My Residency Work: Found Objects, Line Drawings & Process

As we ease into the long summer days, I thought I’d keep it light and share with you some of the work I made during my Self Made Artist Residency in January. This post focuses on a new drawings series, mark-making and the use of process in art.

As we ease into the long summer days, I thought I’d keep it light and share with you some of the work I made during my Self Made Artist Residency in January. (Visit this post if you’d like to read about where I went and how I organized the residency itself.) I anticipated writing this as one big article, but I realized as I was organizing my images that although its all related, there are three distinct bodies of work that I developed, each of which deserves its own explanation.

My work has gone through several transitions over the years and each time it transitioned, it was because I was going through a major transition/transformation as a human. During these transformative times, I felt I could no longer rely on former processes and found it best to derive my next steps by creating new processes. Relying on process prevents us from getting in our own way by overthinking and overworking the work. Whenever I have a question about where to go next, I just go back to the process and my question is blissfully and easily answered. As humans, we feel safer when there are certain boundaries constructed-this pertains to all parts of our lives and begins in the security of the womb. Think of an infant overwhelmed by sitting in the middle of an empty room vs an infant playing happily in a playpen surrounded by toys. As artists, we are often overwhelmed by choice and creating limits on those choices allows us to move freely within that framework. I have presented several lectures about process and you can view snippets of the lecture and links to the artists here.

When I arrive at a new place, both locationally and conceptually, I always turn to mark-making to figure out my next steps. For the first couple of weeks in Florida, I went on long hikes to explore the locale and collected botanicals that grew abundantly in each particular area, so that I could ‘describe’ the area through the marks. I started this hiking/collecting/mark-making process during my Jentel Residency in 2014 and later expanded on it in Utah in 2016. The process is simple: Using my collected botanicals as drawing tools, I dip them in ink and trace the contour of the landscape from left to right on paper. Then, utilizing these initial marks as a structure, I go back and ‘fill in’ using fine tipped pens. Magically, these drawings take on the overall rhythm and look of the terrain. This is the same process I used in Utah, the only difference between that series and this one is that I used a large, landscape oriented, Moleskine Watercolor Sketchbook instead of a mini sketchbook. I wanted to see if this process retained its magic when translated on a larger scale and it did(!) as you can see in the finished images below. I also included images of some of the collecting hikes I did, so you can get an idea of the growth and terrain. For more, please visit my Instagram Stories Highlights labeled Florida.

Unfortunately, since I returned home in mid-February, my life has been a whirlwind of traveling and teaching and I have yet to work on these drawings again. As it often goes with us artists, I now find myself needing another residency to finish the work I started in my last residency!

Initial Markmaking Experiments

Tracing the Contour of the Landscape with Markmaking Tools

Finished, ‘Filled In’ Drawings

Various Image/Collecting Hikes Showing Terrain & Growth

The Self-Made Artist Residency: Part 3 Packing & A Plan

In this third and last article on organizing your own Self-Made Artist Residency, I discuss how I carved out a studio space, what I brought with me, what I wish I brought with me and some of what I did while I was there.

Welcome to Part 3 of 3 of The Self-Made Residency Series of articles. Part 1 lists the good, bad and ugly parts of embarking on this adventure. Part 2 outlines decisions you need to make regarding the where, when and how to organize and plan your residency. In this last article, I discuss how I carved out a studio space, what I brought with me, what I wish I brought with me and some of what I did while I was there.

At this point, you’ve put down a deposit on accommodations, you’re a few weeks away from departure and you’re thinking about what to do while you’re there. It’s best to have a loose plan for a few things you might want to work on and allow for some surprises once you get there. I packed mostly portable, water-based art materials and I gave myself the restriction that all I pack for studio must fit in one small box, lest I go berserk and take everything I own. I also restricted my color palette to black, white, red and brown-I may have thrown yellow ochre in as well, but didn’t use it much. I brought my big set of Caran d’ache crayons in case I wanted access to any other colors, but I pretty much stayed within my chosen palette. As I mentioned many times on this blog, hiking is a big part of my travel studio practice, so of course I packed my back pack art materials. (Read this article to see what I take with me in my pack-I’ll be updating this article with fun new portable materials in my next post!) I took a fold out card table in case I needed extra space, but I didn’t end up using it. As it turned out, my cabin came furnished with a kitchen table, a long coffee table and a table out in the sun room, all of which I designated my ‘studio’. I even employed the second bedroom daybed as my drying rack! I also took with me a roll of plastic and covered every table surface, the wall and the floor at my painting table so as not to make a mess with my art making activities. I wished I had taken a few clip on lights-an artist can never have enough light-and I will remember this for next time.

When I got there, it took me a week or so to acclimate and create a daily schedule for myself. I mapped out the parks I wanted to hike, art museums/galleries I wanted to visit and came up with a loose plan for the next 5 weeks. Basically, I hiked, did yoga, wrote and painted en plein air during the early part of the day, then read, meditated and painted in my house studio during the late afternoon and night. (A more detailed article on the work I made during my residency is coming up soon! In the meantime, check out the gallery below for a sneak peek.)

It may sound boring, but I accomplished so much, hiked many miles, painted many landscapes, rested, worked hard, wrote reams, saw some art, started 3 new drawings series, met my first alligator and manatee, chatted with locals, took a tour of secret trails with a park ranger, found many random hearts while hiking, got a natural tan in the middle of winter, fell in love with swamps all over again, ate cookies every night and can’t wait to do it all again next year.

I hope you found this series of articles helpful. If you’re planning your own self made residency or have completed one, please share in the comments where you went—comments are located in the top left side bar by the title of the article. Please enjoy the photos below of my ‘studio’ space and some of the work I made. If you’re interested in seeing more images of my residency, scroll my Instagram feed and check out my story highlights entitled ‘Florida‘. Stay tuned for my next blog post in which I’ll share with you new portable art supplies for your summer travels.

The Self Made Artist Residency: Part 2 Decisions…Decisions..

Part 2 of 3 articles on how to plan your own Self Made Artist Residency. This is a list of helpful questions and decisions you must make before taking the plunge.

So you’ve applied for and have been rejected from a few residency programs, you’ve weighed the pros and cons regarding creating your own (Read Part 1 of this series, Self-Made Artist Residency: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly) and decided to be a rebel and do it! But where to begin? The following is a step by step checklist of important decisions to make before taking the plunge and of course, I offer examples of some of the things I thought about and actually did.

These considerations all work together, one is not separate from any of the others. You might not be able to check all your boxes, but having all considerations all in one list, plus all of the questions I ask may help you prioritize what is most important to you. It might also help to refer to Residencies: The Artist Kind, a blog post I wrote about choosing and applying for a residency program. Read to the end of this article for photos of my funky cabin and funky cabin art.

  1. When and How Long For most, carving out time away is the biggest hurdle so this must be your first consideration. I’m a bit of a hermit in the winter months, especially in the months of January through March, so I usually leave that time unscheduled in order to focus on my studio work. I had wanted to schedule my residency for all three months, but I had a rare workshop scheduled for mid-February. That left six weeks starting in January, a good amount of time to acclimate to my surroundings and get some work done.
  2. Location Where in the world is most inspiring to you? What kind of climate/landscape do you need to feel inspired? Do you need a city near you, lots of people, civilization? Or are more isolated areas better for you? Do you want to be in the US or is international travel important for you? As I mentioned above, I needed to get out of winter in Philadelphia so being somewhere sunny and warm(ish) was my top priority. Hiking is part of my studio research, so an interesting landscape with parks and/or hiking trails is where I focused on the map. Also, my budget didn’t support international travel, so I focused on the south, southeastern and southwestern US.
  3. Cost You will be solely responsible for all costs, so you must make a budget that includes travel, food, accommodations, art supplies, entertainment, etc. Once you arrive at a budget, double it(!) as there are incidentals that come up that you may not have considered. For example, most of the state parks I’ve been to here in PA are free while most of the parks I visited in FL had a charge. I went to a new park every other day while there and realized I should just purchase a Parks Pass which eventually paid for itself.
  4. Accommodations How much room do you need to make your work? Do you like to cook, do you need a kitchen? Do you need outdoor space? Do you usually make a big mess when you work? Working with encaustic needs too many special considerations so I knew I was only bringing water media and this restriction freed up my options. I don’t need a lot of room to make my work and I’m not especially messy when I work. Part of my embarking on this residency was to get away from my life, to think and be alone so I didn’t want a lot of distractions-being in a rural environment was okay with me. I also like a patio space or space outside of my living space to read, write, draw, etc. I don’t cook and really only need a microwave and small fridge for meals. Having all of this info combined with my timeframe, location and budget worked out.
  5. What’s Next I then went to Airbnb (also checked Sublet.com, HomeAway, Vrbo) and searched the states I was most interested in visiting-CA, UT, NM, AR, CO, FL, GA, SC. I also checked the extended forecast and found that I would be most comfortable in FL. I couldn’t afford anything in the vacation spots most snowbirds frequent in January, so I settled on a small fishing cabin on the St. John’s River in Northern FL that checked most of my boxes. (Pictured above) It had two small bedrooms, a sunroom, a full kitchen, a small bathroom, laundry on premises and it was right on the edge of a National Forest. It was also 90 minutes from two cities that had galleries and museums so that I could satisfy my art cravings. Not perfect..and by no means was it luxury…but it was within my budget, drivable within two days from home and I could be comfortable there for an extended period. I knew I would be in a rural environment, but this place was very isolated with the closest food store at least 30 miles away. It was weird at first, but I acclimated well and by the third week I learned to plan my hiking trips so that I could also do errands along the way.

The best thing about doing this on my own was realizing I could do it and that I didn’t have to rely on the almighty residency programs out there to tell me where, when and how high I could jump. Everyone will be different, but I hope this offers some inspiration and at least gets the wheels turning for you. Stay tuned for my next post outlining how I carved a creative space out of a fishing cabin, supplies I took with me, supplies I wish I took with me and what kind of work I made while on my residency.

The Self Made Artist Residency: Part 1, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Are you tired of applying for and getting rejected from artist residency programs? This is the start of a 3 part article that will guide you step by step on how to start your own self made artist residency.

After many dollars and hours spent applying for and being rejected from numerous artist residencies, I decided to make my own in sunny Florida at the start of this year. I posted about it almost every day on social media which generated a lot of interest from artist friends who had never considered this for themselves. I got many questions regarding how I did it, so I’ve broken down my process into three posts. This first one is a list of considerations I thought about and that you should think about before embarking on your residency adventure. The second is a step by step process for organizing your budget, location, accommodations, etc. The third outlines how I carved out an artist studio from a fishing cabin in rural Florida and the work I made while there. I hope this series helps you to buck the system and make your own way in residency bliss! It might also help you to refer to Residencies: The Artist Kind, a blog post I wrote about choosing and applying for a residency program.

I have been fortunate enough to have been awarded a few residencies in the past, so I have something to compare with my self-made residency and while there are obvious similarities there are also plenty of differences between the two. For some, being completely responsible for oneself as well as spending time alone is a dream, but for others, it might be pretty scary. In some cases the good things I’ve listed might be considered bad things and visa-versa. Consider this list just food for thought before you make the jump. After reading, scroll down for some digital drawings I made during my residency and visit my Instagram for more.

The Good

  • You have no responsibilities to anyone but yourself, you can do what you want when you want.
  • You can be in perfect solitude, choosing when and if you would like to socialize.
  • No requirements to donate work, open your studio, offer a lecture/workshop, work in the kitchen, etc.
  • No application process, essay writing or asking friends to be a reference for you.
  • You choose where, when, what, how and how long.

The Bad

  • You have no stipend and therefore absorb all financial responsibilities for your residency.
  • You are responsible for all household duties-cook, clean, shop, laundry, etc. These are things you likely do at home, but might not want to do during a residency.
  • No studio visits or critiques.
  • No impressive or prestigious line to add to your resume.
  • Likely, no designated studio space in which to be messy.

The Ugly

  • You have to know yourself. Know who you are and what you can accomplish away from the structure of being at home. For example, if you don’t have a regular studio practice at home, you aren’t going to magically establish one away from home.
  • Do you feel uncomfortable away from home? When you travel, does it take you a long time to acclimate to a strange place? Do you need a lot of time and/or a lot of space to create your work? Do you need a ton of materials at your disposal to make your work? If you answered yes to these questions, you’re likely not a good candidate for a self-made residency. If you feel uncomfortable or uneasy in a new place and it takes you a long time to make yourself at home, your creative energies will not be flowing and your time and money will be wasted.
  • Although you’re traveling, this isn’t a vacation, you need to get to work. Know why you want to do this and roughly what it is you’d like to accomplish. Have some goals set and set up some kind of structure to your days. Even if you don’t accomplish all of your goals, you can at least strive for something good to happen during your residency.
  • You are alone with yourself and your thoughts. This might be pretty ugly for some, but it was amazingness for me.

Workshop Highlight: A Bonus Philadelphia Encaustic Workshop #2: Pattern

Workshop Highlight: A Bonus Philadelphia Encaustic Workshop #2: Pattern. Register Soon, Limited to only 8 Participants!

Pattern is, essentially, a compilation of elements of design: line, rhythm, repetition…Not slavish duplication, but echoing, re-enforcing, reminding….~author unknown

WORKSHOP NUMBER TWO
Mixed Media Encaustic: Pattern
Limited to 8 participants!
Level: Beginner to Advanced
$400 includes most materials (see below)
For Registration, Please Contact: Lorraine Glessner, lorraineglessnerstudio@gmail.com

Payment
Payment of 50% of the workshop fee + materials ($200) is due at the time of registration with the remaining 50% ($200) due on the first day of the workshop. Please contact Lorraine for payment details.

When
April 5-7, 2019, 10am-4pm each day

Where
Dora Ficher’s Fabulous Studio at Scott’s Mills
3510 Scott’s Lane, #118, Philadelphia, PA

IMG_6308

Dora Ficher’s amazing studio at Scott’s Mills

Who
For Lorraine’s bio, work, exhibitions, teaching and anything else you might want to know, please visit her web site.

Workshop Number Two Description
Repeated use of a shape, color or design element unifies composition, creates pattern, rhythm and movement as well as reinforces content. This workshop focuses on the creation of intricate patterns, expressive personal surfaces and complex, multi-layered pieces utilizing and in combination with encaustic painting techniques. With an emphasis on mixed media, methods and materials covered in this workshop include creating motifs, rust printing on fabric, organic and geometric form, realistic and abstract imagery, patterned collage, stencils, tjaps and candy molds. Considerations such as using pattern and repetition as content itself, to tell a story, support and/or strengthen the content message will also be discussed.

SCROLL DOWN TO SEE images of student work from encaustic workshops similar in content to this one. Additional blog posts related to other encaustic workshops taught by Lorraine are here, here and here.

WORKSHOP NUMBER TWO WHAT TO BRING: the following is a list of materials for the student to bring to the workshop

  • 3-6 wooden painting panels (your preference of 8×8 or 10×10, but no larger or smaller, please) (nothing coated in acrylic or acrylic gesso!!)
  • 2-4 actual or images of your work
  • 3-5 natural hair brushes in various sizes for encaustic painting (1 brush will be designated your medium brush, so it must be free of color if you are bringing used brushes)
  • 1lb encaustic medium from any company (containers provided)
  • a variety of basic encaustic colors will be provided, however, if you prefer certain colors, please bring them. (containers provided)
  • sketchbook or drawing paper and drawing media of your choice
  • package of razor blades or scraper
  • smock (optional)
  • sharp scissors
  • any tool or material for any technique that you normally employ while working with encaustic
  • iwatani torch (optional)
  • textured objects and/or sharp ended tool for pressing into/incising/writing/drawing into wax.
  • materials for collage (papers, magazine images, photos, etc.)
  • decorative stencils, mesh, doilies, etc-anything flat with open areas that can be used as a stencil.
  • rusty metal objects or objects that will rust
  • ½ yard, even-weave, white or light colored natural fabric for rust/compost printing and painting. RTD or PFD fabrics are preferred and are available from dharmatrading.com. Alternatives are old sheets and/or tshirts that have been frequently washed.
  • paper punches (will be provided, however, if you have favorites, please bring them)
  • Tjaps (will be provided, however, if you have favorites, please bring them)

MATERIALS INSTRUCTOR WILL PROVIDE 

  • paraffin for brush cleaning
  • heated encaustic tools and irons
  • wood burning tools
  • Disposable gloves
  • Extra drawing paper
  • Wax paper
  • Parchment paper
  • encaustic paints
  • 2 cups salt
  • masking tape
  • 1 gallon size plastic bags
  • Tracing paper
  • Graphite transfer paper
  • cups for mixing instant indigo
  • Extra razor blades
  • Pans and cups for paint and medium
  • Linseed oil
  • paper punches
  • 2 iwatani torches with extra butane
  • instant indigo
  • extra fabric
  • extra rusty objects

Cancellation
In the event that you need to cancel your workshop, please notify Lorraine at least 30 days prior to the start of the workshop and your deposit will be refunded. No refunds will be available for cancellations occurring less than 30 days from the start of the workshop.

Food
There will be no food served during the workshops, you must bring lunch and snacks each day. There are a number of eateries, cafes, restaurants and markets nearby. There is also a refrigerator, microwave and coffee machine in the studio for your use as well as a wonderful cafe area with tables in the adjacent galleries.

 

For Registration, Please Contact: Lorraine Glessner, lorraineglessnerstudio@gmail.com

 

The Grass IS Greener: A Life Changing Artist Experience

Happy New Year to you, Art Bite Blog fans! I thought I would start the new year with an inspiring story that will hopefully move you in a good direction for 2018. If you are stuck or need prodding like I did when the events in this story took place, it might help nudge you out of your rut. I have shared this story in bits in pieces, but never in full. I hope you will enjoy reading it as much as I did in recalling and writing it.

In 2014 I was awarded my first month long residency at Jentel Artist Residency in Banner Wyoming. I applied for this residency in 2013 out of utter desperation. I had been grieving the sudden loss of someone very special to me and as a result, I hadn’t been in the studio or made any work for over two years. When I did receive an invitation to this residency, it was manna from heaven. I drove from my home in Philadelphia to Wyoming-a first for me to travel that far on my own. Although I had been out west many times, I had never traveled at ground level, witnessed the marked changes in terrain, the changes in the light from blue to green to gold or watched the sunset for three hours as I drove due west. As I made my way further away from my home, I felt the mountains of guilt, grief and depression fall away from my shoulders and as each mile passed, I felt lighter and more free.
The residency is located on a thousand acre working cattle ranch with trees, foothills, desert flowers, a lovely creek, rattlesnakes, deer and porcupines. I was in love at first sight with the raw beauty of the land and the huge sky that I could see for forever. Behind the house was the tallest mountain on the property and for some reason, I got it into my head that before the end of the month I would climb that mountain. This was a ludicrous thought because for one, I’m afraid of heights and two, I had never climbed anything resembling a mountain. However, these pesky logistics didn’t matter to me. Come hell or high water, I was going to climb that mountain and I was also going to break my two year slump and make some work during this residency.
During the month, I hiked those thousand acres, exploring each foothill, memorizing the curves, drawing the contour of the land against the sky with grasses I collected and dipped in ink, hearing nothing but the wind and my own breathing as I walked and worked. This strange, brown and barren land was healing me step by step as I hiked, line by line as I drew, breath by breath as I listened to the wind. I kept an eye on my mountain nemesis behind the house, everyday assessing the height, the verticality, the rocks. It loomed and taunted me, just as the challenge to let go of my depression and get out of bed everyday seemed to loom and taunt me.
It didn’t happen for me right away but by almost 3 weeks into my month long residency I finally had a breakthrough in my work and it all started to flow. I made about four paintings, a ream of drawings and about 1000 digital drawings by the last week. I was definitely on fire, determined and inspired. The residency had done for my studio work all I had hoped for and more.
But. I. Still. Hadn’t. Climbed. That. Mountain.
Ok, so I never told anyone I was going to do it. I never made any promises to anyone, except myself, of course. It certainly wasn’t a requirement of the residency program that I climb it. Who would know if I didn’t do it? Well..I would know..and I would feel like a total failure even with all of the studio success I had achieved.
So…On the second to last day before I was to leave, it was now or never. It was a lovely day for a hike and just as I had done most days, I woke up, put on my backpack and hiking shoes. But instead of heading out to the thousand acres, I went behind the house and started up the mountain. It was much steeper than I thought and at some points, it was almost vertical with nothing but scree in most places. I had no climbing equipment and I had absolutely no idea what I was doing from a mountain climbing standpoint. I just started, one foot in front of the other… grabbed, slid, sweated and breathed my way up, paying close attention not to look down. To pull myself up the sheer verticals and to stop myself from falling when I slipped, I held on to the the tall grasses, they were my lifeline-just as they had been in the studio when I made those first drawings in ink.
At one point I did look down and immediately panicked.
I had climbed so far, there was only a short distance left, but what lie ahead of me was nothing but rock and a sheer vertical, I had no idea what to do. My heart started to pound and I couldn’t breathe, I had to sit down. As I sat there on the rock, crying, paralyzed with panic, contemplating the embarrassment of butt sliding back down in defeat…or worse, having to be rescued, I heard something breathing behind me…it was a deer! She was pretty close and seemed a bit skittish, but more confused at what I was doing all the way up there on her turf. She quietly turned around and went over the top of the mountain. I kept an eye on her path and followed it..hand over hand, step over step, gripping anything I could, even digging my fingers into the dirt to pull myself up and finally I made it to the top. I turned around to look at the ranch below me and snapped a picture ( shown at the top of this article) so I would never forget that moment. I still remember how victorious I felt and it was then that I knew everything would be okay. I was strong and I could get through my grief and depression and move forward. I would never be the same as I was before, I would never make the work I was making before, but everything was going to be okay. I was going to be okay.
As I turned to continue down the other side of the mountain, I was relieved to see a green meadow with flowers, a clear path and an easy, gradual descent down into the valley.

I hope you enjoyed that story. If you have a similarly inspiring story you would like to share, please leave it in the comments section below. If you are interested in applying for a residency, but are unsure about which one, this post may be helpful. I will be writing more about my residency and the transition from my older work to the work I do now, so stay tuned for those articles in the coming months.

As promised, I will be posting to this blog twice a month and my next post outlines my New Year’s Studio Resolutions. Since 2015 when I started making these resolutions, I have shared them with a few people who have found them very helpful and useful for their own studio practice. If you haven’t made your resolutions yet, please make sure you follow this blog so you don’t miss my next post!

The Pentaculum & Me

Vision, Uncertainty and Knowledge of Materials are inevitabilities that all artists much acknowledge and learn from: vision is always ahead of excecution, knowledge of materials is your contact with reality, and uncertainty is a virtue ~David Bales & Ted Orland, Art & Fear

About this time last year, I was invited to attend Arrowmont’s 2nd Annual Pentaculum as part of the Textiles Studio. Spending a blissful week in the Smoky Mountains creating with like-minded individuals was something I was definitely not going to pass up…So without even thinking, I accepted the invitation. As the week neared after the busy holidays, my mind raced about what to pack-what was I going to work on, what can one complete in only a week? I nearly packed my entire studio for a month long residency at Jentel Artist Residency, so I decided that I was limiting myself to only a small suitcase of studio materials. As part of the Pentaculum, Arrowmont generously allows participants to use any equipment housed within their respective studio so I only needed to think about my supplies. I didn’t pack any encaustic because it is what I do in my home studio, it needs special equipment/ventilation, plus I wanted to work on other things. I ended up packing tons of found papers and fabrics I had been saving, paints, brushes, paper, hand and machine stitching materials, canvas, rust printed and drop cloth scraps and 3 books. Thinking that the lightening rod of inspiration would strike me as I entered the Arrowmont studio, I had only an inkling about what I was going to work on so I just sat down and started painting.

If you follow me on facebook or instagram, you have seen my drawings/paintings on Mylar. The skin-like translucency of Mylar references the body and this is why I am so attracted to it. Linking the earth and the body through visual patterns and similarities is the crux of my work, so I am attracted to materials that reference either. The work on Mylar is an ongoing experimental series I that began in grad school and have since translated into stitch, encaustic and mixed media collages. This language of squiggles and looping gestures is part of my signature group of marks and is derived from embroidery, hair, loose threads, maps and landscape. I have returned to this series again and again for inspiration and making these drawings something more than just inspiration is one of my New Year Studio Resolutions (stay tuned for a blog post about this), so this is what I focused on at the Pentaculum.

Because I was part of the Textiles Studio, I was inspired to apply hand stitching to these paintings-this was something I had always wanted to do, but never had the time. I also began deconstructing a muslin fabric that I had brought-this fabric covered the springs of an old piece of upholstery I trash picked years ago. The fabric has been in my studio forever and has aways inspired me with it’s interesting sewn structure, rust marks, holes and history. It took a few hours to deconstruct it and through the repetitive process of ripping out stitches, I got to ‘know’ the fabric’s structure and function. I can’t begin any art piece with a blank slate, I always need a mark on the surface that I can use as a place to respond. In this case, the deconstructed fabric happened to be laying on my Mylar so I used it. I began with pencil tracing the holes, the loose threads and in some cases drawing the threads within the weave structure. Just the pencil tracings alone were simple and beautiful, referencing and becoming a map for my response in paint and stitch. Being limited in my supplies, I worked within a palette of white, black and red paint along with white and black thread. At the end of the week, I was amazed to discover that I had completed ten of these drawings. I would consider none of them ‘finished’, but they are a step in my process that I had always wanted to take. I am so thankful for having been given the time to take this step at Arrowmont. The result of combining the hand stitching with the paintings was more successful than I had imagined and has moved me forward in my creative walk.

Being in the studio was awesome but just part of the Pentaculum experience. There were so many other amazing moments during the week that would take too many words to describe…I took a day to hike in the Smoky Mountains National Park, read extensively in the amazing Arrowmont library, photographed, socialized, ate great food, did yoga and patronized the largest scrapbooking store I have ever seen. All in all, the Pentaculum was exactly what I needed to start off the new year!

Be sure to read this blog post about the other Textiles Studio Participants and their amazing work.