Monday, July 9, 2018

Breath + Matter

UNDERFOOT (detail), crochet, rayon, wool, wire, human prosthetic eyes - 2018

I met Wendy Drexler last fall after I came across her latest publication Before There Was Before at Belmont Books. I had just become a member of Boston Sculptors Gallery and had the opportunity to join in on their latest group show Breath+Matter. Being late to the party I was looking for a poet collaborator, and quickly, in order to have enough time to establish our relationship to work together.

I immediately was taken in by the accessibility and sensitivity of Wendy's writing. We share an interest in the every day, bringing attention and interest to objects that are often overlooked. I work with found objects in my sculptures and Wendy's poems do the same. So I was thrilled with her enthusiasm and energy to join this project with me. Wendy and I have become fast friends. Meeting Wendy is one of the many gifts of this project. We've had many opportunities to get together, becoming so engaged in our conversations that we often need to remind ourselves to talk about the project! 

We had trouble narrowing down our options for subject matter so part of our process was to go on fieldtrips together and see where our inquiries and interests led us. One such trip was to Harvard's Natural History Museum right up the street from my studio. We spent time with the insects, taxidermy and rare minerals but it was a special exhibit about moss that captivated us both. 

Here's an excerpt from Wendy's statement:
"...And so they turned to moss, first responding visually to its beautiful and minute microscopic structures, then researching how this ancient life form grows, propagates—surviving, in times of drought, on a single drop of water! They’ve discovered that moss, like our own species, is resilient, collaborative, and opportunistic, and that the smallness of moss, with its...   genius  for filling  the emptiness— snatching  a scant gap,  spreading  between cracks  encompasses the dynamic splendor and complexity of the world."

Breath+Matter is an exhibition of 24 sculptor/poet collaborators

"....who are investigating the essence of inspiration, which is mysterious, profound, and intimate. It is a unique collaboration between two art forms: poetry, which is ephemeral and sculpture, which is concrete."

Join us for our Grand Opening on July 18th, from 5:30 - 8:30 PM. 

The reception will feature readings by Wendy and several other participating poets.

A second reception and reading will take place on August 3rd as part of SOWA’s First Fridays evening gallery walk. 

The public is invited free of charge.




Breath+Matter
July 18 - August 12, 2018
Opening Reception and Poetry Readings: July 18, 5:30-8:30
First Friday Reception and Poetry Readings: August 3, 5:30-8:30
Poetry readings will be happening on the hour of 6, 7 and 8 pm.

Boston Sculptors Gallery, 486 Harrison Avenue, Boston, MA 02118
(617) 482-7781, bostonsculptors@yahoo.com



Thursday, June 28, 2018

Collecting Myself


Entering the summer, I am back in the studio with a more relaxed practice than I've had for over a year.  With two major milestones behind me, my inaugural show at Boston Sculptors Gallery and my daughter's wedding, I'm finally finding the space to sit back and take it all in.

FiberLAB, one of my favorite activities, is a study group in my studio where during biweekly meetings we test multitudes of techniques and processes while sharing materials and results. Over the past 2 years I've collected several containers full of samples and have been thinking hard about how to contain them, as a sort of journal, in a way that is organic and not too fussy.

Today I devised a signature assembly of the swatches to work like the leaves of a book. The pages include eco-dyed silks, indigo with shibori stitching, sculptural crocheted leaves, weavings without a loom, black doilies from the scorpion... plus more.  The binding is sewn with ribbon and it includes several blanks, from my stash of tea-dyed silks, to provide places for additional samples to be attached later. The idea is to document processes and results for reference that is bound together in one place as a singular resource.

I plan to continue this practice with future workshops including while teaching in Skopelos in September. What a perfect keepsake from what is sure to be a memorable experience, documenting place while Stitching Nature and Culture on a Greek Island!










Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Brrrrrrrr.....


The view from my kitchen window this morning!

Well, in spite of this horrific weather, there are three things to be thankful for...

The sun is shining today.
Blizzards help me catch up with correspondence by keeping me home.
This week we resume FiberLAB !!

Saturday, March 17 from 10am - 1pm
11 Miller Street Somerville

We have so much to catch up with. So far the weather reports sunny skies. The studio feels very empty without Her Highness, Stinger, so we need to fill it up with our creativity and warmth.

I've added a new Paypal button to the blog. Please let me know if you're signing up for this session so I can assure that we have space.

N E W S ! !

Our FiberLAB has two exciting happenings...

We are soon to be featured on the website of the publication The Woven Tale Press. They interviewed me and asked for many images... They are super impressed with our group and I can't wait to see what they post in the article. Check into link above often... will be published soon!

Also, I will be talking about our FiberLAB at Ignite Craft Boston 2018, on Friday March 23 at the Fuller Craft Museum at 7 pm. Visit the Ignite website for info about free tickets (they run out fast) and public transportation options.


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Waxing Lyrical About This Session of FiberLAB



In ten days, on September 23, we will begin this season's first FiberLAB session. 

I am excited to share with you many of the techniques I've been playing with...

Sculpting with organza and thread
Dipped Organza in wax creating compelling surfaces to stitch into
Dyeing silks and threads with tea
Wire armatures
Metallic surface applications

Looking forward to hearing about what everyone is up to and our shared enthusiasm about all things fiber!


THE SCHEDULE:

Miller Street Studio, Somerville
Saturday 10 am - 1 pm

2017/2018 Session I - Fall
Sept. 23, Oct. 21, Nov. 4 
(please note the 4-week gap between the first two meetings)

2017/2018 Session II Fall/Winter
Nov. 18, Dec. 2, 16
(every other week)

Click here for more info


Monday, August 14, 2017

New FiberLAB Schedule



Join us as we launch into our 2017/2018 schedule beginning this September 23. 

Please check out the schedule and learn more about our enriching program here.

This Fall we will be following up with everyone's work, professional endeavors and personal goals. We'll be experimenting with fabric and wax, natural dyeing, armature building plus much more.

Space is limited for our Saturday group so sign up soon. 

If there is interest we can add another day/night too!

Later!



Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Carciofi, Espresso and More



We just returned from a whirlwind visit to Italy. Starting in Rome, then a week in a glorious apartment in Lucca with friends, and finally a week touring the east and southeast of Sicily. 

My words can't sufficiently express the sensual experiences of  a country where personal relationships are rich with melodic conversation, passionate food and interpersonal connections. It comes across in the food, aesthetics, interactions and history. Italy, and particularly Sicily, contains the roots of western civilization with layers of time existing archeologically and metaphorically just beneath the surface of everything. 

As an artist, the depth of traditional themes found in every Duomo, museum and public space were universally about religious iconography and begged the question about what contemporary art could look like in the shadow of such strong history. This was answered with our visit Rome's Galleria d'Arte Moderna. Their curation of works by Italian and international artists was exceptional with many powerful juxtapostions of classical and contemporary artworks.

There is so much to absorb and I look forward to this summer when I'll be exploring more on the subject of western civilization's expression from the Etruscans to the present. 

Here are is a small selection of images... in no particular order...

It is artichoke season! A particular favorite is a fried version found in a restaurant
in the Jewish Quarter near Trastevere in Rome.


Light and marble mosaic floors in one of many of the Duomos we visited.

The ruins of the Roman Theatre in Catania. Built in late antiquity, around 300 B.C.
the theatre was rebuilt on an older Greek theatre from the 500 B.C.
Today it lives in the midst of an urban neighborhood.

Entrance gate to the Estruscan town of Volterra. The Estruscans here date back to 700 B.C.E.
It's tough to wrap your head around that timeframe.

Travelling through the towns becomes a study in Duomos.
Most have them and they are all devotional masterpieces. This is the Cathedral in Lucca.

Not all Italian expressions are large. 

Whether a fan of classical sculpture or not, it is breathtaking to see the
sensitive works at the Museo Nationale delle Bargello in Florence.

North of Mt Etna, near the hilltown of San Domenica della Vittorio.
We were on our way to visit Wayne's family's roots. 

Carciofi (artichokes) according to Wayne.

The chef at work in our Lucca kitchen.

The fish market in Siracusa with colorful characters who sing and yell to attract your
attention to their stands. Here are fragments of a swordfish.

The silver ribbon-like fish are called Spatola, which translates in English to 'spatula'.

Eastern Sicily was struck by an earthquake in 1693 which leveled everything.
The area was rebuilt in a baroque style which was the architectural trend of the 18th century.
It's tough to capture the grandeur of the Piazza Duomo in Siracusa in a photo, it is magnificent.

Our backyard at the farmhouse Quartarella where we stayed while visiting Modica.

Ragusa, a hill town in the South. This is the day of 18,000 steps.... most of them climbing!

One of the many views in Ragusa.

An embellished garment for a Madonna statue that is used in religious processions.
Just one example of the high level of craft as expression of devotion.
'We Are All Flesh' by Berlinde De Bryckere, 2012 - Investigating pain, suffering
and the horror of violence witnessed by both humans and animals.
The horse parts come from slaughterhouse waste. No animals were harmed in the making.

Compare to the 15th century painting (below) of a princess holding the severed head
of St. John the Baptist, artist unknown.


An Etruscan coffin in the Archeological Museum in Volterra.
The base contained the remains and the cover was a sculpture created in the image of the deceased.
There were hundreds of these caskets on display and all showed the individuals
in a reclined position - a symbol of their rich and happy lives.

An Etruscan with attitude.

Our last night was spent in Catania, Sicily on Vecchio Stratta.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Encounters


A detail from the crocheted afghan my mom made me for my 50th birthday.

I'm in a haze of post-residency spaciness. That state when you carry the goodness of connection and reflection into your daily life once you return home. Trying to hold on to it and embrace it for the long term.

My first week back from an almost 7-week absence, I'm spending most of my time tying up loose ends, picking up artwork and reconnecting with my colleagues.

Yesterday I found myself at Haymarket Station sitting next to an elderly woman crocheting an extremely large and colorful afghan, and in this post-residency state of mind, I decided to strike up a conversation.

It was delightful. She was very animated and I learned that a friend taught her to crochet at 16. She is left handed and has a unique technique. This orange, green and white granny square afghan is for her grandson's girlfriend. She's already made two for the girlfriend's unborn baby, so this one is to keep the mother warm when in hospital. She has 11 grandchildren who all live nearby except for one who lives in Washington state. The granddaughter from the west coast was home recently to visit the grandmother's sister who was ill with cancer. The sister just passed unexpectedly early according to her prognosis. 

I offered condolences and shared my mother's experience with cancer, her 6.5 year battle that involved more than her share of suffering, hoping that this would provide comfort for her sudden loss.

All this time talking she never looked up from her work, except once to abruptly interupt herself and tell me she loves my hair.

The train arrived, she hugged her mass of color and stood up. While waiting for the doors to open she wished me a happy holiday and asked for my name. Then I asked for hers, Anita.

My mom has 11 grandchildren, her name was Anita, and she loved to crochet. She often would tell me how much she loved my hair, especially since I take after her.

I know I'm in a jet lag induced haze, but this encounter has been haunting me since. Whether spectral or real, I treasure this connection made with my mom who I sorely miss.

Anita wearing one of her 'handmades'.