Sunday, April 24, 2011

Itching for Hand Stitching

I have a spring jacket that I hardly ever wear. I bought it when I went to visit my daughter in Galway several springs ago back, knowing how misty-moisty damp the weather in Ireland can be. After stubbornly putting away my winter jacket while hoping spring would actually arrive here on the North Coast, I had to pull it out today to keep the still chilly weather at bay.

When the silhouettes of the trees on the horizon begin turning that beautiful shade of lime green, I know spring here is around the corner, and my mind automatically starts making lists of things to do: rake the leaves away from the emerging spring bulbs, gather up dead tree branches, wash the kitchen floor.

Gayle's stitched collage, Changes
In my Magic Baby work studio, I am slowly sewing up the piles of designs I tend to cut out at night while watching the news or a movie with my husband. Once I have finished a design idea and my prototype, I sit and cut and cut and cut at night, and end up with large piles of sewing to await me each morning when I start to work.

Detail, Changes by Gayle Pritchard
I have decided to stop cutting out new garments to sew until I get my piles of unsewn ones under control. I get stir crazy, though, if I don't have something creative to do while I am sitting. Spring's imminent arrival has made me itchy to have some handwork to do.

At I seminar on creativity and work productivity, I made a note of the speaker's comment, paraphrased here. She said, when you want to begin new work, and have nothing in particular in mind, go look at your body of work and be inspired by that. I have always remembered that. I am rarely short on ideas, but frankly, at the end of a long work day in my self-created sweat shop, I am tired. I still want something creative to do with my hands, but I also want to relax. Handwork, for me, has always fulfilled that desire. With a composition already created and put together during my peak thinking hours, at night, I can just sit and stitch. Rhythm, pull the thread, put in the needle, repeat. It's wonderful.

The framed collage here hangs in my living room. I have always loved it, refreshed by its quiet colors and serene symmetry. I love the raw edges of the antique linen and other fabrics used for the collage, and I love the stitching marks that lead my eye around the piece, and back to the slightly obscured drawing I transferred as the focal point. This will be my inspiration for some light night stitching.

Happy spring, Happy Easter to those of you who celebrate it, and may peace find you in the wee hours of the night.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The months seem to be flying by already this year. The calendar says it's late April already, and yet, as I look outside today, the trees on the horizon have not yet achieved their lime green spring glow. The weather is cold and rainy. Only the daffodils know it is spring.

Detail of I Hear Voices In My Head by Gayle Pritchard

I have been accomplishing a lot in the studio as of late, and at least spring activity, bringing me out and about, is heating up.
I had a great time when I made my presentation to the East Cuyahoga Genealogical Society last month. Tomorrow night, I will be presenting a lecture and book signing for the Willoughby Hills Quilt Guild. On May 19th, I will be in Medina for a lecture at the public library, and June 23 at the Akron Art Museum. I am so pleased that interest in my book continues, and love having the opportunity to speak with large groups about the amazing treasure trove of fiber art that exists in Ohio.

The struggle of balancing paper work and household responsibilities with studio time continues. Luckily, I still have the energy to work 14 hour days! Have a great week, and hope to see some of you at my upcoming lectures.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Art of Collage Opening, Part Deux

I wanted to post the rest of the pix I have from opening night of Piecing It All Together: The Art of Collage. As at most openings, pictures standing in front your own artwork is a prerequisite : ) As I mentioned previously, there were a lot of artists represented in the exhibit, and a lot of great work. Hope you enjoy seeing a few more pieces here.

Me, standing in front of one of my larger pieces, Beauty Queen. On the wall to my left are works from Opie and Linda O'Brien, one called Sorry, and, above that, Unlock the Magic.

Two black and white collages by Jeff Kallet, being studied. These were very interesting, and almost assemblage in their dimension.

I love the stitched details in Shirley Ende Saxe's work.

More typical of Gail's work historically, here is This is What a Feminist Looks Like

These two collages, Her Cocoon, by Shirley Ende-Saxe, and Aujourd by Jeff Kallet, complement each other perfectly, and are both warrant study.

Hope you enjoyed your vicarious visit to the exhibition. Now, get back to work : )

Monday, April 4, 2011

I am honored to be presenting a program about the long and illustrious history of Ohio quilts this evening. Hope to see you there : )

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Art of Collage Exhibit Opening: Crowded and Fun

Piecing it All Together: The Art of Collage exhibition opening was last night, and it felt like old home week for me. It always fun to see old friends, but even more fun to be in an exhibition together. If you are an artist, you know how isolating it can be to stay in your studio all the time, working. Heading out to see an art show gets you out of your own head, and exposes you to new work being created, alone, by other artists who have been in their studios. Very invigorating!

It was serendipity that this photo could catch the four of us standing in a spot where all of our work happened to be hung side by side. Gail Crum, Gayle Pritchard, Linda and Opie O'Brien, all old friends.

As often happens at openings, I never get a chance to spend a lot of time talking with everyone I want to chat with. This opening was crowded, always a good sign, and several artworks sold right away. I am posting lots of pictures from the show, but didn't get a chance to talk to all of the makers. I hope you will enjoy your vicarious visit anyway.

Nitro by Jeff Kallet, left and French Rope Dancers by Linda and Opie O'Brien, right

The Coronation of the Infant Antonym by Shirley Ende-Saxe

Bridget and her staff did an amazing job hanging the show, and displaying the various forms of artwork. Here, her daughters served as docents for my collage book, For Sadie Jane. Both daughters took turns, and seemed to delight in turning the pages for visitors to the opening.

I love the fact that, regardless of whether or not they ever become artists, these two young women will always love and appreciate art, thanks to their life-long exposure to art and art-makers. Hurrah!

Pieces by Jeff Kallet, Opie and Linda and Gail Crum looked great hung together. Sorry my flash blew out the beauty of Bliss, the piece top center.

Here are the two collages I wrote about finishing the past few weeks here on my blog. I loved how they looked hung with Martha Germano's piece. The butterscotch wall color is an exact match to my dining room color.

That's all for now. I have more pix to post in a few days. If you live in or are soon visiting Northeastern Ohio, stop by the gallery to see the show in person. You won't regret it. Work from all of these terrific artists is included: Clare Murray Adams, Gretchen Bierbaum, Suzette F. Cohen, Gail Crum, Shirley Ende-Saxe, Martha L. Germano, Mel Grunau, Kathleen Harrington, Susan Jacobs, Jeff Kallet, Kim Mettee, Linda and Opie O'Brien, Gayle Pritchard, Joan Rusek and Patricia Schroeder. Each artist has at least half a dozen artworks on display. You are sure to see something you love.

Oh, and thanks for driving me to the show, my sweet husband, for stopping to pick up fellow artist Lois, and for collaborating with me on two of the artworks I displayed. xxoo