My First Gallery Show

Nerves and butterflies and anxiety. Oh my.

This was me in the weeks leading up to my very first gallery show at the University of Portland in the Buckley Center Gallery. I would vacillate between calm and collected to wild-eyed panic. What might happen? What should happen? Did I prepare everything right? Did I forget anything? Doubt and uncertainty and SO many questions without answers.UofP Gallery 1 UofP Gallery 2

In the middle of all this preparing for the show and finishing Raven 1, it occurred to me that these two things together were trying to tell me something; actually, they were trying to tell me lots of somethings. That being uncomfortable is ok. That growing as an artist or a person should not always be easy or straightforward. That doubt is an important part of the process of learning. Most of all, that if it is really important to me it will be worth the effort, no matter how difficult it is at the time.

Whew!

With all that I have some very big Thank-Yous to give. To Pat Bognar of the U of P Buckley Gallery for offering me the opportunity to have this show. To the Pelley’s for introducing me to Pat. To my family for their unceasing support, advice and love. To my wonderful spouse for being, well, wonderful! And most of all to my Grandparents for teaching me these skills to become an artist and to try and give some more beauty to our world.

 

Posted in Musings, Weaving

O Raven, How Frustrating Art Thou?

Well. He’s done. Easily the longest thing I’ve had on the loom in a while, though not out of necessity. Raven, well, he is a handsome guy. Technically the most complicated piece I’ve done. A new technique (for me) involving lots of single warp wrap-and-join…something I had to figure out as I went and a technique that was figured out only after hours of work, tearing out the mistakes and trying again. And again. And again.

A piece that I nearly took off the loom and burned no less than four times. (Thank you, Carl, for talking me off that ledge!!!)

Yes he was maddening. Yes I’m still not happy with it. But after many days of being really sad about how he turned out I did find room for the very cool things that it does come with. Things like how the subtle feather colors really did work out well, how very much attitude mr. raven projects, and how in a not-so-subtle-way it really good for me to be uncomfortable with what I’m doing.

Not uncomfortable in the ‘oh-no-what-have-I-done’ fashion. No, definitely not that! More that discomfort you feel when you are stretching, whether your muscles or you mind, and allowing space for something else to be.

I am proud to present Raven 1, as there will definitely be another. 52cm x 99cm, 165 hours. Raven 1

 

Posted in Weaving

Crane Above Waves at Night

It is finished and I am super emotional. As in: I cried a solid 10 minutes after taking this one off the loom. Not sure why exactly.

This piece was a technical challenge, but not so great as the cherry blossoms. It actually took me less time to complete in terms of hours, but longer in terms of days passing due to an injury that prevented me from weaving. It is a simple image and perhaps that is why; I worked so hard to make those lines look simple! Then again perhaps it is emotional because it caps my first year of working as an artist and all the things that have come to pass, and all the things I have learned, and all the things I know I still have to learn.

I am humbled and grateful. It is done and I am pleased. 50.8 cm x 99 cm (20″ x 39″).Cranes Above Waves Jan 2015

Posted in Weaving

Big 500

So that wonderful and crazy art show/Oregon Food Bank fundraiser I was a part of last year? Yep, doing it again! For those that don’t remember, The Big 500 is an art show with several very cool twists. Known and unknown artists? Check. Everyone limited to using 8″ square plywood boards as the base for their pieces? Check. Massive diversity in art type and style? Check. All pieces sell for $40? Check. A good portion of the proceeds going to the Oregon Food Bank? Check!

This year I decided to explore my little painted birds on fabric. Combine those cuties with a wild hair to try and utilize the natural wood grain on my boards, add more collage bits (crayon! Silk! Mod Podge!) and… I gotta say I’m pretty happy with the results.

The show is at the People’s Art Gallery on the top floor of the Pioneer Place Mall. Opening day, which is super fun, is on Saturday December 13th from 2-9pm. Regular gallery hours for the rest of the month-long show are Thursday through Sunday 12-6pm. American Goldfinch cranes lady ruby throat hummingbird Northern Flicker ruby crowned kinglet #1 ruby crowned kinglet #2

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Motivated

I’m sure I’ve said this before: warping the loom for a new weaving is a heady thing. It never ceases to amaze me how a blank warp is so irresistible, so full of potential, and so infinite in possibilities. The pressure to do something amazing is ever present given the difficulties of the medium and how the size of the weaving is now unchangeable. Yet the pressure is not a negative thing, but an opportunity to do my best at that given moment; to be the very best weaver that I can be right now.

It was with this anticipation that I re-warped my loom 3 weeks ago. I had an idea inspired by a beautiful piece of fabric and several Japanese woodblock artists, and a serious motivation to see if I had the technical capabilities to execute the idea. I might, and I might not! Therein lies both the beauty and the excitement of a new piece. Here is the first 38cm (15″) of what will be 53.5cm x 96.5cm (21″ x 38″)Waves 1

Posted in Weaving

Tenacious

Finishing the last inch on any piece is a slow, painstaking process. Each row must be sewn in as the space between the warps grows tinier and tinier. The last row forced into place almost always resulting in bruised fingertips. This time as I finished the growing bruises felt appropriate; I spent all these hours mentally challenging myself with the technical difficulties of this piece, and emotionally challenged as the piece allowed my past year of grief to fully ebb… what are bruises but the beginnings of calluses? Not in the sense of becoming numb to things, but in the sense of becoming adapted, of developing a greater capacity for the effort, wherever that effort lies.

Tenuous

 

I adore cherry blossoms (and apple, pear and plum blossoms too!) because of the hope they represent. How can something so fragile persist year after year? How does such a delicate thing create such a bounty of food? I never cease to be amazed. I am pleased to share ‘Tenacious’ with you. This piece represents over 140 hours of work  and is 87.6cm x 53.3cm (34.5″ x 21″).

Posted in Weaving

Wild Spring

Whew. And what a wild spring it has been! Crazy weather, excellent time with friends and family, whirlwind trip into the desert, massive garden projects, and did I mention the crazy weather? It has been a very full time. Fortunately I have still been able to eek out some time here and there to keep weaving. My current project is 53cm x 87.5cm (21″ x 34.5″) and I just crossed the halfway mark today. It has, strangely, mirrored my hectic spring in several ways. The pattern of cherry blossoms is an obvious one, but the techniques I have had to improvise to accomplish the details was another. Like those gorgeous blossoms, like my wild spring, nothing is static and everything is in flux. Still, I wouldn’t change a thing!

 

Cherry Blossoms halfway

Posted in Weaving

Rainfall

Meet the world! World, meet Rainfall!

I am so very tickled to share my latest weaving with you all. It is a big achievement for  me on many levels: technically,  inspirationally, and emotionally. Technical because I gave myself a good challenge with the yarn I wanted to use, both very skinny (for the background) and very thick (for the highlighting green lines) as I wanted to really emphasize those heavy lines. It meant adding two or three rows of the black for every one of the green! Inspirational in the sense that this piece really veered away from my usual method of sketching over and over till I had what I wanted, instead taking some of the imagery from the Big 400 pieces and just starting without a firm plan in place and just letting the design evolve more organically. Emotionally because it was scary to not pre-plan every millimeter of the project! Emotional was also the piece itself when I realized it was about water, specifically rain, and how very important the rain is to me.

The piece is 58.5 x 90 cm (23″ x 351/2″) and took about 110 hours to complete.

 

 

Rainfall

Posted in Weaving

Townsend’s Warbler

Now this has been a fun and expanding experience. I finally finished the collage piece that I wrote about seven weeks ago. I finished it quite awhile past, actually, then hung it on my wall to see what my eye might find after a few days. (Giggle, giggle) and I laugh because those ‘few days’ turned into nearly a month! Why should I take it down when every day revealed something new?

Townsends Warbler

 

New perceptions about old concepts like lighting. Of course different lighting changes things! But with a semi 3D piece where and when it was hung resulted in very different focuses. This alone has given me another dozen ideas on how to execute some of the details. It also gave me ideas about potential ways to play with the layering: how to make it more complex, simple or subtle. I find that I can spend the necessary breaks (from sitting in front of the loom) painting, as I must wait for each layer to dry before the next can go down. Mostly what I realized was how much I really, really like this method of rendering images and ideas.

There will definitely be more exploring time with the collage pieces. It is such a lovely method of expression!

Posted in Musings

Snowy Week

Most of this winter I’ve been hoping for a snow day. Just one. Well the old adage ‘be careful what you wish for’ almost came true.

‘Almost?’ I can hear you say, “Almost?!? We got snowed in, iced over and house bound for 5 days and you say almost?!?” Yep. I sure do. Here’s why:fairy nest 1

Long ago I planned to spend several days with my stepmom who is a brilliant art quilter (check her out at www.catherinebeardfiberartist.com) brainstorming, learning, experimenting, you name it, we’d try it! I got down to her house just fine, only to wake up to heavy snowfall. Cupboards full? Check! Fire in the stove? Check! Coffee? Check! Well then, no excuses, let’s get to work.

And so we did. And did. And did. I played with wash-away interfacing, sticks, sparkly tulle, more paint on muslin, and much more. She taught me how she looks at her work and more importantly, the how part of how she works. Needless to say I learned quite a bit.

The 2 day visit turned into 5 thanks to the nudge from Momma Nature and that was just fine by us. Yes, be careful for what you wish for, but in this case I got exactly what I wanted!

fairy nests

Posted in Musings