2012 Smithsonian Craft 2 Wear show!

This October 26 through 28, I will be selling my jewelry at the first weekend show in almost two years!  I was honored to be invited to show at the Smithsonian’s Craft 2 Wear show at the Building Museum in late October.  It’s all wearables, so I will only have my jewelry there, but please come by and say hello and see what I’ve been up to!  I hope to post images here of a new series of geometric necklaces.  I also plan to add color to my inventory again – mostly charcoal (I know – a color??) and red – in addition to the usual natural flax and abaca colors.

Hope to see you there!!

Courage Unmasked 2

I am very happy to be a contributing artist in the second Courage Unmasked auction – a fundraiser for head and neck cancer patients – to be held on September 12, 2012, at the Katzen Arts Center at American University.  The show will be up in the Center’s front rotunda for a few weeks before the auction.  This year’s masks are lovely – a wide range of techniques, materials, and sentiments.  You will be able to see them on the non-profit’s website at http://courageunmasked.org/ starting in late July.  If you are in the Washington area, please consider coming to the auction and bidding on a mask or two.  It’s a great cause and will be a fabulous event.  More details to come closer to the date.

The mask I made this time is a half model of the structure of the HPV virus (one of the viruses linked to throat cancer, among other things) over a silver radiation mask.  I think the mask, when silver, is reminiscent of the robot from the 1920s movie Metropolis – both beautiful and terrifying – as is the virus – a gorgeous mathematical structure that can cause so much pain and suffering.

Here is an image:

Beauty and the Beast

Studio Neptune artists’ childhood profile

Elyse Harrison of Studio Neptune (an amazing artist in her own right! – see link below) is blogging about artists’ childhoods, and I am honored that she chose to interview me a few months ago.  Here is the profile she published after our talk.

What an interesting experience to blab for an hour or so and then see how you turn out!  I discovered some hidden connections between my present work and my distant past.  No wonder so much of my work is about math and science, close observation, and winging it.

Thanks, Elyse, for unearthing the stories and making them all hang together.


Here is a link to Elyse’s work, as well.

Weigh your Words

I have always been fascinated with words – how we use them, how we chose which ones we use, how they change over time.  And I am a copy editor and proofreader in one of my other lives, so even when I am deep into an art project, I’ve got words floating around in my brain in an abstract way.

The saying “sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never harm me” has always struck me as hopeful but distinctly improbable these days, and I wanted to investigate the intimate relationship people have with descriptive words that are thrown their way.  For the past year, I have been thinking about creating an interactive installation that invites participants to play with words, but didn’t quite know how to jump into such a different medium. 

Fortunately, Washington DC has a wonderful, occasional, festival called Artomatic, which occupies a building (usually soon to be demolished) and fills it with an unjuried frenzy of visual and performance art – the perfect place for someone like me to try out a new idea.  This year, Artomatic is in Crystal City, VA (1851 S. Bell Street, about a block from the Crystal City metro stop and only a short drive out of DC). It runs from May 18 through June 23.

I nabbed a corner spot in a big room on the 3rd floor and turned it into a short of short-hand school space, with a black board (classroom), a seesaw (playground), mirrors with shelves (bathroom), and dish-sorting bins (cafeteria).  I had compiled a list of about 700 words that people use to describe themselves and others (all adjectives and nouns; positive and negative; antiquated, common, and slang). Then I covered stones (about 1″ to 4″ in diameter – yes, about 700 of them…) with my high-shrinkage flax paper and then wrote one word on each of them and distributed them around the installation space.  Participants are invited to play with the words/stones in a variety of ways.

For more details, see the blog I have created for this installation (http://weighyourwords.wordpress.com/).  It includes the word list, invites people to suggest new words (I know I have left out some crucial words), asks for stories about how people use words with each other (bullying, terms of endearment, etc.), offers an opportunity to post poems using the words from the list or self-portraits of visitors with self-describing words on the shelves in front of the mirrors.

If you are reading this while the show is still up – please come down and see it for yourself!


Another lovely mention – thanks Waffler!

I have known Molly since she was six and the younger sister of my best friend from high school.  She remains six years old in my mind, even though I know she is now a fully grown person, with kids of her own.  She has a fun and diverting blog called the Waffler in which she decides (or doesn’t) what to do about all sorts of things – what color to paint a room, where to put a rug, which shoes to wear to a party – nothing terribly heavy, but stuff that can really bog you down.  She also helps others with their waffles. Check it out!

She has a section on her blog called “No-Waffles” and I am pleased to say that she has listed my jewelry in that category.  Thanks Molly!  Glad you like my stuff.


A pleasant surprise

As I plunk along, making my work and occasionally sending out invitations to shows and updates to my own blogs, it is nice to be recognized by someone else I didn’t even know exists! The Secret Life of Jewelry blog has recently posted a description of my work with some images pulled from the website and then even bothered to follow up with me for photos of the show in Greenwich at the Bruce Museum.  Thanks Cara DiLeva!

Fused plastic for the Union of Concerned Scientists

The Beyond Garbage blog got me started fusing plastic – not the most environmentally friendly of activities.  Yes, it reuses materials, but the toxins released during the fusing are a bit frightening.  Open windows!  Mucho ventilation!  Still, I am very happy with the piece I made for the call for entries and the jury liked it too, so I got in.  The show was up for a year at the DC offices of the Union of Concerned Scientists (1825 K Street, NW, in downtown Washington, DC) and after the show was over, they bought the piece!  So it is still there.

Can’t See the Forest for the Trees

I really enjoyed making this piece.  It is a wall hanging with an element of movement and shadow.  Depending on how you light it, the material can look more or less translucent, focusing on the surface qualities or on the space around and behind the piece.

Joss paper detail

This piece is about many of the “green” issues plaguing us these days.  It is made from fused plastic shopping bags.  The tree trunks are Whole Foods bags (highlighting the irony of buying organic fruits and veggies and taking them home in plastic bags).  The colored plastic is a combination of heavyweight fancy boutique bags with layers of flimsier clear veggie bags to fuse the layers, with acrylic paint incorporated to add a metallic accent.  The fluttering leaf/squares are inspired by joss paper, squares of often gold-leafed paper that are burned for good luck (e.g., hoping for a prosperous New Year) and to venerate one’s ancestors.  By adding leaf outlines to the joss paper, I hoped to show the “free” leaves as being “money to burn.”

The frame is made from copper tubing left in my basement by the previous owners of my house, so I got to reuse almost everything in the sculpture.


Happy Valentine’s Day

I know people may read this on some other day of the year, but today happens to be Valentine’s Day, and this is a good opportunity to post an image of a heart pendant that I made this winter.

I am not really a fan of hearts, just as I don’t wear  pink or pastels much.  But somehow, when I work with the flax over wire, I find myself making the occasional heart.  I have done a series of smaller heart pendants, simple forms with a bit of gold leaf.  And way back when I was starting to really get into this medium, I made a series of red hearts with Chinese calligraphy for Chinese New Year’s – this one says “peace.”

I like this seaweed-infused open heart because it is dark and complicated, but somehow cheerful.  The gold leaf in the interior lights it up and I like the way it balances on the coil through the middle.   I hope you like it too.

Showing at Gallery 555 in downtown DC Jan-Feb 2011

This should be a lovely show. I am thrilled to be showing with Joan Belmar and Elissa Farrow-Savos, both of whose work I love.

Hope you can make it!  Or, if you are visiting the site after the show is closed, see what we are up to now….  Or go to Gallery 555 and see what Jodi has installed at the time.  Always worth a look-see.

Back to basics

Every spring, I make pollen and viruses.  Something in the air, I guess.  Their forms are so basic and allergies and illnesses are a seasonal reminder of the cycle of life.

So, I am starting a series of pollen/virus paper vessels.  The first one has dried nicely, so now I will risk the time and effort to make some more complicated forms, based more closely on the mathematical structures (dodecahedrons and icosahedrons) of many viruses.  I love to build with triangles, and viruses do too.

Here’s an image of the first non-functional half-virus bowl almost dry and accommodating my love of dramatic lighting.