Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sneak peek

The exhibition is open!

Thistle Down hangs on a partition wall in foreground.   Wanted to give you a sneak peek of Farm Girl Landscapes. 

Saturday, September 11, 2010

You are all invited -- Farm Girl Landscapes opens September 13

Farm Girl Landscapes at Kaskaskia College in Centralia, Illinois runs from September 13 through October 15, 2010 at the Dee and Sue Boswell Gallery on campus.  A reception will be held on October 9 from 12-4 pm.  I'll be in attendance then and would love to see my friends and family! I'll also be giving a gallery talk to Kaskaskia students sometime before then, date TBA.

Only one little hitch in the operation--the silk will not be installed until Monday morning, but I'm assured the gentleman who will do it is fast and very good at his job...he just happened to be on a well-earned vacation this past week when I delivered my work to the gallery.

The piece shown above is a small detail of a larger work I've titled Round Bales.  You can see and read about how this was made here.  I'm pleased with all the color variations from soft grays to deep blacks with pale gold areas and a few spots of pure rust.  The grays and blacks are created by three types of tea.  I brew loose tea at home and save the leaves.  I also use fresh tea if I want deeper blacks.  Friends save tea bags for me which I empty.  I can draw with the dust. 

Round Bales are of course a staple of dairy farming.  You can't drive through the Midwest without seeing the huge round forms dotting the landscape.  We had a round baler on the farm for a short time-- an old decrepit machine purchased used that my dad had a terrible time keeping in running order.  The bales were much smaller than those made today with modern equipment.

My dad preferred (as I did) the square bales that could be handled by one person and stacked neatly on a wagon and in the barn.  We went through lots of hay for our modest herd of dairy cows and spent many a day during the summer cutting, raking and baling.  Rain was the enemy for those times as dampness would mold and ruin the the hay.  Sadly, my brother missed my high school graduation to put up hay because my dad was convinced it was going to rain that evening.  My brother and I and various neighbor boys helped put up the hay countless times.  It was hot and sticky work and my arms would be covered in scratches by the end of the day.  I just could not bring myself to wear long sleeves in 90 degree weather and besides it was a point of pride to prove I could work alongside the guys.   

The bulk of the work in this show is connected to my growing up on the farm.  The more abstract work always has me searching for imagery within the designs that trigger a memory from that past life. 


What a relief!

Several months ago Diana Hansen invited me to show at Kaskaskia College in Centralia, IL.  I've been working all summer on several large pieces--the largest I've ever done, in fact.  All the new work employs the shibori rust method.  The show will feature some of my older work as well--several prints and collages--hence the need of a larger transport for the big framed pieces.  Thanks to my niece and nephew for lending me their SUV pictured below loaded and ready to go.

It took over 2 hours Wednesday morning to load the art which, due to humidity, couldn't be done the night before.  Some of the framed pieces measure 36" x 50" and I was working alone.  I used every free blanket and sheet I owned I think, along with bubble wrap to cushion each framed piece. 

The silk was pressed and rolled onto 60" long tubes I buy at fabric stores.  I made fleece coverings for each tube so that my silk isn't in direct contact with the cardboard.  In the short term it probably wouldn't matter, but if I must store the silk on the tube for any length of time, I want it protected, so I make the extra effort.

The gallery at Kaskaskia is fairly new on campus located just inside the Lifelong Learning Center.  It is a beautiful but unusual space with floor to ceiling windows on the north and partial walls jutting into the interior from the window wall.

I worked out a plan in advance to help me layout my work.  On delivery day Diana made some suggestions to take better advantage of sight lines and I think it's all going to work out very well.  There is nearly 144 feet of wall space to fill!  I'm also going to have a silk piece on display in the library.  And, I will have a few assemblages on pedestals to fill out the space.  It's really exciting to see it all come together.  Can't wait till Monday!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Welcome delay

It's like a snow day!  I was scheduled to deliver my art to Kaskaskia Tuesday for my upcoming exhibit there, but back to back classes for my friend Diana who invited me, makes it almost impossible to do the delivery at a convenient time for her.  She suggested coming Wednesday instead.  I am ecstatic because now I can finish hemming one more piece and get all the other last minute details seen to without the stress of pulling an all nighter.  What a great feeling! 

Here's a detail of a piece of silk dupioni that was shibori rusted.  The finished piece is almost 15 feet long and 55 inches wide.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Back from Nevereverland

I was about to give up and post a message that I can't blog until I get my text formatting buttons back...but curiously...they are back!  

Picked up my work yesterday from Main Street Gallery.  The Elements Show is over.  At this moment I should be pressing and hemming all the big silk I've made over the last weeks in preparation for my one person show at Kaskaskia.  More about that a bit later.  But what the heck.  I want to show off one of my acquisitions.

Went antiquing with a friend a couple weekends ago.  Spent the whole day driving up I-55 stopping at seven antique malls along the way.  I've been looking for a treadle machine for 25 years.  The plan is to turn it into a glass topped table, but I probably won't be able to resist rusting from it before I do that.  I've never seen a frame completely intact.  Something was always missing or hideously  painted or the seller was asking an arm and a leg.  This beauty cost me all of $15, is perfectly rusted and the treadle still works!  Found several other rusty bits that day too that I'm anxious to put to work. 

Now I absolutely must get back to work.
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