Monday, July 23, 2012

Blind Photographers

My street bathed in early morning light

This morning, I saw something rather breathtaking: an HBO documentary called Dark Light on the work of three American photographers who are blind.  Yes, blind.  The artists are Henry ButlerPete Eckert, and Bruce Hall.

The work these three artists create is worthy of any sighted artist's portfolio, as one fellow photographer notes when interviewed. (Butler is also a renowned jazz pianist and provided some of the soundtrack.)  The whole notion that an art form that is fundamentally dependent on how light interacts with objects can be made -- brilliantly -- by those who cannot actually see the light is astounding.  However, each of these artists has vision.  They have artistic vision and the photographs they make help them experience our "sighted" world better and, hopefully, help us understand their world more clearly.

I urge you to spend the time to watch this documentary; it's not even an hour long.  Click on this link for more information.


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Photo du Jour


A little trip down memory lane:  my son and two of my nephews getting ready for their uncle's wedding...

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Freedom of Expression Exhibition

I'm proud to say my piece, A Show of Hands, is hanging at the Highwire Gallery in Philadelphia through the month of July. Their exhibition, called First Amendment, is all about the freedom of expression.  They sought pieces of a political nature and my totem about voting fit the bill.  I'm thrilled to be a part of this show. Here are pictures, courtesy of Karen Cooper.  (My piece is hanging on the wall facing the front of the gallery, just to the right of the gentleman.)



You can see a close-up of both sides of the piece on my website: www.VivienZepf.com .  It's listed under my "Hands" series.   I painted the yellow side of the quilt and stamped almost all the verbiage of the constitutional amendments that have to do with voting over the yellow.  I then stenciled the quote from President Eisenhower and thread sketched some hands.

The reverse red, white, and blue side is pieced from scraps from my collection in an homage to the patriotism of our founding fathers.  I stenciled three "calls to arms" for voting on the surface, as well as stamped a few of my favorite quotations about the importance of voting.

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Goings On

I have yet to find the lazy days of summer.  School let out towards the end of June and I've been dashing about at warp speed.  My youngest spent most of the last week of the month in rehearsals for her national dance competition.  This year's competition was in Orlando, so it was off on an airplane for the two of us.   We were gone for nine days, with down time only at the very beginning and end of the trip. You'd think that in the land of Disney technology there'd be easy internet access, but no --- I paid $11 per day to have very erratic service.  Ah well, it wasn't so bad ... there really wasn't that much time to surf the net anyway.  But I did manage to see the super-sized bugs that grow down there. This was taken by the edge of the sidewalk; got the shot only because I had my ever-handy camera with me.


Then it was home again for a quick turn-around for my youngest.  We scrambled around and off she went, two days after returning home.  She's now living aboard a boat in the British Virgin Islands getting her advanced scuba diving and night diving certifications, along with beginning sailing certification.  I think that's just so cool and I'm very proud of her.  I've also been shopping with my oldest for things for her dorm (she starts Notre Dame in the fall -- woo hoo!) and dashing to doctors' appointments to prepare for her wisdom teeth removal this Friday (yech!).

In between it all, there's been a little bit of art.  My fiber art group is doing a surface design project, inspired by Renga poetry  (here's a link to the Wikipedia definition).  In essence, we each created a piece of fabric and are rotating it through randomly selected groups for additional surface design applications.  Embroidery, fusing, and the like are not allowed.  Another stipulation of the project is that we can't use the same technique twice.  The goal is to continue to add elements to create more visual depth and excitement to the fabric.  The trick is not to add so much that no one else has anything to do. I added some swirls and curves to the bottom of the first fabric I received, using paint sticks and a rubbing plate.  I think there's still plenty of opportunity to do more.


I've also done a bit of ripping out and practicing.  Have you ever thought a piece was complete, taken a picture of it, and uploaded it for submission to an exhibition, and then realized you'd made a humongous error?  Well, I recently did.  So, the bindings on the piece in question have come off and it now awaits improvement. (I waited until the skinny envelope arrived before I ripped it apart.)  But before I can do anything, I felt I needed to practice my "cordouroy quilting", as my friend Robin calls it -- you know, those closely spaced quilted lines that go back and forth across the surface.  Put bluntly, I STINK at this style of quilting, but it's what my quilt really needs.  So I decided to make a practice piece.  I went one direction and thought ... lame.  So I went back in the other direction and thought.... better.  It's still not perfect; heaven knows how folks like Robin and Lisa Call do this, but I did learn a lot in the process:

1)  The hand of the artist (fallible me) definitely shows if you have big spaces to cover;
2) This is not a technique that can be rushed; and,
3) Busy base fabrics are a no-no.  The stitching gets lost and you suffer tremendous eye fatigue.

After I stitched, I realized I couldn't really see the outline of the object I had "reverse outlined"-- see lesson #3 above.  So I dipped my finger into some black paint and smooshed it around the edges.  That was fun.  Here's my little practice piece that took a LONG time to do.  (I'm thinking I may use this for embroidery practice too, but another day.)


Another day because for now, I'll return to my nifty little hotel set-up.  Yes, I'm in a hotel again, but with my son this time.  He's in a multi-day golf tournament and I've got some piecing I'd like to do.  The room layout is surprisingly conducive to a sewing machine. By golly, I schlepped my sewing machine all the way here and  I'm going to get some work done..... after lunch.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Photo du Jour


Look at the gorgeous coloring on these leaves!


And look, the leaves are a muted red underneath ... and you can see the chartreuse stems.  Anyone know what kind of tree this is?  It's wonderful!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Photo du Jour


Happy Fourth of July!  I'm humbled by the sacrifice many have made for our freedom.