Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Loss and Finding Meaning

You are not accidental. The world needs you. Without you, something will be missing in existence and nobody can replace it. -Osho

The world has lost another talented quiltmaker--Sue Garman. I met Sue 23 years ago when I moved to Houston. Whenever I move (which was quite before moving to Illinois nearly nearly 20 years ago), I would find a local quilt shop and sign up for the first available class that even moderately interested me. That way I find out about guilds and other quilt shops. I found my way to Quaker Town Quilts in Friendswood. It was a mostly traditional shop so I signed up for Sue Garman's Halloween vest since it was just one afternoon. It involved cute applique. The women in the class were a lot of fun and I got lots of information on guilds, teachers, classes, and other quilt shops.
Sue was patient and kind. I only wore the vest once at the show and share at a guild. She was a member. If you don't know Sue's work, you should check it out. She learned to quilt from her grandmother and I don't think I ever saw her not working on a quilt. I found her amazing. She was the assistant director of NASA, a mother of two, a wife, and a pattern designer. She personal quilts were amazing. For me, she was one of the kindest people I ever met. In October, she shared that she would be having a test to see if she had a year or two to live. Unfortunately, she only had months. She will be missed. 

I had been struggling to come up with a piece to enter into "Red" at ARC Gallery in Chicago. Nothing seemed to be working until I picked up Carolyn's dress. Carolyn was my husband's only sister and my in-laws first child.  She only lived a few days but her life impacted a family deeply and not always in a positive way. I was touched and a little shocked when my mother-in-law gave me all of Carolyn's handmade dresses. It took her many years to get over her son marrying me. My children will have no interest in the dresses so I am happy to give them a new life and even more pleased the "Not Even a Memory" will be a part of the exhibit (February 2 - 25). My husband says that he thinks his mother would not approve, but I am not so sure. I think she would be pleased that others will know that Carolyn once was among us.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Adrienne Der Marderosian

I love the Internet for the connections that it brings. I was thrilled when I received an email from Adrienne Der Marderosian who also had work in the ARC Gallery exhibition Home. In my post about the show and opening, I was not able to get a decent enough photograph of her work and now I get to share them (the first two images were at ARC). She lives in Massachusetts so could not attend the opening. We all know how unpredictable Chicago's winters can be.

 Adrienne shared, "When I saw the call for submissions for the ARC's exhibition Home, I was interested in applying as the curators broadened the traditional definition of  "home" to include homelessness and the refugee crisis. My current body of work investigates how migration to a new homeland affects one's psychological, social and cultural identity so it seemed a good fit." It was also Adrienne's first time entering ARC. I feel like I have met a kindred spirit.  

I am also thrilled that I get to share with you her artist statement for her series. As I shared in my post concerning the exhibition, I wish that there had been an opportunity to read the artist statements because I love learning more about the person's thoughts on her work.  Finding out that Adrienne is Armenian gave me even more insight because I curated and traveled an exhibition of thirteen quilts from Gee's Bend, Alabama, to three different cities in Armenia. While in Yerevan, I visited the Armenian Genocide Memorial and Museum which is dedicated to a time in Armenian history (1915-1923) where the Turks tried to exterminate Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. It was estimated that two million Armenians lived in the Ottoman Empire and one and a half million of them were killed including women and children and the rest were exiled. Images from the museum will stay with me for the rest of my life.  


My memory is
the history of time.

Charles Olson

This series of works, entitled Tattoo Trails II, explores the relationship between memory and identity.  As an artist of Armenian descent, I carry a history that embodies not only my past but that of my ancestors as well.  My families’ stories of survival are not only rich and textured but also complex and traumatic.  Their collective history has led me to consider how exiles that are separated from their homeland navigate their lives.  How does migration affect them psychologically? Do immigrants face feelings of alienation, isolation and displacement? How are their cultural identities impacted by their separation from their homeland?

Throughout my work, I investigate these questions and challenge the viewer to consider the strength and endurance of the human spirit.
This series is based on a video still by Edwin Wurm, 1995/96.
Adrienne Der Marderosian

I you would like to know more, you can read an inspiring interview, here. I love that you also get to see her studio.  Do you agree that learning more about an artist enriches your understanding? 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

She Flies with Her Own Wings

The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but the inward significance.  - Aristotle

 I love the new year and the feeling of a fresh start. 2017 is starting off nicely for me as my sculpture "She Flies with Her Own Wings" was accepted in the the Tall Grass Gallery's "Wings" show that opens on January 21. I am three for three with dipping my toe into entering gallery shows. I still cannot believe it. this time I am one of 45 artists that were selected. I cannot wait to see the exhibit. 

This was my first attempt at a large sculpture and I was not at all sure I could get it to work. I just kept plugging along having faith it would all work out. I marvel at ceramic artists because there are so many things that can and do go wrong with this medium. Different clays shrink differently and even the placement in the kiln can effect what happens. I was amazed that the wings fit perfectly especially since the body was sightly over fired. The over firing also caused my matte glaze to become shiny. Sometimes you just have to accept what the kiln gods give you.  I found the flocked sticks online. The piece is 47-inches tall and sits in a corner in my family room. 

In thinking about what I want to accomplish this year, this sculpture does sum it up. I want to concentrate this year on creating and taking risks. I want to be fierce with keeping the focus on art. It will be a challenge, but one that I am ready to undertake. What do you want to accomplish this year?