installation

Taking Flight install

when my family and i first moved to the Boston area 3 years ago, my youngest daughter was finally old enough to go to preschool for a good portion of the day and i was feeling eager to put my energies into my art. i was in a new city, ready to explore what it had to offer me, but also to figure out what i had to offer it. 

i wasn't sure where the making of many many birds would take me, but i decided to go with it and hoped that something good would come of them. as with my previous installation 100 Cups Of Tea, i began to reuse stacks of my old manuscripts from my writing days.

"Taking Flight" began with Emily Dickinson's poem whose first line is: Hope is the thing with feathers-/ That perches in the soul-/And sings the tune without the words-/And never stops - at all -

those lines fed me when i often felt rather hopeless about finding my way on my journey. the birds began to symbolize for me my creative thoughts, trying to take flight. faltering, but hoping that one day they will take flight. i tried to capture the deeply satisfying feeling that would come over me whenever i see a flock of birds taking off into the sky. that hopefulness we all have as we embark on a new journey, changing course, opening ourselves to new experiences. over the years, the installation has come to mean many many things to me, but i think hope encompasses all those things for me.

so it was incredibly satisfying to see the birds go up yesterday at the Boston Center for the Arts. there were several hiccups during the install process and it took way longer than planned, but we did succeed. :) here is time lapse movie of the process. i'm sorry it is a little choppy, but we had to stop several times to fix some problem and figure out the next steps, etc. there were moments when i wasn't at all sure this would work! but it did. hope you enjoy:

here are some shots of the beautiful space that is the Cyclorama at the Boston Center for the Arts where the BCA Ball will take place on June 3, 2017. i hope to share more shots from the Ball when the lighting on the installation will be better/more interesting. but for now, these will have to do:

Highlights from Passage Through Blue

here is a video of the highlights from my BCA Residency, Passage Through Blue:

for those of you who weren't able to make it to a performance, i hope this gives you a glimpse of what i was working on. i would love to hear your thoughts about it. again, it was such a wonderful collaborative experience. i learned so much and hopefully grew as a result.

Recap of Passage Through Blue and a review

edit: i meant to post this a week or two ago... sorry! but here is a recap of Passage Through Blue. i have also posted on my portfolio page images taken by Steve Wollkin of one of the performances.

 

i have spent most of this week feeling slightly off-kilter. comes with being intensely involved in a project. the performances of Passage Through Blue were amazing last weekend. the dancers of Continuum Dance Project were incredible - it was deeply satisfying to watch them. and many thanks to you that came out to the shows. from your responses to me, i know that you left feeling exhilarated and moved and inspired. i'm so glad you were able to share in this wonderful experiment.

i'm going to leave you with some photos i took throughout the rehearsals and of a review of Passage Through Blue which you can find here.

Progress with residency

there's nothing quite so gratifying as seeing your work progress in the way you envisioned. i was a little nervous this week and last as i began work on my papier-mache birds. i had several conversations with Fernadina about the dancers' movements and with Stephen, our lighting guy, to think through all the various issues i need to take into consideration when putting the birds together. below is a video of me testing out the flock of birds yesterday:

and Adriane made a movie of the dancers rehearsing and (i hope) you can find the movie here. if you can put the two movies together in your mind, that's what you should expect to see at the performance. :)

stay tuned for more updates!

Winter 2017 Residency at the BCA

on January 9, 2017, i began a month long residency at the BCA (Boston Center for the Arts) with my friend and choreographer, Fernadina Chan, and Continuum Dance Project. it was super exciting to get into the space and start working. i am creating installations in the space the dancers will perform in. we will also be projecting some of my paintings onto the walls and the dancers. Fernadina and Adriane Brayton are taking inspiration from my paintings and writings and creating a choreography for the dancers. we are really excited about this opportunity to work together and to have an opportunity to experiment and create something new. it's an incredible experience for me as the artist seeing Fernadina and the dancers bring the emotions of the artwork to life and interpret them with their bodies.

most days, my schedule and the dancers' schedules don't overlap, but the other day, i got a glimpse of them working and it was really exciting!!

i am truly grateful for this opportunity to experiment and to take risks. this is what the arts should be about, trying something different and seeing where collaborations will lead.

the residency culminates in performances that will be open to the public. to purchase tickets to performances and find more info about our residency on the BCA website, please go here. Continuum Dance Project is also offering a workshop on 31 January that is free and open to the public. you can find out more about that here.

here's a time-lapse movie of me painting one of the installations. there are 5 separate dance vignettes so there are 5 spaces.

hope you can join us for one of the performances!

Changes and a new project

i apologize for being so silent here for so long. so much has happened in my personal life and in America's national life and i have had a hard time kicking the melancholy that threatens to set in. for those of you following me on FaceBook and Instagram know already that i am preparing for a move out of my studio. that will take place next week, at the end of the month. i am sad to be leaving the space in which i have grown so much and in which i created many new works, but i am also looking forward to a new chapter in my life. my family is moving into a bigger home and i will have a small room to use as a studio. while i am sad to be leaving behind a community in the Wareham studio, i hope to stay in touch and also to build a new community in Brookline. i am already meeting other artists in my neighborhood and looking forward to what those connections and relationships will bring about.

while packing and prepping for our move, i am thinking and planning in my head and in my sketchbook for a new project that will take place in January/February 2017. i am extremely excited for this project, as it draws on my love of dance, movement, music and art. i am collaborating on this new project with Fernadina Chan, a choreographer and friend i met through my ballet class. we have received a grant from the Boston Center for the Arts to use their space and create a new performance piece. you can read more about the project here. i am really excited about all the possibilities this project holds. really, it could go anywhere! i am particularly looking forward to creating a space for the dancers to move and interact with and a space that will transport the audience.

to prepare myself, i've been listening to Stravinsky's Elegy for viola as it might be part of the music for the performance. i've been listening with my eyes closed and putting pen to paper and allowing my hand move where it will with the music. afterwards, i fill in various spaces on the page with colours. here are some pages from my sketchbook that are the results of this experiment.

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this one was actually drawn with my eyes open, just so i could see what my hand would do if my eyes were open. the lines are much more even and self-conscious i think.

this one was actually drawn with my eyes open, just so i could see what my hand would do if my eyes were open. the lines are much more even and self-conscious i think.

why am i doing this? i'm hoping to loosen up my mind a bit and marrying my mark making with music. i'm hoping this will help me as i think about creating a space for movement.

Taking Flight in VSCO's NY studio

first of all, thank you to all that came out to the South End over the weekend! it was lovely to see many of you. and welcome to those who are new here, who i met for the first time at Open Studios! i hope you will visit here often as this is where i primarily share about my work and process. for daily snippets though, i am mostly to be found on Instagram.

in process shot inside VSCO NY studio space

in process shot inside VSCO NY studio space

today, i want to share with you about a project that i did early last week in NYC. i was accepted by VSCO to one of their open studio sessions which meant that i could come into their beautiful NYC office and use their amazing studio space to take pictures of a personal project. i chose to take in my Taking Flight installation as i felt it was important to have really good photos of the installation to continue telling my story through that particular piece. here is one shot that came out of my time there:

Taking Flight

Taking Flight

you can now find the rest of my shots on my portfolio page.

i worried about the white background as my birds are mostly white, but having taken the shots, i can now say that the whiteness adds to the ethereal quality of the installation. and the birds really do look like they are taking off! :)

this installation began in a deep place of emotion and movement. i'm still figuring out why i am so obsessed with these birds. part of it is, no one bird looks the same because i've made each of them by hand, and the installation never looks the same. i've taken shots of these in my studio with a black background and they look very different from how they look here. and the shape of them as a whole changes depending on how i have hung them up. there is something i love about that.

thank you to VSCO for the amazing opportunity! i learned so much about lighting and photo taking - loved it!

i would love to hear your thoughts on these!

Thirst

i finally managed to come up with a title for my latest installation before i had to install it. as it often happens to me, the title refused to come to me until i had completed the work. so, here is the official info on the latest piece:

Thirst, 2016

approx 250 plastic water bottles, fishing line

 

and here are some photos of the installation:

Installation at Ruggles Baptist Church before it got dark

Installation at Ruggles Baptist Church before it got dark

During the Easter Vigil - it was dark and the installation was lit by lights with blue gels. a dance performance with original song was being performed as the blue lights went on slowly on the installation. credit for the lights must go to Ryan Ruffing, who patiently bore with my many emails sent his way titled "Lights!!!"

During the Easter Vigil - it was dark and the installation was lit by lights with blue gels. a dance performance with original song was being performed as the blue lights went on slowly on the installation. credit for the lights must go to Ryan Ruffing, who patiently bore with my many emails sent his way titled "Lights!!!"

Installation moved to Boston Temple for Easter Sunday Service 

Installation moved to Boston Temple for Easter Sunday Service 

and a time lapse of the installation, just because it's always fun to do a time lapse :)

 

i had several challenges when putting this together. the church rents space in two different locations, Ruggles Baptist and Boston Temple. so the installation couldn't stay up - it had to be taken down immediately after the Vigil was over. that meant i had to put the installation together in such a way as to make the installing and the removal process relatively easy. i couldn't drill anything into the walls. the Vigil would take place in the dark, so lighting was a big issue. but these challenges helped shape the piece into what it is. i used plastic water bottles so the installation as a whole is extremely light and sturdy.

many have asked me questions about the process and the thought behind the installation, so i thought i'd jot it down here, both for me and for those of you who wish to know more.

i guess the story begins back in December 2015. my family was searching for a new church and we stumbled on the website of Church of the Cross. we visited Christmas Eve and have continued since. in January 2016, i met with the Director of Music, Ryan, and we had a conversation about art, esp about art in the church. which was unusual for me - it has been a very long time since i've had a leader of a church engage with me about what i do. and perhaps this was why i agreed to participate in the Easter Vigil at Church of the Cross by creating a piece for it. i was mostly curious, but i was completely caught off guard. if i hadn't been so caught off guard, i might have said no.

some of you are probably very familiar with an Easter Vigil, but i was not. since i had no previous experience to go on, i used the order of Scripture readings as a guide. the readings begin with the story of creation and take us through the entire story of God's relationship with us, the world, culminating in the death and resurrection of Jesus. the primary images in the Vigil are the cross and the movement from darkness to light. but for me, the thread that ran through all the Scripture readings was the image of water. it was present in each reading, in some form or another, a silent tangible extension of God's presence. or the absence of God's presence, as in the reading of the dry bones, the bones dry and lifeless. moments before Jesus' death on the cross, He said, "i thirst," a physical yearning for His Father who had turned from Him.

the images of water were big and grand in the readings in the first half of the Vigil: creation, Noah's ark, the parting of the Sea as Israel fled from Egypt. but it takes a different turn in the sixth reading, a passage from Isaiah 55. there, God calls those of us who thirst to come: "Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters...For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth, And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; So shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it."

why plastic water bottles? (many thanks to the members of Church of the Cross who contributed to this installation by bringing in your plastic bottles! and to my husband who went dumpster diving for me) if you know me and my work, you know that i love to take stuff from the dumpster and transform it into something that looks completely different from it's original form; taking the rejected and transforming it into something beautiful. and we live in a place where clean water is so abundant, we take it for granted and don't understand the full value of it in our lives. the same can be said of God's grace and goodness.

Thirst. we won't know the full extent of our need until we thirst.

Installing "Taking Flight"

on the evening of November 6, the building my art studio is located in will be hosting a building-wide open studio.  i will post the details about it soon, but in the mean time, i wanted to share with you a short time-lapse movie i made as i was prepping my studio for the open studio. this is a small portion of my "Taking Flight" installation:

hope you can plan to join me on November 6th - there will be many many artists opening their studios that evening.  it should be a fun evening filled with art!

and as always, if you'd like to keep up with my goings on, please subscribe to this blog by clicking on the subscribe icon in the bottom left corner. thanks so much!

Photos of new work

how is your summer?  i hope it is filled with sunshine, family and friends, time spent on decks eating grilled food, ice cream and sipping cool drinks. perhaps some time at a beach or exploring new places.

our summer break began with a visit to Madison, WI.  it was lovely to be back in our old home and to visit with good friends, to eat cheese curds, and to visit our old favourite places.  but the odd thing is, i felt torn between there and here, being back at home but feeling the tug of our new home.  life is funny that way, isn't it?  my girls and i watched the movie Inside Out after we returned to Brookline and we all cried because we so felt all those emotions.  and at the end of the movie, (spoiler alert! well, sort of...) when Joy and Sadness create a memory together so that the memory is tinged with both emotions, well, we all just gave up trying to contain the tears. 

as promised, i wanted to share some photos of new work i've been busy working on this past year as i have adapted to living life in Brookline.  the first set of photos are of a large scale installation titled, "Taking Flight".  i wrote an earlier blog piece about the inspiration behind this project and you can find that here.  if you are following me on Instagram, you will find all my work in progress photos under the hashtag: #400birdsproject .  why 400 birds you ask? because i'm crazy.  these birds take crazy long to make and i'm not sure why i'm doing this. in the photos below, taken in my new studio space, there are around 120 birds:

on a much smaller scale, i've been making these miniature works using the rolls leftover from duct tape.  my daughter makes duct tape wallets and she has accumulated quite a stash of these duct tape rolls.  i felt inspired to use them to create these small pieces - you can find them soon on my Etsy shop.

Colours

Fall in Boston has truly been a glorious feast of colours.  here are some shots from my Instagram feed of what's been catching my eyes lately.  

But winter is coming... the days darken early and we have had some warnings of snow, but no snow yet to stick.  our days are filled with busyness.  i have started work on a new installation.  i hope to find a space for it soon, but in the mean time, i am busy tearing paper and putting them together with flour and water.  here are some shots of my works in progress:

have a wonderful week, friends!

Little Mifflin Gallery

i have been working on an installation for the Little Mifflin Gallery - it is titled "Dreams/Prayers on Paper Boats" - and it is finally up!  for those of you unfamiliar with the Little Galleries in Madison, they are free-standing galleries near sidewalks with two locations in Madison currently.  one is Little Monroe Gallery on Monroe Street, and the other is Little Mifflin Gallery on Mifflin Street.  personally, i love them.  they are easily accessible by the public and the public can enjoy art without having to go to a formal gallery.  and usually, the art on exhibit is miniature in size and who doesn't love miniature things? :)

you can find them on Facebook as well, here.

my installation will be up for the month of June - hope you can go and see it!

Hope

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"Hope" is the thing with feathers -

That perches in the soul -

And sings the tune without the words -

And never stops - at all -

 

And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -

And sore must be the storm -

That could abash the little Bird

That kept so many warm -

 

I've heard it in the chillest land -

And on the strangest Sea -

Yet, never, in Extremity,

It asked a crumb - of Me.

 

Emily Dickinson

 

i think this poem best captures what i've been feeling and thinking lately.

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it's been a while since you've heard about the teacup installation, but they are on the move again. :)  and this time, they are traveling all the way to NYC!!  it's kinda crazy - i will give you more details later, but right now, i'm packing them up in a box.

Teacups at Crescendo

it was wonderful to have my teacups at Madison Central Public Library, but their time there has come to an end. over the past weekend, i installed them in a new location - Crescendo, on Monroe Street, just across from Trader Joe's.  it's exciting to have the teacups at Crescendo, a place known not just for what you can eat and drink there, but also for the great live music and concerts.  i do hope you will check out Crescendo - the teacups will be there through to the end of November.  the dark walls of Crescendo work beautifully with the white of the teacups. :)

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can you spot the teacups inside?

can you spot the teacups inside?

Tomorrow is STACKED

STACKED is tomorrow night! if you are planning on coming out and haven't bought tickets yet, you might want to come a little early as tickets have sold out, but they are reserving some tickets to be sold at the door, so you still have a chance of getting in.  you can see some photos from this week here as artists have been busy putting up their installations.  so exciting!!  the photos should give you clues as to where to find the different installations as they are scattered throughout the beautiful new space. :)

 

The Deed Is Done

it felt rather exciting, being in a mystery bookstore all by myself as the day was ending and most of the stores were closing up.  surrounded by books about murders and intrigue, there i was in a darkened store with my little teacups.  and they are up!  here is a sneak preview of them, but please do stop by Mystery To Me (1863 Monroe Street) on Saturday for the opening and grab a book or two!

proud to have my teacups stand along with Sherlock Holmes

proud to have my teacups stand along with Sherlock Holmes

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The Tea Cups' Next Destination

my "100 Cups of Tea" installation will be moving to another destination later this week!  and it all sort of happened really fast, so i feel slightly out of breath as i write this, but i think you will like where it is going.  the teacups are making a move from the east side of town to the west side.  i have so appreciated having had the opportunity to install the teacups at Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier.  the chocolate + teacups combination was a beautiful one, but i think you will also like the books + teacups combination as well.

for a long time, i have wondered why there isn't a lovely neighborhood independent bookstore in Madison, but this saturday, one is opening up on Monroe Street and my teacups will be up in the display window!!  the bookstore is called Mystery To Me and is located at 1863 Monroe Street, Madison, WI.  you can read more about the store and about the owner, Joanne Berg, here.

the bookstore opens this saturday, 15th June, at 10 am.  for those of you living in Madison, do come out and enjoy this new local independent store! 

i took some photos of the store while i was there looking at the space for my installation - my phone was all i had, so apologies for the quality of the photos, but i hope it gives you a feel for the space and the possibilities it holds for us readers.

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i couldn't resist snapping a shot of Sean Connery as James Bond. :) 

i couldn't resist snapping a shot of Sean Connery as James Bond. :) 

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