Wednesday, May 20, 2015

An Upcoming Exhibition

I'm thrilled to report that I will be debuting new work as part of a group exhibition with dear artist friends that will be held NEXT MONTH (!)  at Etui Fiber Arts in Larchmont, NY.

I hope you can make it.  More details on my piece for the show later....

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Fun News to Share

The cover of the upcoming issue of Quilting Arts
I'm excited to report that I have an article in the June/July 2015 issue of Quilting Arts Magazine that will soon be in your mailboxes and on newsstands.   My article is based on my experience as an exhibition organizer and curator.  For a sneak peek at the contents, click here.  

Did you look?  Can you guess which article is mine?

In other exciting news, I hope you'll join members of FANE at the artists' reception for "We've Been Framed!" from 2-4 PM this Sunday, May 17th, at the Mahopac Library Gallery.  This is a great opportunity to meet and see the art of some fantastic fiber artists such as Jane Davila, Natalya Aikens, Norma Schlager, and Donna Chambers.  If you can't come to the reception, I hope you'll stop by the exhibition to see the fun and fabulous art before the close of the show.

UPDATE: I just received my copy of Quilting Arts Magazine and there's my article.  Whee!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Studio Update

Here's what's been going on in my studio:

1) I continue to write blog posts for the Katonah Museum of Art about their current exhibitions.  This week's post is about soap.   Curious? Check it out here.  

2)  I'm playing with selections from my stack of vintage blocks again.  I'm impressed that so many of them survive the washing machine and dryer, but they're a bear to iron when they emerge all wrinkly and (even more) wonky.

3)  I have a new piece hanging at the Mahopac Library Gallery as part of FANE's "We've Been Framed!" exhibition.  Each artist was tasked with finding a frame no larger than 18" wide, painting it a specific blue, and creating a piece to hang within the frame, leaving space around the edges.  I decided to piece an entire artwork with painted paper towels.  One lesson learned: all paper towels are NOT created equal.  The ply's of one private label budget brand came apart as I tried to paint the sheets.  I guess that's a good indicator that they wouldn't work well for clean ups, either.

My piece is Untitled for the show because, in my pneumonia brain haze, I forgot to submit the title information in time.  However, let me introduce you here to Splat!.  It's made with paper towels, and stitched and quilted with cotton thread.  It's shown here hanging -- not too professionally, with my apologies about the lighting -- within the frame.

Splat!, 9.5" x 12.5", © Vivien Zepf, 2015

4)  When I haven't been creating art, I've been admiring Mother Nature's handiwork.  Spring has just been gorgeous!

5)  And today is a special day: my 25th anniversary!  The years have gone by in a flash.  I'm a lucky girl.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Coasters, Coasters, Coasters

I recently received some Transfer Artist Paper (TAP) to play with from C&T Publishing.  The one criteria: make something for the home, as opposed to a piece of art.

My idea: make coasters that look like my surface designed cloth, but actually made with TAP so they'd be water and stain-resistant.  It would also keep my fabric available for fiber projects.  

The whole thing worked like a charm.  Here's a quick look at the process:

Step 1:  I selected four different pieces of surface designed cloth from my stash.  I simply put sections of the fabric onto my printer and printed the images onto two sheets of TAP.  (TAP is 8 1/2" x 11", so I cut 5 1/2" squares of fabric.)

The original fabric's on the left and the TAP "print" is on the right
This set didn't print out correctly color-wise, but that was my fault; I needed to replace the color ink cartridge.
But I liked the look enough to continue. (Fabric's on the right; TAP on the left.)

Step 2: Following the TAP instructions, I transferred the TAP images onto a piece of muslin using my iron.  These were going to be my coasters.

TAP transfers on muslin

Step 3: I fused my round coaster shape onto the back of each TAP image, cut them out, and fused them onto individual interfacing squares I had already backed with velvet.  I then stitched around the edges to more securely attach the TAP to the coaster form.  I find it easier to stitch around the circles when it's on a larger square -- this trick seems gives me more accurate handling ability.

Getting ready to stitch around the edges
Step 4: After doubling stitching around the edges, I cut out the circles and painted the edges to be sure nothing frayed.  You can see the finished edge here.  I think it's the final touch to make these coasters both serviceable and nice-looking.  Garments made with TAP are machine washable (inside out); to be extra sure these were safe, I sprayed each coaster with polyurethane to water-proof the surface.

I chose color-coordinating edge colors

And here's the final set!

I'm really happy with them and look forward to using them.  My youngest said she wants a set for herself when she gets her own apartment -- in about 5 years -- so I have plenty of time.

P.S. C&T is hosting a "contest" of sorts: the artist with the most re-pins of their TAP projects wins a big goodie-basket.  If you're inclined to support my project, please go to my TAP to WIN Pinterest board and re-pin my coaster project.  Thanks!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

A Snail's Pace

These last several weeks have been exhausting.  I thought it was because of all the things I'd been doing; perhaps I was coming down from the "high" I felt from all my docent training work.  I thought I was getting seasonal allergies. Still, I wasn't able to do more than the simplest of tasks.  The 103 temperature I suddenly got told me why; I had pneumonia.

Now I'm in recovery mode.  I'm on super-nuclear antibiotics.  All my energy is being diverted into getting well and I am unexpectedly fatigued.  Still I am thankful that my body is normally very strong.

I've been restricted to stay home and do nothing, to move at a snail's pace, and thank heavens for that.    So I've been watching the rain fall,

the spring flowers grow in hidden nooks in the garden, and

Harvey roll in the fresh grass,

all under the vigilant eye of Bella, who has refused to leave my side.

Hopefully I'll have energy for art and my docent responsibilities soon.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Arts Westchester 50 for 50 Arts Award Luncheon

I had the privilege to join KMA staff at Arts Westchester's 50 for 50 Arts Award Luncheon.  Arts Westchester was established fifty years ago and its mission is "to provide leadership, vision, and support to ensure the availability, accessibility, and diversity of the arts in Westchester County." As they celebrated their own birthday, they also celebrated 50 artists who work or live in the county.  (If you're interested, you can find the complete list of honored artists on the Arts Westchester site.)  It was especially exciting for the KMA staff to be in attendance because Yvonne Pollack was to receive a special honor for her contribution to the arts in Westchester.

Yvonne, giving her acceptance speech, talking about how the arts become even more important in troubled times
The KMA staff was especially happy for Yvonne because she had been an arts educator at the museum for years.  With her help, the Learning Center was created and it's become an integral part of the museum experience, especially for students.  She helped design and run a mobile museum, bringing art to underprivileged schools.  (Sadly, that program has ended due to lack of funding.) She was also the President of the KMA Board of Trustees and is now on the Board of Overseers.  She's also been involved in various other arts organizations.  I don't have as many details on those, but suffice it to say that there's ample evidence that Yvonne has more than earned the accolades for her all her work in the arts.

It was very invigorating for me to sit with more than 400 people all representing and supporting the arts.  It made me proud to be doing even a small part -- through my docent work -- to bring art to the community.  And I got to meet some very cool people including Inge Brossard, whose efforts led to the creation of the Katonah Gallery .... and eventually the Katonah Museum of Art.

Yep, it was a very cool day.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


I kinda get it now... how hard it is to juggle parenting, home responsibilities, art, and the demands of a part time job.  Well, I don't technically have a part time job, but I've been spending about 20 hours a week working for the museum so I think my experience is somewhat similar.

I've been trying to figure out how to manage my schedule and clearly some things have fallen through the cracks, like my blog. (Sorry, I didn't realize it's been a month since I posted!)  But, I'm determined to find a way to make it all work.  I know I can do it.  So, here's a quick update to get back on track:

1) BIG NEWS:  I'm participating in two exhibitions, one in May and another in June!  More details to follow.

2) Volunteering / working at the museum has been so cool.  To name two highlights: I was able to help the artist with his installation and I'm writing the museum's exhibition blog (!).  Posts are published weekly so head here to read what's up.

A view of Chris Larson's full-scale replica of Edward Larrabee Barnes's home,
built around the trees in the KMA's sculpture garden.  I helped paint it.

3) Leading tours at the KMA has been immensely fun and immensely satisfying. I've met an amazing array of people from a former art administrator at the Met to an architect who worked with Bauhaus great, Marcel Breuer.  I'm not certain I'd have had another opportunity to meet such fascinating folk.

4) I finished my sister's estate taxes.  Lesson learned: Turbo Tax does not allow you to file estate taxes  electronically.  Don't go through the whole process like I did, and then discover at the end that it was all for naught.  ( I filed a complaint because the system asks at the beginning if the taxes are being prepared on behalf of someone who's deceased and only tells you the taxes can't be submitted online after you've paid.)

5) After Easter I drove my daughter back to school in Indiana, then flew back home -- all in one day.  An amazing testament to modern travel.

6) And, I finally found time to slip into the studio.  I'd been away so long that I was worried I'd lost my mojo, so I started small.  I found a chair that I'd stitched ages ago, spent an inordinate amount of time burying threads (what a tedious job!), quickly stitched some big daisies around it, and completed the look with watercolor crayons.  Spring must have influenced me.  Here's Retro-Daisy Chair, mounted on a 5" x 5" canvas:

Voila!  That's it for the summary tour and now we're all caught up and ready to move forward!