Friday, November 17, 2006

Thank you volunteers!

A huge thank you to my fellow artists who volunteed their time to help set up and document "Pinecone Dress". I could not have done it without you! Clockwise from center: Duncan Slade, Robert Brun, Ian Sexton, Jennifer Sanchez and Colette Fu.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Finished Pinecone Dress!

Here are the best two pictures from two days of shooting "Pinecone Dress" outside on location. I am still deciding which one will be the final image... VOTE for your favorite! Number One on the left, and Number Two on the right! (photos thanks to Colette Fu)

Number Two Wins! It seems most people felt it looked more organic, like it grew up from the forest floor...

Monday, November 06, 2006

Pinecone Shoots!

Here is a shot taken during the first photo shoot of the completed "Pinecone Dress"! It was about 45 degrees outside so it was pretty cold! Here I am taking a break with my hat and scarf while we wait for this dramatic "cross" shadow to pass so we can continue the photo shoot. Special thanks to Colette Fu and Jennifer Sanchez for their assistance.

And here is a shot from the second day of shooting. I am pretty imobilized once I am in the dress, so I am dependent on the artistic judgment of the photographers to document the project. Here they are really going for it! Robert is in the background, while Colette is kneeling to get a good angle, and Ian is lying down on the job...

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Pinecone Dress in Progress

Let the obsessive compulsion begin! I have scrubbed hundreds of pinecones and begun the labor-intensive process of attaching them all to the wire dress form I have constructed...

My Father's Memory

October 25th was the one year anniversary of my father's passing. I can hardly believe it has been a whole year, with so many changes filling the time in between. To honor him on this day, I scattered some of his ashes at a favorite cove beach here in Maine. I have been doing these scatterings in various parts of the country, with the idea that his spirit will journey to all those places he wanted to travel to, if he had the chance.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

MacNamara Foundation, Westport Island, MAINE

During October/November 2006, I am staying at the MacNamara Foundation Arts Residency on Westport Island off the coast of Maine. The seven artists here are housed in a beautifully renovated barn from the 1860's, where we are served gourmet food 3 times a day! I feel very spoiled, although it has been a bit of an adjustment getting up at 7:30 every morning for breatkfast! Here is a shot of me, Jen and Ian enjoying a typical East Coast lobster dinner...

Cinderella of the Woods!

Maine is called the "Pine State". and the first settlers here were impressed with the gigantic white pines, which they called "King's Pine". There are still pine trees all over the state, as well as along the coast and on the island where I am staying. So, after deciding on pinecones as the material for the dress project in Maine, I discovered that pinecones are only produced by the white pine trees every OTHER year, which, unfortunately for me, was last year. There are still cones to be found on the forest floor, if I am choosy and inspect them for rot and insects. Better still are last year's cones still clinging to the tops of the trees. We just had a big windstorm here that blew many down, so I was able to collect them. Then the scrubbing begins! I feel like a character from a fairy tale as I sit outside for hours scrubbing pinecones....

Friday, September 15, 2006

"Faces of History" in MN

As a visiting artist with the New York Mills Regional Cultural Center in Minnesota, I am painting a series of panels for the "Faces of History" mural, celebrating colorful characters from Minnesota's past. These ten 4' X 8' panels will be installed outdoors in the neighboring town of Wadena, where the Alley Arts Institute plans to complete an ambitious series of mural projects. The town's theme is "Pieces of History", with a jigsaw puzzle motif connecting the various murals around town. This is the second year I have been involved with this project, after helping to plan it two years ago, and painting the first mural last year. There are now almost twenty murals completed by local artists, changing the face of Wadena, MN!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Happy Birthday Jimmy!

Before starting the community mural project I am working on in Minnesota, I flew home to Las Vegas to surprise my boyfriend Jim for his birthday. He was at a bar with friends when he was led outside to the alley to open his "present". He hadn't seen me for 5 weeks and wasn't expecting me back for his birthday, so he was pretty shocked, to say the least.

On the Road Again...

After the Willow Creek Dress project in Wyoming was done, I began traveling again, roadtripping in my van through South Dakota to Minnesota. I passed Sturgis during their biker fest, so I saw my share of bikers, passing and waving to me on the road with signs like "Sturgis for Bust" strapped to the back of their hogs. On the way I stopped at the famous "Wall Drug" in Wall, SD, a drug store from the 1930's which has taken over the Main Street of the small town and become a kind of surreal theme park. It had a t-rex that roars every 15 minutes, a 5-banjo-playing machine, a "creek" where kids can pan for gold, a pharmacy museum, a tiny chapel, walls of historic photos, a soda fountain, shops with western wear and fossils, and loads of other random weirdness. But my main destination was the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD, which is a 114-year-old building covered with murals made of 200,000 ears of corn. There has been a terrible drought in the Dakotas and Nebraska, so this year the towers were not covered, and I met people who were comparing the weather there to the dustbowl of the 1930's.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Last Days in Wyoming...

This shot is from a visit to the nearest town of story, WY, which consists of a few streets of log cabin buildings surrounded by a pine forest. At the general store in town is a big chalkboard so residents can leave messages for each other. Again, I had to get used to small town America, where people not only don't lock their doors, some don't even have locks on their doors! When I needed stamps, I left money and a note in the mailbox for Rose, the mailperson. But I think it was the constant encounters with wildlife that I loved the most. One night walking I came across a field with about 80 deer, grouped in families. Antelope ran by me regualrly, and I startled a couple of porcupines, which move soooo slowly and make very funny noises. It was a wonderful stay in a beautiful state.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Medicine Wheel, WY

Before leaving Wyoming, some of the artists and I made a trek into the Big Horn Mountains to reach the sacred site of Medicine Wheel, a human-made circle of rocks dating back 2000 years, placed on the clearing of a mountain peak, with a beautiful 360 degree view of the surrounding mountains. It is a site of vision quests and pilgrimage for many Native Americans, who feel it must be visited at least once in a lifetime. There were many prayer bundles and offerings attached to the fence surrounding it, making it feel like a very charged space. We were very fortunate to have the place to ourselves on the windy afternoon we visited, so we each had time and space to circle Medicine Wheel, meditate and pray. It was a very moving experience.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Wyoming Rodeo!

On Friday, August 4th, we ventured from the Jentel Arts Retreat to mix with the locals and attend the PBR Sheridan Rodeo! We went to see the pro bull riding tour, and it was pretty exciting and looked very dangerous, with a few riders getting their hands caught while being thrown, tossed around like rag dolls in the dirt with their arms still attached to the bull. OW. Afterwards, we danced under the stands to a live band with John, the mechanical bull operator (who actually flipped Karina over his shoulder at one point), then we hit the famous Mint bar in town. All in the name of local research, of course...

In the stands with new pals and fellow artists Karina Hean and Robyn Art.

When in Wyoming...

I took a spin and a spill on the mechanical bull at the fairgrounds. Although I must say, this cityslicker did pretty well for her first time, staying on for over a minute, which is MUCH harder than it looks! "It's all in the hips!"

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Completed Willow Creek Dress, WY!

My favorite shot of the day, taken by Karina Hean. I like the twin snake hills in the background that are always in view here, and are such an important visual element at Jentel. I am very satisfied with the project and extremely grateful to the Jentel Foundation for hosting me and making this experience and work of art possible.

A little help from my friends...

I could not have documented the piece without the brave souls who climbed into that cold water with me. Other resident artists (top photo, from left: Robyn Art, Karen Schiff and Karina Hean) donated their talent and got wet and chilly to help me out. Bottom photo: Karen frames a shot with my camera.

This is the sheltered location I found, in a little inlet in the creek. The current was too strong for my anchors everywhere else. Even here, I had to bury the anchors in the sandbar under the dress to hold it in place for the three days it took me to work on it.

Almost ready...

Here is the final dress with fresh branches woven into the willow frame. There was a heat wave while I was making it, making all the cutting and hauling of material sweaty work, with sunburn, scratches, wasp stings (one got caught buzzing under my bandana and stinging my ear!), and snakes to contend with (I encountered so many that I took to singing/whistling as I entered the underbrush to warn them away). Then a wind storm hit the night before the photo shoot, and while the dress survived in tact, the temperature dropped dramatically from over 100 degrees to around 65 when it was time to get in the water. It was chilly, but fun, and I was so happy to be completing the project that I didn't mind goose bumps and shaking a little in the cold.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Getting ready to launch! "Willow Creek Dress" is in the water and anchored down. Here I am weaving willow branches into the frame.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

In the studio...

I have decided to create my Wyoming dress with the abundant willow that grows along Lower Piney Creek on the Jentel property. Willow is a very pliable material for sculpture, regenerates quickly when cut, and the cut branches will even grow again if you stick them back into the ground! I am creating a dress that will float on the creek, Ophelia-style. Here I am in my studio at Jentel, building the bodice and connecting willow branches with biodegradable twine to form the massive skirt.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

WYOMING Jentel Artist Residence

I arrived at the Jentel Artist in Residence program on July 15th and I am overwhelmed by the beauty of the surrounding land and the luxury of the accommodations. It is absolutely beautiful here. I feel extremely spoiled! The Lower Piney Creek, which circles the property, is very inspirational, and I am thinking of creating a floating dress using the willow that lines its banks.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Love in Las Vegas
photo by Tomasz Rossa

Okay, folks, now for the real reason I am sticking around Las Vegas! About three weeks after my dad died, I met this clown.... literally. My new boyfriend Jim is a clown for the water / air circus spectacle "Le Reve" at the Wynn casino. After dating about three months while I was still traveling, he asked me to stay with him in Sin City and I said yes! I will use Vegas as a home base from now on, and continue the dress project through arts residencies I will travel to in various states every few months or so. With my father's deep love of all things circus, I think he is smiling down on this amazing new love in my life.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Las Vegas, NEVADA

I am currently living large in Las Vegas, Nevada. I love the weather and have made some amazing friends here!

I also just found out I have been awarded a couple of artist residencies, which means cultural centers in different states will be giving me room and board and general support as I create my dress projects for those states. I am headed to Wyoming in July thanks to the Jentel foundation, and then I am off to an island in Maine in September thanks to the MacNamara foundation. So preparing all of those applications paid off!