Sunday, May 28, 2017

Santa Fe Retreat 2017 - Madrid

Yesterday, Belinda, the owner of Radiant Light Art Studio, invited Pam and I to join her for lunch at a little restaurant in Madrid (pronounced Mad-rid) which is an old gold mining town turned art/food haven.

We dined at The Hollar, which is a funky dive of a restaurant with eclectic art gracing the outside and old photos of (what I assume is) the town during its gold mining days. Don't let The Hollar's exterior fool you - the food, which is Southern food with elegance, is amazing. And this is real Southern food - fried green tomatoes and the best crispy shrimp and grits that I've ever had.

 quilt on display in The Hollar

As yesterday was still very windy, we opted to eat inside. Those dining outside were treated to Madrid's own Cactus Slim and the Goat Heads. Their Facebook page lists the group's genre as Eastmountain boogie rock. Smooth voiced, songs reminiscent of the old rock standards, it would be fun to sit and listen for a while.

As we set off to stroll through town, we pondered the shoes hanging from the electrical line over main street.

And then the mailboxes caught my eye

 as did the thriving cacti,


fun signs

and the zebra on the roof.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Santa Fe Retreat 2017 - The first few days

Greetings from the land of endless sky. Pam and I are back in Santa Fe, having our annual retreat a bit early this year as I'll be teaching a class during our usual week in October.

We've discovered a few differences between May and October - the wind has been relentless so far and the sun rises earlier. I have managed to miss the glorious sunrises so far and am considering setting an alarm for tomorrow morning. 

The landscape itself seems greener and more energetic than in October. Roads and paths are bursting with color. A lot of the blossoming plants are very low to the ground - to be safe from the wind?

I must admit that my first day here was one of self-indulgence (read that as pure laziness). The couch beckoned and provided the ideal spot to read and watch the sun play with the tree outside the studio door.

Their frolicking combined with the sun sneaking in through the skylights provided quite a light and shadow display. 

At some point, I mustered enough energy to do a bit of asemic writing in my travel journal

which lead me to wonder what would happen if I wrote on one of the story tiles that I'd brought to work on.

And with the rolls of Canal Paper that had been purchased from Artisan on our way from the airport patiently waiting for me to put them to use...well...

the call to create 25 feet of asemic writing was just too strong to ignore. Over half of the roll has been written on and I am pondering what type of marks to add. Stay tuned!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Friday in New York

Last Friday morning found me boarding the train to venture into New York to spend the day with the amazing Lotta Helleberg. After grabbing a cup of coffee, we began strolling through Chelsea.

Kwang Young Chun at Kim Foster Gallery

Our first stop was Kim Foster Gallery. As you walk through the door, Kwang Young Chun's work of wrapped and bound mulberry paper offers a quiet greeting.

Kwang Young Chun at Kim Foster Gallery, detail

To me, the triangular pieces wrapped in mulberry paper are basic units of information, the basic cells of a life that only exists in art, as well as in individual social events or historical facts. By attaching these pieces one by one to a two-dimensional surface, I wanted to express how basic units of information can both create harmony and conflict. This became an important milestone in my long artistic journey to express the troubles of a modern man who is driven to a devastated life by materialism, endless competition, conflict, and destruction. After almost twenty years, I was now able to communicate with my own gestures and words. Kwang Young Chun artist statement via website

Kwang Young Chun at Kim Foster Gallery, detail

Christian Faur at Kim Foster Gallery

A spot of color around the corner caught my eye and provided a surprise when I stepped 

Christian Faur at Kim Foster Gallery, detail

closer for a good look at Christian Faur's work with crayons.

Christian Faur at Kim Foster Gallery, detail

My earliest memories of making art involve the use of wax crayons. I can still remember the pleasure of opening a new box of crayons: the distinct smell of the wax, the beautifully colored tips, everything still perfect and unused. Using the first crayon from a new box always gave me a slight pain. Through a novel technique that I have developed, I again find myself working with the familiar form of the crayon.

Because of the three-dimensional nature of the crayons, the individual surface images appear to change form as one moves about the gallery space. The images completely disappear when viewed from close up, allowing one to read the horizontally sequenced crayon text and to take in the beautifully colored crayon tips -- all the while being reminded of that first box of crayons. Christian Faur via website

Christian Faur at Kim Foster Gallery

Christian Faur at Kim Foster Gallery, detail

Ambling on down the street, a flash of red in the back of a gallery catch our attention. One look at each other as if to ask "Do you want to go in?" was all it took

John McCracken at David Zwirner

for us to enter David Zwirner gallery in order to get a closer look at John McCracken's simple, yet exquisite sculptures.

My works are minimal and reduced, but also maximal. I try to make them concise, clear statements in three-dimensional form, and also to take them to a breathtaking level of beauty. –John McCracken via David Zwirner website

Minds and imaginations reeling, we made one more gallery stop (which requires a post of its own) before

enjoying a leisurely lunch at Cookshop. It was the first that either of us had eaten there, but certainly won't be the last.

If you follow Lotta on Instagram, you've seen shots of her mark making journal. Well, this is it! Not only was I lucky enough to see it, but to get to meander through its pages as well. It is a work of art in itself.

And so are Lotta's mended jeans. She was working on these when we met in DC back in December so it fun was to see them being worn. Makes me consider mending my over-worn jeans rather than cutting them up to become my journal covers.

Our last stop was the wonderland that is ABC Home. These handmade paper wrapped bundles are just one of the examples of the treasures this store holds.

All too soon, it was time for Lotta and I to go our separate ways. The return train ride provided a bit of time to reflect on the day's art; to consider why it was the more seemingly simple pieces that held me spellbound. There's an idea beginning to form. It needs time to percolate first, but it's there. And that's good.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Ann Hamilton: habitus

Happy 2017!

In celebration of the new year, I ventured to Philadelphia to catch Ann Hamilton's habitus at The Fabric Workshop before it closed on January 8.

Located across the street from the Philadelphia Convention Center, The Fabric Workshop is spread over several floors of an old brick building. The section of habitus located on the first floor displayed numerous works by Ann Hamilton. Those photos will be shared later.

This day, it was the section of the exhibition that had begun as an online project entitled, cloth • a commonplace on Tumblr caught my eye. Each page contains a quote that in some way pertains to cloth. Most that I read seemed to be from fictional books, but not all. Some were only one line while others were paragraphs. 

One quote per page.

Viewers were encouraged to take those that spoke to them - whether it be 1 or 5 or 30. How often are you given permission to take away a bit of an exhibition? Lifting that first page off the pegs felt a bit like stealing, but by the 5th page it felt right. I admit to taking more than 5...haven't counted them to find the total. I did purchase the whole collection from the gift shop and plan to read one a day when the rhythm of life allows time for being in the studio everyday.

Hanging quietly and unobtrusively above the rows of collected text were quilts. My memory is that the docent said the quilts belong to Ann Hamilton, but by then my creative mind was whirling so I cannot be sure that my memory is correct.

While pondering a just read quote, I happened to look up and into the quilt hanging above.

There were landscapes - cityscapes,

long stretches of flat land that eased into small rises,

mountains reflected in still lakes,


I'd love to be able to ask Ann Hamilton if leaving the fold lines in had been on purpose. Had she realized what one would be treated to if one only looked up while standing before the pages of text? Does her brain work that far ahead? I believe it does.

Too awed by the simplicity of these winding spools/wheels, my ears weren't listening as the docent talked about them.

My brain was elsewhere,


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Permission to Play

I am pleased to announce that I will be teaching a mark making workshop, entitled Permission to Play, at Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch's OPENstudio in Lexington, Kentucky October 4-7, 2017.

Come and try your hand at my favorite mark making techniques at the beginning of the week

and round it out with Lorie McCown as she guides you through the process of telling your story with cloth. 

It's sure to be a fun-filled, highly creative, art packed 7 days. For more information, just click here.
Hope to see you in Kentucky next October!
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