Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Ashes and Stains

Ashes & Stains

A multidisciplinary, interactive art project that seeks to open paths for conversation and reconciliation within communities that have faced and/or are struggling with the tension of police violence and/or violence against police.

The project will unfold in multiple stages and cycles with the intention that it will travel to various locations both locally and nationally to work on its development. It is understood that this project does not have a temporal conclusion but is ongoing as new incidents keep occurring. 

1.  To create space for receptiveness to "feel the other side" by holding the loss close at hand and focusing on that rather than details of each specific event.

2. In communities where the violence has been acute to provide a space for healing, collective mourning and acknowledgement of the extreme loss. 

3. To provide an active, intentional and safe space for discussing the root cause of the violence- the decision, in one or many moments, to lose sight of each every life as having value and the potential for redemption.


Over the course of several hours, a day or up to one week, a rotating group of participants will come to the project site, cycling through the tasks in small groups. They will each individually travel through the space to different stations ultimately recording the names of seven victims of either police violence or violence against police on a fabric banner piece. The names from these two banks will be integrated and the "volunteer scribes" will not have any indication which group their assigned names come from. They are of course free to research the names and stories of the victims after they have left the project site.

When entering the project site, scribes will first sign into a log book and they will be asked to agree to uphold and honor each name they receive keeping foremost in mind the loss that the family, friends and community of the victim have experienced. Scribes are to remember that the project is not seeking justice but acknowledging and providing a space to mourn the needless loss of so many fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, friends, cousins and neighbors who are no longer present with us and the raw, gaping wound that is continuously growing as each new event occurs.  

Entering The Factory

Fabric wrapping

Once agreeing to the terms of the project, scribes will check their phone in (no phones or devices allowed in the active project space) put on a work apron which they will wear until they complete their cycle and exit the space. They will then move to station 1 where they will prepare a banner cloth for dyeing, wrapping the cloth around a thick wooden dowel and then tying it at designated places with twine to create a resist which ultimately form the baselines for the text that will be written. They will also take with them a long white 12inch wide cloth that will be their practice cloth and eventually a prayer mantel/shawl.

Scribes move to station 2, carrying their fabric wrapped pole with them and the mantel, putting on heavy rubber gloves they will submerge the cloths in clean water in the first of three aligned tubs. Keeping the pole wrapped they will gently ring out the water and plunge the pole and mantel into the second tub of rust/blood colored dye. They will repeatedly dunk and agitate the pole in the dye for a few minutes but leave the pieces to soak for at least one hour. They remove the gloves and move to the next station. [Scribes do not return to this station. Facilitators will remove and unfurl the cloth at the correct intervals].

Drying rack & iron
At station 3 scribes will remove a banner cloth and mantel from the large laundry drying rack that have been previously dyed and are now dried. They will take these to the ironing board and press the cloths flat, setting the dye and preparing the cloths for writing.  

Entering the Meditation

Scrivener’s desk

The previous stations should have cold metal surfaces that invite clanking and a sense of a laboratory or a production facility, hence the title of "the factory." When scribes finish ironing they should carry the warm cloth to the new environment of their singular, natural wooden desk and chair. The charcoal/soot writing instruments, instructions and the 8.5x11" hole-punched card with their 7 assigned names will be already present on the desk. Each scribe will use their mantel cloth, working horizontally, to practice writing his or her 7 names each 7 times. With intention and contemplation, scribes will work here at their own pace pouring as much time and concentration as needed to legibly and with care, record the names, one per line on the banner cloth. On completion, scribes will don the mantel, leave the banner on the desk and take their card of names to be reinserted in the project catalog.

The Return 

After leaving the quiet, contemplative space the scribes will be shown back to the start of the cycle where they will immediately escort the next person entering the project to the log book and they will hand off their apron. The transfer should be a bit jarring as they are forced to leave their own internally quiet space and extend themselves to introduce and guide the next person on how to begin the process. This should harken a similar feeling to receiving lines at funerals. 

The Side Chapel/Debrief

When scribes have completed the full cycle it would be helpful to have a separate space, perhaps a side room or even outside, for participants to commune and share about the experience. I do not anticipate creating a formal reflection of any kind, just a calm space for engagement or prayer.

The Display- 

Eventually the hundreds of banner cloths will be displayed as a set, connected by an "Unbroken Line". The final display or container is still in development. My working idea at this point is that the cloths will be hung one next to/on top of the other within a clear sided container so that only the top layer is actually visible- the most recent addition to the catalog. The rest of the cloths are essentially buried. 


As the project is added to and moves to a new location, there is an idea that the "Unbroken line" of banners would be processed through, around, or to the next space- This procession would be the only time each individual banner is visible after it has been created; unfurled and revealed. As the project grows in length so does the next procession requiring more and more people to carry the load of the line.  

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Looking back on a Year in the Life of an Artist Mama/ Mama Artist

The turning of a year. 

A year and a half ago I began an experience that was completely brand new to me and expanded over the course of three calender days. Nothing in my life had truly prepared me for it or could even compare to it. Once begun there was no way out. It made me feel the most base and animal like I have ever felt but resulted in a uniquely glorious human outcome. I was stripped of all abilities to please, pretend, be in control or be accommodating. It was an experience that was in no way original and yet was uniquely mine. In short, I gave birth to a lively baby boy and in turn gave birth to my journey of being an artist and a mother or, a mother and an artist, or wife, artist, mother, maker- artist, wife, mother, maker, daughter,  - wife, mother, artist, friend, daughter, maker.... and I thought getting married years ago was an identity crisis!
[my worlds coincide as I use the diaper box to ship out etsy book orders at Christmas time]

The move to California this summer has brought many new experiences/challenges as well- primarily returning to a full time job while working to keep the etsy shop going, trying to engage and be patient with my super active toddler and day-dreaming about making art again. As much as I fought the idea years ago, I'm willing to say now that all the parts/interests of me can still exist at once, but can't all be the primary focus at the same time. I'd like to think I could strike a balance between all these identities, but I think it's more productive to think about them more like planets in orbit. My full-time art making season will come around again. In the meantime I'm ever grateful to my husband, Sam, who has stepped in to help with the shop and be the primary parent while I'm away at the office during the day. We are making our way in this new corner of the world together, and that's a good thing, every day.

these days, they pass
this week, will close
this season, it ends

I hope to do them justice
to be present as I'm able
to acknowledge them as unique

to remember what came before
to be open to where I am
to envision what could be next

Happy New Year everyone!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Delicate Utility and Apartment Therapy- You Know, we're like best friends now...

You know, some days you just need to feel found in the world. And a small nod of recognition can really alter your day. And then, there are days when you don't just get a nod, but a GIANT SPOTLIGHT of Warm-fuzzy-feel-good glow comes and illuminates your tiny corner of the world. That sort of captures my day.

A few months ago I sent off one of my Ipad mini cases, a little leather pascale notebook and a handwritten note to the guru of style and all things cool, Maxwell Ryan over at little website by the name of Apartment Therapy. {To say that I drool profusely over their content might be a slight exaggeration, but not by much.}

I knew the items had been received but hadn't really heard anything since so I figured I would just chalk it up to a nice gesture and hope they were enjoyed. But then tonight, while checking my shop stats on etsy, what did I find but that one of my item views was linking back to Apartment Therapy. A few clicks more and there did my eyes behold the glory of inter-web prized real estate, my notebooks in the Maxwell's Daily Find section being recommended to the world by the man himself. My little maker heart has been sent aflutter and my hands better get stitching.

A big thanks to Maxwell and to my good pal Nelly Domig who planted the idea (and probably made the personal pitch to make this happen)!

Friday, May 9, 2014

New Work: My Brain Still Functions!

"CA 1" ,9x12" , mixed media on canvas board.
© 2014 Susan Springer Anderson 

Hello again! Ten and a half months post baby and almost 2 years away from paint- I'm back to work! In my little make shift studio I've been working on a new set of collages for about two weeks now, and I can whole heartedly say that this is the most normal I've felt since finding out I was pregnant. My brain is actually functioning creatively and I feel more alert and in-touch with the world than I have in ages! 

There's lots to catch up on from the last year of silence on this blog. Over the next few weeks I'll tell you about our journey from New York to California by way of Wisconsin and I'll follow up on a post I wrote about the possibility of having children as an artist a few years ago. There's much to say, but until we're all caught up, here are a few (not so amazingly lit) images of the new work and one in process. It's good to be back!

"CA 2" ,9x12" , mixed media on canvas board.
© 2014 Susan Springer Anderson 
"CA 3" ,9x12" , mixed media on canvas board.
© 2014 Susan Springer Anderson

The base layers of paper and paint being interwoven and arranged before being glued into place.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

2 Days Left!

That's right, there are only 2 days left in my Spring Art Sale to snatch up some original art wall goodness at baseline prices! A few more pieces have left the studio, so grab what you've been eyeing before someone else gets their paws on it, or before I cut off the spring fever pricing!

Head over to my sale page to check out the selection!

Bluebird on Branch, Sold: 3/27


Bluebird Blue .01

Never Independent

Glacier Paths

Friday, March 8, 2013

Bluebirds, FLY AWAY!

Today's the day! Two birds are flying the coop and migrating North! Turquoise Bird on Branch (below) has a short journey, going just a few miles up the road in Brooklyn. Bluebird in Graphite Tree, has a longer journey, heading up to the great neighborhood of Astoria, Queens. Wish them well as they find their new homes. We'll miss you in the studio, but it's time to let you go, it's time.

Wishing you had your own bluebird flying to your home? Check out the sale page! Prices will be honored until April 10. After that I'll be approaching galleries, so those sweet little sale tags will be disappearing!

Have a great weekend everyone!

All images © Susan Springer Anderson 2013

Friday, March 1, 2013

Spring Art Sale/ Making Room for Baby!

This is a multi prong post folks.

First, the announcement.

I blogged about my internal dilemma last year (here) regarding being an artist, a female, maintaining some professional life and the possibility of becoming a parent. Well, rather than just keep thinking about, and thinking myself out of it, we've decided to put the experiment into action. June baby on the way-watch out world!

Here's a shot of the bump, and my other baby snuggled up on the right. He might be hugging the belly now, but we think  sir charles will be a bit of a jealous monster later on....

Second, in light of baby a comin' (we've nick-named him "Bean" by the way) I need to make some space both at home and at the studio.

I'm going to try my hand at setting up both spaces to allow me to work at nap times, at least once we get our schedule down a bit. It will be an adventure, but we're going to give it a shot.

SO, I NEED TO CLEAR OUT SOME ART! And what better way to do that than to have a SALE!

It's the Studio SaleSpring Cleaning Sale and the Making Room for Baby Sale! 

March 1-April 10

©Susan Springer Anderson,  Turquoise Turn .01, 2012, pen and ink on paper, 10x10"

So head over to my Spring Art Sale page, to check out all the works that have had some dollar signs chipped off the price. 

Third, clearly I haven't been blogging much over the last six months.... or 7,...hmm, 8?... Ouch. I haven't gotten the balance down so well between part-time work, full time etsy store, and studio time, plus communicating with the world.  Then there were those 4 sneaky months of feeling like I had zero energy to even pick out clothes in the morning. Some weeks it's been just tough to drag myself to the studio and crank out a drawing (especially since painting has been nixed with the pregnancy). However, I've got a few more months where it seems like the time window might open a bit wider, and my energy level is up, before Bean makes his arrival. I'm going to do my best to stay in touch during this time. 

Now, do me a favor. 

Think about mother's day, father's day, graduation, your best friend's birthday OR just that big empty spot on your wall crying out for some original art to give it some personality, and go buy art!

©Susan Springer Anderson,  Baby doll, 2007

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! https://www.facebook.com/events/227955030642411/

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 Wix.com 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!