18 August 2014

wichita :: actually lawrence and heather smith jones [in the studio with her]

so. i had never really been to the midwest. i visited chicago twice when i was in high school because i had a friend that moved there, but chicago is a big city. and we didn't go outside of the city at all really. 

i was very interested in what a vast and open green/blue landscape would look like.
once my installation was done i was able to take a day and visit heather smith jones for a day. 

and the drive went thru the famous flint hills




the sky really is a different blue there. [i'd say leaning toward pinker tones than what i'm used to]. and the rolling green hills... it felt strange to be so far from an ocean. and NO MOUNTAINS. you can see for miles and miles. california tends to be super brown in the summer. it was amazing to see all the cows and the different tones of green. 


heather lives in lawrence, a college town. with a very very cute and charming main street. it felt VERY familiar actually. and any place that has a storefront full of aprons is fine by me. there's an old timey feel - which i loved. 




heather and i met for lunch and then she allowed me into her GORGEOUS space. her husband matt is a constructor extraordinaire and their home/studios reflect a beautiful aesthetic. old reclaimed salvaged stuff meets contemporary. swwoooonnn. 

it was a little slice of heaven to sit in heather's space with her. i wish i had even more time to just sit and talk about life. she graciously allowed me to photo her space and thus share it with you... and she answered my "in the studio with" questions... 


the last thing or two you read that had you marking or dog earring pages?!
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr



your top 5 tools/supplies!My sketchbook, watercolor palette, pencil, light, and quiet.



a material or idea you most want to try but haven't yet!
Slipcasting clay. For a few years, an idea for an installation has been floating around in my head. I can envision what I want it to look like, but don’t have the know-how to make it. At some point, I will pair up with the right someone who can help. 

name a song or album you will grow old with
I don’t know if I’ll grow old with it or not, but when I think back to my childhood, I hear Neil Diamond. 



favorite beverage? 
This summer my favorite is ginger ale. I keep a mason jar of homemade ginger syrup in the fridge and each evening pour a little syrup into a glass, add a splash of fresh lemon juice, sparkling mineral water and ice cubes. Spicy and refreshing.


how many studio spaces have you had ? is this current one your fav ? why or why not ?
Other than studio spaces I had in school, there was my parents’ garage for a few months, and a great studio at Arrowmont while I was a resident artist for a year. It was quiet, nestled into a hill and surrounded by woods. It’s my number 2 fave. Studio spaces at other residencies were great too. Then before I moved into my current studio I rented a bedroom in the upper floor of an old house that was painted pink. It was small and cramped but had good light and tall ceilings, but I don’t miss it. My current studio is undoubtedly my favorite, because my husband built it from the ground up. It is home. I love the feeling when I open the door and step inside. It always welcomes me, and is always optimistic.


shall we drool over her letterpress?? yes. we shall.
what is crucial for you to have in order for your studio day to be productive?
The ability to put aside the mind’s distractions.


do you have a studio routine? if so will you share it with us?
Routines vary for me. But one constant is my apron, it’s my uniform. Without it I cannot stand at the easel. 



is there a place that you've been that really resonates with you?
We went to New Mexico early this summer. Something about that landscape is still caught in my throat.




where have you felt the most “at home”!Where I am now. From the first time I visited Lawrence before grad school I distinctly remember the feeling that this was home. Coming from the Southeast, this may have been a strange realization, but I could see myself here. That was sixteen years ago. 




heather also has the most beautiful garden. and adorable kitties.




on the way out of town i snapped a few photos... and then i caught a pretty spectacular sky while getting gas.


thanks heather. i'm so so glad we finally got to talk face to face and i'm SO grateful for your help with my installation, and so happy we got to spend some time together. 

11 August 2014

wichita :: sen - 1000 doilies revisited

so... what did i do in wichita at the ulrich??

well... part one was to put up  sen : 1000 doilies. the same installation that i first put up at fouladi projects [more about that installation and all the fabulous people that crocheted for me, etc. ]

except this time i wanted to reconfigure it. instead of putting it into horizontal rows...


i wanted to see it in vertical rows. one color per row. all 100 colors spread across the wall. 
i kept the color order approximately the same. rainbow order, red to black, light to dark. 



once again it took a village - a GIANT village - and a couple of laser levels to put it up. i had warned the curator and the preparator [james ackerly porter - who swore that this was the absolute hardest installation he's ever put up. the doily installation that broke the professional preparator] but until we started putting it up, they really had no idea


the really awesome thing is that everyone on staff at the museum ended up helping too. from curator, to director of the museum, to the education curator, to the marketing person, to outside arts people [including heather smith jones ! but more on her later], some students, etc. etc. i'm working on the full list and will post it shortly. 

with all the help we were able to put it up in 4 days and finish it literally 2 minutes before the show was having a "soft opening". i had been told that it didn't need to be up for that event, that we could take much longer, but as we got closer and closer a core group of us worked fervently to get it done.


i have to say... i was/am really thrilled to see it this way. it's a totally different piece. 


for my residency i was asked to build a piece while in wichita as well [this will be my next post]. but i spent days and days sitting IN the museum working. i've never quite had that much of an opportunity to sit with my work while other people interacted with it. 


the thing that people said over and over again was some version of - oh my god this is so much labor. 

even the culligan water delivery man stopped to mutter that to himself under his breath. 


and it's true. the wall is a living testament to labor. each doily handmade by someone. each one put up with 8-10 pins - painstakingly placed in the wall. [everyone has calluses now]. 

every artist who put up doilies said : "you know you should try..." trying to think of a way to make a jig or use a tool that would simplify and make the process easier. one helper [lindsey] was going to write an essay on all the suggestions. but i wonder if the LABOR is part of what makes this piece magical. 


because there are so many hands involved the piece becomes bigger than just me. bigger than my head. bigger than all the initial ideas that i had about it. 

it becomes a piece about bonding. a piece about joking about who's thumb hurts the most. a way for me to learn about a person - what kind of job do they have? what kind of food do they like? i got to meet several local artists and chat with them about their work, their interests, how they made a living [with the cost of living in wichita, MANY artists don't need day jobs. such a different world than california or new york or other major cities]. 

i'm continually amazed that people THANK ME for the opportunity to help. even with their sore fingers and the potential mind blowing monotony. 


and because it's a museum - they make signs. with my name HUGE. 


and they asked me give a lecture - they have a series called senior wednesday. a very engaged audience came, ate snacks and then listened to me blab for a bit. they asked amazing questions. 


i also talked to a couple of classes. an art history one [where students were then invited to help put up doilies]. and a philosophy class - where they admitted they didn't interact with art on a regular basis. where one woman asked if this was my "hobby" - and when i politely, but firmly informed her that no it was NOT merely a hobby - she apologized for perhaps offending me. [i told her she hadn't - and indeed she didn't. i'm not offended by that question, but i do find it disheartening that this seems to be a position that working artists need to continually defend and navigate.]

i coaxed them into seeing a relationship between sports and art and i had them question why one was so prevalent and the other was marginalized in our society. [hey i tried]. 


it was moments like these - 2 local boys pointing out their favorite colors - that will be seared into my consciousness. it's easy to forget how art CAN actually influence people. in a multitude of ways. i'm grateful that this residency gave me a reminder of the potential impact of art and a way for me to voyeuristically witness that fact. however briefly. 


come walk by the piece with me??

the piece garnered a bit of press - the wichita eagle wrote about it
and lindsey - who helped install it - happened to work for the local NPR station - for which she created a commentary.  i told her that as an avid NPR listener i felt like i could die happy now that i was mentioned on an npr affiliate.


01 August 2014

upcoming classes

well hello.
i guess i got a little swept up with kansas activities. i'll be posting more on my installations and the other activities i did while there shortly, but in the meantime i just wanted to give local folks a heads up.

i'm teaching a couple of classes and would love for you to join me if you are interested.




first up is one for you and the kiddos [and the little will be coming with me]
Sunday :: August 10 :: 4-5:30pm
embroider with your kids. AKA turn one of their awesome drawings into an embroidery !
they draw - then we can all stitch. so fun !


you can sign up on their website HERE [$40 for you and a kid, $15 for additional family members]



next up is a hand appliqué class at britex [can i just tell you HOW EXCITED i am to be teaching there? it's like the west coast mecca for fabric. seriously]. AND britex is offering the class for a mere $25. YES. you read that right. it's a deal. as of today [fri august 1st - there are 5 spots left]. 

Saturday :: August 16 :: 1:30-3:30
sign up HERE


they also wrote a lovely post on me/my studio on their blog. they visited right as i was getting ready to pack up for kansas, so you can see a studio in it's true messy state. no staging going on ;) 

be back soon. happy august !

15 July 2014

wichita - part 1

hello hello.

i am here. i have been SUPER busy. pics of the 1000 doily install to come - i promise. if you want to see what i've been posting in terms of process... click here

tomorrow i'll be taking some install shots of the exhibition - and i'm hoping to get the video surveillance footage of all 4 days of install... i can't wait to see that myself actually. in the meantime... i'll show you where i'm staying.

fisch haus - it's an artist run/artist built space. and if you had asked what me what an artist loft should look like when i was 16 years old... i'd say this space. it's a thrill to live here while i'm in wichita [but truth be told i won't miss dragging 7 bags of groceries up 2.5 flights of tall stairs].




the heart of the loft is the kitchen. and they are chefs. lots of knives. 


off the kitchen is what i'm calling the library. 



the very comfy living room area


this is patrick duegaw's studio. his wife elizabeth stevenson is also an artist/architect.


there is an amazing sun porch with a roll up door that opens out. from here you can see downtown. it faces west so the sunsets are pretty nice too. 



i love how they've used reclaimed windows and doors throughout the space. 




but my favorite space just might be the bathroom. because the tub is elevated and you can see the whole other area of the living space from it. 

you can tell that they have spent a lot of blood sweat and tears making the space into what it is. it's great too because everyone in town asks where i'm staying and they all seem to know or have heard about this space.

more soon.