I know, I know. What is the point of having a blog if you are not going to post to it regularly?
Since my last post we moved and settled into a new place. Most of November and December were dedicated to getting everything put away. While some older pieces made the cut and are hanging on the wall, we are pleased to have a lot of blank walls waiting to be filled with new work.
It took awhile to get unpacked and frankly, the studio was last on the list of rooms to get organized. It didn’t get unpacked until January. But it was well worth the wait. It is truly wonderful to finally have a space dedicated to my work. I have really missed being able to stretch my creative muscles every day and this set up is perfect. Being a stay at home mom to a 1 year old doesn’t give me a lot of time during the day to do art, but having a place where I can leave work in progress, safely behind a closed door, means that I can do a little while she naps in the afternoon and pick up where I left off after she has gone to bed in the evening. Making time and space for my art has been a constant struggle over the years and I am so pleased to finally have a space that allows me to fit it in when I can.
The room is a decent size and gets really great light in the afternoon. Most of the furniture is a collection of pieces that didn’t work in other areas of the house…a kitchen island that doesn’t fit downstairs, an armoire from our old entryway, bookshelves that are no longer needed, etc. I wanted a colorful space that felt energized and inspiring, but since we are renting, painting the walls was out of the question. I tried to bring in color through accessories as much as possible.
Of course every space has its challenges and the lighting at night left something to be desired. There are no ceiling fixtures in the house, so most of the lighting comes from lamps. This room is filled with them. Plus I found a great, inexpensive solution to create some overhead lighting. The corded pendant lamp ($12) is from IKEA and I extended it out over my workspace using a wrought iron plant hanger from the garden store. It lights up my cutting area perfectly.
I have started a new series on old neon signs. I am fascinated by texture and how it can capture the passage of time. Peeling paint, weathered patinas, chips, cracks and scratches are all marks of moments that have passed. And as a designer, I have a long-standing interest in typography, perhaps because it too can speak to a period in history. I love the lines, curves, positive and negative spaces created by letterforms and the contrast of the cool, smooth neon against the tattered backgrounds and shapes containing it.
So many of the wonderful neon signs from the 1920-1960’s have been torn down—too expensive to maintain and not energy efficient enough to consider keeping. The artistry of those signs is being lost and it saddens me to see them disappear from our landscape. They should be preserved and restored. Art can serve as a record, a documentation of what the artist sees and I hope at the very least to keep the beauty of these signs alive in my work.
I am choosing to capture these signs unlit. While the magic of neon signs is often seen in their glow at night, I think there is something special in the moment just before they are turned on. By showing them unlit, I hope to both capture a little of that anticipation but also speak to the loss of signs as they fall in disrepair. Playing with the duality of potential vs. loss.
I have chosen to submit the first couple of pieces to juried shows. I’m not clear on how much can be shared online (all shows have different rules) so I have been hesitant to post anything at all. But I have been poking around a bit on other blogs and it appears that posting works in progress and detail shots is common practice…so here you go.
The Bridge Motel stood on the outskirts of Seattle for over 53 years. In 2007, it was torn down and replaced by town homes. While the building itself had seen better days, the sign was still operating and could have been restored. I love the patriotic overtones of the red and white sign against the electric blue sky in this piece.
The piece that I am working on currently is from the Safety Cycle bike shop in Los Angeles. The store has been around since the 1940s. It has a fantastic Schwinn bicycle sign that partially lights up at night.