Thursday, October 3, 2013

Back to School

We are back and in full swing at Midlothian High School!  My students are doing some lovely drawings inspired by Jeanne-Claude and Christo.  

Penland Shoemakers

Here are the Penland shoemakers whom I had the honor of sharing the studio with in the upstairs of the Lily Room Textiles Building. 

This is my first pair, which is the more elaborate pair (under construction shot).

The finished product on my feet!  

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Return to Penland

Two years ago I went to Penland School of Crafts for the first time.  The experience ended up being the  most rejuvenating, enriching two weeks I have ever had.  It is two full weeks taking a course in your craft of choice located in the beautiful Smoky Mountains of North Carolina, just north of Asheville.  The artists and crafts people teaching are incredible as well as all the students who hold a shared love of  Fine Craft.  The last time I went I took a course on quilt making and this year I will do shoe making...that's right, I am going to make a pair of shoes!  I am excited to learn a new process and skill set and most of all, to soak up the richness of Penland.  While I am busily preparing, I am trying to prepare my mind for the wonderful, new experiences Penland will bring. I will also have the privilege of volunteering at their annual auction.  Posts to come!  

Thursday, July 18, 2013

"Everyone deserves a week of vacation"

My mother is a wise woman and one thing she believes to be true is that EVERYONE DESERVES A WEEK OF VACATION.   Now that I'm reflecting, I realize it has been about five years since I've had a full week of vacation.  I have had weekends away, taken students to Europe, and I have gone on art making adventures, but I have not had a true vacation where there is nothing on the agenda and nothing to take care of.  My family decided to return to Hilton Head, SC where we grew up going vacation and have wonderful memories from our time there together.  This trip was extra special though because we were able to introduce my nine month old nephew to Hilton Head.
Here is my amazing, wonderful, supportive family.  We pretty much looked like this the whole time....smiling and hanging out on this awesome porch.  There was also a lot of kayaking, beach time, and great seafood.   

Summer Teaching

Ahhh, summer is here!  It feels as though I spend my school year planning my summer and then my summer planning my school year.  I am in the midst  of four weeks off and am trying to take advantage of this time as it is precious and fleeting!  I spent my first three weeks teaching at St. Catherine's School's Brilliant Summers Program (formerly known as Cat's CAP).  I taught sewing, drawing and printmaking to students grades 2-6.  My favorite class to teach was the one I feared the most originally, teaching 15 2nd and 3rd graders to sew first thing in the morning!  I was quite surprised to learn and to experience their love for sewing along with great patience and perseverance. 
Here are little hands learning to sew!  I had them practice stitching on a shared tapestry.  We bumped a few elbows but had a good time.
We later made pillows, sock creatures (shown above), softies, and tapestries.  The most rewarding part was to see how they all had original ideas that they wanted to see through and in the end felt very proud of their work.  

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Aggie Zed at Vis Arts

Thursday night I went to hear the artist talk of artist Aggie Zed at The Visual Art Center of Richmond.  I was so inspired and affected by these assemblages of organic ceramic figures and animals combined with the harsh machine-like structures they are surrounded by and attached to.  She commented on their lack of limbs during her talk, explaining that they are half machine, referencing how we give up so much of ourselves to technology and it's improper use.  I found them beautiful and alluring while also disturbing and haunting.  They give one a lot to think about.  

Floating Drawing

This is the start of my "Floating Drawings" series.  I always have a love of circles and am currently really drawn to the color Red.   There is more red coming!   These are a few works I've been inspired by...some of my loves
Louise Bourgeois
Anish Kapoor

Hollyn's Horse

This year I taught seven IB students who worked on developing portfolios through the International Baccalaureate program which they submit for college credit.  We all worked very hard together and it was wonderful to see these students develop their art along with their sense of self.  Many of them are going on to continue their studies in creative fields.  This is Hollyn and her Rocking Horse that she worked on since November.  I hope to post more images soon!  They are such a talented group.  What a year it's been! 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Shibori and Raku Student Work

Shibori dyeing and raku fired ceramics, both Japanese processes that my Crafts class has been focusing on.  Both have a certain serendipitous process, where the outcome is never how you expect, but always wonderful!  

Thursday, January 17, 2013

My 3D Design class has been working with glass, both fusing and soldering.  These are some of their lovely creations before putting them in the kiln.  

Thursday, October 4, 2012

This is one of my summer projects, made for my sweet nephew.  My sister and brother in-law did not know what they were having, so I made it to match the nursery in "neutral" colors.   
This is him!  Joseph Daniel Mancuso, born on September 25th.  

Thursday, August 9, 2012

More Haystack

This is Marian, the artist and instructor that I had the honor of working with.  Not only is she an accomplished artist whose work is known internationally, but she is also a truly amazing and inspirational person.  Within minutes of meeting her she began asking me about my life and family and sharing with me about hers and I felt like I had known her for years.  She is a life learner who allows her curiosity for the world around her to continually feed and inspire her work.  She taught us all how to see with new eyes and to slow down and notice what is going on around us.  
Most of the assignments she gave us made me feel like a kid again.  This was one of our first assignments.  We went out into the environment and collected things (non-living) to bring back into the studio.  We were then asked to make arrangements on our wall out of the items we found.  
This is my arrangement on the left and Lee's on the right.  We were then asked to take them apart and connect the elements together with string or some other material.  
Jeann's beautiful arrangement and some others in progress

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Haystack School of Crafts

  I've taken a break from posting, deciding to just go live and experience for a while.   However, I feel that I've had some wonderful, inspiring adventures that I now want to share!  After my incredible experience at Penland School of Crafts last summer, I vowed to try to return there or to a similar place each summer.  This year I applied for and received a TA position at Haystack School of Crafts on Deer Isle, Maine working with artist Marian Bijlenga from Amsterdam.  The experience overall was an adventure that was inspirational and restorative.  I figured I would probably love Maine so I decided to go up a little early to explore the island and eat lobster rolls.  I found a hostel to stay at and after asking for my own room they told me I had the tree house, which turned out to be this wonderful little building in the woods that was beautifully constructed by the owner using only hand tools.   There was a storm that night and it was so wonderful to hear the rain and see the lightning, and luckily it kept me dry.    

When I arrived at Haystack I was immediately drawn to the landscape situated down the long staircase that ran through the center of campus.  The campus is situated on land that slopes down to the ocean. Decks connect all the buildings and allow the environment to remain untouched underneath, such a wonderful idea.  Another student noted that we could spend the entire two weeks on decks!  Luckily though, I did not.  This amazing landscape became like a "stage" during my time there showcasing  beautiful light, morning fog, rain, twinkling stars, and an amazing moon.  In the mornings I could hear the chug of the lobster boats from my cabin, situated right on the water.  

During my studio time I enjoyed arranging and photographing my pieces in the studio window against the landscape.  Notice the moon in the piece to the left!  


                             More to come!  

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I went to Fiber Philadelphia, a wonderful showing of fiber/textile work shown all over the city, in galleries, museums, and public spaces. And also got to visit some wonderful friends. These are some of the highlights, with more to come!

Erin Endicott's
beautifully embroidered antique children's garments

Sheila Hicks

Jim Hodges

Friday, January 27, 2012

I've been thinking a lot about how to combine the delicate nature of fibers with something more solid. I like the juxtaposition of something fragile with something strong. Henry Moore does this beautifully here.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Having a wonderful, rainy morning working on art, drinking coffee with my best friend, and reading some great poems. I most enjoyed this one by Anne Sexton:

Welcome Morning

There is joy
in all:
in the hair I brush each morning,
in the Cannon towel, newly washed,
that I rub my body with each morning,
in the chapel of eggs I cook
each morning,
in the outcry from the kettle
that heats my coffee
each morning,
in the spoon and the chair
that cry “hello there, Anne”
each morning,
in the godhead of the table
that I set my silver, plate, cup upon
each morning.

All this is God,
right here in my pea-green house
each morning
and I mean
though often forget,
to give thanks,
to faint down by the kitchen table
in a prayer of rejoicing
as the holy birds at the kitchen window
peck into their marriage of seeds.

So while I think of it,
let me paint a thank-you on my palm
for this God, this laughter of the morning,
lest it go unspoken.

The Joy that isn’t shared, I’ve heard,
dies young.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Baskets by my 3-D design class:

Student Art from my first year at Midlothian High School

By Donica

By Zoe (Senior IB student)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Spending some time enjoying wonderful Mary Oliver poems. How I wish I could write like this...

Wild Geese
By Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting—
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
My community group- filling my house with love, laughter and stitching! We are hoping to make a quilt to put in a residence here in our neighborhood.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Check out the magic feather project by Jude Hill. She is collecting feathers from artists all over and will put them together in some way. The project is going to benefit a charity involved with children and education. I wish I found out about it sooner, I barely made the deadline! Click the icon below to see details on the project and her blog.

My feather with my note to Jude. She asked for a note that says something about my feather.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Merry Christmas Everyone!
Colonial Williamsburg at Christmas