Small and Smaller

In August, I got some news that nearly caused me to implode with excitement.  One of my pieces – a micromosaic named “Delphine” – was accepted into a show in Brooklyn, NY.

I’ve viewed New York – as I’m sure many other artists have – as one of the ultimate hopes of a place to get into.  Having Site:Brooklyn accept my piece was one of my biggest highlights this year.  Thankfully I didn’t implode and was able to enjoy the moment.  😀

Even more good luck came my way when I found out the show opening for Small and Smaller was just 2 days after OneZeroOne in Rhode Island.  This meant we were able to attend the OneZeroOne opening and then 2 days later (and 2 states away)  pop over to NY and attend Small and Smaller as well!  It made for a super great extra long weekend.

The show opening at Site:Brooklyn was terribly exciting.  The gallery is enormous and they were actually having openings of 3 different shows the same night.  To say it was packed would be an understatement!Delphine was among some amazing company in this show.  All of the pieces in Small and Smaller were fantastic.  It is always so cool to see what folks do in limited space.  Again I was lucky, many of the artists were in attendance and I met some wonderful new people whom I traded cards with and look forward to following online!

We spent a couple days after the show exploring the Williamsburg neighbourhood of Brooklyn, eating good food, watching murals being painted.  It was quite fun for us as neither the husband nor myself had been in this area of NY before.

It really was overwhelming a bit…So excited to have gotten in this show, just truly amazing to get to go to NY and see my piece in a Brooklyn gallery.  Hopefully they’ll be more opportunities like this in the future, and maybe…one day…a Manhattan gallery.  Gosh that would be a dream – but I’m throwing it out there – you have to ask the universe for what you’d like to have in order to manifest it, right?

Here’s some pics from the show and a bit of around Williamsburg.  The show is up till October 20 – at Site:Brooklyn Gallery 165 7th St, Brooklyn, NY.  If you’re in the area stop by and check it out along with 2 other great shows! 😀

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OneZeroOne

Art League of Rhode Island put out a call for art for an exhibition to be called OneZeroOne.  The title is a reference to binary code, a number system that is the basis for all computer code.

This was right up my alley!

In my former career, I was a computer program developer.  A code writer, a website designer, a graphic designer, a creator of digital tools.  I loved my job as it was very creative and difficult code was like candy to my puzzle loving brain.  😀  But I also have long had issues with technology and how it impacts us.

I even created a series of art called “Data Reliance” that was meant as a commentary on technology and our rapid assimilation into becoming one with it – not always in a positive way.  So I really really wanted to be a part of this exhibition.  It made me so thrilled when they accepted one of my pieces titled “Data Processing”!Another super bonus – being accepted meant the husband and I got to visit Rhode Island!  We’d never been before, so it was a fun new experience!

Opening night in Providence at the VETS Gallery (83 Park St) was full of attendees and super fun!  There were many mediums represented in the show, which made it very interesting.  A lot of the other exhibiting artists were in attendance and I got to meet so many people.  They were all incredibly nice, incredibly welcoming and just wonderful!  I wish I lived in Rhode Island so I could be part of this amazing group all the time.  Happily, I connected with some of these great folks online and look forward to following them!

After the show, we spent time exploring the Newport area.  We were in awe at the amazing ginormous old mansions!  Taking a tour of The Breakers, the former Vanderbilt summer home, was a highlight.  Most of all though we loved being on the beach, walking the sand, hearing the waves.  It has been a number of years since I’ve been near the ocean and it was soul enriching to be next to it again.  😀

Here’s some pics from OneZeroOne as well as a few Rhode Island pics too.  If you’re in the Providence area, please go by and check out the show.  It is at the VETS Gallery, part of the Veterans Memorial Auditorium on the 3rd floor at 83 Park Street in Providence.  The show is up till November 15 and has a ton of very interesting pieces!

Society of Canadian Artists 51st Int’l Open Juried Exhibition

Was lucky to get another excuse to take a weekend get-away this summer – got into a show in Toronto!  The Society of Canadian Artists 51st International Open Juried Exhibition accepted one of my pieces.  It was quite thrilling to be in this show as I thought it would be a really long shot for me.  Turns out in the end I was one of only a few non-painting / non-drawing pieces – so kind of extra cool!

The show is in Toronto (till August 26th if you’re visiting there) at The Papermill Gallery (67 Pottery Road).  It is located on the Todmorden Mills Heritage Site which is beautifully set in a park.  It has two historic millers’ homes, one of them housing the Papermill Theater and Gallery.

On the drop off day – I strapped my piece to my back and trekked there on the train.  It is quite a process building a box that will securely house my non-flat kind of fragile pieces but I’m starting to get pretty good at building them.  Spent the afternoon after the drop off walking about 7 kilometers back to the train station through parks, along the Don River and exploring the Distillery District (such fun!).

We went back for the opening night and spent a couple days enjoying the city.  During that visit I explored Kensington Market, Queen Street West, Chinatown, Graffiti Alley and made a visit to the ROM (Royal Ontario Museum) where I got to see several China related exhibits that were fascinating.  One of my favorite parts of this visit other than the show – discovering Soma Chocolatemaker.  Oh goodness, they’re amazing – check them out in person in Toronto or visit somachocolate.com

It’s been a great year so far for me with art – a real thrill and honor to get accepted into shows.  It’s also allowed me and my husband some fun little trips and let me discover more in cities I didn’t know much about.  Really truly thankful for it all.  Here’s some photos from this show / trip, hope you enjoy!  😀

A little luck…

I started studying Chinese a little more than a year ago.  One of my favorite parts to learn is the characters.  A lot of folks will start with just learning the pinyin but the characters fascinate me.  It gives me a serious thrill when I can identify one on a sign – so far it’s never more than one but hey you gotta start somewhere!

I like the history of how the characters formed and how you can see how the character for mouth looks like an open mouth 口 or how the character for person looks like a person walking 人. Or even the crazy complicated ones that don’t look like what they are, they’re just beautiful to look at, like 发现 🙂 They’re like little bits of art to me.

One of my favorite characters has become the character for Jí 吉.  I originally came to Jí 吉 when I was searching for a character that I could make in murrini that meant luck and could be used as a charm that was to be a gift for people we visited in China.  I wanted to be sure I didn’t mis-step even though I found the character and its definition in a reputable dictionary. I did a double check with a Chinese friend of a friend in Singapore to make sure it was an appropriate character and would be well received as a gift.  They assured me it did mean luck and general well being and that it was a lovely character and any Chinese person would be happy to receive it.

So off I went with the Jí 吉.  I made the murrini out of it (glass rod with a pattern inside) but it didn’t turn out quite as great as I wanted and I abandoned the idea of making the charms.

But the Jí 吉 still suck with me.  I really loved it and loved the shape.  After I returned from China and found out I got into the miniature show, decided maybe I could make a micro-mosaic pendant for myself to wear to the show.  I decided on Jí 吉 !

Then, the news came that a good friend of mine who is Chinese was scheduled to have a very very serious surgery that will require months of recovery where she won’t be too mobile.  I wanted to do something for her, so decided to make her a little good luck micro-mosaic charm of Jí 吉 that she could keep nearby.

Both turned out great.  My friend was really thrilled with her charm and hopefully it will bring her good luck during the recovery.  I happily wore the necklace to the opening of the miniatures show and think it will become one of my favorite pieces of jewelry to wear for quite some time.

Here’s the final results of both the pendant and the smaller charm.

Internationale d’art miniature in Levis, QC

Earlier this year we came across a call for a show with an interesting twist.  The Internationale d’art miniature 10th edition, where everything in the show had to be miniature size with strict rules on dimensions of the art (max size 12 sq inches).

Decided it would be fun to see what I could do with such a small parameter and got to working on a couple of micro-mosaics.  I really love creating the micro-mosaics, they’re challenging and eye-fatiguing but just love it.  The pieces that make up the mosaic are very small glass threads that range in size from about 0.5mm to 4 mm wide, with most of the pieces in the 0.5 – 2mm wide range.  In order to get glass this small or in colors I want, I take a larger piece and heat it in torch flame sometimes mixing colors together to achieve a new color.  When it is soft enough I grab a bit and pull to get a thin thread of glass in the size that I want.  Then I cut that down into tiny bits to make up the micro-mosaic.  This extra bit of connection to actually creating the material that is used in the mosaic – not just cutting up pre-made or pre-sourced stuff – it really does something for me, gives me an extra link to the piece, think it is one of the reasons I love doing the micro-mosaics so much.

I worked on 2 designs to submit – a silhouette of woman in black & white with color on her dress, the other a mini-version of a larger mosaic I made years ago – the view of a Maiko (apprentice Geisha) from behind showing the nape of her neck.

It was a fun challenge to undertake.  Figured even if I didn’t get into the show, it was ok as it was good learning to make them.  Luckily though – both pieces got in!  I was so thrilled!!

The show is amazing!  It is being held just across the water from Quebec City in Lévis, QC.  We made a weekend trip out of it and went for opening day.  The show has 350 pieces by artists from 23 countries!  It is wall art and sculptural – everything under 12 sq inches.  No photography or digital stuff allowed, all had to be hand created.  It was totally fascinating to see what other artists do and the incredible details they can create in such teeny tiny spaces.  The opening day was a full house, tons of people all vying to get up close to each piece.  They even provided hand held magnifying glasses to use when looking at the super tiny bits.

It has been just so exciting to be included in the show and have discovered this whole world of miniature expositions.  Maybe it will become a new direction for me.  😀

If you’re up near Quebec City this summer – take the ferry across the water to Lévis and go see the show, it won’t disappoint!  It’s on till September 1st and held at Centre d’exposition Louise-Carrier, 33 rue Wolfe in Lévis and is open every day of the week. More info click here

For my 2 pieces in case you’re curious of the size – the lady in silhouette is named “Delphine” and she measures in at 3.3″w x 2.5″h while the “Maiko (apprentice Geisha)” is 2.5” w x 3.3” h they’re each set on a 6” x 7” background.

Here’s some pics of the show on opening day and our visit to the area…

Ontario Society of Artists 146th Annual Juried Exhibition

The Ontario Society of Artists was having a call for art for their annual juried show.  I figured it was a long-shot for me, but applied anyways and then got the super exciting news that my piece was accepted!

The show is an annual one that has truly run for 146 years, an incredible feat – almost the entire time Canada has existed as Canada.  The organization was founded in 1872 and is Canada’s longest running artists society.  They do a lot of good for supporting professional artists in the province and promoting the arts.

Oh goodness was I ever excited because not only was this just a great show to get into but also because it is being held in downtown Toronto!  My first gallery show in this major city!!!  Toronto isn’t too far from where I live, so we were able to go over in person for the opening reception.  It was a wonderful evening and the place was packed!

The person who hung the show did an amazing job.  They put my piece with 2 other black and white paintings, we made a great trio of achromatic art together.  😀 There were 37 artists accepted into the show, we found out later on close to 600 had applied which blew me away.  There was art from several different mediums, painting of course, some sculpture, mixed media like me, photography – including a really cool one where the photog had printed the photo on gauzy fabric, really amazing paper sculpture and much more.

It was a thrill, an honor, an amazing experience to be a part of this show.  I’m just so grateful for this opportunity and the other opportunities I’ve had recently.  It’s be so great to get out there, be among other wonderful artists, meet awesome people and show my work.

The show is currently on till April 26th, so if you’re in Toronto – be sure and stop by the John B. Aird gallery at 900 Bay Street for a look at a gob of fantastic art!

The Shirt Factory in Glens Falls, NY

Recently, I got to discover a new town with an super cool arts space and want to tell you all about it in case you’re ever in the area it is a must stop by and see!  😀

The Shirt Factory is this amazing huge old building that has a fantastic history.  It is located in Glens Falls, NY just outside the Adirondack Park about 1hr North of Albany.  As a side note – Glens Falls was a lovely town, they have made a real effort to preserve buildings and have a great main street area with shops and restaurants.  There’s a lot to do in the area too.  But back to The Shirt Factory….

The Shirt Factory was in fact a real Shirt Factory.  It is a huge 4 story brick building and was started in the early 1900’s employing many hundred of the townspeople.  The shirts were made under the McMullen label and were incredibly successful.  In the 1930’s, the company went in a new direction – in addition to shirts, they started designing and making dresses for women.  They were very successful with their dresses being featured in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and other fashion magazines.  They even dressed celebrities, making custom pieces for many famous women.  One of their creations is even part of the collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The company went through many changes during the mid-century but kept along making shirts till it finally closed in the late 1990’s.  It lasted as factory for nearly a century, employing many generations of Glens Falls residents.

In 1996, the current owner of the building bought it at auction and fell in love with it.  He chose to preserve and renovate this amazing space with high ceilings and beautiful windows and turned it into artists spaces.  Today the building has 77 unique studios with over 100 artists / artisans.

You can visit this super neat place most days – but if you go Thursday thru Saturday from 12-5, all the shops / studios / galleries on the main 1st floor will be open.  The rest of the studios keep their own hours, but you’re welcome to wander the halls, and if someone has their door open you might be allowed in to visit and see what they’re working on.

One of the cool bits about wandering around the building – they’ve got tons of historical stuff just around.  They have samples of the dresses in cases on the walls.  There are old sewing machines in the hallways that you can touch.  There are old photos of what it looked like, what the workers looked like and stories about their lives on the walls.  One of the ladies in a studio showed me in the floor where there were worn spots and she told me it was where an ironing station had been and those worn bits were from where the worker stood.  Just cool that this place got preserved, saved and given a new life incorporating its’ history and not just gutted or torn down.

So why did I find out about this place?  Well, it turns out, one of the tenants of building is The Shirt Factory Gallery, a beautiful art gallery who accepted one of my pieces into a show they were having.  The Shirt Factory Gallery has had an annual “smalls” show for about 7 or 8 years in a row now.  This year, I applied and was pretty thrilled that my piece Shiro Piegare 8127 got accepted!  We even went down and attended the opening reception party – it was PACKED!!  The party was such fun, it was great to meet and talk with other artists and see all sorts of neat work in the show.  This place is so wonderfully supportive of artists, it’s a great community and I was thrilled to be a part of it for a tiny bit.

It is such a cool side benefit of making art, that you get to find out about these neat places when a piece gets accepted somewhere.  If you’re ever near Glens Falls be sure to stop by and take look at this amazing place!

Achromatically Inclined

Kuro Piegare 8133

From late November to January of this year, I was super fortunate to have had a solo show for my artwork at the Trinity Gallery in Ottawa, Ontario.

It was an amazing opportunity that came with perfect timing in my life.  The space of the Trinity Gallery is beautiful and big with a lot of walls to fill!  When I first received notice of the opportunity in late December 2017, I was given about a week to come up with my show name and a short blurb of what it would be about.

I knew I wanted to show more than one set of work.  This was my first solo show and I wanted it to have a bit of range that hopefully would draw interest.  Decided that it would have pieces from 3 series in it.

Disk Overload

Data Reliance – This series stems from my time working in technology, my feelings on how it takes over our lives and where we’re moving with it.

Iro Piegare – framed floating sculptures combining Japanese paper folding and Italian mosaic technqiues

Birch Trees at Night – the beautiful Birch captivated me when I first came to Canada and has been a favorite subject of mine for many years.

So here I had 3 series, inspired by different things all in the same show.  How to tie them together?  Well – all 3 of them happen to be done in shades of black, white and grey, occasionally with a tiny pop of color.  I’ve long been a black and white girl, and have written about it here on the blog.  When I stumbled upon “Achromatic” with the definition “possessing no hue:  being or involving black, grey or white”, thought how perfect to describe my art and inclinations and thus Achromatically Inclined became the show name.  😀

View of gallery

10 months of crazy work later, we finally came to the opening of the show.  It was a ton of work to hang and thankfully I had my husband, who was a tremendous help not only in hanging the show but all the steps along the way.  Trinity Gallery is located within an arts centre that has 5 other gallery spaces (along with theaters and art schools) within.  They have Meet the Artist days when the galleries change their shows so it is a fun atmosphere with a lot going on and people going from space to space.  The event was awesome – even made sure my refreshments were achromatic themed! 😀 I was so fortunate to have family travel from out of town to come on this special day as well as having many lovely local friends come too.

There was a lot of great feedback on the work.  I even sold a couple of pieces!  It was so neat to talk to people and see it being well received.  It also was so amazing, such a gift, to allowed in life to see so many of my pieces hanging all in one space (that isn’t my home!).  Overwhelmed with gratefulness is how it felt.

Here’s some pics of the show up and opening day.  If you’d like to see pics of all the pieces on the show there’s a  page on my website that shows what all was included that you can view by clicking here.

Wearable Art – Mosaic Belt

I love the idea of wearable art, it is why I started making mosaic jewelry many years ago.  It’s a fun way to share the art of mosaic with a larger audience and also to wear a piece of unique art on one’s body.

Benz_Black Mosaic BeltLate last summer while working on pieces for my show that was to happen at the end of the year, I started thinking about what is in my closet that I could wear for my opening.  Then started thinking about how it would be really cool to wear mosaic in a larger sense, more than just as a pendant or ring.

I had seen some photos online of an artist (not sure who it was unfortunately) who had created a mosaic dress.  But this dress was a permanent fixture, it had a space for a woman to slide into it and be photographed “wearing” it but she couldn’t actually move around.  I wanted to figure out something I could wear and move in.

Started noodling on ideas and decided to start small and try and construct a belt of mosaic.  I’ve always had a love for anything Japanese and took inspiration from Japanese obi belts.  Thought about how an obi fits all around the body, usually a bit higher up and wide.

Mosaics are heavy and solid, so those are considerations to think about.  This wasn’t going to be a belt that was just wrapped around anywhere.  I had to fit it to my proportions so built a form of my body and then molded my base material on that.  I created 2 solid C shapes, then next had to figure out how they’d attach to one another.  Decided on a system of adjustable leather straps that wove in and out of the belt on the sides, slightly hidden under the arm.

Finally I mosaic’d my base form and chose to use the same palette of glass that I used in some of my actual art mosaics that would be on display at my show.  I’d match the art on the wall!  I wasn’t sure if I’d prefer a black or white version, so made a belt in both colors.  In the end, while wearing a black dress the black version won.  I’m keeping the white version to wear on a lighter color dress in the future.

It was a ton of fun to wear this mosaic belt at a few events.  It tickled me beyond belief that I figured out how to make it work, make it relatively light (it is ~1.25 lbs) and fairly comfortable.  It is 2 solid pieces so not as comfortable as a fabric belt but still comfortable enough to wear for many hours, even while eating dinner.  I’m already dreaming of ideas to create something bigger – corset or bustier type top maybe?

Happy Holidays!

Each year in December I like to make a holiday themed mosaic.  This year, while trying to decide what to do, I stumbled on this amazing little wood bezel that had been floating around the workroom for a long while.  Decided to use it and make a little micro-mosaic tree.  The tiny bits of glass measure between 0.5 – 4mm wide with the total size of the piece being 2.2 cm x 4 cm.  Originally I was going to put a pin on the back and make it into a broach, but the husband had a better suggestion.  He said I should turn it into an ornament for the big tree and each year going forward create a new micro-mosaic ornament.  In 20 years time, we’ll have a tree full of micro-mosaics!

Wishing you all a holiday filled with joy and a wonderful new year in 2019!!  😀