For the Love of Animals
Susan Grinels is an animal lover. Her Lander WY studio is dedicated to making art and caring for stray cats. She works with local veterinarians to neuter and spade the cats, then uses a portion of her studio building as a recovery and care unit. Susan recently received a Doris Day Foundation Grant to help in her mission to care for Lander's homeless cats and to control the population.
Animal's have been a part of her life since a child, (ask her about how she won a pony and convinced her parents to keep it)! It's no surprise that her depictions of dogs, horses, cows, sheep and more are sensitive and humorous!
Blue Door arts will be exhibiting Susan's pastels and collages for the month of April and May. Opening reception will be during the Thursday April 14th Cheyenne Artwalk with a closing reception during the NEW First Friday Cheyenne Artwalk on May 6th. Both receptions are from 5-8pm, other hours by chance or appointment. If no one is working at the studio you can contact Georgia at 229-546-5183.
Let it snow.... paper that is!
For the past several years I have been hosting a paper snowflake making party at my studio and gallery, Blue Door Arts during the Cheyenne Artwalk. Folding, cutting and then revealing a beautifully intricate paper snowflake is so much fun. If you are in Cheyenne this Thursday, Dec 9th, I hope you can join my husband Dave and I. We will also have some homemade Holiday treats for you to enjoy while crafting your snowflakes.
Small Business Saturday- Nov. 27th
Small Business Saturday was started by American Express in 2010 to help promote locally owned businesses nationwide. My gallery has participated in the past and will be open again this year. The space at 1608 Capitol contains the studios of Katrina Vermillion with Indigo Arts and Dave Rowswell's Rawhide Studio. We three artists will be on hand to talk about what we do plus there will be many specials to take advantage of. Hours are 10 till 5....but wait, that's not the end of the fun. Going right past my gallery windows starting at 5:30 is the 31st Annual Cheyenne Christmas parade .
So- Shop Small on the 27th then bring your camp chair, a warm blanket and a thermos with your favorite hot beverage and you will be set to enjoy the parade.
Happy Holidays from out West!
The gift of time-
Artists residencies happen all over the world in all kinds of situations, cultures and climates. With a little bit of Spanish and a lot of excitement, I embarked on a personal residency at 360 Xochi Quetzal in the Fall of 2016 to work on my year long Leap 366 Life Ring project.
Residencies are all about giving artists the gift of time. Time to work on current projects and time to incubate new ideas. Fast forward to my February 2021 residency in the High Plains of Ucross Wyoming, population...25! Ucross Foundation for the arts was started by philanthropist Raymond Plank in 1983 to, " foster the creative spirit of deeply committed artists and groups by providing uninterrupted time..." Surrounded by snow and a few days of temperatures that dipped to -22 degrees, I was able to spend hours in my beautiful studio working on projects that revolve around textiles as storytellers. Today I continue to work on ideas and artwork started at Ucross in my downtown Cheyenne studio while applying for my next residency adventure!
Interested in an artist residency? Here's the website I use to search for opportunities around the world, Alliance of Artists Communities
My big, little sister, Nancy Quinn, doesn't really like to make things. She would rather support people like myself who do which is just fine because It takes both kinds to make the art world go round. Even though there were a few sighs, Nancy graciously agreed to add a few embroidery stitches on segment #7 of the, Crazy- A Contemporary Quilt about Fashion's Pressing Problems project.
n town for a family wedding, Nancy stayed with us for a week before the wedding. During a book purging before she left Virginia, she found a Crazy Quilt Stitching book that belonged to my Mother. Knowing I was working on a project that involved stitching, she brought it with her. Together we spent time at my studio stitching and talking all while our Mother, Dot Stiefler, was present through her long forgotten book.
PS We had a great time at the family wedding in Denver!
Textiles as Global Storytellers
Putting on your clothes for the day can bring you in touch with people from around the world. Our clothes are almost exclusively made overseas. As an interesting and informative exercise, look at the labels in the clothes you put on in the morning, then when you have a minute look up something about those countries. What's the story of its people, traditions and environment? For instance, today I am wearing a hot pink, velour sweatshirt made in Cambodia. I Googled Cambodia and the first article screamed this headline:
What else did I learn in just a few minutes? Built in the 12th century, Angor Wat is the largest religious structure in the world by land area. It's one of the most important pilgrimage sites for Buddhists around the world. A line drawing of the temple appears on Cambodia's national flag, and it is the country's main tourist attraction.
Let your clothes be your armchair tour guide to the
fascinating and diverse world we live in!
31" of heavy, wet snow fell on the City of Cheyenne last Saturday and Sunday. It's Tuesday now and the side streets are still impassable. Dave and I strapped on our cross country skis to get to our daughter house several blocks away just to see our grandson Aviv! Grandparents to the rescue! I haven't been able to get to my downtown studio in days! Fortunately I have a hand stitching project a home to work on. Never be without a project!
One good thing about being snowbound is the extra time to do some reading and research. My current read is the excellent, The Fabric of Civilization: How textiles Made the World by Virginia Postrel. In that same vein, my research led me t0 Clare Hunter's website, Sewing Matters "where you can read about, explore and discover the social, emotional and political significance of needlework. I just ordered her book, Threads of Life. Goodreads tells me that although the book doesn't have any images, Hunter's website has pictures that correspond to the chapters in her book. Of course I went to her site and found images titled, Connections. One of the pictures is from the Foundling Museum in London. Take a minute to read about the Museum's emotional Threads of Feeling exhibit about the role textiles played in a foundling's life.
What next for a snowbound day? Perhaps some baking. Chocolate chip cookies anyone?
Growing up in Buffalo NY, I know when you hear the snow crunch under your feet and the snow sparkles like diamonds....it's cold out! During my two weeks residency In early February at Ucross Foundation, the weather and COVID regulations kept the artists in residence separate but well cared for. Lunch and Supper were delivered to my studio door by the talented chef, Cindy Brooks, who didn't repeat a meal during the whole two weeks! It's amazing how much work you can get done when you don't have to cook for yourself or anyone else. Most days I worked from 9:00 to 9:00 on the three projects planned for my residency.
Project #1 - To continue my ongoing Thrift Life Ring series. Ucross is about 30 minutes from Sheridan which had two thrift stores I was interested in working with, Urban Thrift and 2nd Hand Blessings, (follow this link for blog posts on the Thrift series.)
Project #2 - A badly damaged, overshot coverlet I found 4 years ago at Bridge Street Thrift in Saratoga WY, was the starting point for this project. Like many old coverlets, it was woven in two panels and then carefully stitched together, matching the pattern so it appeared to be one large weaving. Separating the two panels, I paired one with a Japanese kimono and one with an Indian sari. Upcycling isn't new to either of these countries. Japanese Boro and Indian Kantha are both ancient techniques that saw the value in reclaiming and transforming used textiles.
Project #3 - "What would it be like to create a piece that could undulate and flex? That could be rearranged in different ways each time it was exhibited?" I had begun working with these ideas in my Cheyenne studio but had only gotten about 8 inches constructed. The gift of time I was so generously given at Ucross allowed me to expand that 8 inches into 7 feet!
Thank you Ucross for an amazing two weeks.
I love our library so when Jennifer Rife, library employee, accomplished artist and friend, asked me to exhibit "Crazy" and LEAP 366, I of course said YES! Together we developed a four part exhibition revolving around telling stories through textiles. The exhibition winds its way through all three floors and focuses on stories about where our clothes come from, who makes them and what happens to all those clothes we get rid of.
If you are in Cheyenne or passing though, please visit our fantastic library while taking in the exhibition. Textile Stories will be on display until February 16th,
As I write this, I am sitting in the McMurray Foundation Gallery at the Nicolaysen Art Museum in Capser WY. Circling the walls is a parade of my work. I've calculated that a third of the work was already completed when I got the invitation to have a solo show here and the rest is new work made over the past year and a half for this show.
In this same room, laid out over 7 tables, is my "Crazy- A Contemporary Quilt About Fashion's Pressing Problems." I have spent the last week welcoming classes and individuals to join me in learning the slow craft of embroidery while talking about Fast Fashion and its issues. Tonight the public is invited to preview the exhibition and watch the documentary, The True Cost by Andrew Morgan. Afterward there will be time for discussion and project collaboration. I hope you can join us but if not, take a minute to watch the trailer for the documentary and consider renting the whole film. It will open your eyes!
Georgia Rowswell is a mixed media artist living and working in Cheyenne WY.