2008 in review

Just to review, I said I'd do the following things in 2008.

Art commitments:

  • media of the moment – an extended set of experiments with a
    particular media going for at least a month, possibly six weeks, and
    consisting of the daily thing and the weekly thing
  • daily thing – daily sample of the media of the moment
  • weekly thing – using the samples or new knowledge of the media of the moment, make a 5×7” work

The Media of the Moment didn't make it past the transfer paints and other transfer stuff. I let them lapse at the end of February because I don't like the feel of the man-made fabrics I had to use, and I was missing the cottons and the ability to paint and dye things.  The daily thing and the weekly thing failed at about the same time. I think for a daily thing it has to be completable – the giant advantage of the postcards is that each was an object, and when it was done, I was done for the day. I can rethink that for 2009.

  • monthly thing – SharonB's Take it Further Challenge  (TIF) – work off the colors every time, try to get to the theme as well

Pretty good success, I managed to finish all but one month, and I did one out of order and with no object to show for it (my workroom which was most of September and she wanted to hear about in October). Plus I got 10 interesting pieces from the year that are bigger than I have been making, and will go into a gallery show this coming year (more on that later).

  • trees/leaves – finish 5 of 10 leaves each series (a project I have been idly thinking about for a year) for gingko, birch, dogwood, maple, oak

oops. Not yet.

  • start the first of the weeds series on 12×12" backgrounds

yes, started one and have backgrounds for two more, and I am liking them a lot.

Personal stuff:

  • call your mother – do better
  • ride a horse – doing much better – three to ride steadily, a teacher, and the potential for competing with one in the spring
  • laugh with a friend – better
  • go to a gallery/museum – yes! almost monthly
  • ride your bike with your family – yes! two tandem rides totally rock!

In the unexpected successes department, I have some.

  1. First, I never really expected to get the work room emptied, wallpaper stripped, walls repainted, and new and usable furniture in and refilled. I still have some stuff in our bedroom that has to go back in, but the longer it remains in my bedroom, the less I think I need it in the workroom. More things into the cellar, and from there, probably on to the next owners. 
  2. I managed a sales milestone. I took my work to a craft show, which was interesting and I learned some things, like make sure there will be people going to the craft show so there will be someone to buy the stuff you bring. 
  3. I started an Etsy store, but I have to put things in it. 
  4. I applied to the gallery at the local library and I was invited to show my stuff. I do not have dates, but when I do I will tell Everyone, and there will an opening, with cheese and crackers and wine and beer. You MUST come.



Originally uploaded by Dancing Crow.

I caught sight of a poster advertising a movie about Andy Goldsworthy's work, (Rivers and Tides) and it has this amazing sinuous rivery looking line through white white sand on a black background. The sand is bunched up in the corners, and looser away from the line. I was gobsmacked, and came home to make it.

This is a test piece, 5×7" – the final will be closer to 12×24"

Week 16 monochrome riverscape

Week 16 monochrome riverscape
Originally uploaded by Dancing Crow.

I was thinking that I’d try the underlying structure of the river with just texture, and then paint over it. But I rather like it plain white as well.

Last Sunday I went to see the Yarn Harlot, along with 999 other knitters including my old friend Mary Hulser and her friend with a new blog Michelle. We laughed for an hour straight. We filled the Calvin theater. We totally rocked the joint.

At one point, she was commenting on how people found time to knit. We know, of course, that we knit in the interstices of everything else. There are times when we sit and knit, instead of other things, there are times when we knit and watch TV. We knit waiting for things, and thinking about other things, and talking to people…

Two days later I caught up with one of my favorite blogs, and she mentioned Gin, Television and Social Surplus. In that piece, a writer and social commentator was speaking with a TV producer about what people do in their extra time. The TV producer asked where people found the time to do – anything – and the writer snapped that TV people couldn’t legitimately ask that question because they have been pushing TV for the last 50 years as the answer. There was a very interesting calculation of the TV hours equivalent in Wikipedia. And that, I thought in triumph, is where I find time to make things, and knit, and read. Time that is not spent watching TV or thinking about what I should be consuming.

That push to consume is the reason I seem to be reading all my magazines as blah blah blah too – I can’t read past the ads to see what the articles might be telling me, and what they seem to tell me is to buy (more) stuff. So I donated them. And don’t even get me started on mainstream women’s magazines. They make you nervous and make you feel awful about yourself and then sell you all the answers courtesy of the advertisers. I am understanding more and more why advertising-free is so important to magazines intent on having only the message heard, like the Caris Publishing ones that come to us for the kids, or Ms. Magazine.

I digress.

Week 15 riverscape

Week 15 riverscape
Originally uploaded by Dancing Crow.

For the TIF challenge I am working on a riverscape. I wanted to test some ideas, and got off on a different tangent for this piece. I like the curvy feelings, and the back and forth bits along the edges that echo the fields, but the river does not show up as strongly as I was thinking when I was working on.

The girls and I went to Washington DC in the early part of this week. We took the train down, and walked all over everything. We spent most of our time at the Air and Space Museum, with short detours to see the Calder in the East Wing Art Museum (plus an Andy Goldsworthy) and into and out of the Natural History Museum briefly.

Alice correctly pointed out that the drawback to staying within walking distance to everything is that you walk, everywhere. There is no sitting happily on the Metro being whisked to or from anywhere. Our feet hurt, and we were pleased for the chance to sit quietly on the train all the way home. Except that Alice trotted from one end to the other of the train appreciating that she didn’t have a seatbelt. And that she did have a bathroom. Today was laundry day. What is it about travel that requires such a lot of re-entry effort?

Week 14 nesting

Week 14 nesting
Originally uploaded by Dancing Crow.

I was thinking originally about eggs for easter, but I got so captivated making the nest i stopped at the end. It is too cold still for eggs anyhow. Well, actually, for the last couple days it has felt like summer; warm and smooth and sunny and blue skied.

I’m taking the girls to DC tomorrow, we’ll be there two nights, three if a room opens up in the hotel while we are there. We’re going to the Air and Space Museum, and back to the Air and Space Museum (again) and maybe to the new Native American Museum and maybe the Natural History Museum (we are science geeks, after all). Maybe the zoo to say hi to the Pandas too.

Week 13 dogwood redux

Week 13 dogwood redux
Originally uploaded by Dancing Crow.

I still have two more up my sleeve, or lurking somewhere in limbo between my ears, my sewing machine and my camera.

The pieces from the Dogwood TIF challenge piece were underfoot, so I layered some of the left over parts until I got something interesting, and held it together with a lot of thread. The top center two blocks have printed film overlaid, one with stitching over, one with stitching under. Other blocks are printed on cotton or silk.

I like the more unified look for this piece. It argues for a reinterpretation of the TIF piece, except I am done with that one.

Week 11 artichokes 2

Week 11 artichokes 2
Originally uploaded by Dancing Crow.

More of the artichokes. I tried to print with glue and foil over it, but I think I used the wrong glue – the print was tolerable but the foil didn’t adhere to it properly and it came out kind of patchy. I like the roughness of it, and I tried to emphasize that with the stitching. The center is a layer of printed silk chiffon over a green silk dupioni , both with the artichoke printed on them in contrasting colors.

Aerin’s birthday was today. We had the party over the weekend, and carpeted the floor with mattresses and sleeping girls. One parent came at 10:00 to retrieve a daughter to be told they had not woken up yet. We fed them waffles with stuff, and they dispersed by noon.

My mother and brother came out for a quick visit. A lot of driving for them for a short visit with us. Like most visits with Mattie, we ate well.

Clara’s European Tour

Week 9 pink rhino with baby
Originally uploaded by Dancing Crow.

Or How the Rhinoceros made a Triumphal Return to Europe at the Dawn of the Age of Enlightenment. After reading a book on Oudry’s nature paintings I found out that his life size (!) portrait of a rhino was a portrait of Clara who (I have been educated) was famous and toured Europe from 1741 – 1758. The Getty Museum sponsored the show that brought the Oudry rhino to the States and restored it. The pictures of all the rhino shaped tchotckes that accompanied Clara on her tour, including rhino figures, rhino pictures, and a chiming rhino clock (I liked that one) made me very happy. I can see making a Clara On Tour T-shirt…

I realized a Google search of pink rhinos got a lovely image of a statue in an Yves St. Laurent window in NYC, as well as a previous postcard of mine. I am proud to be in good company.