Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Featured Artist: Ayn Hanna

During the eight weeks of 'simply irRESISTible' we'll focus on individual artists here on our blog. Every week, three artists will be featured. Today, we're pleased to introduce to you: Ayn Hanna from Ft Collins, CO.

Tangled Web #1

About the pieces: I started these tangled web textile paintings in early 2010. They emerged as I was doodling and day dreaming and they have been another exploration of techniques – resists, fabric paints, and paint sticks. I created the “webbed” imagery through application of multiple layers of resists (both painted on and physical objects laid on) and fabric paints as well as paint sticks. I didn’t take any in-process photos as I was too wrapped up in “the doing” and forgot to, but I think I’ll have more opportunity to do so in the future because this technique seemed so natural to me, I’m sure I’ll be doing more with it. I like the contrast of the rich textured dark painted/resisted web drawings with the subtle light valued, airy border fabric which are pieces of my own hand-dyed fabric.

With these pieces especially, I am discovering that the imagery and “feel” or idea I have of my emerging subject matter seems to drive the techniques for realization of the finished work. Each piece becomes what it needs to be. I have completed 2 (Tangled Webs #1 and #4) of the initial 4 pieces in the series, and I’m still working through my own understanding of them, but they are very intriguing to me, and have some importance. They are in some ways a parallel to what I’m feeling with my career right now too. I have many questions that I am contemplating right now and I am feeling my way to discovering my next self.

Tangled Web #4

Artist Statement/Biography: From as early as I can remember, I've always loved to draw, paint, and make marks. I am attracted to artwork that shows the artist's hand - drawing is a very important aspect of my work. The physical kinetic process of making things and seeing a work develop form my own hands is also very pleasing to me.

I enjoy learning and working in multiple mediums - clay and wood sculpture, fine art printmaking such as etching and woodcut, artist books, and most recently, art quilting. Working in one medium often informs or suggests ideas to be realized in another medium. I am currently experimenting with ways to combine some of my printmaking processes and effects (including resist techniques) with the textile medium, bringing the kind of mark-making associated with printmaking to my art quilts.

My work is inspired first by strong visual elements and then, by uncovering more of my own thoughts and feelings about the subject, as I play with the medium and processes to achieve a finished work. Each new piece generates more ideas to explore within the process and also helps me learn more about myself.


Ayn is a printmaker and textile artist. Her subject matter includes imagery from the natural world as well as abstract compositions informed by her dreams. She achieves a sense of wholeness in her expression by including personal imagery from both her external and internal world. Her work is an exploration of media and processes as well as ideas, with the underlying elements of strong composition, rich texture, layers, patterns, and color as foundational supports.

Formally trained as a professional fine art printer, Ayn began exploring the textile medium in 2005, when she was first introduced to art quilting/textile painting. She is currently focusing on art quilting/textile painting while experimenting with bringing some of the processes of her printmaking background to the textile medium.

Ayn was born and raised in the Midwest and moved to Colorado to attend college. She earned both a BFA in Graphic Design and a MFA degree in Printmaking and Sculpture from Colorado State University. After graduate school, she moved to New York City, and spent several years working as a professional Fine Art Printer in a Master Printmaking Studio, making etching prints with many accomplished contemporary artists.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Featured Artist: Janet Hadingham

During the eight weeks of 'simply irRESISTible' we'll focus on individual artists here on our blog. Every week, three artists will be featured. Today, we're pleased to introduce to you: Janet Hadingham from Wayland, MA.

String Theory

About the Piece: This piece is the result of a science experiment of sorts. I had a theory that string could act, not only as a resist, but as a mark-making tool,… that is, if I were to load the string with dye prior to using it to bind the fabric around the pole — in this case, a length of flexible vinyl duct, one of my favorite improvised tools because it leaves wavy lines suggesting ripples on water.
The Rose Window

About the Piece: On this length of dupion silk I used a similar set of folds and bindings for each stage of dyeing. I wanted the patterning from each layer to move in generally the same direction. After the third dye bath, I hung up the piece so that I could stand back and have a good long look at it. As I had hoped, the lines appeared to radiate from a central point somewhere off to the left of the piece, suggesting a larger rosette, only part of which was visible. Then it struck me: the memory of sitting inside the chapel at Mount Holyoke College, where soft afternoon light was filtering through the magnificent rose window.

Artist Statement/Biography: My work is a blend of ancient techniques and chance discoveries. I usually start by manipulating the cloth, using physical resist processes - binding, clamping, wrapping- derived from the Japanese shibori tradition. Compelled to innovate, I'm always on the look-out for discarded objects to clamp within the folds of my cloth, wondering what ghostly "resist" image it might leave behind.

I work in layers to build up color and pattern. Each piece goes through many stages, until I arrive at that moment when the cloth tells me it is finished. Washing out the dye and unraveling the wet fabric comes with the thrill of unwrapping a gift. I'm always surprised and mystified that an object so utilitarian as a C-clamp can leave so delicate a mark, like moth wings, repeating rhythmically through the folds.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Featured Artist: Suzan Engler

During the eight weeks of 'simply irRESISTible' we'll focus on individual artists here on our blog. Every week, three artists will be featured. Today, we're pleased to introduce to you: Suzan Engler from Panorama Village, TX.

Registration Marks

About the Piece: Registration marks must overlap to ensure alignment. Yet when aligned, all individuality is lost. Align if you must - but leave a trail, leave evidence of your existence.

Struggle for Perfection Interrupted

About the piece:
"The circle, in theory, is perfect.
The circle, in reality, struggles to retain the fleeting, momentary perfection.
Alas, perfection is lost but only then a unique voice is born."

Artist Statement/Biography: To create is to be an active participant in life.

My textile creations are a collaboration of traditional quilting and contemporary fiber arts. The juxtaposition of the human hand and technology intrigue me as I create art quilts combining custom printed and painted fabrics, hand stitching and intricate machine quilting.

Currently I am exploring the depiction of change and transition with the repetition of the most simple of marks: the line and circle.


Suzan holds degrees in Computer Science and Business Administration, as well as a Master's degree in Fine Arts. Recently, Suzan left her role as a Senior Designer at PDR, an architecture firm in Houston, Texas to pursue her art full-time.

Suzan has taught art at the University of Houston, exhibited her work in galleries, and participated in the International Fiber Initiative. Her art work is included in private collections in the United States and Great Brittan. Suzan is available for commission work and may be reached at

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Featured Artist: Nicole Castelli

During the eight weeks of 'simply irRESISTible' we'll focus on individual artists here on our blog. Every week, three artists will be featured. Today, we're pleased to introduce to you: Nicole Castelli from Chestertown, MD.

Untitled #1

About the Piece: The piece for this show is batik on cotton, inspired by the leaf shapes of the kale plant. Removing the realist color scheme seen in nature and using a free-hand in applying the wax allowed for creative license into color theory and layering dyes.

Artist Statement/Biography: Nicole Castelli is a recent graduate of Cornell University (’10), with a degree in Fiber Science & Apparel Design. She has always loved anything and everything involving color, design, shapes, textiles, textures… you name it. Through coursework in college as well as individual pursuits, she has developed a deep love for colors and prints, in both clothing and textile design. Since graduation, Nicole has been looking for apparel/textile/graphic design work, both free-lance and full-time, in the greater Philadelphia area. A course in surface design of textiles expanded her knowledge of and introduced her to many techniques, including shibori, block and screen printing, silk painting, batik, and embroidery.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Featured Artist: Janna Carrozza

During the eight weeks of 'simply irRESISTible' we'll focus on individual artists here on our blog. Every week, three artists will be featured. Today, we're pleased to introduce to you: Janna Carrozza from Reading, PA.


About the Piece:

Weaving with respect for the environment has been my passion for many years. The adventure started in college with organic cotton, hemp, linen, and recycled denim. My fiber selection now includes tencel, soy, corn, and banana silk. Soy silk comes from the by-product of the tofu manufacturing process; tencel comes from wood pulp and the trees are grown on land that cannot be used for any other purpose. Tencel produces almost no waste and the little bit can be recycled. All cellulose fibers, including banana and corn, are also completely biodegradable. Banana silk is not only created from the stalks of the banana tree, but the fiber is also recycled from clothing previously made from banana silk.

The fiber I weave is not only environmentally friendly, but pesticide free. The natural dyes used in my weaving are harvested from my garden whenever possible. The colors are as carefully chosen and blended together. The colors and patterns are uniquely woven together like paint on a canvas. Each weaving is both one-of-a-kind and earth friendly. Creating eco art is imperative to the philosophy of consciously thinking about the environment as a part of the inspiration. As all organic things in nature each one is unique, I never repeat a design pattern in my weavings. I choose to invent something new each time I begin to weave. Nature is a huge part of my thoughts, and is when I am at my best.. The weaving process is a beautiful experience that takes an enormous amount of time to complete. Each inch that is woven is carefully rendered. The process of my art making is peaceful and reminds me of how I feel when I am doing yoga. I feel centered when I weave and at peace with the world. The best part of the whole process is cutting off the fibers and admiring the texture and drape of a finished weaving that did not deplete, or harm the earth to create.

Artist Statement/Biography: Janna Carrozza is an art teacher by day and fiber artist by night. Carrozza is inspired by all art media. She weaves eco fabric to create clothing, installation pieces, and accessories. Her work includes functional pieces and ranges from garments to bags. Janna creates wall hangings and frame selections of her weavings as well. Carrozza received a Bachelor's Degree in Fine Arts with a specialization in fibers as well as a Bachelor's Degree in Art Education. Janna completed a Masters Degree in Education concentrating in Art Education. She currently works in her studio at Goggleworks Center for the Arts in the city of Reading, Pennsylvania.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Featured Artist: Ann Butwell

During the eight weeks of 'simply irRESISTible' we'll focus on individual artists here on our blog. Every week, three artists will be featured. Today, we're pleased to introduce to you: Ann Butwell from Minneapolis, MN.


About the piece:

The original focus of my creative practice was batiked cloth wall hangings. About a year ago, I decided to have my art be lit from within. Salient themes throughout the years have been light and healing, so it made sense to literally let my light shine through the work! In addition to enhancing the contrast and luminosity of the batik, the light adds and extra dimension to each piece.

Artist Statement:

Since age six, I have been making batiks. I have pursued this wax-resist method of dying for four decades in places ranging from basement sinks in Washington DC to backyard pilas in San Salvador. Today I create in a more conventional space: a light filled attic studio in the Seward neighborhood of Minneapolis.

I am drawn to batik because of the beauty in its rawness. What conventionally are consitdered "mistakes" actually contribute to a work's depth and complexity: inadvertent was drippings, cracks in the wax where dye seeps into the fibers, a transparent luminescence caused by remnants of wax that remain in the fabric.

Batik is a metaphor for life; we plan carefully, and then life unfolds. What comes into being is often more beautiful than anything we could have conceived ourselves. Eighteen years ago I was outside running when a car ran over me. The disastrous event was ultimately transformed into a gift because (among other things) it caused me to re-dedicate to the creative pursuit. Still confined to my hospital bed, I was compelled to draw the scene of the accident. Recreating that moment through artistic expression helped me to heal and to grow from an otherwise tragic experience. I am still growing spiritually and artistically with every line drawn and brush stroked. Perhaps this explains why motifs of sun, plants, and trees recur in my work; each is a symbol of growth.

The overarching theme of my work is light - the ways that light dances off an object, shines through wove cloth and emerges as subject matter. In my code, light is the Spirit made visible. As I work the light flows through me. It is absorbed by the creative process and becomes a meditation. As each work of art emerges, I am healed in a new way.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Featured Artist: Kiranada Sterling Benjamin

During the eight weeks of 'simply irRESISTible' we'll focus on individual artists here on our blog. Every week, three artists will be featured. Today, we're pleased to introduce to you: Kiranada Sterling Benjamin from Kingston, NH.

Jewel Mountain I

About the pieces: Jewel Mountain I and II are abstract images done in rozome, Japanese wax resist on silk with sanseisenryo dyes, gold and pigment silk screen text. The pieces were created in Bali during my winter studio retreat and while reading references in the Sutra of Gold LIght, to Shambala or Pure Land where mountains are made of gold and trees are festooned with jewels. In creating these small paintings, I worked with simplification, symbol and shaded dying to create three small pieces in different color ways, with the added texture of a silk screened Buddhist mantra which plays across the surface wishing good health and happiness.

The two pieces here are presented as shikishi, mounted on archival board as small hanging scrolls. They could also be mounted and framed under glass if one wished a western presentation. After 18 years of study in Japan, I often present my work as scroll size images as well as larger panels and folding screens, however, I occassionally delight in doing this 'small art' as well, playing with color, line, shading and pattern in the resist process of rozome that I have written about in 'The World of Rozome: Wax Resist Textiles of Japan.'

Jewel Mountain II

Artist Statement: Flowing dye on thirsty cloth and the waxy barrier of Japanese rozome batik have defined my work for 35 years. Two decades of life in Asia have changed and refined my vision. My work celebrates color, pattern, mark-making and the touching of an ineffable source. I have a strong desire for solitary reflection, but also, a desire to share the joys of discovery and my rich artistic life with others through exhibiting and teaching. With a curious mind that loves research, I delight in delving into historic textile research as well as in daily Buddhist studies.

My return to the USA, from Japan in 2000, brought me to a clear decision to follow a path that combined art, beauty and spiritual direction. creating cloths of healing for the seven continents, working on scroll painting as meditation and watching my own flowing wax brush as I relinquish 'self.' I work with resist fiber techniques, doing my work with mindfulness, with respect for the environment and all living things, .......while celebrating transcendence.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Featured Artist: Mari Lyn Ampe

During the eight weeks of 'simply irRESISTible' we'll focus on individual artists here on our blog. Every week, three artists will be featured. Today, we're pleased to introduce to you: Mari Lyn Ampe from Saint Paul, MN.

Blue Flow

About the Pieces: These pieces began as paintings on cotton. They were then pole wrapped and resist dyed. This process of pole wrapping and dying is called arashi shibori.

The central panel in "Blue Flow" begged to be lightened to emphasized the warmer, lighter aspects of the red arashi step. The panels of Blue Flow were discharged, over-dyed, pieced and then machine and hand top-stitched. The blue emerges from the yellow clef of the background.

My work is about layering colors and textures to evoke space. My reference in these two pieces is landscape and my intention is to summon forth imaginative dream spaces.

Water Study

Artist Statement/Biography:

Mari Lyn Ampe became interested in printing on fabric as a student at the College of St. Benedict where she received a degree in piano performance and humanities.

She then studied color theory, drawing and design at the University of Minnesota where she graduated with an M.A. in Design.

Drawing and intaglio were primary mediums. She has focused on Fiber Art since being immersed in the rich, wonderful color pallet of procion dyes while attending workshops with Jane Dunnewold, Jane Myers Newbury, and Ana Lisa Hedstrom.

In addition to her art activities, she is an active organist in Minneapolis/St. Paul. Ms. Ampe has played recitals in Minnesota and at Notre Dame in Chaumont-en-Vexin, France on an antique Cavaille-Coll organ and has done serice playing in Rochester, England. She also is pursuing the study of Classical Realism at the Art Academy where she studies Renaissance oil techniques.

Ms. Ampe serves on the Board of Directors of l'Association Mary Cassatt in Berneuil en Bray, France. She lives in St. Paul with her husband, two adult children and granddaughter, Clara.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Technology: Grrrrrr!

I'd like to say technology and I get along, but I'd be lying.

Behind the scenes, I'm the member of team "some things looming" that puts together the blog and changes the content on the website. It's almost laughable, as I'm also the member of the team with probably the least amount of computer savvy. So, I'll apologize now to you Internet Explorer users for the blog header sticking several pixels out of alignment. I'm a little bit OCD, so I can truly appreciate how bothersome that is. I found it's not a problem in either Firefox, nor Chrome. And when I tried to 'fix' it for IE, it was still off-centered, no matter what I did to the template. Not only that, it totally messed up the alignment in Firefox and Chrome! It's a CSS error, I'm told, by my programmer husband.

"CSS?" I asked.
"Cascading Style Sheets," he said.
"Cascading what whats?"
He blew out his breath. "Cascading. Style. Sheets," He said, patiently. "It's what they use to generate their templates."
"So, uh, how do I fix it?"
"I'll have to look at it later. I'm sure I can find some IE specific code to plop in there that will solve the situation." he said.

I'm not sure when 'later' is, as I've discovered through the years 'later' could mean today, or next millennium. But bless the man, he does eventually get around to it. I'm sure there's a quota for how much computer-help a wife can ask of a husband, and since putting up the 'stl' blog and website, I'm sure I've gone over my allowance ten-fold. Not only is he still patient with all my questions, but he's still in love with me. Go figure. So I'll beg a little patience from you loyal IE users while "we" (hahaha) try and figure out what's going on in the code.


Monday, September 6, 2010

Who let me play with powertools?

Ohhhh, if you could have only been here on the afternoon I constructed a frame loom to see if I could turn the project into a Saturday Sampler. Because for me, the key to a successful Sampler, is test-driving the project over and over until I know the good, the bad, and the ugly, hoping to eliminate surprises that might turn up during the two hours of class. I know there are a gazillion and one ways to make a frame loom. I've seen looms constructed out of wood, metal, PVC pipe, and even a book. I'm not opposed to constructing a few more frame looms in variety of ways, but I wanted to start with the one I knew best: the one I made in my very first college Fibers class.

It's been 16 years since Fibers 101 when we constructed the very same loom I was attempting to re-create that afternoon. We used nails back then, and after working with Floyd this last year and a half, and seeing how he put things together more often than not, well, it gave me the brilliant idea to buy screws instead. I tried to use wood glue this time around as well, thinking it would add a layer of sturdiness to the loom. And oh, did I mention that sixteen years ago, the pieces were already pre-cut to a specific size on a power saw? No? Well, this time they weren't. So, I had to use a handsaw and apparently the teeth were too rough for the wood. I needed a finer tooth saw. It's a good thing my teenager son has a mouse sander.

While trying to get things square, I fought with the clamps and wood glue . I'd no sooner get one side square and clamped together, then the other would come apart. I wrangled my eleven year old daughter, Ruth, into being an extra pair of hands. Still, the wooden parts were slipping and sliding. After a bit, I managed to get the sides clamped down to the top piece of the loom.

Then came the drill. I knew enough to pre-drill the holes. But apparently, I didn't know enough about drill bits and screws to choose the right ones, both drill bits and screws. The screws were too big, and the drill bit too small. When my husband Jeremy walked up to the porch after he got home from work, he noticed I was fighting with getting one of the screws into the wood. I had asked him to help, but between the two of us, we split the wood. I say "we" because, as for me, I was the one who pre-drilled the hole. And he, because he'll tell anyone who listens, he's "Anti-handiman."

So I had to take that piece apart, which wasn't easy to do since the glue had set up, cut another bar the same size as before, and then had to try to re-assemble it. (Floyd makes this stuff look so easy!)

Joshua, my afore mentioned son, rode his bike up to the porch at that very moment. He was just getting back from hanging out with his friends. I looked up at him, and made sure to look as pitiful as I could, and said in a pleading, helpless voice, "Oh Josh. I need your help." I should be ashamed of myself, using my femininity that way, against a poor hapless, unsuspecting, young, man-in-training. After all, that "help-me-I'm-a-girl" bit never fails with males of any age, even though I suspect they already know what game we are playing. However, I was desperate enough to try anything that might make a teenage boy willing to help his mother. Floyd was on vacation, and I didn't want to wait a whole week to finish my frame loom.

Feeling all grown-up and manly, Joshua sauntered over to me and said, "What do you need?"

"I bought the wrong screws apparently, and I'm not doing so well with the cutting and measuring...and well, it's pretty ugly." I sat on the porch amidst parts and pieces strewn about. Blowing my hair out of my face, I added, "But hey, I've learned a lot. And now I'm ready to turn it over to someone with more expertise." Flattery will get a woman everywhere.

Sweet boy that he is, he held in his laughter as he scanned my "mess." "Sure," he said with a big smirk, as he leaned his bike against the porch railing and climbed over the gate. After inspecting what I had already completed, and listening to what needed to happen next, he helped me square up the bottom piece, while giving me advice about what I should have done instead.

When I asked him to drill the hole, he said "See, I love this drill. It has this level on the back with cross hairs so you know you're drilling perfectly straight."
"Well, huh, look at that." I said
"You didn't know that?"
"Nope. I didn't know that."

In about 1/10th of the time it took me to do the top of the loom, Joshua had the bottom fixed, and fixed the top half where I made mistakes. Well, O.K., in two places he accidentally drilled all the way through. After the second hole that went through the loom frame, he looked at me and said, "Two words: Wood Putty."

Until the next time I go unsupervised with tools...


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Coming This Fall!

Open Studio Nights!

Are you having trouble finishing your work? Are you stuck on a piece, and don't know where to go? Do you just want to find your motivation again? Want to carve out some time in your week to actually create? If you answered YES to any of these questions, join us for Open Studio Nights this fall. Every 2nd and 4th Thursdays of the Month, from 5-8pm 'some things looming' will open its doors and its spaces for artists and hobbyists alike to come and sit, enjoy camaraderie with one another, and work on their current projects. Cost is $10 at the door.

Introducing Saturday Samplers…

Have you ever wondered "How do they do that?" This is your chance to “taste a technique”, “sample a skill”, and “cool your curiosity.”.

For those of us who are short on time, but long on curiosity……Saturday Samplers are designed for you. Every Saturday, we'll hold 2-4 hour samplers that focus on one area within the fiber arts or jewelry medium, allowing you to walk away with just a taste of a craft to decide whether or not you want to delve further into that area of expertise.

And…just as that box of chocolates woos us into spontaneously taking a bite now and then, Saturday Samplers can be spontaneous or planned. A different skill will be explored each week. If you are a planner, save some money and sign up ahead of time. You’ll receive a $10 discount on the sampler. Wake up on Saturday with a craving and a need to create? Walk-ins are always welcome. Be advised however, that class size will be limited so get there early.

Scheduled Samplers to date: We’ve got soooo many ideas that we can’t get them all down fast enough. But here’s what’s coming in the next couple of months. There will be at least one ‘sampler’ going on every Saturday. Watch our web site and read our newsletters as we may have 2 or more going as we get this fun activity off the ground.

To kick off the Saturday Samplers and to help you appreciate the beautiful exhibit in the gallery, ‘Simply irRESISTible’, Kachina Martin will lead a fun sampler teaching a few basic Shibori Techniques. This first Saturday Sampler has been promotionally discounted in order to celebrate ‘Simply IrRESISTible’….so come on out and have some fun.

*Saturday Samplers will take a Holiday Hiatus during Handmade Holidays (try saying that five times fast!), and will resume again after the New Year.

Artist 2 Artist Networking Event:

On October 2, the gallery’s Artist 2 Artist group will present a Japanese-themed evening from 6 to 9 p.m. Kachina Martin will discuss the art of Shibori, an ancient Japanese dying process that uses twisting, stitching, pulling and binding of fabric to create texture and pattern with color. The mission of Artist 2 Artist is to provide networking and professional growth opportunities for fiber artists in Berks County and beyond.

Watch your email for our special newsletters to find out what the next networking event is coming up. Don't receive our emails? It's easy to join our list. See the button on the right hand-side of our blog, or find it on our website under 'contact us.'