10 April 2017

Spring Refresh

I thought it was about time for a visual refresh on the blog with a new banner. The previous banner had been on my blog since day one and was an image of a book underwater that I thought fit my studio name nicely. 

I took the picture many, many moons ago when I submerged a damaged library book, that had been in a flood, in a glass bowl filled with water in my backyard and walked around it snapping pics. Some very interesting images resulted from that little pre-iphone photo shoot and the images represented my studio for many years.

But, a change was long overdue. I replaced the banner with an image of a piece from my Bibliomuse Series: Genetics, Paleontology and Evolution, No. 1., that I felt reflected the artwork I was currently working on, as well as my related teachings.

Bibliomuse: Genetics, Paleontology and Evolution, No. 1

The Bibliomuse series is a sub-series of KEEP: Modern Library that I am currently working on. I will be having an exhibit entitled Bibliomuse at Seager Gray Gallery in November 2017.

Bibliomuse: Genetics, Paleontology and Evolution, No. 1 (detail)

The Bibliomuse series pieces are all machine stitched and they look to specific discarded library books as their muses. Imagery is extracted and abstracted from the literary muses and combined with various textiles and bookcloth that has been "skinned" from discarded library books.

Bibliomuse: Genetics, Paleontology and Evolution, No. 1 (detail)

I'll be sharing more about the Bibliomuse exhibit as that date approaches and I've been sharing snippets of works in progress on Instagram if you want to follow along.

Another addition to the blog is a sidebar image and link to my new book! Thank you to everyone who has purchased my book: The Boro Aesthetic: Books, Bags, Zakka and Zokin. I am so glad that people are enjoying and learning from it! It will continue to be available on Blurb and Amazon, and I will have copies with me at my in-person workshops.

06 March 2017

The Boro Aesthetic: Blurb Book

Ever since I started teaching my Boro Sampler Book and Boro Bags workshops people from afar who can't attend have been asking me for information on these classes so that they can play along, too.

Finally, I have done something about that! I've written a book called: The Boro Aesthetic: Books, Bags, Zakka and Zokin. I used Blurb, a self-publishing platform, to help me create and distribute the book. Follow this link to my Blurb book page.

[Update: The Boro Aesthetic is now available on Amazon.]

Heavily patched Japanese textile from my personal collection

 I tried to make the book as much like my workshops as possible with images of my personal collection of Japanese boro textiles, images of class samples, scans of handouts, tool and supply lists, a glossary, and writing the reflects what I talk about in class.

Included in the book are directions on how to get started with projects that are inspired by Japanese boro textiles. This includes the Boro Sampler Book, Boro Bags, and a newer class that I call Zakka, Zokin and Chiku-Chiku.

Boro Sampler Book - instructions in book

In the Boro Sampler Book section I take readers through the various kinds of mending techniques seen in boro textiles. At the end of that section I have included directions on how to bind your sampler pages using the Japanese Side Sewn structure (I teach fancier versions of this binding on Creativebug).

Boro Bag - instructions in book

Next, is the Boro Bags section where I encourage readers to continue practicing the mending techniques on a larger piece of fabric and then make it into a Japanese style bag. Included are instructions on how to make the Tsunobukuro and the Azuma Bukuro.

Zokin inspired coasters - instruction in the book

In the Zakka, Zokin and Chiku-Chiku section I include instructions on how to make hand stitched cloth coasters (and how to adapt to a placemat or table runner) using the techniques learned in the sampler book section.

Throughout are beautifully photographed (thank you r.r.jones) Japanese boro textiles from my personal collection, a couple of images of my artwork, and class samples that I have made.

Boro Sampler Book page
I have ordered copies of the book and am very pleased with the reproduction of images, as is the photographer (and Mr. Jones is very particular about that). The book is artist and photographer approved!

Because many of you are from areas outside of the U.S., and I know shipping costs can be prohibitive, I have made an e-book version available (it shows up as "related editions" under the "add to cart" button). It is much more affordable and there are no tax or shipping charges. The e-book option may also be attractive for U.S. readers, too. 

Boro Sampler Book page

Students that have taken my in-person classes are also ordering the book to have it on hand for continued inspiration and instruction. I plan to have copies available at my future workshops, too.

My KEEP: Modern Library exhibit book may also be of interest to some of you since it is a series, exhibit, and body of work that was greatly inspired by Japanese boro textiles. It is also available on Blurb as a physical book and an e-book.

Bias from KEEP: Modern Library series

I hope that some of you find The Boro Aesthetic: Books, Bags, Zakka, and Zokin useful, informative and inspirational.

Happy reading, viewing and making!

30 January 2017

Winter/Spring 2017 Workshops

I was very selective when planning my teaching schedule this Winter/Spring so that I could concentrate on other projects.

As a result, I am only teaching in three venues between now and mid-June. I hope you can join me in one, or more, of these workshops:

"Essential" - made from a deconstructed dress and bookskins

Creative Textiles: Deconstruction, Reconstruction and Re-Use
March 18th and 19th, 10:00 - 4:00
Cabrillo Arts, Aptos, CA

In this class we will play around with deconstructing garments as our starting point for your project which can be a piece for the wall, a bag, book, or item for the home. The pre-existing fade lines, shapes, seams, and tears offer endless inspiration. We will look at Japanese Boro textiles, Gee's Bend Quilts, and artists who work in this genre. I will demonstrate mending techniques, embroidery, stenciling, and block carving and printing to incorporate into your projects.

"Modern Library" made from old linen and bookskins

Boro Sampler Book
May 6th, 10:00 - 4:00
Bryant Street Studios, San Francisco, CA 

This has been such a popular workshop and this is my only scheduled date so far this year. Rhiannon's Bryant Street studio is spacious and wonderful with great light. I will bring my personal collection of Japanese boro textiles for inspiration and will teach you mending techniques that we will incorporate into a Boro Sampler Book. This is great class for beginning and experienced stitchers alike. It has applications for book arts, garment repair and adornment, and the aesthetic may be applied to drawing, printmaking and painting. Textiles and/or paper may be used in this technique.

"Maxwell" made from garment pieces, bookskins and other textiles

The Boro Aesthetic: 
Creating Fiber Art Pieces Inspired by Japanese Textiles
June 4th - 10th
Gatlinburg, TN

This will be an immersive experience and I can't wait! We will begin by looking at Japanese boro textiles and then make the Boro Sampler Book so that you may learn the language of boro. Then we will deconstruct garments, learn some printing, image transfer, and stenciling techniques, add more fabric and found objects and then put it all back together again in the form of a book, wall piece or sculptural item. The result will be a very personal item with your imagery, stitches, ephemera and own personal aesthetic embedded in it.

I hope that you can join me at one of these wonderful venues. And, I know I keep reminding you about this, but it is such a great resource no matter where you are: I have classes available on Creativebug, an online learning site where I am in amazing company with some truly stellar instructors.


05 December 2016

Fall 2016 Workshop Wrap Up

When I had my teaching studio I would try really hard to create a blog post after every studio workshop with a little report on the workshop containing images and information about the structures, instructors, materials, etc.

Since moving my studio this summer I have been lax about writing up reports on my workshops that I have been teaching out and about.

So, here is a little wrap up of my Fall 2016 workshops.

In September I taught at 3-day workshop at Cabrillo Arts Extension (as a result of the Summer workshop filling up and having a waitlist). I took more pictures of the summer workshop that you can see in this previous blog post, but I just wanted to share this wonderful bag that one of the students made on the last day of the September class:

This is a structure that I casually teach as a bonus project on the last day of the 3-day Japanese Boro Textiles workshop. I've played around with this structure a little in the last year or so, and I just love how it looks in this rather unfinished state with the "floppy ears".

In October, I traveled across the bay to A Verb for Keeping Warm to teach my Boro Bags class. Verb is such a wonderful shop and they always gather fabulous students for me who do beautiful work:

In the Boro Bags class we practice Japanese mending techniques on a length of fabric and at the end of the day make the cloth into Japanese style bags. Always a fun day.

Later in October, I had the pleasure of teaching a group of public school art teachers who were in town for a conference. I decided to teach them the Exploding Picture Box since it was something that I could teach in half day, and it was a structure that they could pass on to their students:

I have to say that sometimes teachers are not the greatest students but this group was an exception - a wonderful group that was talented, creative and appreciative!

Next up was a unique opportunity to teach photographers a book structure and talk to them about the Importance of Play. I was invited to teach at the Center for Photographic Art in Carmel as part of their PIE Labs (Photography + Ideas + Experience).
 I showed some slides of my work, talked about how allowing myself to play in my studio has led to new ideas, and then engaged them in a little play of their own by having them use their own photographs or found photographs in an accordion structure. They were encouraged to extract lines and shapes from their images, repeat them, and create interactive structures.

 I've taught my Boro Sampler Book workshop many times but it was so nice to teach it at the San Francisco Center for the Book in conjunction with their current exhibit In Remembrance: People, Times, Places curated by Lucy Childs. It is a beautiful exhibit if you get a chance to see it, and my original Boro Sampler Book was included in the show so it was nice to teach along side of the exhibit. And, of course, the students did gorgeous work:

You can see more Boro Sampler Books from previous workshops here and here and here

Lastly, was a new workshop for me taught at Handcraft Studio School - one of my favorite places to teach. The workshop was called: Zakka, Zokin and Chiku-Chiku. I have been teaching Boro Books and Boro Bags a lot in the last two years and wanted to vary from that a little while still teaching stitching inspired by Japanese mending techniques. I came up with this class so we could just make stuff! The class was inspired by zokin which are Japanese dusting cloths made from old pieces of fabric that are layered and stitched and stitched and stitched:

My collection of Zokin

Zakka is a Japanese term that means: anything that improves your home, life or appearance. Chiku-Chiku is an onomatopoeia that mimics the sound of needle and thread passing through cloth repeatedly. I just love all these words so I put them together for my class.

Students did beautiful work interpreting these ideas:

Phew! That was a lot of teaching. I'm going to take a couple of months off from weekend teaching so that I can concentrate on my own artwork, and some other projects, but I will be back at Cabrillo Arts Extension in March for a two-day workshop called: Creative Textiles: Deconstruction, Reconstruction and Re-Use. We will be taking old clothes apart and drawing inspiration from seam lines, tears, and fading to create new textile objects.

Then, I will be teaching a similar class at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in June that will be a five-day class called The Boro Aesthetic where we will also be taking apart old garments and then looking to Japanese Boro textiles for inspiration in creating new objects

Be sure to check back and visit my workshop page on this blog where I will continue to post workshops as I schedule and confirm them. And, as always, I have classes on Creativebug that are available 24/7.

This is my last post of the year so I will wish you a Happy New Year and I hope to see some of you in a workshop next year!

12 October 2016

Local Press and Summer Daze

Back in August, while I was still giving myself a Residency in my Backyard, Christina Waters came to visit my new studio and to talk to me about my artwork.

That visit resulted in an article in our local weekly newspaper.

Here is the link.

Me in my new studio - you have to click through to the article to see my face!

Christina was so kind and inquisitive and totally engaged with my artwork. We could have talked for hours. 

Now that we are engulfed in Fall and all that goes along with that (teaching at two colleges, and workshops every other weekend for me!) I am looking back fondly on that summer day and I'm grateful to have this article to remind me of it.

18 September 2016

Anne and Mark's Art Party 2016

Anne and Mark's Art Party is coming up and I'll be participating for the fifth time.

The Art Party is self-described as An Occasional and Irrational San Jose Arts Fest. It is the brain child of Anne Sconberg and Mark Henderson and it just keeps getting bigger and more amazing and irrational!

There is art, installations, performances, music, and a fashion show, but it is really more than that, and it comes and goes in a week's time.

The first time I participated was in 2009 and the Art Party took place in Anne and Mark's house that was converted to accommodate all of the artwork and performances.

I exhibited some of boxed book pieces, that were scattered about the house, as well as my Maxine pieces:

Maxine Dresses Up for the Silkworms (studio shot by r.r.jones)

The next year the Art Party expanded and was held in a number of warehouses. This allowed the organizers to build walls and rooms to suit different artists' work and installations as well as hold music and other performances in other buildings and outside.

It was here that The Odd Volumes of Ruby B. made her debut. I had been working on Ruby's books and a few wall pieces but it was at the Art Party that I was able to realize Ruby as an installation:

The Odd Volumes of Ruby B., Art Party 2010, photo by r.r. jones

 In 2011, the Art Party again took place in the same warehouses as 2010, but, of course, it was bigger and better.

That year I showed pieces from two different installations. I was working on my Preparing for Evanescence installation that was coming up the next year and I previewed some of those pieces, and I also showed a version of Worthy similar to this:

Worthy, image from Felix Kulpa Gallery installation, photo by r.r. jones

 After a few years off from the Art Party, Anne and Mark brought it back on a completely re-imagined scale. In 2014, the Art Party took place at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds! It was huge! So much space for so much more art, music, and performances.

That year, again, I was able to realize an installation for the first time - something that I had been working on but hadn't really gotten out there. It was a wacky one and the Art Party was the perfect place to debut: Phinnea's World:

Phinnea's World, Art Party 2014, photo by r.r. jones

On Saturday, September 24th the Art Party will once again grace the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds. Busy bees are already there transforming the space to become another occasional and irrational art fest.

This year I am going to recreate my KEEP: Modern Library installation:

Main Stacks from KEEP: Modern Library (photo by r.r. jones)

Bookskin Spectrum from KEEP: Modern Library, photo r.r. jones

Shelf List, and "skinned books" from KEEP: Modern Library (photo r.r. jones)

Since I haven't seen my space yet I'm not sure how I will install KEEP: Modern Library at the Art Party this year. But, that is the fun of it. It is fast and furious and unpredictable and it comes and goes in a flash.

Hope to see you there!

Santa Clara County Fairgrounds
September 24th - October 1st
Opening Gala: Saturday, September, 24th
Closing Fashion Show: Saturday, October 1st 

26 August 2016

Residency in My Backyard and Blog update

I moved out of my old studio at the end of June, and once I was settled in my new home studio I decided to give myself a "Residency in My Backyard" this August. 
Residency in my Backyard - my new studio


It was lovely with lots of time to: 

play in the studio, 

Bookskin palette for a new piece

Strap woven cotton from West Africa - base for a new piece

made some new stencils based on imagery from a withdraw library book

And, I combined all those elements to start a new piece which is part of my Bibliomuse Series

work on my long neglected yard and pet my cat on my way from my house to my studio, 

Miss Emeline McQueen on my drought lawn

and attend as many performances of the Cabrillo Music Festival as I could. 

Music in the Mountains Venue - Cabrillo Music Festival

It was very restorative.
But, now schools are starting up again and Fall is in the air which is a perfect time to get back to business and update my Blog Pages. "Pages" are the tabs at the top of the blog, just under the banner image. 

I decided to add one for "Exhibits" and one for "Press and Publications", as well as be more vigilant about posting upcoming workshops on that existing page. So, be sure to visit them all and see what's new and upcoming.

Shakerag Hollow Book will be in an exhibit at San Francisco Center for the Book this Fall and I will be teaching an accompanying Boro Sampler Book Workshop there.

I put a link to a couple of Blurb books that I have published about my Preparing for Evanescence Exhibit and my KEEP: Modern Library Exhibit on the "Press and Publications" page as well as links to my KEEP artist's book and some blog interviews and local press. 

Blurb Books for two of my past exhibits

I will continue to dedicate blog posts to select upcoming workshops or exhibits but now I have a place for that information to live that can be updated frequently.

Good luck to all with new school year activities whether that is as a student, parent or teacher, and I hope to see you in a workshop or at an exhibit this Fall.