Wednesday, August 26, 2020

There's Sooooo Much Going on Around Here!

 Let me begin by telling you about the most exciting news we had this month.  Our daughter was finally able to get married!!! The plans were vastly different than the original but, the number of attendants did not change.  She and her now husband did not want a big wedding. But they did want a different destination.  Oh well. Then they wanted to get married in June but, the municipalities would not issue marriage licenses. There was no real schedule of when that might change so they were on a temporary hold. But this past weekend, under spectacular skies and beautiful weather the magic happened.  Here's a couple sneak peeks. Not too much so as to annoy the happy couple.



On the banks of the Severn River in Annapolis, Maryland Beth Ann and Joseph Pierce tied the knot! It was a wonderful day!!

On to the next exciting adventure for me. About a year ago I completed the process of writing a book. It's a lot like birthing a child except you don't get the swollen ankles. Anyway, it is geared to middle schoolers and I actually created and used the contents of this book while I was a science teacher a couple years back.  I made a 25 year career in education and spend the bulk of that time with 8th graders, so it is for them. The bonus was that is made my career and day to day enjoyment of teaching skyrocket. The kids liked it and I liked it.  So, it had to be compiled into a  book. After a fair amount of research looking for a way to publish it (and one decision that derailed the progress for a bit) I finally found the right fit for me. So now I am delving into the publishing process and learning all the ropes of what to do and what not to do. Thankfully the book is written and professionally edited so I am very close to the finish line on this. 

If you are a teacher or know a teacher who is struggling with the stress of too much classroom time being used for discipline instead of instruction, this book is an incredibly useful tool to help your students become more productive and less disruptive.  I know this because I used it and it was such a benefit to both them and me that I absolutely had to write this book to help teachers in this current climate of education. You can send me an email if you want to hear more about it. For now, know that it should be available by late October.

With taking on the time commitment to publish a book, even with the help of the cover artists and formatters, I have put art on the back burner for a bit. I use my creative and energetic morning hours for book work and then I approach my artwork with the energy I have left in the afternoons. It is still getting done, but at a slower pace.  Which is fine because I can ramp up again once my book is on the market. It is also way less stressful than following the steps in a process that I have never done before.

Here's the fifth in a series titled "Simplify". Really it was about how we all pared down our schedules in the past five months to the real necessities and life became a lot calmer. It is pieced and basted. I can quilt it slowly as the days go by. Making sure that my book project work is complete before I relax at my sewing machine.

Putting the color palette that I selected to work for me.


This is a piece of overdyed fabric. No idea what colors were originally used but, it fit right in with this color palette and has some real depth.


Another close up. I laid the pieces in an overlap so that I could cut through both pieces at the same time. I wanted the stripes to be horizontal and not off kilter. You can't do that unless they match up and get cut on the same line. 

So three cheers for the newlyweds! Stay tuned for the book launch. And I'll post this piece whenever it gets finished. Hope you are enjoying the end of summer as much as I am. Feel free to leave a comment of ask a question.  Thanks for stopping by!





Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Two Series and Two Mediums

 So, I've been busy in the studio this week.  I finished a fourth piece in my Simplify series.  No pictures yet but it's a black, white, grey and red piece.  I guess the neutrals had me missing my usual saturated color palette so I have selected the next color palette for what will be Simplify V.


It a big departure from my last piece and it will have the same dimensions but a very different vibe.  Keeping it interesting. The palette includes hand dyed cottons, cross weaves, cotton batiks, a few overdyed commercial cottons and one or two commercial cottons as is.  I'm looking forward to starting to design the piece, however, right now my design wall has my other project on display.

I decided to gesso 50 pieces of paper that I cut 11x11.  I divided them into 2 groups of 25.  I am currently working on the first 25 pieces.  I basically do one thing to each of the 25 pieces and then move on to the next piece.  Talk about avoiding creative block! I only have room for 12 at a time on the wall so as I work on one, I put another in its place until I have gotten to all 25 pieces.  I clean up, walk away and go back to in the next day.  No pressure and each piece will come to completion in its own time.  

I'm using acrylic paint and mediums, other mark making tools and collage.  So much fun! and no stress.



I use the leftover paints at the end of the painting session to make collage paper that I can use in this project or down the road on another one.  No paint wasted and I even put some acid free paper on the table just in case something good turns up and I can use that.

Feel free t leave a comment or ask a question.  I'd love to hear from you.  Have a great day with whatever you create!

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

I'm on YouTube!

Now, there's a phrase I thought I'd never say.  But, I've attached the link here if you are interested in my first Artist's Talk from my show last month.  I hope you are staying busy with your own endeavors.  I plan to make more quick YouTube demos and updates.  But, without further ado - here's the link.  

www.youtube.com/watch?v=SW2PqimBT2I

Thanks for watching!  Feel free to leave a comment or ask a question.

Friday, July 24, 2020

This Week in the Studio - Finishing and Beginning



This week has been somewhat busy for my art projects.  Monday I took a road trip to Test Fabrics, about an hour and 40 minutes each way.  I was finally able to purchase fabric for dyeing and I even got a very useful, large container for storing rolls of fabric.  It even had room for a large roll of cotton batting that I have so that was an organization bonus.

Tuesday I washed and prepared the fabric for dyeing. I also tried to wrap up my most recent art quilt project.  Third in a series.


Here's a shot of it on my design wall.  And here's a few detail shots.  The series is titled "Simplify" and the idea was to use only one piece of each fabric that I had gathered in my color palette.  The first on e was red and green, the second blue and orange and the third purple and yellow.  I also included some neutrals or desaturated colors to help the colors I wanted to feature pop.  



 Finished size of each of the three pieces so far is about 17 1/2" X 32"

Frames have been ordered and mats are being stored in my recently acquired flat file cabinet.  

Wednesday I began painting the first layer on 25 out of the 50 11" X 11" pieces of paper that I gessoed last week.  Again I have a limited color palette and once I get further down the road with these I will be posting the work here. Stay tuned.  I also looked at my dye powders and decided to select a few for hand dyeing some cotton that I prepared on Tuesday.

Thursday was dye day.  I chose a bright warm red and blue green with a medium grey as my neutral.  I did a range of values and shades.  Again, I tried to add the grey to each color to get a variety of desaturated shades so the more saturated colors will pop.  Not sure how this will translate into a quilt yet, but isn't that always the way.  The materials inspire the piece but, for now the colors need to marinate for a bit until the ideas reveal themselves.  



Altogether, I think I dyed about 60 or so different colors of fabric.  I ran out of ziploc bags and had to go find my solo cup collection for the last few pieces.  Some of the pieces were also overdyed for more depth of color.

In the past, I have usually ended a dyeing session with a pretty achy low back.  But using these bed risers under the table legs was so helpful for getting through the job without any back tension.  I highly recommend them.

Finally, here's the end results.
The desaturation was done using the grey and also be combining the red with it's complement green.  Once I figure out what I'm going to do with the fabric, I know that the colors should be harmonious.  They most likely won't all be used,  but at least if I keep them together, I have a palette to work with.

It's Friday.  Heading down to the studio right after I finish here to begin another piece in the Simplify series.  I'll post once I have made some progress.  Feel free to ask a question or post a comment.  I'd love to hear from  you.  Stay well, stay cool and be safe.



Monday, July 13, 2020

Anybody Have a Little Extra Free Time?

If you find yourself looking for inspiration and bored of the same view out your window or doorstep, you can find me on Instagram posting whatever's new in my studio and at my exhibits.  I will also be preparing some online, "you can do this at home" classes very soon.  Feel free to check me out and follow if it interests you.  Thanks and I hope you get a chance to create something new today!

@claudeblarson


Wednesday, July 8, 2020

The Show Must Go On!

It's been a crazy time in history.  The events and circumstances we are dealing with have been quite emotional, no matter where you live.  But, I am here to report that The ARTery Gallery in Milford, Pennsylvania is among the places that have re-opened.  Pike County is doing well with the pandemic and we have been open for about a month now.  The good news, beyond the fact that patrons can come and visit the gallery is that my featured artist show is going to happen.  I wasn't sure it would but, with some guidelines and careful planning I am prepared for my first solo show.  I have included several pictures and the write up that I have posted at the gallery.  I look forward to your comments, questions and hopefully, seeing some of you in person.  The opening reception is this Saturday, July 11, 2020 at 210 Broad Street, Milford, PA from 3 - 8 PM.

I got to pick my own window design.  I don't have a lot of experience with this but, each time I try something, I learn a lot more.  I wanted it to have depth so people had a lot to look at.  I also wanted it to be readable from your car on the nearby street.  And I wanted some interest for people walking by.  So I have large text, artwork and some vintage phones to capture the viewer's attention.  Thanks to Ricky Boscarino for the loan of the vintage phones.  If you haven't looked up Luna Parc - please do.  You won't be disappointed.




There are two different media in this show.  Acrylic on paper and Fiber. I had run completely out of fabric for dyeing and was planning to go to my source in mid-March.  So, with that plan falling through, I used what I had.  Vintage table linens and fabric I had already dyed.  I also used paints that I already had and smaller paper because I was out of large sheets of paper.  


Far Reaching
Fiber



Closing the Gap
Fiber







These are all similar in color but the lighting in the gallery makes some variety in the photographs.  The quilt is 8" X 8" and the frames are 14" X 14" outside dimensions. These will be one of a kind.  I did not photograph them for reproduction. 

The following pieces are acrylic on paper.  The were experiments that went from Black and White, to monochromatic, to complementary and finally a triad of colors.  The square pieces are 12" X 12" framed in 16" x 16" frames.  The rectangular pieces are 5" X 8" framed in 11" X 14" frames.









There are a few more pieces on exhibit but, they were not created during this stay home time.  I have three fiber work pieces that will be joining the collection but, I am waiting on some frames.  The five-week shut down has created a lot of delays as you well know.   I'll be posting them once they are framed and in the gallery.  Here's the write up.  Thanks for making it this far and again, feel free to comment or send questions.

ESSENTIAL CONNECTIONS
Presented by Claude Larson

During the past few months there’s been a shift in our thinking, our actions and our perspective.  We’ve been forced to come to grips with a new normal, whether we went willingly or not; It’s a new reality.  How often did we hear the word essential? Essential workers, essential business, essential errands and the essentials – toilet paper!  We were forced to pare down our schedule and keep only what was essential.  This created a lot of monotony and ample free time.  The challenge was real.  The loss of our usual activities and inability to connect with our family and friends was disquieting.

And then, amid the restrictions of our social isolation, the human spirit broke out of the usual conventions to create ways to connect with each other.  The virtual Happy Hour, Zoom meetings, virtual classes of every sort and the opportunity to gather around the dinner table.  Life became simplified.  Pared down to the essentials and uncluttered with the busy-ness of our usual routine.  Boredom birthed creativity. Anybody feel like baking bread?  Celebrations became more creative.  The birthday wave parade, the lawn signs signaling milestones and walking the dog with an unaccustomed frequency.  We publicly acknowledged our healthcare workers and began to appreciate our essential neighbors and friends like never before.  Our need for connection helped us realize how essential we are to each other.

This collection of works is my solution to the isolation, monotony and abundance of time.  Determined to find the positive in the challenging situation, I allowed my creativity to roam where my feet were not permitted to go.  Ironically, I had run out of a few staple supplies and art stores were deemed unessential.  The nerve!  Turning my misfortune into fortune, I took the limitation of materials and began to make new connections.  Trying paint and textile groupings that I had never combined before and stretching my creative boundaries in response to the restrictions was the answer to this sequestration.  I wanted to see how far I could push my creative abilities.  Honestly, this pushed a door wide open for me and I realized that this is only the beginning of new artistic experiments. 

The results of my shift in process and perspective are before you.  Thank you for coming and I hope you enjoy the show!

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Iron and Indigo

Last night was the opening reception for my featured artist show at The ARTery Gallery in Milford, PA.  It was a success in that I was very happy with how my work was exhibited and in the completion of the pieces, all of the custom framing and the installation.  Here are some shots of one of the several series that are on display until September 9th. 




4Fe + 3O2  ---> 2Fe2O3

Forged by fire, iron is part of our everyday lives.  In the presence of water it creates rust.  This chemical reaction can only occur when iron comes in contact with water.  The textiles in this series were created using one of two processes.  The blue textiles were manipulated and dyed using Shibori techniques and indigo dye.  The rusted fabrics were soaked in a weak acid and then placed in contact with rusted pieces of iron.  Pressure and time allow each textile to become a unique transfer of rust.  The same piece of iron can be used repeatedly but, the amount of time, pressure or condition of the rust changes with each transfer.  Thus, the process can be repeated but the results cannot be duplicated.




Each piece is 8" X 8" and matted with a spacer in a 12" X 12" gallery natural wood frame.  Altogether there are six pieces.  Stop by to see the other two. 

Feel free to leave a comment or ask a question.  Thanks for stopping by the blog and have a great day!