Lucky winners

Following my participation in the annual Art-A-Whirl event in northeast Minneapolis last weekend, I feel as though I am a lucky winner to have had that opportunity to show and sell my work. What fun! Thank you if you stopped by to visit, and if you purchased some of my note cards or provided me with your email address for a drawing to win one of my prints.

The small slips of paper with contact information were put in a basket and tossed around. My friend and fellow exhibitor, Kim Gordon, closed her eyes and plucked one of the slips from the mound of papers. The lucky winner of that drawing was Al, who lives in south Minneapolis and was also my art teacher at Minneapolis Central High School a mere few decades ago. Al was among the friends, students, neighbors, and colleagues who received my emailed notice about events and classes that you can also view on the “About” page here.

What’s especially meaningful about Al winning the print is that I learned about printmaking from him. He also introduced my classmates and me to calligraphy with a C-series broad-edge Speedball pen nib. The first print I ever made was a linoleum cut. The material was a flat rectangle of green linoleum with a burlap back. We used Speedball cutting tools to incise the design in the linoleum, cutting the pattern into the soft surface. Tissue paper was glued to heavy paper, the linoleum was coated with black printmaking ink, and a print was made. You can see that aged, yellowed print below. Even long ago I was interested in recording the beauty of plants.

A new adage

If you know the adage, “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is,” then please permit me to create a new, memorable nature-printing-related philosophy which is: “If a plant appears to be too difficult to successfully print, it probably is.”

Today I printed Christmas cactus which has been blooming intermittently since Halloween. The leaves reproduced nicely; the complex, bulbous blossoms look like a tangled mess. I also attempted to print a Trout Lily (Erythronium propullans) which is, in addition to being on the “endangered species” list, a really pretty little plant. The petals curl in a most alluring manner and the curved, upright leaves are adorned with an attractive, mottled pattern of irregular brown spots on a muted-green background.

Capturing the curve of the six petals turned out to be impossible for me to replicate in two dimensions. An added obstacle was that the receptacle (the part of the flower stalk where the flowers are attached) was so three dimensional it poked through the paper when I pressed the paper against the inked plant. And the green ink color for the leaves that looked so right is clearly too yellow. The attractive green paper is a gift from my teacher and friend, Sonja. The green background allows white flowers to be visible, something not possible when printing on white paper.

Despite my disappointment, I enjoyed admiring the plant in the garden of my neighborhood friend, Marie, and I learned a lot about the plant—from attempting to print it and reading about it.

Participating in Art-A-Whirl 2014

On the weekend of May 16–18, my friend, fellow artist Kim Gordon, and I will be participating for the first time in Art-A-Whirl—“the largest open studio tour in the country.” Fiber artist Sandra Brick extended an invitation to us from Kira McCarty, owner of the hair and makeup studio OnsiteMUSE. We will share space with a photographer, jeweler, and vintage clothing artist in suite 225 in the well-regarded Q.arma Building, 1224 Quincy Street NE in Minneapolis. There’s a spacious parking lot south of the building with driveways on Broadway and Quincy Streets NE. Kim and I look forward to seeing you next weekend.

More than 500 artists will show their work in 60 locations during Art-A-Whirl. An attractive, informative guide book is available that has a helpful map on page 20. Two free trolley/shuttles circulate clockwise among the locations.

Three more friends are showing their work during Art-A-Whirl. You can see Sandra Brick’s intricate shibori garments and artwork at studio 394 in the Northrup King Building, 1500 Jackson St. NE; Terra Rathai’s AvantGarden Photography at the Ruckus Art Shop, Waterbury Building, 1121 Jackson St. NE, #117; and Marjorie Fedyszyn’s sculptural fiber forms in studio 200, Casket Arts Building, 681-17th Ave. NE.

As if the art isn’t exciting enough, food trucks will be strategically parked and music will be performed throughout the days and evenings.

Blooms Day 2014

What an uplifting event this was—so well organized and welcoming—hosted by Metro Blooms. Throngs of gardeners purchased trays of the hearty variety of perennials, annuals, and vegetables provided by Glacial Ridge Growers, and swarms of dedicated, conscientious volunteers circulated nonstop, fulfilling all sorts of tasks.

I was happy for fruitful conversations with gardeners and fellow exhibitors, the sale of some of my note cards, and the opportunity to let you know about classes I’ll be teaching this summer at the Edina Art Center. (Look for the classes listed in the “Related Arts” category.) I look forward to seeing you in class—or in the garden.

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