Wednesday, June 29, 2011

thank you Puffin Foundation!!!!

Last week the mail brought me good news; no, great news, phenomenal news. I received news that The Puffin Foundation is giving me a GRANT to create/finish my piece, ripple ~ Yahoo!!!! This is such exciting news!!! To receive a grant is such validation of one's work and vision, as well as a financial boom. This grant could not have come at a better time!!! My job at Dana Hall has come to an end and I have been dying to get back into the studio, but there is
always that ever-present incomegoblin.... but now I have something to feed him for a month or two :). So instead of looking ahead to a summer of employment uncertainty, I can plan a summer working away in my studio~ guilt-free (what will that feel like?!?)

The Puffin Foundation does great work ~ "continuing the dialogue between art and the lives of ordinary people." Their mission being..“ the Puffin Foundation Ltd. has sought to open the doors of artistic expression by providing grants to artists and art organizations who are often excluded from mainstream opportunities due to their race, gender, or social philosophy.”

And besides providing grants for artists, they also have wonderful exhibition spaceswhere they put on thought- provoking and provaocative shows. Currently at the Puffin Cultural Forum in Teaneck, NJ is the traveling exhibit, In the Bag. This show "traces the history of the reusable bag movement and presents creative alternatives to using plastic shopping bags, in cluding beautifully designed reusable bags made from billboards, juice boxes, rice bags, and discarded plastic bags."

I am proud to say, that for the exhibit in NJ the curator, Merri Milwe, invited me to show my Red Alert Cocktail dress, which I was happily did. The exhibit runs from June 3rd - July 21st.

I applied for a Puffin Grant to help me complete my piece 'ripple' (it's working name). 'ripple' is a newer rendition of my large dag tag dress which was called '3,000 and counting'. '3,000 and counting' (made in 2006-2007) was about the dead soldiers in the Iraq conflict - very literal. But I was never happy was the way that dress looked, the shape. So when the dress was finished being in the provocative show, A Call to Art at Gallery 55, Natick, MA, I brought it back to my studio and cut it in half ~ much to the chagrin of many. But I didn't like it and I knew it could be better.

As the pieces of the dress sat in my studio I was struggling with how i wanted to remake it. While in it's deconstructed state, the dress did 'spawn' two smaller and poignant dog tag dresses ~ "in memory of..." and " do they
know its Christmas?". Two dresses that have been shown a multitude of times, evoking much thought and conversation. But still, the large dog tag dress sat in disarray. I would work on it but still wasn't sure where it was going. By this point there were way more than 3,000 dead from this war ... did I get more dog tags to keep up with the death toll? But I realized it was about more than dead soldiers. As the time past I began more aware of how the affects of the war were so far-reaching ~ not just the dead and their families, but so much more ~ the child who has been shuffled around to different care-givers because of parents' military duty and stress of the co-worker of the girlfriend who was murdered by her boyfriend who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. The stories are many and I want represent that aspect of this crisis ~ the ripple affect of this conflict. So that is what I proposed to the Puffin Foundation and that is what they decided to fund!! So thank you Puffin Foundation, because this is no small undertaking, and to have your endorsement that you believe in this project enough to fund it it is priceless. below is the description that I included in the grant!

My project is to create a large, sprawling sculptural dress commenting on ripple effect that recent and past military involvement has on everyone ~ the soldiers, their loved ones, their families and children, workplaces and schools, communities and society as a whole. The repercussions are far reaching and the issues are complicated.

My proposed piece, “ripple” is its working title, is important in that it will facilitate dialogue about our continual engagement in military situations, and our dependency on a military economy. With “ripple” my goal is to have people stop, look, think, feel, engage and communicate.

This piece will build off the power and energy of an earlier work, “in memory of...”, which also addresses war. Made out of dog tags ‘decorated’ with photos of soldiers who have already given their lives, “in memory of...” provides a safe and scared arena for consideration of the sacrifices war demands. Its presence quiets many, and even brings some to tears. “ripple” will also consist of dog tags, along with beads, charms and other material to represent the nonmilitary.

My truth is simple. My voice is gentle, yet compelling. The ideas that I deal with are complex. I offer an alternative to fear-based thinking or even lack of thinking. My work elicits fresh thinking, engaging people to generate their own thoughts and opinions. With your funding I will have the means to bring “ripple” to fruition, a piece that fulfills the mission of the Puffin Foundation; “...continuing the dialogue between art and the lives of ordinary people.”


Monday, June 27, 2011

Rui Rocks!!!

I found this awesome image in my email yesterday. One of my design students took photos of my work from my blog and web site and created this!! I love it!!! It is so exhilarating to see ME made up out of all my work!! it is all there ~ dresses, paintings, fiber, photographs and more! Thank you Rui!!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

How Virginia got her groove back

For anyone who has children, they know that June has a momentum all its own ~ school, sports, after school classes all are finishing and there are numerous end of the year fetes and events that can suffocate one's calendar. For me these past few weeks have had even more poignant events ~ besides my girl's schools winding down (including a 'promotion' from elementary school to middle school), a 13th birthday (hello teenager!!) and some other family affairs; I finished up a wonderful and intense semester of substituting at the Dana Hall School. The past five months at Dana have been such an amazing learning experience for me, with wonderful teachers - my Dana Hall students. I believe it is safe to say that we all, students and teacher, grew and stretched ourselves ~ and I hope we all continue to challenge ourselves. But as wonderful that this experience has been, I have been painfully aware that I have been a stranger in my studio (only so many hours in the day to be teacher, mom, cook...). & I have SO missed making art and being in that arty mindset. So now the time has come to get myself back into the studio; to re-immerse myself in that heady drug of creative thought!! One way that I get those juices flowing is by applying to shows and that is what i did.

For a few years I have been aware of the A.I.R. Gallery's yearly benefit postcard show, but I have always missed the due date. This year that changed!! I successfully got a postcard in the mail (thanks to next day air). BUT for me, in the midst of everything - I see this as a victory!! And I am very happy with my submission ~ I had planned to make a collage piece with an origami dress (like my daily dress project pieces) but, as is so true so many times, the muses has a different idea. This card is a perfect snapshot of my life at this moment of time and what a perfect way to begin this new creative journey.
Here is some of the 411 of the show :
A.I.R. Gallery's yearly benefit postcard show, Wish You Were Here 10 from June 22 – July 16, 2011. Last year’s exhibit had work by over 400 artists including Kiki Smith and Mary Frank. This year we hope you will join us in our mission to provide leadership and community to women in the arts by exhibiting your work in Wish Your Were Here 10.

The postcards, made and donated by artists nationwide—both men and women—will be shown in our Gallery III space. Each will be signed, titled and dated and may include a message from the artist. The cards will be labeled and a list of participating artists will be made available to gallery visitors. All postcards will be priced at $45 including New York State sales tax.

We hope that you will be part of Wish You Were Here 10 and we look forward to seeing you at the special Postcard Show opening on Wednesday, June 22, from 6pm to 8:30 pm, for the reception on Thursday June 23 from 6pm to 8:30pm for all three exhibits we will have on view or for the DUMBO 1st Thursdays Gallery Walk on Thursday, July 7 from 5:30pm to 8:30pm.
111 Front Street #228. Brooklyn, NY 11201 . phone 212-255-6651