Cindy Hickok contemplates the interplay of titles for artworks and artworks as being created from wordplay and visual puns. Hickok is a gifted modern embroiderer whose work takes full advantage of visual humor. One piece entitled, On Tuesday Vincent Picked Up His Socks is a reinterpretation of VanGogh's bedroom scene, after a good cleaning.
image by Peggy Moulton: "Radiation Therapy"
In an article for Embroiderers's Guild, Hickok describes her process of visual punning: "I begin by listing 'pieces': piecemeal, hairpiece, centerpiece, puzzle piece... the list can get long. From there I move on to list expressions: 'it's a piece of cake', for example. Then, on to list well-known stories or songs, and then I think about homonyms: peace -piece treaty - piece at any price. I could try peas. Or pease (porridge hot). Once I have exhausted my list of word possibilities, I look over them to find double meanings, or to change one letter in a word to alter the meaning. I plead for help from others, and it becomes a game. The list can get very long, especially when I allow myself the freedom to get silly. While many of the words on the list could not advance beyond a word game, many do have the potential to provide good visuals."
elaine mcbride, fiber artist Stitched small narratives are what Elaine McBride calls these tiny modern embroideries. She's been making them for over 25 years while teaching at area colleges and arts centers. It's hard to find much information on her techniques or theory, but the Peters Valley Crafts Center in 2003 did offer this description of her course, which gives some insight into her process:
"Embroidery is deceptively simple - providing substance to a piece of cloth with or without pre-conceived ideas! This course will utilize the stitch to develop personal imagery. Students will experiment with stitches exploring color, stitch application and mark making (think "sampler" for reference). We will design a project specific to each student utilizing doodles, introspection, brainstorming, ideas that need tweaking for needle and thread mode or suggestions from a wise and savvy stitcher! (Think personal narratives/symbols/totems.) Embroidery is a meditative process in this world of instant gratification, students may not complete their pieces but will leave with the ability to finish on their own. Framing and finishing ideas will be discussed."
Image by Elaine McBride
M. Joan Lintault creates quilts that are truly layers of meaning. She creates dozens of individual items by painting, xerox and silkscreening. These objects are connected by machine lace and applique to create a dimension expression filled with color and details.
image by M. Joan Lintault
Lintault was a teacher at Southern Illinois University's School of Art and Design in Carbondale for most of her career, leaving only recently to pursue her studio work full time. In an article by the Illinois State Museum, Lintault explains her fascination with the richness of visual display that springs open with pattern and chaos. She also cites the influence of sixteenth-century Italian painter Giuseppe Archimboldo, and seventeenth-century Amsterdam artist Rachel Ruysch.
Lintualt's artist statement gives the following insight: "My objective is to produce a series of quilts that are motivated by metaphors of paradise and the evocative use of nature to inspire spiritual and uplifting feelings. I would like to place myself with those artists who have established an unbroken history of works of art dealing with the theme of paradise. The subjects that I wish to address are largely traditional, such as trees, garden, flowers, animals, fruit and vegetables. These visual images offer me associations with many levels of meaning."
iStockphoto.com - royalty free stock photography community
Well, it's not free, but it's really cheap - or it is free, if you support the collaboration by uploading your own high quality photos to share. The concept of sharing is great - and the images seem pretty great too.
The official explanation of the system: "iStockphoto.com works on a download credit system and some ideas we borrowed from the concept of micropayments. Rather than purchasing individual images from our collection, community members can purchase credits in packs. One credit is equal to one image download. Each credit costs .50 cents, but discounts are available on larger credit packages. Our members, the artists who upload files, earn 20% of each download. Earnings can be converted into download credits or cashed out ($100 minimum). This ensures that regular contributors will always have download credits."
image is "this week's free image"
Jennifer Bartlett: painter, printmaker and sculptor, has been active on the New York and California art scenes since the early 1970s. Her work is dominated by systems and grids, which provide a means of organizing explorations into lively chaos, such as her series of overgrown gardens or 'elements' (investigations of the four elements: air, water, fire and earth.) Most of her works have been explorations of theme and variations. The beginnings of Bartlett's paintings are often one foot square 'canvases' (sometimes steel plates), which she then assembles in the grid to form the final images.
The Smithsonian's description of her artistic ambitions "Her early work, which was strictly limited to grids, graphs, and dots, has evolved to include an expanded view of the possibilities of classifying and cataloging." Classifying and cataloging ... there seems to be lots of room for explorations there.
The MIT student loan art program describes Bartlett's process: "Bartlett's approach was more idiosyncratic and she would violate the systematically determined series when it suited her purposes to do so. Each series of plates creates a wall full of exuberantly rhythmic patterns.
According to Bartlett, the evident fascination with the series in her art can be explained by the fact that, "The series permits a range of possibilities; it reminds us that things can change." In the words of critic Maurice Berger, Bartlett's art "juxtaposes the raw and the cooked, examining the way the world is filtered through the human mind and is encoded into cultural conventions or sign systems."
image by Jennifer Bartlett from the collection of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
Hive Project 768 individual quilt panels created by a dozen different artists come together to create this collaborative piece, the Hive. Each panel measures 12" square. The most fascinating part of this art piece is that it is designed to be rearranged at each installation. One example at this site is a digital representation of how the pieces might look in one long mural. A second view shows the work actually installed in an art space.
San Antonio News has an article with more information on the project and a photo of the installation at the Southwest School of Art & Craft.
Linda L. Uphoff creates paintings that dance with color. Abstract shapes swirl in a snowstorm of energy and vivid color creating a mesmerizing composition. "Uphoff uses acrylic paint, watercolor, ink, pastel, conté assorted pencil, and fiber to create many of her works. Recent pieces emphasize the rectangular image, the softened edge, combinations of subtle and intense color, atmospheric ambiguous space, moving energy, musical rhythms and the theme of human relationships."
image by Linda L. Uphoff
Marta Amundson This page is in Swedish, which is a bit of a problem for comprehension of the text, at least for me. Luckily, the page is mostly photographs - wonderful closeup photos of Marta Amundson's quilts. You can actually see the richness of the textures and layerings in her work; strawberries on a cake so real that you want to stick your finger in and have a taste, Bleeding Heart flowers created with paint and thread.
Amundson's colors are wonderful. In an interview in the Albion College alumni newsletter, Amundson says, 'The colors in my work are bold combinations that would make Emil Nolde or Henri Matisse proud but raise the hair on granny’s neck.'
The quilt image is from her gallery work, which has a dozen or so of Amundson's quilts on view on the web. Most of her works involve animals and nature, which she observes in her daily life in Wyoming.
image by Marta Amundson
>Michael Bell - Visual Journaling for Life's Sake!
Four exercises in visual journaling:
1 - Field Observation
2 - Memory walking
3 - Meditative Sketching
4 - Listing
The goal is that the artist is the storyteller. through practice and exercise, one can become adept at telling the stories inside. There also is some work suggestions for those of us who have some pain from the past to sort through.
Michael Bell is an incredible illustrator, evoking emotion with layer of paint and the use of exaggeration and expressive emotion. HE's also involved in art education at the secondary level (6th -12th grades). Now, think what we all could be if we had had teachers like this!
image by Michael Bell
Sketchbook/JournalingThere is not a huge amount of information for the general artist on this site. This page is written for elementary school teachers as starting point for incorporating art into language arts instruction. But the snapshots of the journals are inspirational; lots of examples of sketching, experimenting and working through the process, rather than focusing on the product.
image from Jeffco Visual Arts: Sketchbook/Journaling
Writing an Artist’s Statement It is slow, laborious and feels like walking outside in a bikini on the first days that the pools opens with 30 extra pounds of flabby white skin showing. Unlike walking around in a bikini, writing an artist's statement is something that has to be done. At least if you want to be in art shows, it has to be done.
The Contemporary Quiltart Association and Molly Gordon have produced a sheet on how to write an Artist's statement. What's unique is that Gordon's technique actually makes it sound fun. She wants us to ask questions that might be interesting to answer:
" - What is your favorite tool? Why?
- What is your favorite material? Why?
- What do you like best about what you do?
- What do you mean when you say that a piece has turned out really well?
- What patterns emerge in your work? Is there a pattern in the way you select materials? In the way you use color, texture or light?
- What do you do differently from the way you were taught? Why?
- What is your favorite color? List three qualities of the color. Consider that these qualities apply to your work."
Those sounds more like play than pain. And those are just a few of her ideas! Next time you are sending something off to a show, pull out Molly Gordon's Writing Your Artist’s Statement and reflect.
Bearing Beads - a web site dedicated to creating unique beads and transfer art has a series of technique sheets, including this "Gin Transfer to Polymer Clay." (pdf format) Well, who'd have guessed? It uses plain old gin. In fact, she claims that the cheaper gin is the better gin for these purposes. What is fascinating is the possibilities for creating raised imagery in quilts. More inspiration is available in her gallery pages. She has tiny embellished altars, images transferred to metal for jewelry or to leather for books. Pretty amazing stuff. She also sells the goods to do all this (but not the gin.)
image from Bearing Beads
A History of the Art Quilt
Excerpted from the book, The Art Quilt, this history covers the discovery of the quilt in the 1960s as a form of art and self expression through the late 1990s and the establishment of quilt art shows. Best of all is that there are hyperlinks to all of the major figures and several important shows involved in the rebirth of this traditional art form. This history is a good refresher of the movement's roots, but also the links are invaluable for tracing the growth and understanding where the art quilt movement is today.
Writing about the Quilts '76 show in Boston, Jane Holtz Kay in the alternative Real Paper noted, "[The show is] a real mixed bag--there are single creators and communal ones, designs that are syrupy coy and some as stunning as any of the abstractions of the hour. Quiltmaking is not simply design in fabric, but a new art form; the needle is no quick substitute for the brush and the quilt for all its charms no facile switch from the canvas. With all the drama and decorative strength here, then, there are perhaps only a dozen quilts that connect in quite the right way or linger in the mind long enough to define themselves as a fusion of fine art and fine craftsmanship. But that is probably enough for now. There is a takeoff if not a soaring here."
Often the discussion erupts of how long quilting has been around and what it was used for. The assumption is that quilting was born of necessity; that it grew out of patching, mending and utilizing small scraps of leftovers. This may very well be the beginnings of quilting. What is known however is the presence of quilts that were fine enough to be interred with a significant figure (royalty?) and have come to us, preserved in the burial artifacts.
The first one, 5,500 years ago: "35th century BC An ivory carving, found in Temple of Osiris at Abydos in 1903 and currently in the collection of the British Museum, features the king of the Egyptian First Dynasty wearing a mantle/cloak that appears to be quilted."
Monday, July 7, 2003
San Francisco - A federal appeals court today changed course in a closely watched case on the legality of linking on the World Wide Web, issuing a revised ruling siding with search engine Ditto.com against photographer Leslie Kelly. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) had filed a brief urging the court to permit Web linking to copyrighted images.
Whimsical painting with lots of energy, color and movement from Kansas City artist, Mike Savage. Being in a room with one of these paintings just makes me smile. The colors and textures are so rich and almost seem to be dancing; a happy dance - some sort of spirited free form polka, maybe.
image by Mike Savage
I'm always looking for little crafts; things that can be done easily and add some color and festivity to the year. These seem perfect. I think that I could even get my in-laws involved (and they like to think of themselves as totally non-artistic.)
4 strips of ribbons or paper
length is proportional to width 20:1
(1" wide ribbon = 20" long)
Another variation is depicted on the web at the Danish Patriotic Star site. That site give phtotgraphs of the process and of the finished star.
image by Nagle Design
An article from Crafts Report that documents both the technique and the business skills of a graphic designer turned book artist. Much of her work is inspired by dancers. The books reflect this obsession. One book has a line of dancers moving down an abstract hill, creating an entire neighborhood dancing.
image by Alice Simpson
This is a page of directions on how to make yoyos for quilting - colorful little circles of color. When sewn on, yoyos can be abstract circles of color, or flowers or even joined together to make an entire quilt top.
The Alaska State Museum has a pdf sheet on how to make yoyos and a terrific picture of a vintage yoyo quilt.
Crazy Quilt Magazine has an article on how to make yoyo flowers using sheer material.
The point of this exercise is to work creatively against time (and thereby defeating the self-criticizing syndrome that makes a blank white page seems to endless.)
The queen writes: "Self Portrait Creativity Exercise
Feeling like you are in the artistic doldrums? Try this great exercise to spark your creativity or escape artists' block. I modified this from an actual test I took (easiest test ever!) in a mixed media design class.
stack of old magazines, old books, or a pile from your collage collection
kitchen timer "
paint, markers, colored pencils or other coloring implements.
Question: do you want to go to the site and read the full directions - or be really creative and make up your own?
Each day for a year, Luna Jaffe created 'image cards' - small quick encapsulations of that particular day. At this page, she give examples and materials, as well as describes the process: "Imagine spending ten minutes a day creating an image of some detail from your life or experience. On the table you have watercolors, pens, markers, pastels, gouache, charcoal, rubber stamps, old magazines, brushes and glue. The small 4x6” watercolor paper is taped to create a frame, and secured to the table. You sit and think over the day, reflecting on conversations, concrete details, words, and feelings. Perhaps life is moving so fast you feel like a blur on the screen, or you had lunch with your mother and she was wearing her signature red scarf. On that day your image card might be “The Red Scarf”, drawn, painted loosely or collaged onto the paper. Or, you may take 2 or 3 pastels, swipe them across the page, wipe your hand across it and name it 'Life as a Blur.'"
Thread Reference Guide - Superior Threads
What this page references is a description of the thread made by Superior, a description of the thread and recommended needle size and settings.
Typically the chart will give you information like "Use a #90/14 metallic needle. Reduce upper tension to 1. " (for their metallic thread). The best advice may come in the bottom row, where they list "water soluble thread" and advise "not recommended for swimsuits."
Scrapheap Challenge: Carol Shinn's photo-realist embroidery
Carol Shinn :: photo-realist embroidery
Carol Shinn has received international attention in the past few years for her groundbreaking photo realist embroidery techniques. Her subject matter tends to be old cars or other derelict remenants of the consumer society. Shinn begins with a photo or mulitple photos, which she then sandwiches together to form a single image. Using her sewing machine, she proceeds to create a dimensional embroidery of the image.
This 2002 article in Embroidery magazine had this to say about her technique; "In order to stitch the many layers necessary to arrive at these complex images, Shinn sets her sewing machine with the feed dogs lowered so that she is in complete control of the position of the fabric and the density of the stitches. The rich surfaces that build from the layering of numerous coloured threads cover the entire canvas base. Shinn notes this dense, all-over effect is similar to cross-hatched lines across the surface of a drawing paper. In fact, it is her love of drawing, evident in her command of proportion and detail, which first led Shinn to embroidery. The hand of an artist competent in her command of line, form and composition is certainly evident in her second chosen medium of thread and stitch."
image by Carol Shinn
Storer's paintings have been labelled as "theatrical Realism". Her subject matter is realistic, yet distorted as seen through a veil of emotion or meaning. The setting are dreamlike, with unlikely objects taking visual precedence. People float or contort or drift through the compositions. The effect is too grounded, and the subject matter too simply rendered to become surreal. The paintings are images from a dream or a recollection - indistinct and evocative at the same time.
From an article on Storer's life work: "Storer’s dream-like paintings posess a charming naïveté that belies the complexity of their production. Storer says that she is “fascinated by process,” and her work often incorporates collage elements and found objects layered atop painted images and text. "
image by Inez Storer
Tassel Making & Fiber Art Supplies - MeinkeToy! Meinketoy provides unusual and high quality fiber art supplies, including books (Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn), magazines, fibers and threads.
A regularly updated series of journals on collaborations between British and Japanese fiber artists. One collaborator is experienced; one is emerging. The journal entries are illustrated with images of materials, sketchbook pages and finshed projects.
image: Jeanette Appleton - August journal page
Art Escapes is a book of exercises to build creativity by practicing being creative. The exercises include daily journaling (with suggestion for subject matter and inspiration.) as well as larger specific exercises.
"The freedom I feel in my journals reminds me of the innocent way I entered the world of art. When I was 8, I discovered the miracle of mixing red and blue paint. The self-portrait ... shows me making finger outlines of horses in the night sky with my newly discovered purple."
Images by Dory Kanter.
Marathon Thread Color Chart for rayon threads. Scroll to the bottom of the page to see links to more pages of colors, including varigated and metallics.
KathleenField.com - Art Quilt Gallery
Art quilts made of collage on fabric. Current work is botanical in imagae and inspiration.
Field's statement at SAQA reads:
" From bits of photographic images, collected images, torn papers and text, I create a collage. I borrow icons and words from throughout the ages to illustrate my concept. Creating the physical layering of the elements in this medium brings upon emotional, spiritual and mythical layers as well.
By enlarging and manipulating my assembled construction, I print it to fabric. After the printing, the images are once again arranged and rearranged. This sometimes-final work is then stitched to produce a quilted union of color and composition."
j a n e f e s t From artist, Jane Wynn, a workshop on creating a shrine. Her advice on selecting the "object of devotion:"
In the next several months before our class begins, be searching for an object of devotion. The object that you will search for can be anything that holds a special meaning to you. It can be historic, like you’re first baby shoe, your child’s first tooth, a photograph, or a romantic love letter. It can also be an object that has visual appeal, like a vintage key, a little figurine, or a seashell. Keep in mind that an object no matter how unusual or even ordinary can have a special meaning. I will help you to learn how an old doorknob, placed just right and embellished with your inner creative voice can take on a powerful meaning of transcendence! So be listening and be searching.
(Important: In this case, when searching for an object, size does matter. Since we are working in a somewhat small to medium size range of about 8 x 10 – your object should be on the small side. However, if you really wanted to use a large object, like your pet or the house where you grew up- then you might want to find a photograph or something symbolic of your object.) . She has examples and materials listed at the site.
Visit Wynn's galleries to see her paintings, prints and three dimensional collages.
Turtle Moon Studios Outsider Art, Art Quilts, Paintings, Gallery, Diary.
Art by and for the optimistic dreamer. Susan (Lucky) Shie creates paintings and quiltings that reflect her experiences and expound on the world around her. The style is eclectic, colorful and totally delightful.
Be sure to read Turtle Trax diary, an online journal that follows the process of creation.
image by Susan Shie
Public Domain and US Government image archives -
Edited from Wikipedia - 10-7-2003.
Animals and Plants, Food and Insects - all things agricultural
Agricultural Research Service Image Gallery http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/graphics/photos/index.html
USDA Photography Center - images of all sorts of agriculturally items from school lunch program to fire fighters to farm animals http://www.usda.gov/oc/photo/opclibra.htm
Photographs from the Farm Security Administration's renowned collection of the 1930s and 1940s http://www.usda.gov/oc/photo/histfeat.htm
A large archive of Audubon-esque bird prints - all text in German http://www.biologie.uni-hamburg.de/b-online/birds/regengl.htm
NOAA Photo Library - large archive of underwater images http://www.photolib.noaa.gov/nurp/index.html
Public Domain Images of Yellowstonehttp://www.nps.gov/yell/press/images/
Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress - digital map archive 1500-2002 (some maps under copyright)http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/gmdhtml/gmdhome.html
National Highway System's road maps of each state http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/hep10/nhs/
Note regarding Library of Congress images: Anything prior to 1924 is in the public domain; post-1924 images that are copyright-free will be indicated on the site.
Library of Congress 725 photographs dating from 1839 to 1864(mostly portraits) http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/daghtml/daghome.html
1,395 photographs by Carl Van Vechten between 1932 and 1964. portrait photographs of celebrities and an assortment of American landscapes; Library of Congress http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/vvhtml/vvhome.html
Portraits of famous people; Library of Congress http://lcweb.loc.gov/rr/print/235_alph.html
Portraits of historical figures from the Perry-Castañeda Library, University of Texas at Austin http://www.lib.utexas.edu/photodraw/portraits/index.html
Space and spaceflight
Great Images in NASA library of images. GRIN is a collection of over a thousand images of significant historical interest scanned at high-resolution in several sizes.
NASA image gallery http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/imagegallery/index.html
NASA Space Shuttle Earth Observations Photography database of over 400,000 images is a national treasure. (Looking down at teh earth from space) http://earth.jsc.nasa.gov/
Collection of public domain photos organized by category. Great images- not all are public domain http://geekphilosopher.com/MainPage/photos.htm