Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Wild Hair

Hi, it's Kristin. I have a bit of a split personality when it comes to my creativity. Sometimes I'm more crafty, particularly when the blogosphere conjures up something excruciatingly cute, or clever, or mushroom themed. Sometimes I'm a quilter. I really, really, like scrappy quilts with simple geometric shapes and feel the urge to make one every so often -- especially when my scrap bin starts overflowing.  Most of the time I consider myself an artist and have been working diligently on creating a cohesive body of work, which right now centers mainly around houses with roots and facets of military spouse-ness.

But last week I got a wild hair. An idea I thought too good to pass up, but not at all in the line of what I had been creating. I've been worrying that I have no context for this. I can't show it with my other work because it is so different. I don't know where to exhibit it, or how to properly share it with the world. I could ignore the idea, and move on, but where's the fun in that? I slept on it and was still jazzed in the morning. It's consumed me all week!


What does one do when excited about something that doesn't fit into their usual sphere? It's a quilt, and my family plans to use it on the sofa -- it's craft. It's social commentary inspired by an internet meme, and references a historical artist -- it's art. It's quirky. It's not about being an Army Wife, or the dream house I wish for. It's an artistic conundrum for me.


Now, having written this post, I see that rather than being a complete anomaly, this quilt may actually be a perfect amalgam of ALL my maker personalities -- artist, crafter, nerd. I'm still not sure what to do with it though.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Old School Tactics

Liz Kettle here with you today. 
I am The Fill in Girl for my chiropractor. I used to work as an assistant regularly but now I just fill in when one of the other assistants is on vacation. I have always had secondary jobs in the health care industry since I was a teen and helping out at the doctor’s office my mom worked at. 

At this chiropractic office we use cutting edge technology and methods for patient care but are totally old school when it comes to bookkeeping. We still use ledger cards and hand write in the expenses and payments. It is simple, it works and it helps us connect better with patients while we are recording their visit because we aren’t behind a computer monitor.

This got me thinking about the never ending search for new and different in our society and in art making. So often it seems that everyone gets excited about the technique of the week or style of the month and everything else is as boring as yesterday’s leftovers. But, we end up seeing that style or technique everywhere so it too becomes boring and dull. 

Do you remember the (thankfully short lived) period where dryer lint was all the rage in textile art?

I confess I am totally guilty of this! No, No...Not the dryer lint thing just the hopping on the band wagon bit. Sometimes I get really excited about the possibilities of a new technique that I often try adding it into my work. There were a few times that it worked well but there were many more times that I found myself trying too hard to force in a technique that really didn’t support what the artwork was about.

Forcing an element into my work would cause frustration and stagnation as nothing flowed easily. Eventually, I would remove the incredibly cool part featuring the awesome technique and the piece would come together quickly and beautifully. Has this ever happened to you?

Sometimes 'old school' is better. 

I chose a daisy photo for today's post because they are one of my favorite flowers; simple, clean, old fashioned. I think I might put a big photo of a daisy in my studio to remind me to think of simplicity when I am stuck or in the clutches of some sexy new technique. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

The multi-talented Benedicte Caneill

by, Gloria Hansen

Today I get the pleasure of introducing you to Benedicte Caneill. While she is a bit uncomfortable with the title I wrote, preferring something like "a tale of two countries," Benedicte has such an impressive variety of artistic skills that I'm sticking with my title, which happens to be an understatement.  I hope she forgives me.

Benedicte was born in Paris, raised in Toulouse, France, and has since 1981 been living in New York.  Before becoming a full- time artist, she had a career as a biology teacher in various international schools.  I met Benedicte several years back through art quilt circles and was immediately drawn both to her arresting work and her genuine warmth. It was easy to gravitate towards her each time we'd run into each other at other events, such as during a shibori dyeing class at the Newark Museum or at the celebration weekend for Quilt Visions, and I'm so glad that we've since become friends.

Benedicte Caneill in front of "Units 26: When Botany Meets Geometry"
Ms. Caneill has quite an exotic background, some of which she'll reveal to you in her 8 things list below. I'll share that in a relatively short period of time, Benedicte has managed to achieve several impressive milestones with her art quilt work, most of which I'm still trying for!  For example, in addition to having work in Quilt Visions, she also had work accepted into Quilt National, Art Quilt Elements where she won the SAQA Cream Award, and she has her work on the cover of Quilting Arts Magazine to illustrate a feature written about her!  She also had work in Craftforms. While one could color me envious, her achievements are all very well-deserved and inspiring.

A detail from "Units 26"
I am most familiar with Benedicte's textile work, almost all of which is made from cloth that she first creates.  She starts with either white or black fabric and then will use a variety of surface design techniques (such as dyeing, monoprinting, silk screening, or direct printing) to create layer upon layer of design and pattern.  From this, she will often cut apart and then stitch together the basis of her work. The layers evolve as the piece develops, and can be cut apart again and again. Eventually her final layer will include machine and hand stitching.  The finale is work that pulsates with rhythm and movement, yet has texture and depth.

But art quilt making is just one of her talents. Not only does Benedicte know how to put paint and dye to cloth, but she also knows how to put pen to paper and stylus to iPad! When I received Gwen Diehn's latest book, "The Complete Decorated Journal," I was excited to see images from one of Benedicte's many art journals/sketchbooks gracing the pages.  On another blog I was perusing, I was happy to see Benedicte pictured for work she was doing in MOMA's NYC Print Studio (which concluded in 2012).  These things just scratch the surface.  Currently she has three works at the Windsor Whip Works Art Gallery in NY at a show titled, "Fabulous Fibers and Bewitching Baskets."  She also currently has work at the Blue Door Gallery in NY in a show titled, 'Show and Tell 5," where she  gave a talk.

"Units 24: Going Around in Circles"

detail from "Units 24"
"Marks in the Sand"

I just adore Benedicte. She has such grace and is a beauty, inside and out.  I am also glad that she joined 8 That Create.

Benedicte shares 8 very interesting tidbits about herself. I'm still wow'ing over number 4!

1.  I grew up in Toulouse, France, capital of the European aerospace industry and its gorgeous architecture that is a constant source of inspiration.

2.  I love music, classical, jazz, rock, and folk.  I studied the piano and I have sung all my life in choruses.  I often sing when I paint.

3.  I majored in botany in College, specialized in alpine botany and loved exploring the flora of the Pyrenees Mountains.

4.  I lived in India and studied the classical Indian dance drama called: * Kathakali*.

5.  I love animals, especially dogs.  At one point my husband and I shared our home with two parrots, two cats and three dogs.

6.  Painting is my technique of choice, direct painting, printing, moving paint on a surface can make me forget about eating!

7.  My grand-mother and mother both taught me sewing, embroidery, knitting and crochet.

8.  Walking is my form of meditation and my inspiration very often comes during my walks in nature.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Beryl Taylor's Artistry

Gloria Hansen here.

Carol introduced you to Kristin; Liz introduced you to Natalya.  I am over-the-moon happy that I have the pleasure of introducing our other two new members: Beryl Taylor and Benedicte Caneill, both of whom I consider dear friends.

Today I present Beryl Taylor.  Beryl creates amazing art.  I've followed her work for years, and was practically first in line to get her Mixed Media Explorations: Blending Fabric, Fabric and Embellishment to Create Inspired Designs back when it was published in 2006  by Quilting Arts LLC.  Not only has the book  gone on to be wildly successful, but her innovative methods of creating "fabric paper" to incorporate into her unique artwork launched an entire trend with others going on to publish their variations based on Beryl's method.
Beryl gave me this gorgeous piece as a gift Lucky moi!

I knew Beryl was from England, and that she trained at the City & Guilds textile and embroidery program, but I was floored to learn that she, her husband, and son moved several years ago to the same town as my mom in NJ, about a 15 minute drive from my home!  It wasn't long afterwards that she contacted me relating to a  web project, and I was thrilled with the opportunity to work with her.  Having been in the crewel embroidery master craftsman program through the Embroiderer's Guild of America many years ago, I was immediately captivated by her attention to detail and exquisite hand work.  Next thing we were swapping stories, sharing work, and becoming fast friends. 

Every time I visit Beryl she wows me with whatever it is she is working on.  Never fail she'll smile and say, "You won't believe what I made this from, " as she then describes some unusual concoction of what sounds like trash, such discarded book pages, tossed away lace with holes in it, tissues, the shredded lining of a jacket, napkins, torn pieces of wallpaper, molding paste, or other such things.  She'll then explain how she combined those materials with more traditional ones such as gesso, paint, beads, and thread.  She is an absolute master at transforming such mixes into sophisticated and rich pieces of art that go far beyond her original ingredients.  Her work is complex and layered, yet soothing and inviting.  She combines hand stitching with machine, ragged hard edges with softness, and I find myself often getting lost in her work, discovering new details as I move in closer and wonder through the textures. 

While visiting with her this week she pulled out a huge clear plastic bag filled with what at first glance looked like a massive pile of corn husks.  She explained it was a gown from the 18th century that someone gave her.  The silk fabric was heavily pleated , and it shredded in our hands as we stroked it.  She said, "Look at this texture. Let's use it in some fabric paper and see how it comes out."  (In a future post, we'll share some results.)  That is one of the many things I love about her:  She has not only the vision to look at things through the lens of artistic possibility, but the drive to explore, play, and discover.  She is a very cool lady to have as a friend!

Beryl has taught for several years, sharing her methods and inspiring many, many students.  She also stars in the Mixed-Media Art Quilts DVD and Layer by Layer DVD, both available at the Interweave Store, in addition to several appearances on Quilting Arts TV Her work is also regularly appears in a variety of other books publications.

Beryl Taylor
Beryl is a beautiful woman, inside and out, and I am so pleased that she joined 8 That Create!

Beryl shared eight things she loves, which are:

1. To give life back to a tossed book
2. To stitch by hand or with my machines.
3. To work with all types of media.
4. To travel, it inspires me, I love the museums of different countries.
5. Music, especially romantic; I always create with music in the background.
6. My two Golden Retrievers, Buddy and Holly.
7. My family and friends.
8. I believe in Angels (and ABBA).

Welcome Beryl!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Exploration of Village and Community

Carol Sloan here today.
I am so excited to introduce another new member, Kristin La Flamme to the "8 That Create" art family .

Kristin La Flamme is an artist who sews. She is also an army wife. 
Her work combines elements of traditional quilting with common domestic forms such as aprons and bedding. The cutting and re-stitching inherent in quilt making can be seen as a metaphor for the turmoil of military life with it's many moves and separations. 
Having lived in Germany for more than a decade, though always within the safety net of the American military community, influenced her work as well. 
This living between cultures (not entirely American, but not German either) was reflected in earlier land- and city-scape quilts as a sense of being on the outside looking in. 
However, the view was always welcoming. 
This exploration of village and communities evolved towards the idea of home and setting down roots (or the inability to do so) which still permeates much of her work.

40" x 22"

Kristin has a BFA in Graphic Design from Otis Art institute of Los Angels. 
She worked as a designer in LA and in Washington DC before following her Army Officer husband to Germany in 1996. 
Since then, Kristin has discovered her love for fiber and shares it through occasional teaching and exhibits of her work. In 2007, she joined the online group Twelve by Twelve which together has produced over 300 small art quilts, written a book detailing their adventure, and exhibited their work worldwide.

Pink House
12" x 12"

Recently transplanted to Charlottesville, VA, Kristin is looking forward to focusing on creating and exhibiting new artwork.

Rooted VII
49" x 49 1/2"

I was so captivated by the emotional stories that Kristin's art illustrates when I was doing a virtual gallery tour on her website.
As I thumbed through each gallery, I was struck by the beauty of the layered pieces yet unsettled by some of them as well.
If it is the artists task to evoke emotion from the viewer then Kristin certainly hit the nail on the head with her series "The Army Wife"
In reading the introduction to this series, I began to view that role in a different light. 

War Sucks
53" x 88 1/2"

Issues, Public & Private 2010
40" x 22"

I've asked Kristin to share 8 facts about herself with our readers.
Let's see what kind of juicy tidbits she came up with...

1. I am a fourth generation Angeleno (born and raised in Los Angeles), but I've lived in two counties, six states (one twice), and 10 homes since my husband and I married.
2. I've never met a color I didn't like.
3. I've never met a fabric I didn't like.
4. I want Michelle Obama to see my Army Wife series.
5. If I could only eat one thing for the rest of my life, it would be Carne Asada tacos.
6. I make a darn good Pineapple Cosmopolitan.
7. The posters of Ludwig Hollwein inspire me.
8. I enjoy alternative, eighties, and classic rock music, but my guilty pleasure is European disco. 

Well, I must say that I don't think I've ever heard European disco but I sure would like to sample the Pineapple Cosmopolitan!

I hope that all of you will join me and the rest of the group in welcoming this talented artist to our midst.
Welcome Kristin!