Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Heroic Knitting

Check out what was in my email at work this morning. Read more about this intriguing artist here

Mark Newport, "He Could Help," 2005

Art Exhibit and Lecture: Mark Newport: Superheroics DATE: Friday, Feb. 3 - Wednesday, March 1, 2006 TIME: Slide Lecture 6 p.m., LOCATION: University Art Gallery Room 412

Free and Open to Public ABOUT Mark Newport: Superheroics will be presented at the University Art Gallery of San Diego State University from February 1 through March 1, 2006.Mark Newport will present a slide lecture on Friday, Feb. 3 at 6 p.m. in Room 412 of the School of Art, Design and Art History. A reception for the artist will follow from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. at the University Art Gallery. The slide lecture and reception are FREE and OPEN to the PUBLIC.

Mark Newport: Superheroics includes knitted costumes, photographs, inkjet prints and embroidered comic book covers. For centuries, knitting and other fiber handicrafts have been associated with the feminine—from medieval portraits of the Virgin Mary beatifically purling to Grandma’s treasured knit afghans. Mark Newport, however, views knitting and related domestic textile arts in quite a different way. For him, they are symbols for understanding masculinity and brute strength—and the unlikely means by which he is able to create the iconic wardrobes of the superhero. Through methods traditionally associated with female cultural identity, Newport expresses his own ideas about male identity in American society. Superheroics is the largest exhibition of Newport’s work to date. Since 1996, Newport has participated in 60 group exhibitions and twelve solo exhibitions nationally. He also has been awarded several grants, most recently from the Creative Capital Foundation of New York for his project Ready for Action—a series of digital images documenting him performing in his superhero costumes and examining the theme of protection.

BackgroundBorn in 1964, in Amsterdam, New York, Newport was like other boys in his generation who were heavily influenced by superhero comic books. However, he purchased comics based on the artistic qualities of the covers, which gave him inspiration for his drawings. One summer his grandmother taught him to knit so he would stay out of trouble. Much later, while pursuing a Master of Fine Arts degree at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the early 1990s, Newport made abstract sculpture relating to gender and male identity. In 1995 he began creating beaded sports trading cards, later expanding that concept into embroidered comic book covers. He took the idea of gender-bending the superhero another step further in 2003 when he began knitting his full-sized costumes. It takes two months to knit a costume and he uses himself as a mannequin.AcknowledgmentsMark Newport: Superheroics is organized by the Arizona State University Art Museum, Tempe, Arizona, and curated by John D. Spiak. The San Diego State University presentation of Superheroics is organized by Tina Yapelli, director of the University Art Gallery, and sponsored by the School of Art, Design and Art History; the College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts; and the fund for Instructionally Related Activities. Additional support is provided by the San Diego State University Art Council.

The artist gratefully acknowledges the support of Creative Capital, the Corporation of Yaddo and the Herberger College of Fine Arts at Arizona State University. Mark Newport is represented by Greg Kucera Gallery in Seattle and Lyons Weir Gallery in New York.HoursMonday through Thursday and Saturday Noon to 4:00 p.m. Information619.594.5171www.sdsu.edu/artgalleryFor more information contact:Tina YapelliGallery Director / School of Art, Design and Art History619.594.4941tyapelli@mail.sdsu.eduor visit:http://sdsu.edu/artgallery >More Events

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Friday, January 27, 2006

Franz Marc

The Fate of The Animals, 1913

The Yellow Cow, 1911

Deer In The Woods II, 1912

I haven't shared an artist in a while, so today's post will be about German Expressionist Franz Marc (1880-1916). Franz Marc will forever be remembered for his paintings of animals in brilliant colors and simplified, nearly cubist forms. The artist died in action in World War I at the age of only 36. See more paintings here and here

So, anybody inspired to make quilts in brilliant colors with simplified forms? I know I am. Whether I get there or not is another story.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

A Little Embellishment

Thanks for your comments on my fun crazy face portrait (and my lame "learning about realism with inks" portrait). I have taken plenty of art classes over the years, but portraiture has never been an interest, nor do I have a gift for it. I can draw the figure fairly well, but faces are elusive. I do recommend the crazy one for fun. I am already thinking about using the method for other subjects.

Now to report on another workshop: "Awakening the Art Quilter in You" with Wendy Butler Berns. Honestly, I didn't think my art quilter was really asleep, but I DID want to learn more about embellishing, couching, collaging, bobbin work, and free motion machine embroidery. And I did. I already had done fusing, some couching, and a little bobbin work with perle cotton, but this time I used a little Razzle Dazzle from Superior in the bobbin. I like the bobbin work idea VERY much and want to do more of it. Wendy was fun and I enjoyed her quilts, and, at least for this class she had the relaxed style I enjoy. This was a full day class (Friday), but I still ran out of time.

In the interest of showing you everything, I will display my practice piece from the class, but keep in mind it was done just to learn technique. I am not happy with it as a finished piece, but that's ok. I think there may be some elements I will cut out and use elsewhere.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

About Faces

Today's post is about the "portrait workshops" I took at Road to California. By far, I had the most fun in Cheryl Bridgart's workshop "The Impressionistic Portrait". (Don't think of the French painters, think of it in general terms). Cheryl says there will be a website soon and book to follow, and I certainly hope so because she was terrific. Short version of this class: Fuse fabric strips onto a fusible interfacing (Turn fusible side up, arrange, press under applique sheet). Make a background by doing free motion embroidery like crazy. Place and couch cording to create line. Follow up with embellishment and more embroidery. Cheryl also taught us how to make our own cord (twist thin torn fabric strips and sew together.) This was fun, fun, fun. I had the afternoon free in the hotel to continue working, and I recommend this as being a lot more satisfying than going straight to another class.

I did not take my camera with me to the workshops, but it was just as well since I was too busy trying to keep up to do any documentation. I have discovered that half day or evening workshops are just not long enough. This was especially true in the "Faces Workshop" by Trish Stuart on Thursday night since there were several techniques we did not cover. I really debated about showing you this because it is very unfinished AND because I don't like it too much. However, knowing that everybody loves the visual, here it is.

The good news is that I got a little feeling for working with the Tsukineko inks and will go forward with practicing from here. The short version of the workshop is: divide your face into sections of light, medium and dark. (We used photographs inside page protectors and a dark marker to outline areas. Placing your PFD white fabric over this, you can see the lines underneath.) Apply a coat of white crayon and melt it into the fabric by ironing between paper towels. Apply the inks and blend like crazy, adding little by little and using more white if you need to. Start with the lightest and work slowly towards the dark. Fabric markers can be used at the end to add details.

I am not about to launch into making a bunch of realistic portraits any time soon, but I want to be able to use the technique if I need it as part of a larger work.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Back from Road

Well, I'm finally back from "Road to California". We had classes even on the last day up until the very end, and I'm flat out exhausted. I owe an apology to anyone who tried to call me on Saturday afternoon because, unbeknownst to me, my cell phone was deader than a door nail. Suze was kind enough to call when she arrived, but unfortunately I wasn't at the show but out to lunch, and she was headed off to class. (that "out to lunch" just begs for a comment on my general mental state, but I won't go there).

The show was fabulous and I was just blown away by all the wonderful quilts. I have never been to the Houston show, or to Quilt National either, but I have been to Paducah and, for venue at least, I like Road to California better. Of course, for me, it's easier because no plane travel is involved.

Quilt shows are so overstimulating sometimes, you don't know whether to feel inspired and elated or overwhelmed and defeated. I chose to be inspired, especially after a few workshops. Remind me next time not to schedule so many back to back. Later, I will talk about them one by one and share photos of my own results.

One of the things I love about "Road" is the variety of things offered. My friend and roomie studied things like antique Quilt Appraisal and restoration. Her workshop classes involved beautiful old patterns and Civil War reproduction fabrics. I know that a few months from now she will be completing some absolutely gorgeous traditional quilts. I studied things like creating faces by painting on fabric, bobbin work, embellishment, and African Folk Art embroidery. Something for everyone. We shared our workshop results every night and had a great time.

I will post more later about the workshops. For me it was all about painting, embroidery, and embellishment. I learned a ton, and it has inspired me in a whole new direction.

A clarification about the "Journal Quilt". This is for a group of quilters from About.Com who are going to explore and share their quilts over the next 12 months. It is for fun, sharing, and learning techniques that are new to us, and none are going to a show as far as I know. (It is not part of the "journal quilts" for Quiltart that are going to Houston.) There is a link in my sidebar if you want to browse around the list and see what's going on. I have only just now gotten back online, so I have lots to go around and see. Thanks to everyone who visited and left a comment! I have a LOT of catching up to do.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Journal Quilt, a little early

You might remember the fun day I had painting fabric with my new Dyna-flo fabric dye paints.

It was hard to choose, but I decided my favorite was the purple, green and yellow.
I looked it over, turning it around, and decided I saw blue mountains, green fields and sunlight just beyond a mighty purple storm cloud.

I cut a piece just a little bigger, maybe an inch all around, than the required size.

I started quilting on my new machine, the first time ever that I have done this. I experimented with lots of different stitches using some of my lovely multi-colored Rainbow Superior threads.

Here is a close up of some of the stitching in progress.

I very much wanted to emphasize the sun breaking through after the terrible storm, (going in a big way for a little obvious symbolism), so I stitched the sun's rays with very big bright stitches. When I was finished stitching, I trimmed the quilt to the required size of 8 1/2" x 11". Then I finished off the edges a la Laura Wasilowski, that is with a fused binding with edges cut with a decorative edge rotary cutter.

Then I signed it. "After The Storm", Jen Anderson, 1/18/2006.

I'm happy with my little journal quilt. I did some "new to me things": painted fabric with Dyna-flo, created a whole cloth quilt (yes, this is a first, I have always pieced, appliqued or fused things), and explored some of the stitching capabilities of my new machine.

Road to California

I am getting ready to go to the Road to California quilt show (Deb R. I will seek out your quilt "Eyes of the Sun" to see in person. Isn't that where it went after PAQA?) Who else has quilts there? Gerrie, Diane, and ?
If anyone is going and you think you might have time to connect, email me and I will send you my cell phone #. I will be leaving early tomorrow morning.
Some things I hope to be learning about are: using Tsineko inks to create realistic faces, using various thread and other embellishments in art quilts, creating an impressionistic portrait, and primitive African folk art embroidery. I have experimented already with a number of things but am open to learning from someone who might actually know what they are doing. I will also be laughing a lot with a few of my quilting pals who are also going. We plan in advance to be very silly and enjoy being carefree for a few days. Well, we will pretend to be carefree anyway.

I finished my journal quilt for January last night. I will post about that when I get home tonight, or tomorrow before I leave.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Kitchen Adventures

Here is a sketch covering the Everyday Matters topics of "your resolution"(healthy eating) and "draw what's in your refrigerator". I took a few liberties with perspective, but I think the vegetables and fruits have a lot of personality. I see a "Kitchen Series" of art quilts in my future...

Monday, January 16, 2006

Friends, food, and fun

First, thanks to everyone who commented last time around. I'm a little behind in my emails, but I love getting your comments. Sande asked what kind of fabric I used. It was Hoffman PFD (Prepared for Dyeing), 100% cotton. This is what I use most of the time for fabric painting and dyeing, but I do have some silk I want to try soon.

I think I am getting my comeuppance for being an obnoxious braggart about our California weather. Since then it has rained and gotten steadily colder and the forecast says we will have the coldest night of the season so far this year. We have a warning for frost, so I brought all the potted plants indoors. I remember when I first came out here, it made me laugh to see people using credit cards to scrape frost off their windshields. No snow scrapers in every car, so I guess you get inventive.

Yesterday I got to play hostess to my wonderful quilt group. I love being hostess, fiddling with decorations and menus and so on. Let's face it, I am secretly a happy homemaker, never mind that I have to work full time. I scored some cheap, lead free, Italian pottery bowls at Target along with some festive striped tablecloths, also a bargain. Paired with an assortment of dishes I already own, it made a nice table setting if I say so myself. I also planted a few flowers from the garden shop in small containers. This satisfies my thrifty soul because they can go into the yard a bit later after they have done their table duty.

I served a healthy chicken chilli. Thanks to my husband who smoked the chicken for me before it went into the recipe, it turned out delicious. I used organic tomatoes for the sauce and seasoned with chilli powder, garlic, chipolte chilli powder, salt and pepper. I added the chopped peppers, onions, and carrots (yes carrots) at the last minute so they would stay slightly crisp. I did cheat and use canned beans, though. Ranch style pinto beans and black beans. Since I "cook by look" and taste, I don't have a recipe, but this one is similar. Sort of.

As we always do when we get together, we had sharing. Here is my friend Barbara with an old quilt she just inherited from her aunt. Love the bright colors. It is hand quilted, and we think it is hand pieced as well.

When her daughter was visiting recently, they made purses together. Isn't this one fun?

There was more sharing, but I'll save some of those pictures for another blog entry.
We had a relaxing afternoon, talking, laughing, and sewing. I think we're going to have a great year!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

January Afternoon, California style

One day last week, I took a warm afternoon off from work and spent the time painting fabric. This time I used Dyna-Flo dye paint from Dharma, and not only are the colors wonderfully bright, the fabric hand is still soft. Not sure, but these may find their way into the journal quilt this month.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Four Things

I've been tagged for the "Four Things"meme by Jen over at Bayou Quilts.
So here goes:

Four jobs you've had: retail clerk, telephone operator, secretary, library staff

Four movies you could watch over and over: Fried Green Tomatoes, October Sky, Forest Gump, Secondhand Lions

Four place I've lived: Lynch, KY., Kokomo, IN., Royal Oak, MI., San Diego, CA.

Four TV shows I love to watch: Grey's Anatomy, Law & Order, Simply Quilts, Desperate Housewives

Four places you've been on vacation: Hawaii, New Zealand, Jamaica, Mexico

Four Websites I Visit Everyday: Believe it or not, there are some days I don't visit my computer. When I AM online, I visit as many blogs as I can, and naming just 4 would be impossible. Websites I visit frequently are
SDSU Library site, Yahoo, Artcyclopedia, Google.

Four of my Favorite Foods: Fresh baked bread, lasagna, spinach (raw or cooked), chocolate

Four places I'd rather be: right now? at home in my studio, out and about with friends, in the mountains somewhere, at the beach (not the suntan beach, the empty winter time waves crashing beach)

Four albums you can't live without: Vivaldi's "Four Seasons", Loreena McKinnett (anything but especially "Book of Secrets"), The Best of Simon and Garfunkel, "Nick of Time" Bonnie Raitt

Four people you'll pass this on to: Karoda at Seamless Skin, Sonji at Sonji Says, Debra at Debra Spincic Design Studio, Rian of Rian's Pages.
If any of you hate quiz things, I apologize in advance.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Secondhand Lions

I don't often write about movies, because even though a lot of them get watched around here, I'm usually doing something else. My son and husband are such movie buffs that they each have separate subscriptions to Netflix. Part of that, I suspect, is because they have differing tastes, coming together now and then over an action-adventure flick.
Last night, though, I took time out to watch this one, Secondhand Lions. It has been around for a while, but somehow I missed it. I really liked this movie and so did Jerry. A quirky little flick that celebrates the imagination, it reminded us both in a way of Big Fish (another favorite). Secondhand Lions is easier to watch if you like being able to follow a story, but both have that zest for life theme.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Romare Bearden

Well, so far, so good. Of course it's only Jan 4th, but every day this year I have exercised, eaten reasonable amounts of healthy food, and fiddled around with sketching. I did find the "Everyday Matters" emails to be a little overwhelming, so I just set them to "digest" mode. It was great fun to follow the links to people's sketches, so much variety and all very inspiring. Danny Gregory's site is terrific for inspiration and a fun read even if you don't join the group. I have had the "Everyday Matters" link up for ages in the sidebar, but it was seeing how much fun Rayna was having with sketching that got me to join.

Romare Bearden

Romare Bearden, The Family,

c. 1941 gouache with ink and graphite on brown paper

Today's artist for inspiration is Romare Bearden (1911-1988). I have a wonderful book from the library called The Art of Romare Bearden, by Ruth Fine, from the National Gallery of Art.

See wonderful images and read more at their website.

From the intro by Ruth Fine: "Romare Bearden's large and diverse oeuvre, numbering thousands of objects in many media, reveals the artist's remarkable curiosity and intelligence as well as his fervent desire to defy the limits of artistic and cultural categorization." and "One great legacy of Beardon's art is its insight that what we share as a global community is equal in both interest and importance to what makes each of us unique. He achieved this by embracing themes and practices from diverse times and places and imbuing them with an imaginative character and physical presence that is distinctively his own. In the materiality of his expansive expression, method and message become one."

Romare Bearden, Of the Blues: At the Savoy,

1974 collage of various papers with paint, ink, and graphite on fiberboard

If all this ArtSpeak is making you snore, just realize that this was a brilliant, talented and successful man who was nearly as passionate about literature as he was about art. He painted the black experience, but always was conscious of how it related to "universals".

Monday, January 02, 2006

A Clean, Well Lighted Place

Today was a good day, and the last of my holiday vacation. Tomorrow morning I will be up once again at the brutal hour of 5 a.m., showered, dressed and ready to catch the vanpool by 6:15 am, and at the library ready to work (well, sort of) by 6:45 am. I don't really have to hit the ground running, after so many years I can do auto pilot until I wake up for real. Thank god I'm not corporate. We are in winter session, so there will be very few people out and about on campus, much less in the library. We will have a few die hard professors and graduate thesis writers, and that's it. The student poplulation at large returns at the end of the month.

Today I spent time drawing, reading, shopping, and messing about with fabric. It was raining cats and dogs, but we didn't lose power and happily the winds didn't bring down any trees or large branches. We will have a lot of palm fronds to clean up, though.

Here are pictures of one of my more useful projects this vacation. A clean, well-ordered studio.
I always like to see where other people work, so I'm going to pretend you think the same way and are dying to see yet another picture of sewing machines and fabric storage.

Here we are standing in the doorway of my newly cleaned and organized work space. Yes, I know that some are more pristine, but for me this is FABULOUS. Notice the nicely framed inspirational art on your right, by our own Sonji and Mrs. Mel.

As we enter you can see the key improvement in the space, other than general tidiness. I have put up a HUGE design wall. Well, for me it's huge. To get space for this, I just separated the shelving into smaller units and spread them around the room. Why didn't I think of this before?

See the new fabric holding baskets, they match and everything. I got these a little while back for half price at Michael's. A few more almost finished projects in the corner over there, tidy bins of fabric, and shelves of thread and other supplies. My new machine is over on the left. I should probably put the other one away for a while.

Off to the right you can see, along with some unfinished projects, where I have put up all the fabric postcards I received. I haven't been doing these cards too long, so most of these are from the artful quilters.

Here is the current work in progress on the new design wall. The quilt is simple, but these fabrics are gorgeous. I love, love, love the colors. You probably can't see the detail enough to tell, but some of them are Loni Rossi designs. They are so delicious I want to buy them all. I am going to try really hard not to do that since, clearly, I have plenty of fabric already, not to mention plenty of paint and PFD to make my own.

That concludes our little tour. I'm off to bed now, I have to get up early.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Goals for 2006

In the year to come, these are some things I want to work on.

I am going to spend more time drawing, and perhaps more time painting as well. I have done both of these things off and on for years, but lately its been more off than on. I have a new, smaller sketch book that will fit easily into my bag. If I take it to work, I can spend my lunch hour drawing. I started off today spending an hour alone with my sketchbook. I have joined "Everyday Matters", so that will help with the drawing goals. I probably won't share all of the drawings, but I will share some of them.

I am going to work up to an hour a day of healthy exercise. Now I do the minimum of 30 minutes 3 or 4 times a week, but I know I can't get the weight off again unless I up the ante.

I make both traditional and art quilts, and I enjoy the whole process. I would like to complete some of my unfinished projects and get rid of the ones I really have lost interest in. While I'm not swearing off all fabric purchases, I want to be more disciplined about using what I have.
I spent two days this past week reorganizing my fabric and my work space. I also spent quite a bit of time on a new project. (I love my new machine! ) I have joined the journal quilt group, so I know I will COMPLETE at least one journal quilt a month.

This has been a wonderful year of spiritual growth, and I am grateful for it. I want to continue down this path and be ever mindful of what is really important.

It has been a great year for spending time with friends. I want to continue to make that a priority, and I want to make sure I let people know how much I appreciate them, and how happy I am that they are in my life.

On that note, fellow artists and quilters, you are important to me and I really appreciate you all. Happy New Year!