Wednesday, July 11, 2018

"Adrift" Less Adrift

When I was cutting out leaves from a batik fabric to add to "Float", I was reminded that one of the reasons I abandoned work on "Adrift" was not just the unproductive dithering I'd been doing on leaf and grass placements, but also the realization that I would need to fuse more batiks together and cut out more leaves from them. That may sound like a silly little reason, but the fussy cutting already had taken its toll and I found I couldn't face fusing and cutting out more. But the leaf cutting for "Float" was going so well, so easily, the placement of leaves also, that it gave me renewed energy and confidence for completing "Adrift" at last. In the time since I'd last had it out (over 2 years ago), I'd also been keeping an eye out for branch placement in other artwork and photos, setting aside both photos on-line and in my own reference files as well as ones in magazines and books on hand. By the time I opened it out to work on it last week, I had a better idea in my head of how the branches formed from leaves should be placed and angled. Lots of rearranging and additional leaves cut and added got me to a point where I could say, "good enough; it doesn't have to be 100% accurate." I'd also been mulling forever how those leaves would be attached and couldn't come up with a workable way to stitch them down. In another rare for me "I don't care" moment, I simply glued them in place with Fabri-Tac, an adhesive I've used often and which has never failed me. The leaves were always meant to have the edges free so just a dab of glue in the center and along stems was all that was needed. The old me would be appalled at this, I admitted to myself; the older, tireder, and less rigid me was glad for the quick and easy application.

Once that was done, it was easier to see how the various yarns for the grasses needed to be laid out, how far up on the right and how much of a slant as they progress across the bottom. I'd spent a fair amount of time trying to figure out how best to attach them too when it dawned on me I could hand couch them. It gives me the control I need and the option of how much if any of the couched thread I wish to leave exposed, and I can quickly change from one color to the next as I work my way across. When I took this photo, the yarns were just clinging to the top naturally, but I could see that wouldn't do for long. Back to gluing, this time with Roxanne's Glue baste in a few spots along each strand, enough to hold everything in place until I can couch it down. All these processes are slow ones, but I don't mind. As long as I keep working steadily, I will make the exhibit deadline a short week away.

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Remembering My Music Man

My talented husband, second from the right
It's that time again, the anniversary of my husband's death and a time to pause and remember. Have I already told you that we met at college after I decided to join the Jazz Band our junior year? I don't know what possessed me to answer the call in the student bulletin for a saxophone player, and I tried to talk the conductor out of accepting me (don't own an instrument, never played jazz), but he poo pooed all my excuses and before I knew it, I had a school sax and a folder of music to brush up on before the first rehearsal. My time in the jazz band turned out to be the highlight of my college experiences, even if Allen had not decided to set his sights on me and eventually propose.

Love this shot of him (on the right) where he's counting off his rests

Truth be told, I actually had my sights set on two trombone players in the band, and did my best to chase both of them down, including a sneaky setup during a bus tour to ride with one on the first leg of the trip and the other one on the return trip (More than one bus to hold us all made this possible.). Imagine my irritation when this other guy (who I'd noticed joining whatever group I happened to be engaging with and who I'd pointedly been ignoring) boarded the bus, asked if the seat next to me was taken and when told it was, replied, "Too bad" and promptly sat down in it. The start of a beautiful relationship? Not exactly, as once we got back to campus, I continued my chasing of the trombone players while he continued his chasing of me. Eventually he caught up with me, and I discovered what an interesting and talented person he was (not to mention the fact that he appeared to love me and had similar life goals to mine). He won me over and we married shortly after graduation.

I tell this story because of someone who unexpectedly showed up at the ArtWalk reception. That's Shelleye in the above photo who was in the symphonic band at college and thus was on those band tours with the jazz group, some members who, like Allen, also played in the symphonic band. Shelleye tracked me down on Facebook a few years ago and frankly, I didn't have much of a recollection of her. I think she knew me more through Allen who she would have known better. That did not deter her though from becoming a fun Facebook friend, and thus I soon learned that although she was living in the southern part of the state, her hometown and her parents were just 30 minutes or so north of me. She even managed to strike up a conversation on an airport shuttle with one of my art group members. But she and me getting together? We just hadn't made it work in spite of her frequent trips north.

Me, the purple dress and the borrowed sax

Until Friday night and the reception. Oh, how wonderful it was to talk to her in person! She is as fun as she looks in photo (and a quilter too!). And before long, we were telling college stories about the band (and the questionable purple dresses we had to wear) and Allen and how, unbeknownst to me, everybody BUT me apparently knew Allen had his sights set on me. Slightly embarrassing that, but after we'd both gone home, I realized what a gift it was to have Shelleye show up at the reception, so close to this oft difficult anniversary. I have fewer opportunities as the years go by to reminisce with people who actually knew Allen. Certainly none of the friends I've made here knew him. So it was very special to see Shelleye after all these years and hear some things about those college days I was unaware of. Thanks Shelleye!

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

The Reception

Horrible lighting for photos, great lighting for viewing
Road construction, detours and frequent showers be damned, Sandpoint art patrons came out in full force for the ArtWalk opening receptions last Friday. I discovered that my pieces were hung at the end of the second floor of the Cedar Street Bridge in POAC's office. Sway was the one chosen to hang at a separate location with other representational artwork of artists exhibiting at the bridge. These remaining three made a nice grouping in this little corner space. I was pleased. And I was a bit surprised at some of the superlatives used in reaction to these. Fracture has been out before, maybe more than once (I lose track), but I don't remember it garnering the high praise it got this time round (stunning, exquisite, oh my!). It's always interesting to get others' take on a piece and one man who is a native but now runs a shop in Japan said it had a Japanese feel to it, high praise indeed in my mind. Of course, there were many noses close to Leaf Cluster VIII studying that garnet stitching, then looking over at me with either a look of disbelief (You must be crazy! Yes, just a bit!) or a nod of approval that all that stitching was worth it to get that kind of background texture. And then there was the man who confided that Float reminded him of a tarot card and took the time to point out why. I'm not overly familiar with Tarot cards but I could see his point.

There's not a great deal of wall space in this office but the windows looking out onto the walkway allow visitors to peek in at the art even when the office is closed. These sculptures are by Patrice Webb. It's a good location for fiber pieces as even with the windows, it doesn't not receive any direct sunlight. I didn't have a chance to check out the exhibit beforehand and no time to take pictures during the reception so you will have to wait to see the rest of the art at this location and the physical attributes of the bridge. POAC was able to take over several empty storefronts along the length of the bridge so visitors were treated to several "galleries" as they traversed the walkway as well as some pieces hung on wall space along the walkway. A challenging but effective space for exhibiting.

Back to the office space, besides my pieces and the sculpture, one of my art group members, Terrie, also had quilts there. She displayed four original designs that she has patterned either for individual sale or have been published in one of her books. The realistic nature themes always go over well here - more than one man stopped to take in the fishing one, pointing to the details that make it so special. Click on the photo for a large view to see those details. Rounding out the selection were four photographs of local birds and flowers. The Cedar Waxwing got the most comments. All of us seemed to have a story about encounters with that bird.

Once again, it was great to see so many people come out to view the art and interact with the artists. Such positive feedback as I received has me once again feeling I'm on the right track with my current little obsession with leaves.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

ArtWalk 2018

"Sway" - 17-1/2 x 39" - Sheila Mahanke Barnes ©2018
ArtWalk officially opens tomorrow with receptions, music, and ART at many locations throughout downtown Sandpoint. My work is at a new location, The Cedar Street Bridge, and I have yet to stop by to see how everything looks, just taking it on faith I guess. It is a more awkward location in terms of accessibility since it does not have its own parking lot like the bank where I'd displayed in previous years, and of course, there is street work going on just a block away making it challenging for even the locals to navigate, but there is hope that this will not deter the loyal crowds who always come out for this event.

I don't think I've shown you Sway in its finished state. I think of it as my showcase piece of the four that will be on display. You've seen the others: Leaf Cluster VIII, Float, and Fracture. If you live in the area, I hope you will stop by my location and say hello!