Wednesday, September 28, 2016

New Dimensions

Earlier this month I participated in our regional SAQA (Studio Art Quilts Associates) Conference. I had he job of designing and laying out the printed program, so I've been anticipating the event for several months. The focus was on 3-dimensional fiber art, something that is a bit unusual for our medium, but promised to be interesting. In the beginning I contacted the keynote speaker, Kay Khan, a fiber artist from Santa Fe to see if I could use an image of one of her works for the cover. She directed me to her web site and that's when I started to get very excited! I chose a stunning armor-like piece called "voice" for our program.

The conference was held in the large "spinning room" at the Willamette Heritage Center, in Salem, Oregon. Fittingly the Center is housed in the buildings of the historic Thomas Kay woolen mill, once a major textile manufacturing factory. A beautiful place for such a gathering.

Kay Khan gave a wonderful presentation, describing her process, her inspirations and the stages in her development of her distinctive work. It was both inspiring and daunting to hear about how she has tackled the challenges of creating, displaying and managing this kind of work— lots of problem-solving just in terms of fabricating, protecting, shipping and storage. She was available after her talk to answer lots of questions as we had a chance to get some closeup views of some of the work she had brought along.


Vessel closeup
Neck pieces

Our members attending were challenged to create, or share a previously made, 3-D piece, which were displayed on tables across the back of the room. This turned out to be a wonderful exhibit! I regret that I am unable to identify the artists for each piece. (Help me out—let me know whose work I haven't credited...)


The clever ship was made by Leoti Richardson

I wish I knew whose "Donald" this was—it was great!

Quite a variety of house and building forms.

I believe this enchanting figure was by Marion Shimoda

Moth, Cheryl le Blanc


Wendy Hill


Tall indigo house by Gerrie Congdon, grouping of houses by Nancy Bryant, black and white vessel by Marie Murphy Wolfe

The fungi piece (wow!) by Diane Born and triangle vessel, I think is by Betty Daggett


Gorgeous bowl by Pat Fifer


Cube by Mary Ruzich, tea pot by Karen Miller and crow by me!


One of my favorites, Spirit house with light inside by Sara Miller

I kept going back to look again and again ...

It was a terrific conference. There were more presentations and demonstrations, making for an entirely enjoyable and inspiring day, but the ideas about dimensional work have been working on me. I am itching to try more. I've dabbled with houses and birds and dolls and such before, so the seed was already planted.

I'm thinking, and thinking. Watch this space...


Sunday, September 18, 2016

New life for old work

I've been cleaning up and organizing my studio and realizing how much old work I have piled around. I need to clear some stuff out—somehow. I don't begin to sell everything I make. I send it off to shows, some sells, some comes home and ends up rolled up and stored. Some I give away. Some I feel great fondness for, some not so much. And I just keep making it! Last year, when we had the Open Studio Tour, I marked old prices down and cleared out some of it. I will do that again next month. I keep wondering if there are other ways to recycle some of it and have ideas for cutting up and reusing in an artful way... I'm still pondering that.

Meanwhile I repurposed one piece for my own use. You might remember this piece I made for a High Fiber Diet show called "Line Dance" 7 years ago.

I had been making little tiny pieces using scraps for about a year and incorporated them into two bigger quilted pieces. This was one of them. It was a fun, decorative piece to make and I always loved the colors. It was in a few shows and sales, but never sold. This week I made it into a tote bag.

I need a bag that is the right size for my laptop from time to time. For the next year I'm planning to use the bag to store and carry my supplies needed for my job as president of the Columbia Fiber Arts Guild. I think it will be good for that and better than my standard Trader Joe's bag! I lined it and included some pockets for organizing stuff. Granted, a lot of my time, energy and precious materials ended up as a lowly tote bag, but better than moldering away in a closet. I know of other quilt artists who have donated their unsold work to humane shelters to line dog beds...

A couple months ago the City of Beaverton Arts Commission sent out a call to artists for photos of their work to beautify the city's trash receptacles and thus, three more of my old works have found a new life! In this case all they needed was a photo, from which vinyl wraps for the containers were created. So this was not helpful in reducing my inventory, but a nice way to see more of my work in public places. Here is the one that now sits in front of the Beaverton police department, near the front entrance.

The other two are in a small park downtown. These photos, below, are from the city.

There are about 40 of these around the city, using all kinds of art. I love seeing them, and while I never aspired to have my art decorating trash containers, I'm pretty proud of my three!


Saturday, September 10, 2016

Another Oregon

Last week we gathered for a reunion with my brother and five of our cousins in Lakeview, Oregon. Lakeview, where my cousin Ginger grew up, is in a remote and beautiful part of Southeastern, Oregon that is a different Oregon from the coastal, green, mossy western edge that most people associate with the state. Lake County is high desert, sparsely populated, a windswept, sagebrush-covered expanse of rocky, dusty earth and wide, dramatic sky. Beautiful in a rugged and stark way.

Ginger had made plans for us and I knew she was excited to share something really special and mysterious. Early morning, we headed out to Adel, barely a town, out at a crossroads, where we met up with our guide, Ben.

In three 4-wheel drive pickups, we headed out into the Oregon outback. I rode with Ginger and her little dog, Bill.

We were soon off the paved roads and headed for Ben's secret place.

The scene above, is relatively benign. Most of the trip was over rocky, rutted trails that challenged even the sturdy trucks.

We stopped, along the way, to stretch our legs and check out an abandoned sheep herders wagon—they call it a "sheep ark"— left for target practice under a big spreading juniper, laden with berries.

The road got rougher and rockier and eventually we came to a dry lakebed with a ridge of volcanic rock running along one side, where we found what we had come to see.

Petroglyphs–the oldest in North America. What Ben is pointing to are pictures, chipped into the basalt, some more than 5000 years ago. Below the ground are even older carvings, in a different style. These, below, are the top edge of a panel that goes at least four feet below the surface.

These were buried by ash and rock when Mount Mazama erupted in 5677 BC, the volcanic eruption that created Crater Lake.

As we walked up and down the cliff walls, examining the images, a bitter cold wind was blowing hard and one could not help imagining ancient people camping and huddling around small fires in this harsh place.

The marks below appear to be a counting exercise and similar marks, all showing a series of 23 marks appear in other nearby places. They may count the days of the appearance of a supernova in 1006 AD, that was recorded by Chinese and Islamic astronomers and was visible in the sky for 23 days, appearing as a second sun in the sky.

We climbed to the top of the cliff at one end where there is a large circle of fairly large stones, known as the "observatory" though its actual use or meaning is unknown.

On the side facing the lakebed there is an obviously intentional "peep hole" that frames a view of Hart Mountain, on a clear day.

A magical, mysterious place. Could I find it again? Not without Ben, and he likes it that way! He said the images have been studied and documented and others know they are there, but are very protective of such treasures. I felt very privileged to have seen it. The place is pristine, with very little evidence of the modern world. Beautiful. Special. Words are inadequate.


Saturday, August 27, 2016

Diversions and Distractions

Summer always seems like it will be a good time to get a lot done in my studio. I can picture myself with a tall glass of iced-tea, sewing away in my cool, shady studio, surrounded by green and flowers in bloom and birds chirping merrily in the trees. And sometimes it is just that, but I forget how many other diversions and distractions summer brings. Good and bad.

One big distraction this summer has been this.

It is a large subdivision being built directly across the road from our house and studio. Here's the view from my studio window.

There will be 39 houses built here, but before the houses, the land was cleared of all but a patch of thick woods. The corner where two roads meet in a dangerous intersection will be realigned. There will be a huge new culvert placed under the road for "our" creek to run through before it reaches our front yard. Try to imagine the armada of machines, diggers and earth-movers that has invaded our sylvan little corner of the world.

And these are just a few of the ones left onsite over the weekend. During the week, the "beep, beep, beep, beep" of those backup warnings is incessant and could drive a person a little crazy. Just to give you an idea of the proximity, this morning we walked up through the site. Below, Ray is walking toward our house. See the blue porta-potty near the road? My studio is directly across the road, barely visible in the trees. That road, in front of our house is closed for the next month.

Oh, and I nearly forgot to mention that last Tuesday the diggers hit a natural gas line, sending gas whooshing (the sound was thunderous) into the neighborhood. Rotten egg smell had us all gagging as firemen arrived and told us to leave as quickly as we could. They stopped the leak and repaired the line, allowing us to return to our houses that evening.

Life has not been all noise and destruction. We have been enjoying our grandchildren a lot. We managed to get a fun T-shirt decorating project done before all hell broke loose, the day of the gas leak.

Last week one of the "twelves", Helen Conway, came to Portland and we had a wonderful get together, with Gerrie, Kristin and me, the 3 Portland members and Deborah, who came up from Texas just for Helen's visit. It was the first time I have met Helen in person and it was so lovely! It has been 9 years since we all met online and began our creative collaboration and that experience continues to enrich my life in so many ways.

Helen, Kristin, Deborah, Gerrie and me

I've spent quite a few hours this summer cleaning and organizing my studio. Soon I will post some interesting fabrics I decided I will never use and will be offering for sale. One day I felt I just had to do some sewing on my beautiful new sewing machine, and made this piece. It is small–about 6" wide.

Finally this week I felt ready to start something new. I've been going through travel photos and thinking about favorite places. Somehow a memory of Mexico feels like it might be right for a new themed piece for an upcoming show. And so it begins.

Just this week I got notice that two of my pieces were accepted for this fall's Beaverton Art Mix. My painter son-in-law will also have two paintings in the show—we are pleased!