Friday, April 28, 2006

Flying Dreams - Marion Barnett

Every once in a while the post man leaves a package on the counter that runs from my front door to the dining room door. One day, this appeared. When I opened the manila envelope I found a small parcel of folded up canvas.

I unfolded it and laid it out on the dye board, considering. The cats considered; they could tell that Advo and Merlin had been around this crumpled up piece. I keep shooing off the cats. I was trying to figure out how I could press it safely. I finally took the teflon pressing sheet and got it flattened enough to pin up high on the pinning wall. I could look at it out of the corner of my eye every time I passed.

Finally, I decided to make a template. Butcher's paper taped down to the dye board with the art work laid over it. Penciled in the shape and put the art back on the pinning wall. Took my marker and adjusted the pattern to account for the full lining. Had a template cut of eighth inch oak door skin, sanded, and varnished multiple times, set two keyhole hanging eyes.

Laid out the work and the lining and stitched the whole works to turn. Finished the opening by hand. Now comes the interesting part. Flying Dreams hung over the bed in the back bedroom until it was displaced with a much larger work. The alcove where Flying Dreams belonged was about two inches too narrow; so we hung the work on an angle as you see here.

It's an interesting installation. There is no way you can get the entire image with a camera. You first glimpse Flying Dreams in a huge well lit mirror and then face confusion finding the work itself hidden in this small alcove.

Even more interesting are the comments. From a colleague who used to go to the Whitney Biennial when he was in the east, "It's the best thing in your whole collection!" From another colleague, an academically trained artist, "Wow, it's wonderful! So folks go check out Marion Barnett.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

BrokenLink - Mandalas

Apparently I have a broken link to the Mandalas page on my website. I looked at the html and don't see what I did wrong. In the meantime go to thelmasmith.com Go to galleries, go to mandalas and click. That should get you there. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Three Cultures

Sonora, Mali, India. Indian Fig Prickly Pear with new spring growth. African Mud Cloth. Striated stripe silk from India.

The second two will eventually make a long sleeveless jacket. I just liked the juxtaposition of the colors, textures, light, and shadow.

I thought maybe you might like it too.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Bluestone Portal & Sales


Good Monday Morning,

Bluestone Portal was built in 1998. It won a third at the Tucson Guild Show. In 2001 it won the Master's Mead Award at the Members Juried Exhibition at the Tubac Center of the arts.

A gentleman from Chicago saw it; and over that long summer with other exhibition commitments, including Cary, North Carolina, we negotiated the sale. It went into a private liturgical collection held in a parish hall. It is a memorial to a parishioner who has passed.

I'm showing you old work here so that you can get some idea and thoughts about how work, series, skills, and marketing and public knowledge build one on the other. It's an ever increasing synergy.

So, now, let's think of a bit more synergy. If you go to Mandalas
you will see the Mandalas #2 and #3 in the series that lead up to the sale I'm speaking of. Mandala #3 was exhibited in Exit/Entrance, shown in the Rotunda of the State House in Santa Fe in the fall of 1999 by Studio Art Quilt Associates.

Both Mandala #2 and #3 remain for sale at the original 1999 prices. This is a nice opportunity for beginning collectors. Since it's old prices the shipping will be extra, at cost, no handling. A copy of the Exit/Entrance Catalog will be included.

By the way, my friend the spider is off to visit home on vacation. I am on my own with the Joomla wysiwyg. The mandala pages are not perfect. However they are good enough. (big wink)

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Marion Barnett - mixed media artist

Marion Barnett is an artist I have known for a long time. She mentioned Visual Poetry one day on her blog. I have two of the three works she referenced. You can go to her website and see the covers.

The fan folds from my scanner give you a glimpse of the sorts of work Marion does. She is an inspiration to me. She is more productive than I and manages to work in a lot more mediums.

Tomorrow or the next day I will show you another of Marion's works.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Little Smoke Cat

Spring is here. Little Smoke cat wants to be out hunting. She sits here, next to my sewing machine or on the ironing board and quivers and chatters at the birds. She has more energy than I do right now.

I guess I have run down. All the push and energy of taking down an exhibition and packing and shipping have given way to lassitude.

I am still stitching intermittently with purple and black buttonhole silk. That quilt is taking lots of yards of thread. I'm not working on it every day. I laid up another one; just to fold it up and put it under the cracker tin so that Sylvester wouldn't lay on it. I didn't like the way it laid out; my hands did not match the image in my head.

I'm working - sort of messing around - but not really putting my mind to it this week. In time, I will gather up my energy and get back to work. In the meantime I pet cats and dead head the rose garden.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Lamu - Indian Ocean

It's a strange thing about my work with textiles over the last twenty years. At first glance my styles come and go. On reconsideration, all the pieces have their roots in the blues.

Lamu, Indian Ocean, was built in 1995. All the gold fabrics of the idiot's braid are fabrics printed and sold for the African trade. The border, with all the gold, shows the reef off the island city of Lamu. The terns fishing on the reef with the thunderheads building for the afternoon storm.

The size is 83" long by 75" wide. It has a wide sleeve and a heavy slat so that it can be hung. It can also be used.

My early quilts were heavily influenced by my relationship with my daughter. When she left home she could burn boiling water. Her laundry skills were comparable. In the years since then she has improved remarkably. I'm quite proud of her achievements.

But the point of all this is that the early quilts began as gifts for grandchildren. I knew that they had to survive an unthinking run through both the washer and the dryer. For what it's worth, my grandson's quilt, L. A. Is Not The Only Jungle, built after his birth in 1988 will be going to the university with him this fall. It has seen all a growing boy can do and it's still the first quilt I ever built. I'll see if I have a picture of it for another blog.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

L. A. Is Not The Only Jungle

OK, first things first! This is absolutely the very best example of how not to photograph a quilt for exhibition entries. But what did I know in 1992? Not much.

This is a quilt that has been through the childhood, growing up, wars. The last time I saw it, it was still in good shape. So I guess I did know in 1992 to make them very strong. I have no idea how many times this quilt has seen the washer and dryer in the last fourteen years.

Remember the 1989 time frame. What I was seeing around me were sweatshirts turned into cardigans with wonder under appliques. So, I turned what I saw into quilt blocks. Then I was lucky enough to find enough of my shirt fabric in a remainders shop in Camden, New Jersey to use the black on ivory jungle foliage to complete the quilt.

The Blues For Mighty Joe

It seems like time to talk about The Blues again. This is a detail shot from The Blues for Mighty Joe. It is currently traveling with Rhythm 'n' Blues in Europe.

I hope you can see the gold french knots in the lower right. You may be able to see the way the stitching in the red at the top right textures the fabric.

This was the first of The Blues. It was inspired by The Fremonts. The Fremonts with Mighty Joe Milsap come to Tucson to play about once a year. I was lucky enough to hear them on alive at five at kxci 91.3 radio one evening coming home from a day of errands. Take a listen to the samples on the link to the Fremonts.

If you aren't familiar with community radio you can get kxci if you have high speed anywhere in the world. If you have a phone modem you have to be patient as it downloads and then buffers; but you can get it. It's not PBS. It is truly community supported radio; all the DJs are volunteers. If you like the blues, as I do, you will want to use kxci to search out Marty Kool and The Blues Review. I also heard the other day that kid squid is putting together an afternoon of the blues. Both these men pull from their own private collections; much of this music is unavailable otherwise. Have fun.

Lazy Days, Spring is Here

Thought I had better check in. At the left is Miss Sadie, the Warden, and Sylvester, the tuxedo cat. Life should be so easy for the rest of us. It's been too long since I updated the blog. I'm not dead. Just that spring, which I dearly love, does not love me.

The wind is down this morning so I did sneak out doors to dead head the flower pots outside my workroom door and a couple of roses.

The roses are in riot. Maybe if the wind stays down I can get photos of them and the japanese iris in one of the pots; those come and go so quickly.

I've been working and looking and thinking. I've got another hank of buttonhole silk dyed purple. I can go back to work on The Blues quilt that features a Debra Lunn Fabric that I bought in Ohio in 2003. Lunn does wonderful reductions of black fabric and then overdyes them. I have eaked out one dear fat quarter into one of The Blues.

These small quilts are intended to finish out at about 21" x 34." I am finding that the hand work is both meditative and soothing; however it is very labor intensive. The buttonhole silk stitches are more mark making than either quilting or embroidery.

I'm wondering what all the strangers out there think about pricing on works of these sorts. I know that pictures of cats don't help. Go back to Ramblin' River Blues to consider the hand mark making. Let me know what you think a fair retail price would be on this. Always keep in mind that an artist has to pay the gallery 50% to help pay the shop's overhead.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Merging Threads

The Chicken Scratch Blues is one of four of The Blues on display at Merging Threads at Ventana Medical Systems, 1910 Innovation Park Drive, Oro Valley, Arizona. The exhibition reception was April 2. The exhibition is open to the public from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Oro Valley is just north of Tucson, Innovation is just off Ranch Vistoso; take Oracle Road north. The setting has a lovely courtyard, sculpture garden. The main corridors in each of the two buildings display the work spaciously and with professional lighting.

The Artists

Su Egen: fine damask weaving
Carol Huntington: fiber jewelry
Brigitte Willach: batik fine art
Judith Harmony: knotted natural fiber
Kaori Takamura: multimedia fiber art
Karin Malzan: fiber collages
Thelma Smith: hand stitched textiles

I find this a very interesting exhibition. The caliber of the work of the highest order. The corporate venue is a busy place with executives coming and going from all over the world. Ventana Medical Systems provides all sorts of necessary things to the pharmaceutical industry internationally. All this means that a constant stream of visitors will have a chance to enjoy textiles and fibers in a lavish setting.

Springtime in Sonora

After one of the mildest Marchs on record, the flower pots outside my workroom door are in full bloom. The freesias are going wild. The anenomes have come an gone. The petunias are riotous. The heliotrope and johnny jump ups, like the bulbs, come back year after year.

Good old Mr. Lincoln; that rose bush must be nearly forty years old as the house was built in 1968. Take a look at the first rose of the spring. The more than a dozen other rosebushes are coming on fast. They love the cool weather and the first flush of blooms is always spectacular.

Come June it will be 106ºF and anything not shaded by the big Arizona ash tree will sulk; we lose a lot of rose bushes on that end of the line. But for now we glory in the sonoran spring.