Sunday, April 19, 2009

Fiber Artist Elsa Sreenivasam

I met Elsa last February. She was teaching a stencils and silk screens class immediately following the silk paper wall hanging class I was teaching in Green Valley. We had lunch in late February and I discovered that Elsa is an Indian textile scholar and collector. She has also taught fiber arts at the University of Kansas and Iowa State University as well as being one of the founders of the Surface Design Association. Elsa is a delight. We talked for several hours that afternoon.

She loaned me a video she and her husband photographed that documented dyeing in India and printing with intricately-cut , wooden blocks. The video was very informative. It showed how the blocks are use and also showed a master craftsman making a block using a hand driven drill.

We had lunch again last Monday. Before lunch I went to her house to see some of her collection of textiles from India and some of her extensive collection of wooden blocks. I was in heaven. It was as if I was in a textile museum. The embroidery was extraordinary and the dyeing was sumptuous. She has many examples of bandhani, a complex, tied resist dyeing technique used to create beautiful patterns on cloth. Of course, some of Elsa's work was also on display. Even though I brought my camera, I only had time to take a photo of a few of her wooden blocks.

She is leaving this week to go back for the summer to Minnesota and for an exhibition of the Indian textiles from her collection at the Textile Center in Minneapolis from May 1 - June 6, 2009. If you are in Minneapolis during this time or can easily travel there, the exhibition should not be missed. When she returns in the fall, we are planning to have some play days in the studio and I hope to have some time to photograph some of her collection.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Art Biz Salon

Yesterday, two artist friends, Kaye Guerin Yourstarshining, and Barbara Amyx, and myself had our Art Biz Salon meeting. This is a bi-weekly meeting to work through the program designed by Alyson Stanfield to develop an art marketing plan for each of us. This was our fifth meeting and we each have made progress towards this goal. Alyson Stanfield offers this program for free. However, supplementing this free material with material from her book, I'd Rather Be in the Studio, The Artist's No-Excuse Guide to Self-Promotion, has greatly improved our art biz salon.

The book has everything in it that you need to develop your own marketing plan. Nevertheless, I strongly suggest you form a salon for the camaraderie and support. Plus, it ends up being a networking and support group, which I think all artist need.

Since beginning our salon, we each have a set of measurable goals, one of us has started her own blog, my blog has been enhanced, we have updated our mailing lists, I have created note cards using a photo of a commissioned queen-sized quilt I made (photo below) and much more. The amazing thing for me is that I have discovered marketing can be fun. I am learning all sorts of things about the internet and since I have changed browsers, I am enjoying writing my blog. It is a different form of creativity for me. I am having so much fun blogging, that Ali has added The Bloggernaut to his repertoire of nicknames for me!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Painted Desert Spirits

Yesterday afternoon, I taught my Painted Desert Spirits' class at the local quilt store, Heart and Hands. This whole cloth quilt uses Shiva Paintstiks to create the spirit shapes. It is quilted and then embellished with bead work.

I always love it when my students take what they have learned and try something new. Lynn Miller told me that she was not creative. However, her work with the Shiva Paintstiks had me thinking otherwise. I love how she blended colors and how her desert spirits have an eerie, other-worldly appearance.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

New Pads on the Cacti

I am trying to get back to my walking schedule of 12 miles per week. I think it will not be difficult because spring is so beautiful in the desert. Some cacti have already bloomed and some are just getting new pads. Below are three pictures of Santa Rita Prickly Pear cacti that only grow in this area of Arizona. They are named after the Santa Rita Mountains which lie on the east end of the valley I live in. Their pads are usually a light grayed blue-green or a light grayed violet.

I was surprised when I took this close-up of the new pad. I always had thought they were the color at the base of the pad. Instead there was a vibrant array of many colors. Click on the photo for a better view.

This is a picture I took last year of a Santa Rita whose pads were all red-violet with beautiful yellow flowers.

You have just had a color lesson provided by mother nature.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Clickable Photos

Photos on my blog posted on or after March 29, 2009, are clickable. This is a blogging term which means if you click on a photo you will see an enlarged version of it. It only took me most of Sunday afternoon, part of Monday morning, and about six e-mails to Rayna Gillman to figure out how to add this feature to my blog. Rayna is an artist friend who also hosts her blog with Blogger. If it had not been for Rayna, I still would not have clickable photos. Thanks again Rayna.

Monday morning, I finally discovered that the problem was my internet browser, Internet Explorer. As soon as I downloaded the free browser, Firefox by Mozilla, the problem was solved. Now back to my artwork and teaching!!!