Tuesday, February 26, 2008

New Zealand Textiles

Patterns of Identity: Textiles in Aotearoa is a resource created by the School of Art and Design at Auckland University of Technology. It provides access to the extraordinary textiles of New Zealand as a showcase for artists and designers, and includes an extensive image collection. The work is stunning! Click on everything - the site is layered and almost every link takes you to many, many others.

A few of the in-depth profiles provided include (be sure to click on the Image Gallery links):

Betty Fraser - her work ranges from wool murals (one is 5.5m long x 2.2m high) to silk paintings

Susan Holmes - creates exquisite wearable art costumes

Patricia Edwards - her focus is on bold graphic art cloth

Rose McLeod - she creates vibrantly colored art quilts with abstract designs

Henry Wilson - his batik wall hangings are unbelievably detailed

On this site you will find links to: contemporary Maori and Pacific textiles (including a tivaevae quilt project); collaborative community textile projects; printed textiles from the Aukland Museum collection; and textile education projects, among others. Just explore...

Patterns of Identity: Textiles in Aotearoa

Friday, February 22, 2008

What does "mastery" mean to you?

What does "mastery" mean to you? This was a question asked of artists whose work is featured in Tradition/Innovation: American Masterpieces of Southern Craft and Traditional Art, a traveling exhibit sponsored under the auspices of the Southern Arts Federation, and supported by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. Following are 12 of the responses:

Alice R. Ballard, Ceramic Artist
"For me this means knowing your medium so well that you have a working relationship with it. In a sense you become "at one" with your medium. In other words, you allow the medium to have a life of its own. As the artist, you direct and guide the work process but all the time you are listening and learning from the experience and process. This is especially true when working with clay I think."

Clay Burnett, Basketmaker
"Mastery is acquired wisdom. Mastery cannot be obtained without first having put years of diligence into your craft. Mastery is what sets you apart from your other contemporaries. Mastery is an inner driven force."

Douglas Harling, Goldsmith
"What is it that makes an artist exceptional and an object extraordinary? True mastery is the kind of skill that looks deceptively effortless. It is not just the knowledge of how to make an object; it's the ability to exploit the very essence of the material that gives it form. A master can imbue their work with a physical presence, that quality that enables a person, place, or thing to hold the space around it … to stand alone in a crowd. There is an understanding of the artist's own time and place. The work may fit within a long tradition but could exist at no other time. It understands the past, exists firmly in the present, and anticipates the future. Last but certainly not least is the artist's sense of self, their ability to impart their own uniqueness upon the pieces they create, whatever the format or material. This is a deeper quality than just visual style. It is the ability to project ones personality into the object, to bring it to life by giving of one's self."

Richard Jolley, Glass Artist
"It is a very small step from mediocre to great. Many times just one or two small things make the difference. Eighty hour weeks lead to mastery in the development of the touch of the hand. Concentration is extremely important."

Glen Kaufman, Fiber Artist
"Mastery is being able to apply oneself with confidence and convey the idea that the work is well made. It includes doing the best one can."

Virgil Ledford, Woodcarver
"You can't carve like somebody else...You have to have your own feeling of what the animal or bird looks like."

Gwendolyn A. Magee, Textile Artist
"To me, 'mastery' is a combination of technical skill, artistry, and vision that coalesce to produce work that evokes a sense of wonder, depth of thought, and/or a deep emotional response in the viewer."

Tom McCarthy, Jeweler
"I'm seduced by the materials first and then try to find the technique for them. Technique is a grammar. I'm interested in the essay."

Steve Miller, Book Artist
"A nearly unlimited willingness to stay with a problem until it is solved. In his world, problems continually arise, a part of the complex process. It is a question of grabbing hold and not letting go."

Craig Nutt, Furniture Maker/Sculptor
"To me 'mastery' means assimilating technique to a point that it is no longer an issue. Technique becomes invisible. Anyone who has taken dancing lessons remembers having to count each step; mastery is like not having to think about your feet."

Vernon Owens, Potter
"I really believe that you have to have the ability to make your hands do what your eye tells them to. The next thing is being able to be critical of your own work."

Mark Peiser, Composer of Glass
"Mastery is the ability to materialize dreams. To realize vision, concepts and ideas so that they are recognizable to others."

Richard Prisco, Furniture Maker/Designer
"Being the best you can be at what you do."

Harvey Sadow, Clay Artist
"What it means to me is being in possession of a body of knowledge and a set of skills that allows one to actualize what one visualizes without compromise. It indicates that one has developed a high degree of control and or knowledge, which allows one to manipulate his/her medium with extreme confidence. One thing I have always liked about flash firing (raku), is that I can orchestrate a set of probabilities, but the ultimate surrender of control allows the pot the opportunity to be better than the potter. That is as close as I can come to understanding the concept of grace. Grace might be just as important to me as mastery."

Billie Ruth Sudduth, Basketmaker
"Mastery means being grounded in the history of the craft, understanding the range of artistic expressions in my craft, and finding a 'style' that is uniquely my own."

Sunkoo Yuh, Ceramic Artist
"When young, one masters the technology, and as one grows older, one begins to see the conceptual aspect of work and as one grows older, one balances the two."

How will you respond when this question is asked of you?

Tour Schedule:

Monday, February 18, 2008

Incredible Publicity for a Textile Exhibit!!!

Click picture for a close up view

Is this fantastic or what? This is publicity broadcast on Times Square for Quilting African American Women’s History: Our Challenges, Creativity and Champions, a fiber art exhibit curated by Carolyn Mazloomi. It opens Saturday, March 8 - July 30, 2008 at the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center of the Ohio Historical Society in Wilburforce, OH. Carolyn states:
"In Quilting African American Women’s History: Our
Challenges, Creativity and Champions, the vitality of
quiltmaking and the resilient, creative spirit of Black
women come alive. The diversity of genre and
technique represented in the works reflect the
diversity of African American quiltmakers,
dispelling long-held misperceptions of African
American quilt aesthetics. Through these quilts,
our mothers, grandmothers, and great grandmothers
continue to speak of their lives and give guidance.
We are all blessed by their patience, perseverance,
and heroism. Through the eye of a needle
African American women have found their voices and
become authorities on their life experiences. The
voices of African American women are stitched into
their quilts. This exhibition is a validating expression
of cultural genius."

For more information about the exhibit, contact the museum: (937) 376-4944 or 1-800-752-2603 (toll free).

An exhibition catalogue is being published.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Through the Surface - Collaborating Textile Artists from Britain and Japan

THROUGH THE SURFACE is a project in which young textile artists from Britain and Japan travelled to their partner country to work with established artists for an exchange of ideas and techniques over a period of 10 to 12 weeks. Seven partnerships were established.

After the exchange, the artists returned to their own countries and each created new work - both collaboratively and individually with contact being maintained via the internet.

From the website:
"THROUGH THE SURFACE is a multi-layered title and
in this way reflects the many levels of this project.
'Surface' can mean texture, the outer layer, a
membrane. Through the surface can mean 'something
emerging' or ‘beyond the immediately visible'. The
emerging relationships within THROUGH THE SURFACE
are created through collaborative involvement with the
surface texture and hidden structure of textiles."
Work that resulted from the collaborations was exhibited throughout Britain and Japan and the exhibition catalogue can still be ordered. Participants kept journals throughout the project. Access to their journals is available online as well as that of the Director which provides detailed information about the project.
Note: links to the journals are located at the bottom of the page

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

All About: Bobbins and Threads

These key elements needed for the creation of our art often perplex and frustrate us. Information from the following sites can help...

A Thread of Truth: A Factual Look at Sewing Thread – by YLI Corporation – This is a 17-page PDF document that covers every thing you ever wanted to know about threads and needles. Includes a glossary.

All About Bobbins

Bobbin Winding and Stitching Points – Trish Stuart – This 6-minute YouTube video shows you “…what to look for to adjust thread tension in the bobbin and in the upper thread tension setting. See what types of stitches are best for bobbin work.”

Choosing Machine Embroidery Threads - Sharee Dawn Roberts

Dealing with Difficult Threads – Linda Schmidt

Dealing with Metallic Thread

Embroidering with Metallic Thread – Madeira https://cache.trustedpartner.com/docs/library/000261/documents/metallics.pdf

Frequently Asked Questions about Pre-Wound Bobbins

How and Why Tension [Bobbin] is Adjusted

How Much Thread Does My Bobbin Hold?

How to Adjust and Clean the Janome 6500 Bobbin – Deb Lacativa

Is There a Difference in Quality Among the Various [Thread] Brands on the Market?

Metallic Thread & the Sewing Machine: Use for Embellishments and Quilting - Sharla R. Hicks

Pros and Cons of Various Bobbin Threads

Reasoning for Adjusting Bobbin Tension

Thread Tension Settings http://www.sewusa.com/Sewing_Machine_Repair/Thread_Tension_Settings.htm

Thread Troubleshooting – How to Correct Common Problems http://www.superiorthreads.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=335&Itemid=100

Top and Bottom Thread Compatibility

Top Load & Front Load Bobbins Explained – Trish Stuart – this 5-minute YouTube video shows how to adjust and set the bobbin tension rod and how to use the bypass slot for bobbin work on both front load and top loading bobbins

Troubleshooting Guide Signature Thread this guide not only provides troubleshooting information for common sewing problems with specialty threads, but also provides information about the best tension and needle sizes for various threads. http://www.amefird.com/signature_trouble_guide.htm

Types and Characteristics of Thread

Understanding the Thread Weight System

Understanding Thread Twist Dimensions [S and Z]

What is Trilobal Polyester?

Friday, February 8, 2008

Digital Threads - Textile Museum of Canada

This is “…an interactive Web environment that highlights new digital artworks by [5] Canadian artists…[who are] Internationally known for innovative work that challenges the boundaries of conventional textile arts…” It explores the connections between cloth, culture and art by linking to 50 exhibitions from the Textile Museum of Canada. Access to the site is available in either English or French.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Time Management for Creative People - Mark MacGuiness

This 32-page free e-book by Mark MacGuiness is subtitled: "Manage the mundane - create the extraordinary". He states that in this book are offered "...some principles and practical methods for maintaining your creative focus under pressure, and for managing the stream of information and demands so that it informs and stimulates your creativity instead of drowning it out....I won’t offer you a rigid system or any ‘best practice’ nonsense – just some principles and suggestions for you to try out and adapt as you see fit."

Seven chapters are devoted to specific elements of time management. Another chapter provides a list of additional resources. The book can be downloaded at: