Monday, June 15, 2009

Final show - Topo Map: Ridges

Two days after the class final show I was off to Bryce and Zion National Park for get-away time. It was nice to finally have a break from deadlines of work and class and only have to accomplish what was in front of you, be it sitting and looking out the window at the passing scenery, hiking up a trail, or just sitting down for a nice dinner.

Now it's time to catch up with what we all produced for the final fiber art show. I may not post all of the projects, but will put up the ones I feel will show well on the blog. Almost of these look better "in person" my cheap camera can't capture the detail many of these have.

I'll start with mine, it's called "Topo Map: Ridges" rather than go on with a long discussion, I let you read the artist statement and come to your own conclusions. The size is 48" x 30" and is made out of dyed burlap in several layers.

The detail photo shows a bit more of the 3-D aspect of the piece. The topo lines are perpendicular to the rest of the burlap. Sometimes I would cut and pull out fibers to let the layer below show and in some places I would add dyed burlap parts to the top layer to get the effect I wanted.

Artist Statement

I create maps to help people explore new places.

I grew up on a farm in the Midwest, and I feel a real kinship with the land. I like the way the machinery imposes its crop-growing grid upon the land, but I like even more the way natural features such as rivers, boulders and trees break up that grid. As a child, I’d curl up on the couch and pore over maps from around the country. What were those places like? How were they different from Minnesota? What would it be like to travel there?

When I moved to the Pacific Northwest, I saw my first topographical map and learned that all those squiggly lines show changes in elevation – what an interesting way to show information. When I flew, the view from airplane windows gave me three-dimensional information about the land. When I rode my bike cross-country and in other states, I learned first-hand about topography as I climbed mountains, battled headwinds, smelled the salt air and felt the changing weather.

Today, I make my own version of topographical maps. I see narrowly spaced multiple lines and I feel a sharply ascending mountain or a dizzying canyon; languidly spaced lines show me the open plains.

I invite the audience to explore the world as I see it. Walk over the earth’s crust, travel through canyons, peer over the edge of the crater, or feel the coolness of a forest.

My maps show more than roads.

Flying home yesterday from Phoenix we ended up going over what I think was Canyonlands National Park. I snapped a few photos from the plane (the only good reason to be on a airplane) thinking this will maybe help explain where I'm coming from.

I plan to produce more of these "maps" for awhile, exploring the idea and materials.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Group Project

For our second project spring quarter we were assigned a group project. I was not real thrilled about the idea of getting together with a group to get something done, not that I didn't want to work with a group, it was more the logistics of getting together. Plus I really wanted to save my weekends for working on my final project, gardening and bicycling. Sally and I were talking and thought maybe if we got people together that all worked downtown we could meet at lunch if we had to and leave the evenings and weekends free.

I thought of doing some kind of round-robin art where one person adds something and gives it to the next person and they work on it from there and pass it on until we run out of time or declare it finished. When we finally got a group together we brainstormed for awhile about my idea, then Sally's kite idea/skydiving and somehow ended up doing a parachute idea, maybe because Nancy said we could get little parachutes cheap at the army surplus store. I liked that idea; cheap, nothing to construct, we just needed to decorate the 'chute.

Sally volunteered to make baskets for all of us if I dyed her parachute. Hattie went shopping for the parachutes the next day and we were in business. We all had the task of finding a place to launch them from and finally ended up in the inside atrium at the Library.

We were all working on the concept of trusting in ourselves and what we had learned in class, moving on after class, growth, launching ourselves etc. Some decorated their parachutes with imagery of these items or wrote quotes or sayings on or in the basket.

Wednesday morning we gathered at the Library and let our parachutes float down from the 10th floor to the third floor. A few technical problems, but generally worked just fine. It was fun! We had a few people taking photos for us to document the event and then unfortunately we had to go to work. I think we all would have rather stayed and played with the parachutes a few more times and then gone out for coffee. Reality bites.

Project-wise I think it was good, documentation-wise trying to photograph a small moving object in questionable light in a large space made for a challenging task. Thanks for all who participated and Photoshop for its editing.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I'm in ANWG!!!

I know it's been forever since I posted... Spring is such a busy time even without school projects to work on. But...

I was notified today that I'm in the Juried Show at ANWG (Association of northwest guilds) in Spokane at the end of May. yea!!! I actually designed the piece last summer before taking the fiber arts class, so I think my stuff is more interesting now, but hey, who cares, it's a good thing.

Work on the final project is progressing, I'm pretty happy so far how it looks --- it's sort of a fantasy topographic map -- more later.

Our group project is due before that -- we're doing mini parachutes and launching them inside the Library in the atrium on Wednesday, May 20.

I feel like I'm being pulled many ways -- class projects, gardening, bike riding, getting stuff ready for the conference, plus work and day to day stuff -- somehow it will all get done... maybe.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Trail Torches - the show

Spring. It's such a great time, but even without a class to do projects for I would be busy -- more on gardening and cycling later...

My site installation went up fine, I think the neighbors and invitees like it -- or maybe it was the wine... anyway I had fun, I kind of like the idea of installation or outdoor projects.

Photos will show the work from a few different angles, enjoy.

The only annoying part was showing it to the class. I made my first ever powerpoint presentation. I thought it was beautiful, set almost perfectly to music, changing views as the music changed, had this cute little fade that introduced the project, I was really happy with it -- I stayed up till midnight just tweaking the timing and used my lunch the next day to tweak some more. Well, of course you know what happened. Technology failed me, even though I brought my own computer to plug into the AV equipment, the music didn't play until I pulled out the plug and just ran it off the laptop speakers, but by then the timing was all off. GRRRR, if I was only going to show photos I could have went to bed at a reasonable hour and not worried the whole thing. I just really got into the whole powerpoint thing and wanted to show my project off the best I could.

GRRRR, never trust technology, maybe that's why I weave and ride a bike.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Trail Torches

I did my art installation piece on Sunday, invites some friends and neighbors to view the work and basically have a party. Never underestimate the power of wine and food to get more favorable reviews from the masses. Generally people liked what they saw, one person said it looked like a sunset.

I'll show a few of the beginning photos and follow up soon with a few more. The first ones will be some arty shots of the pieces I was working with and then me beginning to install it on the lawn.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

I'm backkkk

Back from a trip to Minnesota. What to say.... Had a nice time, but I guess now it's back to work. For school we're stilll looking for a place to have the end-of-quarter show after the place we were going to use is becoming a pizza resturant. I guess we'll all meet on Tuesday with what we know about the different spaces and make a decision of where it will be...

I finished my simple inkle weave while in Minnesota, don't know what I'm going to do with it, but it was an interesting project in a technique I had never touched. I feel it's kind of limited, but may be just the mindless thing to keep the hands busy at times.

My Mom is a quilter and while visiting her, we did some shopping for quilt materials. I kind of got caught up in what she was doing and announced that I would make a quilt --- what was I thinking? The quilt in my head would be fun to have and know one else will make it for me... It will probably be the only quilt I ever make, so I better do a good job. I have also told everyone it will take me 20 years, so that should take some of the presure off.

Gotta get going on the install details of my school project, I need to show it this weekends so I can present it next Tuesday -- where will the time come from?

Thursday, April 9, 2009


I've basically have all the pieces for my installation project ready to go for when I get back from my trip. I wanted to put it along side the Sammamish Trail in one of the Redmond parks. Preferring to do this legally I contacted the Parks department, found out who to talk to and ended up sending the art person an e-mail with all the information I could (explanation of the project, the idea, and a little bit about myself; projected size; map of where I wanted it to be; and a photo of some of the pieces). As in true bureaucratic fashion she wanted to meet and discuss the whole thing. I'm not sure what more I could tell her, but I told her I was going to be gone for the next week, but was available any time the week after. The install was also going to be on Saturday instead of Tuesday as I mistakenly said in my first e-mail. Well, she fired back an e-mail and said there was not enough time to get together to plan and discuss this project, so the whole thing was off.

This was a temporary install, only for 6 hours, like somebody having a long picnic -- did she expect mobs of people to crowd the trail? It was a student project, I would have been lucky if someone stopped long enough to give me a polite comment of "interesting" (also known as the death comment.)

Since I don't have a lot of time to deal with this anymore, I will probably end up putting it up in the common space at the complex and invite the neighbors.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Site Specific Installation

We're back in school working on our first project - a site specific installation.

I'm liking this idea, after doing the final project last quarter I made something large enough to walk around,found it to be an interesting experience and wanted to try it again. I'm wondering how installation artists get started showing, seems like no gallery would want to show it because it can't hang on a wall of fit in a normal space... something more to investigate.

The assignment we got was: "Find a public space of significance to you and create an object for that space that communicates this significance to others. Your object must remain in this space for at least 6 hours. Document your ideas behind this work, your process in making it, as well as the object in its’intended space."

I thought this sounded pretty cool, so I picked out an idea I had sketched -- something smaller that I thought I could finish in a short amount of time because I would be out of town and missing a week of class and two weekends -- prime work time.

I got right to work, getting supplies and cutting last quarter's project into pieces to reuse for this one. I also was trying out this polymer stuff, GAC-400 which was suppose to make fabric ridged. I wanted to make these cones and I wanted them to be able to stand upright.

The photos are of me dyeing the burlap and applying the GAC-400. The burlap really sucked up the stuff and at $10 a 8 oz. bottle, there was no way I wanted to spend over $200 just on that stuff for a school project. I remembered that when I brushed on elmers glue thinned with water the fabric got fairly stiff, so I decided to mix the two, and add some water and stretch out the good stuff.

I wrapped the glue saturated burlap around cones on forms I made out of paper and cardboard covered with plastic so it wouldn't stick. The ones made with the thinned out GAC and glue weren't as sturdy as the pure GAC ones, but seems to work well enough.

The last photo is the burlap shapes drying outside in the driveway -- more for the neighbors to wonder about.

More on what this is all about later.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Spring Quarter

I can’t believe it’s been almost a week since we started class.

During the first class I quickly read through our syllabus and got totally confused, it just seemed like there was so much stuff! Reading again it turns out we really only have three projects to do but there are a whole bunch of other reading and writing tasks. I decided the only way I could really make sense of what I had to do when, was to draw it all out on a calendar with all the due dates and when I would be out of town. The visual reference helps me to show myself that I really can get it all done.

This quarter we will again be working on conceptual strategies, but also be learning the professional practices of being an artist -- how to show our work, approaching galleries, writing grants, artist statement and resumes. Our creative projects are fewer than the other quarters and will include a public art installation, a group project and our final show piece. I think the public art piece will be the tough one for me because I will be out of town for a week including both weekends -– prime work time.

I’m not really wild about the group project (I’m remembering those disasters from high school) plus we all live a fair distance from each other and most work full time jobs, so coordination will probably be difficult. Hopefully we can think of something simple and most of the work can be done on our own.

I think everyone is pretty excited about our final show and want to do projects for that, but we will have a size restriction because the show space is fairly small. We are to continue developing a concept we started in a previous class and take it farther rather than fall back on something safe that we all ready know how to do. We will also form committees for this to divide up the work of putting on a show.

Photo above is showing the very beginnings of my installation project. I needed to get going on it immediately because I;m going to be out of town next week. I'll have more on this soon.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

2nd Quarter Project - Louise

Ideas - Concept - Plan - Strategy
Hand, one side = realitic, the other side = energy.

2nd quarter final project - Janice

"Headress for looking inward"

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

2nd quarter final project - Debra

As life progresses, we become more tarnished.
Copper, wire mesh on a gray velvet fabric background.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

2nd quarter final project - Kaylin

"Red Scarf #1"
Machine stitched grid on a wash-away substrate, fringe and beads added.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

2nd quarter final project - Hattie

A house with all the family members represented by blocks. I think she said she felt a bit like her family was falling apart with now the passing of both parents. So when you take off the roof the sides spring out with quite a clatter. Each block has the face, map piece on where they're from or live now and text about each person.

Monday, March 16, 2009

2nd quarter final project - Mary

Mary wove the fabric with two different fibers which shrink at different rates causing the bubbling or waves to occur. Along with the colors, it makes a pretty convincing ocean.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

2nd Qt Final Project - Sally

"First Flower"
Materials: I don't know the name of the basket materials, some kind of reed and copper mesh.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Inkle Weaving

Winter quarter class was over on Tuesday so I decided to treat myself to a day off work and take part in an inkle weaving workshop taught by a member of the Seattle Weavers Guild. The class was held in the recently reopened Southeast Seattle Senior Center's loom room.

In this two and a half hour class we were able to warp up our looms and start weaving. Inkle weaving is mostly a warp faced weave done on a fairly simple loom using string heddles and our hands to make two sheds.

The class warped up 3 types of weaves so we could at least have an overview of the different types by looking at what the others were doing.

We found out rather quickly that even though the weaving is simple, in warping the loom attention needed to be paid. We all made some kind of mistake which were turned into "teaching opportunities" by our instructor Marilyn.

First two photos are basic stripes, the next two were a warp pattern and the last the most tricky and time consuming to weave was a pick-up pattern, where you have to manually pick the separate warps to create the pattern.

I liked the class well enough to stop off at Weaving Works on the way home to buy some warp that was a little bit thicker and colors I preferred to work with. If you're going to look at something for hours, I would rather it be pretty.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Holding onto and letting go

4' x 10' dyed burlap panels with classmate Mary.

Another view. I liked the idea that it was large enough that you could walk around and through it.

Plus one more. I also had never created anything that was two-sided -- more to think about.

Details of each panel. If I did this again I would not cut out "windows" to sew my "pictures" onto, but would do the story items directly into the burlap for a more continuous and seamless look. I would probably also pull out more burlap threads throughout the piece to make it more transparent.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

My final project parts - #2

I'm continuing to show the parts of my final project before being combined with the large panels. This one shows the theme quite simply. Holding onto and letting go.

Another hold on to the precious parts. The little velvet bag with the gem inside versus the rock that needs to be cast aside.

Another one for relationships. The good parts we hold dear in a special pocket. But when they go bad it's sometimes hard to rid yourself of the parts that now don't make sense. Hanging on to the past as if you can now change it and make it right again. Then its finally time to let go, completely move on, looking forward to the positive.

For this one I thought more of parents and children. Parents hold their children close, but one day they need to leave the nest and hopefully flourish.

Coming together and moving apart.