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!)
Pair one of the rat bookmarks with one of these classic tales for a great gift!
Of course you don't have to limit yourself to rat books, but it does make an impact!
Another great series is Brian Jacques, Redwall....the audio book is also fantastic with all the accents and drama.
Little story, one day I was fiddling with a cashmere scrap, rolled it into a triangle-ish shape and had a lightbulb moment! What if that little triangle-ish shape had ears and eyes and a little nose? And what if the body was long and flat. A Flat Rat was born.
This silly little critter was easy to pop in a book (and look adorable while just hanging around waiting for you to come back to the page) No pressure, he's got it handled. Love books, love weird little animals, perfect!
So I started gathering scraps and made a little fox, a doe, and many more rats and mice. These weird little flat animals friends were brought to the Craftin Outlaws show and were a smashing success! So it was back to the scrap pile to conjure up some more!
Today is the day. I have several little friends ready to list on Etsy. They are a mere $16 to adopt.
Books are their primary job, but since they are all soft sculpture, without any wires or buttons, they are safe for little ones as well. A flat little friend to drag around by their paw. Super forgiving, these buddies are survivors.
Pop over to my Etsy shop - link above - to snag your favorite friend. Comment below or message me on Etsy if you are looking for a particular animal/color.
Enjoy your reading!
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!