Margaret Boozer is the Founder and Director of Red Dirt Studio, an artist incubator in Mt. Rainier, MD, and Co-Director and founding member of NY Urban Soil Institute’s Art Extension Service. Over the years, her studio practice of digging native clays has led to collaborations with soil scientists and work that explore intersections of art and science.
Margaret came to speak with our ceramics students about her studio and about clay, it’s color, it’s function and out of the box creating.
“Red Dirt Studio is a warehouse studio and incubator for a small group of independently practicing artists and creative professionals, from fresh out of school to nationally known. We share resources, offer critical feedback and push each other toward greater professionalism in our work. It’s a space for projects, community exchange and radical imagination.”
One of the wonderful aspects of Margaret’s job, working with scientists as Director at the Art Extension Service to the NYC Urban Soils Institute. She is also passionate about found clay in situ and using various clay colorings as palette within her artistic creations. Digging it up and bringing it back to the studio allows her to add geographic storylines to her creative process.
For more information on Margarette visit: http://www.margaretboozer.com/
“I think of these pieces as textile paintings–I’m drawing with fabric and thread to create my own artistic statement.” Cindy Grisdela.
A visual feast, this show is exciting and colorfully, powerful! Even while initially hanging the exhibition, people were knocking on the window, asking to come in and take a look. It’s been very well attended!
Cindy masterfully uses abstraction with form, color and thread to create new experiences that unfold while viewing within varying distances. The closer one gets, the more visually chewable, the works become.
The colors first grab the distance viewer. The forms then entice a visual journey that is a intentionally lead via directional threads, both literally and figuratively.
The forms are then enjoyed via the threading that provides varying treats to the eye.
The swirls, mazes and bubbling of the threaded fabric offer dynamic motion, even when the eye is at rest within any one area.
In her blog, she states,”
“One thing I’d like to convey with these pieces is that my art is concerned with color, line and shape, just like any other art who works in paint or another two dimensional medium.”
“My medium is fabric and thread, and there’s a reason I choose to create that way. The opportunity to add texture and dimension to my compositions with stitching lines is unique to textile art, and it’s that tactile component that drew me to the medium and keeps me excited about going into the studio each day.”
“I do all my own stitching–sometimes with freehand motifs and sometimes with straight or wavy lines, depending on what the composition seems to need. There’s no computer program that does that part for me and I enjoy feeling the texture coming to life under my fingers as I stitch.”
So much thought goes into each piece.. At the opening Cindy explained the mental work takes the longest time. This if followed by the physical configurations. Once they are complete, the stitching can being.
Even the novice viewer can see the slow and steady care and attention to detail of her cleanly laid out stitching. The precision is exquisite.
“If you are going to do something, you should do it well.” she explained to attendees. It’s true and quality from this care makes the works highly memorable.
My personal favorite work is 3 Friends: 67″ x 80″ to 12″
The three main center panels can be construed a variety of ways. To me, on first glance they have a boat-like motif with seemingly tall sails. It immediately reminded me of traveling adventures with friends. The beautiful nuance lighter, background colorings are like a sea. On second look, the motifs took shape as chairs, with legs that widen below. They feel like the steady and firm foundations that lifelong friends have to offer. The adventures are a-fixed a top of that grounding. Cindy told us how much she enjoys every viewer finding their own meaning and how it can be enlightening.
I also really love Aquarius.
Although her works are open in design along the external edges and tend not to have a border, this piece wonderfully shows the exceptionally configured dynamic entry and exits the eye travels through. In art we often are taught to either give our boarders an end point or put the subject mater within the central part of the piece so that our eye circles with the center areas and thus does not lead off the page.
Cindy, however, does this while also doing the opposite. The yellows and greens along the top and bottom capture our brains first.. they are vividly saturated and light. Our brain’s enter here and are thrust toward the center by not only contrasting black pathways but also the stitching of them. All roads lead to what looks like DNA.
Cindy told us the story of her first show in High School, where she coincidently won $5, for her artwork of a double helix. The other wonderful surprising aspect of the piece are the offsetting of left and right desaturated neutral areas that move into lighter bluish whites that work as backlit glass. Although the eye goes here first, the center design pushes forward and we arrive clearly on the subject matter that is fish like and has a character all to itself.
Overall, the show is also calming and provides a surprisingly active zen. The mark of a phenomenal mental artistry. Perhaps it the repetition and unity of the stitching or the rhythm of the line work that is never equidistant but full of human origin and voice. Perhaps its the areas where ones eyes can rest and yet still have a full meal to visually enjoy.
Of course the artist knows… the artist always knows how they want to imbue their work and how to send us on our experiential journey.
Cindy Grisdela is a Contemporary quilting artist, teacher and author of Artful Improv: Explore Color Recipes, Building Blocks & Free Motion Quilting, as well as her new book, Adventures in Improv Quilts: Master Color, Design & Construction. She has a BA in Fine Arts from the College of William and Mary and an MBA from George Washington University.
I was fortunate to get an opportunity to curate a show at The Workhouse Arts Center for July and August. I decided to feature our over 50 community who are in the Arts at Northern Virginia Community College.
We are lucky enough to have adult learners in nearly every class at NOVA. Older students come with a tremendous amount of experience and where-with-all. They are generally very creative and passionately jump into projects. This mindset is shared to the younger students by their simply being in the room with them. Their art is often at a high level of quality, craftsmanship and most importantly, concept. For this reason, it was easy to pull out some examples of what this community has to offer.
The exhibit features the art of JoAnn Ackerman, Britt Conley, D’Arcy Dean, Ireen Cleaton-Jones, Stephen Kohashi, Miyuki Matsuoka, Elizabeth Noguchi, Amy Reed, Tuyen Stricker, Wesley Walker and Dick White. This is a mix of students and varying art department assistants from Ceramics, Fine Art and Photography.
The show will be up for another second Saturday art walk night in August. Please come down to see the show and all of the other artists at The Workhouse Arts Center.
To contact any of the artists email Britt Conley at email@example.com.
Stacy Slaten, our Alexandria 2-D Faculty Arts Professor, put together an incredible opportunity for our students with the Chinese students of Xingtai Polytechnic College.
The exhibition, titled The Great Design Exchange is helping forge international ties between our two countries.
Stacy explains, “The art exchange started with a Alexandria Campus, group visit, by Xingtai’s administrators and professors last Spring 2018. Using an English translator, I started talking to the art and media professors, discussing similarities and differences in our programs and sharing images of NOVA student work. We started a conversation on how our students and colleges could participate in potential projects with economical means. We continued the conversation through email and received an invitation from XPC to share student class images digitally through OneDrive to exhibit at Xingtai in one of their student festivals during summer 2018, eliminating the cost of shipping artwork and keeping the cost to ink and paper at the exhibiting college. I sent ART 131, Design I, 2D collage images to the Xingtai festival and invited the equivalent 2D class at Xingtai to respond to the work and create and send back through OneDrive collage images to exhibit summer 2019. We printed out the Chinese student artwork and hung the show in the Fine Arts Gallery.”
The students have even exchanged feedback and comments on their respective work in critiques.
The students also worked with Lisa Hill in our Graphics program to exchange works between her illustration class and Xingtai’s.
Lisa Hill explains, ” Designers worked with NOVA’s Chinese professor, Dali Tan, in connection with the Department of Arts and Media of Xingtai Polytechnic College to illustrate/design book covers for two compilations of poetry by Emily Dickinson that were translated into Chinese. The books the students could select from were either I Dwell in Possibility or Bring me the Sunset in a Cup. The process included research, thumbnail and refined sketches, final artwork, the typography for the book’s title, author, and relevant information in English and Chinese.
The student work from China was beautifully conceived and produced. Gallery visitor conversations were ongoing as visitors marveled at the beauty and overall aesthetics of the Chinese students. The project is a perfect pairing between two cultures.
Thanks to everyone at Xingtai Polytechnic College!
A very fun exhibition featuring Artists who Teach from the tri-state area of Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia.
Joseph Wade instructs at St. Stephens and St. Agnes School. He submitted multiple 3-D works. His Wooden Chipboard Boxes and ceramic cups are wonderfully paired.
High Water Mark at the Spring House, a monoprint by Emily Shepardson, began, “as a silkscreen print of a small outbuilding,” before she used Akua inks with stencils of her own creation. She says, “I particular like the interplay of orange and turquoise inks and the way of the path take s you into and out of the image.” Emily teaches at Thomas Jefferson Middle School.
Hiromi Isobe created “Hot Step” a lovely Acrylic on Canvas painting that fills the visual space with a seemingless endless journey. Hiromi instructs art at Washington and Lee High School.
Drew Mulligan, an instructor in Arlington created this lovely salt print, Untitled #26. The shapes dialog across the space in a lovely way, where negative space is darker and the whites move the eye.
It always nice to see our Provost, Dr. Haggray. She attends our arts events on a regular basis and engages with everyone in her quest for meanings in everyone’s artistic intent. She and our Dean are wonderfully supportive of all our students efforts.
Amy Bruce, an instructor from Edison High School, created this incredible mixed-media, 100 day project. Each day, she created another 6×6 panel using paint, wax paper, ephemera and digital paints to support a new quote. The students loved this and everyone read through each day’s quote.
Kate Elkins, who also teaches at St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes School, drew this beautiful portrait, titled, Paige, a high school art student. The medium is charcoal on hand-toned paper.
Opening’s offer a great opportunity for our arts community to get together, say hello and get excited about how the semester is going. Our Associate Dean for the Arts, K.V., (seen walking as she views the work), loved the show.
Virginia Teaford, who teaches at Yorktown High School in Arlington, Virginia, came with her family. Her painting is displayed with Beth Coast’s beautifully shaped ceramic bowl. The color and curves in each complement one another. Virginia’s 30×40 painting was inspired by the Kennilworth Gardens in D.C. She explains, the gardens are “Mysterious and overwhelming in scope.” She wanted to capture how the garden’s, “lead you in and encloses the viewer.”
Jade Xia, a teacher from St. Stephens and St. Agnes School, loves botanicals. Her oil on canvas, “Blackberry” is palpably juicy. You can almost taste the fruit. She describes herself as, “a faithful pupil of nature and constantly in awe of it’s great work. If I lived in J.R.R. Tolkien’s world of Middle Earth, I’d be a Hobbit – not only, because I am short and love food, but also because I share their love of “good tilled earth, things that grow and peace and quiet.” With her greater work she describes “the tensions between branches of plants,” as being, “comparable to human relationships, their stories are growth and decay echo the fundamental human concern with life and death.”
Our visiting artists from this exhibit work at both public and charter schools, teaching in the arts. The reception offered a wonderful opportunity to meet up. Hiromi Isobe, from Washington and Lee is photographed by Faylinda Kodis of H.B. Woodlawn.
George Laumann, who also teaches at H-B Woodlawn, created this photograph, titled, “In Memory of Haley.” He explains, the work is from, “a series of digital photographs reflecting the loss I felt when my niece tragically died in a traffic accident, several years ago. In the photo I’m represented by my shadow and the reflection over Haleys image in the cell phone.” This powerful image was placed on it’s own wall in the gallery.
Faylinda’s mixed media work, Cisco Bay is wonderfully narrative. The color appears to jump off the monocromatic background. A wonderful mix for movement of the eye. Faylinda teaches at H.B.-Woodlawn.
One of the anchor pieces of the show is Cecily Corcoran’s, “This is What Democracy Looks Like.” Cecily teaches at Swanson Middle School and her oil on canvas painting pays homage to the Women’s March.
Students really enjoyed the opportunity to meet some of the artists this night. They were able to ask them about the works, as well as their life as an artists and teachers.
Julie Gilmore is a ceramicist who teaches in Alexandria at Mount Vernon High School and at the Workhouse. Her, “Teapot Red Amour” opens the exhibit space with an intimate and detailed ,two piece work. The deep red glaze, called Randy’s Red, offers a lovely warmth.
Kenmore Middle School’s, Jeff Wilson created this wonderfully structured, mixed-media, lit sculpture. He incorporates, lids and fencing material with thread and micro LED lights. He explains, “I have been collecting lids for 30 years and have a collection of about 30,000. Lids have become my medium of choice.”
Jeff spent much of the reception explaining his work to eager ears.
He thanked Stacy Slaten, our faculty 2-D teacher for the organizing the show. Each year we put on a topic show which brings in artists from the community to show in our gallery and give the students the opportunity to see what professional artists are doing, meet with them and learn about how create, manage their work and time.
T.C. Williams, Minne Howard’s, Anna Davila stands with her poignant, oil on canvas work, titled “The Protector.” The work speaks volumes.
Julie Gilmore takes a look at Miriam Cutelis’ mixed-media painting, “First Signs of Spring,” which is created with glue and acrylic paint. The work perfectly pairs with Beth Coast’s wheel thrown and altered Raku vase.
Raku is always a very interesting ceramic process. This work by Beth Coast is another show stopper. She has numerous works in the show and they all show variations on lovely folded form.
Rachel Albert’s “Back Where it Begins,” is a colorful mixed media sculpture created with copper wire and fused glass. The linear quality of the wire with glass beads, wonderfully reflects the lined fussed glass base.
Rachel also created her, “Book of Life” which she illuminated from the underside with LED lighting. The ceramic book with glass overlay offers a wonderful effect with the light. Rachel teaches at Bryant High School.
Rachel also created, “On Culture,” made with Clay, Acrylic and Sand on Wood. The coloring is fantastic. All, small elephants lined up in rows. The work, she explains, represents, “Reflections of race, culture and privilege.
Anna Davila and Amy Bruce discuss their art at the opening reception.
Joseph Wade, also created this ceramic, “Wood Fired Pottery” set.
Another stunning mixed media drawing is Sara Bukoski Lovelace’s “Pink Plants.” Sara teaches at Mount Vernon Community School. “Creating quickly and wildly in mixed media, with many materials at once,” she explains, “is my favorite way to create and where I feel most natural and at home creatively.”
Green Spring, by Janice Rollins, is an acrylic on paper work of the famed Green Spring Gardens, in Fairfax County. Janice teaches at George Washington Middle School.
Julie Gilmore also created this serene watercolor titled, Grandma’s Barn. Julie teaches at Mount Vernon High School and at the Workhouse Arts Center.
Another Mount Vernon High School teacher, Lauren Strummer works with dry point etching. “Home,” is a lovely etching of two lambs, “gently nuzzling.”
Watching my Back is an incredibly colorful and energized oil painting on wood panel. Angelika Schafer instructs at Mount Vernon High School.
Students photographing Allen Beland’s Strange Fruit, a digital, infrared image, printed on canvas. Allen teaches at Yorktown High school.
Jordana Rochkard created, “I Wish,” an encaustic painting with text. She teaches at Patrick Henry Elementary.
Rebecca in Wonderland, Portrait of the Daughter is an oil on canvas work from Ksenya Litvak who teaches at Commonwealth Academy.
The opening was a real treat for us. To meet many of our area artist-teachers and hear about their work and artistic lives was beneficial for all of us. A big thank you and a round of applause to ALL the artists who participated!
What a phenomenal night! The Graphic Design Department put on an amazing topic show, American Stories American Stamps, for our gallery in the Center for Design, Media and the Arts. American Stories, American Stamps features the Art/Design work of Antonio Alcala, Greg Breeding, Ethel Kessler and Derry Noyes who are the master minds behind many of the commemorative artistic stamps for the U.S. Postal Service.
The exhibit showcases the work of four American stamp designers, showing the process of how stamps are created. There is a great deal of research during the creative process. The individual stamp subjects always come with fascinating histories. Trying to cull down the essence of a subject into one iconic stamp can take a great deal of time and resources before the first designs are even made.
There is so much to take in and learn about with this exhibition, including some insight into timelines, and how and when the stamps are issued.
The exhibit provides a well rounded education about the idealism of the American stamp, the creative process and the individual artistic efforts of each artist’s creative mind.
The show also illustrates each artist’s “timeless design principles” and how these, “stories… shape our collective identity as Americans.”
The first half of the reception a chance to absorb all the incredible stamp stories and designs.
The Forever Stamp doors offered up the perfect selfie spot! It wasn’t long before people took advantage of a great opportunity!
One of the other big hits of the night were reading the stories from students, staff and faculty. Many of us created our own stamps and told our own American Story.
These personal tributes to people, places, moments and historic events were compelling and unique to each contributor.
After our initial gallery viewing opportunity, it was time to move over to the next venue to get a chance to learn from them during the AIGA DC Design Week Designers’ Talk.
Lisa Hill, the head of the Graphics program moderated an informative session with three designers: Greg Breeding, Ethel Kessler and Antonio Alcala. The evening’s program states, “Ms. Kessler has designed educational materials for the U.S. postal Service and in January 1997, she was appointed design consultant to the USPS for the creation of commemorative postal stamps. She has spent the last 25 years working with museums, corporations, public and private institutions and professional service organizations.
Greg Breeding studied typography at VCU before beginning, “his career working for non-profits. in 1992 he co-founded the Journey Group, where he is currently president. Mr. Breeding has taught design courses international and is the recipient of Print’s Regional Design Annual, Communication Arts, the Society of Publication Designers and the Florida Magazine Association. Breeding’s first stamp as art director for the U.S. Postal Service was the 2012 issuance, The War of 1812.”
Antonio Alcala served on the Postmaster General’s Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee from 2010-11, before becoming the art director for the U.S. Postal Service’s stamp development program. The program continues, “After working as a book designer and freelance graphic designer, Alcala opened Studio A in 1988. Since then his stido has won awards of excellence in design from local, national and international design institutions including AIGA, Print, Communication Arts, and Graphics. His clients include: The National Gallery of Art, Library of Congress, National Portrait Gallery, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Gallery, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, The Phillips Collection and Smithsonian Institution.”
Everyone loved hearing their stories about the stamp creation process, the team of people that help in research and how they came to be where they are. It was an incredible panel!
For those of us that were lucky enough to pop in and out while at work, we had a great chance to really soak in the various stamps and stories.
There was one designer who could not be here for the panel. Derry Noyes. Noyes, created the Disney Villains stamps.
Noyes’ bio states, “She has provided art direction for dozens of United States postage stamps and stamp products for more than 30 years. Her clients have included museums, corporations, foundation and architectural and educational institutions. Her work has been honored by the Art Directors Club of Metropolitan Washington, Communication Arts, Critique magazine and Graphis.”
This exhibit was possible due to help of many people!
The Journey Group
Ethel Kessler Design, Inc.
Derry Noyes Graphics
AIGA and AIGA Design Week
NOVA Graphic Design
NOVA Alexandria Student Life
NOVA Alexandria Languages, Arts and Social Sciences Division
The Alexandria Provosts Office.
Blog post by Britt Conley
For more information about this exhibit please contact Lisa Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org
Every Month or so, you can find amazing art, right here on campus and down the hill from Center for Design, Media and the Arts. The place? The Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center!!! Artists from all over the world display here and come for opening receptions and gallery talks.
This past Saturday September 22nd, there were dozens of people hobnobbing and absorbing all the art, between 2-4pm at the opening reception for three artists, currently on view at the Schlesinger’s various galleries: Saya Behnam, Teresa Jarzynski and John d. Antone.
Saya is an Iranian artist who moved to America to flee the war and revolution. Her work is not political but a means for universal experience from the essences of color.
Saya Benham who’s stunning color work, currently graces the Forum Gallery show tremendous forethought and effort before the brush ever moves across the canvas. Saya doesn’t just paint, she hunts and forages forests, gardens and other countries for had picked flowers, spices and minerals to boil and extract into her own colors, much as they did in prior centuries and still do in many countries around the world.
She explains her particular piece, made entirely of hibiscus colorants.
The flowers often produce different coloring that varies according to their extraction processing. Reds for example, can be run the gamut between deep red to a lighter mauve.
After viewing the main gallery we journeyed upstairs to the Passage Gallery to meet the artist Teresa Jarzynski’s and view her lovely landscape paintings.
Teresa work revolves around the ‘beauty and mystery’ of nature mixed with the particular visual elements of shape and form.
Between these combinations, resides the “ephemeral, a dream come and gone, a moment in time captured and then dissipated like the passing of a cloud.” A perfect description of her art and show: “The Inscape of My Landscape: Clouds Revisited.
Along the passage is the opening to the Margaret W. & Joseph L. Fisher Art Gallery which is featuring the amazing bronze sculptures of John Antone.
His studio resides at the foot of the Alps, in Komenda, Slovenia. He uses the, ” lost was technique’ for his bronze castings.
John, explains, many of his sculptures are, “Created by gathering branches through walks in the forest, imagined and transformed in bronze, my sculptures invites us to reflects upon the beauty of the natural world and our humanity. I often use the universal symbol of the house in my work as an abstract way to invite people to think and to dream.”
All three artist’s work is on view now through November 4th and the gallery hours are from 10:00-4:00pm weekdays and weekends and during public events. Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center, 4915 East Campus Drive, Alexandria, VA 22311
For more information contact Mary Higgins at Mhiggens@nvcc.edu
And while you are looking for artistic events, this is where our Music Department FREE concerts occur among the many regional shows the concert hall provides.
Please come to our NOVA student and community concerts at the hall:
Tuesday, Oct. 16: NOVA Community Chorus & the GMU choruses, 8-9:45pm, Schlesinger Concert Hall, 8pm
Thursday, Oct. 25: NOVA Alexandria Concert Band & the GMU Wind Symphony, 8-10pm, Schlesinger Concert Hall. Come here both bands perform compositions by NOVA students! Also hear French horn guest artist from the Air Force Band, Kate Fitzpatrick.
Washington area landscape artist, Regina Miele was kind enough to come visit us on Tuesday, March 27th.
Regina discussed her art and what moves her to paint as well as her artistic career. On her site, she explains her focus on the importance of light, not being just a value tool. She’s, “attracted to times of day that express change…”
Her portraits, she adds, “attempt to capture someone expressing their humanity.”
Regina also spent time working with our students with in depth critiques and demos to help them learn more about color and more effective ways of color mixing that would enhance their creative process.
Regina’s portraits are all about mood and drawing out the character of the person or the moment.
She was able to show our students tips and techniques with checking the painterly drawings, and being more efficient with placement and proportion.
The student’s loved having the opportunity to have a professional see their work and advise them on their create endeavors.
It’s was a great couple of hours and a win, win, for everyone!
To see more of Regina’s work visit http://www.reginamiele.com
Post by: Britt Conley, Fine Art Department Studio Assistant