Today, I finished organizing my artistic work from the past 12 years and it feels great!
Ever since I started on this path in 2005, I've been keeping notebooks of my progress but wondered, since I have no children, who would even care? Would my art matter after I'm gone? Would anyone know I even existed? And then, I heard about Arthyve.
I attended their first meeting in August in Denver and heard that they were starting an organization to preserve living Colorado artists' work and of course, I signed up immediately.
Before I became a fiber artist, I worked in the school and library field so I knew how important preserving original, one-of-a-kind documents were to historians and researchers. While most of these historical documents were hand-written, today they mostly reside on a personal computer and are not available in print or on the internet. So I wrote a narrative "My Story" that will only be available in this archive. I wrote original unpublished documents talking about my art. Why I made it. What it means to me.
And, I also spent a lot of time organizing my papers so someone knew what I did when. I added some sketchbooks, copies of my books and exhibition catalogs, portfolios, videos, and actual artworks.
I included a notebook of my artist mentorship program and exhibits at the art gallery I owned for 4 years.
I wrote a paper on marketing (after all, that's my expertise) and included samples of everything I did to promote my art.
And, I created a database of all my art from 2005-2017 along with photos of each piece. (That took the longest!)
So, while I spent many hours putting this together to give to this project, I feel a sense of closure and accomplishment. Now, if I need to remember what I've done, all I have to do its visiting the archive and not have to rummage around my studio and computer to find that particular photo or article.
If you are an artist living in Colorado, I encourage you to do what I have just done. Join this organization and become part of Colorado Artist's history. It is important!
Ever since I became a professional artist, I have struggled with whether to make "small works" for sales to individuals and this time of year, the pressure grows to make things to sell for holiday gifts.
I think I have solved the dilemma. I decided early on that I didn't want to become a "manufacturer" — I wanted to make fine art.
But as a consequence of this, I have a lot of strips of my Stupendous Stitching pieces left over because I generally make my pieces much larger than they end up so when I trim them up to the correct size, I have extra pieces of my actual art.
I've decided to compose small works from these pieces and frame them in white and black mats. Here's one. They measure 12" x 12" and the opening for the art is 8" x 8". I'm happy working in a square format because it pleases my eye.
I'm going to try selling these when I teach in person and I'm also going to put them into the new RiNo art store, opening at the Source this year and next year, at a permanent location at the Zepplin Station.
I won't make much money since the store will take 40% of the retail price but I will be happy that some people who really love my work, will have an original from me at an affordable price.
I try not to talk politics but I guess it's time to fess up. I am a liberal Democrat and am dismayed about what is happening in the Trump administration and the threat to our democratic values.
And today, it hit home.
I received an email from the State Department informing me that a piece I lent last year to decorate the offices of our Mongolian consulate (Undulations) was being returned 3 years early because the Ambassador was returning to the states.
I just returned from Mt. Dora, FL where I taught my new class Fiber Art Fun. It was only 3 hours long so I couldn't teach all my techniques but this one made everyone happy.
You don't need to buy a special attachment to make a circle of decorative stitches!
All you need is a thumbtack and some tape. Simply put the thumbtack (point up) on the left side of your needle on your machine and secure it with tape. Push the fabric onto the thumbtack and hands off! the machine will make the circle for you.
After teaching inFlorida for 3 days, I arrived home in time to take a workshop with Jette Clover. I have admired her work for many years so when she came to Golden, I enrolled as soon as I could, knowing it would be sold out.
Jette's work involves text and that has also been my passion for the last two years. She taught a myriad of techniques for putting text on fabric as well as lots of exercises about creating compositions.
Here are two cards we created using random strips torn form magazines. I especially liked the one of the right after we covered it with white paint. I scratched into the paint with the end of my paintbrush since that's what I'm doing in my studio right now.
Jette works on composition every day. I think I will start doing this too. On tags, of course!
Caught the members of the Ladies Fancywork Society participating in the Denver Crush event last week. This is an event where the city invites mural artists from all over America to come to Denver to paint our buildings -- mostly located in the RiNo Art District. These artists use spray paint as their medium so to see some fiber was fantastic!
These women have done many installations in our cite. Here's an article about them and some photos of their work. Enjoy!
I met a charming and talented young lady this week — Zena Ballas — who is working on a project called "Denver Transplants". She is documenting people who move to Denver for a variety of reasons and telling their stories through photography and text. I was honored to be the second person she photographed and I will be visiting her Facebook page
https://www.facebook.com/denverplants/ often to connect with other "transplants".
She was filmed by Channel 9 News so look for more about her story soon.
One funny thing. She asked me to bring a plant to our photography session. A plant? I'm from Manhattan — the land of concrete. I work in RiNo — another land of concrete. I have no house plants. I'm a city girl. But my husband buys me a dozen roses every week (long story!) so I brought some baby breath and some leaves from my last bouquet.
I thought Zena did a terrific job with the composition and not showing all my wrinkles. A talented photographer for sure! You can visit her website at https://zenasphocus.com/
She's looking for a new job (she has many skills!) since she herself is a recent transplant so if you know of an opportunity, please contact her. We all need to network to help each other.
My friend, Mary McCauley, is getting ready to teach in New Zealand in October and before she left, we had lunch to catch up. She surprised me by showing me the two vessels she created for class samples that used my Stupendous Stitching techniques. When I took her class in Colorado, it was super fun and at the time, she said to me "This would be perfect for your technique! And my response was "Go for it!" and so she did!
These vessels are absolutely beautiful and one of my favorite elements was the beading she added to the top. Of course, her shapes are uniquely hers and very whimsical.
Mary is an amazing artist and one who freely shares all her secrets. I will never have the patience to create her amazing botanical drawings, not have her ability to create works in 3 dimensions so I am just honored to call her a friend and admire everything she does. She inspired me this week and now I'm starting to think about my work in a new and different way. How special is that???
So thanks, Mary. If any of you have the opportunity to take a class from her or view her art, don't hesitate. She's the best!
One of the joys of my life is to teach.
I love seeing people tap into their natural creativity and make art and that's exactly what happened this weekend in Denver. Judith and I taught a 2 day mixed media workshop where 18 students ended up creating 18 BEAUTIFUL pieces of art. We worked on a substrate called lutradur (cross between fabric and paper) and used a variety of paints, stencils, crayons, and sprays, to make a background which we then embellished with all kinds of fibers. Some people will hang the result on their wall while others chose to make book covers.
I'm sad it ended since I was feeding off the energy of all these wonderful women!
Our next retreat is in February 2018. You can sign up here:
Carol Ann Waugh
I am a fiber artist and love color and texture!