Saturday, January 21, 2017

"Celebration of the Arts" show at the First United Methodist Church

Fabric collage #1 by Jennifer Gould
I've finished two pieces of fabric collage that I'll put in for jurying at the "Celebration of the Arts" at the First United Methodist Church's annual spiritual art exhibit.  Get the pdf of the entry form and info at  This is a wonderful show in the middle of winter and the reception is so well attended even if the weather is really bad (and it usually is).

I haven't worked out the right titles for each piece yet but the first one went together so quickly but the stitching was tortuous.  I wanted to do a lot more free-motion machine embroidery but, because it had been a while since I had done free-motion, I forgot what kind of stabilizer to use (this one has two layers of craft felt which was too soft and squishy for the machine).  If using machine stitching, I should have backed the entire piece with something like Timtex or Peltex, a very stiff backing through which machine stitching as well as hand stitching will work.  So I did a lot more hand stitching on both pieces.  I ended up loving both the way they turned out.  And I do love hand stitching.  The whip stitch that I often use reminds me so much of mending that I often incorporate that in the title.

Fabric collage #2 by Jennifer Gould
Each piece incorporates my hand printed fabric which means: textile painted, dyed, discharged, rubbings, monoprints from large plain surfaced stamps or plexiglass plates, stencil work, deconstructed screen printing, flour paste resists, indigo-dyed, shibori; and done on very diverse fabrics such as rayon, knits (every kind of knit you can think of from sheers, mesh, sweatshirt, jersey, acrylic/synthetic and more), cheesecloth, synthetic and natural sheers (organza, chiffon, metallics), and of course, quilt cottons and plain cotton (although I rarely start out with white fabric).

My second piece had the same problems with machine stitching as the first.  It made me do a lot more hand stitching but also a lot more thinking about the stitched marks I was making--- so that was a good thing!

Mailed Art: Delivery System exhibit through Feb. 24

"Evidence of Tea Drinking Obsession"
I was so excited about this exhibit and open invitation from the Holland Area Arts Council (150 E. 8th St., Holland MI).  All the pieces were mailed at a Post Office and arrived and hung on the wall at HAAC as is.  Nothing was opened.

The first piece (not mine...) to arrive was a cell phone in a plastic package from the Post Office with the label "WE CARE" and a statement about how the Post Office takes great care to make sure everything gets delivered without damage.  The cell phone, of course, was sent just as is with the arts council's address and postage.  It won first prize.  Anyway, you have to see this show to appreciate everything.

"Tweet Tweet"

My goal was to create pieces that were not the typical flat and rectangular shape that you always see in mailed pieces.  So my first attempt was one that I'd been thinking about for a long time, "Evidence of a Tea Drinking Obsession," made from my green tea package bags.  It arrived with arms and everything in tact.  The Post Office people behind the counter laughed!"

My second piece was a bird that I'd made a couple of years ago and definitely not rectangular.  The picture is before I went to the PO with it because more postage was added to the tail and under the wings.  (More postage was added to "Evidence" also.

And the postage had to be stamps, and the stamps had to be commemorative that had to go along with the theme of the piece.  So, the "Evidence" piece had Chinese New Year stamps from 2016, the "Tweet" piece had the current winter bird stamps, and the last piece "Earth to Jennifer" had Planet stamps.
"Earth to Jennifer"

So the last piece, "Earth to Jennifer," is three felted balls.  The biggest one and the top one have tapestry landscapes woven into the felt on each side.  They hang on monofilament with a "flag" at the top (like it's planted into the soil of the top one) with the HAAC address on one side and the title on the other:

Earth to Jennifer.
Earth to Jennifer.
Come in please!

Unfortunately, the Post Office somewhere a long the way, decided it was lost from something else and put it into a big envelope with a clear front and a red stamped message, "Found Loose in the Mail."

The Feb. 24 end-of-show reception will be a time when I can buy back my "Earth to Jennifer" piece.  I want to see it hanging free again.

I had a fantastic time doing all these and sending them.  The PO people were totally willing to go a long with it, and HAAC is looking forward to doing this show each year!