Wednesday, September 12, 2012

While I was away...

So, clearly I haven't been posting at all this summer. I think I've hit that point where I've maxed out the amount of balls I can juggle, plates I can spin and bowling pins I can hurl into the air confidently without having it all crash down on top of me. Thus, the blog was 1 pin too many! But, as each project draws to a conclusion  I'm reminded that I haven't shared it and a good post has gone by the wayside. I'm not going to back post about the summer but I'll give you a bit of a timeline to catch you up.

Right around the 4th of July I got a "convo" e-mail on etsy from a business called Jinky Art wondering if I could make 120 journals to arrive in Texas by August 15. Um... well....maybe? P.S. meanwhile in that window of time I had 2.5 weeks of full time work and a 12 day international vacation that had been planned for months already. So what did I say? Obviously, of course! I didn't have much of a social life outside of stitching, and yes, some of that work came with me to France. But, by the grace and help of some fantastic friends and my husband it got done and got rave reviews from the client. Yes, that is a beer bottle crowning the stack, it was my reward on packing night!
covers in production
folded signatures (about 1/4 of the total amount) pierced and ready for stitching

It took a village, herd to complete this project
In the midst of the Jinky Art project we were in Paris. It was a bit stressful to be away, but certainly a welcome retreat. A few picnics on the Seine and multiple cafe visits helped me find a calm I'd been missing.

As soon as we got back I was finishing up the order and moving on to re-opening my etsy store. I launched a few new products and soon had busy hands again.

Then, it was time to get painting! With the art show at Wix Lounge coming up, I really needed to complete a few more paintings to fill out the walls. To add to the challenge I decided I needed to increase my scale. I'm perfectly comfortable working on 12x12, 18x18 and even the occasional 24x24. But with tall loft walls I needed to push further. Up it went to 30x40 and 36x48". Granted, those aren't huge, but I quadrupled my scale and changed formats which ended up adding in new challenges. In order to get a handle on the larger works I had to do a lot of drawings to help me re-organize my methods. I'm pretty happy with what the process has started and I think there's a lot of material still left to work on.

So before I get to the Wix Show, there was a studio visit from Helen Wu from opalnest at the end of August and then all of this past weekend, open studios as a part of Go Brooklyn..  Sunday I packed up 15 works from my studio for installation at Wix the very next morning. And now, tonight is the opening! But the end isn't quite in sight. At the beginning of August I got my acceptance packet from the Atlantic Antic and had to place an application for my very first "temporary vendors license!" September 30th from 12-6pm you'll find me and the Delicate Utility booth right here:

View Larger Map

Now, I just have to squeeze in some time to build up my inventory again...
Well that brings us up to speed. I'll get some shots of the opening tonight to share. Gotta run!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Before and After a New Studio Space

Hello Friends!

I've been on a bit of a break for awhile. The end of my school year brought a new round of part time work and, thankfully, a new batch of orders over at my Delicate Utility shop on Etsy. It's been a busy, busy, month. So, I'm very happy to be looking forward to our first summer vacation abroad in just a few weeks. Before we go away though there's much to do, and a few things to catch up on.

The most recent news is that I got a new studio. I'm still in my same building with Chashama atThe Brooklyn Army Terminal, but I have two new wonderful additions.

What's that....a door! I'd forgotten how much I miss a bit of privacy when I'm working. The biggest thing is just not being distracted by noise over my walls or from people passing by.

Next great thing about this space....

A WINDOW!!!!! Oh, how I have missed natural light! Big bonus that it's paned, warehouse glass which I love, and have a fondness for since my professional New York life always takes me to industrial spaces.

I can finally have plants again! This was a gift from my friend Julia.

 I think I'll call her Lady Viola.

The only, and really only, negative about this new studio is that it's small. About half the size of my old space, in fact. However, what I lost in length and width I gained in height. Up, up, up those torsos go to the ceiling for storage. It's somewhat reminiscent of my college studio where I had torsos crowding the walls hanging two high when possible.

But, I love this space so much, I'm ready to find an upswing to any detail. The bonus of a smaller space is that it forces you to get organized! Check out my new shelves, no more boxes all over the floor!

I spent most of last Wednesday getting the space ready to move into. I gave it a fresh coat of bright white flat paint, no odor low VOC's by Behr. It was a big job going up and down the ladder countless times, so I definitely appreciated not getting a paint buzz!

Here it is all finished before moving everything in...

Most of the weekend was spent at the studio, and it was oh so pleasant. A big switch from sitting under the glow of fluorescent lights having no sense for what time of day it is. I am much, much happier.

Here's to more artwork!

Have a great week everyone.

Friday, May 4, 2012

{new post} Friday-Event-Weekend!

It's Friday, which means I'm here in the studio trying to cram some work in. It's also Friday afternoon which means I'm feeling a little rough around the edges from the week and that I need a quick break from making. So what does that really mean? I'm getting around to a new blog post finally!

Since my last blip on the blog about hating writing I've done.... maybe 10 mins. or so. See, I wasn't kidding. But, quite frankly there are some things to catch up on.

1. I would be remiss if I didn't mention that I've got work up again at KrisTEES in Astoria here in NYC for May and June and this Sunday is the opening event, 12-5pm. Here's the link to the event. Come by!

2. For Sunday only I'm offering a 10% discount on all of my pieces in the shop, another reason to come!

3. I have 1 month and 1 week of teaching to go before summer break! Wahoo!!! (Here's one of my recent projects with the kids)

4. I have gotten to see a Picasso and Van Gogh up close from private collections in the last month- pretty cool.

5. I got a new part-time gig which is how I got to see those fabulous pieces.

6. We booked our tickets for our summer vacation and that just makes me tremendously happy!

7. I got a show confirmed for September to October at the lounge in Manhattan. More details to come on that one.

8. I had a record number of sales for April over at the etsy shop.

9. hmm, what else has happened.... I really ought to have 10 points to round this out nicely. Oh, I got to hear a new friend sing some beautiful arias at an opera recital. Check out this short video of Shermayne , she's got a pretty fabulous voice!

10. It isn't raining today, it isn't cold and it isn't Monday! All good things.

Have a good weekend folks, I hope to see a few of you at the event!

Friday, March 30, 2012

I Hate Writing

Okay, perhaps that's an over statement. However, I really, really, really don't like it. My apologies to all the teachers and professors who did their best to foster a love of writing over the years. You gave me encouragement and scratch- and sniff stickers, that should be enough to strike up a small passion. However, the thought of ever writing a paper again leaves a chalky taste in my mouth and a deafening void in my ears which is reason enough never go to graduate school.

And then there's creative writing and journaling. I find it tedious and difficult to try and sort through my thoughts, which waver between tornado furies and waterfall tumults, to bring forth a cohesive and calm written passage. So, why do I do it? Well, quite frankly I don't do it so often- you see how few and far between my posts to this blog have become. But, the very reason I don't like to write, is why I write. Contradictory, yes, but true.

If I find that I haven't taken the time to write in my journal after a few weeks I start to feel locked inside. The tornadoes begin to wreak complete havoc leaving me completely disconnected with what I'm feeling and thinking. Somehow going through the (dreaded) process of putting pen to paper helps me to get my thoughts sorted out and to put all the disparate parts of me back together again. With all the hand cramps aside, it's still good for me.

I have a large collection of journals and sketchbooks around the apartment, most of them a quarter way filled. The ones that have all the pages used up are among my treasured possessions and are given a place of honor on the book shelves. I return to these frequently, perhaps as encouragement, perhaps just to prove to myself that it can be done.

This need for writing isn't so much of a new topic for me. I spent a good portion of my senior thesis, oh so long ago, wading around in this idea. And the fact that I'm now a book maker may have something to do with my individual struggle with writing but instinctual need for it. I have found that in my struggle to begin there are a few tricks that always seems to work:

1.Have some good paper to write on. I like either a silky smooth, vellum like surface, or a super toothy cotton rag with a cockle finish. I tend to make my journals with only these two types.

2. A good pen. It can't take too much pressure to produce a nice fluid line, otherwise hand cramps are sure to set in early and kill all good intentions. A fancy or expensive pen is not necessary. One of my favorites was a hotel freebie- an extra fine ball point pen in blue, that glided ever so nicely over the page. I was quite grieved when it went missing during a trip. These days I gravitate to Stabilo pens which almost feel like pencils. I saw my first one in a stationary shop in Budapest and was very happy to find them in US stores as well.

3. A place to sit where I won't be interrupted. I don't necessarily need quiet, and in fact if it's too quiet my mind doesn't always settle down. As long as no one needs my attention I'm happy to sit in a busy spot. My other go to is late at night. If my mind is racing when I'm trying to sleep, often getting up to write will put me back at ease.

4. It doesn't hurt if there's a strong aroma of leather, and a tactile journal cover to hang on to.

Well, that's my confession for this Friday. I hope the weekend treats you well- and that you take some time to write. Do it for me- or rather, instead of me!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Topography and a Knot of Strings

"The Last String Pulled" 12x12", acrylic, string and ink on canvas

I started a new painting series in the last few weeks. The nudge to work with some new imagery came from the offer to participate in the SCOPE art fair by painting a 12x12" canvas to be included in Chashama's booth at the fair. They will be creating a large grid of submitted canvases from artists in their various studio buildings. There's no guarantee that they'll use my canvas, but it's submitted none the less. The canvases are being displayed anonymously so buyers won't know who they got until after they've made a purchase. We"ll see if I get any takers. Meanwhile, I enjoyed the new direction the painting took so I decided to make a few more related pieces.

"Topography 01"
12x12", acrylic, string, and ink on canvas

I've been building up the canvases with a great deal of texture. Included in the layers are various types of string culled from my jumbled knot of scraps. Embroidery floss to stray strands of cheese cloth have made their way into the tangles. Here, the strands are frayed, overlapped and knotted up to create a variation in the topography of the canvas.
"Topography 02" 12x12", acrylic, string and ink on canvas

somewhere over Germany

"Deep Sea"
8x8", acrylic and strings on panel
When I showed the paintings to Sam, he mentioned that they reminded him of a series I've been talking about doing for a long time and that these seemed like the prelude. They also strongly alluded to the plethora of photographs I've taken out of airplane windows while traversing fields and mountains. I think this may be the start of moving towards "painting out" those ideas.

© Susan Springer Anderson, 2012,  all image rights reserved by the artist

Monday, February 27, 2012

The BAT CAT Gang

I've sprinkled a few mentions here and there about this notorious gang, but I haven't expounded on them or given you a photo by which to familiarize yourself with. These are the protectors of the lot, the nomads of the south, the felines of the outpost - The BAT CAT Gang.

We noticed this tribe of cats one night while leaving our studio at the Brooklyn Army Terminal. A few were seated on the steps leading out of the building and as we looked closer we saw the glow of more eyes scattered around the far parking lot.

Count the pairs of eyes!

Since that night we've been on the lookout for these rugged beings who seem to congregate at the hole in the back fence just beyond the dilapidated street cleaner. Perhaps it's their fort.

On warmer days we see them chasing each other around the lot. On colder nights there is usually one lone cat, we're convinced he's the sentinel, who guards the entrance to the hole in the fence. Perhaps they each take turns at the post.

It's hard to say exactly why we are so enamored with these cats. I guess as cat owners we have an understanding about these finicky creatures and feel sad for the ones who don't have warm homes and push over owners like us. But, it's specifically this strange environment, the parking lot of a huge industrial area that seems to hold the vehicle dregs of New York City, that creates such a strong juxtaposition. Here is a place where few trees grow and the bulk of greenery comes from the weeds that poke through the cracks of the concrete. Yet, a gang of cats spanning a wide range of age, size and colorings, have gathered here to make it a home. Who knows how they keep warm at night, manage to find food- as I can't imagine the rat population even finding reason to hang about, or any semblance of water to drink. And yet, here they are. I always keep an eye out for them when I enter the building. If I don't see one then and not when I leave either, I start to wonder if they have moved on to another watering hole. It's a strange relief to then see the sentinel the next day, watching over his post and observing the humans coming and going. Perhaps for as much entertainment as they bring us, we are actually their daily dose comedic relief.

Friday, February 10, 2012

On another note, Yay for free publicity!

My "Sam" manly notebook got featured on the front page of the Etsy website this afternoon. That's the first item that's made it up there and it's pretty darn exciting!

The Five Fingered (F)ilosophy for Friday

Have I ever mentioned that I love alliteration? I really do, and I find it deeply satisfying to pull a title out that repeats the same sound often enough that you feel like you are speaking gibberish by the end. Today's was a bit indulgent because this philosophy has nothing to do with Fridays at all, it just really rounded things out nicely. Thanks for playing along.

On to the real meat, or soy protein for my vegetarian friends.

Here we go. By the way, I call this the Five Finger (F)ilosophy because as I was trying to recount these questions to a friend I had to keep track of them on my fingers as I fleshed out each point so I didn't get lost in my questions.

Perhaps it was the "aging out" of the 30 and under calls for artwork that brought this up, or maybe it's being in a studio setting where you are constantly being asked to submit work for selection but are then "not chosen" because the chosen pool is so small,

My office

...or maybe it's because on a daily basis I am trying to reconcile my choice to leave full time, stable office work for a plethora of odd jobs and the attempted journey towards a studio art career,

...and then there's the question of- is the work I pursue a changing force for this world or just adding more stuff to the gigantic surplus of stuff,

...or maybe it's because left and right friends are announcing pregnancies, or second pregnancies or third or the purchase of a new house, or a new job....
It's not mine. But, it's the most popular status update image on Facebook these days.
Well, quite frankly it's all of this and a hundred other small things, that have added up to me formulating one really big question...

Is it possible to be (and are there any examples of) a woman(1) who has a truly established and influential studio art career(2), who has a strong and palpable faith(3), who has a marriage that could be defined as healthy(4) and has children(5) that they feel attached to, in tune with, thankful to have (at least in most moments) and have time to really rear up?

If you know one, PLEASE introduce me! I am struggling with this big time, because those 5 points, with the exception of the 1st, since I had little choice in the matter of being born a female, are what I want for my life, or what I feel the desire of my heart is, yet I don't know anyone first hand claiming all 5 points.

Now, I want to break this down a bit, because to me each one of those points is very specific and even if I don't have the words to explain them exactly, I think I'd know it when I see it. However, I'll do my best to  put a few characters together and eek out argument.

1. Let's not dwell on the female thing too long, other than, my generation and that of just a few years older, were really the first to experience an open world for seeking out career paths. Much has been said about this from authors far more studied than I, so let's boil it down to this, I think the four following points are still much more difficult to put together for a woman than for a man, even in this time where we think of gender equality as being, not completely, but pretty well balanced in the western world.

2. An influential art career: I want to specifically define this as: an artist who makes the bulk of their income in response to, sales from or through the production of artwork. This may mean grants, sales, commissions or anything close to that. I am specifically leaving out teaching because, as I've experienced, it is primarily focussed on the fostering of and honing the talent of others- not the physical work you singly produce. I am also, intentionally narrowing this to visual art, as that is the camp I'm apart of and trying to find an advanced Girl Scout leader for. Additionally, I say influential, because any Joe Shmoe off the street can probably name five to twenty male artists throughout the course of history, but how many female artists could they name?

3. Faith: I haven't delved too deeply into this topic in the blog format, but when I say this I will put it as; a faith in a Creator, outside of ourselves, who we recognize as being reliant upon, called to give glory to, and inseparable from, so that our choices in life are grown out of and constantly informed by this faith.

4. Marriage: Do both spouses respect one another? Do they find deep comfort in being vulnerable with each other? Would they say they are the closest of friends while experiencing a connection that no other friendship has produced? Do they feel responsible to each other and look to uplift, encourage and challenge each other? Quite frankly- do they actually believe and strive to keep their marriage vows?

5. Children: ... I said it. Okay. For some this may seem a shocking point, but yes, I really do think about having children, and find that, especially after crossing the threshold of 30, it's on my mind quite frequently. But this is the point along, with #2, that I still have the control to not include in my life and it's really a big question for me. I know who I am currently and the things that I'm pursuing and the type of work I hope to be able to produce if I can go deep enough and stay engaged and I wonder... can children fit into this? Can I be the parent I would want to be while still being the woman, artist, wife that I already am or are working towards?

Well, there you have it. That's what I'm thinking about, and that's who I'm searching to meet, or at least know is out there. There are plenty of outstanding women working on different combinations of these points or have their own set of fingers they are trying to solve so I hope this can be an inclusive  discussion even if I am keeping my own points pretty narrow. I also know that the art field is definitely not the only place where it's difficult to find female mentors either. So, with that in mind please chime in and add your thoughts to what can hopefully be an encouraging conversation.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Here's to Monday

It's been awhile, sorry for the absence. I've been in the studio weaving away at two new pieces that I'm excited to share. Their compatriots have already been featured but I haven't explained the project in much detail so I figured it was time. I've toyed with different titles for the series but I think I've finally landed on one that really creates an entry point into the work.

"Adornment," began in 2010 after weaving the second version of "Coming Into Being/Coming Undone." The threads took on the role of garment, skin and hair- an interesting notion to me. So I explored a little more and last year created the first piece in the adornment series.
Coming Into Being/ Coming Undone
Adornment .25

Moving to slightly deeper tones, the second piece in the series emerged and I lengthened the vertical threads.

 Adornment .30

I took a pause on this for a few months but have been back at work this January and here are the two newest pieces. I decided to jump in the tones so that I can then work towards the medium tones from the different ends I've started from. My goal is to create at least 10 pieces to create a sampling of different tones. I'm starting the journey now on where to display them once I have the full set. I'll report back when I've got some leads.

Adornment .80

All 4 pieces together in the studio

Adornment .85

Adornment .80