An Idea is Born

•January 13, 2017 • 2 Comments

I was a visitor to the University of California Riverside Campus to read my poetry as part of a national movement called, “Writers Resist Reading.” I had to park across campus to find a numbered spot. The walk to the event was beautiful between rain storms.

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This reading of fiction, historical documents, and poetry was dynamic and sad. Many stories by many cultures and all ages. A few days later and I am still holding what was shared. I was surprised at how choked up I became as I read my poetry about Manzanar.

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I tried to retrace my steps back to my car as it was getting dark. At some point, I realized I was lost. I saw a young woman doing yoga in front of a building. I asked her for help to get back to parking lot 6. I was not where I needed to be! She had extra time before class and said she would show me a short cut to my car. We had a great conversation about how to find your passion/destiny. This was a special time and I found my car.

Later I felt like I had met someone magical. I am curating an art exhibit in fall 2017 about this sort of thing. I researched the character she reminded me of, I ordered a book, and some fabric to create a folktale. It will be a while, but art and a story came from getting lost and listening.

“SHREDS & FRAGMENTS” FIBER ART SHOW and POETRY WORKSHOP

•November 7, 2016 • Leave a Comment

How exciting to have a solo show as the Featured Artist at The Threshold Art Gallery in Redlands, CA. This is a new gallery owned by Aeron and Michelle Brown. Several artists exhibit all the time and one is featured in the front window and walls.

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I created several new art works for this show. It was fun to order new fabrics, update my thread colors, and discover treasures I already had to use in the works. As several pieces were completed, I noticed two things: Color themes of light and autumn colors and a shift in style to more graphic arts/ narrative. This shift began a few years ago, but now seems to define my style. The following is a new piece called, “Illusions.” From vintage Chinese stitchery, Japanese Yukata to 1950’s fabric shapes, and Nigerian lace there’s quite a variety in the combinations.

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Besides wall pieces there are shelves in two windows available. This was the opportunity to try something new: tapestry sculptures. They are size of small Japanese screens. I like the transparency so light can show through. I play with the back and front of the tapestry. There is space to write my poetry on the back of the wood. These can be placed on the floor, on a desk, or a table. This is “Floating Lily Pads.”

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The Opening Reception was a lot of fun. Guest musicians Wendy Hunt and Jennifer Vallely were amazing as were guest poets Michael Cooper and Evelyn Johnson. I got to read too. I appreciate all who came. Canda Lodge even did a painting of me reading poetry. All gifts! Thank you to the community vision of Aeron and Michelle and to all who came and joined in. The show runs through Nov. 29.

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opening_night

In conjunction with the show I will hold a writing workshop on Sunday, November 13 from 2-4. Using prompts students will be inspired by the art on the walls for their writing.

Winter Tea Ceremony

•September 17, 2016 • Leave a Comment

For my next novel in verse I am writing about a winter Japanese Tea Ceremony – the lanterns in the garden, the waiting place, and a place to wash your hands. Inside find a scroll for the winter season and a vase of plum blossom branches.

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Right after researching the tea house, I jumped at the opportunity to visit the Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden in Pasadena, CA. This garden was conceived in the 1930’s as a private garden including a tea house, which is now open to the public on Thursdays and the last Sundays. It is like a secret treasure hidden in the city.

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I come to write poetry with a group lead by Kathabela Wilson. Her husband, Rick, plays various flutes in the background as we write and share poems. I love the time spent exploring the garden and writing. I find a bench behind a Buddha statue and under a maple tree as the sun shines through.

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burnished orange dragonfly / kissed yellow water plant / many voices

pine cones reached / three directions / branches curl / vein the sky / unseen lizard scampered to hide

above a rug of pads / purple lily strained to sun / bronze crane squawked

 

Becoming Sculptural

•June 20, 2016 • 3 Comments

Normally my fiber art is hung on the wall. As I was about to create a sculpture of my own, I sought inspiration from an amazing exhibit. I explored Beverly’s Garden at the Sam And Alfreda Malloof Foundation for Arts and Crafts in Alta Loma, CA. My quest was to see “Sculpture in the Garden 2016” curated by Juan and Susie Thorp of the Bunny Gunner Gallery. The sculptures were humorous, magical, geometrical, etc. Light shimmered. Mobiles rang.

I thought of bones while viewing T. Robert-Pacini’s work and sat on a bench enjoying Brenda Hurst’s sculpture made of rusted cans. I experienced the African symbols of Charles Dickson’s sculpture. The art became part of the landscape of native plants and of the sky.

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(from top to bottom: T. Robert-Pacini, Brenda Hurst, and Charles Dickenson.)

Suzanne Fontaine’s mobile of recycled materials rang gently in the breeze, William Catling’s piece soared, and Pat Warner’s sculpture drew me close.

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(Suzanne Fontaine, William Catling, and Pat Warner.)

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My sculpture will go indoors. I have been working on the tapestry for months, creating a base and collaging ethnic and vintage fabrics. Here’s the frame my husband and I built of Redwood. I’m still deciding if I want to write text on the frame.

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The tapestry now stands on its own. Light passes through. I think of placing objects on top or at the base. Sculpture creates it’s own room to explore. These are details of the yet unnamed art. I still have a month to pull it together. In the meantime I observe it in my living room. I like the idea of creating a piece I can walk around.

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Inquiry, Discussion, and Experimentation

•May 9, 2016 • Leave a Comment

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I decided to spend Mother’s Day at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. It’s free and parking is $3. Amazing for LA. The museum is the right size to see it all in an afternoon. They always have special events like performance art, workshops, sketching, etc. This time the AIX Scent Fair was featured and you could spend time sketching. Taking pictures from the outside can be fun too.

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The Hammer also creates an inviting environment to sit and rest or spin on chairs. It was fun to people-watch as they rested or had conversations on quilted or wooden chairs and benches.

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“Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College 1033-1957” was the show that brought me here. I have a book about this already, but I wanted to see the actual art. Even though I have seen work by several of the artists before, it was great to see them together. I realized how much the artists from this college influenced contemporary art, dance, music, and poetry. The work that I create has been inspired by many in this show: Anni & Josef Albers, Robert Creeley, Merce Cunningham, Ruth Asawa, Elaine & Willem de Konning, Robert Rauschenberg, Peter Voulkos, Susan Weil, and many others. I spent time with Anni Albers’ weavings and listened to the poets voices. Watched a video of Merce dancing and listened to John Cage. I like combining the arts and this college had that happen often.

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Seeing exhibitions can refill your spirit and give you fresh ideas. I listened to an echo inside of Oscar Tuazon’s sculture and marveled at the magic of each person in “Catherine Opie Portraits.”

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The Museum gift shop is a fun exploration. I was happy to find at the entrance a cart of poetry by people of color. I own some of these books and know some of the authors. I picked up a chapbook by Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingde that is hand-bound and found “Four From Japan: Contemporary Poetry & Essays by Woman.”

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Add dinner and phone calls with the kids and it’s a wonderful Mother’s Day!

Going Round in Circles

•April 14, 2016 • Leave a Comment

hand_stitching

The present was as round and full as a sphere and it warmed me many times over. Jacques Lusseyran

I notice that I am working in and photographing circles. Circles hold things in, represent eternity, and can be comforting. Circles can change you from the inside out like walking a labyrinth.

This first circle involves my hand embroidery on a vintage christening dress. The needle pricks and the thread holds the old and new together. I collage opaques and sheers of leaf dying, screen-printing, ink drawing, vintage lace, and photo transfer done by myself and others. Themes appear of raindrops, family, branches, and leaves.

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I like to take walks after it rains. The contrast of light and dark made stronger in the grayness of the day. The rain is cold; the thorns hidden.

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Circles of sound. This fountain flowing over glass stones creates a peaceful place to read a book. Time out for breaks helped by a watery circle. Life pulses.

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End of the day circle within a circle. Do you see it? I like how a photograph catches one moment. Next moment this scene changes. What do circles mean to you?

Observer of the Arts

•February 5, 2016 • Leave a Comment
culver-arts-vide0 I do a lot of poetry readings 
and am featured in art receptions. I enjoy sharing my creativity with others. But 
sometimes it's nice to attend and observe. 

I recently attended several events at the Barbara and Art Culver Center of Arts. This space is 
part of UCRArts Block in Riverside, CA. A huge space where I have seen dance,rehearsed
for a performance collaboration, performance art, art exhibitions, poetry readings, 
and art discussions. They show art-house movies too.

inlandia

In one week's time I attended several events at the Culver. The first was 
"Conversations at the Culver presents Heather Altfeld and Troy Jollimore" put 
on by Inlandia. This was a combination of poetry reading, interview, and Q&A. 
I like this format because I got to learn more about the authors - their process 
and passion for writing. They shared about how it took one author 60 submissions
to publishers before the manuscript got selected. Some poets write with a book 
in mind and others write poems and compile them into a book. I do a bit of
both. Cati Porter hosted this event.

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The next evening two UCR students lead a group discussion/tour for the art exhibition,
"Second Wave." I liked the concept of object representing a person in one of the 
artists' paintings. The show included video, painting, photography, and more. Then it
was time to visit the Black Box Studio for my first time to watch performance artists 
D. Hill and Takeshi Kanamura perform, "Transceiver." The audience got to color 
the performer's white clothing and their faces. Musical instruments were given to some
of the audience members. I had some percussion. The two performers left the room. Then
something magical happened. The audience passed the keyboard around the circle. There
was only one drum, so people started using their hands to drum on the floor. The 
audience became the performance. 

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I spoke with Takeshi later and he said that they expected the audience to stop playing
the instruments after he and D. Hill left the room. They were surprised and pleased 
that the audience got more involved.

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During the Riverside Arts Walk, it was time to explore video and photography with 
French artist, Marie Bovo. "How to Survive Abstraction" was curated by 
Joanna Myers-Szupinska-Myers. Susan Ossman lead the interview this evening of a show 
at the UCR/CA Museum of Photography. This event was held in the theater. Marie's 
videos were more like movies with amazing colors, composition, and sounds. She liked 
to capture daily life. Her still photographs used a large camera with 8x10" film. 
No digital photographs. The printed pictures were @ 6' tall. She exposed the film 
for two hours so that people moving in and out of the image disappeared leaving 
the buildings where they lived or tents in the case of gypsies. Displacement was 
another theme as the gypsies and the poor were moved out of their living spaces 
to make room for the new.

me

I had a culturally rich week and all of the events were free. Time to create my 
own work.

 
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