It is interesting how some events in life that you may predict will be the most inspiring moments can blindside you with only offering distraction.   Moving has proven to be more disorienting for me than I expected, and for this reason I have not posted anything in a while.  However, I do now finally feel that I am beginning to get back into a groove and plan to have more of a presence here. 

Right before leaving North Carolina I bought The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron for myself.  It was recommended by a friend, and I know that based on appearance and subtitle alone, it seems to be a cheesy self help book.  I can't lie and say that it isn't full of inspirational quotes and anecdotes, but really it is more of a workbook than a self help guide.  It is filled with exercises and suggestions of activities to complete alone when you are feeling creatively blocked.  A majority of the exercises involve writing projects so it doesn't seem to only cater to artists - I would probably recommend it to anyone. I definitely thought it was worth mentioning because I have been very thankful to have it around lately.

Shifts in Process

Since my return to North Carolina I have been attempting to focus more on crocheting and the completion of my nipple-adorned Breast Bombs. I have big plans for this project, and the handful of bombs I have now is only the beginning.  I will keep posting updates on the progress but the fully realized outcome won't appear until at least next year!

Last week Elizabeth Arzani and I had our final painting exchange for our collaborative series before both of us make moves out of state.  We had one particular piece that has been a struggle from the beginning.  We traded it back and forth multiple times but each addition seemed to only further complicate the composition.  Finally we came up with a fun alternative. Instead of coating the entire canvas in white gesso and starting over from the beginning we decided there were too many separate elements in the piece that we loved too much to destroy.  So we spent about thirty minutes taking turns cutting out our favorite parts and creating a new selection of collage elements that will be re-purposed for our paper pieces in the future.  It was interesting to see how the sections we chose reflected our very distinct painting styles.  Most of my cut-outs consisted of contained shapes and lines, while Liz's were open areas of color and brush strokes.

Ontario Part 3

I'm back in North Carolina now after ending my wonderful residency at Sparkbox on the 15th. I am So happy with my two editions of relief prints, and my experience working in this studio has shown me how much I truly enjoy the relief process.  I took this vine of my studio walls covered in prints the day before I left in attempts to show how much work I had done, but really those pieces are about one third of the total outcome.  

The very last portion of my trip included a surprise visit to Toronto that was so enjoyable I felt it deserved its own post.  Amanda (a resident during my second week in Picton) was kind enough to offer her time as my tour guide over the weekend, and took me to visit two big art galleries in the area.  We visited The Power Plant (where I wasn't allowed to take pictures inside) and saw the current "Beat Nation" exhibition, which focused on Aboriginal art blending cultural traditions with contemporary culture.  It was a really big Artist-run space that seemed to showcase a lot of young Canadian artists. 

I got to see the exterior of Ontario College of Art & Design, and particularly enjoyed this bit of the campus (designed by Will Alsop):

 And finally, one of the most memorable experiences from my entire stay in Canada - the Art Gallery of Ontario! (which I unfortunately forgot to take images of from outside).  I have to begin with the incredible sound/kinetic sculpture installations of Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller.  (the previous link goes to a page on their website listing all of their installations, and clicking on one will take you to a new page where videos can be viewed)  One of my favorite pieces was "The Killing Machine" (a full video can be found on their website).  It was simultaneously haunting and beautiful.  The entire time we stood in front of it my heart was racing and I felt so confused watching these scary machines behave so violently while also appearing to put on a graceful dance performance set to string instruments.  Also I couldn't stop thinking "I can't believe this entire scene has been wired to operate completely on its own!"  What these artists do with robotics and sound is amazing.  The most beautiful piece for certain was "The Forty Part Motet" which includes a room with forty speakers set up in a circle.  Each speaker plays clearly one singer's voice from the choir, and they all play simultaneously to create a massive sound.  You can stand in the middle, close your eyes, and feel completely immersed as if you are actually standing in the middle of this choir, or walk around to each speaker hearing each unique voice.  However, it is so hard to do this installation justice with just words, it is very much one that needs to be experienced in person.

Finally, at the AGO I was also introduced to The Group of Seven.  This group of Canadian painters has collectively created some of the most beautiful landscape paintings I have ever seen.  The color palettes are perfect in my opinion, and again this is certainly an instance where images and words are not enough to convey their actual presence.


Ontario Part 2

So I finally took some shots of the overall print studio, and my workspace here at Sparkbox.  It has been a while since I've done relief printing, and I forgot how much I love it!  In contrast to painting it is such a more physically involved practice.  You're carving the block, rolling ink, turning the press, then repeating these steps hundreds of times.  At the end of the day I'm tired but it feels so rewarding. 



Amanda Rataj has been here this past week, and last night she gave us weaving lessons on a loom that was given to Sparkbox.  The loom itself can be a bit loud and clunky, but the motion of weaving is so soothing.   I find myself being drawn more and more to fiber arts lately.  Initially it was all about practicality and my lack of studio space.  I began my current crochet project because the yarn is easily transportable and I can crochet anywhere.  Now, however, especially after this encounter with a loom, I'm interested in exploring even more fiber methods.  Amanda suggested some simple ways to make small tapestry looms at home, and I got a lot of inspiration from The Australian Tapestry Workshop website.  This studio has giant sized looms and creates commissioned pieces based on paintings and drawings.  It is incredible because they can make woven fabric mimic brush strokes and watercolor paint.


A quick post about other artists

I found artist Sophia Wallace online recently completely through happenstance and had to share this video of her recent art project: Cliteracy.  I love how such a simple idea can speak so loudly.  Cliteracy is solely about text and ideas, but this woman is also a beautiful photographer, so visit the link as well!

CLITERACY: 100 Natural Laws, by Sophia Wallace 


Also, Lisa Carrie Goldberg is here at Sparkbox in residence with me this week, and she's been doing all sorts of fun DIY projects/at home science experiments.  The other night she made this: and I had to force myself to stop playing with it

Ontario Part 1

I have just concluded my first week here in Picton, Ontario.  The town is lovely and the people have been so friendly!  Their warmth feels a lot like the southern hospitality I know in the states. The print studio here is such a great space, and I should post some more pictures later of my workspace.  For now, although I don't have a lot of studio pics, I have been obsessing over an app on my phone called "Vine" that lets you create and post looping videos.  So I do have a few of these:





For this past week I have been the only resident here, but tomorrow two other girls are coming in from Toronto.  

Also this past week Chrissy and Kyle (the owners of Sparkbox) did a workshop for high school art teachers in the area.  I'm so glad I was here to participate because it was a "Kitchen Lithography" workshop where we used cheap materials to make Litho prints.  You just wrap aluminum foil around plexi glass and draw your image with a sharpie, lithography crayon, or graphite, then stick it in a vinegar bath.  I even have a little instructional book to bring back with me so I can try again when I get home.  

These images sum up pretty well what has been happening here for the past few days.  Next week I'm sure I'll have more Vine videos and new pictures of Sparkbox! 


I just received these Molotow markers in the mail, and after much anticipation they certainly did not disappoint!  I've had my eye on them for the past few months and finally ordered a few from DickBlick to test them out.  Some of the color swatches on the website were slightly off, however, I am still more than satisfied with the quality of these paint markers.  They are the most opaque markers I've ever used and make it so much easier to draw directly on the surface of paintings.  (Although, with most of my supplies out of reach and temporarily in storage, I'm predominately drawing and painting on paper these days)

I'm preparing for a short term residency in Canada during late March through mid April.  Aside from putting these new markers to good use, I will also be working on some printmaking projects and exploring relief.  Ordering new supplies and sketching ideas for this trip have both gotten me excited and I'm really looking forward to visiting Spark Box Studio.


These past few weeks have been enjoyably productive despite my spatial restrictions.  I just finished reading Sex, Art, and American Culture by Camille Paglia, and am eager to start Vamps and Tramps this week.  Paglia is an incredible writer with an unbelievable grasp of history and knowledge of popular culture.  (I love her emphasis on the importance of both because they each need and influence each other)  She is radical, progressive, controversial, aggressive, and really just interesting to read and listen to. Seriously - go look up some interviews on youtube after reading this.  I just discovered her recently, and I really appreciate her value of a genre's need for ongoing self-critique.  This is just one of the many issues she has with contemporary feminism.

My good friend Elizabeth Arzani and I are working on a collaborative series and it is really starting to come together.  She and I have very different working styles but both of our voices and experiences are apparent in these paintings.  Interestingly we will both be moving away from North Carolina at the exact same time this summer and will end up on complete opposite ends of the country.  To continue the series she and I will be mailing artwork back and forth.  We met this past week to unveil some recently finished pieces to each other.  Soon there will be a few pictures up on the website!

On Friday I had the opportunity to attend an opening held for two of my talented friends - Lydia Goldbeck and Morgan Hamer at Baku Gallery.  Their color palettes really complement each other well and the show looks awesome.  I love that all of my old classmates are out supporting each other.  I think their show is up for the rest of February, so if you're in Charlotte you should definitely stop by North Davidson to see it. 




Currently I am in limbo.  I am on the brink of many life changing events but my issue is exercising patience in awaiting all of the excitement.  Temporarily I am without a real studio to work in (among other important missing elements in my life).  Being in this space of so many “in-betweens” leaves me really grasping for any inspiration I can find and any new medium I can explore to keep my work habits consistent.  A refreshing visit yesterday to an amazing fabric store satisfied some part of my inspirational cravings.  There were an endless number of patterns, beadings, textures, colors, and tools.  This dilemma of working within a restricted space and my recent acquisition of a Louise Bourgeois catalogue have both drawn me to the use of fibrous materials.  I've been attracted to Bourgeois' work for a while now because we deal with similar themes referencing the body and sex.  She also had an amazing ability to manipulate so many different types of materials in a way that could always feel organic.  I think I may be channeling her spirit a little with my new crochet projects.  Although painting and drawing materials are my first love, there is something soothing and seductive about the motion of crochet and the way it lends its forms to become sculptural.