Thursday, August 30, 2012

More about the Lillian E. Smith Center for Creative Arts

"To find... the place where fantasy and earthly things are metamorphosed into a work of art... this is what the journey is about...."  Lillian E. Smith

I was happy to be driving up the gravel road to the Center on the 14th of this month; and now my time here is almost over--at least for this year.  I'm hoping to return in the future--this is such a wonderful place to spend time.  As Lillian Smith said, "Dreaming, talking, acting: this is the way to bring change about."

Here's a short quote from a brochure about the Center:
"The Lillian E. Smith Foundation was established August 1, 2000, to honor the memory of Lillian E. Smith, one of this country's eminent writers, civil rights activists, and humanitarians.  Smith held at the center of her being her function as a creative artist.  She also deeply valued the power of the arts to transform the lives of all human beings.... It was with this vision in mind that the concept of a retreat for artists, writers and scholars was developed on her homesite."
What a wonderful concept... to value the power of the arts to transform lives.  I feel especially blessed to have been here during this particular time when a political party's convention has been taking place, one at which the value of the power of the arts was possibly not a plank of the platform.

I've been involved in the arts for most of my life.  I majored in art in college, then was a full-time art teacher for 31 years.  I continue to be involved in art teaching, although now in short classes and workshops specifically for tapestry weaving.  I can truly say that my immersion in art making and teaching about what I've learned in art has transformed my life.  And I've seen it at work in the lives of others.  I hope that a belief in the value of the power of the arts to transform lives is revived on a national scale.  One can always hope.

OK... off the soapbox now.  Here are some photos from the Center as I prepare to leave.  They're in no particular order, by the way:

So, for now... I'll say good-by to the Lillian E. Smith Center... until next year.  Maybe I'll see you there!

Today and tomorrow here at Lillian Smith Center...

... time goes by so quickly, doesn't it?

Here are a few more of the past days' efforts at the studio:

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

More from Lillian Smith Center

This residency, my third here at the Lillian Smith Center, is ending this week. I'm sorry about that but I am so grateful to have the time here. I think today I finally found the next tapestry design... or almost. Seems like during each residency I have there's an point where I finally make an image I think I'd like to spend weeks or months in weaving. Today (I think) that image came.
On my walk this morning I found the second pileated woodpecker feather that I've come across here. And when in Asheville yesterday, another feather turned up on the sidewalk near Oragami Ink (where my friend Peggy and I had been talking to the owner about the bird, birdnest, birdcage art works she has in her shop). I made drawings of both feathers today. And, before I'd found the pileated feather, I started the day by writing--among other things: "Forced or Found?" in my morning pages.
Today, I went for the "Found"--the feathers that have been given to me. One of these paintings made today may become the next tapestry.

And, right now, here's Screamer Mountain with fog and mist that accompany the afternoon rain:

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, August 24, 2012

Hooray! Another exhibit acceptance!

I was excited to receive emails this morning that let me know I have a tapestry accepted into this exhibit, to be held at The Bascom, Highlands, NC:

American Craft Today September 22 – December 29 Bunzl Gallery 
This prestigious, juried exhibition of fine craft includes one-of-a-kind pieces, and uniquely creative artwork will be featured. Approximately 50 craftspeople will be selected from across the nation to exhibit baskets, ceramics, decorative and wearable fiber, furniture, glass, jewelry, leather, metal, mixed media, paper and wood craft objects created by some of America’s most skilled and visionary artists. This year’s juror is Mark Leach, the Executive Director of The Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art.
My tapestry called "Once Upon a Time" was the one accepted.  I'll post an image of it soon although it's been here in the blog earlier this summer.  It's the one that's abstracted achromatic fiddleheads with color area at the bottom, the color area that I hadn't decided to leave in or take out.  Well, I decided to eliminate the color and let the piece consist of the upper area.  The tapestry is the one with the half-pass of red-orange used to top each day's weaving effort.

I'm also delivering the other achromatic fiddlehead piece I've recently completed to Asheville on Monday.  It's to be part of the Southern Highland Craft Guild members exhibit, Black & White 3.  So, I'll have three tapestries in three separate exhibits through the fall and early winter of this year!  And, all three exhibits are of many kinds of art work, not just tapestry.

And, my wonderful time here at the Lillian Smith Center continues for another week.  So, I'm off to the studio again to get back to work... lunch break is over!

The Art of Georgia exhibit...

... sponsored by the Governor's Office and Georgia Council for the Arts, being held at the State Capitol, late August through early January. I have a tapestry included in the first of several Georgia regional exhibits. So yesterday involved a trip to Atlanta with my husband to deliver the piece, a chance to go to the art supply store for paper and printing ink, a nice Thai lunch, and stopping by a frame shop to pick up finished works being framed (not my work but some from the collection). Follow those very full hours up with a drive back to the Lillian Smith Center, and there you have my Thursday!

And, by the way, that's Dahlonega gold on the Capitol!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, August 20, 2012

More from Lillian Smith Center

I'm hard at work in the studio every day.  I've been here at in residence at the Lillian Smith Center since  last Tuesday, the 14th.  I've had a residency here for three years in a row and I've enjoyed every one of them so much.  The LES Center is a bit different than Hambidge (where I also enjoy residencies).  Fewer residents at any time, for one thing.  Although Hambidge may house up to 10 artists at a time, the LES Center will have 4 at the most, in four separate lodgings.  This time around, there are three of us here... and two are in the same cottage.

Robert Fichter, the co-director, has loaned me his studio for the week since I'm working with messy media... painting and printmaking.  I'm enjoying the walk through the woods to get there to his studio and take breaks during the day to go back to my cottage for a bathroom break (no water/bathroom at his studio!)

So, here's a bit of what I'm working on there and also a drawing of a wonderful feather I found on one of the morning walks.

Peeler Cottage, where I'm staying

I'm working with block printing while here, among other things.  Here's a block as it's in its last stages of being carved.

Resulting print:

... a reduction lino block.  I'm also printing the last stage over monotypes I'd made earlier.

I had a wonderful gift from above one morning as I finished my walk... on the path was this feather... a wing feather from a Pileated Woodpecker!  So I've drawn it now and will be doing something further with the image before I leave, I think.

And, couldn't end a Lillian Smith Post without a Red Door photo!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

View from here

Screamer Mountain... as seen from the Lillian Smith Center. Retreat is fine, so far. Maybe another post later but I'm off to the studio now.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

It's off the loom!

Now the rest of the work begins--finishing it off for hanging.  Several days will be involved with that and I'll start tomorrow.  For the rest of today I'll be putting away yarns, unwinding bobbins, and sitting down to look at the piece.  I'm never quite sure what I think about completed tapestries when they're first off the loom.  Because some of my tapestries are woven on a loom with a cloth beam previously woven areas are wound up and hidden as I move through the piece.  Unrolling a tapestry always holds surprises.  So... here it is for now, warp ends hanging down and all.  Those will be turned back with half-Damascus warp finishing and won't be visible in the finished piece.

I'm quite excited to say that I'm leaving a week from today for a three week residency at Lillian Smith Center near Clayton, Georgia.  I'm going to take a small tapestry loom to the Center, do some writing, and also work with linoleum block printing.  I did a bit of printmaking earlier this year and I'm eager to do more.  In fact, several more of the fiddlehead designs will be images I hope to work with in reduction prints.  My husband thinks I've "abandoned color" but not so.  I'll be back to color sometime.  But right now I'm enjoying the challenges of developing works with the emphasis on the quality of the value, or light/dark differences.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Almost there!

I've gotten to the white border at the top of the tapestry... at last.  Three inches to go in that border and I hope to finish tomorrow.  So here's where I'm leaving it tonight and maybe I'll catch a bit of the Olympics when I get home.  Tomato sandwich is in my near future!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Moving at a snail's pace as this tapestry approaches the end!

I thought I'd zip through the last few inches of this tapestry.  I should have known better.  The last stages of the weaving of many tapestries seem to be the hardest parts for me.

I'm making a background value transition so that there seems to be light coming from the right corner.   I'm attempting to do it in a way that won't make a hard break between values, rather a more gradual change.  That takes some fiddling with the wefts to make the changes happen.  And some bit of weaving in and taking out.  Yes, lots of unweaving is being done in these last few inches.

I also wanted a signature to be woven in.  I use stylized initials and wove those yesterday.  This morning I ripped all that out and started over.  The left side has the initials TMS as if in cursive and I hope they're just visible but not too harsh.

In the meantime, I've hired my niece to do some grunt work in the studio.  On Monday she did a thorough cleaning while I wove.  Yesterday, she began the challenging task of rearranging and sorting my yarns.  Here's the floor full of the Spelsau stash as she finished with those yarns this morning.  She's now gotten the Vevgarn sorted and my yarn shelves are looking great!  I'll be able to find the color I need much more easily... tomorrow she'll tackle rearranging/organizing boxes of stuff in the other room.