Art Walk Central

We took some time this weekend to walk around and look at some of the art happening and on display for Art Walk Central 2014. There is some NEAT stuff to be experienced.

Let’s start with the Art Walk Central competition. There are a whole bunch of pieces of all different kinds of art on display around town. Most of them are inside businesses on Broadway and Main Streets, but there are also some in the art gallery on campus and in the university library, and a few outdoor pieces downtown as well. Anyone can sign up to vote online or via smartphone!

Art Walk Central 2014 entries

This piece, untitled by Velvet Underwood, is a raw edge fabric collage (on display at Art Reach).

Art Walk Central 2014 entries

I love the detail in the tone-on-tone fabric she used.

Art Walk Central 2014 entries

I would 100% love to hang this piece, untitled by Laura Coffee (also at Art Reach), in our home. Who doesn’t want to see a giant robot stalking downtown Mount Pleasant?

Emiko Screams by Corby Blem

This collage, Emiko Screams by Corby Blem (on display at the University Art Gallery), caught my eye right away, and THEN I realized that (EVEN BETTER!) it’s inspired by the scene of a woman seeing Godzilla for the first time.

August 6, 1945 Revisited (Hiroshima) by Sally Rose

One of my favorite pieces is this one, August 6, 1945 Revisited (Hiroshima) by Sally Rose (also at the UAG). After looking at it for a few moments, I realized that I took a weaving class from this artist my sophomore year in college. I loved that class! I would love to take another class or a workshop from her sometime.

Summer Reading: A Study in Greens by Ann Kowaleski

I was delighted to see a piece by one of my favorite local artists, Ann Kowaleski. Entitled Summer Reading: A Study in Greens, this piece is also at the CMU art gallery. The vibrant colors are so striking, and of course I’m also drawn to the subject matter.

Filed by Kim Kleinhardt

Finally, this is Filed by Kim Kleinhardt (also at UAG). Each section is a file folder, collaged and containing papers from each of her thirty years as an art teacher. You can open each folder (there’s a note encouraging this) to see the contents and read about that year of her life as an art instructor. SO NEAT.

Members of the community were also out and about downtown painting the crosswalks at the intersection of Broadway and Main.

painting the intersection crosswalks

You can see the Mondrian-inspired design in the middle of the intersection, which was completed earlier this month. This weekend, they were painting the crosswalks. The one above will look like a piano keyboard, I think!

There were also artists creating chalk paintings on the sidewalks on Saturday.

chalk art on Broadway

So fun! I feel so lucky to be in a community that places a high value on art – and even more, on art that anyone can participate in. I hope to enter an art quilt in the competition next year.


CMU: New Acquisitions art show

My goodness! So much has been going on lately that I have a bunch of stuff to post that has just been waiting for me to make time to sit down long enough.

We found out (through a careful reading of our new lease documents, NOT through the direct questions we asked the office staff, mind you) that the new owners of our apartment complex decided to raise the rent AND give us the bill for a number of things that were previously covered in the rent (water, trash, etc.), which has effectively priced us out of living here. In addition, our current non-smoking community will no longer be such, and that is a big issue for me (remember when we had to move to a new building here, only a month after moving in the first time, because our neighbors inside the first building were smoking a lot and it was invading/permeating our unit? I am NOT doing that again). So, we’re going to have to move AGAIN before our next, hopefully final for the foreseeable future, move when we buy our next home. We are, as you can imagine, not thrilled about this, but we are trying to see the bright side (even after paying movers, we will still likely save money in the long run due to paying a much lower monthly rent at the new place) (*fingers crossed* that we get the place we’re looking at). We also have to go through all the hassles of moving, having our mail forwarded, and so on – it’s just a huge time- and energy-suck that we were not anticipating.

ANYWAY! On the bright side, I recently went to see an exhibit of new art on CMU’s campus, in the beautiful Baber Room at Park Library.

CMU New Acquisitions art exhibition

Paint by Number (ceramic) by Amy Dziesenski (2014)

I love the juxtaposition of something ephemeral, generally considered to be “low art” with a fine art like ceramics. This piece is really fun (note: all my photos from this show are TERRIBLE and should not be considered to be accurate representations of the artworks).

CMU New Acquisitions art exhibition

The Spirit: Graham, Dickenson, O’Keefe (multi-media quilt) by Ann Kowaleski

I was really excited to see that CMU acquired one of Ann Kowaleski‘s art quilts from her show earlier this year. I am a fan and admirer of her work.


CMU New Acquisitions art exhibition

Batman (ceramic) by Brett Sauve (2013)

This piece was an unexpected delight. It’s Batman, of course, but it’s also a lot more than just that. I really like the artist’s interpretation of the character. I feel like this piece highlights the humanity of the character (rather than focusing on the brutality or sex appeal, as the movies so often do). For me, the eyes especially convey the haunted, lonely life that led Bruce Wayne to take on the Batman mantle. The ears are almost dog-esque (this may just be me – given my love for bat-eared dogs) and their waver-iness gives a feeling of vulnerability. The way his cape is tied reminds me of how a child would tie on a cape, which also leads to that feeling. At any rate, this piece is also just really cool.

This show will be up through July 18 and I highly recommend checking it out.


if I had a million dollars

…I’d quit working and go to school full time and learn all the things I’d like to know more about. Realistically, for this to be feasible in the world today, I’d need multiple millions of dollars. C’mon, winning lottery ticket!

The Library
photo “The Library” by Zhu, CC licensed

When I think about going back to school, I vividly remember how it was to be working full time and taking a full load of courses my last semester of grad school. I felt like I had made my bed and, if I survived, I would not choose to lie in it ever again. So I know that going back to school (even part time) is, at this point, not going to happen. I value my free time too highly right now and am not willing to spend it doing homework rather than knitting, trivia, and spending time with K. (This is not to mention the fact that financially it would require that first million dollars or something close to it.)

But in my daydream world, if I didn’t have to work and could just pursue the things that are interesting to me, I would absolutely go back to school. There’s so much I’m interested in and would like to learn about! A short list:

  • art history
  • fiber arts
  • anthropology
  • cinema studies
  • entrepreneurship
  • creative writing
  • women’s/gender studies
  • computer science
  • technical writing

Of course, none of these are with any sort of viable career in mind – just things I’m interested in and would like to learn more about. We’re talking dreamworld here! No practicality required!

And of course I realize that I can learn a lot about these things without getting a formal education. With the cost of higher education as exorbitant as it is right now, some would say I’d be better off to learn independently or in other venues. But I guess I still buy into the whole romance of higher education despite my cynicism about the business side of it (‘students as customers’ was a big thing when I first started undergrad, and despite its failures it is still around). I think that it allows for and provides opportunities that can’t be had in other settings, and I do place a lot of value on having earned a degree from an accredited institution of higher learning.

So! Barring the ability to ffwd to ST:TNG times when money seemingly isn’t an issue for anyone and knowledge is valued more highly, let’s get on that lottery thing.


Piecing a Life: Quilts by Ann Kowaleski

It is a quilt-tastic time in Mount Pleasant! In addition to the Lenore Crawford exhibit at Art Reach, we also have the amazing Ann Kowaleski story quilt exhibit currently on display in the Baber Room at CMU’s Park Library. Kowaleski is a well-known quilt artist whose work is influenced by folk art and the cultural traditions of Mexico and Guatemala, as well as everyday life – the way she translates the commonplace into these beautiful handcrafted art pieces is truly inspiring to me.

Piecing a Life: quilts by Ann Kowaleski

The Spirit: Graham, Dickinson and O’Keeffe (98×45″)

Piecing a Life: quilts by Ann Kowaleski

This large quilt is a tribute to three well-known inspirational artists from various fields: Martha Graham, Emily Dickinson, and Georgia O’Keeffe. Kowaleski has given each woman a distinct section of the quilt, but uses organic shapes to ease the transitions between the three so there is a feeling of flow. The color palette of each section is fitting for its subject, and, also fittingly, the quilt has a rhythm that evokes the emotions inspired by dance, poetry, and painting.

Piecing a Life: quilts by Ann Kowaleski

The Emily Dickinson section includes representations of her poetry as though they are sheets of paper floating in the air around her. Kowaleski uses embroidery to include excerpts from some of Dickinson’s famous poems. I love this technique.


Piecing a Life: quilts by Ann Kowaleski

Life in Ordinary Times (45×60″)

Piecing a Life: quilts by Ann Kowaleski

This piece features Crewel embroidery in combination with traditional quilting and the use of some mixed media such as buttons and ribbon. It also incorporates a variety of fabrics: you can see in the photo above that she used a netting over top of a more traditional material to make part of the woman’s dress, in addition to several other fabrics, some of which are also nontraditional for a quilt.

Piecing a Life: quilts by Ann Kowaleski

So many things about this piece really captured me: the fact that the woman’s hair is at once somewhat wild, coming off her head in great swoops, but also beautiful and with great texture detail; the way the Crewelwork creates her expression both in the actual embroidery and in the way it affects the fabric it has been applied to; the way the woman’s hands clasp one another (a position that I admit looks quite familiar); and the use of a multitude of colors and patterns in the embroidery and fabrics that make up the woman’s dress to indicate the barely contained mayhem that so often makes up our daily life.


Piecing a Life: quilts by Ann Kowaleski

Midlife Musings (60×44″)

Piecing a Life: quilts by Ann Kowaleski

One of the things I really appreciate about Kowaleski’s quilts is that she captures the beauty of people, especially women, in a way that is not glamorous but instead evokes a more emotional response. These women are each unique in their appearance, though clearly all of a particular cohort. The women here are all supporting one another, and each appears to be wearing a mask. The use of the traditional (as a quilt subject) tulips around the edge of the quilt is a satisfying foil to the scene she’s created at the center of the piece. Likewise, the inclusion of the bread tray doily and the two small works of art on either side evoke thoughts of “women’s work” and the domestic expectations that women have faced (and still do).


Piecing a Life: quilts by Ann Kowaleski

Meet Me in the Bathtub (45×69″)

Piecing a Life: quilts by Ann Kowaleski

This quilt is another that uses a variety of materials to create an emotional response. I especially love the use of photographs printed on fabric as well as the use of ribbon and other embellishments.


Piecing a Life: quilts by Ann Kowaleski

Two Women (45×46″)

Piecing a Life: quilts by Ann Kowaleski

I especially like this quilt. It features two women who are, again, supporting one another. They are similar in shape and dress and yet you can see that they are two distinct individuals with distinct personalities when you look at their faces. The way Kowaleski has put together the fabric of their dresses is so pleasing to the eye: the diagonals of each dress bodice point inward, toward the heart, but also create a very flattering effect; the use of ribbon, buttons, and chain; and the color palette which is at once feminine and strong.

These story quilts are such an inspiration. I’m just getting into quilting myself, having only been doing it for a couple of years so far, but seeing artwork like this gives me so many ideas for possible projects and ways to take my quilts to be something beyond just useful or warm. I highly recommend checking out this exhibit, and I hope to see more from Kowaleski in the future.


The Artful Garden

The Artful Garden I hadn’t really thought about looking at art to get an idea of what to plant in my garden, but I love the idea! I especially love the suggestion made in this book to look at a local art museum for pieces created by artists working in this geographical area – see what the light and color is like in their work and take inspiration from that. Field trip! Head on over to CPL for more info on this book.


Scarf it up

That’s right, I’ve made some more Blythe scarves. Those little bits of yarn keep existing until I turn them into something, so here we have two more scarves.

First is the Jimmy Scarf, which uses up more of this awesome rainbow yarn.

Jimmy Scarf for Blythe

There is something extremely satisfying about a basic garter stitch, even though it’s not particularly technical or difficult. Seeing the stitches so even and the edges wrap around in their pretty, consistent pattern is really happy-making. I also love seeing color variation develop in garter stitch.

Jimmy Scarf for Blythe

And then the Toby Scarf, which can also be worn as a wrap, since it’s wider.

Toby Scarf/Wrap for Blythe

I found these felt birds at Michael’s recently and I adore them! I thought it looked really nice with this yarn, too. And if you haven’t heard, if you want something to be art, just put a bird on it.

Toby Scarf/Wrap for Blythe



I recently found some fabric at Joann that appealed to me for a number of reasons. First, the background is black, next the flowers are red, purple, and gold (the first two being favorites of mine), and finally the floral pattern is pretty but not overly feminine or too fussy. I also knew that the pattern was small enough that it would work well for a Blythe dress. So here it is, the Rosey Dress for Blythe:

Rosey Dress for Blythe

I added two red buttons on the bodice, which is lined with an olive green fabric that matches the stems on the flowers. I just bought a pair of used camo sneakers, which I think go nicely with this dress in a 90s riot grrrl sort of way.

7/52: Check out this painting

In the picture above you can also see that Dahlia is admiring a painting, which I received in a snail mail art exchange in which I recently participated. I had no idea they made such tiny canvases and easels (though of course a few days after receiving this I happened to see them on an end-cap at Joann). If I were a painter, I’d make a gallery of Blythe-scale artwork.