Monday, August 15, 2016

Soon... 2016 SAQA Auction

Sonata 6 by Linda A. Miller
Sonata 6 by Linda A. Miller





This year's SAQA Online Benefit Auction begins next month, September 16 through October 9, 2016.  About 430 12" x 12" art quilts will be available to bid on, including my piece, "Sonata 6".  This is a great opportunity to add to your collection while supporting SAQA’s exhibitions, publications, and education outreach programs.  I will post a selection of my quilt picks in a future post.








 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Recollecting and Releasing

Since my house burned down
I now own a better view
of the rising moon 
 ~ Masahide 1657 - 1723 


Emptying out.  But let me backtrack a bit .... Gradually working my way through Jane Dunnewold's Creative Strength Training workbook, I arrived at the "Power of Limitations" section, which is about freeing ourselves and artwork through self imposed limits.  I don't know about you, but too many options can stifle the forward momentum of my creative drive.  I have applied the idea to limit parameters before, as in my Sonata series which uses minimal color palette and simple imagery.

Looking at accumulating versus using you have is included in this section on limitations.  Jane has these rules for her studio:
1- Something comes in, something goes out.
2- Use what is here. 
I like this, and will come up with my own wording in time. These rules are not intended to be rigid.  We can bring our own flexibility to this.  For me it is OK to buy something specific needed for a project.

Now, I am pretty consistent with cycling things out.  I had made the commitment several years ago to use what I already had for my work.  However the closet in my studio was packed, requiring items to be shifted around in order to access to something else, and it was becoming annoying.  So, arriving at the exercise in CST to clean out was timely.

The first area to be addressed was old (art school) artwork.  It had been thinned out over the years, and it was time for more serious thinning.  Finding not only my own drawings, prints and photos, but also friends' artwork (we printmakers traded with each other) has brought back memories from 40 years ago, here and in England.  I have cleared out much of my student work, saving the pieces that still feel relevant and work on their own.  (I admit I did photograph some of  the work before letting it go!)  Amazing how many old mat boards went into the recycling bin.

From artwork I moved to closets. And from the studio I have moved on to other closets in the house. Bags have been donated, and more will be getting bags of stuff.  I clearly realized that I no longer wanted to carry all this stuff along.  It feels freeing to lighten up.  Great to put things back into circulation for others to use. 

Sharing some of the art I found with you.  Enjoy the journey back in time.

 Drawing 1973 by Linda A. Miller
Self Portrait, pencil 1973





 Drawing 1974 by Linda A. Miller
Self Portrait, pencil and newsprint 1974


These prints were studies for larger pieces that came later.

 torso study1 1978 by Linda A. Miller
Torso Study 1, etching 1978





 torso study2 1978 by Linda A. Miller
 Torso Study 2, etching  1978





 torso study3 1978 by Linda A. Miller
Torso Study 3, etching  1978


This process has been releasing.  I am also filled with gratitude for the journey so far, with all the lessons learned, experiences felt and wonderful friends made along the way.  As a side note, one friend's print sparked my curiosity which eventually led to seeking and contacting them.  Old friends found!

Thanks to Jane Dunnewold for the reminder of Masahide's haiku at the top of this post.

Linking to Off the Wall Fridays.  Stop by for a visit.






Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Play and Review

The following are exercises begun in Jane Dunnewold's Creative Strength Training workshop last week that I have continued to play with.  This Eastern negative-positive space design technique was originally introduced as an expanded square exercise in the book Notan:  The Dark-Light Principle of Design by Dorr Bothwell and Marlys Mayfield.  My first two examples stay within  the rules by not cutting off corners and keeping square shape.  The last ones break the rules ... encouraging the rebel artist (Jane's description).  Very fun! Creates strong visual patterns.  Could be potential quilts in there, don't you think?  Cut some black squares to play with this cut-and-paste technique for yourself.


notan



notan




notan




notan




notan




Asked to bring a one of our completed pieces to the CST workshop, we each sat with our work, reviewing dispassionately the strengths and weaknesses.  What would be done differently next time?  I realized what was needed was more texture, and have revised the last two Sonata pieces by adding very subtle embroidery to the color blocks.  Happy with the effects.  (Hope you can see the details, difficult to photograph.)  We also had an excellent group critique session with Jane, which I found extremely valuable.  I am sure others would agree.


Sonata in Green by Linda A. Miller
Sonata in Green by Linda A. Miller





Sonata in Green (detail)




Sonata in Blue  by Linda A. Miller
Sonata in Blue  by Linda A. Miller




Sonata in Blue  by Linda A. Miller
Sonata in Blue (detail)




Sonata in Blue  by Linda A. Miller
Sonata in Blue (block detail)
 

Linking to Off the Wall Fridays, where you can see the work of wonderful artists.







Monday, July 11, 2016

Building Stamina



When you turn around, starting here, lift this new glimpse that you found; 
carry into evening all that you want from this day.   
This interval you spent reading or hearing this, keep it for life-
What can anyone give you greater than now, starting here, 
right in this room, when you turn around?
~ William Stafford, excerpt from “You Reading This, Be Ready”





I had the opportunity to to take Jane Dunnewold's Creative Strength Training workshop this past weekend.  Having had great respect for Jane and her work, it was wonderful to finally spend time with her.  This supportive workshop focuses on, as Jane puts it, building creative stamina and encouraging your rebel artist.  Reflection, writing and creative exercises ... Truly an inspiring day.  I am continuing to explore more of the process with her book.  Jane also offers a 10 week online course.  I recommend CST to all artists.

Very helpful advice was to approach writing as a strategy to explore creative ideas.  Letting that writing be simple, as in jotting notes down.  I agree with her that writing can support art making.  For those of you, who like me, have tried writing morning pages (as prescribed in "The Artist's Way"), but not stuck with them, this useful method may be simpler to add into one's art practice.

To learn more about Jane, there is an informative 3 part interview series on Textile Artist.  Follow the link to the first interview here.

Thank you to Jane for a wonderful day.  And to Deborah Weir for organizing this workshop for us.








Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Change in Format




An artist is an explorer. He has to begin by self-discovery and by observation of his own procedure. After that he must not feel under any constraint.
~ Henri Matisse


You never know quite what will happen when opening to change.  Itching to work larger, I've been experimenting with these recent brushwork pieces.  Going from 12" x 12" to almost double the size does alter my approach.  With the smaller size, stitching and imagery elements could be simple and sparse.  I felt this new format would need more complexity, even while maintaining the overall simplicity.  A bit about my process...

Stage one- Ink on raw silk
Stage one- Ink on raw silk

After painting on the silk, I fused the raw edge color blocks, and machine quilted them.  Hand embroidery outlines each block.  I hand quilted around the ink work and with wide horizontal lines on the background.  As I mentioned, simplicity is key.  Preferring a clean edge, I used the same pillowcase finish as with other pieces in the Sonata series.


Sonata in Green by Linda A. Miller
Sonata in Green - 22" x 15"



Sonata in Green by Linda A. Miller
Sonata in Green (detail)


Approaching Sonata in Blue in a similar manner, I expanded on the amount of stitching used.  It is echo quilted: hand quilted around the ink work; machine quilted and hand embroidered in and around the blocks.  I used a facing to finish this quilt.


Sonata in Blue by Linda A. Miller
Sonata in Blue,  23.5" x 24"

You might wonder, why so much hand quilting?  Besides enjoying the slowness of the process, I appreciate the textural quality that the imperfect hand stitching lends to the quilt.

 
Sonata in Blue by Linda A. Miller
Sonata in Blue (detail)

I'd love to hear your thoughts.    Linking to Off the Wall Fridays.  Visit the site to see some wonderful work.













 

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