Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Lynnwood Solo Show

My solo show is now closed, the pieces have come down and are back in their boxes. It was so much fun to see it all hanging there together and I thought it looked great! What a great experience to apply and get a show all to myself. How nice to have someone else do publicity and hang the show, all I had to do is make art -- almost like having gallery representation, (ok, not really, but I can dream.)

Now the pieces are back at home, some get put back on the walls, but most get put back in boxes waiting for their time to shine. I guess that's just the way it is unless you have 50 feet of wall space. Someone told me "art not hanging in a gallery is a storage problem" I might have to agree.

I love putting my work out for people to see, all and any comments are welcome as it is usually the critical ones that help me grow. Now it's back to the studio to put the finishing touches on a couple of pieces and get ready for the next exhibit at Auburn City Hall in June.

Many thanks to the Lynnwood Arts Commission for giving me this opportunity to show my work.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Exhibits - getting ready

I have not had a solo show since way back in the school days, things are different now. My plan of attack was to take the diagrams/measurements they gave me and first see how mach empty wall space I had to deal with. All of the places I am showing in this year have wall “spaces,” walls for hanging with doors between, or wall sections to hang on. I won’t have the luxury of having that long white wall of uninterrupted space. The pieces not only have to go together, but need to fit each chunk of space without being too squished or too spread out. I guess the space between each piece should be similar on all of the wall sections also.

After studying the Lynnwood Arts Commission Gallery, I made several versions of what pieces I thought went together and sizes. After much juggling around I came up with a plan and only created a couple of pieces to fit and fill out the space. Hopefully the people hanging the show will agree with me and it will all work out great.

The attached photo shows the space as it is now, with some very colorful close-up nature photography. I wonder if they like having everything the same size like this show, it’s probably easier to hang. My art will be all different sizes including one very large piece consisting of 10 sections. I hope we’ll be able to hang it like I envision.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Moving on to 2011

During 2010 I made a goal to have a solo show somewhere in the Seattle area in 2011, I wanted it to be a formal gallery setting, preferably a government agency or a business. I felt this was my next step for me on the “food” chain, but if nothing came along I was going to do a coffee shop or something, just have the experience of having a space all to myself.

Around April 2010 there was a call for art at University Unitarian Church, not exactly what I had in mind for my goal, but well worth trying for; plus the information said they liked fiber art and large pieces. I figured I had a chance and it would be good experience. They required everyone who was interested to bring some examples of work to the church on a specified time and date where they would make their decisions and we would pick up our work the same day – no files or money to send.

While I there I also got a sneak peak at the exhibit space – it was huge! Within the week I got a letter saying I was accepted and they would let me know when I would be scheduled. I was thinking that with all that space I better get a late date, because I would need a LOT of time to get enough work done. It took a couple of months before I heard back, but when I did, I found out that my month would be November 2011 – perfect, more than a year to do new work.
Knowing I had a solo show scheduled already by May, I thought I should challenge myself even more, after all it wasn’t really a gallery space. I had photos taken by a professional photographer and when the calls for art started being posted in early fall for the next year, I was ready. I sent out 2 proposals about a week apart and much to my surprise, got them both. Wow! this was too easy (lucky). I was prepared to keep sending out proposals until one hit, or they stopped being posted.

Then the reality of getting ready for these exhibits hit home -- I needed to get some new work done, a lot of work. I was tired of seeing my old work over and over at all those group shows, but making the work is time consuming. I also knew most of the old work would be shown with the new to fill the space. It’s all suppose to gel into one body of work and look cohesive anyway, so it was “get to work” and make more, growing my vision within the body of work.

This is a tremendous opportunity for me, but in some ways my competitiveness, keeps looking at the opportunities/the calls for art and realise I’m booked for 2011 and can’t try for anything else -- sigh...

Next, getting ready for the exhibits.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Silly resolutions -- dead!

It’s well past the middle of January, time enough to have failed on all the silly resolutions and get serious about the ones that matter.

I’ve been working on many art pieces which have given me plenty of time to think about the past year, but because I’ve been working on art I haven’t had time to write anything down. The short version is that 2010 was fantastic and 2011 will be even better. A goal in 2010 was to show work and take advantage of every opportunity that came my way. The result was that I had art hung somewhere 28 weeks out of the 52 (starting in March). These were mostly group shows -- my fiber group and because I took the EDGE program (a sort of a business program for artists) we became a second group and this resulted in 5 months of shows. The other weeks were single items in juried shows. The result was a lot of lines on the resume, fairly minimal exposure due to the very local venues -- but great practice in getting ready to show.

This was a wonderful experience to have, but at the end it left me a little tired and wanting better venues.

Next post, my 2011 goals.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Plant Dyes - Tansy and Queen Anne’s Lace

I picked my tansy from the side of the road, it grows about 4 feet high, and the leaves are sort of like a fern. What makes is easy to identify is its flowers – bright yellow buttons forming clusters. The flowers have the scent of camphor and rosemary, it can make quite a stink when simmering on the stove – go outside! Supposedly the flowers can be used as a mosquito repellant.
The tansy had been drying in its paper bag for almost 2 months before I got around to making dye with it. I’m not sure if the color would have been brighter if they had been used fresh. My dry plant material was twice the weight of the wool used.

As with most of my dyeing, I simmer the plant material the night before for about 45 minutes and then let the pot with the plant material sit overnight. I strain the plant matter from the juice; add my wool I have pre-mordanted in alum and heat to a simmer for about 45 minutes. I remove the wool from the pot, rinse thoroughly and take three bundles of yarn and put one each in a dip of iron, tin and copper, leave it to come to a simmer and remove -- 10 to 20 minutes -- or until the color has shifted . I again rinse out these samples and hang them up to dry.

The photo shows the final product, from left to right:

Tansy with alum, tin, copper and iron. Then Queen Anne’s Lace with alum, tin, copper and iron. These two plants gave very similar colors, except the Tansy with the tin is a much brighter gold-orange than the lace. The photo doesn’t show it well but the iron modifier turned both of these into a very deep olive green.

I picked the Queen Anne’s Lace from the land next to a freeway on-ramp. I knew the road crew mower was coming so I went back several times collecting only about a third each times. I wanted to get as many of the blossoms as possible, but still leave plenty to seed for next year before they mowed them all down.

The legend of Queen Anne’s Lace is that the queen was tatting (making lace) and pricked her finger, there were several spatters of blood and that’s why the flowers have a pink center.

The plant is closely related to the carrot, so when crushing the leaves in your hand or simmered on the stove, it smells like carrots. The root is supposed to be edible, but the plant also looks a lot like hemlock – yes, the very deadly poison of old. Both plants can also grow in the same place, so extreme caution should be used, make sure you have positive identification if you’re planning on using it for food. The leaves of hemlock smell horrible when crushed in your hand – don’t lick your fingers after trying this test, wash thoroughly and carefully afterward.

The Queen Anne’s Lace was picked in early fall, dried and wasn’t used until 2 months later. The dry plant material was one and a half the weight of the wool used.

Friday, October 22, 2010


I was just notified today that I will be showing in the Auburn City Hall Gallery in June 2011. (I’ll be sharing the space with a photographer.)

My art world is going great!

Last week I was notified that I would be having a solo exhibit in the Lynnwood Arts Commissions’ Gallery space sometime next year. Adding these to the solo exhibit I was scheduled for earlier at the University Unitarian Church for November 2011, I think I’m about booked for next year – who knows what group shows might be happening next year between the EDGE group and the Fiber 19 gals.

I got a lot of work to do…

In 2010 I got into a few juried shows plus was in 5 group shows with the above groups. My goal for 2011 was to get a solo show somewhere – coffee shop, yoga studio, I didn’t really care. But then I got the solo show at the church (found out about that in May), so I told myself I had to go to the next level and at least apply to some real galleries, thinking on the level of municipal spaces. Within the last month, I applied to 2 places and as of 2 hours ago have found out I got both – who could ask for more?

Photo: Bryce Canyon

Thursday, August 5, 2010


comes out of the dye pot green
We got into the indigo - a totally different way of dyeing. Forget what you learned the day before, this is vat dyeing. Put the stuff in a pot,, add stuff to take out something, add something else to take out the oxygen, and make sure the ph is between 9.5 and 10.5 -- picky little process! I'll definately have to go over my notes to get this all straight in my head, but it was fun!
turns blue reacting to the air
When you take your yarn out of the dye pot it's green and as it reacts with th air it becomes blue - totally magical!

Dipping our yarns dyed from the previous day did somewhat as suspected -- turned yellows into greens and reds into purples, but what a color range we created without much effort.

our beautiful range of colors