This month several FUSEDChicago artists are participating in a blog hop. I was asked to participate by Alicia Forestall-Boehm, whom I see at various FUSEDChicago exhibits. Her work is quite fascinating, as it takes encaustics to a sculptural level, and I love how she takes cheesecloth, wood and wire and turns them into abstract yet energetic works of art. Her pieces evoke atmosphere and make me rethink shape an texture a lot. You can see her work at my recap of the Hairpin Gallery show.
Alicia’s “encaustic and fiber sculptures reduce larger images and concepts into elegant simplified forms. By paring down basic elements of color, shape and movement I am able to acknowledge another kind of space. Ultimately they become symbols of incompleteness that come together in works of art that are complete and whole. My work elevates the humble cheesecloth. When married with encaustic it becomes surprisingly malleable allowing for a broad range of sculptural treatments. The resulting works are abstract representations of urban history that often explores the physical and mental boundaries of public and private spaces we inhabit. I am currently working on an encaustic and fiber sculptural installation for a solo show at Art on Armitage in Chicago December 2014.” Alicia’s blog is at www.afboehmnews.blogspot.com
1) What am I working on/writing?
I’m preparing for my next trunk show at Platt-A-Palooza in Bloomington, August 30 from 1-6. It is time to implement ideas I have had simmering for a while and stock up on popular jewelry designs. I’ll be showcasing a few new jewelry pieces as well as new collage art. I’m also evaluating some Fall exhibit options and stretching my possibilitarianism as I apply to events I don’t quite feel ready for.
2) How does my work/writing differ from others of its genre?
The FUSEDChicago scene is quite varied in and of itself. The encaustic artists I know have a very distinct style and color palette that make them distinguishable among each other.
My twist on encaustic painting is that I add photo collages into the mix which are taken during my nature jaunts. There are still many techniques I have learned that I haven’t worked with enough to truly make my own, but I look forward to practicing and creating.
My wire jewelry grew out of a workshop with Crystal Neubauer and then just kept moving forward. Thus far I have challenged myself to create each wire piece out of a single piece of steel wire, without soldering or attaching separate pieces of steel wire. This has resulted in coils becoming part of my work, and some people consider the coil, which sometimes gets interpreted as a violin clef as my trade mark. I am still studying the wire wrapped jewelry landscape, but my pieces tend to be more rounded and less angular than what I see on a comparative level.
3) Why do I write/work what I do?
When I am in the studio I feel at peace. Time enters a different dimension and the materials and colors fill me up with joy and gratitude. I like infusing each piece with happiness and positivity, and my hope is that that energy translates to new owners. The look of wonder as people examine my work at fairs makes me happy, and knowing that they will own something truly unique that cannot be replicated.
As someone who never quite fit into a mold, I like the quirkiness of my creations, and how even if I try, no two pieces are ever the same, just like humans. In spite of the tendency toward conformity, it is important to hold on to one’s individuality and be aware that what makes each of us different is the special gift that makes us unique and one-of-a-kind in this world.
The necessity of using a heat source in encaustics helps me let go of my inner perfectionist and allow the wax to flow. I cannot be as precise as one would be with a pencil, and yet this aspect frees me tremendously. Likewise, the heavier gauge of the wire forces a more ‘rugged’ look rather than the delicate precision of different kinds of wire. Learning to balance my vision and precision with the energy and ‘pushback’ of the materials is a lovely analogy of life in general.
4) How does my writing/working process work?
I absorb a lot of stimuli and inspiration both in my head and captured on paper, a memory stick (what used to be film), and in other objects. Eventually something in particular will bubble up and come out during my studio session. My studio is filled with inspiration pieces that help me visualize what I want to create.
Sometimes the materials and I work in harmony, and at others the wire and encaustics will nudge me into their own direction, where my vision doesn’t always match the outcome.
I cut up lengths of wire and prepare them (sand and hammer them) for bending into pendants, earrings, bangles or collar necklaces. Then I pick out the beads, decorative wire, papers and other ephemera I want to embellish them with. This determines the shape and form of each piece.
For wall collages, I research images and words and prepare collage sheets ahead of time and print these out. Then I fire up the griddle to warm up the color palette of the day and melt the wax. I layer on the medium and pigments and then fuse the materials to the wooden substrate. As the layers come together I cut up the collage sheets and lay out the pieces to see how they fit the with photographic centerpiece. With each layer the layout takes on more permanent form, and eventually all parts of the collage are fused together.
Avid readers of my blog know Lauren Levato Coyne taught me how to draw. Our shared love for Moths and Butterflies provided initial conversation fodder, and now we enjoy sharing delicious foods on a regular basis. I look forward to seeing her upcoming show.
Artist and writer Lauren Levato Coyne is a collector of exotic and unusual specimens with a focus on the entomological and anatomical. Lauren’s work comes from the intersection of wonder and memory and how the body itself becomes a wunderkammer, amassing all manner of mysterious and confounding issues, dramas, revelations, and dilemmas that either touch us as a fleeting corporeal moment or take up permanent residence in the body’s collection. The themes of body as wonder, memory, and curiosity have been the foundation of Lauren’s on-going series of self-portraits. She is preparing for her upcoming solo exhibition, Wolf Peach, at Packer Schopf Gallery which opens September 5. Lauren’s blog is at http://laurenlevato.com/home.html where you can read her blog hop next week.
I met Lisa Wilson at Shawna Moore’s encaustic workshop and we’ve kept in touch ever since. I enjoy the Oracle Card deck she participated in on a daily basis, and love the insights Being Breath has to offer.
Lisa Renee Wilson is a mixed-media artist, teacher, and blogger at BeingBreath.com. She practices, inspires, and guides others into awakening to life As It Is though Mindful Awareness and Creative Engagement with the stuff of the everyday.
Her art isn’t meant to match the couch, rather to be a reminder of a life fully lived. Her teachings aren’t meant to provide answers, rather, to show doors to walk through. And her writing isn’t meant to instruct or explain, rather, to cause a pause in thought and a deepening of breath.
You can learn more about Lisa at BeingBreath.com where her blog resides, or find her on Facebook.
I’m supposed to have 3 artist links but Alicia beat me to the punch in snagging a few blog hoppers (and some of my alternates are too busy preparing for solo shows), so I will revert back to her post to link you to those talented artists, including Bridgette Guerzon Mills, Robin Samiljan, and Ahavani Mullen.