I've been playing with more brains - working in both new size formats and with some new imagery. My most recent work was very inspired by The Buddha's Brain - which you can browse through at the link below:
And here are the first two pieces in the Mindful Alchemist Series. Fabric collaged brains with improvised embroidery, surrounded by colorful paint. A depiction of the power of our minds to change our thoughts! I'm always working on how to live with the power of positive thinking and both reading the book and working on these pieces were great reminders.
I truly have been all over the East Coast in the last month.
Mid-June found me teaching the Zen Of Embroidery workshop at the Art School at Old Church where I had a full class of 8 students who made brilliant progress in two short days! Look at their gorgeous work here. Free-style Samplers!
I just love teaching! Workshop offerings are listed HERE - Feel free to forward the link to any school or cultural center that might be interested in hosting me!
And, then I had my last two art shows of the year! Rhinebeck, NY and Wickford, RI. The weather was challenging in both locales - hot, hot, hot in Rhinebeck and the ever-present threat of rain in Wickford, both of them making me question the path I'm on....
However, despite the fact that it's grueling work to set up for an art fair, the weather is unpredictable, and the financial rewards are not always there, it really is the most satisfying experience to introduce people to my work in person and get to talk to them about it.
AND, I have to say I was completely flattered that in both places I was told by long time fair-goers that they thought my work was the most creative they had seen and the best in the show. WOW! Thank YOU!!!!
Next up is my big 60th PARTY - I hope to have a houseful of folks helping me ring in the next phase of this creative life! Sign up for my mailing list to get the full invitation and all the details + a pre-party special sale offer
I'm heading off next week to New Jersey to teach the Zen of Embroidery at - The Art School at Old Church - one of my favorite places to be! Can't wait!!
As I gather thread, hoops, fabric, needles and make my handouts and power point presentation (yes - I do that!) - I find myself immersed in the subject and ruminating on what I love about hand stitching and what I've learned all these years.
I realize that there are a lot of life lessons inherent in the medium:
- Working too fast creates tangled threads
- Starting over can be the best way forward
- Mistakes can take you to the best places
And, my favorite:
For daily ruminations and photos of my work and life, follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.
Help yourself to my workshop handout available below - full of links to some of my favorite sites:
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 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
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!
Spring has finally sprung and May has me on the road first east to Cambridge, MA and then west to Columbia County Historical Society in NY:
Saturday, May 9th - 10am to 4pm
Fayerweather Street School annual Art of Craft fair
765 Concord Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138
to teach a Crazy Quilt workshop
Saturday and Sunday, May 16-17 - 10am to 3pm
Columbia County Historical Society New York
5 Albany Avenue Kinderhook, NY 12106
and I am ready to roll after spending most of the very long winter at home in the studio. It was a good time - very introspective and exploratory. I feel blessed to be constantly on the move creatively - cooking up new products that were so fun to make: belts, bags, new little boho fiber art necklaces, and I also added 3-dimensional beadwork to one of my embroidered paintings - what a gas!!
Join me at The Yellow House for Embroidery Classes:
Dates: Tuesdays, March 17, 24 & 31, 3 classes, 6-8pm OR
Saturdays, April 11 & 18, 2 classes, 1-4pm OR
Thursdays, June 4, 11 & 18, 3 classes, 6-8pm
Fee: Members: $60 Non-members:$75
Plus materials fee: $5 payable to instructor first class
News and Upcoming shows
Thanks for visiting!