Monday, June 18, 2012

Displaying my art at work

A colleague suggested an art show at work where interested people could display up to three examples of their work. Needless to say, I jumped at the opportunity to think about what art, in its many forms, means to me. Unfortunately, readers of this blog won't be able to see the entire gallery since it's on our institutional wiki site, but my work and my statements aren't copyrighted, so here they are.

About the Artist 

Like most other people, I took art classes in school, but for several years my main interest was photography (I loved my old Pentax K1000). Although nowadays I explore the creativity possible with digital photography and software, I find myself increasingly using my shots as reference photos for other forms of two-dimensional art. My foray into other forms of art began many years ago with pastels, followed by watercolor, which was my main interest for about 15 years. In 2008, a class in watercolor pencil led to a growing interest in this medium, and ultimately explorations in colored pencil. While I miss the looseness, fluidity, and unpredictability of watercolor, I enjoy and benefit from the precision and tightness possible with pencils (watercolor, dry, or graphite) and find them a valuable balance for other elements in my life.

Quite by chance, I picked up a crochet needle in 2007 for the first time in umpteen years, and now often relax with the soothing and rhythmic process of making "things". What I especially love about it is the ease with which I can modify a pattern, or simply experiment with a needle and yarn. I have been "hooked" on Tunisian crochet since about the same time as well, fascinated by the way that crochet stitches can create a variety of looks; I am currently exploring ways to "weave" and blend colors. This is probably the only medium in which I create abstract objects.

My introduction to book arts came in 1997 when I worked at Whitman College, with a week-long class taught by Gary Frost, and I haven't looked at a book in the same way since. What a marvellous technology the simple codex is! I was fortunate enough to take a workshop on Coptic bindings with Lisa Heller, created many books for friends, and ended up teaching the Coptic-binding section of the book arts Spring semester course during my last three years at Whitman. I use primarily one needle but intend eventually to develop expertise using two needles.

Dee's works on display

Coptic sewing -- a model
This was a model that I used when teaching to demonstrate how easy it is to add interest to a binding.

Materials used: Linen weave paper (resume), Davey board, Italian paper for cover and endpapers, embroidery floss.

Sun, grass, sea
Here is an example of what I call the "woven" technique in Tunisian crochet. This began as an experiment to create a subtle rainbow, but like so much else, it evolved into something quite different, hence the haiku. Although it is unusual to flatten yarn behind glass, I believe that this enhances it by reducing its three-dimensional nature.

Planet Earth Haiku
Brightly burning sun
Grass that is lush, green, and long
Cool waters below

Materials used: Embroidery floss.

Boats by moonlight
This colored-pencil painting on colored paper is based on a photograph that I took a few years ago in Barbados. The watercolorist in me is still amazed at the idea of adding rather than saving the white.

Materials used: Colored paper, colored pencils.