Monday, March 31, 2014

It's Grand!

Last week was our spring break trip.  We drove almost 2500 miles taking Anna to visit universities in Arizona and California.  We took one day to see a little bit of the Grand Canyon.  Despite living in the west for 24 years now, I had not been to the Grand Canyon (we have driven by).  It is truly grand and the pictures don't do it justice.

We were at the south rim and took one of the trails 1.5 miles down into the canyon.

Photo credit: Frank Ross
 Coming back up was a little bit harder, especially at 7000 ft. with an elevation change of 760 ft.

Photo credit: Frank Ross

Now, I have some more inspiration for my Vertical Nature series.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Now Read More of This

Today I'm going to show you some more artworks from the Now Read This exhibition at the Arts & Humanities Gallery (at 220 E. Park Center).  In the last post, I showed mostly works with fiber.

These works have other materials.  I have never seen work made with this medium before.  Can you tell what it is?

Underview by MK Guth

This is made with linen, thread, wax and bees!  (O.k. there is a little bit of fiber in there.)

Underview detail

Another unusual material used in one of the artworks is eye glasses.  I'm sorry I don't have the artist name or title for this artwork right now.  I think I heard that the artist is from New York and uses found objects.  

These glasses are set in a "wall" and were displayed in front of the window looking out onto the greenbelt.  As you look through the glasses, you gain a different perspective of the view outside; the world through somebody else's eyes perhaps.

There are lots of interesting pieces in the exhibition.  But I am going to show you just one more.

Inversion by Lead Pencil Studio

This artwork is made with wire and is suspended from the ceiling in front of a window.  I like how the branches on the bush just outside the window blend into the piece (not sure if that was intentional or not on the curator's part).

It is three dimensional and very interesting.  You need to see it and the other artworks in person if you can.  The exhibition is up until October.  The gallery is open Mon. - Fri., noon -4 p.m. during the BSU school year.  It may or may not be sporadically open during the summer.  (I didn't get a clear answer to that when I asked and maybe they just don't know yet).

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Now Read This

In my last post, I talked about the Treasure Valley Artists' Alliance's exhibition, Metamorphosis.  In the same building (the Yanke building) is the Arts & Humanities Institute Gallery, which I believe is affiliated with BSU.

The current exhibition there is Now Read This: Contemporary Art from the Collection of Driek and Michael Zirinsky.  This was my first time visiting the gallery.  It is a great space with windows looking out on the Greenbelt.

Here is a brief description of the exhibition from the brochure:

"The works are united by their use of textual elements, by their textural granularity and their inclusion of textile references and components.  Just as text, texture and textile all share a common root (the Latin texts, meaning woven) these works all invite the viewer to bring a reader's close level of examination to their encounter with the work."

As I was walking through the exhibit, I did notice quite a few textile components.  My favorite piece which I love, love, love, just happens to be in the medium I work with.  This piece by Anna von Mertens is a whole cloth piece with hand stitching.

The title is 6:01 p.m. until 7:05 p.m. April 4, 1968, from the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee (looking in the direction the shots were fired).  A long title explaining that this is tracking the star rotation pattern at this time, the hour from when Martin Luther King was shot until he died.

If you go to her website, you can see more of her work in this series and others that also have interesting research behind the pieces.

Another textile piece was this one by Hildur Bjarnadotter called Reconstructed Canvas.  The artist unraveled a linen canvas, then crocheted it back together.

I recognized this artist because the Boise Art Museum had an exhibition of her work years ago. This piece might have even been in it.

I recognized quite a few of the artist and/or pieces from over the years at the museum.  The Zirinskys have been very generous over the years donating artwork and purchasing artwork for the museum.  I imagine some of these pieces were purchased during the exhibitions at the museum.

Another artwork with the textile element of stitching is this piece by Sally Finch called Seep.  "The drawing Seep is based upon Finch's interest in hydrology and specifically the seepage of ground water through geological strata."

It was hard to photograph, but the stitching is on paper.

There were several other artworks with thread, stitching or fiber content.  In my next post, I will show you other pieces that have different elements.

One thing I noticed overall about the exhibition was the fact that there wasn't a lot of color. The pieces were mostly neutral with an occasional accent of color.  Does this reflect the collector's aesthetic or was the exhibition curated with the intent to reflect on the nature of "text" which is usually black letters on white paper?

The exhibition is very well curated and cohesive.  It is up until October, but I recommend seeing it during the BSU school year as I don't think they will have regular hours in the summer.  Currently, the hours are Mon. - Fri., noon-4 p.m.

Monday, March 17, 2014


The Treasure Valley Artists' Alliance's most recent exhibition is called Metamorphosis.  It is up at the Boise State Public Radio Offices (220 E. Park Center Blvd.).  I took a look at it on Friday.  Here is a preview. It will be up through May 15, open weekdays 9-5.

City of Trees by Melissa Chambers
cut paper
You'll be seeing some very large versions similar to this at the Treefort music festival coming up. 

Spiritual Awakening by Mike Chambers
collage with painted paper

Rebirth by Theresa Burkes

Popler Leaf Cover, Version 2 by Mark McGinnis
acrylic on paper

Magma Rising by Betty Hayzlett

There is another exhibition in the same building as this one in the Arts & Humanities Gallery called Now Read This.  I will write about it in my next post.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Weekly Square #10 and #11

I'm getting you caught up on the Weekly Square project.  Here is last week's and this week's. They are a little different than what I have been doing.

Weekly Square #10

Weekly Square #11

Monday, March 10, 2014

Artist-in-Residence Review

My month at the downtown Artist-in-Residence space was interesting.  When I decided I would be in the space, I really thought I would be working on prints or something besides fabric.  I knew I didn't want to take a sewing machine and other sewing accoutrements to the space.  And I certainly wasn't going to haul all my fabric down there just for a month.

I guess if I was going to be there for a longer amount of time, I would have reconsidered what I brought.  But I think bringing just a small amount and using the fused appliqué technique to compose the pieces worked just fine.

Here was my work space.

I was fairly productive and ended up making around 12 small pieces.  I brought them home to complete the machine stitching and finishing.

One of the reasons I decided to participate in the AiR space was to see what it was like to have a "studio" in a different place, away from home.  It definitely felt more like going to work.  I had to schedule the times I went so I would be committed to going.  I tried to be there three times a week for a few hours each time.  That's less time than what I do at home, but I was still also spending time working in my home studio.

Being in that space made me be more focused, as I only had the stuff I had brought with me to work with.  I couldn't just take a break and wander to another room, or get distracted by something else that needed to be done.  In one sense, that is good.

In the other,  I know I can really focus in my home studio when I need to.  I think it is good to take a break once in a while, get a snack or sit outside in the sun for a few minutes.  At home, I can also work on stuff after dinner or early in the morning.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both spaces.  At home, even though it is my "work", it seems less so in that name than having to go off to "work".  Here it is just what I do.  It gets less respect that way, with family being around and interrupting you and it's not perceived as much as "work" because you are just doing it at home.  But it works for me, right now.

The other reason I decided to try a separate space was because there are other artists in the space and I wondered what the interaction would be like.  It turned out that we each came at different times and I only overlapped with Lynn Fraley, a sculptor, a couple of times.  One time we each had on our headphones and just worked.

I realized that I cannot work and talk at the same time unless I am just doing some mindless hand sewing like putting on a sleeve or facing.  The other time we did chat, which was nice.  But it wasn't about what we working on in the space or getting feedback.

I'm glad to have this experience.  I learned some things and made a bunch of little pieces (which I don't usually do).  Someday, I plan to do an artist-in-residence where I go to another city/state/country preferably with some nature around by which to be inspired.  That would be a completely different experience.

Do you have a studio at home or away?  What are your thoughts on either?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


I officially move out of the BOSCO Artist-in-Residence space on Friday.  Tomorrow is First Thursday and I will be in the space in the evening from 5-8 p.m.  I will have completed works that I created in the space and a few that are still works in progress.

I brought in a couple of my bigger pieces that were already finished and a small framed piece so that people could get an idea of what I "normally" do.  Since I didn't bring my sewing machine to the space, I composed small works with fused fabrics and brought them home to finish the sewing.  Normally, I am piecing the fabric with a machine.

In this picture you can see some of the small pieces I was working on.

I have most of these finished now.  The four on the left I mounted on canvas stretcher bars to see how I liked finishing them that way.

The dark edge is fabric that is sewn to the piece, then wrapped around the bars.  I then hand stitched the corners to make a nice finish.  I'm not sure how I feel about it this way.  I think it looks nice and gives it a little more depth.  What do you think?

In my next post, I will write about my thoughts on my experience in the space.

Monday, March 3, 2014