Monday, February 29, 2016

Artist in Residence (AIR) 2016 Week One setup

Thursday of this week, March 3, from 2-4 in the gallery area of Plainsboro Public Library, we'll start the AIR 2016 with Goldwork.

I'll be bringing some examples of my own completed goldwork, reference books, my current goldwork in progress,  my goldwork thread stash, and my book of current drawings for future design ideas, for you to look at, ask about, and enjoy.  I'll be working on a piece which, when completed, will be presented as part of my June 2016 solo exhibit, here in the same gallery.

No need to sign up, just show up! visit for as long or as little as suits you.

Goldwork thread stash

General setup ready for you to see and enjoy

Every week I'll be there with a different form of textile art to work on, ranging from wire weaving to stumpwork and work on silk and linen, and reference material for you to peruse, materials to see, and samples of the same technique in my own completed work.

These nine weeks will be a kind of intro to textile arts, up close and personal, watching the exhibit being created week by week.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Back in the studio, many processes in play

I'm finishing up the last of the Planet Suite, and here's the patient in the OR being set up in place.  The artwork on the front is being secured to the backing, and the backing is being secured to the frame itself.  This involves having several hands at once, since the gluing is more or less simultaneous, and it's on two different levels. Also the artwork fixing needs to be done with some delicacy, while the backing part needs to be done with a bit more force.

So you see here my handy helpers, and if the patient survives, you'll see the framing complete. The paint container in the middle is standing on a piece of plexi, to gently equalize the pressure without squashing the art flat.

Last of the Planet Suite in process

 Tomorrow will tell whether this all worked.

I had an adventure with Gorilla Glue in the course of this session, namely that the container flew up in the air and the glue sort of poured back on my hand, rendering it quite tricky to finish up what I was doing, a bit like a slapstick scene in Jeeves and Wooster.  The one where Wooster tries to spread treacle on brown paper..

Then I needed to figure out how to separate my glued fingers again, and found that soap won't do it, dishwashing liquid won't do it, rubbing alcohol won't do it, but that olive oil followed by dw liquid, will.  Must note that for the next time I juggle the stuff accidentally. It's also tricky to turn taps on and off while you're sticking to them.  And since I'm a bit allergic to some glues, my nose tends to run just at the moment when both hands are occupied.

The other piece is in a more peaceful process, and looks like rather a wild beast at this point, but interesting.  Backing is hand dyed silk, fronting is knitted and crocheted freeform, with embroidered freeform motif on top, beaded and stitched on linen, which I dyed after working it, and a piece of that copper wire pulled into an interesting shape, on top, too.  

Some wild beast taking over the studio here..
These are not yet fixed, still sort of revolving round my mind.  The loops are the top are for sliding a dowel through for hanging the piece, and the silk will be stretched over a piece of foamcore to make it rigid, as a support for the front part.

This may all change before it's done, but I thought you'd like to see what was becoming of that knitted stuff I showed you ages ago, draped over the lamp. The silk background may be pulled back so that it doesn't show at the sides, after I think about it a bit more.

I was reading Sherry Turkel's latest book on how conversation is dying away because of endless texting and communicating by other means than talking.  She makes a good point where she discusses how boredom is a good thing, since it forces you back onto your own resources, and that moment of irritation, if you don't try to escape it by texting and tweeting (and blogging!)  often turns out to be the time of greatest hatching of ideas and plans.  The texting etc., is about performance space, and the solitude is about unedited thoughts.

Important to allow space and time for freeform thoughts to get working.  She's really talking about allowing freeform conversation, not art, rather than edited texts and pix for communication, but the analogy works for art, too.

I've noticed that over and over, after a tedious day, usually weather related, I get a burst of art energy the next day, and find I'm just zinging with new art ideas to try.  I never remember this when I'm feeling at a loose end, though. 

And being alone is essential to making art, or anything, really.  Groups are fine, but the best work is usually solitary, and without a lot of external doings. Then comes the pleasure of showing you, dear blogistas, what's up, because as you know, art is not complete until it's been seen by someone other than the maker of it.  This is why you are essential.  I never forget that.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Upcoming excitement. AIR 2016

Getting ready for another Artist in Residence stint at the Library Gallery, in March and April.
Here's the flyer, text only, without the picture, couldn't get it to move over..not my pic! not my flyer, really well done, and has gone out locally, thanks so much to Donna, Gallery Manager. 

But here's a sample pic of work

Plainsboro Public Library
9 Van Doren Street, Plainsboro, NJ 08536 

Nine Thursdays: Artist in Residence 2016
Liz Adams
Thursdays, March 3 to April 28, 2016, 2 - 4 pm
First floor cafe

On Nine Thursdays in March and April, noted textile artist Liz Adams will be demonstrating her original textile work in Plainsboro Public Library.

A longtime prizewinning exhibiting artist and workshop teacher, Liz created the first Library Artist in Residence program with her 2014 design and creation of the tapestry, Four Sisters, now on display on the second floor.

An artist in many media over the years, Liz has been described as fearless in trying new ideas and media! She will be showing a range of textile arts in the course of this residency, including embroidery, goldwork, her own dyed and stamped linen, weaving both in wire and in yarn, freeform knitting and crocheting, all in the service of original art.

The works she will be engaged in will be part of her solo exhibit in the Library Gallery in June, and the public is warmly invited to stop by the café area on these Thursday afternoons, to observe, discuss and share ideas, while getting an insight into the ongoing life of a local artist.

Her award winning art blog can be followed at where she describes her process as she creates and conceptualizes ongoing artworks, and encourages readers to try for themselves. A longtime participant and leader in art events in Plainsboro, her mantra is Art for Everyone! 

She also shares her work on Twitter, at @fieldandfen,  and on Instagram at 2Boud.

Just a little brag!  if you want me to send you the pdf of the flyer, which has pix, let me know.  You're invited to stop by on any or all of these Thursdays, to watch me at work, chat, ask questions, visit, enjoy! No sign up needed, no registration, just show up!

And other work is ongoing in the studio, some new ideas not ready to show yet, not enough in them to make sense in pix.  But soon.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Another planet swims along

You'll notice that these planets are circular, not seen sideways as if in orbit around the Earth.  I'm seeing them as from above.  It occurred to me that I should mention that, not assume it's obvious.

Here's our latest.  This is definitely pushing the definition of textile art, when it involves painting and printmaking, too, as well as collage.

It's a sawblade weaving, with a painted and printed background, and collaged pieces of dried acrylic metallics off the palette, and I painted the frame to work with the interior bronze and copper accents.  There are features that are a bit difficult to see except in person -- a v shaped path behind the planet sloping down to the right, and all kinds of tracks and marks.

Frame size 12 x 12.  I'm happy to report that I remembered to take the pic before installing the glass, for once.

Monday, February 8, 2016

The planet suite finds some habitat

A couple of the planets have now found their home in a frame.  As you see, there's a painted  backdrop, and I've also painted the frames to work better for the artwork.  Solid black too obtrusive, so I made one gold and one metallic green.

I have two more planets to frame, maybe another will happen too.

But I thought you'd like to see their progress to date.  

And to see closeups of the painted frames.

You know how to do this?  metallic liquid acrylic, paint a coat on one side of the frame with a sponge brush, then quickly apply crumpled up plastic or saran wrap, pull it off right away, and you have some really interesting effects.  Do one side at a time, since acrylic will dry too quickly for you to work it otherwise. You have to manipulate it a bit, but that's something you can learn quickly.  You can do this on any nonporous surface.  It spiffs up items a treat. 

Of course, once again I find myself trying to paint and frame at the same time.  Inadvertent multitasking.

Friday, February 5, 2016

A Great Friday

For more about why this is a Very Good Day, go to

But meanwhile, here's why I blog and don't print this all out like a book -- explanation over in Field and Fen, among other things -- just enjoy these scenes.

This is a couple of beech trees, probably planted by birds as many trees are around here when they're not self propagating with wind, or however they're designed to multiply. Today's sudden snowstorm, wet heavy snow, changed the color of the bark, and the sun came out to outline everything with light.  

The usual color of beech tree bark is a lovely warm elephant grey, smooth and a great contrast to the pale gold leaves which stay on all winter. It's one of the ways a person can spot the beech when all the other trees are anonymous to the unsylvan. 

So I took several images, with the light changing rapidly, good job I wasn't trying to paint this.  And what a lift it gives to tired spirits to see the leaves continuing their happy dance all winter.  See the wet bark, and the sunlight creating all kinds of shadows and shapes.

This is what feeds your ability to see and grasp what's going on in what seems like the dead of winter.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

One of those great studio days that come along now and then

I had a few things to attend to before I could get into the studio, largely of an admin nature, for my guild, and for friends, and wondered if I was going to make it in there.

But as it happened, once the promised tasky stuff was taken care of,  I ended up having the sort of day you hardly ever get, full of discovery and new art, as opposed to physical, energy.

The results were enough to make a person happy.  Three new works conceptualized, and just a start made, framing for five others finally figured out, more or less, the big piece Holding up the Sky or whatever its name is, don't ask me, I only work here, and cool portable ideas I can be working on in my Artist in Residence stint in March and April.  Can't ask for more than that.

So here are a few things for you to see.  My inner printmaker surged forward and insisted on printing on hand dyed linen, 

this will be a stretched, freestanding piece, with surface embroidery and might accompany me to this weekend's Stitch in Public Day, we'll see.

and on cotton lawn,

 possibly a background for one of the planet pieces framed
 and on heavy paper. Those are not creases, they're printed to look that way, an optical illusion

Definitely a background for the latest planet piece, the one trying out the frame for size and requesting more interesting ideas in the background.

I ended up having to work on three surfaces -- one clean one for the frames and glass cleaners, 

one glass one for the printmaking, and one with clean cloths on for the final work on the tapestry.  

Anyone who has ever worked with printmaking inks knows how they get around unexpectedly, and it's better if they don't get onto finished stitched and woven works unless it's on purpose. Of course, most people don't try to frame, stitch and print all at once, but oh well.  You have to seize the moment.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Copper wire planet now in orbit

Another planet completed and now in orbit.  

I think I will have to do more shadowbox framing than I'd intended, since a lot of these textile pieces, while nice to see without glass, will never stand up to being exhibited, with the risk of people wanting to handle them.

I just had to stop a visitor after she'd grabbed one of the weavings on the wall to admire it!  explained that you never touch an artwork.  But I was astonished that I had to explain this, so that was a good piece of learning for me.  I did offer her raw materials she could enjoy handling, though, such as a length of spanish merino roving, which she loved.

The difficulty is that a lot of people can't distinguish between textiles meant for handling and wearing from textiles intended as artworks, too fragile for handling.  So I have to take precautions.