Two weeks ago I packed the Prius to the gills with supplies for my residency in Conifer CO. My bedroom and studio view has been of pine and aspen covered hills but the work I had planned for this time was going to be about a much different landscape. I Can See for Miles, is a new series about the vast, open, sparsely treed and populated areas of Wyoming. The quiet and solitude during my MAP residency allowed me to get two landscapes finished. Each one took between 30 and 35 hours to complete so I think I did well to get two finished. They will be on display for the first time tonight, August 31st at the Next Gallery on W. Colfax in Denver CO. If you are in Denver stop Next Gallery from 6-10 for the opening reception which will also include the work of fellow residents, Betsy Rudolph, Sonja Lujan, and Karen Bennett.
Across the nation for one week in October, American craft people shine! Every year the organization also puts out a themed challenge. This year the call was for artist who work with re-purposed materials so I entered. I was one of 27 artist across the USA that were chosen to be highlighted in Metamorphosis. Follow the link to view the artists and their process.
Its finally here! The Hidden Worlds show has been installed on the second floor of Cheyenne's beautiful Botanic Gardens. Opening night is tomorrow, June 14th from 5-8pm. Georgia will be there to talk about her work and her Life Rings workshop's student artwork. The show will be on display for the month of June and July.
."Come visit the grand centerpiece of Cheyenne," is the opening statement on the Garden's website and I couldn't agree more. I always say its the jewel in Cheyenne's crown. Not only do I love to bike to the gardens and hang out in the conservatory, I am proud to say they have now started an Artist-in-Residency program. Laramie WY artist Wendy Bredehoft, was their first artist to fill the upper floor with work based on microscopic images. The next artist will be......well ME! I'll be showing my Hidden Worlds and Life Rings series, both based on things that grow. The show will open June 14th during the Cheyenne Artwalk and will run till the end of July. I will also be teaching a Life Rings workshop at the Gardens in July.
I have been Spring cleaning and tidying up here and there in preparation for my daughter's wedding in July. Today I tackled my studio bulletin board and found some quotes from an article I read in American Craft about artist's Kate Cusack. Like me, Cusack works with unusual, overlooked materials. Here are four quotes that resonate with me as an artist;
" When I transform an everyday material into something elaborate, it reminds the viewer of the power of imagination and the joy of discovering a new view of something that would have otherwise been overlooked."
"Whenever I see things in multiples, its exciting"
"What's interesting to me is the use and transformation of materials."
"There is something deeply liberating about working with expendable stuff."
Old T-shirts and other discarded clothing are the "expendable stuff" I transform into art everyday. A liberation of material and self!
The latest in my Hidden Worlds series is a Yew Tree cross-section. Being the curious person that I am, I had to do a little research on the Yew to see what it was all about. Turns out there is a lot of mythology surrounding this long-lived tree and there is actually a group called the Ancient Yew Group based in England. Its often found in churchyards in England and Wales, it was used to make longbows from the 13th to 16th century and the tree is quite poisonous! Who knew the Yew has such a colorful and interesting history.
As I cut and wrapped the last few inched of this piece, I was watching a DVD called SEED: The Untold Story. Its about the miracle of the seed and how vital they are to mankind's existence. The movie features seed savers from around the world and talks about the dark side of GMOs and big companies like Monsanto. It was so good, I plan to watch it again while I am giving it my full attention ( after all, these days I hear multi-tasking is ineffective)!
Although I am gathering my inspiration from images of plants, there is no plant without a seed.
What's better on a chilly Sunday than getting together with new and old friends to make art in a cool old building! I had three deckle boxes set up yesterday at Art@the Hynds gallery and I expected a few people to trickle in over the next 2 hours. Boom! At 2:00 there were over a dozen people ready to try their hand at paper making! I did a short demo and set them loose. Fortunately my friend and fellow paper maker, Win Ratz, was there and happily pitched in to help people with the process. Everyone got a chance to make several sheets of paper and experiment with a few interesting found fibers like okra and hollyhock.
Sunday Series Success!
Five cross-sections have been finished so far! I plan on doing many more since I just made a proposal for a solo show at the Coconino Art Center in Flagstaff AZ. I would like to do a instillation that flows organically across the gallery walls. I am also eager to try building a cell phone microscope to use during the show. So... after Christmas and New Year's Eve, I will be back in my studio in the Hynds building making my plant inspired, fiber cross-sections!
"We are surrounded by another world that is hidden to the naked eye."
I have been trolling the internet for information and images about plant cells in preparation for a new series. This idea started to percolate back when Shane Smith, the director of the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens, told me they were planning to get a microscope in their classroom that would show the images on a TV screen. That appealed to me and since the microscope's arrival is not yet determined, I needed to get the ball rolling, I started researching online for cell images and wow! I found there really is a whole world of wonder under the scope! I love natural patterning and the images I found have inspired!
Georgia Rowswell is a mixed media artist living and working in Cheyenne WY.