17 September 2014

my first quilt


2 years ago [god i'm a bad mom]- when orange was her favorite color [we've since moved onto pink, purple, and my favorite "all the colors"] i had the little pick out some fabric. she chose the above cloud nine - and held it all the way home. 

i told her i would make her something. what did she want? a skirt? a dress? a bag? mama, i want a blanket. 

gulp. 


i made a quilt with my mom, once, as a pre-teen? quilt? oh boy. but you can't say no to that kind of request. so i told her she'd have to be patient, and she was... [i remind you TWO YEARS!]. 

i thought it'd be really fun to make squares and enlarge the funny monster characters - and the white circles/ovals they lived on. there were 6 characters. so that made it easy. i'd make six squares and use the fabric as the backing. i only bought 2 yards of fabric, so it was going to have to be slightly smaller than a twin in size, but that seemed fine [and made my task easier].


initially i was going to quilt the circles INTO the orange background, but i quickly realized that was beyond my skillset, so i appliqued them instead [machine zig zag stitch]. i also arranged the circles/characters in slightly different positions. once the embroidery was complete i started laying out the squares to see compositionally what worked. 


because it was my first quilt, i didn't want to do any CRAZY quilting. so concentric rectangles it was. i just measured them out. 


i used orange gingham i had in my stash for the binding [JEEZ i found the binding part REALLY HARD!!]. i machine stitched everything. 1 - because it's faster and 2 - because i figured this blanket would probably get washed a lot, and potentially dragged around and i didn't want to have to repair hand stitching repeatedly. 


i want to give a HUGE shout out to erin - if it wasn't for her book i would have had no idea how to sandwich correctly or how to even begin to tackle binding. i wrote about her book here... and it really is such an amazing resource. 

i also now see why people get into this whole quilting thing. i really do. [but i doubt i'll ever be a master]

10 September 2014

recollection :: three


NORMS

i was a picky eater when i was a child. this might have been my dad’s influence. to this day he hasn’t met a tomato he likes. [my mother was most certainly not at all picky and is willing to try almost anything at least once]. it might have been my tastebuds [apparently they are quite different when one is young]. 

i grew up in LA. the land of the coffee shop. the sprawling, suburban, 1950’s, pies in rotating cased, pleather booted, astro influenced architectured, fries with everything coffee shops. you had your upscale versions [more restaurant like], your downscale versions [smaller, dingier filled with old time regulars that sat and drank coffee all. day. long], and your somewhere in-between these two extreme versions. 

NORMS was the family friendly in-between version. There are still NORMS peppered throughout LA. there was one close to our house. the sign is simply iconic. i don’t know who norm is. i don’t know if they are a chain owned by some corporate conglomerate now. and frankly i don’t really care. [i’m sure i could look it all up]

what i do know is that i loved when we went to dinner at NORMS. when i think about all the places we ate [ok LA people remember these? hamburger henry’s, hamburger hamlet, floppy’s burgers, bob’s big boy, [[how are there so many “hamburger” joints??]], the velvet turtle a couple times -NORMS is at the forefront. it could have been the fried chicken. maybe it was the golden brown, slightly bigger than mcdonald’s, but usually perfectly fried fries [i didn’t like the too crispy or brown ones then]. it could have been sitting with my folks in a booth. it could have been the smile on my mom’s face simply because she wasn’t cooking. it could have been that when i was in kindergarten the teacher’s assistant for my class was also working as a waiter there. i adored him. tall [really tall, especially for a small kindergardener], gentle, glasses, always smiling. i can’t remember his name, but i have a foggy picture of him in my brain. 

i think, though, why i always get that pang of nostalgia when i drive around LA and spot a NORMS sign is that because we were out to eat i was usually allowed a treat. and the treat at NORMS was a hot fudge sundae [did it come with my meal? i can’t remember]. by no means gourmet, it was the classic: vanilla, fudge from a bottle, whipped cream, nuts, a cherry [sometimes extra whipped cream and cherries if my teacher assistant was working]. 

of course those sundaes were good. delicious to my childhood palette. but really, if i’m honest, it was more than that. somehow a feeling of family got wrapped up in those sundaes. 1 sundae, 3 spoons. my dad loved the ice-cream. mom thought they were too sweet, but would dip into the chocolate and the whip cream. me… i loved the whole thing. and that’s probably why every time i visit LA if i see a NORMS i break into a smile.

02 September 2014

wichita :: sen :: 1000 doilies - new piece


so... i asked for help. knowing that i was going to the ulrich. knowing i was supposed to make a companion piece to the 1000 doily piece. YOU - you lovely people sent me drawings and knots. i packed up a big bankers box and shipped them there to meet me.

but i really didn't have a plan. other than i knew there would be 1000. when we finished installing the big doily piece, i opened my box and started counting - both the knots and the drawings. at first i kept the drawings together by the people who made them. then, i began organizing them by place. maybe i should make a map. place the doilies in spaces close to where they came from globally.

when i counted the knots i touched them and thought about where/who they all came from. how far they had traveled. should i make a quilt? a really big seninbari belt? organized by color? by fabric color? by knot color?

then i flashed on something:



when i was in japan these - EMA - caught my attention at every temple/shrine we went to. thousands of people, leaving thousands of wishes.




what if i treated this installation like a wish wall? what if each drawing/knot made was like a personal little wish? 

so i found giant nails. set up a grid. 



as i kept sorting through the doily drawings i realized that i just might have 100 colors of drawings. 

the doily wall has 100 colors of doilies. oh. that would be a nice connection.



at first i thought i'd stick the "main" color in front, and then fill the rest in behind with other colors to make even stacks. but as i sorted i realized why not let the stacks be what they are? if they have 1 doily they have one. the black pile would simply have over 100. i liked the idea of the numbers being dictated not by me. 

so began the task of punching holes.

i also had doily drawings of various sizes. so i thought i'd "arrange" them so that you could see the different scales. 


i also felt as though the thread that the drawings hung from should match the doily drawings themselves [also to link to the 1000 doily piece]. 


luckily there were a few more workshops to round out my numbers and get me to 1000 drawings. and the museum staff made sure to contribute drawings as well. 

my mom helped me tie a thread to each drawing. every night we'd sort them, separate the floss, tie loops and then attach a loop to the drawings. while we worked we watched japanese samurai movies. [fitting don't you think]?


then i'd come and hang them up. 


until finally they were all up on the wall. 


this might have been one of the scarier projects i've ever undertaken. mostly because i didn't have a SOLID plan before starting, and because i knew i had a very finite time [2 weeks after putting up the other piece] to complete it. 



but as is usually the case - pressure cooker situations are often good for the studio practice. and once the idea gelled, i felt like this was really a cool way to once again incorporate SO many hands, and my love and interest of color. and the nod to japanese culture [including my own experience with it] tied in nicely with the doily piece. 




i made the museum a color chart - with some extra threads in case one broke. and of course i love IT as an object in and of itself. 


video

when you are there... the air conditioning makes the pieces move. which is also a lovely bonus. 

so... to all of you that sent drawings, and good wishes, and happy thoughts; and for those of you that sent knots - i haven't figured out how to use them yet, but i will... once i finish all the work for my upcoming show at walter maciel [opens november 8th. mark your calendars]. THANK YOU. i am once again humbled and grateful. the almost indescribable magic that happens when a piece is collectively pulled together is present in this piece. and i will be sending you all little parcels of thanks soon. 

i don't think i will ever stop just making drawings and things that i do on my own, but this process - a social practice, has altered my approach to work in a very significant way. so again, thank you. 

i'm excited to visit the two pieces together this weekend. 

29 August 2014

wichita :: thifting

i had sort of hoped that i would be able to find some good thrifting while in wichita.

turns out i could have rented a uHaul truck and come back with it and then some. it was like thrifting heaven. seriously.

here's a smattering [there are still a few things i haven't photographed yet] of what i brought back.

kids metal plates

mccoy vases/planters

globe bank

baking goods [scale i already had]

christmas ornaments [i already have a big collection but when you come upon a box that is $4 and 50% off you can't say no]

bristle brush mini-wreath

60's vinyl floral bags

pyrex and hand embroidery

1980's shoulderpad dress

this is just a smattering of what i LEFT BEHIND. oy.

i return to wichita next week for their bruce conner opening [and technically mine as well. who ever thought i'd share an opening with BRUCE CONNER?]. i'm hoping to dash around to a few stores in my short time there.... 

also soon i'll post all about the piece i made while i was there. promise.

18 August 2014

wichita :: actually lawrence and heather smith jones [in the studio with her]

so. i had never really been to the midwest. i visited chicago twice when i was in high school because i had a friend that moved there, but chicago is a big city. and we didn't go outside of the city at all really. 

i was very interested in what a vast and open green/blue landscape would look like.
once my installation was done i was able to take a day and visit heather smith jones for a day. 

and the drive went thru the famous flint hills




the sky really is a different blue there. [i'd say leaning toward pinker tones than what i'm used to]. and the rolling green hills... it felt strange to be so far from an ocean. and NO MOUNTAINS. you can see for miles and miles. california tends to be super brown in the summer. it was amazing to see all the cows and the different tones of green. 


heather lives in lawrence, a college town. with a very very cute and charming main street. it felt VERY familiar actually. and any place that has a storefront full of aprons is fine by me. there's an old timey feel - which i loved. 




heather and i met for lunch and then she allowed me into her GORGEOUS space. her husband matt is a constructor extraordinaire and their home/studios reflect a beautiful aesthetic. old reclaimed salvaged stuff meets contemporary. swwoooonnn. 

it was a little slice of heaven to sit in heather's space with her. i wish i had even more time to just sit and talk about life. she graciously allowed me to photo her space and thus share it with you... and she answered my "in the studio with" questions... 


the last thing or two you read that had you marking or dog earring pages?!
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr



your top 5 tools/supplies!My sketchbook, watercolor palette, pencil, light, and quiet.



a material or idea you most want to try but haven't yet!
Slipcasting clay. For a few years, an idea for an installation has been floating around in my head. I can envision what I want it to look like, but don’t have the know-how to make it. At some point, I will pair up with the right someone who can help. 

name a song or album you will grow old with
I don’t know if I’ll grow old with it or not, but when I think back to my childhood, I hear Neil Diamond. 



favorite beverage? 
This summer my favorite is ginger ale. I keep a mason jar of homemade ginger syrup in the fridge and each evening pour a little syrup into a glass, add a splash of fresh lemon juice, sparkling mineral water and ice cubes. Spicy and refreshing.


how many studio spaces have you had ? is this current one your fav ? why or why not ?
Other than studio spaces I had in school, there was my parents’ garage for a few months, and a great studio at Arrowmont while I was a resident artist for a year. It was quiet, nestled into a hill and surrounded by woods. It’s my number 2 fave. Studio spaces at other residencies were great too. Then before I moved into my current studio I rented a bedroom in the upper floor of an old house that was painted pink. It was small and cramped but had good light and tall ceilings, but I don’t miss it. My current studio is undoubtedly my favorite, because my husband built it from the ground up. It is home. I love the feeling when I open the door and step inside. It always welcomes me, and is always optimistic.


shall we drool over her letterpress?? yes. we shall.
what is crucial for you to have in order for your studio day to be productive?
The ability to put aside the mind’s distractions.


do you have a studio routine? if so will you share it with us?
Routines vary for me. But one constant is my apron, it’s my uniform. Without it I cannot stand at the easel. 



is there a place that you've been that really resonates with you?
We went to New Mexico early this summer. Something about that landscape is still caught in my throat.




where have you felt the most “at home”!Where I am now. From the first time I visited Lawrence before grad school I distinctly remember the feeling that this was home. Coming from the Southeast, this may have been a strange realization, but I could see myself here. That was sixteen years ago. 




heather also has the most beautiful garden. and adorable kitties.




on the way out of town i snapped a few photos... and then i caught a pretty spectacular sky while getting gas.


thanks heather. i'm so so glad we finally got to talk face to face and i'm SO grateful for your help with my installation, and so happy we got to spend some time together.