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Archive for the ‘Fiber Arts’ Category

I have finally finished my Central Park Hoodie. It took me a year to complete this project, but considering that I work full time, have a family etc. That’s not too, bad. It was my first ever cable knit so I learned a lot. It was also my first ever sweater and my first ever hoodie. So considering all of these firsts the journey and the sweater were well worth it. I am finalizing the buttons and of course have to do the dreaded blocking. This is the part that scares me most since I could shrink and screw it up. Photos will be posted soon.

Love those cables!

Love those cables!

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The Pitti Filati opens in Florence this week.  It is a world preview of 2009-2010 fall/winter collections of yarns for the knitting industry and is an event produced by Pitti Immagine and promoted by the Centro di Firenze per la Moda Italiana.  It is something I dream of attending.  It features imaginative yarn and knitting ideas, with the theme of the sea being used.  There are wildly inventive octopi and fish hanging as part of the exhibit.  It must be magical.  

Three years ago at this time I was actually in Florence visiting the city for the first time.  It was hot and crowded, but after four days the city’s charms worked their magic and I fell in love.  The artisans are what captured me as I explored yarn shops, frame carvers, engravers using plates from the 1500s, sculptors and painters and so much more.  The neighborhood around the Pitti Palace was my favorite with many artists working in their studios with their doors open so you could wander in.  One gentleman was creating hand colored engravings from plates that dated from the renaissance, another had exquisite papier mache masks that he created and hand painted.  These were most beautiful, especially the Pinocchio mask and marionette, a common theme in Italy.  I can only imagine the color and texture and luxury of exploring the creative entries from the Pitti Filati.  Perhaps someday I will see the real thing, but for now I will have to visit the virtual site:

 http://www.pittimmagine.com/en/homef.php

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Jeanne Bjork Apron InstallationThis past week and a half was the ultimate rollercoaster.  I love the rollercoaster so I guess you could say I loved this past week.  It was the final week of my master’s work and we spent the entire week hanging the exhibition.  Saturday night was the opening.  We saw well over 300 people walk through the show.  The exhibition called, Variations, was a big hit on many levels. It is on display through Saturday May 5th and open to the public daily from 11:00-4:00 at Cardinal Stritch University, Milwaukee, WI.  Each artist featured had a very different approach to their work, making for an eclectic and varied display.  Dave Cicero, created an installation piece that was built outside the arts building.  It featured tons of newspaper, cement, sand and an Andy Goldsworthy-esque vessel/design on the inside of the structure.  People delighted in entering the space.  Dave overcame many obstacles to build the enclosure and was truly inspiring to watch work.  Laura Rehorst opened the show as you first walked in.  Her highly detailed intricate metals pieces called to mind many questions.  The works were metaphorical and made one feel there was so much more to learn about each one.  The pieces look beautiful hanging from the plexiglass mounts on the wall.  Carmen Bond provided the shock value in the show, surprising all with her fetus pie ceramic sculptures.  After talking to Carmen, and hearing her explanation for the works, they do make sense.  Her work challenged the viewer to look at things that are not pretty, but that express the life  experience of one who’s seen and done much.  Meagan Wiederhoeft’s colorful designs evoke the world of graphic communications, calling to mind the barage of imagery each of us is exposed to daily.  Her works were experimental, utilizing digital printing techniques on gel medium along with paint, collage and digital imaging.  The works vibrate on the back wall of the gallery, inviting the viewer to sift through all the information.  Jodi Brezinski’s installation calls to mind the dark recesses of the dream world we all inhabit at times.  Her dream journal chronicles nightmares and the not so pleasant images that recur in what should be her peaceful hours of rest.  The many written words on the walls of the space are most poignant and revealing, while the pillow with metal sculpted face reminds us of what lurks just beyond our conscious mind.  My work was the last or first that many visited depending on how they entered the gallery space.  The apron exhibit featured an exploration of my relationship with my female family members including, grandmas, mom and aunts.  I used silk organza and alternative photographic processes to produce the ethereal imagery of the aprons.  Cyanotype and Van Dyke Brown printing created ghostly imagery that called to mind the memories of those who’ve gone before.  The brown paper aprons pay homage to the grocery store that my great aunt, grandma and their mother and grandmother ran.  The simple materials have a rawness and honesty to them.  The inclusion of real aprons from my mom’s collection was somewhat last minute, but seemed to be one of the most popular additions to the show.  The sewn apron quilt displayed installation style on an antique ironing board was also a fine addition to the space.  The exhibition and the opening were an amazing experience.  Many friends and strangers expressed interest and admiration for a job well done.  I’m so proud of the whole group.  Blood, sweat and tears aside… the show is amazing.  Photos will be added soon!

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Girasole February has flown and taken winter with it… no not really. We are mired in snow, blizzardy and fierce. The warm gentle breezes of Italia caressing the petals of the golden girasole……….that is the mental picture I keep in my head these blustery March days now as I wait for spring. The first sunny daffodil is buried deep in the frozen earth that seems like it will never thaw………oh the winter blahs. To be in Italia, glass of vino bianco, mellow warmth of olive oil on my tongue…………..dream.

It is days like these when stimulating the mind seems to soothe the restless fatigue that has set into the soul. It was a cold day when I recently visited the Woodland Pattern Book Center on Locust St. in Milwaukee. http://www.woodlandpattern.org/The Center features an independent book store with new books that are listed on many of the UWM syllabi for undergrads. The Center also hosts workshops and exhibits related to books and the art of writing and book making. The exhibit Repetition and Discipline, there through March 15th, gets at the idea of repetitive tasks and the slow meticulous (almost obsessive) work of beading. The life long artist, Anne Kingsbury, has been the Executive Director of Woodland Pattern Book Center since 1970. She has created journals since the 1970’s in list format detailing daily endeavors. Most are ordinary and the lists are not so much about getting the tasks completed, but rather the repetitive act of doing and the repetion of our lives. Anne KingsburyIt was an eye-opening exhibit not only in concept but also in the techniques. The most fascinating pieces to me were those which combined embroidered, beaded leather with small clay objects sewn into the wall hangings. The level of detail and the way of using clay (dreaded material in my eyes!) intrigued me.

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