I Choose Film

bookwork

So excited to be featuring my accordion-pleated artist’s book at the Southern Vermont Arts Center’s group show, I Choose Film. I am looking forward to seeing the art book on display after the years of photographing and interviewing in Rwanda and the many hours of post-production. It’s printed on a luminous, white Japanese Washi, at Indian Hill Image Works, and will be displayed on 12-feet of floating glass so that the light enhances the texture.

The show opening, less than two weeks away, is July 8th from 4 to 6 PM, and is going to be a delight! There will be the opportunity to meet with the many other featured artists and the possibility of having a wet-plate tintype portrait created by the Penumbra Foundation, NYC, (on both Saturday and Sunday). For the young: a “Take Your Best Shot” instant photography contest.

Hope you can make the opening!

Admission is free.

The show is hosted through August 27.

http://www.svac.org/cat-blog-upcoming-exhibitions/405-i-choose-film

http://www.benningtonbanner.com/stories/i-choose-film-opens-at-svac,510430

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Summer Update

The exhibit of my photography Reclamation: Twenty Years after the Rwandan Genocide closed at The Putney School, Michael S. Currier Center Gallery on May 15th. Thank you to all who attended and made it possible.

Stephen Schaub – for your guidance and artisanal printing of my works

Melissa Johnson – for your energy and assistance with a hammer, nail and eye!

Susan Brearey – for your coordination and support in curating this exhibit

Joyce Kennedy – for your expertise and care in framing

Eve Ogden Schaub – for your hospitality and talkin’ art

Claudine Uwamahoro – for your friendship, curiosity and ambition

My colleagues and family for your continued encouragement and honest feedback

A few of the comments from the exhibit:

“Stunning, transcendent & harrowing!”

“So moving. Stunning photography and commentary adds such poignant dimension too.”

“Thank you for sharing with us a culture that has been left behind the scenes.”

“So very impressive – wonderful talent!”

I’m excited to be collaborating with a few artists here in the States and in Rwanda this summer; I will keep you all updated…

Site-Responsive Collaborations in Rwanda

It’s time to go back to Rwanda. This time, it’s all about International Creative Collaboration…fiber, creative writing, photography, painting.  Again I am going with Master Weaver Melissa Johnson so, of course, we will be working with CHAHBA: INEZA PUTNEY Weaving Cooperative Project. And, with Claudine Uwamahoro, our friend from Kigali who visited us in the US over the winter, we will be working to develop a community project around writing and visual art.

New this journey, after researching artists in Rwanda and coming across this recent NY Times article, I contacted Uburanga Art Studio. We are excited to collaborate with them in various media. One such way is through a new self-funded project, The Dreamers, by New York City-based portrait and documentary photographer, Abby Kraftowitz. “Here’s how it works,” she says. “I provide a printed photograph of a portrait or a scene.  The print becomes a canvas for the artist to create in his or her voice, directly on the photograph with any medium reacting to this image of a perfect stranger.” These photographs are coming with us on the plane tomorrow!

Creative Writing will be a new collaboration this year as well. I discussed with the Uburanga Art Studio my intentions, and instead of formulating a plan before I leave, I will be doing a site-responsive creative writing session with the artists at the studio. My plan is to join with the artists as we individually respond in our own writing to either a Kinyarwanda word or local imagery that I’ve photographed all within a cooperative working space. Kigali is no stranger to cooperative working sessions. According to the NY Times article mentioned earlier: “The lively art scene has turned this once-quiet and traumatized city into a place where not just art openings but also literary readings, dance performances and concerts take place regularly in the courtyards of galleries, and artists give lunchtime lectures at cooperative working spaces.”

Looking forward to keeping you all posted on the collaborations while in the field.

Weaving and Leaving… Shetlands to Rwanda

Leaving today at noon for overnight flights to Rwanda to work with Melissa Johnson of The Putney School.  This is a follow-up to the trip Johnson and Putney School students made to Rwanda in July. At that time, they brought four Harrisville Looms to teach students how to weave and create income-generating opportunities working with CHABHA (Children Affected by HIV/AIDS). 

Johnson and I are packing a loom and yarn and knitting needles, so I’m going camera simple–bringing only my lightweight digital Olympus E-PL1 and just two lenses…one new that thankfully arrived just in time this morning before my flight. Although we’ll see as I close the bag…still thinking about throwing in a pinhole and a few rolls of film.

photo

Today’s trip is a second unexpected journey this summer connecting with weavers and textile artists.  In late July, I was in the Shetlands. There were so many highlights to share–like an outdoor circle of 80 knitters working on one project. This circle was made up of both Shetlanders, Nordics and myself… on my birthday no less!

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Knitting Circle at the Böd of Gremista

I was forging my own craft trail– to the South for a lesson in Fair Isle technique with Shetlander Elizabeth Johnston; to the North to visit with fiber artist Iwona Charleson who in addition to spinning yarn from her own croft-raised sheep takes time to create and handcraft one-of-a-kind polymer clay knitting needles.

Then, off to Yell on the ferry where my craft trail got the attention of two young French visitors. They asked to join along while they were en route to Unst, the most northerly point in the UK. I was happy to have co-pilots to remind me to stay to the left while driving to the weaving studio of Andy Ross. Ross is creating artistic and educational opportunities in a remote spot (900+ residents) for all ages. I had been following his blog for a couple of years now, so I couldn’t wait to meet him, see the space and share ideas. He gladly opened the doors to the three of us and within ten minutes had the French visitors weaving on a loom. What a privilege and so much more to share with you all about this part of the adventure. In the meantime, here is a photo of Cami, Carole and Andy at the loom.

Cooking Freak Open House

Saturday, December 11th, noon to 4!

Shop local….stop by this Saturday at Carol Moore’s Cooking Studio in Bayport where I’ll be joining local artisans for a holiday sale.  Carol (aka the “Cooking Freak”) will be featuring her new, honey-lavender shortbread, and I’ll showcase new work from Indian Hill Vermont as well as Shetland prints treated with encaustic medium. Meet artisans Kathy Seff (glass works), Ellen Cremer (Knit and Felt-ware), Sorella Design (Bridge Winery and plants in hand-painted pots), and Adrienne Lojeck (custom designed hula hoops). Hope to see you………www.cookingfreak.net.

Motions: Series II

Amalia
Amalia Covered in a Play Blanket                    Janice Prendergast

Guest Writer:

Janice Prendergast
Artist and Art Professor
Nassau Community College
(www.guatemalahands.org)
Amelia
(A-mahl-ya)

When our eyes met, Amelia was standing alone in shy silence surrounded by the buzz of the busy disabled children in the makeshift art room I worked at in the Fundacion Pediatrica in Guatemala City.  Major burns and muscular deformities had stolen the innocence of the mostly Maya children.  And that day, that Sunday after traveling 7 hours from the highlands to Guatemala City, these brave, resilient children would be screened for hand and limb surgery or hand therapy by the doctors and hand therapists who donate their time and skills for the Guatemala Healing Hands Foundation located in Brooklyn NY.

It was clear as rain that Amelia was pure traditional Maya.  She had the searching sad eyes and enigmatic smile, she spoke only Maya, no Spanish, and she wore the huipile (blouse) of her father’s community and the skirt of her mother’s.  The hand-woven threads with vivacious colors fused to create patterns of ancient Maya symbols in their fabrics.  Amelia’s colors in her dress burst forward but her being remained hidden. Continue reading