As the saying goes, "I've been up and down like a bride's nightie" (to the south of Ireland) just lately. It would appear that the people in the south of this beautiful isle are liking the artistic path that I tread.
Firstly, Dubh, the show that took me to New York's 5th Avenue last October, has come home to roost at the Oliver Sears Gallery in Dublin.
The setting is great: a gentrified house hosting beautiful black objects. Sadly, the Steinway piano didn't travel back with my piece, but curator Brian Kennedy placed my installation to echo the sweeping lines of Vladimir Kagan's chair. An honour to be side by side with a piece from such a respected designer.
The show is on until the 15th March. Go knock the huge door and see some finely crafted pieces from US and Irish creatives.
Secondly, my foray to Dublin on the 1st March will see me sitting on the ethics comittee for Trust Me, I'm an Artist.
I have the honour of being one of the panel deciding the fate of Anna Dumitriu's pitch to build a lab in a gallery. The debate will be filmed before a live audience at the Science Gallery, Trinity. Tickets are free but must be booked in advance. Event 6pm-8pm.
Then thirdly, just a few days later, on the 7th March, FOOD FIGHT hits town. I'm really looking forward to this one (as for once I'm just a spectator).
My fabulous husband, MyTarPit, will be livepainting and exhibiting his new body of work, Cereal Killers.
There is a fourthly and a fifthly, but I'm going to save them for my next blog because the organisers are still, well, organising them. But rest assured, my little sculptor's fingers are busy, busy, busy.
'Til next time.....
The 7th October was a beautiful day in NYC. And I couldn't believe how lucky I was to be walking across Central Park to the American Irish Historical Society on 5th Avenue to see my piece in a show. That building opposite is The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
All photo credits, photographer, Ari Espay, 2011.
A while back, MyTarpit and I had an idea that has since been gently brewing.
I am often struck by how much grief and turmoil is poured into artwork by artists. I understand that this is all part of life - I've had my fair share of suffering. But I'm beginning to get worn down, when walking into a gallery, by being confronted by 'tortured souls, relationship breakdowns and grief heaped upon grief'. If I want to see this, I can watch the news or read the press. I'm not saying it shouldn't exist, just that all to often in life, we seem to forget to harness the deep joy and happiness that can pour forth from us so easily if we just let it. We are not sure if this is the first show of its kind, but already, it's beginning to expand into a big ball of hope and joy for everyone involved.
ELEMENTALS’: Is a very special experiment to see if artists, printmakers and craftspeople can physically embody feelings of peace, harmony and goodwill in their artwork and tangibly affect the environment in which it’s shown.
Definition: ‘Elementals’ - thoughts that once created, become attached to their creator and are fed by further thoughts and actions. Often referred to as an air of positivity or negativity; confidence or its lack; peace or disharmony.
Only professional artists with artistic integrity known and trusted by the creators of the project have been invited to participate, sending artwork from all over the world.
Before they begin working on each piece, each and every time, our artists are asked sit quietly for 5 minutes, contemplating the peace, harmony and goodwill that they want to be embodied. Then they imagine those feelings coming down their arms and out of their fingers into the piece as they design and make it, releasing it to reside in the finished article.
DATES AND VENUES
PYRAMID ATLANTIC, Silver Spring, MD. USA. 26th September - 3rd October 2011
‘Elementals’ will kick off with a pre-show printmaking week. Andy (MyTarPit) and Inga (Rockpool Candy) will be artists in residence to work alongside some of the US printmakers taking part in the experiment.
RICHARD F. BRUSH GALLERY, Canton, NY. USA 23rd October – 9th December 2011
Over 200 constructed Elemental birds will be installed in the gallery for the show. Andy and Inga will also each build a giant, scaled-up version of their own ‘Elementals’ sculptures in situ. Students in all areas of study will be invited to create ‘Elementals’ with paper, salt etch, ceramics, and textiles to be left around campus and the local towns. The aim is to creating a sculptural virus of well being around St Lawrence University.
R-SPACE GALLERY, Lisburn, Northern Ireland. UK dates tbc 2012
Currently, restoration work is taking place on this very exciting building. And we are proud to say that ‘Elementals’ will travel to this newly-refurbished, state of the art, 4-storey centre for excellence in crafts and art in 2012.
WHAREPUKE PRINT STUDIO, New Zealand End 2012/Early 2013
Excitedly, it can also be announced that the show will go to NZ. This centre for excellence in nontoxic printing, owned by printmaker Mark Graver has a lovely gallery surrounded by extensive sub-tropical gardens for any pieces that might like to sit outside.
Visit our facebook page to see the wealth of artists taking part.
I've been lucky enough to be invited to NYC!
The wonderful curator, Brian Kennedy working alongside STUDIOpractice, has gathered together artists and craftspeople from all over the US and Ireland for Dubh, a show at the American Irish Historical Society from 7th October - 14th November. You can read about the amazing Dubh line up.
I've been asked to create a piece to sit, rug-like around The Society's stunning Steinway piano for the event. Now you know me, I'm Mrs Colour, so working just in black was a real challenge. But the more I looked, the more shades of black I came across.
I've embroidered black linen with wool and crocheted cabling into urchins. Dyed yarns and created porcelain scales.
Irish-crocheted ribbon and dyed silk cocoons to encrust astrakan.
Press moulded porcelain bones, grogged them with graffiti ink, and built one of my bone nests.
Crocheted video tape onto leatherette and used vintage haberdashery.
And finally added decadent ostrich feathers, satin and (mock) snake skin. I'm hoping this will reflect the piano's ultra-shiny surface.
Here's the final piece. I hope that it fits under the piano - working to the Steinway plans to create a piece on a different continent, then flying out and hoping it fits two nights before the opening is really rather nerve-wracking!
There was Weaving Day: A day I spent encouraging already accomplished weavers to weave differently.
We dragged some dead wood to an appropriate spot.
And weighting the warps.
I wasn't sure how these women - all of whom have way more weaving experience than myself - would react to my shennanigans.
The results were rather pleasing. A mixture of rustic charm and summer colour on both sides.
We left a few weights on to balance the piece visually. Everyone seemed pretty pleased with the freedom of weaving outdoors and with the spontaneous nature of working together under the trees. It was incredibly liberating. Weaving is usually so precise.
Spanish Moss Sculpture Prototype:
I've also been wanting to try out weaving a stupa from willow and moss. It'll be large enough to sit beneath, so that the moss deadens all sound and you're enclosed in a rich, earthy silence of green.
The spanish moss growing in abundance at Oak Hammock Farm gave me the opportunity.
It was the wrong season for bendy willow whips, but I was able to find some slightly pliable dog fennel to try a prototype.
I wanted to suspend the structure down amongst the ancient oaks.
But only a 5th of the way into weaving, I hadn't counted on the fact that spanish moss drives mules WILD with desire. Shiloh helped himself and well, it was never finished.... but I plan to weave a full one now I've learned from my mistakes. (Namely letting a mule into the paddock!)
Weaving on a Triangular Loom:
I'd never tried this before, but it was great. You create warp and weft at the same time.
I'm really pleased with the final piece, which is a lot less open-weave now washed.
Alfalfa Graffiti: - Artwork That Will Grow.
Ever wondered what'll happen if you mix up a paper pulp with sprouting alfalfa seeds to a sticky paste and then spray it at high pressure through a stencil? Nope? Well we did. Watch this space because we plan to create more living, growing artworks. (Unfortunately the Washington DC snow killed it off before it got started. But come spring time... we're gonna go freaky.)
MyTarpit Release: Floating down to Cuba.
Our surroundings inspired the hub to paint up a wakeboard he'd picked up floating in Lake Tahoe, on the other side of the USA.
And Finally: Well it wouldn't be me if I didn't add a few carousel images. Enjoy....
And good friends to ride the carousel with.
where the hub and I scored the deal of being artists in residence.
Set on the River Thames, it's like Harry Potter with rowing facilities. (Their Dep.Head is an Olympian Gold Medal Rower, don't you know...)
and creating a 12th Century-inspired spinning wheel from 21st Century junk.
Ask yourself, as an artist, do you need everyone to know that you created a piece, or was the process satisfaction enough? Ironic to discuss on a public blog, but I for one, do not show and tell a great majority of my work. Sometimes it's a secret between me and the piece.
So the adventures continue to bloom and blossom, not just in England, but in just a fortnight across the pond, in the USA, too. Again with the hub, I will be exploring all these ideas and more, with the students of St Lawrence, Canton, NY. I am beside myself with excitement and cannot wait to meet them all. I hope they're looking forward to it, as much as me.
....my angioedema decided that I needed a few bed days....and when Ange decides that I need to lie down, I lie down.
As a consequence, I've let a few people down. I HATE doing that. In my heart I'm never a slacker, but in my body, well, I have no choice but to fail.
But hey, I've progressed to the sofa!
So here's a delve into what else I've been up to over International Crochet Month (and a bit before)!
I've been snuggling up in 1 of 3, yes 3, beautiful present swaps I received from the lovely Ina of Tante Sophie in NYC. (Isn't she just such a stunning lady?).
There's this gorgeous scarflet, which is like a warm cloud around my neck.
I think that I came off best in this swap.... as in return all I did was make her a jumbo skein of navy and white, irregular candy-stripe, as these are her fave things. I of course forgot to photograph it before I sent it, but you can see it here.
And I kept a little skein for reference.
I also found myself spinning up what turned out to be 'Blue Moustache' yarn.
It just HAD to be for JohnK, another US fibre artist I'm pleased to have visit my inbox. If you don't know this 'funny uncle' then drop by and see just why this yarn was always destined for him.
So what else?
Well..... The lovely Kathleen Greco sent me a copy of her Jelly Yarn book. Haven't tried this weird and wonderful yarn yet? The stuff above glows in the dark you know! Get some here.
And I've been battling with giant balls of my own plastic bag yarn for another project. It's so quick using my method (see the you tube link on top left of blog), but I really wish it was more pleasant to work with. Nothing can beat a bit of fleece for me.
I'm an old-fashioned Dorset girl, ooo-arrr.
So, leaving NYC behind, we headed upstate to pick up a car in Albany. (If you ever want to film an alien abduction scene, this is your city. Hardly a soul on the street and yet it was the middle of the afternoon on a working day.) Maybe it has something to do with the Egg - yep, that's its real name. Couldn't get out of this place fast enough. And did you know, it's the true capital of New York state (go figure) it was eerie.
If you want fibre, then you have to head up state and have a chat with the lovely Nancy
at Stitchin Post in Saratoga Springs. She is just the sort of fellow fibre fiddler that I'd love to spend more time with, hanging out, sitting on the front step of the shop. Alas, time was short and we had to rush on. A whistle stop tour of
My main reason for being in NYC was to set up my artwork in the WFC
(World Financial Centre) for the IFF. Yep - it was a festival of
Here's a snapshot of my plastic creations through the tendrils of my jellyfish cloud. It's all hovering over the Chicago crocheted coral reef. (Unfortunately my crocheted work didn't feature in this exhibition in the end.)
But the opening was a great place to meet other artists.
Here, right to left; the breathtakingly-talented Helle Jorgensen, putting on her coral hat; the mathematical machine knitter, John K, into whose brain I can't wait to pick, plunder and delve deeper; the wonderful Molly, without whose determination, good humour and hard work (not to mention resilient liver) the show wouldn't have taken place; and my gorgeous husband, Andy.
Another wonderful high of the trip was hanging out with the beautiful Subway Hooker. Oddly, even after two cocktail-filled nights out with this intelligent and funny lady, the only thing I can show you is her card and an embarrassingly-large bar bill (only because I haven't yet found a way of photographing mojito-induced hangover thuds). But take it from me, it was FUN!
I don't know if it's some fibrey pheromone that I give off, but fellow fiddlers were literally coming out of the walls around me. Even the barman at our hotel turned out to be a class act on the sewing machine. Not only does Nate make the meanest PINTS of margarita (oh yes, I was drinking them by the pint) but his stitchery is bewitching.
I'm hoping that the little crochet demo that I gave him and Kelly at the opening will inspire him to go 3D, too. Far too good an artist to be pulling pints.
Part II soon.