My detour into the world of textile animals was all about facing my fears and being brave - and the textile collages and finger puppets helped to keep my hands busy while my brain healed from the concussion, this dress project is me getting back into my groove. Sculpting fabric.
Petcasso images from last year - the absolutely gorgeous Cincinnati Art Museum.
A few weeks ago I was in a really, really bad car accident. - I was on my way home from an all day art show, a great show that kept me hopping all day, talking to people, selling my creations and simply staying put behind my display. I had coffee for breakfast, skipped lunch and dinner and simply wanted to get home when it was over. That was my recipe for disaster.
I was an hour from home when suddenly I felt really bad. I felt like I was ready to pass out, so I moved from the “fast lane” on the highway to the far right lane so I could get off at the next exit…..and then quickly realized I was not going to make it a mile more and decided to just pull off to the side of the road………
……last thing I remember was saying out loud, “Now!’
When I came to I was in the trees. Apparently I plowed through the guardrail and up the embankment into the trees. My car was trashed, my purse had been unzipped so everything was everywhere…..and I was frantically looking for my phone. All the while worried that the car was going to flip because it was on a weird angle.
Thankfully my phone rang and I was able to locate it - and then move far away from the smoking car. My poor husband and sons who had to talk me through that whole ordeal, ugh. I was a mess. I did not understand why it happened, how I could possibly not be hurt, what am I supposed to do now…..cars were racing by on the freeway, but no one stopped. No one could see me.
Finally a state trooper came by and I eventually got to the hospital. Stayed overnight while they ran test after test. I have some underlying thyroid and heart issues, but basically I was extremely, dangerously dehydrated. Still undergoing tests and fighting through a concussion a month later though.
The concussion is my new fence.
I sleep and sleep - I can’t read for very long - tv is hard to see - driving is ridden with anxiety - big projects are too exhausting - so I sit…….and what do I do? I sew.
I started sewing a tiny little animal head…..I popped that first one on a tube of fabric to make a little finger puppet friend. It made me smile. So I made another. And another. And another…..
This coincided with a Meet the Maker week on intstagram so I posted them everyday. On Thursday (just 4 days into making these little friends) I was asked to bring them in to a shop in Peninsula, Ohio. So I did. And now this Saturday I am going to be a guest artist in the shop. I am also working on new Christmas orders. wow.
I am not fighting against this fence. I am happy to be alive and I love making these tiny friends. From the outside they may not look any different from what I was doing - and that’s okay. My insides have changed. My focus has shifted. This fence hems me in, keeps me safe while I care for myself and those around me and I am so grateful. I hope these gentle creatures will help share the love I feel.
And of course, shameless plug - head over to my Etsy shop (in the tabs above) to adopt a friend today! - or request a custom critter.
Posted this in NEWS - but have to repost here …and there…and everywhere! So exciting!
I am in the December issue of O Magazine! Oprah’s Favorite Things issue. Oprah, baby!
One of the three public art sculptures I did for Olay this summer was featured along with 4 other Fearless Female Artists. Timing really is everything. I am two weeks out from a major accident and have been battling fear and anxiety - along with massive headaches and nausea. I passed out cold while driving on the freeway home from an art show. It is amazing I did not die or cause injuries to anyone else. I am so thankful to be alive.
In case you are wondering - why did she pass out? I was severely dehydrated and my blood pressure dropped to the basement - it was sudden and frightening. All I remember is the sudden tunnel vision and the need to get into the right hand lane - I thought I could make it to the exit, but nope. Must have passed out right before impact. I was SO confused when I came to - the airbag was out and the car was sideways into the trees. I did not feel the impact at all - but my car was destroyed and I took out a large portion of the guard rail.
I did not receive a ticket - and insurance covered my car - but I am left with a concussion and a lot of anxiety and fear. So it is a beautiful thing to be included in this issue under the heading of Fearless. Honestly, I have always been full of fear - but push through anyways, daring myself to go a bit farther and work harder. Throwing myself into situations that are “unsafe” to a shy introvert artist and try things that my very capable husband would not attempt let alone consider.
What a great reminder to be fearless even in this health scare. Oprah, baby!
I love the plain concrete look of these flowers....but, COLOR. Maybe a mix of both. Playing with the possibilities......
I have fallen hard for working with concrete and textiles. So much so, my entire art practice has shifted. Like a girl in love, all I think about it getting closer to the object of my affection. In this case, it is a slurry mix of concrete and pieces of fabric.
There is a beautiful synchronicity going on here. The golden thread has not been lost on me. Months ago, I proposed a Frida Kahlo design for Petcasso, an annual fundraising event and was quickly approved. This proposal included weather proof flowers in the design - little did I know at the time I would be practically obsessed and completely adept at making these by the time this project rolled around!
Before this, I read The Language of Flowers, a novel by Vanessa Diffenbaugh that reignited my passion of symbolism in flowers and from there I started casually collecting more books and dictionaries on the subject. (I am a researcher at heart)
But ...this wasn't the first time I researched the symbolism of flowers. I had created a book in school complete with descriptions, hand drawn illustrations and little stories about the flowers that sadly I no longer have. My teacher at the time asked if she could keep it, and I just gave it away without a thought. Funny how things come full circle when you least expect it.
Now I am ready and excited to blend these passions, textile art and symbolic story telling. Creating flowers out of concrete takes time and as I am forming the blooms I think about the infomation I've read about them and the meanings that have been attached to them over the years. Some of the negative connotations are replaced by a redeemed version, one the flower wants to tell. And so, their stories are formed.
Stay tuned for a new series of floral art to be unveiled shortly!
And check out this book, The Language of Flowers. It is a sweet and easy read, but the way the main character and those around her communicated with flowers is what really grabbed my attention. .
All right so the sculptures have been installed and left behind in Cincinnati now for a little over a week and I am getting continual updates from friends, family, acquaintances and complete strangers that they are doing well. (there have been a LOT of thunderstorms lately!) I planned for outdoors, public and even rain - but severe thunderstorms are always a wildcard!
Since launch day is quickly approaching, I thought I would start sharing the details behind my latest big project!
A few months ago, I agreed to chaperone the girls basketball team as they headed out for their final tournament. While packing, I tossed in the details of an interesting Call for Artist, some drawing tools and sewing supplies - I like to stay busy!
In the hotel room during some downtime, I brought up the project to the girls and asked for their opinions on what is "light as air" - good ideas starting flying around, snowflakes, bubbles....what was that? Bubbles you said?
I started sketching and decided then and there exactly what I was going to propose.
When we made it back home, I finished the proposal and sent it off, circling the announcement date on the calendar. The announcement day came - and went.....so I figured I did not get it. Oh well, life goes on.
2 weeks later I received an email. It seems I DID get the project after all! After filling out all the contracts and sending a bunch of clarifying emails - they decided to expand the project, I was asked to "make my one sculpture bigger and add two more, even bigger please." And by the way, the deadline is in 4 weeks.
Where was I going to build these giant sculptures? The studio was immediately ruled out - second floor - and warehouse space was ruled out because of my schedule, I travel for work 2 weeks out of every month, so I needed every spare moment to be able to work on this project.
BUT - I THRIVE on these challenges. THRIVE. Joy was bubbling up and I was so excited!
This project has been super enlightening - as all big projects are. It has led to more ideas and more proposals and more confidence in my ability. There was NO ONE to tell me I was doing it wrong. It was MINE, all mine - win or lose - mine. This was so freeing - in a freefalling sort of way.
The big reveal has been postponed due to permit issues for the City of Cincinnati, but in the meantime - here is a sneak peak of the one sculpture that would not fit in a crate.
stay tuned, more stories to come....
A little over a month ago, I received word that a proposal I submitted for a big public art project was accepted....and expanded. Rather than hire me for the single sculpture I designed, I was asked to create 3 - larger pieces.
Incredible news, right?!?! Well, I had a month to complete, limited space (no way this project was going to fit in my second story studio space!) ….and I travel for work and teach art classes within that time frame.
It shockingly all came together and now I am awaiting the proper permits to install before I can officially reveal.....but in the meantime, this is the transport set up! Figured out how to build giant crates for two of the three pieces, the other is flying free - but secured.
I will be driving it 5 hours south and then unloading and installing ( yet another, "how in the world will I pull this off" thought floats through my head before I swat it away!)
Spent Sunday at the Beautiful Columbus Museum of Art alongside some awesome artisans. The energy in the room was amazing! I am beyond thrilled to have been part of this group of outlaws!
So many people came through the doors. So so many. I have never in my life been apart of a show that drew so many people / buyers. The feedback was great and very useful for going forward. Only major downside was the fact I was NOT expecting so many people, so I sold out of some products super fast. Live and learn!
This video is from the Craftin Outlaws insta page - it shows the doors opening and people streaming in, I did not realize that stream of people would stop all day! wow. impressed.
Looking forward to restocking my Etsy and getting set up for the next Craftin Outlaws event!
Wherever you go, there you are. Always true - but surprisingly surprising nonetheless.
This past month I was accepted into two big shows - Craft Menagerie and Craftin Outlaws.
While this made me do a happy dance, I know the chaos that the whirlwind of creation necessary would be an issue in my little house. So, I brainstormed.......and came up with a few potential studio spaces. Number one on my list was free and had the added bonus of occasional cookies, coffee and people who love me on site. I reached out and was warmly invited to move on in.
My studio is now located on my parents property, it is a part of my mom's sewing studio - above my dad's workshop ....big windows, warm in the winter, cool in the summer, stereo system, tv and counter space, drafting table, floor space and STORAGE. I am absolutely giddy over the whole thing.
Then there is this.
........an unexpected bonus is the nostalgia factor.
Looking out the front window, I see the spot where I waited for the school bus.
The rock garden where I danced and told crazy stories to my mom while she weeded.
My bedroom window where I dreamed and cried and read books.
I drive past old friends houses, my old junior high and high school and all the farms every time I go to the studio. - Not that I didn't drive this way when I was visiting my parents, it is the dailyness that brings up all the memories. Silence working on art stirs the pot.
Scroll through to see the new space. This is not my parents house, this is their "extra garage/studio space" love it.
What is Bockfest? Well, there are goats involved, the German Renaissance, beer and originality....A renaissance celebration of the coming of Spring. Over the Rhine, and Bock Beer.
In other words, ever wanted to take a selfie with a goat? Have you ever seen faux-monks pulling a Trojan goat? Well, you CAN at Bockfest.
Clearly, I do not know what I am getting myself into. But it looks fun and all my rats and deer, pigeons, spiders and new awkward, unwanted animals are all quite excited so how could I say no?
A trip to the Upcycle Part Shop on St. Clair Avenue in Cleveland was super successful this month. Came home with a large amount of textiles and yarns, wires and even some curly doll hair for a special animal project.
I also am happy to report that I am now a member of this fabulous community. Jumping out of full time teaching into full time art is less scary when I know there are "people like me" out there.
Thanks so much for being there Upcycle Parts Shop!
I was asked to make a little black peep...in memory of sweet little Spot who was carried away by a hawk, and this is the result. The body fabric is a fluffy wool sweater with trim cut off another silky sweater. The eyes are small white beads that I painted with iridescent paint...and the feet. I loved making these chicken feet. For that reason alone, I will be making more chickens!
A little trim and some special packaging and this birdie is ready to fly the coop!
Mollie Makes, is a lifestyle and craft magazine "for those who live creatively." They are awesome at highlighting the latest and greatest trends in the craft world and tons of fun how-tos for all of us crafty obsessed.
They released an insta-challenge this week and I decided to jump in with all my creative peers. Check all the posts out by checking out the hashtags #molliemakersweek
The first prompt is, Craft Goals
This is what I posted on Instagram this morning.
First of all I have to say I love goals! I thrive on making extensive lists and plans. 2017 was all about public art, sculptures, murals, sets, window displays, big workshops - I wore a wireless mic to teach art for the first time last year. Yikes.
2018 is all about narrowing my focus and limiting my materials so I can hone my skills and stay on track.
*Expand my own art business through art shows, Etsy, local shops...
*using upcycled materials (fabric, wood and wire)
* make more urban animal dolls
*build 3d city shop toys
*ignore all the bright, shiny distractions cloaked as "great opportunities" !!!
2017 was the year of public art projects for me. I was chosen to participate in the St.Clair Superior Year of the Rooster event and created a "Puttin on the Ritz" Rooster that Dominion purchased outright and has displayed in all it's fancy glory in front of their downtown headquarters. (without even a chance for it to go to auction)
I also was a part of Cincinnati's Petcasso event and made a Galaxy Cat for their fundraising auction....opening night was at the amazing Cincinnati Museum of Art. If you have never visited this museum, go. It is spectacular.
The year also included an interesting project with the local mall. I ran a Creativity Series which meant I taught public art classes in the common area of the mall - on a stage - with a headset. Not my comfort zone, but it was a blast.
This led to opening a gallery in the mall, hosting an art show with local artists, teaching monthly classes and painting a large interactive mural!
A few months ago I was invited to create a pet sculpture for the upcoming Petcasso event in Cincinnati. I decided to make a Galaxy themed cat. She turned out all glittery and fun after layers and layers of paint and glitter and a final trip to the auto body shop where she received a thick clear coat. (thick and shiny!)
She will be hanging out at the Cincinnati Art Museum until the final auction in November.
My latest project has been collaborating with Great Northern Mall to create a free community center, art studio, free art classes and gallery space. This has been an exciting adventure and I am still finding my balance with it all.
Here are a few of the latest pictures from the space. Artist Reception with local artists - a pic of one of my sold art pieces, set up for the free art class and some of the birds from the event - still working on hanging the pieces!
Love this opportunity to be out in the community sharing art in a calm, nonthreatening environment. Just stop in, check it out, make something and enjoy the process without pulling out your wallet or signing up for a weekly commitment.