Foreclosure Quilt : Albuquerque, New Mexico

II hope everyone is having a nice holiday break this week! One of the things I think we are losing is the ability to relax and take a few days off every now and then. I managed to squeeze in one more foreclosure quilt before taking this week off and wrapping up a phenomenal year. There has been a sudden jump in foreclosures in the Southwest so my next few pieces will be focused on this region. This piece is of a newer neighborhood in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Albuquerque Foreclosure Quilt, 2011. 35" x 47"
This is one of my larger pieces at 35" x 47". I chose to zoom out of the neighborhood a bit  so you could see the large scale of foreclosures. You can find neighborhoods that look like this in pretty much any town in the United States these days. Clearly something is wrong but not much is being done about it.

Albuquerque Foreclosure Quilt detail, 2011. 35" x 47"
Most of the newer developments of Alburquerque are comprised of large scale arterial roads set up in a grid with smaller neighborhood streets curving around within them. Not the most pedestrian friendly way to live with those busy roads everywhere. The blue areas are either civic (schools, libraries, etc.) or unbuilt right of way (culverts, creeks, etc).

Albuquerque Foreclosure Quilt detail, 2011. 35" x 47"
All of the materials I used on this piece were scraps I had lying around in the studio. My next piece, Phoenix, is well under way and should be finished early next month. You might have seen a sneak peek in a recent post. I feel a sudden burst to make more quilts after reading all the news lately around the mortgage crisis.

Thank you Lari for pointing out this recent 60 Minutes segment on Cleveland, Ohio. One of my recent pieces was on Cleveland. Jim Rokakis has spearheaded so many projects there, he's an unsung hero in my book.


Foreclosure Quilts in New American Paintings

My work's in print! My foreclosure quilts are included in New American Paintings: Pacific Coast Issue 97.

Image courtesy of New American Paintings
As some of you know, this is a very popular national competition so it's quite a coup to have your work accepted. Only forty are chosen out of thousands of entries. I almost didn't enter since my work has predominantly fiber. But the entry details said they were looking for any medium as long as it was mostly 2D. I'm glad I went for it.
Image courtesy of New American Paintings
The funny thing is very few mixed media artists are represented which I found a bit strange. I think that actually makes my work stand out more. Alas, no pictures of my pages yet as I have to wait for foggy days to photograph.
Image courtesy of New American Paintings
Check out their blog page to see the full list of artists included. There's quite a lot of talented artists out here on the left, ahem, I mean west coast. The magazine is available in most major bookstores as well as those wonderful small, local bookstores (which is really where you should be shopping anyway!).


work table : Albuquerque and Phoenix

I don't know about you but when December hits, I go full swing in the studio. Something about nearing the year's end sets me off in a panic and I try to finish as many projects as I can before the holiday break. This is also a time of year, like most people, I reflect on what I've done over the past year.

work wall with Phoenix (left) and Albuquerque (right) in progress.
Having had a few sales of my foreclosure quilts (yeah!) means I don't have as many to pieces to enter into shows and galleries and that sets me off in a panic. What is really important to me about these quilts is to create as many as are needed and get them out into the public. This month and next, the foreclosure quilts will be featured in two magazines, Uppercase and New American Paintings. This means I need to have some new work to share with a broader audience.

Albuquerque in progress (detail).
Foreclosures are picking up in the Southwest again so I've spent this December studying New Mexico and Arizona. What I've found is shocking and doesn't take more than a few clicks on the internet to see just how severe foreclosures are there. The foreclosures are incredibly widespread in these cities. No neighborhood has been left unaffected but there are certainly focused pockets of devastation.

Phoenix in progress (detail).
I've discovered more data is being openly published about home sales throughout the US which brings to light even more foreclosures than are obvious on the maps from RealtyTrac.

Phoenix fabric study.
For example, what seems like an honest sale on the map, is really just a flip from one bank to another. Hmmm, is someone making money off of this? Of course! It's still happening and there is no regulation in sight to put a stop to it. To read the latest on the mortgage crisis, head over to my foreclosure series page and find links to the latest articles. Gretchen Morgenson has some new insights that are certainly worth reading.


Artist : Ana Hagopian

I learned of paper artist Ana Hagopian in Handmade Home which I featured last week. Two small images of her work appeared in the book but they instantly caught my eye.

necklace:tulip. Image from Ana Hagopian
Her intricate pieces can barely be called jewelry, they are much more works of art, no? 

necklace:blueberry. Image from Ana Hagopian.
The photography of her work certainly adds to their power. Dark, moody images capturing every texture of the delicate paper and reminding you that this is a designer based in Spain. Can't you just see those bold southern European women wearing her jewelry best?

necklace:snake. Image from Ana Hagopian.

She also has many light-hearted pieces, earings and rings that are so charming and delicate.

earrings:snow white. Image from Ana Hagopian.
The colors are rich and pure. I would love to know where she sources her paper and if she dyes it herself. The mix of blue and purple above is hauntingly beautiful and this coral is so intense.
necklace:coral. Image from Ana Hagopian.

Ana has her atelier in Barcelona and shows her work throughout the rest of Europe. Here's a peek of her space.

Image from Ana Hagopian.
She has many, many more pieces featured on her website (it was SO hard to choose which pieces to include here). She also has a new catalogue of her work available as a pdf here.


Noticed: Fog Linen Work on Handful of Salt

I've got another article over at the amazing Handful of Salt. I just can't get enough Fog Linen Work. Head on over and check it out.

Image courtesy of Fog Linen Work
Also, while you're there, check out the Handful of Salt holiday guide for some quality gift ideas. It's the best guide of quality craft I've seen!


work table : Albuquerque Foreclosure Quilt

Albuquerque was calling me. I kept seeing the name pop up in recent foreclosure articles. Foreclosures are up 151% there in the third quarter among other things. I came across this quick sketch I did last week. You know those sketches? When you make them you see so much more in the drawing than you see a week later?

You look back and wonder what you were thinking. This is often how I draw my initial ideas. I guess I'm a minimalist and anxious to just start making.

I like to piece things together the old fashioned way, with tape. I could do it on the computer but then I'd need a large format printer. I don't have the patience. And yes, that's my cat's tail sneaking in above.

Here was the initial idea, highlighting the large street grids you see as you fly over New Mexico and Arizona. I never understood why they laid the streets out like this. They're SO ugly and force everyone to get into a car to go anywhere. And then I realize I'm taking on way too much so I scale things back a bit, using just a portion of the overall area above.

Now it's coming together. The shaded areas are civic activities: schools, parks, right of ways. Seeing a high school sited in the middle of a foreclosed neighborhood makes me ponder what it must feel like to be a teenager these days. What do they have to look forward to? Not much it seems.

I start to dig around in my messy piles of remnants to look for fabric to use. Something dusty and drab is needed for this quilt. I find all my beiges and pile them into this bowl my mom started to make years ago. She never finished and it's nice to see the marks she made. I remember her as I work. I think she would have liked this one.

And I start piecing. Interesting, I just visualized the layout but hadn't counted up how many 12" x 12" panels there would be. What do you know? Twelve. My brain naturally likes order. I take a little break to finish off a side project.

I like to do a little traditional sewing on the side as it helps keep my sewing machine skills up to par. Now back to handsewing.

Eleven more panels to go and then I will add the other layers to the quilt. I'm really liking this one so far.


Crafting a lifestyle : Mark and Sally Bailey

I kept coming across Mark and Sally Bailey's new book Handmade Home: Living with Art and Craft. Once I was able to crack open the cover, it was clearly a must buy.

Photo by Debbie Treloar
The book is full of rich photographs and descriptions of artist's homes. Not just any artists' homes but artists that clearly live the wabi sabi aesthetic to its' fullest. It showcases those rare homes that clearly show a creative genius in action.

Photo by Debbie Treloar
But then I became curious about Mark and Sally Bailey, as their beautiful home was included in the book.

Photo by Debbie Treloar
I learned this is their third lifestlye book. They also have a store, a gallery and are in the process of building a compound called Whitecross Farm to showcase artist's works in a domestic setting. I SO wish I lived in England right now so I could see it all in person.

Do you think they really thresh wheat in that barn? There's even a stunning tearoom nestled in the grounds.

Photo by Debbie Treloar
In their own words:

We were inspired to start our gallery/home after a long anticipated visit to Kettles Yard in Cambridge. We loved the late Jim Ede's simple way of living with art and his insistence that Kettles Yard should be a place that is . . . "not an art gallery or museum, nor . . . simply a collection of works of art reflecting my taste or the taste of a given period. It is, rather, a continuing way of life from these last fifty years, in which stray objects, stone, glass, pictures, sculpture, in light and in space, have been used to make manifest the underlying stability."

Clearly this is no fine art gallery, this is a lifestyle experience. And the work they feature is stunning. Here are Ray Key's polished vessels.

Photo by Debbie Treloar
Anna Hagopian's delicate paper jewelry is showcased in such a beautiful way I'd want the whole lot including the shoes!

I need to learn more about Jim Ede, the Bailey's inspiration. Hmmm, perhaps Crafting a Lifestyle might turn into a series. We'll see what turns up that I can pass along. In the meantime, find the book here. And check out their shop and gallery online or if you're lucky, in person. And take some pictures for me!


work table : Landgrabbing series

Okay, I hate doing this, sharing the early, early stages of a new series. When you are unsure of the direction to take and not sure if any of it will work out. But, this IS my work table this week so I'll just be honest: it's SLOW going here. But, I'm just doing it, going with the flow and slowly making progress. Now you understand why I posted earlier about Agnes Martin! I spent a fair amount of time cleaning my desk this week while trying to think.

I am still making more foreclosure pieces but I feel the need to start a new series. I learned last year about landgrabbing. Countries that are buying up land throughout the world to farm their own crops for shipment back to their own countries. This is happening ALL over the world right now, right under our noses. The countries that are selling off their own land are happy, because they're making lots of money. The local landowners are not so happy about having their land taken away by thier government.

My daughter wrote 'cool' on the flags she liked.
The US is guilty in both ways. We're buying land elsewhere and we're also selling out as well. Many countries are doing this. It's not good and it's not sustainable.

Hence, a new series around this issue: Landgrabbing. At the moment, I'm taking the national flags of the countries being sold off, rendering them without color. The map of the country is cut into them revealing the flags of the landgrabbing countries. We'll see if it pans out.

Landgrabbing study: Pakistan and the UAE, 2011. Kathryn Clark
These will be quite large I think, five to six feet across. I can make many of these, which is sad. The facts are there and need to be addressed. www.farmlandgrab.org has been an amazing resource to articles being published all over the world on this issue. It's shocking. More to come soon.


Artist : Agnes Martin

Okay, I know most of you are well aware of Agnes Martin's work by now. If not, you're in for a treat. Well, if you're willing to be open.

On a Clear Day, 1964 by Anges Martin. Image courtesy of Peter Blum Gallery

Her work and philosophy seems to appeal to very few for some reason. She is on my top five list of artists who really inspire me. Her dedication to her craft was intense and persistent.

Untitled, 1962 by Anges Martin. Image courtesy of Zwirner & Wirth
When I feel I'm in a slump, I pick up my book of her writings and open it randomly for some inspiration and for a good, practical slap in the face. What you walk away with is the encouragement to just go out there and make your work.

Untitled, 1960 by Anges Martin. Image courtesy of Zwirner & Wirth
Don't worry what others think, just make what you have to, what's calling to be made. You will find your voice this way. It's so easily said, so hard to realize, and so true. Thanks, Agnes.

Detail of one of Anges Martin's paintings. Image courtesy of Spencer Alley
I do recommend the book Agnes Martin : Writings but as I write this I'm in shock by how hard it is to find this book and how expensive it is when you find it. Okay, I'll take better care of my copy now! But while you wait to track it down, here's some instant gratification. An in-depth interview with her about her own work.

See more of her paintings at Zwirner & Wirth Gallery and some of her drawings at Peter Blum Gallery.


Artist : SooJin Kang

SooJin Kang's work defies categorization. Is it conceptual art, industrial design, fashion design or perhaps all of them rolled into one nice package? I first discovered her work over on DesignSponge's "what's in your toolbox?" feature. I was hooked when I saw the photo of strips of leather splayed out on a white cloth.

SooJin Kang's work table. Photo by Ania Wawrzkowicz

 And then I went over to her website where I discovered the most amazing chair deconstruction. Functional? Maybe. Beautiful? Yes!

Knitted Stool, 2011 by SooJin Kang. Photo by Ania Wawrzkowicz
From what I can see about her various series and the photos of her workspace, we certainly have in common the sense of order and place for things.

SooJin Kang's tools and wool. Photo by Ania Wawrzkowicz

 I just like how she 'tests the waters' for new ideas and isn't afraid to make something that hovers somewhere between function and pure art, likely pissing off purists within those camps. Yes!

Knitted Chair, 2009 by SooJin Kang. Photo by Ania Wawrzkowicz
Her work was included in the Cheongju International Craft Biennale in South Korea this year. I SO wished I would have entered that show, however unlikely it would have been that my work would have been accepted. There was a really talented group of artists included.

Dressed Furniture, 2010 by SooJin Kang. Photo by Ania Wawrzkowicz

SooJin's website is here. Be sure to check out other featured DesignSponge "toolboxes" for more inspiration.


Artist : Akko Goldenbeld

I'll let the video do most of the explaining. The title is "Sound of the City" and involves a city map and a piano.

Akko is graduating this year from Design Academy Endoven in The Netherlands. Well done! I'm looking forward to seeing more. I can imagine how different cities can 'sound' from each other. You can learn a little bit about his project here.


Artist : El Anatsui

I wish I could remember how I came across El Anatsui's work last week to thank whoever shared it in blogland. I've been chomping at the bit to share his work with you this week.
Gli (Wall), 2010
Photo: Nash Baker © nashbaker.com
El Anatsui, from Ghana, now resides in Nigeria. The story behind these 'cloths' is incredible. Ten years ago, he discovered a bag full of  thousands of aluminum screw-tops from bottles of whiskey, rum and gin thrown away by a local distillery.

Gli (Wall) (detail), 2010
Photo: Nash Baker © nashbaker.com
The bag sat in his studio for a few months while he continued his work as a wood sculptor until one day he started experimenting with the tops, bending and twisting them. They slowly evolved into a giant 'fabric' that resembled kente cloth, a fabric from Ghana, his native country.

Gli (Wall), 2010
Photo: Nash Baker © nashbaker.com
The material used is loaded with meaning from mass consumerism, re-use and questions why there are so many of these used screw-tops in the first place.

Gli (Wall), 2010
Photo: Nash Baker © nashbaker.com
To create something so beautiful and powerful out of something so mundane and ordinary is no small feat. Here he speaks in his own words about the pieces and you have the chance to see the work as it moves, amazing.

El Anatsui certainly has a gift. His work is in a traveling inagural exhibition with the Museum of African Art in New York City. Until the museum opens in 2012, this exhibit is on tour throughout the US. It recently opened at the University of Texas at Austin and will travel to North Carolina, Denver and Michigan before settling at the MAA. Read more info about the exhibition here.


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?


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