Artist : Sergej Jensen revisited

I shared Danish artist, Sergej Jensen's work with you back in 2011. Coincidentally, last week, Joey Piziali, yet again mentioned I check out his new work at Anton Kern Gallery in New York. Oh my.

Untitled, 2011. 102" x 82" by Sergej Jensen. Image courtesy Anton Kern Gallery
Sergej continues his investigation into canvas. Literally, I mean the canvas. It's so funny how it takes just a gesture to remind you that a stretched canvas is really a work of fiber art. New directions are still to be had in painting.

Untitled, 2011. 114 3/16" x 94 1/2" by Sergej Jensen. Image courtesy Anton Kern Gallery
Jensen's new work includes some paint but displayed in an unusual way that once again reinforces the fact that you are looking at textiles, not just a painting. He found he liked the backside of the painting because of the way the paint seeped through randomly, without his control. He celebrates the surprise result by stretching the canvas backwards onto the frame.

Bat Girl Uschi, 2011. 47 1/4" x 59 1/16" by Sergej Jensen. Image courtesy Anton Kern Gallery
He has some more painterly pieces as well and a bit of wit. I wish I knew the story behind this one. My daughter is going through a Garfield addiction, she loves this one. I'd also love to know why the dimensions given are soooo exact, down to the 16th.

Untitled, 2011. 65" x 859 1/16" by Sergej Jensen. Image courtesy Anton Kern Gallery
And there's a little video of his latest show at Anton Kern, actually a lengthy one, eight minutes long, but worth watching. This is a chance to see the scale of these pieces, they are quite large, and some of the details up close (I wish he would have paused for more than a second on some of the details). It's the closest thing to being at the opening. I wish I were there.

And after doing a little digging, I found there's a monograph available now. Uh oh, looks like I need to squeeze two more inches on my studio library shelves. That's going to be a challenge. See more of his work at Anton Kern Gallery here.


work table and a big thank you

I closed up the studio for the rest of 2012 on Friday. It feels weird to walk away from my studio for a week at a time, especially this week. I have a million projects flowing at the same time and I know that starting in January, things are going to be quite hectic. Here are a few shots of it as I walked through at the end of the week.

Planning new quilts and new pottery in 2013.

This past year has been an amazing one. So many friendships have flourished. My quilts traveled more than I did across the US. I took a giant leap of faith and jumped into a new series and a new medium. And you, readers, have been the most amazing of all. Being supportive, questioning ideas, and telling me your own stories. I love that the most about the internet. I can't believe how many wonderful friends I've made online and in person because of it. So a huge thank you to all of you.

I set up a separate sewing room this year. In the foreground is one of Doug Johnston's
imited edition bowls with a Skinny LaMinx tea towel covering my machine.

And now, next year. Yes, I love thinking ahead of the game. Do you have any big plans for next year? I'm busy this week developing long term plans. Something I do every five years or so. My problem is I have a hard time stepping away from particular series and seeing the broader picture. And then there's that pile of projects to tackle as soon as January hits.

Inspiration for the new pottery came from a list I made in 2010 when working on my Idiom series.

Writing this article for Handful of Salt about eating designer Marije Vogelzang reminded me to think beyond my comfort zone. Be sure to watch the video at the end of the article. It's worth every second. Is there an artist you look to for inspiration?

Sierra Leone floor installation underway.
Please share your goals, both short and long term, and let's help each other to keep them! I do hope you plan to push yourselves next year and really take some risks. That's what making art is all about, yes?


Artist : Tracy Potts

Recently, I received a lovely email from artist Tracy Potts. I immediately recognized her name from following her on Flikr over the years, and always loving her art. It had been awhile since I had been on Flikr so I was blown away by the images of her new work that I'd somehow missed.

Something Told Me It Was Over, 2012.
Mixed media on canvas, 94 cm x 64 cm.
Tracy was so kind to tell me my work and the blog had inspired her. By seeing other people use craft in their work, she gained the confidence to jump in and explore the medium. She clearly nails it, don't you think? Yes ...

I Want to Be Your Everything, 2012.
Mixed media on canvas, 94 cm x 64 cm.

Her work is intensely personal and highly charged. I think it's that rare ability to incorporate craft with painting that works so well here.

74 Brilliant Suggestions, 2012.
Mixed media on canvas, 94 cm x 64 cm.
And also that subtle hint, just a hint, of representational that grounds the highly charged crochet, knitting and sewing that she overlays onto canvas.

The Soft Wall, 2012.
Mixed media on canvas, 94 cm x 64 cm.
Her email couldn't have come at a better time. You know how all of us artists go through those highs and lows in our work. I was at a dull thud that week, feeling a little helpless and wishing I could do more for artists to share their work. Thinking about reaching out more: curating, writing more articles, pushing craft further into the mainstream art world.

I Am Your Exotic Bird, 2012.
Mixed media on canvas, 147 cm x 128 cm.
Well, this work truly would fit into the gallery scene and it does. She is represented by a wonderful gallery in Australia, Anita Traverso Gallery, in Melbourne. Her work inspires me and I hope it does you too.


INTERWOVEN :: make : thread : craft : art

Sometimes something happens on the internet that makes you so happy it exists. My friends Lisa Solomon and Katrina Rodabaugh will offer a textile based online class this spring called INTERWOVEN :: make : thread : craft : art.

I can think of no better teachers than Lisa and Katrina. Lisa has years of experience teaching at university and is one of the most talented stitchers I know, not to mention she has a fantastic book, Knot Thread Stitch, that is a must for anyone's craft library.

Lisa hiding
Katrina is a sewing extraordinaire with years of crafting under her belt (I mean that literally as she makes her own clothing among a million other things she creates).

Katrina in her studio
The class covers four techniques over four weeks: crochet, soft sculpture, embroidery and mini quilting. They've pretty much got you covered on all fiber related art and craft. The class is geared for novices as well as experienced crafters and artists. Each project features step by step tutorials, examples and ideas for further exploration. They will also feature interviews with professional artists who use the technique being studied (guess who's being interviewed for quilting!)

The class runs from February 4th through March 8th. There's a discount if you sign up before December 15th so head over to the INTERWOVEN website for lots more details and a wonderful video. I HIGHLY recommend it!


Work table : Land grab series

It's been too long since I wrote a work table post. I've been dividing my time between a clay studio and my main studio, so lots of things are packed up daily and moved around. I've also spent a lot of time on the computer (which I keep far away from my studio) pouring over satellite images and reading rather dry texts on land development. But I've also been sketching, so here's a peek at my work table this week.

The series is really starting to come together and I finally feel like I have some worthwhile progress to share. I have narrowed down the series to twelve countries where land grabbing is prevalent, each with a completely different story to tell. The choice of medium should be obvious: broken plates, broken food system. You've likely seen the floor installations progressing, with two down and ten more to go. The design evolves as I create them, you must make to learn. I just had an epiphany while working on Sierra Leone today. This is Brazil below.

Brazil, Land Grab Series, 2012. Broken plates 6'x 7'.
But I'm also developing a wall installation. I have no idea yet if these will go together with the floor pieces in one show, we shall see. I have always loved the weirdness of decorative plates on a wall, like this.

I never quite saw the point and always found it amusing. But, here I go, taking this idea and making it work for this series. I'm developing a series of plates that can be used but are displayed in the gallery or home as a wall hanging. The plates are in the shape of actual farmland in the countries I've chosen and are grouped exactly as they exist on land. I will provide GPS coordinates on each piece so the owner can look up the numbers and see the farm from satellite.

Plates in progress of farms in Brazil.
Each country has vastly different terrain and the crops are varied so each series of plates will look quite different. These are soy farms that will likely be handed over for cattle ranching in the near future. The way they will be glazed is an entire post alone, which I'll share with you in January.

Plates in progress of farms in Brazil.
What I love about these pieces is they are similar to the foreclosure quilts. Different subject matter but same translation of maps onto utilitarian objects. And, so far, I seem to be having a similar response from everyone about the series. People relate to the story. It seems to touch everyone, not just art lovers and gallery goers. I just read a great quote from eating designer, Marije Vogelzang, "Every day that you eat, you are deciding what the world looks like." And you do. Look down at the food you eat during your next meal. Do you know where it came from?


Upcoming Show : Selections by Naomi Beckwith at Pro Arts Gallery

This is coming up fast so for those of you in the Bay Area, I hope you can squeeze it into your already crazy holiday calendar! My Riverside Foreclosure Quilt was chosen to be in Selections by Naomi Beckwith at Pro Arts Gallery in Oakland, CA.

It is such an honor to have my work chosen by Ms. Beckwith, Curator at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. As soon as I know the other artists chosen, I'll update this post with links to their websites.

Riverside Foreclosure Quilt, 2012. 34" x 46"

The exhibition opens this Friday, December 7th with an Artists' Reception from 6-8 pm.  I will be there! The exhibit runs through January 11th. There will be an Artists' Talk on Friday, January 4th at 6:30 which I plan on attending as well. For more information on Pro Arts Gallery and the exhibit, see their website. They should be updating it with more info in the next few days so stay tuned. I hope to see some of you at the opening this Friday!


100 Acts of Sewing by Sonya Philip

I've got a new article up over at Handful of Salt on Sonya Philip's 100 Acts of Sewing. She set out to sew 100 dresses in the span of one year. Hop over to read the reason why. It's a good one.

Dresses 75 and 91 by Sonya Philip.
I was able to meet Sonya and see the dresses in person last Friday. We had a lot in common, especially the fundamental inspiration behind our artwork. Her art addresses the crazy consumption trap we've all fallen into, although hers is around clothing and mine is around food. And those dresses were stunning. All of them beautifully crafted with care and feeling.

Dress 80 by Sonya Philip.
The best part about the meeting was talking about what's next, how does one transition to the next series? I walked away inspired in my own work as well as eager to sew more of my own clothes. Check out the article here and see Sonya's dresses here. And don't forget to check out her website showing her other artwork.


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