Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Decompressing in Sarajevo

It's been awhile between posts, so boy, do I have a lot to share. My apologies for being such an unreliable correspondent.
Much has occupied my time, and I will begin with the artwork, as that is what so many of you look for. :) I get it. I love to see new creations too!
Let's start with the teaser I posted so many months ago. I have named the piece "Unspoken" - because we are often reluctant to speak about the homeless and because as I look at his face, I see so much written there that I am sure he has never spoken about.

This piece is based on a photograph by the very talented Leland Bobbe of New York. I came across his work online and when I saw the photo of this fellow, Frank, I wrote to Leland and received his permission to recreate his incredible photo in cheesecloth.

I made the cheesecloth sculpture very quickly but then he spent a considerable length of time hanging around the studio waiting for a backdrop. One day, seized with the moment, I painted a piece of buckram, adding salt ... to represent rain on a windowpane ... or maybe tears ...? He got stitched to that one evening, even though I struggled with how I would finish the piece. I was so uncertain, I packed him up and took him with me to Philadelphia, to the SAQA conference, where I could get the opinions of so many artists I have deep respect for. Well, opinions galore! Quilt it! Mount it! Glue it to canvas! Just put a sleeve on it! And now he sits, stitched to the buckram, waiting for the hanging solution. My current favourite, which must be tested before ruining the piece, is to sew a sleeve to a piece of teal fabric, and fuse it to the back. This may be problematic for rolling around a core and shipping to an exhibition (should it be accepted in one). Experimentation will happen in June. He is 25 x 37".

I am incredibly honoured to have been selected as one of six Feature artists at the Taiwan International Quilt Exhibition in Tainan City this August. My eldest son, Matt, has been living in Taipei for the past year, and I visited him in March, so how ironic that he is returning to Canada at the end of June and I won't be able to visit him when I travel there again! I will be teaching two workshops there: one, my cheesecloth portraits, and the other, cheesecloth landscapes. One of the requirements of the visit was an essay on Nature and Art in Art Quilts for the proceedings publication, so, being Canadian, my thoughts turned to our own Group of Seven artists, who developed a distinctively Canadian style of painting the landscape almost 100 years ago. I wrote the essay and designed my own landscape, using cheesecloth for the solitary tree, and for a few grasses, using the style developed by this groundbreaking group. It is 18" square.

I am delighted to report that after returning from Philadelphia, where I was surprised by at the Art Quilt Elements opening to learn that I was receiving the Heartstrings Award for "Memories of Gombe," I received a phone call from the gallery informing me that my piece had sold. This kind of validation is important to every artist, but I do confess an unanticipated pang upon learning she wouldn't be returning to my home, but had instead gone to a new one. I have exchanged a couple of emails with the new owners, which has reduced the sense of loss as I know she is appreciated in her new home.
That is my Catch-up time for today! More exciting details of my adventures tomorrow.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Sarajevo, Bosnia Herzogovina

1 comment:

  1. Wow, so much wonderful news, Mary! Congratulations! I'm so excited for you!