Observing the World…From a Log Bench

Log BenchViewing on-line photo tours of other people’s travels provides me with an amazing suitcase-free, passport-free, ticket-free way to see the world. The traveler’s blog usually includes views of local artisans making their sculptures, fabrics, paintings, or other such craft from local materials, such as in the blog bigBang studioHindustan textiles, food and painting, or in Blogchucuto–Spanish mosaic tiles. Most feature the use of organic materials + the artist’s ingenuity to make a log into a sculpture, clay into a vase, or fabric into a garment. They give a glimpse of the wide variety and unique design aesthetics and motifs from cultures @ the globe.

I am still surprised by my enjoyment of items made from organic materials found close at hand. For example, my husband made me a meditation bench for along our driveway using a split log. It is not merely a natural piece of art that I appreciate, but after getting the mail I can also stop, sit, and read, pausing to take-in the woods @ me–the ferns in the shade along the stream and the sounds of nature. Fern In the WoodsWhen walking by in a hurry, I do not always pause, observe, and listen. Walking for many years in the town where we lived, I came to know specific trees, certain flowers and plants in gardens and yards, places different groundhogs had homes, and unique views of the mountains. While riding along in a car, that is not always possible. As you walk, you are more a part of the environment vs. speeding past and through it.

So I guess today I am rambling a bit…but I’d say this article is about how people all over the world use their ingenuity (and creativity) to make works of art by using the natural materials @ them. Plus, while travelling, one can observe and take notice of the worlds @ them to gain inspiration and renewal

Just like a trip up the driveway for the mail and back…

Walk up the Driveway

with a pause on a log bench.

Where do you sit to observe the world?

Be Inventive!

The other day an article in our local newspaper, entitled “3 THINGS you should do today”, caught my eye. Number 2 was “Be inventive”. On May 22nd, 1906, the Wright brother’s US patent was issued for their invention, the “Flying Machine”.

First Flight, John T. Daniels via Wikipedia Commons

Reading the article made me think about how the brothers had to dream of flying, imagine what it would take to soar above the ground, and experiment with many different ideas to make it happen…The brothers’  invention of the flying machine is a perfect example of human creativity and the design process necessary to not only imagine but actually succeed in inventing something new.

Bela Banathy (1991), an educator, systems design scientist, and author, writes that we create the future by the process of designing what we can envision…This is a skill each of us are called upon to use everyday in our families, our work—as artists as well as other occupations, and the communities where we live. Our survival and quality of life is hinged upon our ability as individuals, and collectively as a society, to use our imaginations. Imagination leads to new, novel ideas and inventions that meet the challenges we and our children will face in the coming years.

Technology is one field where change is happening rapidly. The world has had to realize the changes this industry brings and envision ways its benefits can be used for the good, negating any negative effects.  Living @ a research university with its questioning environment inspires me to think of the possibilities–considering new answers to complex problems.  Whether it be…                                                                               at home…                                                                       Flying Bird                                                                                                    in the studio…                                                                                                                                                                           or in our communities…

                                             Are you ready to fly?

…(2011, May 22). 3 THINGS you should do today. NRV CURRENT, THE ROANOKE TIMES, p. 3.
Banathy, B. H. (1991). Systems Design of Education: A Journey to Create the Future. New Jersey: Education Technology Publications.

Image Citation–By John T. Daniels [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday…In the Studio–“An Artist’s Response to Materials”

An artist’s response to organic materials influences their creative process and the resulting piece of art–a sculptor carves a fish from wood…a potter throws a vase from clay…a painter paints a landscape with paint and canvas…or a textile artist creates a wall hanging from fabric and thread.

Batik Cotton

Growing up in North Carolina, there were many fabric shops and factory outlets with a large array of different types, colors, and patterns of textiles. I first found my love of fabrics and thread, and the possibilities of what they could become, wandering @ and dreaming in these stores. My first sewing project was in sixth grade Girl Scouts. We got to use a pattern, cut-out fabric, and use a sewing machine to make an apron. I was hooked…During high school, it amazed me that I could find fabric that I loved, find a pattern similar to styles in the stores, and create clothes!  Magic…plus–they fit me!

During this past holiday weekend, we took a trip to Floyd,Virginia, a center for music and visual arts. This is one stop on the Crooked Road, Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail and along the Blue Ridge Parkway with its natural, beautiful scenery.

Blue Ridge

It was chance to get out & about…get inspirations from the sights and sounds of a new place…have time to incubate ideas… and gain encouragement to be creative.  A time to be relaxed with other people…listen to music at the Floyd Country Store‘s noon concert…view other artists’ work in galleries, shops, and visit the sights and sounds of the outdoor community market. But, the main highlight for me was spending time at Schoolhouse Fabrics.

This store is reminiscent of the shops of my youth—an old three-storied school building filled with fabric of all types— including wools, cottons, and satins, colors—reds, greens, and purples– and textures—nubby, silky, and coarse.

Silver & Gold

I found the hard to find gold and silver fabric that is needed to finish my Lifeweavings  wall-hanging,

brights for the fabric “paint”stash,

Bright Fabric "Paint"

Vibrant Silks

wonderfully vibrant colored silks,

and fun fabric for my grandbaby, I just could not pass up.

Child's Fabric, print ©Hampton Printworks.
Printed Fabric, © Hampton Printworks.

These are examples of the materials that are collected and used by textile artists. The artist responds to the color of the fabrics, the feel, or hand, of the cloth, and the texture of the piece visually and by touch. Wandering through the many aisles and rooms of colorful fabric, not only did I imagine what I might create…                                                                                                                 I remembered the girl dreaming of all the possibilities…

♦What are the materials you respond to in your artistic endeavors?