(l to r) Jean Jones, Richard Stucky, Me, Alli Gerrish, Leslie Jorgensen, Paula Breymeier
Last October, I started mentoring five artists who applied through the Art Students League of Denver. The objective of the mentoring was to share my knowledge of how to market art and to help these artists connect with the art buying community in Denver. We met for two hours every month and I brought in several guest speakers — each who had an expertise to share.
These artists had to work hard on creating all the marketing materials they needed in order to present their work to the public. This included creating an artist’s statement, a body of work statement, getting high-quality photos of their art, creating a website with associated social media sites, printing a portfolio book, postcards and business cards.
All this work led up to having an exhibit of their work at my aBuzz Gallery for a month.
The opening reception was March 26th and it was the best opening ever attended at aBuzz. These five artists did spectacular work and their friends and family appreciated the opportunity to see their art presented in a contemporary art gallery in the RiNo art district of Denver.
And I was rewarded by seeing each of them grow into professional artists and knowing I had played a small part in their success.
I am writing a series of blog posts on using the color wheel to look for easy ways to come up with an effective color palette. They will be published on the BERNINA We All Sew website in a few months. But, as I was walking around our neighborhood today, I saw the first signs of Spring (YEAH!) and snapped some photos of how nature shows us she already know the color wheel! DUH! These purple crocuses with the yellow stamens are, of course, a complimentary color scheme. Now I’m on the lookout for red/green and blue/orange combinations. Train your eye to start picking out these combinations in your own artwork as well as your environment. We can’t learn too much about using color as artists.
Next week, I start a new watercolor class with May Yipp. I can’t wait to get back to this medium. Although I am really torn about how to spend my time because I LOVE making my new series of fiber art. Hmmmm. Well, at least I’m not stuck in a non-creative phase which happens periodically.
BTW, there was a wonderful article in the NY Times on March 20th titled “Finding Success, Well Past the Age of Wunderkind”. It’s very inspiring and talks about all the people who are living their dreams AFTER they retired from their day jobs.
A new addition to the public art at DIA (Denver International Airport) debuted this month and I love it! It’s called the Denver Lily and was made by Price Davis, an artist that has his studio a few block from my gallery. His piece is almost 3 stories high and dominates the 5th floor of the main terminal where everyone taking the train exits so lots of people will see his wonderful piece.
Public art frequently demands that artists work in large dimensions and I think that’s a difficult thing to do for fiber artists. But maybe I’m just stuck making pieces that are small enough to mount on panels. In any case, I get so inspired by what other artists make using different media. Price said he worked for a year to make this piece. Thats dedication!
I met the most amazing fiber artist yesterday, doll and hat maker, Leslie Molen. Her studio is close to mine yet, our paths didn’t cross until recently.
Leslie shared her story with me as she discovered the Chinese tradition of women making hats for new born babies in order to protect them.
Using this concept as a base, Leslie creates unique designs to tell her own story.
Story-telling permeates all of Leslie’s exquisite work and seeing it in person, blew me away. She has developed a cadre of collectors so everything she makes has been sold except for these hats which will soon be delivered to a client who commissioned them for a hospital.
She also writes a very informative blog (yes, she teaches her techniques and sells some patterns for some of her dolls) so I urge you to check out her website and subscribe to her blog here. I know I will continue to be inspired by her!
I’m a little hesitant to write about my new work since it is in the “infant” stage but I wanted to share it with a few people who read my blog and get your opinion. I’m also not sure of how I will finish this piece but I am happy with it so far and I am planning on making 4 more, same size, different years.
I’ve been thinking about this idea for more than 5 years but until now, didn’t know how to combine the writing with color and composition. My concept was to take words and phrases from a particular year and use them to create a dialogue. I think that’s really what makes art “art”. Moving people’s emotions. Creating feelings and reactions to the work. I already do that through my fiber work (I see how people react when I hang my work at my gallery) but I wanted to be more provocative and relevant to the world.
So I came up with a list of words and phrases that reflected last year — 2014. A lot happened that year. I also decided to use only hand-dyed fabric from Cherrywood Fabrics. That gave me a consistent background palette and surface. I used a grid to provide consistency between the five pieces I will be making. And I relied on my color sense to provide some excitement to the placement of the words.
A work in process for sure. I will keep you posted when I finish the first piece. I’m thinking of the following years to add to the series:
1948 — The year of my birth
2000 — The year before 9/11
I need 2 more. What years would you suggest and why?