Thursday, September 10, 2015

Speaking Tonight at Humboldt Handweaver's Meeting at Wharfinger



I am the worst at keeping these Blogs up to date. it is hardly a Blog but yet things are happening up here in my hill studio. I have been busy with commissions this summer and general exploring the studio itself. There is a lot to do and when not in the drying yet gorgeous property I am in the studio.



This is one of 11 fabric panels I did for a wonderful artist couple of whose work I have always admired so it meant a great deal to do some work for their home.

This is a mono print and surely I could not do it again. These works are all signature 'prints' but I must say they are paintings for they work easily behind a frame as well as a cushion cover.




There has been a few nice bits of traveling since the close of the studio in the spring. I am always moved by texture of landscape and my artistic response to it. So as to not bore you.. I will list just a few...
Sydney Australia Fortress walls

The wear of sun, sea, air and time on rock often gives such a sense of spontaneous  design. I am moved by the overlay of natural color and tone. I realize that I am highly affected by this achievement that hundreds and sometimes thousands of years give us. I know this to be a realism I want to mimic and celebrate. The larger pastoral landscapes so many are clever to paint and create are not to be of my first love. The energy I find in the veins of a rock or the fiber of a hand rolled bead from grass astonish my field of vision. It is for this sort of environment I tie up my fabrics, paint textiles, dip dye with plant dyes or surface print with whatever is at hand. I love the surprise that shibori can bring. And I have cultivated my own approach which is anything but predictable. In doing so I hope to maintain a certain energy that is never fully at rest but represents something only the natural environment can give us.
Maori Textile from the Auckland Museum, New Zealand
 It was in Auckland at the Museum where I was surprised to see the Maori weavings and textiles using all native plants and colors of earth that I remembered why I love playing with my personal shibori dye technique on natural toes or simply black with lift off dyes creating the imagery. My style is rather the reverse process but there is still a very organic approach which allows for rich coffee blacks and soft gentle browns.



Saturday, February 7, 2015

Perhaps the last opening for many months... 622 Second Street Eureka 6-9pm






Tonight, the 7th of February, I will have a quiet show at the gallery. This is the last show I anticipate for some time. There is a lot of studio work I would like to get back too. There is a sculpture project I have been longing to do for almost 5 years and there is some writing to accomplish. And as always the fabrics to explore and new techniques to put into place.



So I hope to see you this evening or in the near future. I will be closed by the first week of March. These are two months set aside for a sabbatical. Then what? Keep an eye on the blog and I will try to be a bit more consistent.



Thank you for all your viewings and your input and of course for being a supporter and patron.

Cheers, Jen

Before I go too far.. let's look at the gallery





When I spoke of black in the last post... I referred to these pieces that I think have a more Asian quality. There is a certain balance of power between the color and open spaces of untouched black. Each of these cocoons shown hanging are backed with solid black silk that peeks through at the edges when being worn. They can also be worn inside out so that the person wearing the garment has a very quiet look with the excitement of traditional kimono at the edges. Showing on the wall are pieces that primarily use the Japanese shibori technique of stitch resist. It is labor intensive but allows for a very energetic line. It is the movement in surprise and creation that I want to maintain in my work. It is here where I know that none can recreate what nature has done. Each and every piece has been directed and pushed by my design and artistic sensibilities yet they are creatures of their own. They breath, they live and they delight in abstract chaotic beauty.









 By winter time, in late November, I had come across some beautiful Merino wool from a wool coat and vest line I had done in the 90's. This beautiful black wool called to me. Play with me, push away from the slippery silks... so I used some of the shibori techniques and did a small line of pieces that all sold quickly.






These wide scarves shown on Mikaela as skirt and wrap were a nice addition to the light weight of most silks the gallery had been showing. They were perfect for the winter months. I went up to Portland Oregon to purchase a few yards more of their lovely black wools and finished the series. All are gone but the seed is planted for next years cooler climate.






Mikaela Mackey wearing winter 2014 woolens
















As 2015 sets in... 622 Second Street Eureka goes on a sabbatical...

I have just looked at the time frame of my last blog... four months ago! It has been a wonderful autumn and I have received good responses and sales. Specifically my silk cocoon wraps did the best. The gallery at 622 Second Street met so many expectations that I had when I opened almost a full year ago.
Now in full winter mode I am looking at the windup or wind down of this lovely old town studio gallery space.






I played with new colors,
moving away from my well known black.
Some nice surprises came with it and creative juices flowed.

I still feel the most connected to the blacks as background with
simple lift off dye techniques bringing three dimensionality.
I have continued to push the idea of adding and subtracting
in my development of design. The surprises that my shibori
techniques bring are most often perfect. But sometimes this intuitive
process brings some sorrow and I am then back at the printing
table pushing to save and enhance an unusual beginning. It is in
the saving of an unwanted offspring that I find some of the most
interesting patterns emerging and new ideas for future projects.

I had the good fortune of a beautiful young model, my niece Mikaela, who indulged my request for shooting these silks in a three dimensional form. Even in my apparel industry days I found that the silks I have always worked with really came to life when the models moved in them. Wrapping and unwrapping of silks can be the most sumptuous of fabric play. There is not another fabric that I have worked with that is so versatile and well received. It is loved for is draping, its warmth, its sensual nature and its durability.

The cocoons have become a piece that can be scarf, dress, wrap, skirt and even in one case a throw of exquisite design for those who have everything.

Mikaela is showing two separate pieces as skirt and wrap. These are approximately 48" by 60". They are very generous by measure and make a gorgeous wall hanging for any contemporary home. This of course also answers the question when men arrive in the gallery and say they love the work but how to manage it, not being the skirt wearing sort... Voila..hang these unique one of a kind pieces. Soften your world and home with a one of kind hand designed, printed, screened silk.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

September . Algae as Art

I have been working in my backyard. I have been digging in the garden, cleaning the pond, weeding, pruning, laughing, crying, singing, walking, drinking, eating and generally living life on my 5 acres. I have been spending a lot of time thinking and watching the world around me. I having been waiting for my own Godot. In lieu of Godot showing a myriad of others have arrived. Some visitors are animals and others plants new to me. The algae in the pond has been a vibrant shape shifting visitor. This specific algae that speaks to this months show is only in place for about one month a year. When working on cleaning the pond a few years ago I found the 'hand' of the algae wonderful and began to shape and change, add and subtract, and generally fall in love with the stuff.

 This show explores some of the ideas I mentioned in my last blog about the beauty of decay and transformation. I think it is beautiful in its simplicity. It reminds most people of those paper wasp nests which is such a compliment to me. I have mixed a bit of this and that from the property and manipulated minimally so as to not pull the natural energy from it

With this photo above you are looking at July's show and part of that conversation of beauty and decay. As we follow the birth of something and see it change it writes its own story. As with any fiber piece I have worked on in the last 34 years, I add and subtract from the initial material. I am always hoping to let the natural beauty speak and maintain its simple majestic voice.

This is a wonderful mobile... Impossible to photograph properly here so you will just have to come by for a visit....... Hope to see you soon. Tonight the 6th of September is the opening. 6 to 9 pm 


So much fiber and art and gallery

I have been ever so negligent in getting to my Blog. The new gallery has been such a great space and lit the creative candle for me. Seems that everything else I do still needed to be done. I am hoping to get some older shots of the previous monthly shows uploaded but suffice to say this June I had a swell time shooting some photographs of my lovely nieces in my hand dyed and manipulated fabrics. They were great and generous models.
The leg piece below is called Mikaela and won an award in the RAA photo show in July. I was very happy to have it positively reviewed by an LA juror.




I have been in a conversation about texture and the natural world for a few years now. I have yet to find the vocabulary for explaining my relationship within the natural environment that feeds my soul on a daily basis.

It is crucial for me to walk out into the birth and decay of the woodland. I am held up and reunited with my own inner self when I kick fallen leaves or trim the dying branches of a favorite shrub.

With plenty of friends and family passing on, it is nature that has held my attention and shown me that there is another day and another birth about to take place if I am patient. It has shown me that there is a new beauty worth waiting for, worth getting out of bed for, and worth a beating heart.

I have also in this long process of watching life cycles move on into aging, realized there is beauty in decay. Perhaps it is my own desire to courageously walk into my finale that pushes my intrigue. My eyes are newly opened on many levels. In seeking life I find joy and beauty. In looking around me I see that age brings depth, texture, color, and new surfaces that surprise and adorn.

I am seeking to explore the cycle of life and to show the beauty and common thread within it.


In this photo the girls are wrapped in a few different fabrics and sitting upon their maternal great grandmother's couch that has been redone in hand painted white linen. They have a playful 'boa' around their necks that had wrapped a treasured corset and the orange fabric is still in process for its next stage.

The ideas of the chrysalis,  cocoon, metamorphosis, change and emergence challenge and inform my creative thinking a lot these days.
I like to push the use of things and reinvent. And I would like the reinventing to be of some 'poetic' and universal themes or constructs.

It all feels a bit heady...in so much as I am still trying to explain and explore with not enough time and focus to really create the imagery or words. But I will get there and perhaps publish something to reflect the journey.

For now I am gathering some ideas into the little gallery space and its monthly shows. I hope you can come by and see the next show. And I look forward to having the discussions about what the purpose might or might not be to any of it.

Thanks for your viewing.
There are loads of photos of this photo exhibit should you be interested in more. Just let me know...

Saturday, April 5, 2014

FIBER for April's announcement








Fiber

We are swaddled in it, we are buried in it wrapped like mummies or in the satin of a coffin.
Silk heals and hemp constructs.
It warms us and defines us by the clothe upon our back.

And what is rag paper that we have painted upon but the very thing we touch and come back to through generations.
Papyrus for the scholar and for the river banks
Histories have been woven into textiles long before the print and we express through fiber though it will decay with time.
From dust to dust...
yet in between our birth and death fiber allows for wonderful exploration of creativity in the nature surrounding us.




Studio 622 . a gallery . 622 Second St. Eureka . CA 95565  www.chiajenstudio.com

I will be exhibiting creations in fiber, of fiber and on top of fiber for the next year. My inspiration comes from landscapes and textures. Though not a realist, I see my process as closely identifying with the surface structures of all organic things and the natural beauty I wake up to everyday.
The work exhibited will be representing decades of work from textiles created for the fashion industry, interior design projects, sculptural exploration of fabrics, fine art works of mixed media and a bit of poetry.



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