Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Emergency Assistance for Artists Affected by New England Flooding

The Craft Emergency Relief Fund (CERF) has issued assistance information
for professional craft artists affected by the flooding disaster occuring in New England:

Important Disaster Relief info for Craft Artists -From CERF

From the Craft Emergency Relief Fund:

CERF would like to make sure that any professional craft artist who has been seriously affected by the flooding is aware of the disaster relief assistance available from CERF.

If, as a craft artist, you have suffered loss, please contact us when able. If, as an arts organization representative, you know of craft artists in the flood area, or plan to correspond with your artist constituents in the near future, please pass this information on. If there are organizations that directly work with artists in your community that you think we should know about, please send us their contact information.

CERF’s programs include:

* Grants up to $1,500;
* Loans up to $8,000;
* Booth fee waivers at craft shows;
* Discounts on materials and equipment from suppliers and manufacturers;
* Assistance with business development through referrals to consultants and other low or no-cost resources

For eligibility requirements and more detailed information, please click here or contact us at:

Craft Emergency Relief Fund (CERF)
PO Box 838
Montpelier, VT 05601

ph: (802) 229-2306
fx: (802) 223-6484

Monday, March 29, 2010

Conceptual Textiles: Woven and Embroidered Concrete

A process has been developed that fuses textiles with cement.

The process produces a surface with strong visual and tactile appeal. 

A variety of technologies make available extensive variations of color, pattern and design.
This definitely takes the idea of  "textile" to a whole 'nother level!

Woven and Embroidered Concrete

Making Hard Surfaces Soft

Friday, March 26, 2010

Supporting Individual Artists

Grants for individual artists unfortunately are few and far between and access to those is usually restricted because of the application/nomination process and/or geographical requirements.

The current issue of the GIAreader (a publication of Grantmakers in the Arts) includes a very interesting article on this subject by Claire Peeps, president of the Durfee Foundation - "Supporting Individual Artists: Ten Years, Ten Lessons". Since 2000, the Durfee Foundation's ARC (Artists' Resource for Completion) program has provided 475 small grants (up to $3,500 each) for artists living in Los Angeles. The article focuses on 10 lessons the foundation has learned about the grantmaking process. They include:
  1. Artists would rather receive a grant by application than by nomination - "...artists are their own agents, in most senses of the word, so an artist's desire to make the case on his or her own behalf is logical."
  2. Artists don't want to be categorized by discipline or career level - "Taken with artists' preference for open application processes, it seems like we funders have some work to do, from a customer service perspective."
  3. Small grants are like stepping stones - "Artists need small grants to get from one place to another, at all levels of their careers."
  4. Ease of application and quick turnaround are highly valued - "The Durfee ARC application is short and relatively simple...Even so, it surprised us to learn that it takes artists, on average, three to five hours to complete it..."
  5. Funding is needed at all levels of artistic development - "Over the years, we've contemplated whether the ARC program should serve only emerging artist...Based on the results of the survey, we've rejected the idea."
  6. Artists support artists - "Nearly half of the artists surveyed used a substantial portion of their grant (46%) to hire other artists as collaborators."
  7. Grants encourage artistic risk-taking - "63% of ARC recipients said that the small grant enabled them to take risks that they wouldn't have otherwise."
  8. Local giving builds community and keeps it current - "While only artists living in Los Angeles can apply for a Durfee grant, their presenting opportunities can be anywhere in the world...On a related front, 83% of artists surveyed reported that a sense of community is an important factor in keeping them in Los Angeles."
  9. Artists make great panelists - " accomplished artist [said]...reading the applications was extremely illuminating on several fronts: it gave me a better sense of some of the work going on in L.A.; it highlighted what is effective and less effective in a proposal; it further sensitized me to the difficulties of making and showing work; it helped me to more clearly articulae my perspectives and opions...I also found it useful and fascinating to learn about the process of thinking and selection specific to a foundation..."
    NOTE: From personal experience, I can second those thoughts. I have been very fortunate to be asked to serve on major ($50,000 grant) and minor ($5,000 grant) panels including United States Artists, Bush Foundation and Mississippi Arts Commission. Being a panelist is truly an eye-opening experience - its also very hard but immensely satisfying work.
  10. Optimism matters - "Artists make more art and better art if they feel optimistic, because they're more likely to take risks.".
A direct link to the full article is available. I encourage you to read it in full.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Quilts: 1700-2010

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London has just opened its first exhibition of British quilts to rave reviews. The 65 pieces on view span 300 years and include new works specifically commissioned for the exhibit by contemporary artists.

Although most of us won't be able to travel to Great Britain to view it in person, there are still resources available to us online:
  • Quilts: 1700-2010 About the Exhibition - "The exhibition [is] presented chronologically and thematically...[with] contemporary works...woven throughout following the themes: 'The Domestic Landscape', 'Private Thoughts, Public Debates', 'British Eccentricity', ' Making a Living' and 'Memory and Memorial'. Together the quilts document love, marriage, births, deaths, periods of intense patriotic fervour, regional and national identity and developments in taste and fashion."
  • Quilts: 1700-2010 Exhibition Curator's Blog - This is a fascinating journal that allows us to be a "fly on the wall". It "...chart[s] the progress of the exhibition, providing an unique 'behind the scenes' look at a process which is both complex and challenging." Whether you start from the beginning or work your way through it backwards, you'll enjoy reading it.
  • Quilts: 1700-2010 Videos - Along with the exhibition trailer, there are videos featuring the contemporary artists (Jo Budd, Caren Garfen, Diana Harrison and Susan Stockwell) discussing the pieces they created for the exhibition.
  • Quilt of Quilts: Share your quilt's story with the world - This is an online exhibit of quilt pictures that anyone around the world can contribute to by uploading a picture of their quilt. It includes the ability for you to "Share your quilt's story and tell the world what it means to you. Your quilt can be commented on and rated by other site visitors."

    NOTE: In light of the copyright issues we have been considering recently, you may want to consider this carefully before doing it.

  • Quilts and Quilting - The Strand, the BBC's  daily show on arts, culture and entertainment aired a 13-minute segment about how "...this artfrom has often taken it's inspiration from hardships and injustice." It includes interviews with the exhibit curator and with Gwendolyn Magee (me).

  • Bloggers - A number of British bloggers were invited to a press preview. Sandra Wyman was one and has written a great report on her blog (with many pictures). Over the next week she intends to post at least two other segments to her blog.
    Sandra Wyman, The Dyers Hand Blog

Monday, March 22, 2010

Conceptual Textiles: Lace in Translation

     Lace Fence, Close-Up, Demarkersvan, 2009

     1000 Gallon Oil Tank, Cal Lane 2009

Lace In Translation - This exhibit is a collaboration between 3 art/design teams to create site-specific works using designs from the Quaker Lace Company collection as inspiration. They reinterpreted the textile based designs using industrial materials and tools. (Be sure to click on the 'Video and Images' link at the top of the page to view a 12:38 minute documentary)

Note: The exhibit is on view through April 3, 2010 at The Design Center at Philadelphia University

Friday, March 19, 2010

Textile Related Podcasts - Part 2

Textile Related Podcasts – Part 1

Jeanne Williamson - 29:34 minute interview - WICN Public Radio - In 1999 Jeanne decided to expand the limits of her understanding of her art, by making one small quilt a week for the entire year. This process encouraged her to think outside the box of how quilts can be made and what they can be made from and changed forever her concept of quilting. Materials like plastic fruit bags, dryer lint, coffee filters, coins and even stones all were incorporated into an amazing series of visually intriguing quilted works, many wonderful works of abstract art.

Sonya Clark - 10/12/2008 25 minute Interview - Museum of Contemporary Craft - Namita Gupta Wiggers, curator at Museum of Contemporary Craft, talks with Manuf®actured artist Sonya Clark about her recent series of work using combs, hairdressing as a primordial fiber art, and the social and historical significance of the black plastic fine toothed comb. Includes an informal Q & A with museum visitors.

Glenn Adamsom - 2/21/09 - 1 1/2 hour lecture - Craft in the 21st Century: Directions and Displacements - Museum of Contemporary Craft - Adamson is one of the most dynamic theorists currently considering craft. A leading force in the development of an academic framework for craft, he is hailed by writer and historian Garth Clark as one of craft’s fresh, young, nontraditional voices. Adamson dispenses with clich├ęd approaches to craft theory, posing such questions as: Is craft truly a subcategory of art, or rather its antithesis, challenging art’s most fundamental values? Why is craft perceived as subservient to art? Could craft’s orphaned status actually be its great strength? Framing his discussion broadly throughout contemporary aesthetic culture, Adamson provides ripe context for a range of visual practitioners including fine artists, designers, architects, historians and indie crafters.

The Changing Dynamics of Craft and Design - 4/9/2009 - Panelists include Andrew Wagner, editor in chief of American Craft magazine; Namita Gupta Wiggers, Curator Museum of Contemporary Craft; JP Reuer, Chair of the MFA in Applied Craft and Design program, offered jointly by Oregon College of Art and Craft (OCAC) and Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA); and Karl Burkheimer, OCAC Wood Department Head. Moderated by Tim DuRoche, Community Program Manager at Portland Center Stage.

Garth Clark - How Envy Killed the Craft Movement: An Autopsy in Two Parts - 10/16/2008 - Garth Clark presents his first lecture on the craft field as a whole - and his first public lecture in years. Clark is a leading international writer on modern and contemporary ceramics today - a provocative, controversial but deeply informed voice. In this two-part program, Clark will analyze the current state of American Craft, then invite the audience to join him in an examination of how aesthetics, economics and art-envy have "killed" this 20th century movement.
Part I -

Part II -
Lynn Mclure – In this 21 minute podcast, Lynn is interviewed at Penland by Steve Miller about how she integrates her textile art with her book art.

"Modern Materials: The Art of the Quilt" - 29 minute podcast Interview with Jill Rumoshosky Werner

Maiwa Textile Symposiums:

     African Textiles: The Heart of the Yoruba
  • PART 1 - In this lecture master craftsman Gasali Adeyemo opens the evening with a description of his early life in Nigeria and tells how fibre art came into his life. As a participant of the Nike Centre for Arts and Culture, both as a student and later as a teacher, Gasali encountered a range of traditional crafts. He gives a description of the famous adire techniques and illustrates how they relate to Yoruba culture.
  • PART 2 – In this lecture master craftsman Gasali Adeyemo fields questions from the audience about traditional techniques and about working in Africa and Santa Fe. Gasali concludes with a story about the role of clothing and cloth in life.  
     The Cotton Road 
  • PART 1 - In part one Rosemary Crill describes the scope and range of India's trade, its historic beginnings and describes in detail the commerce with the countries in the east.
  • PART 2 - In part two Rosemary Crill explores India's cotton trade with the west. Printed cotton known as "chintz" changed the very fabric of life itself - especially in the British Commonwealth.
  • PART 3 - In part three Rosemary Crill explores India's trade with the west as the focus shifted from printed cottons to muslins and Kashmir shawls. She concludes her lecture by answering some questions from the audience.
     Masters of the Art: The Khatri Blockprinters of Dhamadka and Ajrakhpur

  • PART 1 - Ajrakh has become the signature cloth of the Khatris. It is a cotton textile traditionally dyed with indigo and madder, and printed on both sides with complex geometric and floral patterns using hand-carved wooden blocks. There are between 14 and 16 individual stages of preparation, printing, and dyeing. The process can take 15–21 days to complete.

  • PART 2 - After the formal presentation the evening was opened up for questions from the audience. The questions explored trade patterns, the technique and culture of blockcutting, how the excavated textiles from Fustat, Egypt have found their way back into contemporary Ajrakh designs, tradition and the future of the art.  
London’s Enterprise Centre for the Creative Arts – “Choosing to make your career as a fine artist is a notoriously difficult path to follow. Income can be unpredictable and sourcing funding can be a minefield. Knowing how much to charge and how to work with funders, curators and galleries are vital skills for survival. This podcast brings together an artist, a collector and a specialist artist's advisor to uncover practical advice on how to make money and working with others within the fine art world.”

The Arts Now Podcast #26 - 18 minute conversation with curators of the Big Fibre, Little Fibre exhibit about how the featured textile artists are bringing sexy back and proving that textile art is just as edgy and relevant as all contemporary art forms.

Bonnie McCaffery provides access to the amazing list of podcast & Vidcast interviews she has conducted with textile artists

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Labor of Creativity: Women's Work, Quilting, and the Uncommodified Life

Thank you so much for the outpouring of support that Kimberly Shaw has received about her copyright violation issue. She has responded with heartfelt thanks on her blog. She also asks if anyone (fabric designers in particular) can help with the answer to two questions:

I am dumbfounded about how artists whose work is textile related continue to be "dissed" with little thought about any consequences. This is a much larger issue than I was aware of before Kimberly's problem came to light. I knew about Paula Nadelstern's and Faith Ringgold's copyright infringement lawsuits, but now have discovered that there have been others...and there is no telling how many violations will remain hidden and/or unchallenged.

In musing about this, I think gender has a lot has to do with it - after all, we for the most part are "only women" and so don't really count, for whom respect for our work doesn't have to be paid, or who are highly unlikely to have the financial resources or determination to pursue justice. Another factor unfortunately seems to be that often we don't have the kind of respect we should for our own work and feel that its so non-consequential that copyright really doesn't apply.

Debora J Halbart is an assistant professor at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa. In 2009 she published a seminal article on this in Volume 3 of the Journal of Transformative Works and Culture (originally presented as a paper at the American University Washington College of Law conference on Gender and Intellectual Property in 2008). Following is the abstract:
"Quilting is an area of creative work rich in tradition that demonstrates how ideas and inspiration flow between quilters as they share with each other, move to new parts of the country, and develop their own designs. While commercial patterns have been copyrighted, quilting has generally existed under the radar of copyright law, primarily because quilts are most often exchanged within a gift economy. However, as quilting becomes big business and patterns and pattern books are more centrally located in quilting culture, issues associated with copyright protection emerge. This article investigates the relationship between copyright law, innovation, and sharing as it is understood by quilters who responded to an online questionnaire. Survey participants feel that quilting is a creative activity in which copyright plays a very small role, except when it restricts the actions of quilters. The survey suggests that respondents see quilting as creating a connection between themselves, their families, and their communities. Their creative work, in other words, is a gift they want to share, not a product they want to sell."

In this article, Debora details the history of quilting in the US and cites the details of case after case of quilt artist copyright infringement, including that of Kathleen Bissett's 2004 lawsuit against the Central Canada Quilt Exhibition, the 2006 suit of Paula Nadelstern against the Hilton Hotel, Faith Ringgold's suit against the BET television network, and the 2001 case of Judi Boisson for the illegal reproduction and sale of her quilt designs.

This article is fascinating, detailed, and very readable (no unintelligible jargon). Please read it at your leisure. You will be truly enlightened and very glad that you did.

Citations at the end of the article provide links to additional information and resources.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Copyright Infringement by Fabric Company???

Kimberly Shaw is an artist who designs and sells greeting cards primarily featuring teacup and teapot themes. Last year she was flabbergasted when a customer said she had just bought fabric (Victoria's Tea Room) that she recognized as being created from Kimberly's designs and congratulated her on being able to license it. Kimberly had not.

Fabri-Quilt, the company in question, has refused to acknowledge any infringement. Read Kimberly's account, compare her artwork (she provides many examples) to the fabric in question. Think about whether this could happen to you...

You may also want to revisit an earlier post about a free e-book:

Friday, March 12, 2010

Tax Preparation and Planning for Visual Artists

Its that time of the year again - sigh.
The last time information about tax information for visual artists was posted to this blog was three years ago. Its time for an update and access to some additional information. A few resources for some international artists have also been found.

Also: Don't forget to check with your state and local arts organizations - at this time of year they often have free or very low cost tax workshops available that are designed to meet the specific needs of artists.

TAXATION AND TAX DEDUCTIONS FOR THE SELF-EMPLOYED VISUAL ARTIST - Peter Jason Riley, CPA (senior partner of the CPA Firm of Riley & Associates, PC) - This is still a fantastic resource!
          1.  Expense Checklist for Visual Artists
               PDF version:
               Excel Worksheet version:

         2.  Income Worksheet for Visual Artists
              PDF version:
              Excel Worksheet version:

         3.  12 Month Expense Worksheet for Visual Artists
              Excel Worksheet format:

       How to Deduct Your Home Office and/or Studio
       Self-Employment Tax Basics  
       Glossary of Tax, Business, & Financial Terms Written in Plain English
       Hobby or Business...Is Being an Artist a Business?
Peter Jason Riley's book (2010 Edition), The New Tax Guide for Writers, Artists, Performers and Other Creative People is available. Full information about it can be found on the following link:
NOTE: I have no affiliation
BARTERING - Have you been thinking about doing this as a way to get around income taxes?
Bartering Art? Don't Forget the Tax Man

Do You Trade or Barter? Don't Mess with the IRS - Excepted from Artist Trust's Journal - Heather Joy Helbach-Olds 

 Record Keeping for Business Barter Transactions - IRS Publication 

Filing for Artists - Stephen J. Drahos - "This article will explain the various types of taxes affecting an artist and give some general guidelines on certain pitfalls to avoid." 

Taxation of the Visual and Performing Artist 2009 - Michele M Stanton, CPA - Prepared for TALA (Texas Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts)

Possible Allowable Business Deductions for Visual Artists - Visual Art Exchange

Tips for Doing Your Taxes: Is Your Art a Business? - Visual Art Exchange handout based on a lecture by Alex Lehmann as part of their Business of Being an Artist series

Artist Stiffed by Gallery Wants Tax Write-off - George Saenz, CPA


Tax Policies for Visual Artists in Canada

Visual Arts (Canadian) Tax and Business Information

Revenue, Irish Tax and Customs: Artists Exemption 
          Artefacts: the Arts and Tax [Australia] - A practical tax workbook that is designed to assist artists and arts organisations with the tax system 

Monday, March 8, 2010

Textile Design Exercise

The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising has made available online one of their admission entrance requirement projects. You are asked to:

"Imagine you are a Textile Designer who has been asked to present a three-part design portfolio for a possible design position with a major company."

You are then required to submit three design projects that are categorized as follows:
  1. Basic Design Project for which you have to make a creative design using only a circle, a square and a triangle;
  2. Fabric Design Project for which a repeating pattern is required for apparel wear; and 
  3. Design Modification Project for which you have to take a small swatch of fabric and show how you would update it.
What would your submissions be?

Textile Design Exercise

Friday, March 5, 2010

Photographer Claiming Copyright - How to Prevent

Quilts, Photographs and Galleries - Paul Sugden - This article was written for The Australian Forum for Textile Arts. In it, Sugden discusses an issue that arose with a photographer who was hired by a gallery to take photos of an exhibit. The photographer susequently published the photos of the quilter's artwork on his own website, claiming he had copyright of the photos.

Sugden provides a clause that artists should require to be inserted in any contract that a gallery or other venue has with a photographer. NOTE: artists could also amend it for insertion in the general publicity permission statement they sign with venues for exhibitions.

Monday, March 1, 2010

100 Ideas

The last post featured a humorous survival kit Keri Smith designed for artists to use if/whenever discouragement sets in. Keri has also come up with a list of 100 ideas we can use to get our creative juices flowing when having one of those "dry" spells.