Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Summer Swelter, Yet Again

Here I am again facing the trials of summer heat. Still no air conditioner! I have so many UFOs to attack this summer. With a couple of Calls for Entry in my sights, including for the first time for me, Quilt=Art=Quilt at the Schweinfurth Art Center in New York and Art Quilt Elements at the Wayne Art Center in Pennsylvania. I have a plan and so far even with this spring's deviation from the goal list, I am on target.

What set me off of my planned goal list was a call for political art in Threads of Resistance. Feeling as overwhelmed and panicked as I still am about what is happening in my country, I felt a need to try to create a piece in just two months for the exhibit. Organized and run by The Artists Circle, a group of textile artists, Threads of Resistance received over 500 entries. I did not make the cut. I will, however, be traveling to The New England Quilt Museum for the opening on Saturday, July 15, 2017 because I just can't wait to see some of my favorite works up close and personal. For more information about the show go to

This is my entry, which I am very proud of:

24" x 42"
April, 2017
Beadwork, Andrea Theriault
Photo by Joe Ofria

This was my first dyptic. I chose to do a dyptic because I saw my issue as being a two headed monster of a problem. On the right is a close-up map of the US middle, red states. You can see all the tributaries of the Mississippi River reaching from the right across the piece. The black, gold and silver spots represent oil or gas leaks and the gold beadwork lines represent the network of pipelines that already exist in these states. My daughter, Andrea, actually was a strong influence in some of my creative choices and she did all the beadwork on the second panel. 

With so many leaks already a part of history, why would any administration actively support two more pipelines, the Keystone and Dakota Access Pipelines. Which brings me to the left part of the dyptic and what I think is the second aspect of this problem. Someone is refusing to acknowledge or see that pipelines leak and cause havoc. Environmental issues are front and center with me. I am very worried about clean water, air and land being available for the future for all our children and grandchildren. 

You may not like my politics. I only ask as an artist and a citizen of the USA, that I still have the right of free speech in order to air my grievances in the most natural way possible, through my art.

I entered a couple of other calls for exhibits also showing in Lowell this summer. The first is at the Whistler House Museum of Art and is called Contemporary Art Quilts 2017: A Juried Exhibition and will be opening August 5 to September 1, 2017. The Artists Reception is on Saturday, August 5 from 2-4pm. I entered Queen Bee and Lady Feather, neither of which has ever shown. They accepted Queen Bee.

43" x 45 1/2"
Photo by Eric Zhang

Since I didn't have to create a piece for this exhibit, that freed my time to consider creating a piece for another upcoming call also showing in Lowell this summer. This call is named Little Black Dress and is showing at The Brush Gallery & Studios from August 5 to September 16. The Artists Reception will be held on Saturday, August 26. Based on my reflections of the times I have worn this type of dress, it is more like a pictorial memoir than my usual art quilts. I used two of my former "little black dresses" as some of the textiles for this piece. The blue in the title refers to the tall bearded irises that my mother grew for years and painted so well towards the end of her life. My mother's influence permeates this piece, culminating in the third and last dress being the one I wore to my mother's funeral.

39" x 39"
June, 2017

I stretched my usual technique style a bit with this one using not only fabric which was printed with my own linoleum cut, but I incorporated the actual dress tissue-paper patterns, dresses and used a photo transfer onto silk fabric for the first time. This emotional piece may be the beginning of a new series, but with all that I have on my plate I won't be able to continue the series until next year. Memoirs was accepted into the exhibit at the Brush so both Queen Bee and Memoirs will be showing in Lowell, MA late this summer.

Moving on to what I am working with right now, Apollo will be finished by mid-July. I have been working on it in fits and starts between the other pieces this spring. I am not far from completion. I will put up some pictures of the process in my next post. Also on deck for later this summer is A Child's Eye in which I must create a 3 foot wide drawing of a wicker settee by using discharge medium on fabric outside on my deck. Fresh air and good weather are a requirement for discharging.

Sideways view of a thistle growing in the median near where I used to work. This photo is my primary source for the drawings of the thistles used in Apollo.
My first drawing of the wicker settee in A Child's Eye. I have since had to redraw the entire settee. Because it is so big, this is going to take a long time to draw out with a thin brush on fabric over my light box. 
Time to turn in for the night. Tomorrow is another busy day in the studio!