Saturday, July 21, 2012

small treasures

small native American baskets made from the original rye grass material
Last Wednesday, I attended a Native American Basket Weaving Workshop.  It was sponsored by the municipality of Anchorage and I chose this as part of a community assignment to complete for a course I am taking that will secure my K-12 teaching credential.  It was held at Russian Jack Springs at the Lidia Selkregg Chalet.  I found that (formally) Lidia Lippi was born in Florence, Italy and then married Fred Selkregg during WWII.  She became a activist and environmentalist, a doctor in the field of land management where she fought for watershed properties in Anchorage.  Recently inducted into Alaska's Hall of Fame, she passed away in 1999.  Russian Jack Springs was discovered from Jacob or "Jack" Marunenko, a Russian emigrant, around 1930 and while he homesteaded the property, it was bought out during the war and actually used as a prison and rehabilitation center for alcoholics.  It was soon turned into a recreational park.  

one of the books available to peruse during our workshop
Often surprised with the hidden gems in Anchorage that I stumble upon, taking for granted the history of place, the roots of where I live and the people around me restores my sense of station.  The two unfinished baskets pictured above are made from the natural rye grass material that the native people used to weave their baskets.  The rye grass was harvested in bundles when soft and when dried, the strands were split into threads to complete the weaving.  Some baskets are extravagant and beautiful, embossed with silk and wool embroidery.  The native people would use these baskets for functional purposes to gather berries, dried fish and nuts.  Shown below is my own creation made from rattan strands.  I chose rattan that had been soaking in onion skins and complimented it with a natural berry color threads.  The instruction was invaluable and I learned a great lesson that day.  At times we had to soak our beginning creations in a vat of cold water to keep the strands supple and workable.  Eventually, you discovered the process of weaving by absorbing part of the heritage too!   My basket will be used for study and take me to another arena in my own personal art making.  
my humble Native American Twined Basket 

Monday, July 2, 2012

summertime stretch

Intermezzo, mixed media on board, 12" x 12", 2012

Summer is usually a high energy time for me; sunshine, long hours and uninterrupted periods in the studio gives me an abundance of new works.  Shown above in this art piece,  Intermezzo, I am playing with mixed media, which is usually an interim work used for study, play and a rest from painting.  Below, It is just the way it is, is my first experimentation with cement and wood, one of my more sculptural pieces and is my favorite test to date.
It's just the way it is, cement and wood, 2012

Hand Study, oil on canvas, 10" x 12", 2012

Next month, August 3rd on the 1st Friday event, I will be showing new paintings called Painting Hands at the  Alaska Humanities Forum.  It won't be a huge exhibit, but it entertains the notion of working directly on the canvas surface and letting the paint speak for itself.
Seemingly Unfinished, Painting Hands, oil on canvas, 38" x 26", 2012

Below is the painting called Summertime Stretch, my newest work, with cement hands and painterly gestures of outstretched hands this art work entails a stencil of my own arms.  I continue to make other works and look forward to more three dimensional creations.
Summertime Stretch, cement and oil on canvas, 38" x 26", 2012