Monday, July 23, 2012

Gathering Winooski 7/14/12

Gathering Winooski 7/14/12

A great turn out last Thurs. night made the little mini-studio in residence hum with conversation, and laughter. So grateful to all those who stopped by.

 I feel like I have traded roles this summer with my students as I experiment with the simple found materials and projects reminiscent of my preschool teaching gig. The little studio is filling up with art and I like the way it is coming together as a whole. I am thinking of bringing in a vintage folding screen with fabric or paper on it to create more display space.

I gathered a stack of New Yorker magazines last week. I thought using them for collage would be more of a challenge than using something known for wonderful photographic illustrations such as National Geographic, Martha Stewart, or Vogue. It turns out they are fantastic for the kinds of collage I had in mind.

The advertisements and illustrations, when torn or cut in small pieces, provide an extensive palette of colors and textures. I created one series with torn pieces, glued to patterned backgrounds from old wallpaper sample books. I am working on a second series now where each edge of each piece is cut with scissors. The second series is my first foray into paper crazy quilts.  After all the pieces are glued in place, I am drawing little stitch lines with a fine point marker along each join to simulate the hand stitching of a crazy quilt. I plan to make some more elaborate drawn embroidery marks as well.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Gathering Winooski 7/8/12

I spent a pleasant week a-gathering and creating. The weather has been phenomenal this summer with each warm and sunny day followed by another equally warm and sunny day. I finally got to pounding the petunias, which is always a fun time. I love the absurdity of it, as well as the physical involvement with the tools. I also love making art outside in the weather. I did one arrangement of sorts by placing the flowers down one at a time. I plan to do more of this and perhaps incorporate the flower prints into another textile work, and try some on paper as well. It was swell of the Winooski folks to give me a whole plant so I can continue my explorations.

I got a Vermont road Atlas in a free box by the curb after yard sales were done last week (collage parts), a couple of trout neckties from the thrift shop(textile collage parts), and this weekend I found a $1 vintage aluminum sprinkler (the kind that goes from side to side) at a garage sale.  This is the type my sister and I used as teens when we would slather ourselves with baby oil, set up our reclining lawn chairs, and lie down for a nice sprinkle and sun bath.

On my drive home, as is often the case (the movement of the car stimulates my little grey cells) two ideas for the sprinkler popped into my head. I can see a large piece of watercolor paper with powdered tempera paint or concentrated watercolor paints applied randomly, then this paper would be laid out on the ground so that the sprinkler would sprinkle it off and on. The other idea is a bit more involved. I would lay a sheet of plastic down, apply some kind of paint to the surface of the plastic, then put on my bathing suit and run through the sprinkler and into the wet paint making footprints and other marks, Then I could lay large paper down on top of the wet paint-y marks and pull some prints.  It sounds like a good messy time. 

I have been working on a series of small yo-yo quilt style wall pieces, exploring the three patterned blue shirts gathered the week prior from the Winooski thrift shop – The Classy Closet. I have made three pieces. Each one uses two of the three shirt fabrics in alternating circles, with three across and three rows down, in order to explore different pattern combinations.  I plan to do some more work with these shirts, possibly more yo yo style, and possibly something entirely different.

Last weekend a plethora of plastic dinosaurs presented themselves. I pondered them for a day or two.  At last I pictured them wearing some kind of hand-made apparel, but what? I decided on teeny, tiny crocheted scarves. I was going to make them all black, but in communing with the dinos further, they informed me that they wished to be more stylish, and so I have chosen vibrant colors to match their individual personalities. Perhaps if they had been properly dressed they would have been better prepared to survive the drastic climate change that did them in. This reminds me of one of my favorite riddles – from my dinosaur joke book – yup – a whole book of jokes about dinosaurs from my elementary school teaching days.

Why did the Stegosaurus wear spikes to the party? Because she was a sharp dresser.

The photos of the dashingly dressed dinos was taken by Joy Kipp when she visited the display on First Friday. Thanks Joy!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Gathering Winooski 7/5/2012

This week's explorations involved the usual strange array of materials. I mentioned in a previous post some experiments I was doing with drawing and stamping on inkjet printer ribbon cartridges to make multiple mysterious markings. I got a quantity of unused ribbons for free so I felt that I could try whatever came into my mind. I created several of these prints on cloth. The completed prints seemed to need another layer of equally skitchy marks. I created this layer with embroidery, using a nice thick, perky thread, rather than embroidery floss, because I like the way it sits on the surface with a certain presence. This kind of thread, especially in black, always reminds me of suturing thread - perfect for mending what ails you. I worked on these pieces in wooden embroidery hoops which I then used for display.

It was only after I completed one of these pieces that I made the connection to the serendipitous meeting with Sister Marie Charlotte at the nun’s yard sale a couple of weeks ago. These  works in the round are very reminiscent of cross section scenes as viewed under a microscope. You can read more about this in my previous post –

For another series I used a metallic yarn that I got at this same retired nun’s yard sale glued to cast off cardboard to create a printing block.  I then inked the plate with water- based printing ink and a rubber brayer, and printed it on a variety of papers. I was quite pleased by the simplicity of the technique and the final prints.

I am finding this way of working so refreshing and relaxing. The spontaneity and simplicity of the materials and techniques gives my mind, body, and soul a respite.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Gathering Winooski June 30, 2012

Gathering Winooski June 30, 2012

What a great week! Fun finds, and the generosity of strangers. I think people in Winooski are pleased that the Pop-up Galleries and the accompanying events are bringing people into downtown this summer, and as a result they seem happy to contribute items to the project.

 I had fun exploring the candy wrappers donated by the Pho Dang Vietnamese Restaurant with needle, thread, and some satin cording I had picked up at the retired nun’s yard sale. They turned into butterfly blossoms and were finished with a wall-mounted installation in a vintage glass flower frog.

 After hot crayon markings on the striped oxford shirt with stitch, I continued the oxford exploration with a similar technique to the one used on the candy wrappers. There is a summery nature theme emerging, as these too turned into butterfly blossoms, and a whole bouquet of them is now displayed in a vintage glass bottle.

The Peking Duck Restaurant donated a bag full of fortune cookies (how fortunate!) that I quickly put to good use creating cellophane blossoms on wooden coffee stirrer stems (from Cupps Bakery).  I stained the fortunes with soy sauce and stitched them together on the machine into a good luck garland. It hangs above the altered photos of Winooski folks from the past, wishing them luck in their new incarnation. I ate a few of the fortune cookies, but saved the rest for some yet to be determined project. Pulverize them into some kind of sculpture medium? Mix them with matte medium to create a texture for collage? I welcome suggestions.

I was visiting downtown Winooski in the drizzle the other morning and happened to spot a group of folks planting flowers in the island near the roundabout. I had a nice chat with Zack, who works for the city of Winooski, who informed me the flowers are donated by various local establishments, as well as some from Claussens’ Greenhouse, are planted by volunteers, and watered and maintained by the city. When I explained about my project and my desire for a red petunia blossom or two, I was gifted with two entire petunia plants, one in red, and one in magenta. I can hardly wait to get out the rubber mallet and have a go at them. I have a nice soft well-worn cotton sheet from the Winooski church thrift shop that should do nicely for my canvas.

The first night at my studio in residence Thursday was swell. I received a few visitors, worked away on some projects, and listened in to the poetry reading by Mark Awodey, and John Dooley. A most enjoyable evening.

I found some unusual and fun materials to explore and although they did not all come from Winooski, in the spirit of the project I will combine them with other items and fulfill my mission. Did you know that you can crochet with cassette tape, and stamp with button and cork stampers on inkjet printer ribbon cartridges to make multiple mysterious markings? Stay tuned for more on these creations.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Gathering Winooski - June 24, 2012

Gathering Winooski – June 24, 2012

Well this past weekend was filled with the magic of the hunt.

I began on Friday gathering sticks and stones down by the Winooski River near the River Walk. I made a small collection. I have some ideas for them but nothing certain. When I got home I took a pen knife and sat on the stoop and scraped off some of the bark. I enjoyed this girl scout moment.

I also made my first cold call to a Winooski business with great results. The nice young woman at the Pho Dang Vietnamese Restaurant on Main St. gave me a generous container full of candies in vivid colored wrappers. I have begun to take the wrappers apart and investigate their sculptural properties with needle and thread.

On Saturday the magic kicked into full gear with an intuitively driven stop at a yard sale held by the retired Catholic nuns at Our Lady of Providence.
There were many wonderful treasures to be found there. Most stunning was a 1950’s era Singer sewing machine in the cabinet for a pittance. It is very similar to the machine my mom had when I was a girl. After I set up my studio at the gallery several days before, I had said to a friend – “now all I need is an old fashioned sewing machine to connect me to the Winooski Mill’s textile history”. Voila!  Thank-you sisters!

This machine was very well cared for and included all of its attachments (no pun intended) and its manual. The previous owner obviously cherished this machine. I could tell by the way all the items were carefully placed in the drawers, including a couple of packets of silica gel, to keep away moisture.

While at the sale I ran into a nun who I had worked with back in 1976 and had not seen since, Sister Marie Charlotte. We were lucky enough to both be part of a group that spent a week at Shelburne Farms, living together, cooking and eating together, and making art all day. It was an experimental program at the time, testing out whether the great house could be used for purposes other than single-family occupancy. All the participants were either from the Department of Education, the Vermont Council on the Arts, or were arts grant recipients. 

I was right out of college and was working as a graduate intern in the department of education and was fortunate to attend as part of my job. I chose the dance focus, and each day we did modern interpretive dance on the south porch and the lawns of the estate, swooping and prancing through the gardens and down to the lake. Think Isadora Duncan. What an experience.

I later was assigned to Sister Marie Charlotte’s program and paid her a visit at St. Francis Xavier School where she was the art teacher. She had written a grant to use microscopes to explore nature as inspiration for her students. They examined all kinds of things through the lense and then created drawings, paintings, sculptures, and stitchery. I thought it was a really cool project at the time (still do). What an interesting juxtaposition running into  sister Marie Charlotte all these years later while out gathering things for my art series.

While delivering the sewing machine to the gallery right afterwards, several pieces of burned newspaper blew by my feet, including the burned personals – yup, you heard me – the scorched personals page from Seven Days. You can’t make this stuff up. Of course I stuffed this in my bag for later.

One other visit of note, not in Winooski, but heck, I was on a roll so I drifted over into Colchester, where I found an overhead projector, again for a song. Now I have wanted to own one of these for some time for teaching and art making. Years ago, I had borrowed one from a city department and taken it into the preschool classroom for several projects with the kids. They loved the magic of it. At the end of that year, I interviewed each child for “About The Artist” bios for their preschool art show. One of the questions I asked was “what was your favorite medium”.  Children responded with all kinds of things -paint, clay, printmaking etc. But one boy, when I put the question to him said simply “light!”.

I asked the man who was selling it at the garage sale what he had done with the machine. He said he used it to teach. I inquired what he taught with it and he said “celestial navigation”. Yup –I’ll say it again – you just can’t make this stuff up.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Gathering Winooski - The Set Up

Gathering Winooski

The mini-studio is set up, and the opening reception has passed, and now on to my finding and making.

For the opening I installed the photographic piece pictured. It is titled “Gathering Winooski” and is the kick-off for the project. To create it I took several photos from my collection of vintage studio portraits (cabinet cards) that were from Winooski photo studios, scanned them, printed them on lightweight watercolor paper, and enhanced them with machine stitch.  They are pinned to the wall with straight pins, as befits their stitched incarnation. Each photo is sewn in a spontaneous way, as I try to let the photographic image guide me in its enhancement. At times the stitched (drawn) line reflects or repeats a motif somewhere in the photo, such as the stripes in the man’s tie, or the pleats in the little girl’s dress, and at other times the machine just winds its way around the image as it wishes.

The other photos here show my mini-studio space in the gallery in the eerie, early evening light. It is blessedly spare and furnished with all vintage items; metal typing table, metal chair, enamel bowls. I have a thing for the white enamel bowls, and have been collecting them for many years. As often as possible I store my supplies in them in my studio wherever I am. One of my favorite tasks in preparing a new space, is the ritual washing of the bowls. I love to sit in the grass or in my courtyard, and wash out the bowls, preparing them for a new season, a new location or a new series of work. For me this act connects me to the past, where many of my creative ingredients come from. Or perhaps it is a connection to my past as a laundress, seamstress, or milliner.

Gathering Winooski -All About It

Jude Bond
Gathering Winooski

An on-site mini-studio installation.
Each week I will hunt and gather unusual materials from Winooski businesses, individuals, and the natural environment. I will then explore and investigate the art making possibilities inherent within these found materials.

Open Thurs. – Sat. 11-8  & Sun. 10-3
I will be present each Thurs. from 6-8pm to discuss the project and work in my mini-studio. Stop by and see me!

The Winooski Pop-up Gallery District transforms downtown Winooski into a vibrant hub of contemporary art for six weeks in June and July. The event includes art exhibitions; music and other cultural events; activities for children; and showcases the community of Winooski–its shops, restaurants, and history.

The show runs from June 22nd through August 4th. The galleries will be open Thursday through Saturday from Noon to 8PM and Sundays from 10AM to 3PM. The Winooski Pop-up Gallery District is produced by Kasini House and The Winooski Welcome Center.

A Little History of The Project

In the spring of 2011 my studio was flooded. All my materials that survived were packed up for several months and my space was un-usable. This unfortunate circumstance fortunately launched me in a new direction. I began to go out each week and gather simple materials that could be found for free or very cheap, and make art out of only those materials. I could add in basic things like glue, paint, and tape, but the primary materials had to be what was found or gathered during that week.  After the creations were complete, I would
then dispose of the left-over materials, and gather anew the following week and begin the cycle again. It was a satisfying and refreshing way to work. I liked the self-imposed parameters, and the challenge of coming up with a way to use the strange and wonderful materials I found.

For “Gathering Winooski” I will continue this adventure, gathering materials each week using Winooski as my hunting ground. I will create art pieces in my home studio, and on site in my mini-studio space at the Winooski Welcome Center. I will be on-site once a week to speak with people about the work and to host “Ask The Project Lady” where visitors can bring in a simple found material and see if I can come up with a creative way to utilize it.