working with paper

I have work in a new exhibit which opens this Friday (Working with paper, Center Gallery in Olean, NY, 6-8pm). Regular readers have been sharing my struggle to get this work completed, so I thought I would share this moment of resolution with you too.

This is that monigami scroll which almost ended up in the bin

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And here are all those little tea bags I saved obsessively and then printed on

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It would be wonderful to see some of you at the opening, but I will also try to post some better pictures once the show is finished and properly lighted.

Thanks to everyone who encouraged me through the dark days and helped me reach this moment.

Dyed paper experiment.

Sometime in the last couple of years I tried dyeing some paper using plant materials. I put them under weights, put them in the corner of the office, and forgot about them. By the time I accidentally rediscovered them many of the pages were moldy but I could salvage a few. Then I put them in a basket of other papers and forgot about them again.
Earlier this month I came across a call for work for a 4×6 exchange exhibit. You send a work and get a random work returned. So after rediscovering them for a second time, I pulled out one of those sheets of eco-dyed paper and tore it down to size. I started sewing.

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I thought this was okay, but not really wow, so inspired by the splotchy dye on the leaves I thought I would add some french knots.

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This was an awful decision. They were too much. Having gone too far I decided there was nothing to do but keep going, so I added more stitching using a finer thread almost the color of the paper.

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This was better, but I hated the french knots so a good friend and fellow artist Elena suggested I just take them out. Duh! Brilliant! And that was much better, but still unbalanced. I posted a picture on Facebook and several other art friends weighed in. Sometimes you need another set of eyes. Another artist, Anna, suggested adding more layers to the composition. Again, brilliant.
This paper had a mirror twin from where the leaves were pressed in. So I cut out the main leaf to add on top.

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Already I was feeling happier. So I embroidered around the edges and trimmed a little more with a scalpel. Then sewed through the layers.

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So here is the final composition. Better by committee. And off on its way to the exhibit.
One of the most amazing things about the internet is that it brings other artists into my studio. Sometimes you need fresh eyes and its great to be able to reach out to people you admire and trust.

Vintage love

A friend recently donated some vintage fabrics to me, so I have been experimenting with some fabric covered books. This one is almost finished, it features part of a bonnet or apron, along with some Victorian lace trim and a gorgeous button. It was super time consuming, but in my favorite way, needle in hand. It feels good to be working in the studio after last weeks hectic pace.

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Binding view

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Closure side

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Close up of button closure

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Deciding on a button!

do you miss me?

I am up to my ears in grading – and behind on everything because for some reason I thought it was a great idea to have a major international exhibition in the middle of the semester – well the show WAS an excellent idea – the timing not my most brilliant idea ever. Ah well, live and learn. I have SO much to share about the experience – but it is going to have to wait one more week. In the meantime more crazy leaf crush sewing!

sewn with sulky thread and very trick as the leaf was already pressed and dried - very fragile!

sewn with sulky thread and very tricky as the leaf was already pressed and dried – very fragile!

maple detail

day 13.

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Feeling a bit blue today as it is the final day of my “break” from school. Classes start for me in the morning at 8:30. Of course I didn’t really have a break as we lowly adjuncts have to have second (and third) jobs to make financial ends meet. I didn’t accomplish as much in the studio as I had hoped, and now I am beating myself up about it.

wish I could just stay home and sew!

wish I could just stay home and sew!

I have been working on the sewing for map of hours (above) as it is going to be exhibited again in March, as part of “Women Create”, and I have some pieces I am working on for “Love for Sale” again this year at Studio Hart. But I really wanted to wrap up women’s work, and although the pages are stacking up and the the lists are still coming in, it isn’t ready for binding and I haven’t resolved what to do with the cover. I am just mad because this always happens and despite my good intentions I let myself down over and over. This is one of the things I want to work on in the new year, making my own work a priority.

poor book - still in progress - will I ever finish?

poor book – still in progress – will I ever finish?

But I guess all I can do is pick myself up and resolve to do better going forward. I have managed to stay on track with the 30 day journal project, but I wonder if I ought to be doing something else (more serious?) Here’s few more images

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I did manage to squeeze in a workshop at the studio. This was really important to me as I wanted to give something back for my funding for attending Paper and Book Intensive. Here’s one of the participants – Kyla – with her finished long stitch binding, complete with wrap around vellum cover and button closures.

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well back to work – just wanted to do a quick update. Watch this space for lots of juicy curating/exhibition news coming soon! (no wonder I never have time for my own work!!)