Thursday, January 29, 2009

Snow on snow on snow...

Yesterday the schools were closed due to snow and sleet and freezing rain and this morning there is a two-hour delay. I am getting in some quick photography and a blog entry before I have to make lunches!
Here are two small snow pieces: the one below I did earlier in January, a 5"x5" "journal" piece, purely for fun and exploration. I used some recycled wrapping that came in a shoe box and some cut paper snowflakes. The other (right) is 2"x4" as per a challenge on a mixed media website (I think it was I enjoyed going through my stash of white snow-like material and layering it on. The words are from a poem by Christina Rosetti that has been made into a Christmas Carol: "In the bleak midwinter..." Anyone tired of winter yet? Still a long way to go until spring...Promise to have my goals and maybe a word for 2009 soon...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

the 25th already?

Is the first month of the year nearly over? I'm still mentally composing my list of resolutions and goals and I've already missed one twelfth of the time I have to complete them!
I received the latest Quilting Arts magazine yesterday and saw two great articles by Jane Davila, the person who helped get me started in art quilting (visit her website and blog listed). One article had tips on setting artistic goals, but an important point she mentioned is looking back over the past year to see what you've accomplished. A valuable and encouraging activity: assessing where you've been before you decide where you're going. So here goes. In 2008 I:
  • completed my professional portfolio of art intended as illustrations for children's books and showed it at the annual SCBWI conference in NY last February
  • completed two book dummies to show at the conference
  • applied for the SCBWI Don Freeman Grant
  • began blogging
  • submitted stories to 3 different publishers
  • sent out 2 separate postcard mailings to prospective publishers/editors/agents
  • quilted, designed and created 2 different Christmas cards which were mailed to friends and family
  • completed about 8 new art quilts
  • continued sporadically making journal quilts, some in a new 5"x5" format using scraps, paper, and recycled materials
  • bought and experimented with new materials such as Shiva paintstiks, copper foil and mesh
  • attended several local SAQA meetings and helped organize the group show in March '09
  • attended the Rabbit Hill Festival of Children's Literature in Westport, CT in October.
I also read a lot, both juvenal fiction, and adult fiction and nonfiction. These are some of the titles I read this year:
  • Left to Tell by Immaculee Ilibagiza
  • The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
  • A New Earth by E. Tolle
  • Love as a Way of Life by Gary Chapman
  • The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren
  • Between Sundays by Karen Kingsbury
  • Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt by Anne Rice
  • Dewey the Library Cat by Vicki Myron
  • The Expected One by Kathleen McGowan
  • The DaVinci Code and Angels and Demons by Dan Brown
  • A Year Down Yonder, A Long Way from Chicago and Here Lies the Librarian by Richard Peck
  • Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
  • The Book Thief by M. Zuzak
  • Twilight and sequels by S. Meyers
So that's a summary of what I did in 2008 (not to mention about 750 hours at the library, 330-odd dinners cooked, 100 or more trips to the grocery store and countless loads of laundry...Not bad for just 365 days!). Next post: Hopes and goals for 2009...

Thursday, January 8, 2009

New year, new challenges

Happy New Year! Onward and Upward! Health, Happiness and Prosperity in 2009!

Last year, I took a risk and spoke up in a local Studio Art Quilters Associates (SAQA) meeting (I am technically not a SAQA member and only make it to the meetings occasionally). But I offered up information about art gallery space available at the public library where I work, and now the group, myself included, is preparing for our show there this March! Tonight we met at the library so everyone could see the gallery space, share some of the completed pieces, and discuss our personal Artist Statements.
Many of us, some quite accomplished artists, found this seemingly simple task to be very challenging. How does one sum up, in a few succinct and meaningful sentences, why or how one creates art? I think, being visual artists and not verbal ones, we found this particularly tough. I had drafted something three paragraphs long and ended up scratching the first and third paragraphs. Here is what I had left (with a note of thanks to group member Melanie who is a professional teacher of writing and made an excellent suggestion that improved the paragraph greatly!)
"Lace is snow or sea foam, yarn is moss or hair, thread is sunlight or rain. What I love about fabric collage is that it is so transformative: one material almost magically becomes another. I choose materials as much for their texture as for their color and use burlap, felt, velour, organza, upholstery fabrics, natural found objects and copper foil and wire. Nature's colors, shapes, textures, and contrasts are often my inspiration."
The completed pieces many of the members brought were just beautiful and inspirational, each one unique and special in its own way. Of course, mine is not finished yet, but it must be done by the end of this month, so I'll post it then. I am using more of the copper and turquoise contrast materials I used in a piece I did this summer. The show promises to be fantastic. I think anyone unfamiliar with art quilting will be utterly amazed, and even those who have some experience with the level of talent out there will be quite impressed. I hope to post more once the show is in full swing! I'm so glad I spoke up about the library gallery! It's nice to have the group support and be a valued contributor.