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Monday, May 23, 2011

2-D, 3-D and WHEEE!

Cellular Junction, 2009 17" x 8"
 One of my goals this year has been to exhibit more of my work.  So far, I have had pieces in four shows, the most recent being the Piqua Arts Council (Piqua, OH) show.  I entered three pieces and was a little puzzled when I submitted them.  I entered the piece at left as a three-dimensional piece as it stands out about three inches and has definite dimension. 

The two other pieces, "Red Winged Blackbird" and "Standing on Sacred Ground" as 2-dimensional pieces.  While I often use dimension in my pieces, these are probably less dimensional than most of my work even though the quilting itself adds dimension and texture and the circular wood pieces certainly stand out from the background on "Blackbird." 

However, I viewed it like this.  Just as an oil painter, or an artist in acrylic uses impasto and knife work, quilters use quilting to add texture.  They are, inherently, pieces which are meant to hang on walls rather than have a sculptural quality.  In the case of "Cellular Junction" I wanted to have the sculptural quality, even though I couldn't resist adding the fringe at the bottom.


When I dropped the pieces off, I was a little surprised when I was queried as to whether they were 2-D or 3-D. I said how I thought they should be based on the intent.  They thought they were going to have to change the entry divisions, but it was just as I submitted them.
"Standing on Sacred Ground", 2010.  24" x 23" acrylic paints and cotton fabric. Machine quilted. 

Redwinged Blackbird, 2009.  17 1/2? x 14 1/4"
With "Cellular Junction" and "Red winged Blackbird" I was basically playing...something I rarely get a chance to do anymore.  "Cellular Junction" is a biology term and is sometimes known as a "Intercellular Bridge."  Here is a definition.  I was messing around with quilts based on microscopic views and the structure of a Cellular Junction intrigued me.  "Red winged Blackbird" is something I just put together for fun...Red winged blackbirds are one of my favorite harbingers of spring and their song is one which I have loved from childhood.

I was not able to go to the opening, so imagine my surprise when I picked up the pieces and discovered that I recieved a second prize in the Two-dimensional division for "Cellular Junction" and an honorable mention for :"Red Winged Blackbird!"  I entered these primarily because I had them already completed, they were for sale, and I just thought they were fun. Since it was a art show, rather than a quilt show, I really didn't expect much.



I had hoped to put another piece in the Aullwood Show this year as well as put one another show, but my crazy schedule and the up-coming festivities here as well as my illness has meant that I had to let it drop.  I will, however, finish the two pieces I intended for Aullwood soon. 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Jena Moreno on the Making of "Stitched"

Cameraman Tom Gandy shooting footage of Caryl Bryer Fallert in her home studio in Paducah, KY.
I mentioned before that I viewed the documentary "Stitched:" at the International Quilt Festival in Cincinnati.  I enjoyed the film so much, that  I purchased it to show to my guild and anyone else I could get to see it.  Even my husband watched it a couple of weeks ago!

Of course, the fact that it followed Hollis Chatelain, who is seen here in her studio in Hillsborough, North Carolina in a still from the movie (provided by Picturesmith Productions) is just the icing on the cake for me.  I really admire Hollis' work both as a quilter and for her raising our consciousness of  problems in the world.

I was curious about a few things about the movie and I contacted Jena (Jenalia) Moreno who was the mastermind behind Stitched and "interviewed" her for this blog post.

Thanks so much for sharing with us, Jena.  I'm sure that if anyone has any other questions, Jena would be happy to comment.  You can see the documentary on June 1 and 2 in Houston  at the Museum of Fine Arts, Brown Auditorium; time: ‎7:00PM Wednesday.  .  Or, you can buy it from Picturesmith Productions .http://www.stitchedfilm.com/dvd/

Randall Cook in his studio in Rochester, NY.  Jenalia Moreno did a 3-minute version of the film focuing on Randall Cook which won second place in the Aurora Picture Shows Extremely shorts film festival in 2010.

What would you like to tell us about yourself?

I'm a native Houstonian and a business reporter at the Houston Chronicle and I now write about airlines. I was the international business reporter for a few years and was based in Mexico City. My husband worked as a freelance photographer while we lived in Mexico. We traveled across most of Latin America. My passions include traveling internationally and I love culture shock.

How did you get the idea to make "Stitched?"

I got the idea to make Stitched in 2005 when I saw all of the quilters filling up the downtown Houston convention center, which I pass twice a day on my way to and from work. This happened just a few months after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit the Gulf Coast and as I a reporter I was so focused on the recovery efforts. It seemed like Houston got back to business when this massive convention came to town. I thought quilters would make a great subject of a documentary but life got in the way so we didn't work on the film for another four years.

How did you choose what quilters to follow? Did you have others?

We finally attended the festival in 2009 and we were helped by the IQA staff in identifying quilters who enter their work in the show and sometimes win and those artists who make interesting work. We interviewed about a dozen quilters to see who was good on camera and would allow us to follow them.

I'm sure it is on the credits, who were the traditional quilt guild you featured and how did you find them?

The traditional guilds were the Bayland Quilt Toppers and Sisters in Stitches. Both are in the greater Houston area. One of our volunteer producers is a quilter and doll maker and she belongs to the Bayland group. We met the other group through a quilter we considered following but she didn't want to be followed because she was busy with some other things. But she introduced us to her guild. There was another group of quilters in the Katy area who allowed us to ride in their limo with them to the quilt show in Houston.

How long did it take to film "Stitched?"

We started Stitched in October 2009 and literally got the DVDs back from the DVD company three days before our Cincinnati premiere on April 8.

What was your favorite thing about making the film?

I enjoyed meeting the quilters and learning about their art and I loved that all of them served us great food.

Your least favorite?

My least favorite was working two jobs at the same time. We had to be incredibly disciplined and worked 15-hour days from November through March.

Did you learn anything surprising (or were you surprised at something you learned ) while making the documentary?

I went into this thinking we would make this beautiful little film. Then I realized that filmmaking is not just an art, it's a business. So even though the film is done, I'm still busy with marketing, accounting, planning travel to quilt shows, applying for grants, looking for venues to screen Stitched, etc.

What are your plans for additional outlets?

We have a screening at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston on June 1 and 2 and we're hoping to get into other museums and indie cinemas.

Is this your first film?

This is my first film. We did a short, 3-minute version of Stitched starring Randall Cook.

What other projects are you thinking of next?

I would like to make a short film, maybe 20 to 30 minutes, about the international mariachi festival in Mexico. My dad was a mariachi singer.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?

I loved discovering this world of quilters who are so supportive of one another and mentor each other. They have welcomed this film with open arms but also supporting us on fundraising platforms like Kickstarter when the project was just an idea. 


Saturday, May 7, 2011

F's in the Garden

 We have gotten an inordinate amount of rain. Which brings me to the first "f" in my garden...flooding.  I haven't been able to do anything beyond the fence, that is to say in my vegetable garden, because it is all mucky.  The back yard has had to be mowed with the hand mower because the riding lawnmower is too heavy and leaves tire tracks.

The second "f" is the Fritillaria which is blooming now, but is on its way out.  It is a funny little bulb in a family which includes the Fritillaria imperialis  which blooms later with many flowerettes on a tall stalk...and it has the added benefit of not being eaten by voles or chipmunks, and the checkered fritillaria or guinea flower.  This one is a lesser known one, Fritillaria uva vulpis.  Don't ask me why I planted it...but it is sort of interesting.
 
This little lovely smells wonderful, won't get very big and has wonderful fall foliage....yellow, orange and red leaves.  It's Fothergilla gardenii, the dwarf Fothergilla.  This is one of my favorites I moved down from Connecticut.  It is about 10 years old (maybe older, I can't remember when I bought it as a baby from Bluestone Perennials, but was a long time ago). 

I'm madly trying to get the garden in order for the end of the month....Hopefully, I'll have some other fun stuff to share soon. 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Prairie Restoration Marianist Environmental Education Center Show

 Every year the Marianist Environmental Education Center has a themed, multi-media show at their Gallery St. John in Dayton, Ohio.  To acknowledge the 25th anniversary of their prairie restoration project, the theme for 2011 is "Restoration."    I thought of many things which would be great, but I wanted to highlight the intent of the show. 

In order to maintain a native prairie, fires must periodically sweep through the grasses.  Most native prairie plants are fire resistant, developed over millenia of fires started first by lightning strikes, then by man.  Failure to allow a burn means that invaisive (or non-native species) can grow and push out the natives, or that the prairie will go over to forest land.  Prairies are rich areas of marginal lands which provide homes for many species.  Here, in an unacredited shot which appeared in the Troy Daily News, a controlled burn is started at one of the several restored prairies around Troy.

In March, I went up to the Aquifer at Mt. St. John on the restored prairie at the center and took this shot.  I didn't know when they were going to do their burns, and felt that this was probably one of the more scenic areas.

I thought this might make a good project to work on when I took the class with Noriko Endo  at the International Quilt Festival in Cincinnati.  I thought that the fire and ashes would really lend themselves well to her method.


 While making it, it was sort of amusing...since I had a specific theme in mind and it isn't really a "pretty" scene like most people were working on, people would walk past mine...look and pass on...not taking any photographs or making any comments.

I'm not sure if I really got as much out of Noriko's class as I wanted...it is a very simple idea and I had pretty much figured it out.  She's a good teacher and very supportive.  It was interesting. 

Noriko uses two layers of fine tulle (illusion or net) trapping one layer, then placing more "confetti" on top and trapping it with a final layer.  She added the purple in the background. 

I felt that the two layers made the sky too dull as well as the water in the aquifer, so I cut those layers away, leaving only one layer.  I had already thread painted the branches on the Burr Oak tree on the left side, so I left the second layer in place around the twigs to give it the hazy effect that the smaller branches/twigs on a tree would leave.   I used miniature oak leaves which were originally made as confetti for the young burr oak on the right side.

As I was working on it, a woman who is leading a trip to visit Japan and Noriko stopped by and saw the Troy picture... I apologetically explained that it didn't look like much yet as I had a lot of thread painting to do on the tree, grasses and of course I had to add the smoke.  She said that silk cocoons would give me just what I needed.  I tried that, but it didn't give the look I was going for.

This, however, I think does it well.  The fiber I ended up using was soy roving. 

To lighten the sky and give it more interest, I used a "cloud" of Angelina.  I don't like the quilting in it but at present with my hands and eyesight, this is as good as it gets.  I'm going to have to get some magnifying glasses on my sewing machine...and I don't know what I'll do about my hands other than accept that they don't work well until I can get off the chemo.  Maybe I'll "unstitch" the quilting and try again when my hands are better.

As always, critiques and suggestions are always welcome.