Saturday, October 31, 2009

I am currently visiting my family in Kinston, NC, a small town in eastern NC dotted with tobacco fields and stands of tall pines.
I spent every summer here on my grandparent's tobacco farm when I was growing up.
I loved the long, hot lazy summers on the farm: sitting on my grandmother's wrap around porch sharing ice cream cones with the hounds, hoeing endless rows of green beans, hauling irrigation pipes, eating ice cold watermelon cooled down in big washtubs of ice after a day in the fields, getting library books from the Book Mobile that came by once a week and parked in the field by the train tracks, sleeping at nights under the tin roof crackling from the heat.
While walking around the farm taking photos I realized where my love of old things came from, especially my love of all things with the patina of age. It was startling to realize that much of the imagery I use can be directly traced to the farm: cool round eggs gathered every morning from the hens, crows scavenging in the mown fields, thorny vines from my grandmother's flower gardens.
Below are some images taken around the farm:

  my grandfather's Ford truck

a side barn filled with old hand tools and oxen traces

my grandfather's favorite tractor

the cart that used to haul burlap sacks of cured tobacco leaves

the pond on the back of the farm

When a Tree Dreams

it is of eggs—
robin’s, dove’s—
the gentle cradling,
the perfect fit
of bluestem straw,
alder sprig, mud,  
down, hair, in its wind-
strong cup of sky-
reaching branches. 

it is of pages—
pages, papers,
sheaves of books,
language unlocked
fiber by fiber, 
leaves unfolding,
stories told
in the turning,
swelling rings.

it is of pining—
desire, a delicate
grieving, a mournful
rustling, a restless
resignation and
the puzzlement— 
the twig-thin
tug between this world
and the next.
-DJ  Gaskin

Sunday was the opening for Poetic Art, an art exhibition at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, VA in which I had a piece that I did in collaboration with my favorite poet, DJ Gaskin.
The exhibition is a  benefit to raise money for The Yellow Ribbon Fund and to honor Scott Kirkpatrick, a soldier who was an award-winning poet and the son of Marti Kirkpatrick, the exhibitions director of the Workhouse.  It was a very touching event, as each of the poets read their poems and many by Scott were read.

My piece was a response to the poem When a Tree Dreams by my dear friend DJ Gaskin. It was such an honor to be invited and to have a chance to finally collaborate with DJ, whose poetry with its haunting and lyrical imagery really resonates with me. To read more of her work please click HERE

Exhibition: Poetic Art October 21 - November 20

Poetic Art: a benefit for the Yellow Ribbon Fund, a nonprofit organization created in early 2005 to assist our wounded soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan, and their families, while they recuperate at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the National Naval Medical Center. 

The exhibition will be held on the second floor of Gallery W-16 featuring both professional and amateur poets and artists working in collaboration to produce Poetic Art. The work of art will inspire the poet’s words, or the poem will inspire the artist’s creation.  The exhibition will open to the public October 21 - November 20, 2009.  An opening reception will be held on October 25th from  2:00-5:00pm, and  will feature a reading of some of the submitted poems. 

The exhibition will feature both invited and juried artists and poets, including Rita Dove Poet Laureate of the United States and Consultant to the Library of Congress from 1993 to 1995, Poet Laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia from 2004 to 2006, and 1987 Pulitzer Prize winner in Poetry.  
Below is a list of the poet and artist teams represented in Poetic Art: 
Rita Dove & Laurel Hausler
BRASH & Pat Goslee
David Gewanter & Irene Tsai
Sarah Browning & Miriam Morsel Nathan
DJ Gaskin & Novie Trump
Saul Sosnowski & Lilianne Milgrom
Patricia Gray & Christine Lashley
Nancy Arbuthnot & Cathy Abramson
Jim McCord & Carol McCord
Jeremy Larochelle & Linda Larochelle
Margit Berman & Paul Bernhardt
Peter Montgomery & Frederick Nunley
Susan Scheid & E.A. Skeeter Scheid
Scott Lange Kirkpatrick & Ed and Marti Deppa Kirkpatrick

To learn more click HERE 

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Today was spent exploring Gaudi's architectural projects around the city.

We walked an hour to his cathedral Sagrada Familia but did not want to brave the 4 hour line to get inside. It is a weird and wondrous  place, full of organic curving lines and strange stone carvings. My favorite were the towers topped with fruit, visible from all over the city. He started construction in the 1800's and it continues to this day, under the management of the son of one of his assistants.

Next we explored his city park, undertaken as a commercial venture that failed and was never completed. The city now owns it and it is a popular destination for locals and tourists who come on Sunday to listen to the free music and explore the many acres of winding paths.

La Rambla is the main corridor through the city. It is a wide boulevard of trees leading down to the water. It is filled with throngs of people at all hours of the day, enjoying the flower sellers, the cafes and the many people dressed up as living statues.
The statues range from the mundane ( guy in soccer jersey) to the profane ( man in silver suit on a silver toilet with his silver pants around his silver ankles) to the stunning.

My absolute favorite was a nine foot tall tree man who spun a crystal ball on his fingertips in a beautifully choreographed dance. I dropped in coins to the hat three times just to watch him come alive from his frozen pose to swirl the ball around his body. David Bowie has nothing on this artist!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Every time I go to a major city, I try to go the local museum of contemporary art. I must say, even though I try to force myself to appreciate the work, I would much prefer to be visiting an archaeology museum. I just can't get that excited over a pile of rope on the floor that has been declared "visionary".  To me, I see no craft or skill involved, just a really clever artist's statement posted next to a big pile of rope.

I visited the Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona and must say that I did like one thing. The local kids have turned the courtyard with its angles and swoops of concrete into one massive skate park. It was great fun to sit and watch hundreds of kids with their scruffy shoes, barking dogs and loud music transform a high design conceptual space into a high energy teenage gathering spot. 
Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona 

One of my favorite parts of Barcelona has been the many small markets that we have stumbled across while wandering the city. We will turn a corner and there, in a small stone plaza, will be tents set up for a market.
They have ranged from a tiny farmers market with 8 stands selling jars of golden honey and fresh goat cheeses where we bought homemade marmelade to take home with us to a huge one selling old coins and stamps ( could have spent hours happily sifting through the bins of antique Spanish stamps and 19th century postcards for 5 cents each but, alas, no time!).
I have bought several antique and obviously much loved saints medals, that can be found at every antique stand in tinkling silver piles. Also bought a gorgeous large glass soda water bottle from the 19th c. that has the loveliest etched writing in Spanish on the side. Would have loved to have bought more but must leave room in my suitcase for my clothes!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Barcelona is everything the poets have written about it. A fascinating blend of the ancient and modern, it is a city that never seems to sleep.
Chris and I arrived on Thursday morning, flying into the city just as the sun was coming up over the city in streaks of pink and purple.
We are staying in the Barri Gotic ( the Gothic Quarter), the oldest part of the city. It is a city section of narrow alleys of houses and apartments, each with tiny iron balconies filled with lemon trees and caged songbirds. Below are the shops, ranging from tapas bars to pastry shops to the lastest fashion stores.
I can't wait to explore the city.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

One of our favorite neighbors and well-known glass artist, Erwin Timmers, has his artwork made from recycled glass included in a new book out next month - "1000 Ideas for Creative Reuse" by Garth Johnson. Featuring 21st Century craft and design, it is an inventive collection of cutting edge work made from recycled, upcycled, repurposed and reused items.

ISBN: 9781592535408
Due November 2009

1000 photos/illustrations
320 Pages

The author, Garth Johnson is a studio artist, writer and educator, in addition to maintaining the website "Exteme Craft". Garth writes for CRAFT magazine and his writing has been featured in museum catalogs, magazines, and books worldwide, including a contribution to the upcoming book Handmade Nation from Princeton Architectural Press. Garth is currently a full-time instructor at College of the Redwoods in Eureka, CA.

Click HERE for the publishers link to the book.

Erwin Timmers teaches about the use of recycled materials in an upcoming class at the Washington Glass School, "Recycle Your Glass" - a great class to take to see how you can become part of the Green Movement in glass! Erwin's class takes place over three nights, Nov 4, 11, 18. Click HERE to see the class info.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Saturday night, Chris and I saw Cavalia, a gorgeous horse show created by Normand Latourelle, the co-founder of the Cirque du Soleil.  It was a breathtakingly beautiful spectacle of arial dancers, horses, acrobats and performers all housed under a big top set up in Pentagon City in Arlington. 

The staging was fantastical, at different points it snowed, it rained, pools appeared and disappeared on the stage and at one point moving white horses were projected on a giant curtain of water. But the most awe inspiring part of the show were the horses themselves. 

They danced, leapt, reared and spun, all in perfect tandem with their human counterparts.  

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Mary Fischer is one of my favorite artists. Her elegant, spare barn shapes appeal to me greatly. They call up memories of my childhood summers on my grandparents' tobacco farm in rural North Carolina.  I am fortunate to own one of her white barns. You can find her work at Snyderman Works Galleries in Philadelphia. To see more visit

Mary Fischer
The focus of my work is architecture. I look at buildings in the wild and in books. They get jumbled in my head and sorted out by my hands. The buildings started as boxes. Lids became roofs. Feet and chimneys appeared and things go on from there, changing from season to season.
There are no special techniques or attempts to disguise how pieces are put together. Surface treatments and forms change over time as different things capture my interest. The timelessness of indigenous, especially desert, architecture is an abiding influence, as is the use of concrete by contemporary architects.
The making of houses is largely intuitive, but in order to get the "right" proportions, I sometimes make paper models. It is easier and quicker to make a piece out of paper and then use the model as a pattern to cut pieces out of clay. Building with extruded pieces is like playing with Legos. The more pieces you have to play with, the more you can move things around until the right combination appears. Some works include multiple pieces that are not attached so that playing can continue, arranging and rearranging as fancy dictates.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Lovely, lovely birds on a wire glass dessert plates from my friend Nicole Puzan, a glass artist who works at Washington Glass. Nicole makes flirty, feminine work with an edge and will soon be opening a store on Etsy.

I'll take a dozen, please!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sunday, I participated in the MPAartfest, an outdoor arts festival sponsored by the McLean Project for the Arts.
It was absolutely the best festival I have ever done, bar none!
 Staff and volunteers were just lovely ( and the homemade racing car coveralls of this gallant volunteer manning one of the golf carts just tickled me) , the provided tents were mini Cirque wonders with peaked roofs, the day was dialed up from the weather gods with perfect blue skies, food and music were top notch and the crowds were full of  educated art buyers with lots of enthusiasm and great questions.
The only problem ( and I'm not complaining!) is that I practically sold out so I need to get into the studio to make more work for the holiday open studio coming up on December 12th at FLUX!