Liverpool

I have been trying to figure out how I first got entangled with the great group of artists from SCIBASE. I think that Louise Atkinson may at the bottom of it all, I am fairly certain that she forwarded a call for work from the Basement Arts Project to me. I am quite certain that my proposal for that show wasn’t accepted, but I ended up on their email list and when the call for work for SUPERMARKET went out I was really anxious to be included. The rest as they say is history. They accepted my proposal and I was able to meet up with them in Stockholm.

This was really the beginning of the strange mental journey I have been on since. I realized while I was at SUPERMARKET that I was quite content with the nature of my practice. I had really struggled after being accepted with the distinct possibility that I was not hip enough for an independent event of this kind. (and really I wasn’t!) I have said many times on this blog that I am maker, my hands need to be busy, I like the sense of gratification and accomplishment I get from producing a finely crafted thing. I enjoy the slow rhythm and repetition of my time in the studio. I am that creature. So while being in Stockholm certainly generated plenty of social anxiety, I really am not good with new people, it also generated a sense of well being that was new. I felt that there were some people who did get was I was doing and that seemed to be enough. I am not cutting edge, but I am OK with being a quieter, middle-aged, suburban sort of message bringer.

Then after spending time with the amazing group of NYFA MARK artists I realized another subtle internal shift was happening. I was really beginning to believe that I WAS an artist. It is really hard to explain what changed, or how my thoughts changed, but something has shifted. I find myself able to relax into the work, to be freer and more playful. Setting goals has allowed me to let go of something tight that was really jamming me up and I can already see the results in the studio and in my professional life. I am still not good with people but I find myself trying to be more open and especially more receptive to help.

And so today I had my first studio visit with a curator. I was able to carry on a fairly intelligent conversation about my work, and to get some valuable feedback about new projects. Just a few months ago I would not have even dared to invite a curator in, I didn’t believe I had anything worth seeing or sharing with a professional like that. I was making judgments about my work I should have been letting others make for themselves. Today I can say I do feel like a REAL artist.

And so, back to Bruce and Wendy and all the others, the artists of SCIBASE who gave me an unexpected boost. People in the art world talk all the time about lack, about fear and competition. This year I have been shown that it can just as easily be about collaboration, shared opportunity and abundance. A group of artists who only knew me through email and proposals welcomed me in, they took my very un-hip, perhaps embarrassingly earnest self consciousness and gently nudged me to a better place.They shared an experience, a space, even dinner!

I am excited to be showing with them again this coming month. My work is already on its way to Liverpool for the Independents Biennial. I finally wised up and created a print project that could be printed in England – so no expensive shipping and the work is designed to be taken away, so no return shipping either! The work I am sending is quite different, it is not precious, it is not finely crafted. It is a response to the absolutely ridiculous provocation of the political conversation in America over the past few months. It reflects the show’s title “inhospitable”, and how inhospitable to women the dialogue has become. I will wait until the show opens to post images.

I want to thank all the other artists in the collaborative who are doing the donkey work of installation and invigilation so that my work will be seen. I really, really wish I was coming to Liverpool to see you all again. And I want to thank all of you, my blog friends for supporting me too.

 

sleepless in Stockholm

So here in Stockholm it is 5 am, snow is falling gently over the city, and I have been laying awake trying to sleep for hours – not happening, my body clock is still set on US time. I am enjoying my time here so far, later today after a shift in the booth I am going out to do a bit of proper sightseeing, and to visit some fabulous stationery shops where I know I will be buying some paper!!

Being here is a real eye opener. I realize that I am no longer hip (if I ever was)  – I am finding much of the work to be rather boring and repetitive. I am old fashioned, I value the presence of the artist’s hand. This is not to say that there is not some astonishing work here, but much of what I see looks like something I have seen before. I guess if you are going to be conceptual at least give me a new idea! By comparison with much of what I see my work looks totally uncool and not with it at all. I think I should be upset by that, but I find I am not.

I have had some really excellent conversations about my work with people today, and while most have not even given the piece half a glance, some have been interested. It is all good, perhaps it is the jet lag but I am oddly serene. What I do is what I do- it is OK.

I imagine I should try to get some sleep for a while. More adventures to follow.

In Stockholm

 So after a really exhausting day and a half of traveling I am in Stockholm!! I couldn’t get at my camera in my luggage when we arrived yesterday, but i will try to take some pictures today. The building the exhibit is happening in is amazing, and I can’t wait till the preview party tonight to see all the work set up. Yesterday we could sneak some glimpses but no one was really 100% set up. Curating the space is quite a challenge as everyone has pretty small work as it had to be transported in suitcases here. I will try to post more later today, but for now, here is the pretty view from my bed as a type!

 

busy doesn’t even come close!

Wow! I am so busy I don’t even know where to start…

This afternoon I will be found hanging the Women Create exhibit. Thank heavens we have a true professional to help us – thanks so much Colin! It is amazing to watch someone do what they do – seeing Colin reflect on what should go where and move the art around in the space was so COOL! I can’t wait to finally get everything up on the walls and cross that off my mental to-do list.

I am putting the finishing touches on the Occupy(ied in) Suburbia piece and packing to go to Sweden. And doing the shopping and cleaning to make sure my family survives while I am gone. I designed a new postcard to take on the trip with me. What do you think? It was hard to narrow down a few images that represent what I do as an artist!

Plus I am making sure that all my teaching materials are all set for next week – so that I can enjoy my trip and make the most of this huge opportunity.That means finalizing an exam and making sure all my studio students have materials for their upcoming projects. They are working with paper and wire to create self portraits right now. Thank heavens I am not teaching any new courses this term – I would be going nuts – it is hard enough just tweaking an existing course right now!

Not to mention working on a piece for the 15th Leeds International Contemporary Artist Book Fair – I am sending one of the new blackwork embroidery bindings as this year’s theme is “bound”.  It is a very large book and I can’t wait to get some pictures of it as it progresses.I am incorporating little lacy doilies to enhance the reference to Victorian collar ruffs. I think it is really going to be quite spectacular when it is finished!! (Which has to be soon!!)

Life is bustling and full to overflowing – off to have my coffee and get started on my very long list of things I still need to-do before Tuesday arrives!!

Occupy(ied in) Suburbia 102

So here’s some more pictures of the project taking shape – I am very happy with how it is turning out. My projects are so time consuming there is a period between idea and final object where I get really discouraged and despondent, as the hours of labour add up but no forward progress is evident, but then there is a tipping point and suddenly I can see it revealing itself, then the excitement is renewed. I am back at excited now!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

busy, busy, busy!!

Yes – college is back in session, and I am busy!! I have very engaged enthusiastic students (right now) – so I am eagerly expecting a great semester of learning and growing together. It really fills me with energy when I have great students! Woot!!

The Stockholm project is finally taking shape and I have finished sewing all the tiny boxes and am finishing up the little books to go in them all. They look so amazing, worth the work after all. It looks as if I am going to be able to go to Stockholm for the weekend so I am nervous and exited about that. It seems like such a big scary step, to rub shoulders with all those real artists and curators. I hope I am up to the challenge. If any of you have advice to offer on places to stay in Stockholm, or things to do, where to eat etc, I’d love some insider info!

The Women Create project is slowly unfolding. The show is curated, the artists have been notified and as Jen is such a wonderful organizer, so far everything is going well.It was fun to use my neglected design skills to make this postcard for the show, I haven’t done much design work since I quit my day job, so it was nice to stretch my mind a bit!! Next stop – posters and workshop flyers – wow! I am going to need more hours in the day!! LOL!

I am still working on those blackwork embroidery bindings, they are slow, slow going, but I get such an enormous rush from completing one. It is a puzzle to figure out how  embroidery pattern can become a binding that will work, and then I am so happy when I put in the last stitch. I just keep thinking of more and more ways to explore the possibilities of this!! I am just brimming to the top with inspiration right now!

Lastly,  head on over to Seth’s blog the Altered Page for this weeks edition of the Master Class. You can find out which artist I would love to take a class with!! Although I don’t think you will be too surprised by my choice. I am really enjoying this “chapter” of the Pulse – it is fascinating to see who other artists would pick to study with.

ticking over

It has been a year of ups and downs as always – but I am feeling content with my creative life as I move into the new year. It takes a long time to “network” and opportunities sometimes feel thin on the ground, but at other times all that work starts to pay off. This is one of those “when it rains , it pours” moments, so I am pleased to be able to share some Exciting News – my work is off to Sweden – see here – with a group from Liverpool/Leeds in the UK. I am thrilled at this opportunity! (More to come on this project I am sure)

Also I recently heard that this new project related to SWAN day will be funded by a generous grant. Later this week we will be meeting to curate the show that will hang during those months – I am excited to see all the work that has been submitted and I think it will be a wonderful show. There will also be a series of art salons/lectures, a women’s art market and a day of workshops, all still to be organized and announced, so that should keep me out of mischief for a bit.

In the studio things are finally beginning to move again after a bit of a stalemate. When I finished Room for Utopia I was at a bit of a loose end, a decade of research and ideas finally wrapped up (sort of – still a few thoughts lingering!). But this week I had a bit of an epiphany and have began working on a series of new bindings loosely based on a Elizabethan blackwork or Spanish work embroidery patterns. I have finished a few trial pieces and hopefully can scrounge up a camera later this week to post a few pictures. I am also exploring some small sculptural pieces for my show with Molly Jarboe next year which feature fairy tale motifs.

I hope that everyone enjoyed their holidays with family and friends. I am happy to report that my baby is on the mend  and up and about and in physical therapy and that I had a very peaceful holiday season with my family. Hopefully blogging will be back to a more normal pace – talk to you all in the new year! Best & Blessings to you all.