Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Art of Collage Opening

Piecing it All Together: The Art of Collage opens Friday night, April 1 at the Valley Art Center in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. I will have seven artworks on exhibition. This is a curated, invitational exhibition with several wonderful artists included: Clare Murray Adams, Linda and Opie O'Brien, Jeff Kallet, Gretchen Bierbaum and Gail Crum, among others. Hope you can make it! For those of you long-distance exhibition gawkers, I will post pictures after the opening. I can't wait!

Getting ready for the exhibition, as mentioned in previous posts, inspired me to finish some new work. On the day I delivered my artwork, as I was gathering up and packaging my work, I spied an unfinished work I had begun a few months ago.

My piece on the postcard here, I Hear Voices, was made about my husband, and was inspired by one of his songs. The piece utilizes the song lyrics, and imagery from his childhood. The unfinished work I pulled out last week, and shown below, was a small collage I made after I Hear Voices. It is also about my husband, and uses the song lyric Tell Me Something I Don't Know. Now I just need to complete the assemblage. Here it is still in progress.

This is just a quick snapshot (and not a very good one!), taken to capture my instantaneous idea as I pulled the rest of my art together to deliver to the show. I'm excited to finish it. Step one, always my way of beginning, is to write the story on the background. I will do that while adding paint and drawings, then begin the assembly process. More to come!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Handmadeology Top 10 Vote: I'm nominated, so vote today

Just a quick note to those of you who read my blog, like my work, and have time to vote for me.
My art quilt, Prayers for the Dead, is nominated in the Handmadeology Top 10 list for Art on etsy today. Click the link to vote for me today, and thanks : )

I love this piece; it was a very meaningful one for me in a meaningful series:

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Mounting Collages to Stretched Canvas

In my last post, I showed how I prepped my fiber collages for display, in this case, stitching them onto some beautiful paper. The reason for that step is twofold: first of all, I knew I was going to adhere the paper to a pre-stretched canvas, and I didn't want the acrylic medium to touch the collages directly. Secondly, I wanted the mounting process to be reversible, something I learned from my framer. Sometimes, I stitch the collage directly on the canvas, if the stretcher bars are not in the way. I did that with my collage By the Numbers, shown in progress below:

Gayle Pritchard's By the Numbers, in progress
  In the case of By the Numbers, the pre-stretched canvas was larger, although I still had some difficulty stitching and embellishing along the edges.

For my current pieces, I am adhering them to two upcycled pre-stretched canvases that I found in a discount store. I used acrylic gel medium applied directly to the canvas, and stretched and smoothed the paper over the top, as shown in the photos below.

Adding gel medium to an upcycled pre-stretched canvas
Each edge and the back stretcher bar are coated with gel medium, then the paper stretched in place. This works with fabric, too!

I miter the corners as I go, using very sharp scissors.

I trimmed around the existing hanging hardware along the top, then separately wired the piece for hanging after it dried.

All done! Here, I am drying the mounted collage overnight. The rubber bands hold it tight, while the scrap paper inserts protect the edges of the collage and paper from the rubber bands.

I had one other piece to prepare, and now I am ready to wrap and drop off my work at the gallery tomorrow. Hurrah! Piecing it All Together: The Art of Collage opens in Chagrin Falls on April 1st, and will be on display at the Valley Art Center until May 19.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Art of Collage

A few weeks ago, I wrote about some of the collages I was finishing up. Today I thought I would show you some of the steps involved in preparing for the final presentation of a few of my collages. As serendipity would have it, shortly after my blog post, I received an invitation to exhibit a number of my artworks in Piecing it All Together: The Art of Collage. The show opens on April 1st, so I am pleased to have some brand new pieces to add to the ones the curator selected from my website.

My now beat up travel portfolio, on the far left
 Those of you who know me or who have studied with me know that I never go anywhere without a journal or one of my collage travel portfolio. In the little square portfolio shown here, I keep collage papers and the like, but also squares of canvas,  matboard and other materials, all the same size. They fit neatly in the back of the portfolio, and provide a ready-made working surface for a small, quick work when I'm on the road.

That is exactly where these new collages came from: the back of my travel portfolio. These are two same-sized pieces of raw canvas which I have built collages on the surface of, beginning with journal writing. That was covered with drawing and image transfers, then layers of sheers fabrics and papers, even metal screening, were added on top. I want to mount them onto pre-stretched canvas, but first I have cut some beautiful unryu paper to stitch them onto.

This wonderful paper has just the right amount of body for stitching.
I love the weight and body of this paper! It provides a great working surface, and here, a nice background. It is also easier to sew through than pre-stretched canvas. Before I stitch the second collage down, I need to remove the edges of the Tear-away on the back of the collage. I am also never without Tear-away. I use it as a background for most everything I do, including wall pieces I am designing. If I am making a quilt, I remove it prior to hand stitching, but for these collages, it provides something to hold on to while stitching.

I am trimming the Tear-Away from the collage on the left, prior to stitching it onto that beautiful blue paper.
So....tonight I will finish stitching the second collage in place. Later in the week, I will show you how I attached it to the canvas.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Passing of a Legend

Tom's Quilt Tom's Quilt by Jean Ray Laury, from 1956

This past week, we lost a quilting pioneer, Jean Ray Laury. I invite you to read Karen Alexander's blog tribute to her life and work. You can see it here:

Although my book is about Ohio's art quilt pioneers, Jean Ray Laury, from California, had to be mentioned. Working in her quirky style as early as the 1950s, she was also an early writer of books and articles, which were few and far between in those days. She will be missed.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Uncommon Threads: Relevant

My book on display in Athens, Ohio

I was honored to appear on the Diane Rehm show live in Washington, D.C. One sister-in-law came with me, we stayed with another sister-in-law, and I got to visit my half brother right before he passed away.
I was invited to present a lecture on my book last night, one program of half a dozen on my schedule for this spring. When Uncommon Threads: Ohio's Art Quilt Revolution came out five years ago, I never dreamed that there would still be so much interest in the story of the contribution Ohio artists made to the emergence and evolution of the art quilt.

At the local Barnes and Noble bookstore, my tArty artist group friends all came out to support me. The fabulous Susan Shie, part of my tArts group, was one of the artists featured in my book.
 re-read my book yesterday in preparation for my lecture, and when I was finished I thought, "I am so glad I wrote this book." If I hadn't written it, I would want to read it. I am so glad I wrote it, so privileged to tell the story of the amazing artists I interviewed, and happy that I put in writing the revolution that occurred right here in Ohio back in the day.
In Cincinnati, after a radio interview, I arrived to a large crowd, and was happy to see some friendly faces in the audience, such as old friends Susan and Dave Voegtly and David Walker, also featured in my book.
 I must admit it bothers me that new practioners in my field do not seem familiar with the pioneers in their chosen art medium. I look at the magazines out there today, what still exists in our new media world, and I wonder if many of the young artists featured are aware that what they are doing has already been created? I wonder if they have done their homework, have studied what came before as artists should do?

At the Textile Museum in Washington, D.C., I actually got to speak at one of my favorite museums. Of all the lectures I have given, this audience had the best questions.

The famous Malaprops bookstore in Asheville, NC was the last stop on a swing of several book signings from Cleveland to Dayton to Quilt National, the Kennedy Museum and several others. Bonus: I got to visit my daughter, and one of the artists in my book, Jane Reeves.

Back home, a lecture for the Textile Art Alliance, a fabulous organization focused on the fiber arts.