Art Attack

laurahere.jpgI have been lucky to have a bunch of great art experiences this summer. Most recently, Saturday, I met several women artists; Mary Nearing, Jennifer Reis, Pat Choate, Deborah Knittel (and Deborah’s inventor husband) for lunch at an Indian restaurant in Lexington. We met to get to know each other and talk fiber stuff. I got acquainted with Mary at the American Craft Council’s South Eastern Conference in Gatlinburg Tennessee earlier in September. (More about that later….) Mary was so friendly at the conference and was kind enough to invite me to this gathering. Katie and I have been longing for more fiber accomplices; it was great to meet some new folks. Jennifer shared a couple of projects she is working on; sumptuous thickly embellished wall pieces. After lunch I headed to Michael’s craft store to check out Martha’s (Stewart) new line of craft supplies. Pretty cool stuff. Actually, it was all so lovely and tidy, I felt like I needed to go outside and just sit down and enjoy the beautiful fall air. I wanted it all. Why does certain merchandise have the ability to make me feel so inadequate? I am not a scrap booker, do not agonize over gift wrap, or desire to create boxes for my home made baked goods. Technically, I don’t need any supplies to keep creating all the satisfying projects I have started. And yet these beautiful supplies appealingly packaged make me ache to own them. I guess they’ve hit this targeted customer right on the head. I managed to escape having picked out just one thing:
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I plan to wax this and use it for embroidery projects.

O.K., now, I don’t know why this is but I am kinda reluctant to talk about the art projects I am working on. I don’t know where this comes from. Maybe the super competitive studio atmosphere of the first college I attended? A fragment of an idea from the book The Artist’s Way? My innate neurosis? I suspect it is a combination, as well as the reality that I don’t get a lot of time to do my own thing, so when I do get the opportunity to work I do so feverishly, without stopping to take photos or even call Kate and check in with her about my latest obsession. Obviously, this makes for spotty blogging. I hope to share the creation of my next piece, to keep a step by step record of my progress. I actually think it will be helpful and will allow me to better develop and refine my ideas as I work.

I have a bunch of projects going, from crafty to arty and everything in between. The artwork is my Alchemy Series. Since I graduated from college I’ve made art quilts, which were satisfying in some ways but even art quilts have parameters in which you need to work. Increasingly, I was chafing against these parameters; quilts just weren’t working for me. I started making fiber vessels a year or so ago when my baby, Isaac, was 6 weeks old. I was giving so much of myself to him; I ended up feeling hollow, poured out. The image of an ironstone pitcher floated into my consciousness while I rocked and nursed him one night and was very persistent. I couldn’t stop thinking about this pitcher and how I might construct it. I ultimately did, completing much of the stitching while holding my sleeping boy. This was my first vessel; I have since created 3 more. I love old bottles and lab ware and have sketches for more fiber vessels inspired by these things. Working this way is so freeing and exciting. I feel like an explorer, coming up with new ways of combining materials. Most recently, I did this bottle, inspired by old brown glass:
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It is 11” tall and 6” wide, and hollow like a “real” bottle. The fabric is silk hand dyed with black walnuts. (It is the silk shirt I mentioned in my thrifting post.) I used 3 different colors of embroidery floss for the stitches. The lining is 100% wool felt. I am considering stitching beads to the surface, to give it a glassy shine. I know trying to evoke glass with cloth is a bit of a reach! Here is a detail of the neck:
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I am also working on a label and cork for it....

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