Saturday, January 18, 2014

Just when you think you are on top of your game, life throws you a curve ball. In 2013, my solo show Cornwall [re]Constructed had opened at St Louis Artists' Guild in Clayton, MO.  

My art was also in two invitational shows, Women's Marks at the Edwardsville Arts Center in Edwardsville, IL ...

... and Intertwined at the Jacoby Arts Center in Alton, IL. 

Meanwhile, I taught two papermaking workshops, one at the Jacoby Arts Center in Alton, IL ...

... and the second at Esic Church in Edwardsville, IL.

By mid-August, I was back in my classroom, teaching six art classes a day, Monday through Friday, plus two after-school art clubs, at Oakville Middle School in St. Louis County.

But physically, I hadn't been myself. My clock felt as if the spring had sprung; and I was growing sicker by the day. After a month of treatment for diverticulitis, my gastroenterologist decided to perform a colonoscopy. Instead of finding an infection in my colon, which had began to heal, what he found was anal cancer.
I was very fortunate that my cancer was small and had not spred. I would live through the months of chemo and radiation treatments. 
Just when you think you have life figured out, and all of your plates are spinning up on their little poles, God retunes your attention, and allows you the opportunity to rest, heal and focus on what is truly important - 
faith, family and loving friends. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Cornwall [re]Constructed - Solo Exhibition

I am very excited to announce the solo exhibition of my handmade paper abstract landscapes, "Cornwall [re]Constructed," opening August 23, 2013 at the 
St. Louis Artists' Guild in Clayton, Missouri. 

This newest series of landscapes [re]constructs divergent tangents of historical meaning and myth, abstracting place over time and space, by building up layers of handmade paper subjected to natural elements that rust, tint, dye, emboss, and inform the marks left behind. 


Located on the farthest western tip of the United Kingdom, Cornwall holds two coastlines (the English Channel and the Atlantic Ocean) and is divided from England by the River Tamar.  Cornwall is a land of one-lane hedgerows blanketed in wildflowers; mythical piskies; wild ponies and herds of sheep wandering the moors; tidal pools and estuaries; Neolithic stone circles; and Iron Age villages.  From the time of the early Bronze Age, Cornishmen have mined for copper, silver and tin down into the earth … and out under the sea.

Since kaolin, used for porcelain and later paper, was first discovered in Cornwall in the mid-16th century, the china clay industry pitted the moors and altered the horizon with their white mica waste tips standing proud like gleaming pyramids on the uplands.

While Cornish tin mines are now slowly rusting into the granite landscape and china clay tips have all but disappeared, replaced by modern mica plateaus, the people of Cornwall are as strong and resilient as their ancestors. Working fishing villages hold dear to their culture while embracing 21st century tourism. Celtic crosses and ancient stones still stand watch along rocky cliff paths and yellow gorse lined moorland trails. Yet deep in the woodlands, where moss covered stones lead to pre-Christian wells, and hillsides of blue bells are walled by mountainous rhododendrons, one only need to quiet one's heart and listen - for the flutter of wings, the gurgle of springs, and the Spirit of God all around.

The exhibition runs through October 20, 2013. For more information, visit the St. Louis Artists' Guild website. 

Saturday, June 29, 2013

From the Inside Out - Felt, Paper & Textiles: Revelations of Natural Mark Making - An International Exhibition!

Elizabeth Adams-Marks, 2012
My dear friend, Pat Vivod, and I, both from Illinois, USA, were approached by the Jacoby Arts Center 
to put together a fibers show of our recent work in rust printing, eco printing and natural dyeing. After many long, but lovely planning sessions at our favorite coffee houses, diners and kitchen tables, we decided to invite a few other fiber artists who also use natural materials to join us.  
And they all said YES!

Thus, we are pleased to announce we have partnered to curate and participate in 
2014 international fibers exhibition

From the Inside Out 
Felt, Paper, Textiles: Revelations of Natural Mark Making

at the
Alton, IL, USA
August 22 - October 3, 2014

Our honored guest artists (in alphabetical order) are:

Irit Dulman - Israel

Fabienne Rey - Netherlands

Rio Wrenn - Oregon, USA 

Although Pat and I have been friends and exhibited together for many years ... 
Fabienne and Irit got together for few days in the Netherlands in 2013 ... 
and Pat has spoken to Rio many times by phone ... 
and we all communicate regularly through social media and emails ...
as a group, we have never met face-to-face. 
Yet, maybe ... someday in the future ...
we might gather in the St. Louis area, or perhaps, 
somewhere overseas!  

Elizabeth Adams-Marks, 2012
For more information about the exhibition and each individual artist, plus regular updates over the next year as the project develops, here is the link to our blog:

Please join us for the opening on August 22, 2014!!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Paris in 1/2 + 1 + 1/2 days

Wonders of wonders! Once our plans to return to England to visit family for the month of June 2013 were underway, my husband's niece, Jackie, asked if I might be interested in popping over to Paris for a couple of nights. Well ... why not!  As an artist, I've only wanted to visit Paris since I first attended college art classes in 1974!  Thus, once Peter and I arrived in London by plane (from St. Louis, MO by way of Dallas, TX and Orlando, FL) and had an overnight rest at his sister's in Horsham, Jackie and her daughter, Kim, and I grabbed our backpacks and headed off to see as much of the center of Paris as physically possible in only 3 days, minus the to and fro 1/2 day train rides on the Eurostar.

Arriving by train at Gare du Nord, we soon got our bearings with the help of a small map and the sun in the sky, heading south on foot to our hotel to check in. With our reservation secure, we continued walking south, then west to (believe it or not) the Hard Rock Cafe to pick up our Paris Passes.  If you visit Paris, a Paris Pass is a must! For only €110.00 for a 2 day pass, one can visit over 60 galleries & museums, ride the hop-on-hop-off busses & trains, and skip the long lines - to include the Louvre to visit Mona and the Musée d’orsay for a chat with Vincent and the Impressionists!

After a successful (but crowded) trip to the top of the Eiffel Tower within a short time of our arrival, followed by a backpack picnic at the foot of the monument, Kim left us on foot to catch a train to visit her father who lives in France.  Jackie and I continued with a lovely trip along the River Seine, if one doesn't mind traveling by boat with about 100 French teenagers and another hundred international tourists on holiday!  When we debarked, moving swiftly away from the hordes, we needed a bit of refreshment.  To toast our journey and calm our nerves, we spied a floating cafe at the foot of a very familiar monument!

Eiffel Tower

Notre Dame
Arc de Triomphe
 With the Paris Pass, we were able to go to the top of the Arc de Triomphe, and the front of the line when the Louvre opened, moving swiftly through the museum to arrive front and center, just a few feet from the Mona Lisa! Can't wait to tell my 7th grade art students! 

Louvre entrance under and through the glass pyramid
Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa
Sacre Coeur on Montmartre
 With such a short time to visit, we used public transport as much as possible (after the first day when we walked from one end of the Paris center and back again!!!!) to visit the Sacre Coure on Montmartre and the Palace of Versailles.

Palace of Versailles 

 Our whirlwind trip to Paris was truly amazing; and I am only now able to process all we experienced in such a short time! But, by far, one of my favorite places (ever) to sit and relax with a cup of coffee at the end of a long day - was on the narrow balcony of our room, just outside a pair of French windows, at the foot of my bed.  

 Thank you, dear Jackie, for a lifetime of memories in 
1/2 + 1 + 1/2 days!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Acorns keep falling on my head! Time to move the fibers studio indoors!!

What a glorious summer to dye fiber outside! Heat and sunshine! Dreadful for our gardens, but rust printing, eco-printing, and indigo dyeing on fabric and handmade paper was excellent! Back in August, as a way of showing my appreciation to Pat Vivod for teaching me how to rust print, I invited her for a day in my garden studio to indigo dye.  What a grand time we had. See more about our adventure on her August 13, 2012 blog post, Sentimental Pentimento: Fun in the Shade

The summer indigo studio, hammock ready and waiting.  Now, just a memory.

Pat Vivod indigo dying

Pat Vivod resist clamping pre-rusted silk before dying in indigo vat

Shibori and clamp resist cloth hydrating before dying in indigo
Pat Vivod's indigo on pre-rusted silk
Indigo oxidizing on cotton
Indigo on pre-rusted cotton

You may remember from my posts, or Pat's posts about my rusting the above fabric at her studio.

Because of the drought, the grass really was this color
Here it is on my clothesline (and in the photo above) after two rounds of shibori resist dyeing in the indigo vat. Looking forward to using it at the beach the next time I visit my daughter, Betsy, at her condo in Florida!

But now that fall is upon us, and the acorns are falling from the tree over the vat, it was time to say farewell to fair weather dyeing by moving the vat inside to the basement studio ... until next year!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Rust Printing with Pat Vivod

What does one do for excitement in Illinois when the summer +100F temps continue to soar, play in water of course. Not in a sparkling cool pool, oh no! But with a garden hose, a few boxes of tea, and rust!!

Pat and I met at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville  while she was working on her MFA in Printmaking and Textiles and I was completing my BFA in Art & Design/Textiles and BS in K-12 Art Education.  For the next few years, we exhibited together during Art East, Madison County's annual art tour. Pat would be displaying the most beautiful silk scarfs and large wall hangings, all dyed and printed with rust, tea, berries and walnuts, while my art focused on handmade paper from plant fiber and book arts. At the time, I had just started teaching art at Oakville Middle School while working on my first masters degree. During each exhibition, I listened intently to Pat's newest discovery, and even managed to write a few notes on rust dying in my journal, but didn't have the time, or brain space, to take on another art form. Yet in July of 2012, I finished my second masters on a Friday and planted myself in Pat's garden studio bright and early the next Monday morning. What a glorious way to celebrate!!

Silk scarf folded and wrapped on metal pipe
Leaf resist pattern exposed as scarf was unwrapped
My first silk scarf - Pattern made from leaf resist, tea, vinegar, and rust

At Pat's suggestion, I had purchased and read India Flint's Eco Colour, as well as Jenny Dean's Wild Colour. As an avid gardener for many years, many of the plants used in dying were already in my garden. Pat had been experimenting with Eco Dyeing after she had taken a workshop with India in 2011. While we were waiting for the silk to rust, we also Eco Dyed a few bundles of silk, wool and cotton. Those bundles were put aside for three weeks to cure and will be opened on a future blog post. 

With a basic understanding of chemistry and experience with an indigo vat, I scribbled down notes as Pat shared her expertise. For more information about Pat's beautiful artwork, read her blog, Sentimental Pentimento.

My second silk scarf - Pattern from leaf resist, tea, vinegar and rust on indigo dyed silk scarf

There are many variants when rust printing. I am just a novice, but did learn that no two pieces will be the same and the overall design depends on: the type of fiber; how the silk is folded; where the leaves or other materials are placed inside or on top as a resist; the various types of tea used; where the tea is sprinkled on the silk; how the folded silk is wrapped on the metal; the amount of rust on the metal; the humidity; the day/night temperature; the length of time the silk is wrapped in plastic on the metal; and any other berries or plant fiber used in the design that may add their own colors.

Pat Vivod washing tea and leaf fiber from one of her silk scarfs

I brought along a hemp blend cloth given to me by my English sister-in-law, Wendy Evans, who picked it up on one of her around-the-world adventures. It probably came from Africa. Pat allowed me to pick out any rusted metal I wanted to use and I chose five of the sun bursts seen below. 

Farm equipment used to make sunbursts on hemp blend cloth
Layers: plastic - metal sunbursts - hemp blend cloth soaked in vinegar - tea - salt - more vinegar - plastic - bricks and walnuts to hold down plastic
Bricks and walnuts hold down plastic overnight
Tea and rust print on cloth uncovered and placed on table to hose off with water
Final print on hemp blend cloth from Africa (turtles pre-printed on cloth)

After three days in Pat's garden studio, I took my supplies, cloth and notes back home and set up my own garden studio out of a few make-shift crates, a skid, a few bricks and a bit of plastic.

Although I don't have the cool rusted gadgets that Pat owns, I found a few things sitting around that had plenty of rust - our burn barrel, the grill found on big trash day, the four claw foot tub feet from a yard sale, and bits of pipe and chain from who knows where. I began with a piece of pale yellow silk from my stash. It was smooth on one side and bumpy on the other.  

I soaked the silk in vinegar and folded it lengthwise as I attempted to make a few designs with used Earl Grey tea leaves, unused Lipton Tea leaves, fresh sassafras leaves, and boiled down walnut "tea" before I clipped it shut with clothespins long enough to tie it to the burn barrel. Once it was tied in place, I covered the barrel with plastic and waited about five hours. The temps were well over 100F. 

Silk cloth soaked in vinegar, folded with tea  and leaves then wrapped in plastic for about 5 hours in 100F+ sunshine
Removing the hemp twine 
Twine marks and rust
Before it was opened
My husband, Peter, helping to open the folds and remove the leaves
Leaf resist, black tea and rust print
Opened cloth before rinsing
Cloth rinsed with water to remove tea and leaves
Silk washed and dried on the line. 

Pat was a wonderful, patient teacher. I was so excited by the success of rust printing on silk, I decided to spend the next few days testing rust on paper. But that just have to wait for the next blog post.