Re-Use Art Show: The New IDEA Store Event Space

Above: Classic photo recursivity – me taking a picture of Melissa Mitchell taking a picture of me taking a picture of her…

Long time readers of this blog will recall both my love of art and my previous posts about The IDEA Store and creative re-use art. On two separate occasions I participated in the Hatch Art Show. Recently, The IDEA Store expanded to include a new classroom as well as event space. This past weekend, on May 20th, 2016 to be specific, they held their grand opening of said event space. My camera and I were in attendance.

Before I get to the actual art, I’d like to share this photo of area artists Cindy Sampson and Melissa Mitchell. I don’t think I can fully express just how wonderful these two women are and how much they inspire me. Not only are they talented artists but they are good, kindhearted people and great friends. While I had taken a couple of standard photos of these two together, I managed to snap this shot in the midst of genuine laughter and storytelling.

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And now, on to the art! These are only a small representation of the works currently on display at the IDEA Store gallery – my understanding is that they’ll be on display through at least June 3, 2016.

 

 

David Spears, “Conundrum”

I just thought this was a really interesting and clever way to use all the stray puzzle pieces that end up scattered about.

Christina Nordholm, “Dance Club”

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Christina Nordholm, “Ready to Burn”

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I particularly like the way she incorporates tree bark into these pieces. I really enjoy the texture. Of the two, I prefer “Ready to Burn” because I personally enjoy the energy coming from it. I’m not sure whether it’s more like looking into the heart of a bonfire or Hell itself. Either way, I like it.

Grace Savina, “Paintings Past”

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I’m not quite sure what it is I’m looking at, but I kind of like that she managed to find a way to use old paint scraps. They almost look like little islands.

Grace Savina, “Dualities of Being”

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Again, not sure what the artist intended for these to be, but, to me, they look like really colorful intestines. Like someone gutted a unicorn. Or it exploded and this was just a section of gut splatter. I kind of doubt this is what she was going for, but this is where my warped mind took it.

Barry Land, “Love is Dead”

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I always get a kick of out this kind of artwork. I have absolutely NO skill for it myself, but scrap-metal sculptures always make me smile. This one also makes me sad, though.

Barry Land, “Untitled”

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Perhaps “Ode to Johnny 5” would have been copyright infringement? And yeah, he also looks like Wall-E. But we all know Wall-E was just a rip off of Johnny 5. If you don’t know who Johnny 5 is, I feel sorry for you, bro.

Jason Rackow, “Untitled”

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Jason Rackow, “Sentience”

This is one of those pieces I would totally hang in my apartment, provided I had the money and the space. I don’t really have anything profound to say here, this piece is just Cool. As. F**k. Look that the close-up shots of that texture. Who knew all those little bits and pieces scattered about the garage could look like this?

Cindy Sampson, “Landscape”

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Cindy Sampson, “Lone Tree”

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I wish I could have gotten a better shot of this one. This was actually my favorite piece of the show and I couldn’t even really capture why. Because I’m too short and it was hanging too high for me to get a head on shot. The glare from the lighting at this angle does this piece a serious injustice.  I’m sure you can make out the main tree of in the painting. It seems to stand amidst a field of ghost trees. What you cannot see well in this photo, is that the paperwork underneath has faded building plans printed on it. To me, it seems to say suggest that this tree lost all of it’s friends and family to ever increasing urban expansion.The fruit and rust stains have the look of blood to me. Yeah, my mind is dark. I am very drawn to artwork like this where I can find and this kind of haunting meaning in it. It’s the kind of art the speaks to me on some deeper level.

 

 

 

No More Excuses/ Garden of Doll Heads

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I am not above using scare tactics to keep my dolls in line. “This is what happens when you use my fabric scissors to cut paper”

I feel like I should be writing something. I also feel like I should be getting around to actually making some videos. I’ve been saying for awhile (over a year, while not necessarily always in this blog) that I want to start making Youtube videos.
-I invested the time and the money into decorating the walls in my craft room because I felt like I couldn’t start doing it unless I had a good background.

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$75+ and over a week invested in decorating these walls.

-Then I needed a camera, because I felt my point and shoot wasn’t good enough.
-Then I needed a tripod.
Then I needed quality editing software.
-Then I needed a computer.

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The new computer. I have yet to justify buying it.

-Lately I’ve been concerned because of an acne flare up and not wanting to be ugly on camera. (Seriously, how am I still getting acne in my 30s? This is not fair)

Enough excuses. I will be making a Youtube debut before the end of the day on Friday of next week (4/15/2016). Maybe it will be crappy. But I need to stop talking about it and just *do it already*.

I’m also fully aware that I really need to finish the next segment of The Mission as well. I’m going to make sure I get that done before April is over. No more excuses. The start of grad school is only 2 months away. I need to utilize this time while I still have it.

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Earlier this weekend, I went out to ACME Elfworks – my friend Melissa Mitchell’s studio -for the Annual Boneyard Arts festival. She’s a super cool re-use artist that uses a lot of found objects in her artwork. Many of her pieces incorporate dolls or various doll body parts. Her artwork is often whimsical, but can also be kind of creepy – and I love that. I first met her whilst I was involved with the HATCH art show about 3 years ago. I just happened to have my camera with me and have decided to share some of these photos with you all.

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❤ the cart full of rats

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Reminds me of Sid’s creation from the original Toy Story movie.

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In case you were curious what became of Charlie Horse. He couldn’t cope after Lamb Chop’s Play Along ended – his heart was broken after he caught Lamb in bed with Hush Puppy and turned to drugs and gambling. Sherry Lewis attempted an intervention once before her death, but Charlie refused rehab. Unable to pay his debts one night, he was taken into a back alley where he was beaten to death. His lifeless body was thrown into a dumpster. I believe this is where Melissa found his little pony corpse. Not entirely sure what she did with the rest of the body. It’s possible her cats ate it.

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A lush garden of doll heads. Melissa hacks off their scalps and uses them as macabre planters. This is a thing I shall someday do when I have a garden of my own.

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I love the way her lifeless eyes are glazed over. Even in death, Barbie continues to smile.

There I was, in an Epic Battle Against a Legion of Alien Zombie Chickens…

… armed with nothing but a seam ripper and a giant basket of corn grenades when their egg ship beamed me aboard and they held me prisoner for almost 3 months.

Ok. Maybe that didn’t happen. But, I *have* been away for almost 3 months. A lot has been going on with me personally that I haven’t really gotten around to posting until now. Since last I wrote I

  • Spent a month on unemployment
  • Started a new job
  • Moved
  • Have been working lots and lots of overtime at the new job

So, there you have it. I’ve been a busy busy woman. For your enjoyment, here are some photos that I’ve been meaning to post. Also, I’d like to note that I do still have laptop bags for sale in my Etsy Shop.

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My friend Julia helping to set up the booth we shared at the Race Street Bash back in May.

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Doctor Who and Star Trek pillow plushies that my friend, Julia, makes. At the Race Street Bash back in May.

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A 2 headed rat I crocheted some time ago (the pattern came from The Anticraft) and a little chicken my friend Julia made. At the Race Street Bash back in May.

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Various barrettes I’d made from recycled denim. And yes, some of those are the Starfleet insignia. At the Race Street Bash back in May.

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Beautiful cards that my friend Julia makes. Each one is hand drawn and colored. At the Race Street Bash back in May.

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Laptop bags and purses I had made. At the Race Street Bash back in May.

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A close-up of one of my laptop bags.

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A skirt I recently altered. At the start, this was a plain khaki skirt. I embroidered the lower skirt and dyed the upper skirt.

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A close-up of the embroidery on a skirt I recently altered. At the start, this was a plain khaki skirt. I embroidered the lower skirt and dyed the upper skirt.

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The backside of a skirt I recently altered. At the start, this was a plain khaki skirt. I embroidered the lower skirt and dyed the upper skirt.

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Playing around with denim and bleach this afternoon.

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Playing around with denim and bleach this afternoon.

The End of a Journey; Post Art Show Reflection

As quickly as the Boneyard Arts Festival came upon me, and I rushed to complete my artworks, it flew by even quicker. After a month of hard work and pushing myself, it is both soothing and weird to be able to just lay back and relax. My brain is still scouring for the next urgent “to-do” and it feels lost and somewhat panicky, as though I’ve forgotten something. This past week has been especially stressful, as I had to pull all-nighters to finish my work on time alongside dealing with some pressure from my day job. I actually went to work Wednesday on not more than 90 minutes of sleep. I did it, though. I pulled through and each piece was a success, as was my live demo. If you’d like to follow this particular journey from the beginning, see my earlier posts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.

Community Center for the Arts (C4A):

C4A is largely a space for music, but they are starting to become a space for visual art as well. They provide various music lessons for a variety of instruments and ages and many of their members are talented musicians on their own. I had 3 pieces on display here, and they will be on display through the rest of the week.

Acid Tears
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I originally created this piece for the Hatch show I participated in the early part of March, however it didn’t muster jury approval. Perhaps proof that the opinions of a jury aren’t the most important and that having a piece rejected isn’t the final word, this piece actually sold before it was hung for Boneyard, based on a photo that circulated. Even if it hadn’t, I would have still been very proud of it. I put many hours of blood, sweat, and tears into it. It is this piece in particular that deeply reflects my own struggles and how the echos of the past can color the present.

Silent Screams
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This was the piece I started with and it was the piece I finished with. This is the piece that I am perhaps most critical of, because I know that it does not match what I had in my mind. Despite all of the flaws that *I* see, the feedback I have had from others who have viewed my piece has been positive. We are always our own worst critics. We have to realize that what we give birth to as artists will not always mirror the image in our minds, and it may grow into it’s own. There is also no law that says any artwork cannot be improved upon just because it’s been shown.

The Cycle
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Perhaps the most powerful of these three works, at least for me, this one captured my attentions and my focus from the minute I began to work on it. As I mentioned to a friend on Facebook, this is my art-incarnate fetal self. It is my mother, my grandmother, it is the any-woman. A spiral that carries with it all the hopes and fears through time and generations, asking the ages old questions about fate and free will.

Of course, I was not the only artist to display here. These are my 2 favorite pieces.

From Carmen A. Egolf:

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From Sarah Keenan-Jones:

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Habitat for Humanity of Champaign:

This was especially fun for me. I was asked to do a live demo for 4 hours and, at first, I wasn’t sure what to expect. With limitless possibilities of activities to choose from, it was hard for me to narrow it down. Since I still had several balls of tshirt yarn left over from when I did that knitting workshop about a year and a half ago, I decided to do something with tshirt yarn. Wanting to be able to teach something new to passersby, I anticipated questions and brought enough supplies for others to join in if they wanted. For 4 hours I sat at the little table that the ReStore staff graciously let me pick out, with crochet hook in hand, and proceeded to craft a beautiful little flower as store patrons looked on and asked questions. Aside from my friend and fellow textile artist, Rachel Suntop, no one took up hook or needle alongside me, but I had a number of interested onlookers, including a little boy of perhaps 7 that exclaimed, “I want to learn how to do that when I grow up!”. You have no idea how much that really made my day. I hope I sparked an interest that sticks. It would be so nice if that little boy eventually grew into a man that could work wonders with hook and yarn!  I will likely never know, but it’s a happy daydream all the same.

Some photos of me working the demo, thanks to The News-Gazette and photographer, Heather Coit.

Photo by Heather Coit from The News-Gazette

Photo by Heather Coit from The News-Gazette

Reflecting on Hatch

In my last post, I briefly mentioned that I was gearing up to work on entries for the Hatch show and I’ve been MIA since. Hatch was this past weekend and it was fantastic. Now that it is over, I want to get back into the blogosphere. What better way to jump in than to share with you all of my wonderful experiences from this event?

What is Hatch?

Hatch was a creative-reuse art happening in Champaign, Illinois that was put on through the I.D.E.A. Store. There were 2 components to this show: the Art Exhibit and the Art Fair. Please see the official Hatch page for the full list of participants and their contact info! The exhibit is hosted at Indi-go Artist Co-op and will be on display through March 17, 2013. The fair was a one day event that featured over a dozen vendors.

The Art Fair – Highlights

I was only able to attend the art fair for the last hour, as I had to work most of the day. I wasn’t able to take it all in in such a short time. However, from what I saw, it was a good show. These were some of my favorites-

Phyllis Hughes
Phyllis was such an interesting person to talk to. I loved her crazy quilts and the Indian batik work she had brought with her from her time spent in India. She lived there for 2 years. I’m entirely jealous.
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Sheila Daniels
Sheila makes jewelry from various odds and ends. Her work is exquisitely beautiful *and* she’s a fan of Doctor Who! You can’t go wrong!

This Image from Cheeky Magpie

Vintage Karma
Based in Tuscola, Vintage Karma sells handmade items from a variety of local artisans. Sadly, I didn’t take any photos here.

Karen Pritchett
Karen doesn’t have much of a web presence, but she does have a Facebook and is based in Columbia, Missouri. She makes really cute and upcycled outfits.
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The Art Exhibit – Highlights

So much amazing artwork at this exhibit. Michelle Stitzlein came in from Ohio with a couple of pieces from her Moth series as the “Artist-in-Residence”. She held a slideshow Friday night during the opening reception and it was pretty awesome. She even went to one of the local elementary schools to work with kids on making murals with bottle caps.

Some of my favorite works on display:

Melissa Mitchell
Melissa, not only an artist, but one of the volunteers that helped to make the event happen, works with assemblage art. I’ve had the privilege of seeing her studio before. There isn’t much she creates that isn’t interesting. And wacky. And sometimes just very, very wrong (but in a good way)!
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Cindy Blair Sampson
While she claims she disconnects herself from her artwork, she manages to create some very moving pieces. I found this work in particular to be very deep and moving. When you open the book, you find a key pressed into beeswax. As she said during the gallery talk, she feels the uterus to be the center of the universe. Also, the boob turns. Seriously. Interactive art!! +5 points!
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Laura Wennstrom
I will never look at security envelopes the same way again. She created a “quilt” from envelopes. I have to admit, when I first saw this piece, I was unimpressed. However, after hearing her talk about her piece and looking closer at the patterns stamped into these envelopes that we routinely ignore, I have to give her credit. You’ve opened my eyes to something new, Laura. And now I want to make knitting charts that resemble security envelope designs.
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Lawrence Agnello
While I didn’t really get the chance to meet him, I was impressed by his work. As the work holds it’s own, I give it to you with no further commentary.
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Deborah Fell
Another artist I didn’t get the opportunity to talk to, but her artwork was too cool for me to overlook. I have no intelligent words or critiques here. I just simply find them interesting and captivating.
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Fabric of Society and My First Juried Show

This show was also a very big deal for me, personally, as it was my very first juried show. I entered into the fair and 2 pieces for the exhibition. One of those pieces I stayed awake for over 35 hours working on. Only 1 piece was accepted (not the one I lost sleep over, haha). However, I feel thrilled that I even made it in at all… I heard that there were over a hundred applicants. I was able to participate in a gallery talk on Sunday, where artists were spotlighted and able to discuss their artwork and answer questions. I had a lot of fun with that. I even managed to sell my artwork that afternoon, and in talking to the people who purchased my artwork, I am overjoyed that it will be going to someone that truly appreciates and *gets* the concept.
I suppose you’d like to see the piece? I call it “Fabric of Society”. I’d shown it previously at 3T: Third Thursday Art Show, and I have to credit Adam Perschbacher for the initial photos that I used for the application. I honestly think his photos made a difference in getting accepted.
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This is me trying to sound smart while talking about my artwork.

This is me trying to sound smart while talking about my artwork.

I spun strips of newspaper into yarn and knitted this placard, which, when looked at closely, reads “TRUTH?”
The artist’s statement underneath reads:

The News. We count on reporters to give us facts and report the truth. Based on this information we make a myriad of important decisions… some personal, some public and having important effects upon others. We’d like to believe that we can trust the journalists and reporters to be objective, most of us know better. We are, after all, only human and so we are prone to biases. Whether intentional or not, what we claim to be factual and true ends up twisted and distorted, spun to serve some purpose or other. Like fiber spun into yarn. It is these twisted truths that are knitted up, unrecognizable, to create this fabric of society. And we wrap ourselves up in it, like a blanket, for comfort and warmth. But what is truth? Could we Recognize it if we saw it? Can you?

Eldritch Things

Before I get too far into this post, I want to let all my readers know that you have another opportunity to see this amazing exhibition!  I just found out last night that there will be an encore showing on March 14th from 6-8pm! So, if you’re reading this, make plans to go to Jacksonville, IL that evening!

The show is hosted at the Asa Talcott House (859 Grove Street, Jacksonville, IL) by The Imagine Foundation, who provide access to the arts for communities in Jacksonville and the surrounding area. The house also gives a nice aesthetic to the show, and I think, for the level of intimacy within Mary’s artwork and writings, the location is really suitable. It helps to set the mood and the tone.

When I first walked into the house this past Saturday, I was confronted with the following note hanging from the ceiling (click to enlarge):

While there were numerous paintings around the house, all wonderful, she also put forth effort to make the show fun and interactive. All throughout the house were hidden 41 little 2-inch doodles, one of those doodles was a “king doodle” that won the finder a free pack of stickers. I found about 5 or 6 doodles, but only took 2 of them so as to let others have some fun too. As perhaps a testament to her personality, art wasn’t just found on the walls, but it was tacked to the ceiling, some hung suspended from the ceiling, sometimes upside down.

Skeleton keys hanging from the ceiling. Reminds me of rain, or tears… Could unleashing your pain, your tears, rather than suppressing them help unlock your happiness?

The thing I really love about Mary Tumulty’s work is that she really puts herself into it. Most artists take life events and put them into their art, but with Mary, her life really is in her art and vice verse. There seems to be this blur between life and art and the one feeds off the other. With particularly personal pieces, she will place little pages to the side, like a page from a diary, that puts the observer into her place.

One of my favorites. Colorful yet dark at the same time. Notice how she incorporates photos, receipts, other objects into the painting. What I see: Life. The large circle seems to be like a womb…

…and look! Here are the sperm!

If you recall, I’ve written about Mary’s work before. Back in November, I talked about her use of random embroidery and stitches in her paintings. Thread made an appearance in her artwork here as well:

From a distance…

A close-up. Look at the nails pounded into the painting! The tear in the canvas! The way the string is wrapped around the nails.. kind of like a web or a nest. This is a love it or hate it piece, I think. Myself, I like the way she abuses the canvas.

There was one room upstairs that was kind of sectioned off and hidden away. Much darker than the rest of the exhibit, this room housed the most intrusive and intimate artwork. If the house were a layout of Mary’s mind, this is would be the back of it – that little corner reserved for fears and worries, for all of those secrets and wishes that are too damaging to normalcy and decency to be unrestrained. This is where Mary bared all and let the world judge her naked soul. This is where, for the first time ever, she showed “The Book.”

These pages, snaking through the room and dangling from the ceiling like bodies from trees, whisper out Mary’s story to anyone willing to listen…

And now, it’s time to take you on my journey into Eldritch Things…

For more information on Mary and her work, visit http://www.marytumulty.com Like any of the artwork you see? Support an artist and buy a painting.  (I am the proud owner of a Mary Tumulty “On the Rag” tee)

Like my writing style? You can also become a fan of my Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/ACloth-the-World/194022420703365, where I post exclusive content, including more pictures from this show!

Eldritch Things: A Sneak Peek…

Last night, Mary Tumulty had a one night solo exhibition at the Asa Talcott House in Jacksonville, Illinois. I was blown away… and I tried to capture it. While I have dozens of photos and some video footage (yes, video) to go through before I can take you on this journey, I wanted to at least give you a snippet of what’s to come…

The tortured beauty of Tumulty’s work pierces souls…

Her words and images pull her into you as she puts herself out, naked and exposed to the judgment of the world…

If you haven’t yet, subscribe to the blog and make sure you don’t miss the full exposure. On our Facebook page, I will also be posting some photos from the event that won’t be posted here (so become a fan!) and you can use #acloththeworld or #MaryTumulty on Twitter to discuss this blog or this amazing artist.