Sunday, August 10, 2014

One Week from the Opening ... Let’s Teach a Workshop!

Sweet Gum (Liquidambar styraiflua) on paper

For anyone with Sweet Gum trees in their garden, you know that, although they are beautiful shade trees, the seeds are spikey hard spheres that can sprain an ankle or cut through a bare foot in a heartbeat.

Sweet Gum Seed from Eat the Weeds.Com

But on the other hand, the leaves make beautiful prints on both cellulose and protein fibers. The image of the leaf above was made by soaking a leaf (that had been pre-dried and saved back in 2013) in iron water for 10 minutes (iron water = iron bits of metal + water in a jar that sat in the sun for about a week), placed on 120lb paper (that had been soaked for 5 minutes in an alum + water bath), then steamed for 30 minutes in a stainless steel pot between two bricks to hold it in place.

Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina) and Osage Orange (Maclura pomifura) on paper

With an abundance of trees in my garden and nearby woodlands, I’ve been testing a few leaves, such as Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina) and Osage Orange (Maclura pomifura) in preparation of teaching printing with plants and rust to my Art 1 students at Oakville Middle School in St. Louis, MO. 

Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina) with iron acetate, copper, iron water and alum on paper

In the meantime, my dear friend and fellow fiber artist, Pat Vivod, has agreed to share a bit of her rusting-on-silk magic in my classroom tomorrow with the three other middle school art teachers from my school district. Take a peek at Pat’s blog, Sentimental Pentimento to see her very large  and most beautiful rust printed and naturally dyes silks. Since Pat shared a few of her secrets with me back in 2012, I’ve also been rust printing and eco-dying on fabric and handmade paper. At tomorrow’s workshop, Pat, a retired art teacher herself, will show a few of her pieces and discuss her process while the teachers have the opportunity to make their own rust printed artwork on paper. I’ll bring along a few of my own pieces for inspiration. 

Rust on paper

Although my students return to school this week, Pat and I are crazy busy preparing for our international fibers exhibition that opens in just one week!!! 

 From the Inside Out -
      Felt, Paper, Textiles: 
      Revelations in Natural Mark Making
      A Surface Design Association Exhibition

From the Inside Out is an international exhibition of five artists who share a devotion to ecological, economical and sustainable ways of dyeing and printing natural fibers, fabrics and handmade paper, but whose individual processes and ideas are quite diverse.

Each artist explores distinct interpretations of the overarching theme through personal investigations defined by their individual key words: Tangent, Seeds, Mapping, Feast, and Core. From handmade paper to heavily textured felt, from rust printed silk hangings to profusely embroidered eco-printed silks, the title describes both a process and an artistic vision.

                      Elizabeth Adams-Marks (Illinois, USA)
                      Irit Dulman (Tel Aviv, Israel)
                      Fabienne Rey (Utrecht, The Netherlands)
                      Patricia Vivod (Illinois, USA)
                      Rio Wrenn (Oregon, USA)

Opening Reception: Friday August 22, 5 to 9pm
Artist Talk: Friday August 22, 7pm
Exhibition: August 18 to September 21, 2014
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville - Art and Design West Gallery
75 South Circle Drive, Edwardsville, IL 62026

This exhibition is the recipient of a 
2014 Surface Design Association Small Works Grant. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Sand, Summer and Sumac

Rust with Sumac

Where did the summer go? I suppose we were just too, too busy to notice it slipping on by. First things first, I am feeling well these days, and am cancer free! Each day is a gift and a blessing.

The bride and her momma

Secondly, my dear sweet daughter, Betsy, married a remarkable man in front of friends and family on a beach very close to where they live in SW Florida. We were overjoyed that my husband’s family from England could join us in the five day festivities along with Peter’s son and daughter-in-law-to-be from California, plus the groom’s parents and closest family members. 

New Work on Handmade Paper in Progress

But once the wedding cupcakes were eaten and the sand was shaken from our luggage, it was time to get back to work in the studio.  Although I still am not quite a strong as I was physically pre-chemo and radiation, I did manage to work in the garden almost every day, ticked off a few of those home repair chores, and made a few new pieces for our upcoming exhibition, From the Inside Out, that opens (gulp)  in less than two weeks at the Art & Design Gallery at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. 

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!