Thursday, January 29, 2009

Classmates: Self Portraits in 5

I'm showing mostly the 3-D projects.


No name - sorry


Theresa "Iowa"

Jan "Growing comfortable with my age spots"

Joan "Me at Work"

Monday, January 26, 2009

Self Portrait in 5

Objective: Create a series of 5 small works that function as an unconventional self-portrait. Each of the five parts should address one aspect of your sense of self -- either physical, mental, emotional or otherwise.

Here we go again, our 3rd assignment - self portraits. Unlike last quarter which our self portraits were suppose to be life size, these can be smaller (at least 6" x 6" x 6"), but there are 5, but to me that also means we can do 5 aspects of ourselves and I think easier, they don't have to all run together into one large piece, but just need to relate to each other.

I've decided to make my portraits of me at work, where I sometimes feel like a machine. Although it's a creative job which I like very much (if I have to work for money that is). but I also feel that much of the time I just crank it out and on to the next thing that needs to be done. I also have many different tasks that call on different skills. The variety helps keep away some of the sameness of any job, and I have the different skills, but sometimes there are a lot of different directions to take, it all needs to get done, and it gets a bit overwhelming.

I have decided to use metal for this project since it seems more machine like. I don't have any metal working skills to speak of so I will be relying on glue and nuts and bolts to make most of this happen.

Photos from top:
The first is "hand" it's mechanical, some of the work I do can be done in my sleep it's so automatic. The circles are under the index finger, the mouse click apparatus.

Next is "layout" almost everything I do is on a grid, the computer likes to line things up. You can flow outside and intermingle in the grid, but it's still a grid...

Middle is "production" the pieces given to me come in and I put it together and it comes out the other side. There isn't much difference in something that has 50,000 copies made or 5, They're pretty much the same as far as the construction.

Next is "paycheck" need I say more? I need to make a living and pay the bills. It's the best job I have ever had, but would I rather spend my time doing other things?

Last is "crazy" I have up to 100 people who ask me to do projects for them. Their project is important to them, they have no idea what else I have going on and sometimes I get really backlogged. What to do I do? Internally my eyes spin around, my head explodes and I tell them "yes, I can do that" with a smile on my face.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Winter Quarter 2nd Project

After the 50 collages, I thought having just one thing to do (with 2 parts) would take less time, but somehow I was able to make it even a bigger project time-wise.

The project was: Diptych: An Evocation.
"Create a pair of collages that evokes (don't illustrate) two interpretations of a single theme, emotion or subject that is relevant to your thinking as an artist. The two works should be considered in the context of one another, and are intended to be shown together as a pair where one work informs the other. The two interpretations could be similar or entirely contrary to one another, but should stand as a visual articulation of the larger concept."

I think we all sat there for awhile thinking "what the???" "what are we suppose to do for this?"

I walked to my car thinking random thoughts, I had been picking up branches lately on my walks around the neighborhood thinking they had interesting shapes and maybe I should do something with them... I also had these stones I had picked up on the beach wanting to somehow put them into a fiber project, but didn't know how to attach them... I started driving and was thinking of hanging sparkly things from the branches about the same time I was thinking "wonder" as in "discovery," being "entranced by something," "star-struck;" and I thought of "learning" how sometimes we're just in fascination of something, it just totally takes us away to a magical place. I thought, "that's what I'll do, I create a fantasy place that a person could go to where they felt wonderful, twirling around, excited being in a magical place."

I had all of this figured out before I was halfway home, I wasn't sure what the other half of the project should be (probably an opposite) but I couldn't come up with a word. By the time I got home and chatted a bit with Bob, it all came into place, although the other word was still a bit vague -- boredom? trite? disinterest? the idea was there and I was ready to roll.

Wednesday after work I was off to JoAnn Fabrics for a few supplies and started to stitch the grid on the "boredom" part. Thursday it was out to dinner, Friday there was cutting of sticks for "boredom" and more stitching, I hoped to get that part done so I could work on "wonder" for the rest of the weekend.

Saturday I dyed the "wonder" background and ended up dyeing "boredom" too because "wonder" came out so dark "boredom" needed to be darker also. I did a some of the stitching on Saturday and finished the stitching and attaching the stones and branches on Sunday. Lucky for me I had Monday off and I spent the morning attaching a hanging rod and finishing up a bunch of details.
The afternoon was spent adding the "bling" to "wonder," probably the key to the whole project. Threading the little tiny beads and shiny plastic "gems" was a total pain, people who work with beads must be insane! My fingers never felt so clumsy! I finally go everything hung,, and especially in the correct light, I thought it looked spectacular! I know I could have added more detail, especially more stitching in the background, but I was really pleased with it.

I thought about if I was a little person about 3 inches high and scrambling over the rocks to reach this place that was sparkly, amazing, to be in wonder of what you had discovered.

I got some good feedback on the project, which felt really nice, but it was mostly a lot of fun to put it together -- what an exciting assignment!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Classmates 50 Collages #2

Debra "Women - Mixed Messages"

No name (sorry) - "Water"

Joanne "Purple"

Mary "Pathways"

I didn't get photos of everyone, these are not nessesarily the best, I'm not the judge, they were just the ones I got photos of before class started.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Classmate's 50 Collages

"Dresses" by Niki

"Bicycle" by Jan

"Baskets" by Sally

"Nature" by Kaylin

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Final 50

I'm way behind on posting, so I'll probably skip a lot just to get caught up.

The 50 collages. Practically everyone had 50 collages done! (or close enough). Well wack me in the head! I was so wrong about this, these people are obsessed with completion! They either have more time or work much faster than I do at putting things together. I'll show some photos of classmate's work, but unfortunately a photo with 50 items in it doesn't show very well in the small format of this site, but many of them I really liked and thought were very well done. I applaud them all,

I'll start with my own. My theme for the first collage project was "what would an echo look like." I was thinking of hearing the sound and how would I interpret it in shape and sound. Out of the 50 sketches I did, I picked a few to do in real materials, a few of them with photos cut from magazines, but I didn't like them much, so I won't waste the space here.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Not 50

Class is tomorrow and I don't have 50 collages done. I have 50 sketches done and 15 collage/assemblies done. I took what I thought were the best ideas from the 50 sketches I did and worked with them. I used some burlap and parts left over from last quarter's class and picked up some parts from outside (sticks, stones, moss) and put them together with cardboard and other backing material, adding color on some of them using watercolor paint. The pieces I did using fabric, because of the sewing, took longer that they would if I had done a paper collage stuck together with glue, but I think they provided more information to me for future work. I concentrated on doing more paper collages at the end, so I could explore as many ideas as possible. I wish I could have completed more of them, but time was short as always and life also needs time.

It will be interesting to see how many my classmates get done, and what they come up with for a theme. (There's always that question in the back of your head wondering if if what you're doing is completly wrong.) I'm sure most will have more finished pieces than I do, I suspect a couple will have all 50 done.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

50 collages

I sat down on Wednesday night to start working on our assignment of creating 50 collages. I spread out my papers before me and wondered where to start. I had picked my theme and had a few ideas rolling around in my head, but when I sat down to work I was a little stumped. I would find photos that kind of depicted my theme, but then that wasn't really collage. Then I thought I could cut out chunks of color and paste it down on my board to represent what I was thinking, but I'm thinking that's way too slow, isn't this an exercise about getting ideas down and working with them to find things we want to pursue? I sat there depressed, staring at the few things I had cut out, not really feeling good about putting anything I had together. I was also thinking that doing it this way will take every moment I have and then some to get to where I want to be with this. Plus, why should I spend time doing something I'm not happy with? I would definately quit most of them before I was half way through because I know they're not worth pursuing.

Now what am I going to do...

I went to bed thinking about it and sometime during the night came up with my plan. I would take index cards and a sharpie pen and sketch ideas. This way I could get many of ideas down on paper without putting a lot of time into any one of them. Then I could go back and find the ones that had the most potential and develop them to the next level. Maybe even take the best of the best and carry them even farther. It seemed like a plan.

Thursday night I was waiting for friends to show up at a resturant where we had planned to have dinner. I got there an hour early hoping to have some time to myself to start my sketching. So there I was in the back corner with a glass of wine drawing on index cards. My method was to just start putting pen to paper, getting the shapes down; as soon as one was "finished" flip it over and start the next one. Put just enough down to capture the idea, not worrying how sloppy it was, just keep going. If the idea felt good, I knew I would probaly come back to it later and work with it again, if the idea was bad, no problem, not much time invested.

I finished about 30 sketches in the 45 minutes before dinner and did another 20 on the bus this morning, it feels like the right way to approach this. I'll probably do a few more on the way home tonight and then look at them all and decide which ones I want to explore more and spend more time with on Saturday and Sunday.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

First class, winter quarter

After the general class overview
and the introductions by all of us, we went downstairs for a collage slide show. We saw the works of some of the collage greats - Hoch, Schwitters, Ray, Duchamp, Raushenburg, and Matise. This gave us an overview and a bit of history of the technic to prepare us for our first assignment. I had heard about this one - 50 collages in one week. "50 Variations on a Theme." Create a series of 50 related variations on a single theme using visual collage an or text as a means to express ech variation and to further understand the conceptual potential of that particular theme or idea.

Hmmmm,well ok then, I guess it's time to get busy.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Winter Quarter - U of W Fiber Arts

The University of Washington Extension fiber Arts class starts again tomorrow. We have a new instuctor this quarter - Michael Cepress. The class is titled "Conceptual Strategies in Fiber Art." I've heard he's quite different from Layne and the first assignment is a killer, I guess we'll all find out tomorrow...

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Macomber Looms

When I was out in New England last fall I decided to visit Macomber Looms and see where my loom was "born" many years ago. We drove down two lane Beech Ridge Road outside of York, Maine until we found the factory. It was as one would expect; a barn-like sturcture with a woodshop inside. When we first arrived we went upstairs to find someone to talk to, but only found tables with piles of paper on them - not much for computers in this place.

Downstairs we found the man in charge and he gave us a brief history as we walked around the place. Several looms were in various constuction stages and a few looked like they were ready to ship. I asked is all this was done by the two people I saw there, but he said "no, there were usually seven, but it was huntin' season." The maple comes from the lumberyard down the road and I think they manufacture the entire loom right there except for the heddles. I was giggling on the inside and had a big smile on my face on the outside. How wonderful to be standing right there where something is actually made all in one place -- should I say it? - in America.

How local, how simple and personal.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Off the loom

The project is off the loom. I have many knots to tie and figure out how to complete the finishing so it can hang on the wall.

I know what I want to start next, better get started winding warp.