Friday, August 28, 2009

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Happy Friday!

Atlantic City

Hope you're enjoying your summer!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Lady in White (work in progress)

I'd like to use candles (unlit) as a found object part of the piece. I'll see if it works or not - it's still in the experimental stage...

below are some photographs taken a long time ago

Thankfully, it didn't come to this...

you go first - sneak peek

As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm working on several projects and it appears as though I'm fixated on white apparition imagery. Here's a look at where I'm at with you go first. This is the third panel of the piece and, obviously, it's a work in progress. I've spent a lot of time on this one - I started working on the first panel in March and I'm still beading away.

Georges Seurat, The Child in White (L'Enfant blanc), 1884, Conté Crayon, 30.5 x 23.5 cm, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
(image source: The Drawings of Georges Seurat by Gustave Kahn, Dover Publications, New York ©1971)

morning glory slowly creeping up an unsuspecting tree

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Creative Process article for Fiberarts Magazine

LOOK!!! It's the September/October 2009 issue of Fiberarts Magazine

And HOLY COW!!! - here's a peek at my Creative Process article in this issue

Many thanks to Marci Rae McDade, Editor of Fiberarts Magazine!!!

There is a Handmade Portraits web section in this issue with links to video profiles. I really enjoyed watching Handmade Portraits: Black-Eyed Suzie, an Etsy video profile about Sarah Faber's art dolls. If you'd like to see more of Sarah's work, here's a link to her Etsy shop, Black-Eyed Suzie.

Monday, August 17, 2009

so white this lady's hours

Here's an image of the finished background, more or less. I tortured it by building up layers and taking them back down, and, in return, it tormented me with doubts. In the process of making this piece, I've seen how it could be much simpler, stark and austere. The central image, the doily, is strong enough to carry the piece against a plain background. However, that piece would end up being about something related, but different. Alas! I have the need to see my original idea through and cram more ideas into it! No worries - that's the beauty of alternative versions.

In a previous post, I included images of samplers and I think that reference is fairly straightforward. Below are images that are also a source of inspiration to the piece. The first two are examples of psychographs, a form of spirit writing.

M. J. Vearncombe, Psychograph "Difficult to manifest present conditions not suitab(le)", December 14, 1919, Gelatin silver print

M. J. Vearncombe, Psychograph "La porte ferme" ("The closed door"), May 25, 1920, Gelatin silver print

"Many of the photographs by M. J. Vearncombe of Bridgewater also revealed writings by the spirits. They were mostly "psychographs". The photographer would "magnetize" photographic plates still in their sealed package, or he would photograph a studio curtain to which envelopes of the packaging from photographic plates had been attached. These envelopes or packages generally contained sheets of paper on which
séance participants had written questions addressed to the spirits. The hope was that the spirits' answer would appear on the photograph when printed. In the two photographs by Vearncombe seen here, it seems that contact with the beyond was difficult to achieve."

Below is a photograph of a medium materializing an ectoplasmic veil, a milky white substance extruded from the body of a medium during a
séance. Ectoplasm could assume the form of faces, limbs or bodies of spirits, and, boys and girls, it came forth from all of the body orifices.

Albert von Schrenck-Notzing, The medium Stanislawa P.: emission and resorption of an ectoplasmic substance through the mouth, January 25, 1913, Gelatin silver print

"In Munich in late 1912and 1913, Schrenck-Notzing undertook experiments with the medium Stanislawa P. (Popielska), who until then had worked mainly in her native Warsaw. Shrenck-Notzing managed to take a series of photographs which were regarded by many as the most striking images of materialization phenomena ever produced, at least from an aesthetic point of view. ... He was certain the Stanislawa P., whose virginity was attested, would be unable to hide any kind of object either on or inside her body."
Gosh, that ectoplasm looks like netting.

(Source for above photographs and text: The Perfect Medium: Photography and the Occult by Clément Chéroux
, Andreas Fischer, et al., published by Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, ©2004.)

psst... come closer I wanna tell you a secret... I don't believe in ghosts. Don't tell anyone.

And don't forget Ezra Pound's poem,
A Virginal - I haven't been able to forget the last line for more than 20 years.

A Virginal

No, no! Go from me. I have left her lately.
I will not spoil my sheath with lesser brightness,
For my surrounding air hath a new lightness;
Slight are her arms, yet they have bound me straitly
And left me cloaked as with a gauze of aether;
As with sweet leaves; as with subtle clearness.
Oh, I have picked up magic in her nearness
To sheathe me half in half the things that sheathe her.
No, no! Go from me. I have still the flavour,
Soft as spring wind that's come from birchen bowers.
Green come the shoots, aye April in the branches,
As winter's wound with her sleight hand she staunches,
Hath of the trees a likeness of the savour:
As white their bark, so white this lady's hours.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

I live for that look

slacking off in my studio

Friday, August 14, 2009

write you a letter tomorrow

Yesterday I posted an image of a finished portion of The White Lady / The Lady in White. Here's a look at the background fabric for the piece. It's a work in progress and it will look different when it's finished. White thread against slightly off-white muslin is not the easiest thing to photograph or scan - go figure. If you can't quite make out the words, it's As you are now, so once was I. As I am now, so you shall be -two lines from a common epitaph:

Stranger, stop and cast an eye.
As you are now, so once was I.
As I am now, so you shall be,
Prepare for death and follow me.

I'm repeating the middle lines over and over again. Although mine is a mighty lame homage, samplers are the source of inspiration. Below are two beautiful examples of samplers and they show how it's really done. The text that accompanies Mary Ann Beard's sampler reads, "The embroiderer was probably quite young when she made this sampler as it is not as finely worked as many others." Show off.

American Sampler by Elisabeth Stewart Fraserburgh, 1812
(Source for image: Samplers by Susan Mayor and Diana Fowle, published by Moyer Bell, © 1996 ISBN 1559211547)

Sampler by Mary Ann Beard, 1842
(Source for image and quote: Samplers by Susan Mayor and Diana Fowle, published by Moyer Bell, © 1996
ISBN 1559211547)