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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Aullwood 2011: Melody Randol, Marla Morris-Kennedy and Liese Bronfenbrenner

Nothing like struggling with Blogger's photo uploads to keep you from blogging for a couple of days.   Tomorrow marks the end of the 2011 Aullwood show in the flesh.  I'm going to have to go over one more time and take a look at this piece.

Melody Randol, "Birding in the Everglades", 51" x 54"  $3,200.00
Melody Randol has once again managed to take my breathe away with her intricate, layered work.  You are drawn to this piece to look more closely and try to figure out how she achieved the richness of texture and color.  Melody is from Loveland, Colorado and her training as a biologist often comes out in nature themed work.  Melody wrote this about "Birding in the Everglades":  "Water is everywhere in the Everglades and untold numbers of birds find it irresistible. Fowl, foliage, water, and light entwine to form a rich scene. 
I paint with small bits of fabric --fabric I have created using dyes, paints, inks and discharge agents.  I use thread as one might use a brush, melding the bits of cloth and adding another layer of interest.  Using cloth and thread, I strive to captures the myriad of colors and reflections which are everpresent in the Everglades."

Melody Randol, "Birding in the Everglades" detail.

Marla Morris-Kennedy, "Dawn on Bird Island."  42" x 38"  $850.00
This detail doesn't really show how she does it...but that doesn't matter.  Two of my art quilting friends and I studied this closely in the flesh and we still weren't really sure where one technique stopped and the other began.  From a distance, it is a rich image --a painterly piece rendered in fabric.  Up close, it is texturally rich as well.

You can see her other work and learn more about Melody by going to her website:

This last week, I have been taking an online class with Pamela Allen.  Pamela's work is exuberant and often primitive...or childlike in its blocked pieces...I guess more like Picasso than anything else.  Marla Morris-Kennedy's piece reminds me of her work in the rendition of the pelicans.  It's easy to say "Oh, I could do that."  Its another thing to actually be able to do it.  I suppose it is because both Pamela and Marla work spontaneously, not making drawings, but just cutting the fabric and going.

Marla was inspired to do this piece when viewing Bird Island in the Florida Keys.  Sitting in a boat and looking toward the island with binoculars.  "Many varieties of water birds nest on the island, including several kinds of pelicans.  I love the flight patterns of pelicans and how majestic they appear against the sky and water.  This quilt personifies the beauty of these birds in their natural environment."

I love how she's outlined these birds. Marla envisioned them as outlined against the sky at dawn, so that you don't see their real colors.  ..

Marla shared with me her artist statement:  "I have entered the art world by way of the back door. I have 25+ years experience as a physical therapist and currently own and manage two commercial real estate properties. Throughout my professional life, my love of fabric, color, visual texture, and design has remained an important part of my life.

I like to work spontaneously, generally without a predetermined design or pattern. This allows a
piece of fiber art to grow from “my gut” rather than from a mathematical sketch. I love to put together
seemingly disparate elements into a cohesive piece that is enhanced with the excitement of beads and
decorative threads.

Many of my art quilts have a more cerebral basis, growing from an emotional response to an event
or based upon the written word. I have been doing a lot of photography over the past three years of a
variety of natural and man-made objects. I use these photographs as inspiration for many of my designs.

The tactile nature of fabric draws me to interesting compositions that juxtapose a variety of textures. No matter what the basis of the art piece may be, I am continuously working to keep the process fresh and stimulating to me as an artist by reinventing myself and the methods I use in construction.
Marla lives in Mequon, Wisconsin.

Marla Morris-Kennedy, "Dawn on Bird Island" detail.
Liese Bronfenbrenner (Ithaca, New York)  is another artist returning to Aullwood.  I discussed her piece "Heron" which was in the 2009 show here.  Liese exhibits a lot and often uses driftwood and other unusual bits in her pieces.  She also does dolls....  Here's her description of her piece:  "The small wall quilt, Forest Spring, combines two fabric dying techniques, both usually resulting in unexpected designs.  The green background and the plant shapes were made from sun-prints on silk, the blue and white spring water designs were made with Suminagachi marbling, also on silk.  The piece was finished with embroidery and machine quilting.

I draw from a variety of sources for inspiration, including folk tales, legends, nature and places I have visited as well as current events and issues." 

Suminagashi (or Suminagachi) marbling is a an ancient method of Asian marbling.  Thought to have originated in China over 2,000 years ago, it was practiced by Japanese Shinto priests .  The term means "floating ink."  Originally, Sumi-e inks were dropped carefully on a container of still water and then carefully blown into swirling shapes.  The inks were then picked up by papers gently places on the surface of the water.  Usually today artists use acrylic inks to float on top of the water.
Liese Bronfenbrenner, "Forest Spring"  10" x 13.25"  $175.00

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