Thursday, August 30, 2012

Boxed In...

...Wanting Out

This is a headline from a recent newspaper article that was brought to my attention in light of STASH. Tagline: A new study of American families reveals troubling trends: Too much stuff, too little time. 

Click here to read the story.

Below are a few of my favorite excerpts:

“Somehow the Barbies multiply,” she explained as she shopped at a big box store in Waltham. “One turns into 10 turns into 100.” The doll is not her only tiny tormentor. “Playmobil,” she said as if it were a bad word. “I’ve got bins and bins of Playmobil.”

The rise of Costco and similar stores has prompted so much stockpiling — you never know when you’ll need 600 Dixie cups or a 50-pound bag of sugar — that three out of four garages are too full to hold cars.

Pohl’s possessions do bring some joy, of course, albeit in some cases it’s when they’re being tossed out. “It’s cathartic,” she said, happily recalling the dumpster outside her home when she moved a few years ago. “I felt so light.”

The STASH sculptures are progressing nicely.  I'm working with the Somerville Arts Council on the schedule for the installation, an opening reception and a broadcast from Somerville Television on the show Culture Club with Rachel Strutt... more on all of this later.

This program is supported in part by the Somerville Arts Council, a local agency supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Talking STASH


I've been working on the sculptures for STASH for over a week now. As I assemble, wrap and play with these bodies, I realize how this work is an extension of my CONTAINMENT SERIES -  a collection of found materials that I cover, pad, layer and bind with wool, fabric, thread, steel wool, wire. Wrapped identifiable objects become ambiguous shapes that simultaneously celebrate and mask the form. 

The difference is that these new, larger sculptures use multiple items instead of one found object. The items have been contributed by many people all summer long as part of an installation that will be taking place in the trees of Union Square, Somerville this Fall.

The similarity is that they both are anthropomorphic in shape. Each bulges and contracts as if in response to its environment - creating a tension between expression/oppression and hosting projections of human emotion and desire.

As a recipient of the 2012 Somerville Arts Council Fellowship Award, I will be creating several large structures that will be hidden in the trees of Union Square Somerville in September - while the trees are still in full foliage - and then exposed in October when the leaves drop.    
The idea is to question the need to collect things; to ask why it is sometimes kept secret; and to wonder about what motivates us. Creating an opportunity to look at our selves through our things - and presenting an unexpected encounter, for anyone walking by, to question for themselves. 

There will be media associated with the project documenting all the items that are 'hidden' within the sculptures - the generously contributed items that I'm keeping safe - for a possible future use. You know what I mean?

Please stay tuned for future updates as these bodies progress and the installation schedule is confirmed. And follow me on Facebook here and here to see regular posts about the interesting objects included in the making of STASH.

This program is supported in part by the Somerville Arts Council, a local agency supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Huffpost Studio View

The Huffington Post 

I am thrilled to be featured in a HUFFINGTON POST ARTS & CULTURE article by Hilary Harkness in her new art blog.

Hilary and I met at a Somerville Arts event in July, 2011 where we became acquainted with each other's work. With STUDIO VIEWS, Hilary provides an insider's look at the process and spaces of various artists on a typical day - no cleaning up, or dressing up - the real deal. This video happened during a heat wave and we needed to turn off all background noise including AC and fans. It was created in one shot, about 15 minutes, and then Hilary edited it down.

I love how Hilary captured me in my work environment, and it was fun to talk with such an engaging and insightful interviewer. 

Thank you, Hilary! Looking forward to more of your STUDIO VIEWS in the future.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Ages and Stages

Happy to announce an exhibit I'll be participating in with Teresa Paschke. Teresa and I keep crossing paths. We exhibited together in several shows including GREEN: A Color and a Cause at the Textile Museum, Washington D.C. in 2011; and Outside/Inside the Box at the Crane Art Center, FiberPhiladelphia 2012. I love her work combining digital imagery with simple stitching and am honored to be invited to show with her this September. Included from my work are BLAST and several pieces from the MARROW series.

Please take a look for yourself if you happen to be in Minneapolis this fall. The Textile Center is a national center for quality fiberart, exhibitions and education - well worth the trip!

Saturday, August 18, 2012


Happy to announce two new workshops that I'll be teaching:

FELTED ORBS at the Danforth Museum School in Framingham and SCULPTURAL FIBER at the Society for Contemporary Craft in Pittsburgh.

I'll also be giving a presentation at the Fiber Arts Guild in Pittsburgh entitled 'Intersecting Art, Science, Material and Process' - May 17, 2013.

Please check out info below and spread the word!

December 5, 12  2012
Danforth Museum School

Build your own organic growth! Learn the technique of needlefelting with wool and a barbed needle. Create a three dimensional structure while exploring the unique qualities of this material. First week will cover basic technique. The second week will be about individual work and more advanced applications. There will be some homework in the week between classes.

May 18, 19   2013
Society for Contemporary Craft

Explore material and process in the creation of 3D constructions. During this workshop we will use commonplace materials with some age-old ingenious, handwork techniques such as knitting, weaving, felting, and crochet in the fabrication of surfaces and structures. Through class demonstrations and individual exercises, students will gain insight into the potentials of these low-tech and accessible methods and materials, as well as an understanding of some of the elements involved in creating three-dimensional works. Students will explore the innovative use of materials ranging from wire to wool from both manufactured and natural environments. Examples by other artists will be provided.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

4 x 4

Continuing to IMPRINT the HIVE artwork into beeswax. Playing with size, color and texture while using assorted sizes of wooden panels - pictured above are four, 4 in. square panels that are arranged to form a larger square.

Panels relating to each other by a common multiple of 4. Sizes ranging from 16, 8, 4 inches square. Designed to create a composition with movement and interest for the eye.

Back to work tomorrow on creating more from the most recently completed HIVE chambers. One-of-a-kind relief patterns captured in wax and pigment to solidify the ephemeral.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Verb (used with object)

6. to impress (a quality, character, distinguishing mark, etc.).
7. to produce (a mark) on something by pressure.
8. to bestow, as a kiss.
9. to fix firmly on the mind, memory, etc.

Lacelike latticework in space - similar in structure to carbon molecules.

A work in progress - using encaustic technique to capture impressions of the HIVE artwork in wax and paint. Modular diamond panels creating a hive of another kind, but still a product of the many connections made during our HIVE meetings. Below is a close-up of the residual wax after an impression...

A metaphor of the friendships and bonding experienced with this project so far. HIVE meetings are on hold until September when everyone is back from summer schedules. In the meantime, I'll be waxing poetic in the studio (sorry, couldn't resist!).

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Bucky Fuller

After having dinner, and on my way back to the garage of the Royal Sonesta Hotel in Cambridge, I stumbled upon a wonderful retrospective of Buckminster Fuller and his work. I've come across him before but this time it was as if I was seeing him for the first time.

What impresses me right now in the context of my own work are his philosophies about systems and especially his personal definitions.

Like ephemeralization, or the idea of doing more with less - using resources and waste material from cruder products and recycling them into more valuable products.

Or synergetics, as a metaphoric language for communicating experiences - referencing the empirical study of systems in transformation - with an emphasis on total system behavior unpredicted by the behavior of any isolated components.

Thinking of the whole as being so much more than the sum of its parts - the accretion of individual units to create a complex whole that grows organically from the foundation upward - with the final piece dependent on the participation of each unit in order to succeed in its expression.

These ideas just scratch the surface compared to the deep thoughts of Fuller, but provide me with an ideal launchpad for delving into more on the subject.

Friday, August 3, 2012


There are many facets of HIVE to appreciate. There's the performance that happens within the circles of participants. There's the texture, line, shape and depth of the material piece.  And there are the cast shadows that are ephemeral. I'm interested in trying to capture the essence of each of these qualities in other media - as another level of transformation.

Yesterday I pulled out my encaustic supplies from a couple years back and started playing with relief patterns using the HIVE pieces. After preparing the boards with many layers of wax I pressed the chambers into the hot wax and removed them after the wax cooled. This left impressions of the wrapped wire which I then painted into and scraped back several times with two different colors.

Then I superimposed the delicate impressions from the screen itself. These indentations are very light so instead of painting in them with wax I rubbed with an oil pastel to capture the patterning.

I'm enamored with the honeycomb-like shapes that happen in HIVE when the chambers are sewn together. My aim is to focus on that detail in these relief patterns, transforming them into yet another facet of HIVE. I can't wait to get back in the studio to continue the experiments.

There are two other projects associated with HIVE that I'm investigating this summer, one based on sound and the other shadow. More about those later...

Thursday, August 2, 2012


This is what procrastination looks like for me today. I finally have a free day to work in studio and I'm having the toughest time getting there! You know it's a real problem when even the exercise bike looks desirable. Who knew avoidance can be good for your health!

In the hopes of eventually getting out of here, I'm going to keep this brief. Today I plan to work out some ideas using HIVE pieces as encaustic relief patterns on wooden panels. How poetic to articulate impressions of HIVE with beeswax as a medium? Will keep you posted. Right now I will step away from the computer...