Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Torrington Yarn Bomb

Pam Lacey and I ventured to Torrington, CT this past Saturday to stroll through town and enjoy the yarn bombing experience sponsored by Five Points Gallery. The extent of the yarn bombing was a bit surprising.


Besides the usual parking meters,


trees,


and fences,


store fronts had been included as well as.


Peggy Dembicer's version of The Scream is exquisite. Peggy partnered with another artist to create this...I remember reading the accompanying tag, but cannot recall the artist's name. Each work had a tag identifying the artist, but in my amazement and excitement, I forgot to photograph those as well. 



This butterfly tree held a little surprise in the shape of a small taxidermied  red squirrel sitting in the v of the tree. As Pam and I marveled at someone's sense of humor to do so...and as we both reached out to touch said squirrel, it blinked its eyes and we (or me) squeaked and jumped back before breaking out in peels of laughter.


Sufficiently recovered from our shock, we continued strolling and looking.




 Cookie Monster is a visual and textural treat


as are the seasons (only spring is pictured here - the seasons continue around the post). 



My irreverent sense of humor enjoyed the yarn bombing of the Pope,


although not as much as the feet on the mail box. 




This peacock is enormous on its perch above Main Street. 


Nearby is piece honoring the local aquarium complete with colorful fish, jelly fish and a huge red whale suspended midst a tree. The variety of patterns that comprise the tail caught my eye. 


This felted mermaid is hanging out on the bridge


while this little one is attempting to climb the tree. 


It was this tree, though, that had me wishing I'd brought a book so I could lean against its large and comfortable trunk to relax, read a bit and enjoy the shade its magnificent branches offered.

The yarn bomb is up until September (not sure of the exact date) and is well worth a drive to see it all - and there is much more to see than shown here.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

By A Thread, part 2

This is part 2 of  By A Thread, curated by Nancy Moore at the Ridgefield Guild of Artists, Ridgefield, Connecticut. It is an exquisite exhibition of fiber art. The show runs until June 19 with artist talks each Sunday 3-5 pm.


The art shown in this post is located in the second room/gallery of Ridgefield Guild of Artists. There were a few pieces that I just could not get good photos of for various reasons, primarily user error.  Ellen Shiffman's column of felted work within boxes (far right in above photo) is one such work. When possible, I have linked to the artist's web site (just click the name) as well as include the aritst statement. Please forgive any typing errors and please let me know if you find any. Enjoy!

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Leslie Giuliani, Great Adventure

Great Adventure
cloth, encaustic, wool, 
wood, thread

 Leslie Giuliani, Great Adventure, detail


Leslie Giuliani, Great Adventure, detail

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Roz Chast, Marco
Marco
wool

Roz Chast, Marco, detail

Roz Chast, Marco, detail


Marco was my wonderful, beloved pet lory who died at the age of fourteen of a liver ailment. I always imagined him as a little boy--he was curious and plucky and always playing with one toy or another. I gave this rug to my daughter, who used it on the floor in her kitchen for a year or two. It's a rug, so I was happy for her to use it as one. It got a little dirty, but that's ok.  Roz Chast

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Peggy Dembicer, Stuck on Band-Aids
Stuck on Band-Aids
beads, thread, band-aids,
seed beads, embroidery floss,
acrylic gel medium, crystal

Peggy Dembicer, Stuck on Band-Aids, detail
Peggy Dembicer, Stuck on Band-Aids, detail

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Peggy Dembicer, Philomena School Marm

Philomena School Marm
beads, thread, upholstery fabric

Peggy Dembicer, Philomena School Marm, detail

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JodiAnn Strmiska, Redbeard

Redbeard
cut paper, nylon thread

JodiAnn Strmiska, Redbeard, detail

Making "high-touch" and "low-tech" art is an integral part of my current studio practice. My recent explorations of color, texture, and form have involved repetitive visual pattern and eccentric network structure, inspired by the growth habits of flowers, plants, and vines. 

The "ColorBeard" series of cut-paper sculptures is informed by my concern as a woman with the fine line between fragility and strength with in my personal life and in my work as an artist. The dynamics of tension and release are contained within the interlocking spirals of hand-cut colored paper, individually glued and tied together with nylon fishing line. Working with a more or less chromatic palette of primary to secondary colors, I intend each piece to evoke or embody a different emotional state corresponding with each color, mimicking an unruly mass of hair or "beard" cut and hung as a mock wall trophy. 
RedBeard was inspired by the myriad archetypal associations of "red": from "red-hot" passion, love, and lust; to violent , "blood-red" rage; to the beauty of a "red, red rose" bursting into bloom.  JodiAnn Strmiska

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Peggy Dembicer, Le Réve Réversed

Le Réve Réversed
beads, thread

Peggy Dembicer, Le Réve Réversed, detail

I became aware of Picasso's masterpiece Le Réve after reading about a now famous incident in which collector Steve Wynn accidentally put an elbow through the canvas while speaking gesturally to friends. I altered the image in my own way, first by reversing it and then by reimagining it with beaded embroidery.

While Picasso is noted for his ability to speed-paint his amazing images in a few short hours, my tribute to his genius took countless hours over the course of months.  Peggy Dembicer

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Francine Even, Ode to Klee

Ode to Klee
hand-dyed wook

Francine Even, Ode to Klee, detail

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Norma Schlager, Configurations VI, Salsa City

Configurations VI, Salsa City
hand-dyed cotton,
variegated threads

Norma Schlager, Configurations VI, Salsa City, detail

"Salsa" is a spicy condiment or sultry dance--either way, this quilt sizzles. This piece is part of my "Configurations" series, in which I explore the use of different combinations of my hand-dyed fabrics, this time all hot colors. I've added accents of black and my wonky piecing to give the illusion of buildings.  Norma Schlager

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Constance Old, Filling the Void series

Filling the Void series
mixed papers, plastic,
wool, drawer liners,
disassembled shoe bags

Constance Old, Filling the Void series, detail

Constance Old, Filling the Void series, detail

Constance Old, Filling the Void series, detail

In my fiber work, I use the traditional crafts of rug hooking and hand weaving to create three-dimensional wall pieces. Made with contemporary materials, the work is both timeless and an index of our time. I experiment with everyday, contemporary materials (various up-cycled paper and plastic fibers, and grids, such as construction fencing or disassembled polyester mesh bags), as they are abundantly available fibers that reflect our time. Living in an era of material excess, it intrigues me to work in a medium that originated from need and a scarcity of materials. My work updates traditional craft techniques while commenting on and reusing some of the excesses of our modern consumer economy.  Constance Old

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Sooo-Z Mastropietro, Chimaerrow

Chimaerrow
cotton lycra knit

Sooo-Z Mastropietro, Chimaerrow, detail

Sooo-Z Mastropietro, Chimaerrow, detail

Chimaerrow is a pure fusion of opposites: soft against hard, shiny against matte, contrasting colors. These elements are symbolic within me: entropy combines with control, spontaneity merges with precision, and artistry blends with a scientific approach. My own patchwork of endeavors has covered the spectrum from fashion designer to surgical technologist to classical bassist. I've become the creature I need to be in order to survive.  Sooo-z Mastropietro

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Claire Watson Garcia, Artifact

Artifact
photocopy, acrylic medium,
surveyor's card, thread

Claire Watson Garcia, Artifact, detail

I'm drawn to foolishness, and have learned to trust the truth that emerges when I turn to it as an art-making tool. And, of course, I can laugh during the process of making the work. Always a plus. So, in creating this  piece I channeled fashion guru Tim Gunn as I perused the cereal aisles of Stop & Shop for "an excellent source of fiber." Not Whole Foods. Noooo. I wanted to go retro. I returned home with several boxes of Kellogg's All-Bran, emptied the cereal in the garbage, and dismantled the boxes. Then off I went to the UPS store with said colorful cardboard. Maintaining my foolish focus, especially in dealing with "my assistants" at UPS ("What are you doing with that?"), required rigorous adherence to my vision.

The resulting piece, formed from photocopies of cereal box cardboard, gloss medium, thread, and cord, achieved the feel I was looking for: a visual pun delivered in the form of a long-lost attic dress, a bit battered and worn, from a long-ago time when large corporations weren't a source of dismay, ad could offer us some fiber we could trust. 

An artifact.  Claire Watson Garcia

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Norma Schlager, Ravishing Red

Ravishing Red
hand-dyed cotton, Dupioni silk,
rayon thread


Norma Schlager, Ravishing Red, detail

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Nina Bentley, Homage to Katrina

Homage to Katrina
plaster, wood, silk
thread, metal

Nina Bentley, Homage to Katrina, detail

Nina Bentley, Homage to Katrina, detail

My art has always been my reaction to events in the world and issues in my life. Three-dimensional assemblage commentary is how I describe it... My focus has not changed in forty years. The devastation caused by hurricane Katrina, especially to the Black community in Louisiana, made me very sad. The sculpture you see here is meant to symbolize flooding water, flowing tears, Black hands... It is my empathy incarnate, an "Homage to Katrina."  Nina Bentley

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Jenny Walker, Red Curve (Planar Signal)

Red Curve (Planar Signal)
aluminum and cotton


Jenny Walker, Red Curve (Planar Signal), detail

Jenny Walker, Red Curve (Planar Signal), detail

This story is a story of history. This story is a story of family. This story yearns for connection and searches for its lines in the passages of the sea. A Norwegian ship captain, a New England childhood, and a deep love for the ocean all play a role in my own story. This body of work is influenced by lineage and ocean travel that brought not only goods, but also my family to distant shores.  Jenny Walker

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Linda Rae Coughlin, Tied Up

Tied Up
hand-dyed recycled fabric,
recycled clothing,
hand-dyed rope


Linda Rae Coughlin, Tied Up, detail

Linda Rae Coughlin, Tied Up, detail

Tied Up looks at the forces of dark vs. light, good vs. evil, male vs. female, and power vs. weakness. Women from around the world are asked daily to submit to what "their" society feels is the appropriate behavior for a woman. Whether it is in her clothing, her sexual demeanor, her words, or her freedom to choose what she wants to do with her life. The words, "A woman who knows the ropes in not about to get tied up" express how one person (the male) thinks that he has control over the other person (the female), but in reality even if the rope were knotted together the mind and spirit can never be tied down with any type of cord--physical or metaphorical. This piece is intended to give hope to all women, empowering them to never give up their power and to always stay true to and in command of themselves.  Linda Rae Coughlin

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Arlé Sklar-Weinstein, Through the Eyes of My Father: Tea Vendor

Through the Eyes of My Father: Tea Vendor
digital image transfer, mixed fabrics
(original 3" x 2" photograph by Philip Sklar: Barbados 1940)

Arlé Sklar-Weinstein, Through the Eyes of My Father: Tea Vendor, detail

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Missy Stevens, Protective Garment

Protective Garment
silk, cotton, and rayon thread,
glass beads, velvet,
vintage buttons, metal trim

Missy Stevens, Protective Garment, detail

Occasionally I become aware of a part of myself that has perceived the world in its own way and now wants to come forward, to explore and discover in a new way what the world has to offer. Sometimes that's scary! What if that brave element of myself that quests for growth could have some sheltering raiment?

Protective Garment was inspired by this idea. A part of me wants support and love and could wear this vest in order to feel strengthened and protected. 

People in many cultures believe that what you wear can offer spiritual protection both by drawing in positive and by repelling negative energy. In some Asian countries children are dressed in hats that disguise them (as flowers or as tigers, for instance) from evil spirits who are looking for vulnerable beings. People (myself included) often choose colors and patterns to wear based on how they feel when they are wearing them. There are cultural and personal norms for these choices. 

Because I first became aware that this tradition exists in China, Protective Garment has some Asian references. The embroidered oval is similar to the rank medallions indicating stature on royal court robes. Conflating rank, a very rigid system, with the tenderness of protection, makes me smile. 

I chose Turtle because of her nature of being at home in many environments, but I wanted someone a bit fiercer to strengthen her. I found the Korean divine animal Shingu, a Turtle/Dragon, a perfect protector and vehicle for going through transitions.  Missy Stevens
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Katie Bassett, Sally Domesticated

Sally Domesticated
hand-dyed brown kraft paper,
india ink, thread, branch

Katie Bassett, Sally Domesticated, detail

Katie Bassett, Sally Domesticated, detail

I utilize a large range of domestic materials to represent fragments of my existence as an artist and a woman. My focus is primarily on expressing emotions abstractly through material-based explorations. I'm interested in constructing, being so involved with the work that it becomes a true extension of myself. My work is a reflection on my relationship to others, my observations, and significant life experiences. A consistent theme is the expression of building, destroying, and rebuilding; an acknowledgment of the vulnerability and breaking down in life shadowed by a naive hope for the rebuild.  Katie Bassett

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Part 3 coming soon...

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