work table : open

It's back to work in the studio this week. I've noticed around this time of year after reflecting on my work during open studios that I start looking for new ideas. I do this by remaining open to whatever I see and hear around me. In the midst of sewing the batting for a headboard for our bed I thought I'd throw on some of my foreclosure clippings that were sitting nearby.

The other day I asked my daughter to bring me something to read. I have a pile of unread books piled up by my bed and she brought me one that I started but put aside for some reason. Begin Again: A Biography of John Cage. This book certainly opens one's eyes to new ways of inspiration. Here's one of Cage's pieces for prepared piano.

I've had several ideas for a new series to work on concurrently with my foreclosure series. Bigger, more aggresive pieces and perhaps larger in scope. I'm not sure yet which one I'll go with but I spent some time playing around with ideas, making tools to experiment with the ideas. You have to start somewhere and I guess those nails Cage used in his experiments got me thinking about making a new loom.

And then after making my daughter's halloween costume (a shiny knit full body leotard I might add), I noticed the way the cut pattern pieces piled up with XL and L.

And that got me thinking about paper and mapping, which lead me to pull this book off the shelf.

I've heard others out in blogland saying they're inspired too these days for various reasons. You too?


Artist : Gabriel Russo

Last week you might have seen my article on Boro over at Handful of Salt. Well, there was one video that just didn't want to cooperate with the website. So, I'll share it with you here. This is bay area clothing designer, Gabriel Russo, and his work is also boro inspired.

He certainly looks like someone fun to work with. Notice the obligatory boro remnant hanging on his wall. It's a beautiful piece, and elements of it are reflected in his work. Oftentimes, as seen below, he repurposes the old boros and kimonos for his clothing. Normally, I would cringe at that comment but the way he reutilizes them ties into their very purpose, to be mended and reused.

Jacket by Gabriel Russo

He also is an avid indigo dyer as he writes on his blog. The ghost pocket was created by removing the pocket after an indigo dye dip . I just finished a five week green indigo dyeing class with Barbara Shapiro so I was immediately smitten.

Jacket detail by Gabriel Russo
More amazing pockets and remnant boro details. 

Jacket detail by Gabriel Russo

With some creative stitching, not enough to overwhelm a jacket. I wonder if he makes clothing for women?

Jacket detail by Gabriel Russo

Check out Gabriel's blog where he also shares some great stories about his life in the rag trade in Brooklyn. There is a great, in-depth review here. Gabriel is also a member of the World Shibori Network which features some of his wares.


Studio views

I'm going to apologize in advance for what I'm about to share with you. I think I know you pretty well by now. Just be warned you're about to spend a long time at the computer thanks to this review. In the Make offers amazing sneak peeks into artists studios and with incredible interviews to read while you gawk.

Linda Geary. Photo by Klea McKenna
Currently San Francisco bay area focused, the site was created by photographer Klea McKenna and writer Nikki Grattan. I love that I can learn about artists that are so close by. The in-depth interviews by Gratton hone in on an artist's daily practice and are insightful and observant.

Ido Yoshimoto. Photo by Klea McKenna
McKenna is the one behind all those wonderful photographs on the site. Close-ups and overalls give you a good sense of the studio space and capture how each artist works.

Jill Sylvia. Photo by Klea McKenna
As you can see from above, some studios are neat as a pin while others are barely held together. And seeing the artwork that goes with the studio space is rather enlightening.

Imen Yeh. Photo by Klea McKenna
And there's always at least one photo in each interview that captures the artist's personality. I love the one above. Haven't we all not taken on this posture at some point? There are links to the artist's websites as well after each interview if you want to keep surfing forever. In the Make. Don't say I didn't warn you!


San Francisco Open Studios

Thanks to everyone who stopped by for open studios this past weekend. Ruth Freeman and I shared a space with product designer EJ Tanu. Ruth has some great pictures of the weekend on her blog. The building was tagged over the weekend adding to the creative vibe going on inside. Here's EJ posing with the zombie and his awesome signage for the opening.

EJ Tanu by Ruth Freeman
It was wonderful to meet some of you in person as well as hang out with two other talented artists and 'talk shop' for two days. Much of the talk around my work was very political, of course. And just down the street, the Wall Street protests were happening at the same time.

Modesto Foreclosure Quilt, 2011.
It was incredible to watch peoples reaction to my work once they read the titles. Everyone was excited to share their own views on the issues at large. I had some great, charged conversations. Several people stayed for over an hour talking about politics with us. And the feedback was so helpful. Thank you for your support.


Handful of Salt

Be sure to check out the Handful of Salt site for my latest article, Inspired : Boro.

Asa Boro from Sri Threads
I've been following the website since the beginning and am thrilled to be a part of the Handful of Salt team. It's the only in depth website in the United States I've discovered that recognizes contemporary craft in the US and abroad. I'll warn you, you can easily lose hours digging through all the amazing in-depth interviews. Have fun!


San Francisco Open Studio this weekend

I'll have my 'temporary' studio open this weekend in San Francisco for those of you who are near! I'm setting up shop in my friend and fellow artist, Ruth Freeman's space at Clara Street Studios in SOMA. The address is 185 Clara Street at 5th. Studio 102B.

Here is a little glimpse of Ruth's amazing paintings.

I'll have four of my foreclosure pieces on display. Here are almost all of them in a little collage to refresh your memory.

I will also have all of my Idiom series which I completed last year. Remember these?

It should be a fun weekend. I hope to have another piece started so you can see me at work. That's the hope at least. We will certainly have some nice wine and food to go around and would love to hang out with you.


Artist : Josh Faught

I keep coming back to the work of Josh Faught for inspiration. His work simply astounds me. It's complicated, messy, honest, real and pure emotion.

Triage, 2009 Josh Faught. hemp, nail polish, spray paint, indigo,
logwood, toilet paper, greeting cards, pins, books, plaster, yarn,
handmade wooden sign, denim and gloves. 80" x 120"
 I was first drawn to his techniques he uses in his work. They all look so labor intensive: indigo dyeing, crocheting, knitting, assembling among other techniques. And the materials, just look at what goes into his pieces. They make a statement in themselves.
How to Beat the High Cost of Living, 2009. Josh Faught. Handwoven cotton,
nail polish, toilet paper, silk flowers, indigo, sequins, and ink. 92" x 72".
 But then I paused to read the reviews about his work and it all came together even more.

Untitled, Josh Faught.
And talk about politics, he's got it in spades. He's not afraid to make a statement, reveal his fears and his anxieties as well as his confidence. His work takes risks. We need more of this!

Untitled, 2008. Josh Faught. Hemp, sequins, pin, garden trellis.

You Can't Live Scared, detail, 2007. Josh Faught. Crocheted hemp, pin, plaster,
spray paint, and super 8 film.

See more of his work at Lisa Cooley Gallery as well as read some incredible reviews on his work.


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