Posting photos below because they are the best evidence of a grand time being had! Come along for the ride....
I just got back from one of the best vacations I've had in a long, long time. Partly because I actually took time off to just enjoy myself in new surroundings and I did not work. Sometimes, that is a hard thing for me to do.
Posting photos below because they are the best evidence of a grand time being had! Come along for the ride....
I think the best part of the trip was the feeling of being completely immersed in another culture. Being able to find yourself in French speaking Quebec after just a few hours in the car is divine. All the benefits of a European vacation without breaking the bank :). If you're on the East Coast of the U.S., and you haven't been yet - GO!
Where are your roots located and how strong is the pull to go home? I love the below quote from one of my favorite authors and it's exactly how I feel about my upcoming return to The Art School at Old Church in New Jersey, as a workshop instructor this time around.
An accidental encounter during a walk in the woods close to my home is how I found the job as Executive Director back in 1999. I thought I was happily employed for a documentary film company in NYC at the time, but... when my neighbor told me the local art school was looking for someone I thought, "what the heck" and threw my hat in the ring. The next six years would be my happiest at work, outside of my studio.
I had joined a community of passionate creatives with a small staff, an army of volunteers, an active board of directors, and a devoted artist/founder, the potter Mikhail Zakin. For a real treat, watch this video about Mikhail's journey and the beginnings of the Art School at Old Church!
A side benefit of the job was that I got to take studio art classes, and I really took advantage of that! During my six years I would take over 20 classes at the school, from studying handbuilding with Mikhail herself to painting, collage, jewelry making and more, I was endlessly fascinated and learned so much!
All of it has helped inform my current path and I know I would not be here, working as an artist, had it not been for those years. I will be forever grateful for that accidental encounter in the woods.
I love this quote by Thomas Edison - "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."
I think we often forget that the creative process requires us to try new things and they often don't work out. I've been needing to find another way to talk about this and when I found Edison's quote it was as if I struck the mother lode. That's it exactly! By continuing to try new things, and untested ideas, we are just working our way towards the end goal - the new way of looking, seeing, doing that DOES work. It's a place we can't land on without the stepping stones of failed attempts. The things that don't work are an important and absolutely necessary part of the journey.
I'm smitten with sunflowers, sunshine and joy. In fact, I like to think of myself as a 'joy seeker' and my mission in creating and selling work is to spread joy and wonder.
So, recently I took a giant leap and made a very permanent statement in support of seeking JOY, and in support of this art business of mine. I had one of my embroidered paintings tattooed on my shoulder. It will serve as a daily reminder of my purpose every time I look in the mirror.
Today, I used the same painting to make a birthday card for my favorite cousin, Alberta. She is a year older than me and we have been the best of friends since birth! When we were little we caught tadpoles in the creek, while in our teens and twenties we got wild and crazy together. And now, in our 60's (!!!), we live on different coasts and catch up with weekly supportive phone calls. This is what life is all about!
My gift to you, dear reader, is a copy of this digital card which you can email to anyone to celebrate a new baby or a birthday. Download it here for FREE!
Visit my Etsy Shop for one of a kind embroidered paintings and reproductions of these happy, joyful images and more.... and have a joyful day!!!
I fully expect 2016 to be a fantastic year as I celebrate the 4th year of being in business and my 60th year on the planet.
I've been making art for a very long time. Back in the 70's, I was embroidering the backs of friend's jean jackets and in the 80's I started taking studio art classes working in printmaking, batik, and stained glass. Eventually, I came back home to my embroidery in the 90's when I had two young children and needed a portable, easy to pick up and put down, art form to work on. That is when I produced the very first embroidered paintings. I experimented with adding paint to my embroidered canvases where I needed more detail then the needle could provide. Soon, I got to a place where I began planning out the embroidery and paint for the entire piece before I touched it. My most recent pieces have been more improvisational with only a rough outline of where I want the embroidery, and now I've added fabric collage and beads too! I really do love what I do!!
For many years I created lots of work but just didn't have the confidence to try and sell it. So, I either gave it away or it hung on my own walls. Occasionally, I would exhibit my work and someone would buy a piece but until four years ago I didn't have a real shop, online or otherwise, that featured my work. With children fully baked (grown up and self supporting - YAY girls!!) I decided it was time to follow my dreams and launch Laura Bundesen as an artist and Frisky Furnishings as a business.
Selling my artwork has been frustrating, humbling, scary, exhilarating, exciting and empowering. Getting feedback from happy customers is a precious thing and something I don't take lightly (thank you to all of you out there!!) And I need to give a shoutout to the Artisans of WMass , a group of fellow artisans without whom I would not still be in business today. They've helped me grow my business by providing support, camaraderie, show venues, education and more than a little hand holding.
I have a great feeling about 2016 and have recently been accepted into two very prominent fine art and craft shows, which I am furiously getting ready for. Yes, it is time for a new indoor booth design! And, I've just added a page to this website where I will list all the shows where you can find me in person.
Feeling very grateful for friends and fans of my work.
As I reflect on the last year I can share that it's been a wonderful year full of exploration and energy.
I've tried a lot of new things - some of them worked - like my deep dive into fiber art collage and my new belts (LOVE IT!!) and some haven't - like my experimentation with wearable fiber art (sadly, the cuffs are going away now).
I've connected with more people online especially on instagram and on pinterest.
And, I've taken on a Board position with the fabulous Artisans of Western Mass.
I'm looking forward to making more local connections even as I expand my online presence.
Wishing everyone who reads this PEACE, LOVE, JOY & HOPE.
Stay tuned - 2016 promises to be a fabulous year!!
with gratitude - #ilovewhatido
Both my belly and heart are full from all the Thanksgiving food and love of family and friends, and I find myself looking forward to 2016 with an unexpected eagerness.
First a hearty THANK YOU to all of you who completed my survey that I sent out last month. It really was very helpful to hear what draws you to my work and it has definitely informed my future path. Here's the graph:
So, after a year of exploration in the wearable arts, I am heading back to my roots and will be focusing most of my attention on my embroidered paintings and home decor items. (Although I hope to continue creating both bags and belts as well - they are just so much FUN! and I'm still scheduling workshops because I LOVE to teach. Hey, I gotta keep mixing it up or it just wouldn't be me... ).
There are still TWO weekends left to get to the Belskie Museum to see the Great Craft Sale & Exhibition (Nov 28/29 and Dec 5/6 open from 1-5pm). I'll be there the very last day and would love to see you! I'm also very pleased to announce that I've been invited to participate in a brand new Artisans Boutique in Hillsdale, NJ, opening on 12/1/15!
AND, drum roll please - this month brought me a wonderful new partner. I've found a small Arizona based company, CanvasHQ, to handle the reproductions of my original embroidered paintings. The batch of paintings featured below just arrived yesterday and I could not be more pleased with the quality of their work. And BONUS - they offer free shipping within the U.S. Next month I will do a much longer post about my decision to make reproductions of my work and this great new find! For now, know that you can find high quality reproductions in my etsy shop of 6 different fiber art pieces. P.S. Please also visit my LauraBundesen.com site - which is completely devoted to my fine art.
I confess, I am a bit of a control freak. My day job for years and years has been in the realm of financial management. In that realm there are spreadsheets and accounting programs, budgets and projections.
You can make a spreadsheet look pretty, but the dollars add up and if they don't, there is a mistake somewhere.
In my studio I have had to learn how to let go of that. As creativity takes over, I've found that making mistakes can be an important part of the process. Allowing myself the flexibility to pivot from one idea to another right in the middle of trying to make something has brought me to new places that I may not have gotten to otherwise.
In the process of making a crazy quilt, a collage or an embroidered piece, I often find myself inventing a new path/stitch/look to push beyond something that's not quite working.
I've learned to say Yes! and sometimes it ends up just feeling like magic!
July is almost gone and here I am just sitting down to write for the first time this month. Where is the summer flying off to?
Things started off with a BANG! on the 4th of July weekend with the three day Berkshires Art Festival which is held annually in Great Barrington, MA on the slopes of Ski Butternut.
It was my first time at the show and I just loved being part of it. In the few moments when I had some help (shout out to my fabulous friends: Jill of Material Rebellion and Salena!!) it was a pleasure to walk around the show and marvel at the mix of talent and the variety of work that was available. Many artists came from far away - North Carolina, Virginia, and British Columbia to name a few - and I felt grateful that it was only an hour drive for me. I made some great connections, new friends and got to teach my neighbor's 8 year old a few embroidery stitches during the one rainy day.
The next weekend I helped out some friends at the fabulous Green River Festival AND got to listen to some stellar music and dance to some Zydeco too. A great time was had by all, despite the 80 degree humid weather. I was happy to run around and take photos of all the Artisans of Western Mass members that I knew. I am proud as ever to be a member of this fantastic local group.
During June and July I had the greatest pleasure to be working on a commissioned embroidered painting that I have now completed. A personal and poignant story that my customer shared with me spurred me on to a new place in my work. Incorporating collaged fabrics on a base of artist's canvas, I then hand embroidered and beaded intricate details into the structure of the right hemisphere of the brain. Finally I stretched the canvas onto stretcher bars and very carefully painted around the fiber work, adding a night sky to the background. She loved it and I loved working on it!
This is the 3rd neuro painting in a series and I have a feeling I am just getting started. More pieces are floating around in my brain and the next one has already been started. See my blog post from October for the beginning of this series.
I find the creative process simply amazing and baffling. I don't understand where my own ideas come from, let alone anyone else's. Reading this Huffington Post article by Scott Barry Kaufman helped somewhat - The Real Neuroscience of Creativity, but it didn't lead me to the source of inspiration which was what I was after.
This week I had an idea flash that felt somehow akin to those pesky hot flashes that women of a certain age (that's me!) are prone to. It literally came out of nowhere and I couldn't get it out of my head, and yet I knew it would also be gone soon if I didn't write it down or do it or somehow capture that moment. And, unlike the pesky hot flash it wasn't something I wanted to go away!
And that is how the buckle closure cuff was born. Made just like my fabric collaged belts but only long enough to go around your wrist. I haven't produced these for market yet but I have posted to my instagram account and received some lovely instant feedback. Social media is wonderful for those of us who like immediate results. :)
After rushing into the studio, I got to thinking about the very many ideas I have had over time and which ones have panned out and which have fallen flat. I get especially frustrated about the ideas that somehow are not as good in real life as they are in my head. Or, maybe they don't pan out because I'm off chasing the next idea instead of try, try, trying again to get it perfect. And, this last thought led me to this ADD spoof: 76 Seconds In The Brain Of Someone With ADD at which point I had to just stop and laugh at myself.
I do enjoy the journey even when I sometimes don't know where I will land. June finds me continuing to pursue the embroidered brain. I have one new commission that I'm VERY excited to get started on (insert massive amounts of gratitude here!!) and I have plans for another new piece as well that I hope to submit to an exhibition in California.
It's all good and I love what I do. Thanks for reading and for being part of my journey!
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