A whole bunch of not-so-much to talk about. An update on the Shamarr quilt, some new work, and some random bits about nothing in particular.
The Shamarr quilt "Homage to Shamarr" from the Threadheads raffle http://artofquilts.blogspot.com/2009/02/shamarr-allen.html was won by Jenn Rooney, who promptly turned around and handed it to Shamarr to give to his mother on Mother's Day. If there is a higher honor for an artist I'm not sure what it might be. Melissa Lewis (who wrote the poem I used on it) and her mother both contacted me to say how pleased they were that I used the poem and they both gave their approval for how I used it. The poem is so beautiful it almost brings me to tears every time I read it so I was glad they were happy with my treatment of it in my own work.
Recent work has been sort of scattered and I can't seem to decide on a "style" to work on. I seem to have 2 very disparate styles that are warring with each other right now. Makes me feel sort of schizo and unfocused, but I can't seem to get past it. I've been through this before and it seems to pass eventually, but it's a bear to work through while it's happening. Yuck. The work I seem to be actually turning out is bright, almost whimsical stuff, but the work in my head that I want to produce is more natural fibers and darker colors and batiks. Heading in a new direction by working smaller seems to be getting some of the pieces out of my system without struggling with it so much. I've reached a point where I HAVE to do some of the quilting on the finished tops and stop just turning out tops. Here is a small piece I did the other day that's completely finished and ready to hang. The quilt part is cut out from behind the agate slice (which is very transparent) and the whole thing is mounted on the glass in the frame. The frame itself is covered with rust-stained cotton sateen. Commercial batik, silk yarn, agate, beading and small glass leaves. Machine quilted and hand beaded.
The fleur de lis was just for fun and it's next up for quilting after I attach the treble clef to it. Commercial prints, gold cotton lame' and my almost-trademark Peltex based individually finished treble clef. I have one more almost-finished piece ready for trimming and binding, that was a challenge of sorts from my friend Dorinda. She did a fused wall quilt using an oak leaf pattern and passed along the fused scraps to me to "put together" and I further challenged myself to only use fabrics that were within reach of my ironing board. I have it hanging on the design wall at the studio and it gets tons of positive comments so I should probably get it finished and down to the gallery, huh?
Codecutter and I took off to Belzoni, MS yesterday for the Pinetop Perkins blues fest and had a blast. I always look forward to the summer blues fest circuit since the majority of them are quick up-and-back day trips for us. Our kids think we're "cute" and "weird" (depending on which kid it is) for festing most every weekend. I think they're just jealous. Listening to an Alphonso Sanders CD we bought yesterday and that alone was enough to make the trip worth it! I also had a "small world" moment with him. During the performance (he was playing with a band, not by himself) Big Steve introduced the players and when I heard his name I turned to Codecutter and said "I get emails with his name on them!" The emails are from another man but are frequently forwarded with other names visible so I recognized his. After the set I went and introduced myself and asked if he was the same person. He is, and told me that the photo on the CD was taken by our mutual friend and even remembered seeing my work a year or so ago at Hoover's Kitchen in Clarksdale! I'm beginning to believe that working in a non-traditional media in the art world is paying off. People tend to remember the work a little more since it's usually the only example of fiber. I also connected with the CEO of MS Delta Blues, Inc who also remembered seeing my work. See what I mean about being memorable? Maybe one day I'll have the confidence to say they remember it because of the art, but for now I'm satisfied if they remember it for the media.
The deciding factor for going to the Pinetop fest instead of the Robert Johnson fest yesterday was the fact that the Pinetop-inspired quilt accepted for the corporate art program that hung at the casino in Vicksburg is one of only two pieces over there that had sold. Everything else was evenly divided and that seemed as good a reason as any to make the decision to head north instead of south. I'm glad we did!