Grant update

laurahere.jpgI am glad Katie broke the news of the grant I recieved from the KY Foundation for Women. Its bad enough that I record all my projects here, It feels obnixious to share my big victories too! The project I proposed was to continue work on a series of art work which includes my "bottles", and other fabric vessels.

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These pieces are made of a sandwich of outer and backing layers of fabric-muslin or silk, with wool felt inside. I hand stitch through all these layers with embroidery floss. I made up this method of construction after being frustrated with the flatness of the art quilts I had been doing.

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Here's the artist's statement for this work which was part of my grant submission to KFW:

I have always loved old things. Not fine antiques per se, but the objects used in everyday life. Who knows how many squeaky doors my diminutive oil can has remedied, or how many pie crusts my lovely battered rolling pin has produced? I set out to capture the spirit of these old objects in my new work, three dimensional sculptures that are crafted out of fabric and thread.

The process of observing an object, making a pattern of it, and bringing a replica of it to life out of fabric, is a satisfying challenge. These pieces are made out of two layers of cotton muslin, with wool felt sandwiched between them. The three layers are “quilted” together with seed stitches of embroidery floss. I see this process as making quilts with structure, a form. It is a labor intensive process to hand quilt the seed stitches over the surface of the piece. The time necessary to do the work by hand is crucial; it serves as a calming, meditative activity, and ages the piece. As the surface gains the texture of many stitches, the piece acquires some of the spirit and patina of old things.

Balancing the many aspects of my life has become a complicated task. I am a partner to my husband, a mother to two young boys, an artist, aspiring yogi, gardener, friend, sister and daughter. The difficulty of finding time for everything recently brought to mind the ancient alchemists who attempted the impossible task of turning base metals into gold. I sometimes feel my own aspirations of domestic tranquility, artistic fulfillment, and a meaningful relationship with my family is similarly unachievable.  I’ve heard rumors about amazing women who do manage to keep all the balls in the air, just as I’ve read accounts of alchemists who were successful in their quest. However wildly unbelievable both of these claims seem, I am hopeful.

Ultimately, I envision composing still life compositions entirely out of my hand stitched fabric sculptures, loosely inspired by woodcuts of alchemy laboratories and the still life paintings of the old masters. These ‘shelf-scapes’ will be a visual representation of my own internal work as I attempt to conjure space, time and quiet for myself.

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I am so excited to get the chance to carry out ideas I have been scheming about for months thanks to this grant. The money is distributed by the first of the year, so I am gearing up for major art making after all my christmas crafting is over!

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