Monday, July 29, 2013

2013 Alumni Exhibition: Transition

 My Alma mater, the University of Michigan School of Art and Design (now re-named the Penny W. Stamps School of Art and Design, but I have a hard time switching it over in my head) puts on a fantastic exhibit every year inviting its alumni for submissions.
This year's theme was "Transition."  I felt that "In Progress" suited this idea well.  
Here's the write-up for my title card:
In Progress relates to my thought process as I am creating. I get my hands and mind set in progress, a production‐type mode, but then my ideas will spiral off and become distracted from progress. It's how I've come to work, transitioning back and forth from weaving and beading production-mode to being inspired with new ideas.

They always have this exhibit during the Ann Arbor Art Fair, so it was my first stop on my way to hat-shopping.  The exhibit is split between the Art School's Exhibition space WORK on State Street in downtown and the Slusser Gallery on North Campus at the Art School.  I feel that it's an honor to get into WORK, as it is a smaller space and has the most traffic.  I was delighted to see that  my weaving made it to WORK on the main floor toward the back.
Thank you so much to the Art School and Alumni to work so hard to put this show together.  Info on this show is on the Art School's blog is HERE.  This show is wrapping up this weekend, so if you're in Ann Arbor, make sure to stop into both spaces.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Gallery Representation

Recently Art Biz Blog did a post on "Why Artists Should Embrace Galleries" and there was a counterpoint on The Abundant Artist on "Why Artists Should Avoid Gallery Representation."  I posted a rather long comment on Art Big Blog (and a shorter one on The Abundant Artist) in support of Art Galleries and felt that I should do a post on why I love the galleries that are representing my work.

I bounced around to different states for a while after graduating art school.  I was working full-time and it was difficult to dig in and promote myself to galleries (or even have much stock), so the world of gallery representation is somewhat new to me in the past few years.

Grove Gallery
I landed here through some connections and applications.  I was part of the original group that was accepted into this Gallery/Artist's Cooperative.  It has been a long haul and we have shuffled members in and out and has been a great connection to the City of East Lansing.  Gaining understanding what it's like having a local walk-in style gallery has been an eye-opener for all of us.  Helping start up and run Grove Gallery has given me a huge appreciation for galleries and why we pay them a commission.

The major pros for Grove Gallery for me is that I am in there normally at least once a week.  I can move work in and out of there as I please.  I can even open it during closed hours by appointments or friend people in town visiting.  The flexibility is wonderful and also, I have been there for over 5 years now so my clientele knows where I am.

Lansing Art Gallery
I ended up working with Lansing Art Gallery through my application for the Individual Artist's Grant.  I have no idea why I was so nervous to contact LAG. The director is a pleasure to work with and her staff has been/are artists within the community.  Although this Gallery is a mere 4 miles away from Grove Gallery, it gets the downtown "lunch crowd" and is just plain easier for some of my customers to pop in and get a pair of earrings or bracelet while buzzing between meetings.

The quality of exhibits that Lansing Art Gallery brings in it fantastic and they do a wonderful job holding events and working with artists.  Their gallery shop is also filled with local art, of which everyone at the gallery can speak to or get in contact with the artist.  Through LAG I have held an artist's talk about my grant project which included a trunk show of my stock that I had on hand. They have also sent beading repairs my way for their customers and I am a go-to instructor for their Girl Scouts jewelry-badge class. 

This gallery approached me via email in the fall last year for their 2013 season.  I was wary at first, but they had contacted me through my website saying that they were looking for Michigan artists and specifically what pieces they liked on my website.  They were excellent at communicating and I checked out their website and noticed that they did (or had) represented a few fiber artists that I know.  So I asked around and they sounded like a good gallery to work with.  Glen Arbor is a hot summer vacation spot for Michiganders and Synchronicity is only open for that season May-October.  I have never had my work in this area of the state before and I like that I'll have jewelry stock back in my hands just before holiday sales get rolling.

Upon driving up to deliver my work and meet the gallery owners in person, I walked in and had a flash back to some summer in middle or high school.  I had been in this gallery before with my family and I remember being impressed and really enjoying the work.  The owners were wonderful and we had a look around.  I recognized some other Lansing artist's work there and am honored to be represented with such a high quality of artwork.

Angelwood Gallery
I entered 3 of my pieces into a juried show called Fibers577 this year and all three were accepted.  The exhibition held at the 577 Foundation was only for a weekend, then the artists had the option to have their pieces move with the exhibit to Angelwood Gallery in Grand Rapids, OH.  The owner of the Angelwood Gallery sent out a very detailed email to all of the artists, keeping us informed as to how the transfer of work would go, exhibit details and she mentioned that it would still be set up with other artwork with a price point for moving sales.  I replied to her e-mail and offered that my beaded jewelry correlates to my 3-D work that would be in the show if she was interested I could send some more sell-able pieces along to her.

She was excited to have my work in her gallery via email and I did meet her at the private artist's reception for the Fibers577 show.  I love meeting business owners who know the area and are extremely professional.  The owner of Angelwood Gallery was on her game and I'm happy to be supplying my beadwork to her and plan on staying on as a jewelry artist with them.

As I typed out this blog, the most common theme for me being comfortable with working with any gallery or business is communication and organization.  I have had a few situations that were lacking in these qualities, so I make sure to ask as many questions as possible before signing on and expect all of my questions to be answered if they want to represent my artwork.  I also want to meet the owners and people selling my work, and it's fantastic that they're making it easy on me, by approaching me (I'm not as driven to set up meetings and schlep my work around, just to meet with someone who isn't interested or doesn't care to understand what I do).

I just swapped out some jewelry at the Lansing Art Gallery today with Sara.  She organizes a lot with the gallery shop and gave me back pieces that were older, and kept some pieces that people had recently been interested in potentially purchasing. All of these galleries put in a lot of work to display my pieces, connect with me and their other artists.  It's great to have my work out there for people to enjoy rather than sitting around at my studio, waiting for the next exhibit or booth.  My jewelry in particular is meant to be tried on, touched and sparkle under the light of a display cabinet, not sitting in my jewelry box at home.  I'm also happy to report that I received checks from 3 of these 4 galleries for June sales, which I think gives even more credit to the work that these galleries put in.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Spike Bangle

Sometimes I'm searching for an exact color of seed bead which can be hard to order online.  I've had a hard time ordering what I call "cream" or "off white" from Fire Mountain Gems.  They all come in looking pink-ish to me.
So I went down to Findings in Ann Arbor to get some exact color-matches.  That store is like crack for me.  Rows and rows of seed beads, and that is pretty much the only thing I get there.  However, the woman ringing me up asked if I was aware of two new types of beads to hit their store.  The first one was a double-hole small bead, which I'm not that interested in, and then there were these cute little glass spikes.
They reminded me of the days of the Flint Local, punk rock prom and when I used to put spikes on more formal-looking things (I have a spike dress-choker that I made).  Having no clue what i was going to do with them, I purchased some of these copper-y ones and black ones. I just wanted simple, spikes.
My initial thought was to make two tiny bangles and have the spikes "floating" between the two of them.  Much like this style bangle.  I didn't want the spikes to twist around though.  So I made this solid bangle and stitched them on top.  It seemed kind-of boring to me, but since it's been finished, I love to wear it!  This is a smaller bangle and is $75.00.
Look out for some other spike ideas too!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Dark Gold & Cream Beaded Jewelry

We were at a friend's house for a party recently and Graham was going on to someone about the dark gold beaded necklace that I made his mother for Christmas this past year.  It reminded me that I had wanted to do a series of jewelry with that dark gold color seed bead and black, but I never got around to it. 
Lariat Necklace  $260.00

I did use the dark gold with the mint green in some pieces at the beginning of the summer (here's the chevron pendant that has this combo), and I was re-inspired to get that gold out again.

I'm still in summer-mode for color, even though I am beginning to think about holiday, so I decided to go with gold and whites.

Cluster Earrings $75.00

Leaf Clasp Bracelet $85.00
I just set these up at Grove Gallery in the jewelry case.  We have an artist's opening this Sunday (July 14th) for the members show.  As usual, make sure to contact me if you're interested in purchasing something you see here on my blog.  I ship for free in the U.S.!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Old is New Again at Grove Gallery, Summer Hours

Summertime can be a bit slow over at Grove Gallery.  With people in and out of town all summer there is a lack of coverage so we have changed our hours for July and August. New hours are:
Monday-Wednesday CLOSED
Thursday-Friday: 12:00-6:00 PM
Saturday-Sunday: 12:00-4:00 PM
We were closed this past week, I think everyone was out of town for the extra long 4th of July weekend. I usually cover Tuesdays, so I'm switching over to Thursday coverage if you're looking to track me down.  I have a few Thursdays already booked, but for the most part, I'll be there.

I also have dug out two of my older weavings (above) that I did in college.  We have the Grove Member's Exhibit up for the next two months so I thought it might be nice to bring them out of storage since they have never been shown at Grove before. They feel almost new again to me since I've not seen much of them. 
We look forward to seeing you wander in this summer!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Layers 1


Layers 1 is the last weaving coming off of the loom that I have been weaving on since I graduated college in 2004.  It's been a good loom, especially for all of the moving because despite it's large size, it tears down into reasonable sized pieces.

"In Progress" was to be the final piece on this loom, but in order to get it done in time for my March exhibit deadline, I made it 2/3 the original size and I had left on my loom a nice double weave warp.  One black warp, one grey.

The image for Layers 1 sprouted from doodling at a meeting at the Arts Council with other Chris Clark Fellowship Grantees.  My pen wandered while others talked about their grant experiences.  I was thinking of onions for some reason, and the way they layer together.  I then scanned in the doodle and started playing with parts of it that I liked. I added the beaded edging again onto this weaving too.  I'm pretty satisfied how it turned out. I apologize for the lousy photos, I still need to steam this piece and pull the knots in between the fabric to hide them.  I was just so excited to get it done!  Layers 1 is smaller than what I have been weaving lately at 19 inches wide and 22 inches long.

You'll probably see more of this pattern showing up in some of my designs, it feels fresh and different for me.  I did a little video of me weaving this piece. If you haven't seen it yet, check it out HERE.

Weaving and Life Update

I'm close to the end of my "Yes And" weaving commission. I can see the end of the cartoon and the warp. I was on a roll weavin...