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.