It's been a while.....

...since i have posted. I have thought about posting... but would rather take the time to play with fabric and fiber and clay. 

In a previous life I was the director of an early learning program for children aged 6 weeks to school age. The school was child centered and when it came to art experiences we worked very hard to educate the parents that it was all about the process, not about the finished product. The children were all successful when engaged in their art if there was no perfect ideal to hold their work up to in judgement. So a blank canvas was just that. There were no lines to stay within. No correct colors to use. No time limit for completion. Each work was magnificent, even if it was just scratches on a piece of paper, if the child was engaged in the process. 

As an adult, I try to channel that feeling of limitless ability and non judgement, with mixed success. I try to get back into that mindset where everything is possible because children have not learned that there are limitations, that there are requirements for excellence and that there are deadlines...Oh my! However... I do enjoy a challenge, and I have been having a great year.

I'll be picking up my piece, Wilma, from the Florida in Fabric II exhibit at the Ruth Funk Center at FIT in Florida this week. It was a well received and well attended show in a really excellent venue. I also have two pieces that will be seen in Houston at the International Quilt Show this Fall. One in the Special exhibit Tactile Architecture and the other in the special exhibit Home. I have 2 pieces to pack and ship to the Jacksonville quilt show this week. I have two other pieces that have been juried in to the Piecing Together a Changing Planet Exhibit which will open in Homestead in December and travel for two years.

Like I said, I have been having a really good year. As an adult it seems that i enjoy being challenged to study a subject and create my interpretation of that idea in fabric and textiles. I can't help but wonder what i will accomplish next. When the idea comes to me it consumes me and I have to get it done. I have to tear through my fabric stash and paint and print those pieces I will need. It really does border on obsession, or is it just single-mindedness? My studio resembles the aftermath of a violent windstorm with fabric and fibers strewn about. But I have an inner calm that just keeps moving to solve the problem of how to show what is in my head on my canvas... on my quilt, my fiber art piece.

Is this how it is for you too? Are you also consumed with the need to express yourself?

 

 

 

Bromeliads in Bloom

Bromeliads in Bloom detail

Bromeliads in Bloom detail

Wilma

Wilma

Detail from Denial.... Piecing together a Changing Planet

Detail from Denial.... Piecing together a Changing Planet

Focus on Fiber - Florida Style

Yes… this is the sign that greets you! You just  know you are in for a great time!

Yes… this is the sign that greets you! You just  know you are in for a great time!

Susan demonstrating her fabric painting technique.

Susan demonstrating her fabric painting technique.

Susan Shie's art posted on the classroom walls

Susan Shie's art posted on the classroom walls

The classes were only part of the experience. We each had a private room with a bath. Chef Tom prepared 3 meals a day for us. We got to sit and mingle during meals. And… after class time we got together to talk, drink wine, share stories and experiences. Each of the teachers shared their skills by giving an informal presentation to whomever was interested.

I've taken classes from a few really great quilt artists, but it took Focus on Fabric to allow me to feel like an artist. To feel like I belong. I hope to be able to return next year, and to stay for the retreat!

I will post pictures of my finished projects when I finally get them done!

I

Each year Mary McBride hosts a retreat for fiber artists at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna Beach Florida. I'd heard of the amazing synergy between creative minds, artistic skills and free spirits that spontaneously happens. This year, the incredible Susan Shie was one of the teachers. Susan Shie! And I sooo wanted to take a class with her that when I heard there was an opening I did the Happy dance and sent my deposit in! Of course that now meant I was committed and I could not take a class with Susan Lenz, or The Pixieladies, or Marianne Williamson, or Wendy Smith Wood. All classes that were equally enticing.

There were only 10 of us in the class. 10 Very unique and creative individuals. (I guess i have lumped myself in that category. I totally felt like an artist during my stay there.) Susan was a wonderful person, an impassioned teacher and a willing life coach! She shared without holding back and made sure that we understood the potential hazards of the materials (heat set paint). We practiced a journaling time to center us and to release us from our inner critics. Then we were off… painting, adding text, using the paint pen. Our 10 very unique efforts were just amazing!

Susan Rienzo with a work in progress using Susan Shie's approach

Susan Rienzo with a work in progress using Susan Shie's approach


Seaside Piecemaker's Quilt Show

I'm coming down off of the high from the quilt show this past weekend. It was a very busy 3 days hanging the exhibit for Dirty Dozen Fiber Artists and displaying the Free Spirit Art Dolls. Of course there were also the over 200 quilts in the exhibit to see!

Surprised, flabbergasted, amazed! My quilt was hanging right up front next to the Best of Show quilt. What I thought was a consolation prize turned out to be quite an honor. Where's Mickey won Judge's Choice! One of my pieces in the show, The Florida Alphabet, had viewers quite engaged reading the words to the song and figuring out all the Florida images.

                                      Jazz Club

                                      Jazz Club


               Where's Mickey won Judge's Choice

               Where's Mickey won Judge's Choice

The Dirty Dozen Fiber Artist's exhibit was featured up on the stage. The more than 20 art quilts provided a colorful focal point and drew small crowds to visit the exhibit. I secretly enjoyed watching the viewers as they walked up to a piece, studied it and then leaned in closer to really examine it. Then they would back up and view the piece as a whole again before moving on.

Ellen Lindner's piece, Caring (which I failed to photograph) evoked strong emotions in many viewers. Susan Rienzo's colorful strata pieces and Ruthanne Parker's abstracts attracted a lot of notice. All the pieces really complimented each other and created a dynamic display. All in all….a very successful exhibit.