQA exhibit, “The Edge.”  It is called “At Home at the Edge of the Continent” and my interpretation of my Oregon experience of “the edge”. I decided to take a chance on another 3-dimensional piece and had a lot of fun figuring out how to make a 15” tall wing chair. Lots of false starts and horrible messes ended up in the trash along the way. Two sets of legs were failures, before I finally made these paper mache ones. 

I haven’t had great success with this Regional SAQA show. My last two submissions didn’t make it, but I’m trying again.  I completed the online submission today. I realize that, for whatever reason, this particular show seems to favor dramatic, abstract work, so I might, once again, be too far out of step here, but it was what I wanted to do, and it makes me smile. It’s a tribute to my pioneer forebears, who came by wagon and by ship, to find a home out here on the edge, and my own journey to Oregon so many years later. 




So, one deadline down and one to go. Then on to some “unbound” projects!

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Unbound!



For the past 11 years I have chosen a word for the year rather than making any rash resolutions. This year I thought long and hard and had a hard time finding a word that suited my current state of mind, my hopes and intentions for the near future and how I was feeling about myself and my work. My words have mostly related to the kind of art I was wanting to make in the coming year. Honestly, my thinking lately has been more about the things, related to my work, that I don’t want to do. Here’s the thing—I spend a lot, really most, of my art making creating work for specific exhibits that tell me a theme to follow and a size the work must be. In addition, there’s a deadline, of course. I am bound by the parameters set forth. Bound. While it’s always a thrill to be asked or chosen, I am feeling itchy to do something different, of my own choosing, maybe altogether new. 

I’m signed up for two exciting classes this year. Where might those lead? I have ideas I want to try. I have different expectations than I did 10 years ago. I want the freedom to follow an unknown, meandering path. I’m older and slower, but still engaged and no longer feel the drive to do more, more, more; become famous; win prizes and recognition; travel in lofty circles. While I will probably be responding to the call of the big exhibits, it will take much more to tempt me in. I am loving the idea of small, experimental, local and community-oriented. I long for a space of time unbound by rules about sizes and conforming to themes and meeting deadlines, and packaging and mailing requirements. And so, the word is UNBOUND. My little banner of declaration hangs on my studio wall with all those more ambitious words of past years. 



So, how to accomplish this “unbinding” process? One of my last acts of 2018 was to turn down an invitation to submit work to an impressive-sounding national exhibit. The people organizing it are terrific. The theme is intriguing. I’m sure it will be excellent. It was pretty tempting, but the size requirement for the piece is so big I knew it would dominate a huge chunk of time and energy, and I would have all those rules and restrictions— my new mindset took over and I said “no” without regret. The same day, I bought a book about a printmaking technique I’m eager to try, so “yes” to learning something new and having the time to experiment!

Another plus to fewer big exhibit projects is that most of them prohibit sharing ones work-in-progress online, which has frustrated me. I hope to be blogging more about what I’m currently on, so check in from time to time and see what I’m up to!

Happy New Year all! I am hoping, fervently, that this coming year will be one of hope and renewal. 

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

That third dimension...


Forest Spirit

This is a recent piece that is currently traveling with our latest High Fiber Diet show called “OMG—That’s Fiber!” We were urged to push some limits of the medium for this show. Though it hangs on the wall, it is a 3-dimensional piece. I’ve been asked a lot of questions about it, mainly how I made it.  I actually took a few photos as I was working on it, so I could add some visuals to my explanation. I am definitely not the first person to create fabric sculpture. It’s a thing, and there are lots of ways to approach it, but I kind of figured out on my own what my approach would be. Rather than sew a shape that would be stuffed with something that would give it form, I was interested in trying to create form from flat pieces that fit together in a way that resulted in creating the appearance of a rounded object, kind of like the way a soccer ball is made up of flat hexagons. 

I started with a paper maché mask purchased at the art supply store. I visually identified flat planes and potential places where planes come together, and began cutting and recutting paper, and joining them together with tiny pieces of masking tape, refining the pieces to fit nicely together and deciding where two pieces could easily be more efficiently cut as a single piece, until I was satisfied with the form. 




Since the face is symmetrical, it seemed easiest to just create half the face in this initial version. 




I carefully removed the tape so I could lay them flat and trace each piece, flipping it after one side was drawn to draw the mirror imaged opposite side. I needed a sturdier paper for my pattern, so I traced the pieces onto some of my supply of used file folders. (These are endlessly useful and free!)




Now I had all the pattern pieces for cutting the fabric and interfacing for the final piece, but first I taped it all back together again just for a final check to see if everything fit together. 




At this point I could see that it went together pretty well, but was smaller than I wanted, so I traced each piece onto paper, scanned all the pieces, opened them in a graphics program on my computer and enlarged all the pieces by the same percentage and printed out my new, larger pattern pieces on card stock. 

I have used this method before for other projects. My father was a mechanical engineer and I remember him building small cardboard models of all, or parts, of machines he designed, often to determine the ways planes would intersect or join together. I think I got my ideas for my methods from observing him. Several years ago I blogged about designing this crow in a similar way. (See here)



I find that adding that third dimension is a welcome challenge. More of the exhibits I like to submit work for are accepting 3-D work now. This week I started working on a new piece in 3 dimensions. I have barely begun and it is proving especially challenging. 



Perhaps I’ll update this one as I work. Perhaps it won’t ever come together in an acceptable way. I don’t think you can tell yet what I have in mind. I have a deadline looming, however, so my fingers are crossed....   

It’s an adventure, this third dimension. 

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Fooling around with more screen printing

So this is the post where the previous two posts intersect. I was doing a little screen printing a couple weeks ago, then last week I was contemplating making saints and angels. “Hmmmm...” I thought. “What if I made a bunch of screen-printed faces that I could use for a series of saints/angels?” So I did 



My idea here is that I can add color using my permanent watercolor pencils. 



It occurred to me that a hand that could hold something might also be useful, so I made a little screen and printed a few.  So then I had a starting place and I began to build a new angel. I made her a redhead and chose some favorite graphic and colorful fabrics—that’s always my favorite part—to surround her with. I like it, but it seems a little flat. I might add some hand embroidery for some additional interest. 



Well, this is kind of fun! There is an element of coloring book, with a touch of designing clothes for a paper doll. I could hardly wait to start another one!


Laying out potential fabrics with pieces and parts. What should I put in her hand. Flowers? A trowel? (I think she’s a gardener...) Not sure the paisley hair is working...  

More to come. 


Wednesday, November 07, 2018

My saintly obsession



I’ve been cleaning out and organizing my studio, and came across this small piece I made a few years ago. It was a challenge to myself to try using embellishments, like beads and buttons in a thoughtful way, after rashly stating that I just didn’t like that kind of stuff on my artwork. I tried it. I liked it. Quite a lot. So I’ve never offered it for sale, preferring to keep it for myself. In fact I liked it so well that I made another similar piece that I also kept and have hanging in my studio. I think of her as my own little studio patron saint. 



Why, you may wonder, such “saintly” images? I’m not Catholic or even conventionally religious, but I am slightly obsessed with a particular type of religious art. Images of saints. 

It might have begun very early. When I was 4 years old my sister was born at the Catholic hospital in our town. In those days 4-year-olds were not allowed into the wards, so when my father was taken in to see my mother and newborn sister I had to remain in the waiting room. A kindly nun came to sit with me and asked my name, I replied that I was Terry Ann, but my real name was Teresa. She seemed very excited to tell me that Teresa was the name of her very most favorite saint! She selected a large children’s book from the bookcase and thumbed through it until she found a chapter about St. Teresa, the Little Flower, with a beautiful picture of a young girl with roses in her hair and a halo behind her head, looking heavenward, very sadly. Then she read me the sad story. When I left she told me to remember St. Teresa, who was my special saint because we had the same name. I remember this all so clearly, and mind you, I was only four years old. I did remember Teresa, and as an older child I sought out books about saints. I especially loved the sad ones, where they died young and suffered greatly, inspiring all they knew with their bravery and piety. But most of all, I loved the very similar pictures, of their sweet, uplifted faces. 

Is it any wonder that I fell in love with the Russian Orthodox icon paintings of saints?
 

I especially love the Greek icons, with their big eyes and long, straight noses. 

Years later when we began to travel in Latin America, I discovered “Santos” the sculptural equivalents. They have the same, otherworldly look. 




I simply love these images. I posted photos in a blog post of Santos we found in a hotel, that was a converted convent in Nicaragua here.  Another magical find was a workshop in Ecuador where Santos were repaired, posted here

So my little button embellished saint is now hanging in my hallway and I’m wondering if I need to make some more. Real saints or imagined? Like I said, it’s not a religious thing for me, but I am drawn to the idea of people being elevated, empowered and remembered simply for being good. The world can always use a little more goodness—right?