Saturday, February 28, 2009

Textile Sculpture - Part 1

These artists are adept at exploiting the malleable, aural, kinetic. dimensional, sensual and/or tactile qualities of textiles and manipulate them into fascinating sculptural art forms

Judith Scott (1943-2005) – “Judith Scott was a powerful visual artist, who was isolated from outside influences through the combined impact of deafness and Down Syndrome. Very independent and self-directed, she was endlessly creative and never repeated a form or color scheme. Crafting armatures of bamboo slats or other discarded materials, she wrapped these forms with lengths of knotted cloth or yarn.”

Jenny Milne – “The materials I use are varied although I have worked predominately with animal fibre in the past 4 years. This suits the tactile qualities of the characters, creating fascination, drawing the viewer into a false sense of security to engage with serious or difficult subjects that are behind each piece. Integrating these needle felted sculptures with artifacts and/or, the raw environment, resonates extraordinarily well with the integrity of the work.”

Shinique Smith – uses bundles of clothing, fabric, and other disposable materials to create sculptures

Junco Sato Pollack – “Junco Sato Pollack is a maker of light-reflective fabric sculpture that floats in the space…The work's format is hanging scroll, referencing serendipitous articulation characteristic of Eastern ink-and-brush painting and meditative calm. The work's intrinsic kinetic quality is sensuous, rigid, yet yielding, and expressive of both Eastern and Western aesthetics.” During the 80’s, Junco’s work “…involved three-dimensional silk fabric sculpture in which she manufactured, wove, and dyed silk into three-dimensional forms. Currently she works with metallic and micro-polyester with heat transfer and lamination technology through which dyes are sublimated by heat into the molecular structure of the fabric, simultaneously coloring and texturing the surface.”

Deepa Panchamia – Textile Pleated Structures – “Her interests lie in scale, perspective and space and she uses textiles as a medium to explore these concepts. Central to her work is to communicate the polar opposites of transparency and solidity; complexity and simplicity; exterior and interior; presence and absence.”

Michael Cottrell – Rigid Fabric Sculpture – “Being a very process oriented artist…I am constantly exploring new methods of constructing my pieces that successfully elucidate their underlying concepts. While remaining true to fundamental concepts of formal three-dimensional design, I seek to enrich the visual impact of my pieces by creating dynamic relationships that demand an interactive viewing. I have recently hit upon a method of making fabric hold a rigid form. This allows me to capture the inherent organic and ephemeral qualities of the drapery in a static state. This imposed solidity is contradictory to the expectation of fabric as a fluid material which creates an interesting interaction with the viewer.”

Annet Couwenberg – “My work is based on the concept of clothing as metaphor that examines the precarious balance between the constraints of social norm and our private desires. …The work I make becomes a receptacle for introspection to distinguishing between what we are and what we have learned to be and desire.”

Frances Geesin – “I began my journey with painting and moved into textiles, which led to the manipulation of nonwovens by heat treatment and electroplating, a very different kind of ‘painting’. Therefore I have immersed myself in many diverse thermoplastic and conductive industrial textiles and fibres, some of which yield to heat and respond to the electroless and electroplating processes…My drawing tools are heat guns, soldering irons, hot knives, domestic iron, heat press, conductive paints and an electroplating system…Although fabrics do not change at their core, their re-forming is revelatory.”

Sally Williams – Textilescapes – “I use a marriage of handmade sculptural textiles and various ‘New technologies’, such as 3D virtual software, scanning electron microscopes, laser cutting and etching and digital photography to create my work. Science and ‘New Technology’ constantly inform my work on both a technical and creative level.”

Zsofi Samu – Woven Textile Sculpture – “My major source of inspiration is the Tasmanian wilderness…I use an ancient technique called double weaving to realise most of my works. Native Americans used this technique to make sacks and double sided rugs. This way of weaving allows me to create cylindrical shapes which is the basis of my three-dimensional pieces.”

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Visual Artist Mentor/Mentee Programs

"More than mere teachers, mentors are often emancipators, freeing artists from poor technique, clouded vision and personal uncertainty." Paul Soderberg
Participating in a critique program is often useful to artists when trying to determine if a specific artwork has been successfully executed. The goal for participating in a mentoring program, however, is much broader and is usually focused on developing or strengthening specific aspects of the artist’s career. Mentors generally share wisdom, skills and experience in those areas most desired by the mentee which can range anywhere from learning how to effectively network to how to make gallery connections to how to organize a studio.

Usually a prospective mentee has to be lucky enough to stumble into a mentoring relationship. Other artists are fortunate to live in locations where formal mentoring programs are available - these require long-term face-to-face interaction between mentor and mentee.

Listed below are resources that can be invaluable for anyone considering entering into a professional relationship as mentor or mentee, or for anyone who may be thinking about establishing a formal program. Included also is information about a couple of online mentoring programs.

Textile Center Mentoring Program – “Textile Center Mentor Program is designed to facilitate the development and achievement of artistic and business goals set by emerging artists. This growth is fostered through a supportive one-on-one relationship with a mentor, who is a professional artist working in the field of fiber. The program supports the advancement of each protegeÕs techniques in their own media through instruction and critique, enriching both understanding and advancement of their work. Participants in this program will build confidence in their work and their role as a working artist in the community at large. The close working relationship between mentor and protege as well as the opportunity to be a member of the mentor-protege group empowers and encourages each artist to take risks and work toward future goals.”

.....2009 - 2010 Brochure

.....Protégé Application

Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) – SAQA instituted a series of internet based mentoring sessions on career related issues for its membership in the form of monthly conference calls. Sessions are taped to allow members access at any time. Topics have ranged from how to promote oneself as an artist to how to work with galleries to how to write for magazines, among others. Future topics will range from how to create an effective portfolio to creating a legacy. To join SAQA:

Women’s Art Registry of Minnesotra (WARM) Mentor Program – “The WARM Mentor Program is a supportive resource that pairs emerging and professional women artists for two years. Each Protégée directs the process of selecting her mentor, identifying her goals and tracking her progress. Mentors share wisdom and skills while providing supportive critique.”

.....Guidelines for Mentors

.....Guidelines for Protégés

.....Mentor Program Application

.....Mentor Program Questionnaire

.....Mentor Program Time and Cost

Ilinois Arts Alliance Foundation Mentoring Program - This is a very developed and detailed program that is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts

.....Some of the extensive information and forms that can be accessed on this site include:

Mentor-Mentee Partnership Contract

Mentor Training Session Agenda

Mentee Training Session Agenda

Mentor Assistance with Goals Setting Tip Sheet

Mentee Assistance with Goals Setting Tip Sheet

Making the Most of Your Mentoring Relationship Tip Sheet

Personal SWOT (Strengths/Weaknesses/Opportunities/Threats or Obstacles) Analysis

First Meeting Agenda

What Qualities Make One a Good Mentor

What Qualities Make One a Good Mentee

MAWA (Mentoring Artists for Women's Art) - This is a Canadian group whose focus is "To encourage and support the intellectual and creative development of women in the visual arts by providing an ongoing forum for education and critical dialogue." They have an excellent newsletter, a resident mentor and a well developed mentoring program (they also have a monthly "Stitch and Bitch" meeting).

Mary & Ian Nunn Mentoring/Coaching Program - The following link provides online access to materials for a mentoring/coaching program they developed - it provides excellent materials for anyone who is interested in developing a mentoring program or for anyone who may be interested in mentoring themselves. The focus in not on technique, but on core issues artists face, such as: What is my personal style?; What do I have to say?; Where do I go from here?; How do I express my feelings in ...(whatever medium in which you work)?; How do I know if my work is good?; How do I know if a piece is finished?. Note: there are two program levels - although it says access to Level 2 requires a password, it doesn't.

Newberry Mentoring Workshop - Michael Newberry conducts an online mentoring program. From his site: "The mentor program is based, first, on your deepest dreams for your art. Then you will be assessed of your strengths and weaknesses. Thirdly, you will be taught the tools that will enable the realization of your goals. Newberry will thoroughly review your art progress on a weekly or bi-weekly basis and then he will suggest a course of action. Long distance communication is done by telephone and emailed digital images." Although his focus is on painters, you can contact him regarding his willingness to work with artists who work in other mediums.

Leadership and the Art of Mentoring: Tool Kit for the Time Machine – This article by John C. Kunich and Richard I. Lester breaks down the act of mentoring (Model; Emphasize; Nurture; Teach; Organize; Respond; Inspire; Network; Goal-set) and discusses each aspect in detail. Although not written from the perspective of the visual artist, the points are very applicable. The last page has an excellent set of discussion questions.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Textile Related Podcasts - Part 1

Today’s technology provides us with access to an astounding array of textile related podcasts on a broad range of topics that include in-depth interviews with artists

Maiwa Handprints, founded in Canada in 1986, supports the production of embroidered, blockprinted, handwoven and naturally dyed textiles throughout a number of countries. They have made available a series of outstanding in-depth audio and video podcasts recorded at the annual Maiwa Textile Symposiums that are accessible at:

The Maiwa podcasts include:
The Independent Artist: Working to Commission - Lucy Goffin - Working to commission involves forming a special relationship with a client. Large works for public spaces require the artist to deal with architects, planners, and engineers. It involves navigating through time frames, budgets, and fire regulations. The challenge is not to compromise the creative process due to the added constraints. In fact the reverse can often be true: exciting creative ideas come out of problem solving within a working brief.

Reel and Weave: The Silkspinner's Story – Parts 1, 2 & 3 - Part 1: Karen Selk describes her journeys to China and explains how silk is raised and harvested; Part 2 - Karen describes her experience in Laos and explains how weaving traditions are an essential part of Laotian culture; Part 3 - Karen explores India and visits both the giant tusser moth and the Salvi community, makers of a famous double silk ikat known as Patan Patola.

From the Heart: A Weaver’s Journey – Parts 1 & 2 –Bhakti Ziek is a weaver, teacher, writer, and lecturer and “…has the ability to talk to a group about her life as a weaver while making it seem as if she is sitting talking directly to each person about their own lives and intimate experiences. In this talk, she updates her journey, sharing how a tenuous, fine thread grew into her life line and the sometimes unpredictable path it has taken. Sharing both the triumphs and knots, periods of intense curiosity and spells of disillusionment, she will talk about ways of staying connected that she has found helpful in her struggle to remain involved, creative, and hopeful as an aging weaver, artist, and human being.”

Choreographed Cloth – This is a video podcast - Angelina DeAntonis is an artist driven to express her passion for color through the dye process. This is a presentation made to the 2007 Maiva Textile Symposium.

Kismet, Ajrakh, and the Fish of Knowledge: Collaborating with Craftspeople in India – Eiluned Edwards - “Edwards tells the story of the events leading up to her first trip to India, how it felt to arrive, and how her life was changed by a meeting with the blockprinters of Dhamadka. The trip was profound and its effects were long lasting, Edwards shifted her focus from textile design to cultural anthropology. She spent the next 16 years researching the textiles of the Kutch Desert, collaborating with artisans, aranging exhibitions and studying traditional Ajrakh blockprints.”

The Intimate Stitch: Blueleaf Shibori – This is a video podcast – Jane Callendar describes her development and artistic influences and reflects on her artistic journey.

The Working Traveller: Parts 1 to 4 – These are the reflections of workshop panelists – John Gillow, Noorjehan Bilgrami, Charllotte Kwon – each speaking about their personal experiences, how they got started, the reason for their journeys, and how interaction with other cultures has changed their lives. Another segment addresses specific questions from the audience.

The Mummies of Ürümchi: Textiles in Time – Elizabeth Barber – Dr. Barber is an expert on prehistoric textiles. Her talk is about the naturally mummified and spectacularly clothed bodies of Caucasians found in Chinese Turkestan that date back to the Bronze Age, 3,000 – 4,000 years ago.

Waiting for the Monsoon: Slow Clothes in India – Charlotte Kwon and Mahesh Dosaya – a reaction against fast food culture, “…slow clothes are made with an eye to the human impact on production rather than a need to race to meet a fashion trend.”

LadyBugLive - Dottie Moore posts podcast interviews of visual artists from around the world. The fiber/textile art segments include:

Mical Aloni – embroidery artist

Hollis Chatelain – textile artist

Gwendolyn Magee – textile artist

Susan McGehee – woven wire

Kisha Rawlinson – sweetgrass artist

Bernie Rowell – contemporary quilt artist

C. Elizabeth Smathers – fiber artist

Waltraud Reiner – millinery artist

Tradition/Innovation: American Masterpieces of Southern Craft & Traditional Art – interviews with Gustina Atlas & Geraldine Nash – quilters (12 minutes), Gwendolyn Magee - quilter (25 minutes), Carol Welch – (12 minutes) basket weaver. Click on the artists’ name:

International Quilt Study Center & Museum – These are podcasts of online lectures, gallery talks, and discussion.

Among others, the podcasts include:
Quilts: Reflections of Trade, Technology & Tradition" by Patricia Cox Crew – 54 minutes – “…how quilts reflect American culture and the lives of quiltmakers of the past.”

"Nancy Crow: Contemporary Quiltmaking" by Nancy Crow - 59 minutes - Ms. Crow describes the evolution of her work, the many inspirations she finds, and the challenges she sees ahead.

"Modern, Yet Anti-Modern: Two Sides of the Late-Nineteenth and Early-Twentieth Century Quiltmaking" by Marin Hanson – 43 minutes - Her lecture explores contemporary and historical dichotomies in culture and how quilts fit into that discussion.

"The American Quilt and the Grammar of Two-Dimensional Design" presented by David Hornung – 42 minutes

"It's Fashionable to be Pennsylvania Dutch Today: Disseminating Traditional Design in a Modern World." by Janneken Smucker – 35 minutes - The lecture focuses on research Smucker conducted regarding the commercialization of Pennsylvania Dutch culture during the 1930s and 1940s.

"Recycling and Resourcefulness: Quilts of the 1930s" by Merikay Waldvogel – 65 minutes

"From Fibers to Fieldwork" – Nao Nomura – 51 minutes - describes the use of fiber analysis and fieldwork techniques to more closely determine quilt provenance.

"Patchwork and Quilting in the UK" by Dr. Sue Marks – 45 minutes - lectures regarding art and design history, particularly the divisions that occur within the arts and crafts, and feminist debate.

"Quilt Surface Design Symposium: Incubating the Innovative Quilt" by Michael James – 35 minutes

"The Underground Railroad Quilt Controversy: Looking for the 'Truth' by Laurel Horton- 44 minutes

WeaveCast: A Podcast for Handweavers – list of all episodes Transcripts of select episodes also are available:

Melanie Testa – Textile Artist & Fabric Designer – In this 70 minute podcast, Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood interviews Melanie as she talks in-depth about her life, how she got into the field of textile art, the decision points about her art, her techniques, her struggles along the way, and advice.

Denyse Schmidt - Textile Artist – In this 60 minute podcast, Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood interviews Denyse about how she went from being an artist with a day job to working fulltime as an artist living her dream.

Jenny Hart – Embroidery Artist – In this 70 minute podcast, Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood interviews Jenny about bringing embroidery back as an artform.

Susie Hewer – Knitter – in this 30 minute podcast, Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood interviews Susie about her passion for combining her love of knitting with her love of running marathons. Susie is included in the Guiness Book of Records for knitting the longest scarf while running a marathon.

Linda Gass – Quilter - 26 minutes – interviewed about how she “…uses multi-layered quilts to illuminate issues of water management in a state that descends into drought nearly six months out of every year. Linda Gass introduces three new pieces that illustrate the past, present, and - through restoration - the future of saltwater marshes in the San Francisco Bay. “

Justine Dennis – Fiber Sculpture Artist - This is a 17 1/2 minute podcast. “Living in a 200-year-old log cabin near New Haven, Kentucky, Justine tells us about how she creates her whimsical fiber sculptures. She also talks about how a single bag of cotton inspired her to take up sewing and how her creativity has shifted over the past couple of years.”

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Artist Residencies - Part III

Artist Residencies, An Overview - Deanna Wood - This is a great overview and explanation of the various types of artist residencies

Artist-in-Residency Programs - Just click on the state and get a listing of available residency programs

Checklist -TransArtists has developed a pointed list of questions that you should consider when deciding which residency program is best for you. They were specifically developed to assist artists searching for and applying to international programs, but are equally pertinent for programs in your own country:
Motivations - "Many residential art centers have strong reasons for running their program. Therefore you have to think about the reasons why you want to stay and work somewhere else."

Searching and Choosing - questions to consider range from which residency profile will best meet your needs to the important practicalities that have nothing to do with art

Applying - application procedures vary widely - things to keep in mind

Money Check - associated costs of the residency you may not have considered

Artist in Residence at Durham Cathedral

Artist-in-Residence at Philadelphia Cathedral - Episcopal Diocese

Artist-in-Residence strives to make 'art and soul' connection - Trinity Episcopal Church Buffalo, NY

Artist-in-Residence Inspiration from Above - St. Gregory Catholic Church

Young Audiences New York Residency Planning Guide

Japan-US Creative Arts Fellowship, Online Residency Handbook - "...information about the responsibilities of the grant, how the stipend works, tips for getting set up in Japan and other pertinent information to help make the most of your time in Japan."

Other Unusual AIR (Artist in Residence) Programs:

Department of Safety (DoS) in Anacortes, WA

Racine, WI is starting an AIR program in 2009