Bring Your Lunch! Kauffman Foundation Lunch and Learn Artist Lecture on Monday, Nov.5th

If you’re getting anxious about the election, I would be honored to distract you with arty goodness! So before you vote on Tuesday, take some of the ‘ick’ out of Monday.
Just bring your lunch to the Kauffman Conference Center on Monday, November 5th at High Noon. I will do my utmost to regale you with my driving passion, the life-blood that keeps me going — or more humbly stated, I will give a presentation on my work.

The talk will cover a short retrospective on past work, as well as looking at the experimental processes and materials of present work (Exactly how does a student of architecture end up spending untold hours sewing lace?). I’ll also cover ongoing and upcoming projects with time for Q&A. I will also have a few work samples and experiments on hand for a bit of “show and tell.” If time and space allow, we might be able to get in a short walking tour of the works on display in the Conference Center after everyone has finished munching!

This is my first public talk in quite a while, so I’m very excited for this opportunity and I would love to see you there!

Lunch & Learn Artist Lecture – Rachelle Gardner
Monday, November 5th, 12 – 1pm
Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation Conference Center
Brookside Room
4801 Rockhill Road
Kansas City MO 64110-2046

This exhibition and lecture is possible through the Now Showing Program. Many thanks to the staff at the Arts Council of Metropolitan Kansas City for their unwavering support of local artists through the Now Showing Program and, of course, big thanks to the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation for participating!

 
P.S. Some  day I have to do a post on these guys – Stakeclaimers. I love the texture.

Fiberart International 2013 – Art That Travels More Than I Do

I was very excited to learn this week that two of my pieces have been accepted into  Fiberart International 2013. Sponsored by the Fiberarts Guild of Pittsburgh, these works could tour to different venues for up to two years. The first venue on the roster will be the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles (in addition to Pittsburgh, I assume). Jurors chose 81 pieces by 64 artists out of 1,200 works of art by 525 artists from 36 countries. So getting two pieces accepted is nice big shot in the arm.

The chosen works? Revealing Cracks Mandala, which has ehxibited in the 55th Chautauqua Exhibition of Contemporary Art in New York, received Honorable Mention at the Leawood Foundation Arti Gras Exhibition, and is currently on display at the Kauffman Foundation Conference Center in Kansas City. So if you are in the KC area and haven’t seen this piece, drop by before December, because this puppy will be gone for a long time. I will be announcing a date for a Lunch & Learn presentation at the Kauffman Conference Center very soon, which will give you a last opportunity to see this work for quite a while and also hear about what I’ve been up to!

The other lucky traveler? Unable to Divide, recently back from Baltimore.

Because of the lengthy touring schedule, the call for artists only goes out every three years. Check out works from the 2010 show here: http://fiberartinternational.org/exhibits

Samples for Casting – Preparing for the Aspen Adventure

While I focus on lace, I have incorporated felt into that lace, which will be a component of some of the tests I will do at The Anderson Ranch Arts Center. To find out more about my project to cast lace sculpture, please check out THE ASPEN ADVENTURE on Kickstarter.

An example of such felt lace can be see in Seeing the Signs. While it can appear opaque, a bit of back light proves otherwise.

I am certain this sheer play of felt, thread and color can go farther, so one of my samples that I have prepared for my time at The Anderson Ranch Arts Center includes this technique to test translucency in the casting process.

This sunshine yellow hand-dyed wool absolutely glows when back-lit.

But is a yummy sunshine yellow even when it’s not back lit! I included hints of melon and orange  wool for accents as well. Just for flavor.

If you haven’t seen my Kickstarter page to help fund my project at The Anderson Ranch Arts Center this summer, please check it out!

Just for kicks, here is where all that bright, colorful wool comes from!

Baaaaaaaaaa!

On to Arkansas: Interdependencies to Exhibit in the South

textile collage

Racking it up state by state.

Interdependency #3 & Interdependency #4 were accepted into the 2012 Annual Juried Art Competition at the South Arkansas Arts Center in El Dorado, AR. The exhibition will run from July 6 – 31, 2012.

textile collage
Interdependency # 3 : cotton lace, silk, cheesecloth, thread, wood & glass beads, metal, acrylic paint

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textile collage

Interdependency # 4: silk, cotton, cheesecloth, thread, raku-fired porcelain, seeds, acrylic paint

These were fun, intuitive pieces to do. I allowed them to grow into what they wanted to be, which can be a challenge for my brain that is usually shouting, “Plan, Plan, Plan!” at the top of its mental lungs. I also used the opportunity to use some of porcelain buttons I had made quite a while ago and had been yearning to find a good use for.

One State at a time: Unable to Divide Heads to Maryland

Unable to Divide, a lace work piece in red, orange, and yellow thread has been accepted into the national juried exhibition, Fiber Options: Material Explorations, hosted by the Maryland Federation of Art.

It will exhibit in Annapolis, MD from July 19 to August 11, 2012. I was one of 65 artists chosen from over 300 entries.

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This meaning of this work draws from some of my mental struggles with incorporating tenants of yogic philosophy (I’m a certified yoga teacher, btw). While I can intellectually understand certain contepts, the practice and experience of it can be quite another thing, especially with this over-chatty brain of mine. What can I say, I’m a work in progress. 🙂

Lace Sculpture Test

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Last weekend, I dabbled in 3-D lace sculpture. This is to one, be able to show the artist I’ll be studying under in Colorado the type of 3D forms I am thinking of and two, I am starting work on yet another proposal for a potential residency in 2013 and need to show examples of my thought process.  Here’s the result of the first attempt. It’s a wee thing, around seven inches in length, five inches high.

Can’t See the Forest for the Trees

Woefully behind in blogging, yes. 2011 was a tumultuous year. But moving on, here’s the latest work: Can’t See the Forest for the Trees. 3×9′ (yes, feet) of cotton & polyester thread (Gütermann) and pins (but not as many pins as you’d think). From initial concept to finished work, this took about two months. I hope to post about the process within the week.

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Process is integral to my work and often becomes intertwined with concept as in Can’t See the Forest for the Trees. It is essentially about being lost, about losing perspective (literally or metaphysically) based on one’s position in time and space and how subjective clarity can be.

As such, every detail of the forest was meticulously drawn and stitched with varying degrees of density. Through a finishing process, details closest to the forest floor stay relatively clear. Moving upward, details become fuzzy until we reach the canopy where many details dissolve into abstraction.

A significant part of its making is the fact that part of the work itself was lost in its manifestation. Even the viewer’s interaction with the piece is determined by the viewer’s relative position to the work.

It is the constant play between being able to see the details and the (often elusive) big picture, whatever that picture may be.

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Seen individually, the thread structures form random shapes. Many details become visible up close, but the shapes have little meaning unless seen from a “big picture” perspective.

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My eyes go straight to the bunny in this image, though I had hoped to emphasize the frog at the very bottom. Ah well.

In process – Mandala #2

So this piece is still pretty rough and a little difficult even to show, but that’s how everything starts out. This mandala will almost exclusively be made by needle felting. This process mechanically forces the fibers to tangle. The first mandala was about the melding of world views, this one is more reflective of world views forced on us by birth or environment. I’ll go into more detail when it’s completed, which might be a while. This will require many, many more hours at the felting machine.

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Here I’m working on the second layer, the lace layer. Some bits have been felted down already, but many are still just pinned (the ones you more defined edges)

Learn New Tricks & Finished Work, “Kitchen Sink Mandala”

I felted a wall hanging in January. It’s been hanging on my kitchen wall, supposedly done. But it just…needed…something, some sort of edging to go around the piece. I’ve had a hankering to learn hand-heaving techniques lately and had seen a book on the glorious inter-web called 200 Braids, which is really more than just braids. After over-experimenting and way too much deliberating, I selected a knotting structure, technically known as “double opposite half-hitches over a core.” Fun stuff. I could do it all day. And I did.

Thus, introducing the finished piece, “Kitchen Sink Mandala.” I intend this as the first in a series of three. Most often used in reference to Buddhist spiritual practices, mandala are images or patterns that symbolically represents the cosmos, as interpreted by the human perspective. The psychoanalyst Carl Jung also saw the mandala as “a representation of the unconscious self.”  The lotus-like shape I’ve chosen is not the usual shape for a Buddhist mandala, but is seen in Hindu yantras, and also in Christianity (rose windows). This was an idea of meshing worldviews, reflected in the form and use of numerous materials that blend overall. While the other pieces in the series will consist of one piece, this mandals uses two elements that hang separately, a sort of “existing independently, but working together” idea.

Kitchen Sink Mandala 36 x 36 x 3/4″

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Here’s a detail of that knotted edging.

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I threw a lot into this thing, yes, everything but the….

I try to reflect the meaning of a piece not only in the visual language, but also through the materials. And…it was just a lot of fun throwing all sorts of things into the felting process. The main element is natural white Shetland wool. Then there is angora wool(goat), silk fabric, silk fiber, hemp fiber, various synthetic yarns, and ceramic beads.

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My first attempt at felting it in the washing machine didn’t exactly work out, as I didn’t have the room or setup to do some things that, in the end, you really just can’t skip. Here are some pics from the initial layout, after wetting it down, and then rolled up and tied,  ready for felting. I basically took over the living room for a day. For scale, the sheet is about four feet across.

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But I worked it out in the end. Live, learn.

Finished Work – Inextricable (wall hanging vessel)

      

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I do like this fella. He was certainly a pain before I got smart enough to build a stand so I could leave it in one position while I worked. A pain like this (and worse).

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The next version, which I just started Friday morning, should go more smoothly.

The process itself was simple, but pretty time-consuming. Also, found a good use for some of my half-podbaby pit-fired shells I have laying around.

 The meaning is pretty self-explanatory. The farther we go, the more tangled things become, for better or worse, until you wake up and can’t figure out where, when, how something started or ended and you can’t seem to do much about it. I suppose that’s not a very optimistic outlook, just thoughts in my head as I made all these tangled paths of thread.

Materials: Slip cast earthenware, rayon (Sulky) thread, glass beads

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To see images of the piece in progress, check out this earlier post.