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A collage-riffic afternoon!

As an artist and instructor, there are some days where I feel guilty for making money doing what I do.  Yesterday was one of those days, for sure!

I taught a collage class through my friend Mary Jo Weidert, who owns Wild Apple Gallery in Menasha.  We met via Wisconsin Visual Artists – NE Chapter, and over the last couple of months she’s been forming classes with different instructors.  When she asked me if I’d like to teach this collage class, I was so excited!  Mary Jo has a great group of friends/clientele who were rarin’ to go.  We had ten in the class, and as you can see, they were BUSY!

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Some of the students brought their own bits of paper and ephemera, but most of what you see it my own stuff that I bring along.  I like to come fully loaded, so that workshop-goers don’t have to worry about lugging anything except their own imaginations.

And WOWIE!  Did they ever bring their imaginations – and their senses of humor!  Check out these wonderful collages and their processes!

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The entire class time was filled with laughter and general conviviality.  It was one of those afternoons where, on a blustery February Saturday, it was the middle of summer in that beautiful room at Your Daily Grind, where we held the workshop.  It was just a really lovely day.  Thank you so much, Mary Jo, for the opportunity!

 

Adventures in Experimentation

AHH!!  I can’t believe it’s Wednesday already!  I knew the week was going to go fast (it always does when you’re having fun), but it’s just flying by.

One reason for that may be because I’m doing so much work that’s new to me.  Yesterday I started the day finishing a deconstructed collage I had started on Monday – another sample for the upcoming Deconstructed Collage workshop on Saturday! – but then I delved into a new project.

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I had never really worked with Lutradur before, but had ordered a large bolt of it a couple of months ago.  I hadn’t even opened the package until yesterday, but as with all my projects this week it was the perfect time to try it.  I got the “thick” stuff (it comes in two thicknesses), and I immediately started to burn it.  Because it’s a 100% synthetic fabric, it melts when you apply heat and creates tiny holes, almost like lace.  Plus, it’s just fun to set fire to things sometimes.  😀

I then applied some poster paint I’d gotten at Richeson’s a week or two earlier – they were super cheap in their Bargain Room so I picked up every color I saw.  I decided to try just primary colors yesterday, because that’s not my normal palette and it’s all about straying from my norm this week!

I then machine-embroidered over the painted areas in the corresponding thread color.  I used my free motion foot and just “scribbled”:

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You can see the uncolored “lace” that happens when you apply heat!

SO fun!  It did take a while but I was having so much fun with it, I didn’t care.  I’m not on any timeline this week, so I was free to just explore this all day.  And I did!  😀  Here’s a close-up of the piece:

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Sorry for the focus issue!  😀  After I was done, I put a book page behind it and framed it.  Here’s the piece, all framed and ready to go!

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I want to do more of these today and try more colorways!  😀

 

 

 

Greetings from beautiful Hortonville!

 

Back about six months ago, I heard about Standard Projects through Kate Mothes, who is the founder of youngspace.  Youngspace is a fun, project-based enterprise that specializes in pop-up galleries that feature emerging artists.  I had the pleasure of showing two of my pieces at one of those pop-ups back in late March.

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I knew Kate and Claire, founder of Standard Projects, were friends, so I checked out the SP website.  On it was a submission form for a residency at her place, which she said were typically 1-2 weeks.  So I signed up.

I was so happy when I heard back from Claire!  We cemented the week of August 21 as my residency week.  And here we are!

I got into town last night and met Claire’s friends Shannon (who lives here) and Ricki, who’s also doing a week-long residency!  Claire’s sister Grace and her partner Jane showed up a while later, and then other friends came over for a fire in the fire pit.  It was fantastic. We ate brats and snacks (I had brought salsa and baba ganoush that I had made), and had some drinks.  SO fun.

Before the day begins I thought I’d show you what Standard Projects looks like from the outside – here’s the front door:

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…and here’s the entrance to Found + Collected, the awesome retail space/gallerette that is also housed here.

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The space is actually in the old police and fire stations!!  It’s SO cool.  And Claire has made the residency space so cute and cozy!  Here are some photos of my own space, where I’m currently writng!  😀

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I’m off to work – I can’t wait to see what happens today!  😀

 

 

 

Well, NOW I’ve gone and done it….

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Yep.  I actually bought an etching press!

I wasn’t expecting to, but my friend Nicci and I were at Jack Richeson & Co. in Kimberly (Wisconsin), and there it was, a floor model that was about 80% off the retail price.  I called Brian for some advice – it was still enough money that I wasn’t just going to purchase it without a “family meeting”.  😀

Once Brian gave his advice (“I think you should!”), I brought this baby home.

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Good news – I’ve cleaned my studio since this photo was taken!  🙂

I am a little embarrassed to tell you that I didn’t use it right away; I wanted to wait until I took my printmaking classes at Richeson, just so I knew what to expect!  The teacher, Heather Oetzel, has the same press that I do, so she knows its quirks and what it does best.

Oh my GOSH!  I am so glad I took those classes.  Yes, I’ve done many sorts of printmaking before, including relief and monoprints.  But on an etching press, it’s so different.  The tree that you see, above, was a monoprint I made on Plexiglass using the press.  I love the fact that I can just work on it without the ink drying, unlike the monoprints I make on the Gelli (which of course has its own benefits).

Here’s the linocut I made in class:

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I’d made linos before, of course, but never on the etching press! I really love the color coverage, and now I don’t have to use mounted blocks!

And lastly – this week (today, actually!), I finally tried drypoint etching.  Oh myyyy.  I think I’m in love.  😀

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Okay, so it’s no Dürer, but I can’t wait to try more!  With colors!  😀  I might want to take some of Brian’s photos and start from there.

With this purchase, I sort of feel the tide shifting in my work.  I don’t quite know how I’m exactly going to incorporate it into my fiber art, or collage, but I will.  And I already made a collagraph this weekend, which I’m very happy with!  I used some masonite and just glued evergreen branches right onto it and then varnished it, using Future floor wax.  That stuff works perfectly!  😀

 

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This is the collagraph plate AFTER printing – it held up beautifully!

 

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….and here’s the collagraph!  I really love this technique!

Facebook – the Tie that Binds

Well, with artists, anyway!  😀

I had coffee with my friend Sue today, and we got to talking about various social media that we use.  I told her I use Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. But the interesting thing about all three of these is that they’re all tied back to….

Yep, Facebook.

Love it or tolerate it – it’s a BOON for artists.  Never before have we had such a platform to showcase our art!  Just today I saw at least 10 of my friends post new photos of their latest artwork.  When would that have ever happened even 10 years ago?!

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Sure, some argue that the art market is saturated, that artists can no longer command high prices because a buyer can potentially find similar work at a lower price.  I’m sure that happens.  But I know one thing for sure – I’d be lost without it.

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My art is not for everyone.  I work in media that are just gaining attention, like collage, encaustic and embroidery.  I don’t have an art degree, and I’ve only been creating art for 10 years.  I would never be represented by a big-city gallery.  But with Facebook and the rest?  I can not only show my work, but talk about it.  I think the story helps the work.  And I can also promote my fellow artists, which is something I really enjoy doing.  Hey, if we’re not helping each other, then what ARE we doing?

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Take this post, for example.  From WordPress, it’ll be broadcast to the ubiquitous Facebook, Twitter, and my Tumblr feed.  See what I’ve done there?  I’m using social media to talk about social media, and showcase some of my work in the process.  What an age we live in!  😀

Gelli Workshop Ahoy!

You know how, in the beginning of a new year, you can’t help but reflect on the one past and plan for the one ahead?

Sometimes as an artist, those plans get even better.  🙂

And it turns out that I’m going to be teaching some fun workshops in the near future, one of my favorite things that I get to do as an artist!

On Saturday, March 14th, I’ll be teaching Gelli Prints at Black-Eyed Press in Racine!  I love this place!  I’ve been here several times for our ATC (Artist Trading Card) meetings, but I also just ran an “Homage to Libraries” workshop there in January as part of the Artist of the Book series.  What a wonderful class that was, and I’m really excited to be back.  BEP’s owner, Samira Gdsis, is such a talented printmaker and I’m so very honored to be teaching at her studio!

Here are a couple of examples of the types of prints you can make with the Gelli Plate – no press or painting experience required!  Hope to see you there!  🙂

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Print Exchange 2015

I recently ended an amazing experience as the inaugural artist-in-residence at Sheboygan North High School, which lasted the entire fall semester.  As my assignment was winding down, I realized that I needed a new project to keep me creating new works even without the deadline of exhibits closely looming. I had the idea to order 52 2″ lino blocks, one for each week of 2015.  This is all well and good, but what was I going to do with all of those prints? VOILA!  Print Exchange 2015!  I put out a call on the Linocut Friends group on Facebook, and quickly got 10 responses (my limit).  Three of us are stateside, two are Brits, four are from Australia, and we also have one Pakistani woman, and we record our progress on an event page I created on my What a Relief! Facebook page.  I’m SO excited – we’re currently mailing our first month’s worth of prints!  Here are my first five of the year.  I’m having so much fun with this project.

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