Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Collaboration: Reaping and Sewing

My collaboration with five other artists for Innovations 2011 mentioned several posts ago is progressing.  Time flies when you are having fun.  As curator of the exhibition, I am honored that they all accepted my invitations with enthusiasm and embraced the possibilities that come from such a teaming.  Our common link is that of teacher/student/mentor.
Nina Ganci was my art student (in the mid 80s) at the high school in St. Louis where I used to teach.  Nina marched to a different drummer then and now.  She founded SKIF International in 1994.  Laura Strand was my professor and is head of textiles at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville where I earned my MFA in 2003.  Laura introduced me to her grad student Erin Cork in 2006.  Erin spent two summers with me learning composting and solar dyeing techniques before getting her MFA so I claim her as my student too.  Erin also studied book arts with Erin Vigneau Dimick, an adjunct professor at SIUE who works closely with Laura and considers her a mentor.  Rounding out the circle is Jo Stealey, head of the fibers program at University of Missouri Columbia, and Erin Cork's undergrad professor. 

Below are some of the snaps I’ve taken at various monthly meetings since the collaboration began back in December.  Part of the fun is that we are meeting at SKIF headquarters in St. Louis which is a riot of color.

Jo Stealey (L) and Erin Vigneau Dimick are discussing Jo's scroll book
while Laura Strand looks on.  Erin Cork, who lives in  Virginia now,
looks on from Skype on the laptop perched on the stool.  Jo has used some
of my shibori rusted silk to construct the book.

Above:  Can't meet without feasting!  L-R:  Erin Vigneau Dimick, Erin Cork, and Jo Stealey.  Erin Cork is getting married this summer and has made a couple wedding related trips back home.  We try to schedule our meetings around that and when she can't be in St. Louis we catch her on Skype which has been very interesting.  Above left--Nina Ganci (R) listens to Jo as she comments on Nina's quilt in progress.  Nina is using some of Jo's paper shifu to embellish her quilt.

Nina dangles a piece of plastic that has been used for stencil painting on her clothing and sweater designs for SKIF International, her fashion company which is headquartered on "The Hill" in St. Louis.  This plastic and many other stencils will probably find its way into the quilt.

I realized after looking through all the pictures that I wouldn't be in any of them--so while I was trying on my new SKIF sweater, a gift from Nina, I snapped myself in her "still life" of mirrors.

None of us can walk into SKIF without trying on some of Nina's latest creations.  I've got some fabulous shots of the store, and I sat down recently with Nina to talk about her life and business which I'll share with you soon.  BTW, I hope to give you some background on all of the artists in the next few posts. 

Erin Vigneau Dimick, Laura Strand, and Nina Ganci are listening to Erin Cork on Skype as she comments on Vigneau Dimick's work in progress.

In January each of us brought a collection of things from our personal studios and then took turns selecting items that we wanted to work with.  The swap meet was great fun.  I came home with at least one thing from each artist, although not everyone did that.    Two big pieces are well underway.  I have plans for at least three more.  So I better get off this blog and get to work! 

Collaboration: Reaping and Sewing opens August 26, 2011 at the Jacoby Arts Center in Alton, IL and runs through October 2.  The reception is 5-8 PM on August 26.  A talk by the artists is being scheduled sometime during the exhibition.
Jacoby Arts Center is on the October 1 bus tour of Innovations galleries.

This is a prototype for our showcard.

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