Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

Dear Art Buddies and All Around Good Eggs,

Thank you for being in my life and making it richer.  I wish you a wonderful holiday season!


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Signature Artists Cooperative Gallery Sale

In May I was thrilled to jury into an area artists' coop. The group, Signature, meets monthly, has an annual exhibition and also opens a wonderful Gallery each December. The Gallery features the artwork of about 20 different artists. Incredible handmade gifts and artwork is available: jewelry, photography, pastels, ceramics, wood, stained glass, fiber, steel, blown glass, handmade paper, and paintings. If you still need that special something and live in southwest Michigan, check us out.

The picture is of my space on opening day. The work of pastel artist Melody Allen is beyond mine. I didn't take any pictures of the entire space because I wasn't sure about "permissions". Next year I will show you the whole store.

Hours for the remainder of the "run":

Tuesday - Thursday: 10 - 7
Christmas Eve: 10 - 3
Christmas Day: closed
December 26: 12 - 5
December 27: 12 - 7

We're located at 4644 West Main, Kalamazoo, MI 49006. The store is in the Westwood Plaza next to Coney Island. 269-382-4134.

For those of you that have already been there. Many thanks for coming and encouraging local artists with your presence and support.


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Tis the Season

Recently a collage artist and FB friend, Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson, has been posting about her best friend from childhood having suffered paralysis from the shoulders down as a result of a car accident.  The world of Cherie Stannard and her family has been turned upside down since September 30, 2010.  In such a case, what's an artist to do?  Cry?  Of course.  Then Elizabeth decided to try to help.

A book, called Art with Heart, has been created with the profits ($12 of each book) going to Cherie's family for her round-the-clock care.  The wonderful art of about 50 different artists, from around the country, was donated for use in the book.  You can take a look at it here:

Yep, I'm in the book and am honored to be a small part in this effort.  The peacock on the opening spread was created by Elizabeth.

This would be a great gift for an artist or the person on your list that has everything.  You must order soon to get it by Christmas.  If you're not in a holiday rush, this book will be available after Christmas too.

Thanks for looking.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Handmade Paper Guild Holiday Sale

I would judge this year's Handmade Paper Guild Holiday a success! We joined with the Kalamazoo Valley Potters, the Weaver's Guild and Art Etc. to put on a really nice holiday gift show the weekend before Thanksgiving.

Some challenges:

* We were in a new venue so we had to organize ourselves a bit better than usual ahead of time. I wasn't one of these organizer people so I'm very grateful to our Holiday Chairperson, Barb Stewart and her committee. One big change was that members had to commit to a table or two (or three or four) way ahead of time and stick to the commitment: no dropping out at the last minute because it would leave a big hole in the table layout.

* We were in a new venue, way across town from our usual spot, so our customers had to find us. The Weaver's have a big following so that certainly helped but our postcard to our mailing list seemed to do the trick. More advertising would certainly be a plus, but how to do it economically?

* We were in a new, much bigger, venue so we had lots of room to spread out but how to make it a bit cozy too? Thirty customers in this cavernous place made it seem like no customers were there at all. But, thirty customers at our old space made it seem like we were crazy busy.

* We were in a new venue but it is still located in Michigan: my lovely, but suffering, State with regard to most economic news. Enough said about this as I'm quite tired of hearing about it and the experts' guesses as to when it will be getting better.

Getting the idea that the new venue was a problem and an opportunity? Mostly opportunity, IMO, and I hope the groups decide to remain there for next year. My sales were about even with last year. (I haven't heard a total for the group yet.) It's not what I had hoped for but it wasn't down and I met some new wonderful people along the way. One gal from my yoga class that I didn't know beyond a smile and nod before each class, even made the effort to call me after the sale and tell me how much she and her daughter liked my work. Now that's a nice phone call to get!

This is my little corner of the world. Notice some of the work of the Potters behind my work.

This gives you a view of the work of one the Handmade Paper Guild artists as well as a look at the entire space. Big, big, big.

The soft lighting from the handmade paper lamps made by Liz Faust helped to cozy up the space a bit.

Many thanks to all that stopped by...


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Blue Sunshine

Look what's blooming in my garden today...

Of course, this fun side table is just on a flowery rug.  In reality, we are getting our first snow of the season and roads are quite icy.  Let's be careful out there!

The Handmade Paper Guild Show two weeks ago went well.  In my next post I'll show some pictures.  Then we immediately left for western New York for Thanksgiving.  And now I'm working hard to get ready for a month-long Gallery Show with the Signature Artists Cooperative.  I was thrilled to get juried into this 30-member group in May so this will be my first time participating in their annual Gallery Show.  I have no idea if I have too much work or not enough.  Plus there's always that whole thing about guessing what things will sell.  Oh my!

I wish you a wonderful month of December filled with family, good food and wonderful thoughts.  Something to strive for anyway...


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Paper Mosaic Frenzy

In anticipation of the Handmade Paper Guild Holiday Sale this weekend as well as the month-long Signature Gallery Shop I've been in a paper mosaic frenzy...

Picture frames and 10" x 10" mirrors...

More picture frames and 10" x 10" mirrors...

Some holiday stuff...

Some fun stuff...
Most prices range from about $10 to $50.  I will have larger stuff available too but I don't have pictures of it all yet.

Back to the studio...


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Robert Genn Post and My comment

Two posts from me in one day?  Unheard of, I know.  But I'm all worked up about something and wanted any new visitors from Robert Genn's site to see the amazing variety of artwork possible with handmade paper (some of which was created in workshop settings).  Anyway, I welcome you and hope you'll look around!

Ok, back it up a bit...

Today in his weekly newsletter artist, and all-around-good-art-guy Robert Genn, responded to Tom Bennick, a paper artist who asked why his work, that was partially made in workshops, could not be included in a show.  It starts:

Recently, Tom Bennick of Mountain Home, Idaho wrote, "I'm a paper artist belonging to a small art group that puts on a couple of shows a year. Some of our members are adamant about not showing work that is done in a classroom. Much of my work is partly done in a workshop or class setting and because of this I'm not allowed to show. I completely understand that work needs to be juried, but what's this classroom thing all about?"

Robert's reply to the "What's this classroom thing all about?" was:

Tom, your exclusion from shows is a function of your group and not a reflection of your processes. You can urge change within your group--or you can get out and take your paper and equipment with you. If you still want to be a joiner, I'll bet there's another group who will welcome you. You may have to drive down US 20 to Boise. It's an unfortunate fact that some art clubs and guilds, including both big city and small town ones (Mountain Home, formerly Rattlesnake Station, has an Air Force base and population of 12,000) can be downright draconian and inhibiting, often loaded with outdated attitudes and shibboleths.

The enemy of growth is dogma. Groups should be classrooms of free energy and joy, where all flags may fly, and even sketches done in the back seat of a jet trainer may be juried "in."
Best regards,

Most of the comments so far are disagreeing with Robert on this one.  I think it is because they are primarily painters and fear that all students in a workshop will be painting the same still life and then the possibility crops up of having several of those paintings appear in a show.  What's more, the paintings will be in the style of the workshop teacher, not the painter.  I know this happens, especially as the whole copyright boundaries continue to blur.  I'm not denying that it can be a sticky issue. 

However, I felt that I had to speak up for all the papermakers out there and here is what I wrote in the comment section:

Please make note that Tom is a paper artist, not a painter. This means that he probably uses some fairly specific equipment in a workshop setting that, perhaps, is not available to him in his studio or home. Yes, workshops are teaching venues, but they are also opportunities to explore, share, stretch and do some great work. This is especially true in the paper arts where you can have 20 people in the workshop making paper but doing 20 completely different things with the result. We're not talking about a situation where all 20 participants are doing a pastel portrait of the same person.

Tom, I'd suggest you make your group aware of the type of workshops you are attending so that they understand the difference. Then, if your group is not amenable to change then the advice is good: find another group. For example, The Handmade Paper Guild, Kalamazoo, MI is one of only two Guilds in the country specific to handmade paper. We have not limited our two annual shows by excluding work done in a workshop. And, guess what? I've never seen two things at all similar or anything included that is sub par. Join our group! However, the commute for the monthly meetings, might be a bit tough!

Since pictures (although these aren't necessarily great pictures) are more telling than words, I'll get on with it.

by Lorrie Grainger Abdo

by Vicki Berglund

by Liz Faust

Setting up the recent show.

by Alice Breese

by Dale Menz

by Eve Reid

by Judy Finnegan

If you'd like to read the entire post by Robert Genn and learn more about his helpful and interesting newsletters go here.

If you'd like to read the post about the most recent Handmade Paper Guild exhibition, and see additional pictures, go here.

And, I'd be curious about your stance on this issue.  How do your groups handle it?

All the best.


Handmade Paper Guild Holiday Sale - November 18, 19 and 20

The annual Handmade Paper Guild Holiday Sale is fast approaching.  We always have lots of wonderful artwork and gifts available at a variety of prices.  You can find journals, cards, stationery, Christmas ornaments, jewelry, lamps, picture frames, mirror frames, gift boxes, scrap packs, and artwork all made from handmade paper.  It's quite an assortment!

Some good news this year:

*  We are once again showing our work along with the Kalamazoo Weaver's Guild!  This makes for a wonderful opportunity to see and purchase work by area weavers, as well as by papermakers, potters and a variety of area artists that display with Art Etc., all under one roof.  Plenty of parking too.

*  To accommodate the four groups, we're at a new, larger location.  Come find us at the Kalamazoo County Fairground, 2900 Lake Street, Kalamazoo, MI.

The show is Thursday, November 18 from 5 to 8; Friday, November 19 from 9 to 8; and Saturday, November 20 from 9 to 4.

Here are some pictures from past sales...

Hope to see all you locals there!


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

It's a beautiful day to get some of those leaves raked up.  And, it looks like it will turn into a great evening for my three trick or treaters.  I've got one multi-colored little bird, a ragdoll and a "yet-to-be-determined".  Hope you have some fun today too!


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Life of a Sheet of Paste Painted Paper

A good deal of my time lately has been painting sheets of 18" x 24" sheets of paper using the paste painting techniques that I love so. 

The fall weather here in Michigan has been glorious (instead of the usual cold, rainy days that we frequently get in late October) so I can work in the garage, not freeze, and then clean up with the hose and not freeze.  I do believe, however, that those days are behind me and I will soon be stuck in the basement using the table under the stairs and the stained utility tub that is next to the sump pump.  Not the most inspiring environment.

Here's a sampling of the 50+ sheets that were painted.

Trim edges.  Cut down to 5" x 8 1/2" inches.  Fold.  Count out envelopes.  Package up with raffia.  Label and price each package.  Doesn't seem like too much until you try to do 50 sheets, then it's a back breaker.  I think I'm going to look into having a printer do the cutting.  Each package of 8 cards is $12.  Now that you know what love and effort goes into each little package, it's quite a bargain, don't you think?  :)

Here are some of the trimmed off bits.  I used to throw most of these away.  The stuff in our recycling bin was the prettiest in the neighborhood!  It just about killed me to throw all these away.   But I could only make so many bookmarks and the piles of scraps continued to grow into a mountain!  Then, I started working with paper mosaics and the rest (as they say) "is history". 

Here are some paper mosaic composite sheets made with the scraps from the larger paste painted sheets.  Almost every little piece of the large sheet is used, each and every time. 

With the holiday season just around the corner, these will probably be made into picture or mirror frames.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Current Exhibition - Better Homes and Gardens

I was asked to exhibit my work at the Unitarian Universalist Community Church, Portage, MI.  I was pleased with the offer and gladly accepted.

Here is the Artist Statement for the show titled Better Homes and Gardens:

Lorrie Grainger Abdo is a local paper artist. One July weekend in 1995 she took a papermaking workshop in northern Wisconsin and it changed her life. Inspired by the textural possibilities of the medium she began exploring different ways to push paper pulp to its structural limits yet maintaining a 2D format. Adding bright paint highlights the hills and valleys of the paper texture. Recently she has begun to use various painting techniques and canvas to progress further with handmade paper.

Additionally, she works extensively with paste paint. This is a surface design technique that she uses on commercial papers. These papers have movement and infinite possibilities. The papers are turned into paper mosaic art pieces as well as for home decor accents.

The show Better Homes and Gardens combines her handmade paper artwork and paper mosaic home decor pieces. She often uses the graphic shape of a house in her work as well as simplistic flower forms. These basic forms, while childlike, inspire powerful memories for those living in the adult world.

From left to right:  Heavy House, Hopeful House, Hell House, Healthy House and Harmony House.  Each is 100% cotton fiber and acrylic paints.  Each measures about 2' x 4'.

The house form on these is handmade paper, the background on each is a paste painted sheet of commercial paper.  The one second from the left sold during the show.  Others are awaiting a good home:  maybe yours?

These are paper mosaic pieces, each measuring about 9" x 12".  It's hard to take decent  pictures of artwork when it has a high gloss finish coat.

The mosaic wall.

These are small, about 9" x  12".  I'm showing you these because they incorporate handmade paper (the flowers) on a textured canvas.

I took more pictures but they are too terrible (glare, blurry, etc.) to show you.  Instead, I'd like to share with you something that they have on the alter of the church.  It is a large, multi-panel screen that is decorated with...

tiny paper pieces.  What are the odds of that?  Apparently this was done by church members.  Various commerical papers (mostly magazines and scrap) were used.  I think it's lovely.

The show has already been up for about a month and comes down on Monday, October 25.  If you'd like to see it before then, let me know.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Flower Paper Mosaic Mirror

This mirror was fun to make and I'm very pleased to say that it sold to a local art friend:  Angela Hoffman.  Angela is one of the Altered Sisters here in Kalamazoo.  We meet monthly and share our work, our ideas and techniques.  I took this to a recent meeting to show everyone and she decided that she had to have it.  Nice to have friends like that!

It is pretty big, measuring almost three feet from petal tip to petal tip.  The actual mirror is about 10 inches across.  There are at least 7 different mosaic patterns in this piece and more than 12 different paste painted patterns were used.

A close up of one of the petals.

I hope Angela and her family will enjoy it for many years to come.


Monday, October 4, 2010

Art Prize 2010

An amazing free event is going on right now in Grand Rapids, MI. It's called Art Prize and it has invaded the city like nothing I've ever seen before. As you stroll around town, I guarantee that there are many, many people there that have NEVER gone to any type of art event ever. It is getting the average Joe interested in art rather than just having the usual artists and art lovers attend.  People of all ages were swarming over the city.

It has been compared to American Idol because the viewers vote on the "winners". This means that the most "artistic" piece might not make it to the top but the most "appealing or impactful" piece might. That's ok with me because we get to enjoy it all. With over 1300 entries, the work is up all over the downtown area. If you can get there before it all comes down on October 10, do so. You won't be disappointed.

Here are pictures that I took of some of my favorites. I'm sorry that I didn't make note of the names of the artists or the titles of their pieces.  Lots to show you so this will be a long post!

This was my favorite of everything that I saw.  It made it into the Top 25 but not the Top 10 so it is out of the money.  Can you tell what it is made out of?  The artist, from Olympia, WA is a fiber artist.  The entire, ginormous piece is felt!

A close up of the piece. 

A full size coffin made out of thousands of cigarette butts.  Notice the cigar handles.

This artist made the Top 10 last year with his entry of a moose.  This year he also made the Top 10 with a savanna scene.  There is a lioness and her cubs outside the picture.  It is all made from welded nails.  I liked the moose better.

I can't believe that I got a picture of this with only one viewer blocking the the work.  Usually there were so many people in front of this you had to wait your turn to get close.  This entire piece, picturing a WW1 Calvary troop, was drawn with a pencil.  The sheer size of it is impressive and the drawing skills required are substantial.  However, by the 20th guy, I'd have thought the artist would be wondering when this thing would be finished!  This is in the Top 10.

A close up.

I find it odd that with my love of color, some of my favorites were done with only black pencil.  This elephant made me laugh.  I stood in front of it quite a long time.  Notice the sneakers, the belt, the hair pick, the bling, the hat, the expression.

Creepy huh? 

These guys were either getting ready to jump the little rabbit and have him for dinner or were very intent on protecting him.

This is a Top 10 piece.  Huge, impressive, all made from glass.

A close up.

Also a Top 10 piece.  This artist is from Florida and obviously used local materials.  This was a commentary on the BP oil disaster and the fragility of the life cycle. 

Here it is in its entirety.  Can you see the wonderful things emerging from the branches?  A turtle, fish, coral and other water life on the bottom and land animals as you work toward the top.

I'd like to be able to paint in this style.  This artist set up a working studio so that people could watch him paint.

This was titled "The Gatherer".  I'm not sure why I liked this one as he certainly isn't pretty but it has lots of emotion.  This was created by Brent Harris of Kalamazoo.

If you'd like more information you can go to ArtPrize.  Also, here are my write ups on last year's inaugural event, ArtPrize 2009 and ArtPrize Quiz and Grand Prize Winner.  The Quiz is a fun lesson on using everyday materials in different ways:  always a good topic for me! 

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