Sunday, November 14, 2010

Day of the Dead

Puppet from 2010 El Dia de los Muertos parade in Petaluma

I've been totally remiss about reporting on my experiences with the "Day of the Dead" or "El Dia de Los Muertos" events in which I participated. I am a member of the Petaluma Art Center. I have participated from the sidelines for several years now. A couple of years ago, Nancy McDermott invited me to a DOD event at the Art Center. I became intrigued with the idea and started my research.

Local couple dressed for parade

I volunteered on several occasions, selling decorated T-Shirts to the guests. I have attended the events for the last few years, so I knew what to expect when viewing the ornate altars, decorated by loved ones. That didn't stop me from getting lumps in my throat and tears in my eyes as I viewed the messages to their loved ones. I think these tributes are amazing to honor those we love who have gone before us.

Ornately decorated gentleman who participated in the parade.

I first volunteered at a poetry reading at the Petaluma Art Center. As we set up chairs, no one was sure how many would attend. Who wants to go to a Poetry reading on a Friday night? Well, the event was very well attended, and because my job was to sell T-shirts, I was seated away from the poets. But I could get an idea of their thoughts. Some used comedy in their poems, some were straight forward. Some were heart-wrenching, the poet barely being able to speak their work. I was enthralled, not only by the poems, but by the audience response. They urged the poets on and were generous in their appreciation. A pot luck followed the readings and I was introduced to Pozole and a Mexican chicken stew with some of the most flavorful chilis (from Santa Fe). They were so good I searched the internet to replicate them. Yummy!

Artwork by a local painter.

I also volunteered for the main celebration, which included a procession from downtown Petaluma to the Art Center. Over 1,000 people participated. Mariachi bands, Ballet Folklorico, Aztec Indian dancers and just regular folks, some carrying large puppets, some gloriously costumed carrying lighted candles made their way up the Boulevard and down Washington Street to the center where they enjoyed dance demonstrations by the Aztec dancers and several
Mexican dance groups. I enjoyed seeing so many Petaluma families with children who joined in the festivities. Food vendors cooked up enchiladas, tamales, churros, corn on the cob and many other delicasies. Some artists also staffed booths showing their wares.

A food vendor who made up for the night.

I also participated in the take-down of the exhibit at the Center. Families with little children attended, removing the offerings on their alters. Organizers also provided food, including homemade enchiladas, Albondiga (meatball) soup (yummy), shrimp, fabulous rice and even brownies. Sangria was lusciously laden with lots of fruit. and I had my first mojita(sp?) Amazing. And it will be my special drink for the summer get-togethers as it is so refreshing.

So I encourage you to learn about the celebrations surrounding the event. I believe Petaluma has the largest but I noticed Sonoma and Santa Rosa were also commemorating the event.

This may not seem art-related, but I was so inspired by the images, who knows what may be represented in my future work.

Comments are always appreciated. Thanks.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Studui Art Quilt Association info

Christmas is coming, and we're all a' planning, but that's not today's issue.

Just a quick note about SAQA. Studio Art Quilt Association is an international organization of like-minded artists involved in promoting Art Quilts, Fiber Art, Textile Art. Whatever you call it as long as stitching and layering is involved. The organization is currently surveying members to re-define the art quilt definition.
I'm fortunate to belong to the Northern California region. Today's meeting was a wonderful retrospective of SAQA's "12 Voices" led by former SAQA president Judith Content. It is currently on exhibit at the Pence Gallery in Davis and is definitely worth a trip. Works by Judith Content, Linda Colsh, Elizabeth Busch, Clare Pflug, Kathy Weaver and others are displayed.
We've participated in a "Whisper Challenge" which our regional reps got published in "Quilting Arts" magazine. We critiqued part of SAQA's Trunk Show which culminated in a SAQA Journal article. We have consistent quality quarterly meetings with amazingly inspirational show and tell from our membership.
It's a great organization, and I hope you all consider joining.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Shibori discharge day

I had an interesting day yesterday as my friend Leslie and I tried discharge dying on black silk. I've discharged fabric for years, but never done silk as it is not conducive to chlorine bleach discharge. I bit the bullet several months ago and purchased Thiox from Dharma Trading Company. I waited for a clear day as I heard that Thiox has a very unpleasant smell. Understatement!! We worked in my studio with the outside door open, but the fumes were still noxious. I heartily recommend a respirator if you try this method. It also took hours to achieve these results. I have a pole-wrapped piece drying that I used with diluted Jacquard discharge paste. I'm looking forward to see the results from that.

So here is the result. I'm especially pleased with the first piece on the line. I used rubber bands wrapped around a pencil head to create the resist. I had planned on over painting them all but I love the subtle green left in the piece. Some of the other pieces were clamped and others were twisted and pole wrapped.

I made little surface design rollers with miniature rolling pins and stick-ons. I purchased the little rolling pins from a teacher's product site online. Fun stuff. More discharging tomorrow using Rit Color Remover.

I find that I am much more motivated to create when I work with someone else. More fun!

Best wishes to Sandy for a full recovery from her breast cancer surgery. And wishing Maureen and her family well for Noel's stroke rehab.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Innovations in Fiberart

Innovations in Fiberart V is being exhibited at Sebastopol Center for the Arts in Northern California through December 4. This exhibit, juried by Melissa Leventon, features many Art Quilt pieces along with other thought-provoking, unconventional and innovative fiber artworks expressed in a range of materials from copper and brass to teabags. There are many other works exhibited. I didn't get pictures of each item. If you are in the area, stop by to see the exhibit.
I don't know all of the artists who created these pieces, but I credit them if I do. Please do not copy these photos. I am sharing them for educational reasons only.

The piece to the left is by Napa Artist, Cathy Zeleny. Cathy is a member of Northern California's Pointless Sisters group and exhibits nationally. Ms Zeleny's focus in her quilts is on value change.

Hundreds of used teabags make up this twin-sized bed covering which is stitched and quilted together. There are many different brands of teabags and their colorful tags add a touch of whimsy to this piece.

SAQA member Carol Larsen created this colorful piece. Hand-dyed fabrics with many layers of surface design add texture and create movement throughout.

This piece is made with a see-through wire armature and colored threads are woven down to mimic man's shirting.

Surface Design Associate (SDA)member Joy Stocksdale hand paints silks and creates exquisite free-floating designs mounted on Acrylic armature.

This small wall-hanging features a portrait of a woman totally thread painted, including the background. Commercial fabrics border the portrait.

Hand made and commercial papers were rolled and secured to create this imaginative art work.

This piece uses screening as its base and looks to be created with painted fibers. The technique is unusual but very effective.

Hand-dyed, shibori-clamped pieced and quilted wall-hanging seems tame and almost traditional in this setting.

This dress is created with eggshells glued onto a screen base.

Who knew old books can be re-purposed to become art objects?

Two beautifully-woven pieces.

Copper wires, some round, others flattened and woven together form this dramatic piece.

This dress was made with recycled plastic bags. Oh so clever.