The December show this year at Jefferson Arts in Monticello brings together our member artists in various media, showing their own anthology in the arts as well. “Mixed Bag” shows what a wide variety of experiences we have! Reading their stories posted alongside their works, I see many paths charted, many interests, and many art experiences all leading us to this current collection in time. Many painters and illustrators started with a certain media, shifting to another, possibly experimenting because of a certain class or mentor. Many others started with a specific project, then shifted to another media or expression entirely, such as sculpture to paint, or fiber to drawing.
My story has always bounced around with many art experiments, but my 3 main interests persisted: photography, clay, and weaving. The loom was the first bit of equipment I acquired after school, so that has been my mainstay. But photography also was strong, and I soon had my darkroom. Though clay was also significant, I never got the wheel or kiln. But a later interest, writing, actually became the thread to connect them all.
Imagery is the key. And expression. In the photo of the puppy and the spinning wheel, Maegan gave me “that look” and I had to get out the camera. Aha, I captured it before both she and the light moved. In the other photo with the older dog, Kid appears to be musing on higher thoughts, but as always, there’s another story behind the scenes. In this one, puppies were pulling on his feet and he got behind the chair to escape them, showing his long-suffering expression. Aha – just happened to have the camera. My photography is a series of capturing the “aha” moments – when great lighting, expression, and scene come together.
The lights and darks of film carried over to surface design on fabric. I love texture, positive & negative shapes such as silhouettes, and the images on the film inspired a similar approach on the loom. Leno-lace, a technique for weaving an open, lacey surface, was shaped into images woven right into the fabric. This is not “pulled threads” starting from a finished cloth, but each weft thread is hand-twisted as it is woven across the loom, leaving open spaces to define the image. Imagery with yarns (with both fiber and voice – as in “telling yarns”) expanded as images in fiberart inspired yet again, imagery within written stories.
Writing gave voice to characters emerging from the surface of fiberarts: weaving, marbling, or handmade-paper collage. I’d pick out ”personalities” from enmeshed fibers, or swirled dyed, and listen as each told their story. “Tales From The Summer Hills” grew into a collection of stories, later interpreted in many forms. Children’s stories, adult folklore, magical legends, prints on hand-made paper, and one was picked up by WFSU radio for “Stories In The Air”. Some are adaptable for including the name of one’s child and can be custom printed for a family gift.
The pieces shown here are on exhibit at Jefferson Arts through December 31st: “Seashawl – Conch”; 2 photos – “Maegan & Spinning Wheel” and “Musing”; and “Summer Hills” stories printed on handmade or art papers in long scrolls. They include “Legend Of The Grand Hill Giant”, “The Jujubee Tree”, and “The Coat of Many Faces”. If you get a chance to stop in, check out our “Mixed Bag”.