Sun Series #1

Sun Series #1

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Before and After

"Notes to Self no. 3" (before)
30 x 22"
mixed media

"Notes to Self no. 3" (reworked)
30 x 22'
mixed media

This is the third piece in my series of expressive or automatic drawings.
The one on top seemed a little too safe as if I didn't go far enough.
So I went back into it with more brown conte crayon, black colored pencil, black paint and of course lots of white.
I am happier with the reworked piece, although there might be no end to this process.

www.claremurrayadams.com
https://instagram.com/claremurrayadams

Thursday, July 6, 2017

My Brain's Desire

"Notes to Self"
mixed media on paper
30 x 22"

This work is an experiment in automatic drawing which I've read about but never really tried with any depth of exploration.  Automatic drawing lets you sink into the quality and experience of making marks and developing the relationships between them which in turn lifts you out of your logical brain’s desire to make something that’s “good” or “accurate.”

I saw a video on the internet, don't remember quite where, and borrowed a book from the library called "Expressive Drawing".  In that book the process was to make the random marks suggested in the definition above using a dark drawing media (charcoal, conte crayon, pencil, black paint).  After a certain amount of time, the drawing is obliterated with white paint, also done randomly.  One works back and forth between the drawing and the veiling of the work with white paint.  After a certain point you begin to assess and make decisions based on the shapes and revealed elements on the paper.

This is my second try.  The first one got pretty dark and messy because I use charcoal...lots of charcoal.  This one has charcoal but only at the end to really emphasize some dark areas that I liked.  The rest of the drawing media was pencil, a black colored pencil and black paint.  I am sure I cheated, as I started mixing gray to get the tones I wanted.  But the whole idea for me was to see where this process would lead me and to make it my own.

When I refer back to the definition I feel like the process did lift me out of my logical brain for the most part, but I couldn't keep it totally at bay.  But my brain's desire was still to make something not necessarily accurate, but good.  Not sure how "good" it is, but it was fun and somewhat of a revelation.


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

From the Garden / From the Studio

Perennial Garden with Vintage Chair Back

Sewing Ritual
encaustic monotype and collage on paper with hand stitching
5x5"

My time is split, and not evenly split, between working in the gardens and my studio.
I am still working on the sewing ritual series.  At this point there are 25 pieces that I plan to sew together.
I have a few more of the individual pieces to hand stitch and then I can arrange them making one larger overall piece.
Presentation of this will take some thought.
It will depend upon how transparent  the final work is and whether it is important to see that transparency in a 2D work that needs to be mounted to something.  Mat board? Framed? Free floating?  TBD
Some of these small pieces are taking on a landscape feel, as this one does.
That is kind of unavoidable once you emphasis a horizontal line that becomes that separation between land and sky or sea and sky.  The sewing is totally intuitive and playful.  As I was thinking about the work this morning it is also somewhat quilt like with these individual blocks that have a common color palette but random stitching.
Fingers crossed that they will be a cohesive work in the end!

www.claremurrayadams.com
https://instagram.com/claremurrayadams





Saturday, June 24, 2017

New Garden Fence!!

Old Garden Fence
New Garden Fence


Early in the Spring, I asked my husband if he would make me a new garden gate.
The current one was pretty wonky and had a huge gap at the bottom...easy access for the bunnies.
You can see in the top picture the window screen that I used to block that gap.

He did my request one better.  He ordered a whole new fence with rabbit guard wiring attached.
We had a larger area enclosed than the previous garden.  It included along with the raised beds and blackberry bushes some young blueberry bushes that were in wire cages and his two year old persimmon trees.
Also enclosed at the back is my compost bins.

I loved the fence made from trees cut from the woods on our property, but that fence was 12 years old and beginning to deteriorate.  We decided to keep the tall pergola that was what the the old gate was attached to and also the wrought iron fencing at the back of the garden.  The new fencing looks great!  The gate is easy open, easy close and rabbit secure.
Thanks John!!

I'm sure the garden is doing so well (knock on wood) in part due to the new fence.
Or at least that is what I want to believe.

www.claremurrayadams.com
www.instagram.com/claremurrayadams


Saturday, June 17, 2017

Ohio Collage Society Exhibit


"Flower Girl"
mixed media encaustic and collage on paper
10x13"

This piece is part of the current Ohio Collage Society 's Annual member exhibit.
I was lucky enough to receive an award for it and have it pictured in a review in the Akron Beacon Journal.  The article was written by Anderson Turner,  Director of Kent State University's Galleries.
Thanks Ohio Collage Society and juror Arnie Turnstall, Director of Galleries for Akron University Myers School of Art. for the recognition!
The link to the article is below.


Thursday, June 15, 2017

Encaustic Vessels

"Old Testament"
encaustic on paper with collage
(from left to right:  Lot's Wife, Adam and Eve, Jezebel, Abel, David)

These vessels made with encaustic collage on paper will be on display at the Morgan (www.morganconservatory.org)
as part of their Workshop Instructors' Exhibit from June 23-July 29, 2017.
I will be teaching encaustic on paper techniques at the Morgan July29-30th.
It is always fun to teach or take a workshop at the Morgan.
Great people, great place, great learning experience.

The show opens on Friday June 23 with an artist talk by some of the exhibiting instructors at 7:00 PM.
Maybe I will see you there!

www.claremurrayadams.com
www.instagram.com/claremurrayadams

Thursday, June 8, 2017

"Housecoat"

"Housecoat"
encaustic on paper
13 x 10"

When I was teaching college, I had a student in my Fiber's class who made several interesting projects where she repurposed clothing with silk screen and other surface design techniques.  One of her pieces was a raincoat where she silkscreened a row of houses onto the lining.  Of course she named the piece "Housecoat".

When I was looking for something in my studio one day...I spend a lot of time looking for things in my studio...I came across this drawing of a coat that I did a number of years ago. I thought of Amber and her housecoat project and added this house shape to my coat drawing transferring it to the drawing's waxed surface.
The house is from another one of my artworks that I photocopied.
Is that plant growing outside of the house?
Or is it growing inside?
A little bit of ambiguity and serendipity.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

More "Sewing Ritual" Pieces


More from the "Sewing Ritual" series

I just looked at the date of my last post...middle of May!  Yikes!
But I have been working on these small pieces of encaustic monotype, collage and stitching.
Just behind in my posting.  As Spring and Summer arrive, more time is spent outdoors.
I would like to say that I will be more regular with my posting, but I can't promise.  I can only try.

For these pieces I am continuing to work with the same color palette throughout.
The size, 5x5", is a constant as well.
But the kinds of paper are a variable and affect the transparency of the colored wax.
In the bottom one, there is the addition of pen and ink so that the line quality can be more varied.

I am finding this work challenging in reference to the encaustic monotype and meditative when it comes to the stitching.
As I look at a grouping of them they seem to be taking on a naturalistic emphasis,
appearing like stones and leaves, land and sky.

The order of them will finally be determined as I see how the pieces interact with each other.
There may not be one definitive arrangement in the end.
I will wait for the pieces to 'speak to me' about that.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Ritual


"Sewing Rituals"
encaustic monotype and collage with hand stitching
5x5" each

I have been thinking about rituals a lot lately.
What is a ritual?
In what way is it different from a routine?

For me, routine implies something ordinary and habitual like that morning cup of coffee. Or taking a daily walk.
While these things are enjoyable, satisfying and done regularly, they don't seem to be ritualistic.
They are routine.  They are habits.
Ritual seems to be more about doing something that you love, something you really care about,
something that holds a special meaning or importance to you. A ritual is something that one might continue throughout the years because the ritual has become an integral part of who you are.

As I write this, I can still see that the two words, routine and ritual, are closely aligned.
Perhaps thinking about rituals such as weddings or liturgies, birthdays and holidays, comes closest to the kind of ritual meaning I am addressing.

For me, sewing has long been a part of my art practice.  It is more than habit or routine. It is an integral part
of my artwork and of how I think as an artist.
My art whether on fabric or paper, canvas or collage, often involves sewing.
Many times it is the part of the art making that I like best.
Often the sewing is what differentiates my mixed media work from that of other mixed media artists.
In that way, sewing is a ritual for me.

Wanting to make an artwork that speaks directly to that idea is the basis of the two pieces here.
They are the beginning of a work I am titling "Sewing Rituals".
I am not sure how large it will be or how long it will take.
It s not so much a daily practice.
It is more about the specific ritual, sewing, that in and of itself is the concept of the final artwork.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Alchemy

"Leaf Letters"
rusted and stained paper with Tulip Tree leaves and stitching
6x24

(detail)

In preparation for my upcoming Rust, Bleach, Burn and Stain class at the Morgan Conservatory (www.morganconservatory.org) in August I have been working with these processes and having some fun!
The rusted bits came from some cans that my husband found in the desert in Arizona
when he was out there last fall.
The staining is from some loose tea that made this great bluish color.
The leaves are from out Tulip tree.  I love the decayed and fragile nature of them.
And I did the stitching with the thread I solar dyed in February.  The blue color of the thread came from black bean water.  Who knew?  Well, I am sure those who do a lot of natural dyeing know, but it was a surprise to me.

As I write this it is interesting to realize the geography and chemistry involved in this piece.
Cans that have been rusting in the Arizona sun and sand.
The natural decay of the leaves in my own back yard.
The effect of heat and organic matter on cotton thread.
A true display of Alchemy.

This piece will be in the Morgan's Instructor's show later this summer.

www.claremurrayadams.com
www.instagram.com/claremurrayadams





Thursday, May 4, 2017

Things One Can Count On


From the "Farmscape Series"
May Week 2

Yesterday, the first of Grandma's poppies opened up!
Last year the poppies weren't so plentiful and I was worried that they had run their course 
and were on the decline.  But as you can see there are more in the background and 
lots more around the corner. Lots more than last year. 

This artwork is from my Farmscape Series when I created one artwork each week for a 
year (2012) representing the changes on our farm.  
This one is a favorite and is in my family room right now.
It is mixed media collage and measures about 13 x 15".

I love watching the seasons change and the way I can count on the rhubarb to come up early and the dogwood to bloom just as most of the daffodils are ending.  The poppies are the first flowers to appear in the side garden announcing coming attractions:  day lilies, peonies, coreopsis and black eyed susans.  



Friday, April 28, 2017

Working With Encaustic on Paper


"About a Girl"
encaustic collage on transparent paper

The images here show the transparency of this accordion fold book made on gampi (I think) paper.
Because the paper is so absorbent you can see the images on both sides.
The beauty of an accordion fold book is that it stands up and its' sculptural aspect allows the light to pass through the paper creating an ethereal effect.




Friday, April 21, 2017

Anonymous #3

"Anonymous Makers"
39x26"
mixed media on canvas

I know I haven't posted in a while.  Okay in a long while.
But that doesn't mean I haven't been busy.
Took a workshop in encaustic in Kingston NY
Started working in the garden.
Mowing, mowing, mowing.
Prepping for upcoming workshops.

Thanks for hanging in there with me.
I appreciate you and your comments.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Where Have I Been?!

"When Night Comes Before Day"
11 x 14"

"Quilt Study no. 1"
8 x 10"

"A Home is More Than a House"
9 x 12"

I haven't posted in a while.
Sometimes 'life maintenance' takes over.
We spent a week painting the kitchen which involved renting a scaffolding, some colorful language and a bit of worry about accidents on my part.  But it is done.
The kitchen hadn't been painted in about 14 years and at our age, we figure we won't be doing it again ourselves!

The above pieces will be in the Textile Art Alliance show at the Beachwood Branch of the Cuyahoga Library.
"Quilt Study no. 1" and "A Home..." are new from my deconstructing of older quilts.
I am trying to eek out as many ideas and ways of working with the deconstructed quilts as I can.
These are works the preceded the two "Anonymous" pieces that I wrote about earlier.

One is more like a painting and the there is still much more attached to the quilt world.
But both investigations got me to the "Anonymous" series.
I am at work on a third piece for that series.
So it is off to the studio for me today!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Anonymous #2

"Anonymous (times two)"
mixed media collage on canvas
30 x 36"

detail

detail

I am having so much fun with this new series!
It is good to be working this large and combining media and techniques that I really have an affinity for...quilts, paint, paper, stitching, images of women.

www.claremurrayadams.com
https://instagram.com/claremurrayadams

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Women's Work Anniversary 30th Show


"Hard-hearted"
silk organza, plaster, wire

I feel fortunate to have a piece in this show celebrating women's creativity.
One of my "In Her Closet" pieces made the cut!
If you are in the Chicago area stop by and see the show.

www.claremurrayadams.com
https://instagram.com/claremurrayadams

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

"Mended"

"Mended"
mixed media encaustic and collage on paper
9 x 12"

Working with an image from a past artwork of a photographed sculpture made of an encausticized
canvas torso, I added paper collage elements, encaustic paint, thread, hooks and stitching to create this
small artwork for exhibit at Peter's Valley Craft Center (petersvalley.org) this summer in their Instructor's Exhibit.
I am so please to be teaching Encaustic on Paper at Peter's Valley this summer!

www.claremurrayadams.com
https://instagram.com/claremurrayadams
petersvalley.org


Friday, March 3, 2017

Transience of Identity


"Anonymous"
mixed media quilt and paint on canvas
30 x 36"

detail

detail

I have finished this piece using a vintage quilt and other collage elements on canvas.
I am pretty happy with it.  This is the kind of look and feel I was aiming for several weeks ago when I started deconstructing two different blue quilts.  It incorporates some pieces from both of the quilts along with a bit of imagery.

The title comes from the idea that the quilt I was repurposing was "anonymous"...I did not know who made it, how old it was, where is came from.  Then I started thinking about the woman who made it and that she also was anonymous, at least to me, because the work was not signed, as is true of many older quilts.

The concept that I am developing with these deconstructed quilts is concerned also with the transience of identity.  That a quilt in one form has one kind of identity.  If I change that by taking it apart, changing the arrangement, adding and deleting elements, painting it and use an unexpected surface for my collaging, then the object becomes something else.  It's identity becomes subject to all of the changes and rearrangements.  I hope it still has emotional content, but the way in which it might now comfort someone is different from the way the original soft quilt did.

www.claremurrayadams.com
https://instagram.com/claremurrayadams






Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Meanwhile...

Sunrise/Sunset (detail)
Original quilt from 1983

Current state of Sunrise/Sunset as I reconstruct the original quilt into these squares

So...since I feel free to deconstruct, cut up. take apart, reconstruct found quilts in order to make new art, I think it is only fair that I am do the same with my own old quilts.

The top picture is a detail of a quilt I made back in 1983 when I had been making contemporary quilts for about 4-5 years.
This quilt was made of commercial, mostly cotton fabrics.  It was machine pieced and hand quilted by me.
Was it hard for me to cut it up?
Yes, a little.  But I had done some other deconstructing of my own quilts, as well as favorite clothing when I was in graduate school.  So doing this is not completely new to me.  What seems to be harder for me is the deconstruction and cutting of the found quilts.  I wonder about the maker, why it isn't signed, why it has been so neglected and uncared for, who owned it originally, was it made for a special occasion or just for necessity.  All of these things make up the identity of that old piece and its maker.

At this point I have a clearer idea of what I want to do with the found older quilts than I do for this 34 year old quilt of my own making.  So I have cut "Sunrise, Sunset" (what a corny title!) into these 3x3" piles of quilt blocks that are like little windows and that have some depth to them.  I have about 55 of them right now and still have some of the quilt left.
My intention is to render the whole quilt into these squares and go from there.
So far the muse hasn't been in attendance for this project, meaning I don't know what will happen to these squares.

Meanwhile I am working on reconstructing and painting a found quilt that has more direction.
Sometimes it is good to have several things going at once.
There is a work-in-progress picture of the deconstructed found quilt on my instagram page: https://instagram.com/claremurrayadams

www.claremurrayadams.com


Thursday, February 23, 2017

Prep Work

Untitled
9x12"
mixed media collage on canvas

Another study using remnants of an older quilt work of mine along with paint, hand stitching and drawing.
I'm preparing a canvas for a larger piece using these same quilt remnants and paint...30x36".
Stay tuned, but give me some time.
When you make something 3 times the size it takes more than 3 times as long to finish.

www.claremurrayadams.com
https://instagram.com/claremurrayadams

Monday, February 20, 2017

Going Back In Order to Move Forward



This past week I spent some time reworking one of my own older quilt pieces.  It was made up of a vintage quilt that someone in my family had made but never finished quilting because they used the wrong batting and backing. Too hard to stitch!  I added more stitching, some polaroid transfers that I was doing at the time and left lots of the batting showing.  Thought I was being rather daring! 

The piece spent several years in a friend's book store where is got a lot of sun causing it to fade, which looks kind of cool, adding another dimension to the identity of this piece. 

I have taken it apart and am using the various sections in new work.  The piece at the top is the first one I made and the piece at the bottom is where I am right now with this transformation.  The more abstract piece in the lower view is where I wanted to go when I started.  There are 3 or 4 other pieces in between these 2, so you can see it took a while to get here.

I am hoping to push this painted and stitched fabric idea further and make it larger.

 A few posts ago when I started deconstructing quilts I titled the post "Remnants of a Another Life". Looks like I am returning, revisiting that former life again with all of the stitching and use of quilts.
Hopefully I am moving forward into new creative territory.


Friday, February 17, 2017

Solar Dyeing...in Winter?

Jars of kitchen food items that are dyeing crochet cotton in 40 degree weather in Ohio!


From left to right:  tea leaves, instant coffee, red onion skins, and 2 jars of black bean soaking water.

The tea and coffee dyes.  You can see the spool of crochet cotton in the one on the left.

Dyeing fabric with natural materials is not new to me.
But doing it the slow way, with the sun as the heating element is.

I read about solar dyeing in "Slow Stitch" by Claire Wellesley-Smith although I have known about using the sun to heat up dyes for a long time.  
The whole Slow Stitch process has impressed me as I work with the old quilts I am deconstructing.  While taking apart someone else's work seems destructive on one hand, I feel that I am preserving the work and the process that went into the work by the way I am revealing the back of the quilt blocks, the batting, the remaining stitches, the torn and deteriorated fabrics.
Taking apart a quilt is a slow process.  Not as slow as the initial making of it, but kind of a delicate and even intimate process.  Reconstructing the quilts as I am doing brings into question the identity of that object.  Is it still a quilt or is it another art form?  Or something else entirely.

I feel that incorporating some solar dyed crochet cotton will add a sense of the current time period because I am dyeing them now, but also add an element of "slow" to the overall process as it will take 10 days or more to dye the threads.
Using the threads as I stitch by hand is also part of the meditative and repetitive process that I have always found so appealing about quilting and hand stitching.

It is good for me to slow down.
I have always been a multi-tasker and some one who has lived by the clock.
Time is so important to me...having enough of it to make art, while also doing all of the other things that I want to do each day, every day.

Both the deconstructing of the quilts and the hand stitching have caused me to really think about my process and my art from a new perspective.  I know I have touched on several ideas here.  I am just beginning to really hone in on the idea of time and how it affects my work.
I need more meditative hand stitching time to really sort it all out.





Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Deconstructed Yellow Quilt

"Deconstructed Yellow Quilt"
mixed media fabric and collage on canvas
24 x 48"

Detail

This work and the piece in the previous post (Remnants of Another Life) are about how the identity of an object, in this case a quilt, changes when it is deconstructed or reworked in some way.  The yellow quilt that I used for both pieces has been transformed into another artwork that is perceived more as a painting than as a quilt.

Materials for this piece include the quilt, acrylic paint, gesso, shellac, burlap, plaster, a few pieces of vintage linens with hand and machine stitching.  I used the reverse side of the quilt, taking it apart so that the batting is revealed in the areas where it did not pull completely away from the quilt top.  I also used the reverse side of the stretched canvas which calls into question the identity of a painting.  One might react to my using a vintage quilt in this way.  And I get that.  But I am also working on deconstructing some of my own contemporary quilts so I feel like I am being fair in my questioning of the identity of objects...some older pieces and some of my own handiwork.

www.claremurrayadams.com
https://instagram.com/claremurrayadams

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Remnants of Another Life

"Remnants of Another Life"
mixed media collage and painting on canvas
30 x 40"

This is the last large work I did in 2016.
It is comprised of a vintage yellow and white quilt that had embroidered squares.
The deconstructed quilt takes on a new identity in this form.
The idea of quilt that we easily recognize is challenged.

Doing the work itself was quite challenging.
I have some remnants of this yellow quilt left and am at work on a second piece
where the quilt is deconstructed
and reinvented.
I did some deconstructed work when I was in graduate school and want to return to the thinking and conceptualizing that pushed me to create work that offers alternative realities of an object's usual connotation.

www.claremurrayadams.com
https://instagram.com/claremurrayadams

Friday, February 3, 2017

Studio "Crash" is Complete!!


Here is my new studio table!  It is at a height so I can walk around it and work on large pieces.
No more working on the floor!  Yeah!


This view shows the painting and collaging area on the left.  The area beyond the new high table is for encaustic painting.  My printing press is in the foreground.



It has been over 12 years since I've had a sewing table that was at the right height.
This is the sewing area with most of my fabrics in that cube shelving unit.
The thread, notions, etc. are in the unit to the right of the sewing machine.


And my very favorite space saving element is this under-a-counter rack for storing my framed artworks.  Thanks Joe Martino for this idea and John for helping me select and install this.

Previously this space held various materials and supplies.  I got rid of a lot of things that I no longer use or want to use.  Some things went to the Goodwill, some to the church rummage sale, some things I sold and some had to go to the trash.  But having the art under the table freed up the top of this counter for another working space.

Yes, I still have a lot of stuff in a small space.
But it is all organized.
I have been working this past week on the new table and using the sewing machine.
So far, so good.
It was worth the whole month it took me to do this.
Now, it is back to the business of art making!






Tuesday, January 17, 2017

New Year's Resolution...In Progress




This is my studio!
What a mess!
I've promised myself for a couple of years to pair down.
Get rid of stuff.
Organize what I want to keep.
Have specific areas for each media...painting and collage, encaustic, and sewing.
And, of course, I have lots of finished art that needs to be stored.

So to that end I have been sorting stuff, donating stuff and throwing out stuff.
It doesn't look like any progress has been made in these photos, but with this kind of cleaning it always gets worse before it gets better.
Right?!
Right?!
Please tell me it will get better!