Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Exhibit at Cafe Solstice

Only 6 days until my Fiber 19 group hangs our show at the Café Solstice for the month of March. I know it’s just a café show, but we’re doing it. Our group came together last year as we took the Fiber Arts class through the U of W extension. The exhibit will be very eclectic. We all in different places art-wise in experience and commitment, our use of fiber in some way will be the only unifying part of this exhibit.

I’m continuing to make my topographical maps out of dyed burlap. The idea for the one in the exhibit started with a glimpse of a photo in a science magazine, I’m not sure what it was suppose to be, but as I recorded the image days later in my sketch book, to me it looked like a river with rocks in it. My colors again took over and in this case the river part looks like it has had some kind of bad industrial accident, so that’s why it’s called “Acid River”

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Single Weft Interlock

I'm finally getting back to my goal to learn tapestry techniques in 2010.

This is the joining system that says “tapestry” to me. Both colors go around the same warp making a very durable weaving. The finished piece can be hung horizontal or vertical without any sagging or bagging. It is slower to weave since you have to keep all the colors in the same row or they won’t interlock, so you’re always picking up the next butterfly and moving across, unlike some of the other methods where you can take one color and weave just that section because it doesn’t lock with the color next to it.

I did notice that if you made a straight vertical line, where both colors twined around the same warp, because two wefts came together, it would start to bulk up on that warp. So I guess the trick is to not go around the same warp to many times or use a different method of joining.

In my little double square tapestry I was fairly happy with the way it turned out, changing from two wefts to three and back again usually worked out the first time, but sometimes I had to remove or add a half a row to make the weft fall the right order with the raised and lowered warp.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A guest at EDGE – Lanny Bergner

During our class on Saturday we had a guest – Lanny Bergner who showed images of his art that covered almost 30 years. http://home.wavecable.com/~lbergner/

I loved Lanny’s artist statement: “By using hands-on processes of coiling, fraying, twisting, wrapping, glueing and knotting, I transform industrial screening, wire, silicone and monofilament into organic constructions. My desire is to create works that appear to have grown into being. I love the natural world and am constantly inspired by its beauty and infinite varieties of form. This, in combination with my fears, quirks and joys, results in works that celebrate the wonder of it all.”

It was great to have him explain how he creates his work and how it has evolved over time. He uses wire mesh for much of his work and because of this material; it has also lead him to be accepted into the fiber art and basketry worlds, which made his presentation more interesting to me. When he told about his making art, I loved the imagery of him sitting and shredding the wire mesh or twisting the pieces of wire together in “small repetitive motions.” He says this process very meditative and gives him time to think, but sometimes he twists wire does in front of the TV, maybe so he can be around the family(?). I could put myself in his place because I sort of do the same thing with my burlap; quietly shredding, stitching and constructing the 3-D parts for hours and hours, so sometimes I need to work in another part of the house to be near Bob or just be in a different place.

Recently I have been thinking a lot about an artist I follow on-line that is producing 20-some pieces in 7 weeks for a show, or the gal that does 50 pieces a year, or the guy who welds something in 2 hours and calls it art. Not that it has to take a lot of time to call it “art,” but I’m suspicious of “art” that can get “cranked out” in a short time, I would tend to put that in the “craft” arena. But in listening to Lanny, he said his work takes a lot of time, period; I don’t think he regrets that or really even thinks of changing it, it just is. He didn’t choose to create something that was labor intensive, that’s just what came out. Somehow this calmed my inner voice that was saying “you’ve got to find a way to make stuff faster, you need to get MORE done.” No I don’t, it is what it is, and that is the process for me. All I can do is keep working, steadily moving forward.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Fiber 19

Groups are “interesting” (insert whatever word you feel is appropriate).

Last night I met with my fiber group. I expect it’s pretty impossible for any group to meld together perfectly, but sometimes this one has me laughing one minute and the next whacking my forehead thinking “what the..?”

We’re together because we took a nine month fiber art class last year. Like the classes before us, decided to continue to meet once a month for socializing and encouragement in our art endeavors – at least that was the idea. Going from having an instructor/ leader handing out assignments, to meeting on our own caused us to flounder at first. Socializing was the easiest thing to do, so we did a lot of that. The art making was not happening for many; they seemed to need an assignment to move forward.

I of course was appalled and disgusted with the non-art making part. I kept thinking, “we just left nine months of work, developing concepts and working in all sorts of ways with all kinds of materials, how could you not have a vision of what you want to do next? How could you not have ideas flying around in your head that you can’t wait to get to?” I had to settle down and keep reminding myself that we weren’t all in the same place; everyone has different priorities and time commitments. (But my head still does explode once in awhile with rantings of “what the..?) Time went on and the social part started to gel, so I figured socializing might be the main focus and I was ok with that.

Then someone came up with a format for our meetings; social for “x” amount of time while everyone shows up and gets settled, then the “business “part of the meeting, and then “show and tell." This gave us structure. We started from the beginning with discussions on why we were meeting and what did we want to do as a group. People started to settle into roles, we had a self-appointed “den mother” who always brought lots of food, took notes, and sent them out. We had people volunteering to look into places to exhibit – our number one mission, and others passing on information on how we could be a more professional group. As in any group, there are people who do nothing and the people that never seemed to know what is going on, but generally it’s working – and I keep telling myself we’re all in different places.

How long will the group continue? Who knows? Will it continue to serve my purposes? I’m not sure. All I know is that last night I had a lot of fun; we’re going to put an exhibit up in March one way or another. The show will be very eclectic and probably not very cohesive, but I guess that’s ok for now. I can only be responsible for my own work.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Grants and EDGE

Another Saturday with the Artist Trust’s EDGE program.
This week it was all about grants, we looked at different programs/types of grants, compared the sources we found on-line, and went over our GAP grant proposals. Our instructor went over the need to do our research to find out if a particular grant was a good fit for us, what the grant requirements were and how we should follow them exactly, no more – no less than what was asked for.
Why do we want to apply for grants? Recognition, money, support and development of your work, psychological, connections, and networking.

What type of grants are there? Nomination only, open applications, unrestricted funds and restricted funds for specific projects.

Why do these people want to give money? They want to support you, your work supports their vision/mission, and they have money, it fits their vision to support project.

So with all that in mind we went over our proposals. Because this is an Artist Trust program, we all wrote proposals for a GAP grant. We did find out that 75 – 80% of the proposal is based on the work you have already done, only about 20% on the actual words. Basically Artist Trust wants to support artists they think have promise and this grant (for up to $1,500) is to help fill in a need (like equipment, time, space, or project) to help the artist grow.
It was interesting to see what my other classmates wrote and to see how many of them really didn’t get it. They didn’t seem to read what they were suppose to do, or didn’t comprehend it and didn’t seem to understand what to ask for or how. Some didn’t feel “worthy” or what they wanted wasn’t important, or felt “funny” about asking for something for themselves. I felt the same at first, but then I to junp in, use it as practice – it was an “assignment” I didn’t really have to submit it. I was surprised at how well my proposal faired compared to the others. It at least covered all the areas needed, people seemed interested in it and it really only needed some writing help, tightening up some areas maybe making a few other things more clear. So I felt pretty good about that and who knows maybe I really will submit it.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Weft Relays

Now we’re getting into what I would call real tapestry weaving. As “The Tapestry Handbook” says; Unlike wefts that are shuttled from selvedge to selvedge, discontinuous tapestry wefts travel back and forth within the contours of the artist’s images, either touching gently in the spaces between the warps or crossing securely in some manner. These interactions between adjacent tapestry wefts affect not only the structural integrity of the textile but the style of its design interpretation.

There are a number of techniques for creating the “discontinuous wefts” that will make up your design. The first one is called “basic slit technique.” The weft yarns don’t touch each other, but simply go around the ending warp for each color. This does tend to pull the warps away from each other creating spaces between the colors; the two wefts should “kiss” each other before going their opposite directions. If you were to create long vertical slits, these would usually be stitched together on the back side for strength. If the weaving were to hang horizontal in its finished form these slits would form baggy gaps over time without the stitching.

My little weaving has spaces between all the colors. I either pulled the weft too tight around the warp, or because the wide spacing between warps (about 4 epi) is almost impossible to fill the space. I did not create any long slits, but switched color width fairly often. Although not technically correct, I kind of like the little spaces, I could see incorporating these spaces into the design.

Monday, February 1, 2010

EDGE training continued

Saturday was another day of Artist Trust EDGE training; what I like to call a course of study about the business of being an artist. In the morning we continued to talk about portfolios and looked at a few examples and critiqued one of our classmate’s photos. Some were ok, but even the better ones we had comments on and our instructor indicated that they were of bad enough quality that it could give a juror reason to give it a pass – it seemed a little harsh to me. She said the photos in “American Craft” magazine should be our benchmark, -- perfection – if that is true, you absolutely need a good professional photographer experienced in taking photos of your kind of work to get anywhere. More $$, no snapping pics with your own digital camera. You would think they could get past a little imperfection and see the work, but I guess there is so much out there, they don’t have to.

We also went over out artist statements. I brought in the one I did last spring for our student show which I was quite happy with, but with more people looking at it I can see that it’s too long and I need to take the bio information out of it – more to do.

The afternoon was looking at grant proposals, concentrating on the GAP grant that Artist Trust awards. Mostly I think because it is somewhat attainable, small amount, and they give out quite a few each year, but there are also more applicants applying each year as artists find out about it. After discussing some dos and don’ts we looked at a number of past grants that had been funded, sometimes we shook our heads at what they gave money to, but apparently 80% of the award is based on your work samples, not what you’re asking for.

It was another tiring, but good day of information.