Morpho’s 6th Annual Encaustic Exhibition

On Friday, I will be attending Morpho Gallery’s National Call for Encaustic Entries Opening party. This annual exhibit of encaustic artists will be held  August 4 at from 6 to 9 pm at 5216 N Damen Avenue in Chicago.

The 6th Annual Encaustic Exhibition includes 2D and 3D work made with the hot wax method of encaustic. Juried by Kathy Blankley Roman and Dan Addington, the exhibit includes works by several FUSEDChicago members and some encaustic artists I look forward to meeting that evening. The exhibit will be held August 4th through September 2nd 2017. Morpho Gallery’s hours are Thursdays and Fridays from 1 to 6 pm, and Saturdays from noon to 6 pm.

Artists included are: Brad Hook, Cat Crotchett, Laura Graveline, Anna Wagner-Ott, Brenda Erickson, Candace Law, Carol Myers, Carrie Baxter, Cindy Lesperance, Claudia Hollister, David Brown, Deborah Martin, Derek Brennan, Jeannette MacDougall, Jodie Sutton, Karen Ruth Karlsson, Katelyn Patton, Kathryn Isbister, Kathy Blankley Roman, Kay Vinson, Kaylee Dalton, Lamia Holden, Laura LaRue, Linda Mayer, Elizabeth Hubler-Torrey, Patricia Lagger, Penny Park, Rinat Goren, and Teresa Foster (the ones in bold are my FUSEDChicago friends).

For this show submission, I made a whimsical wall hanging. I was inspired by Brenda’s Now That’s A Jig! Shapes and put a bunch onto the Jig, initially thinking I would work with a 6 x 6 shadowbox.

Of course I went off-jig right away and started rearranging the wire as I went to make the shape more freeform.

Soon I had the basic shape to make a wall hanging.

I wanted to incorporate a vintage book page, which then determined the rest of the palette.

After some rearranging, I settled on purple and blue tones in addition to the text papers.

Then the fusing began.

With the fan going for ventilation, I had to weight the snippets down to keep them from fluttering off the table.

As always, the Xacto knife is my friend.

My friends recruited me for an evening meal, and it is always good to call it a day after a few hours in the studio anyway, because you need perspective and also don’t want to rush the design process.

While I liked the piece where it was, I still wanted to add the remaining papers as planned. I did swap out some swatches as the remaining papers were attached.

With big (to me) pieces like this, the wire isn’t always flush. It is a delicate balance of making sure the forms will be straight enough to hold the paper and also keeping in mind how the piece will hang in the end.

A Traveler’s Whimsy by Maike’s Marvels.


I am curious to see how the accepted pieces came together. Morpho Gallery always showcases a variety of techniques at this annual show. 

I didn’t get into the show, but this piece proudly hangs on my own wall until I am ready to part with it.

LEGOs at the MSI

Last week I finally got to see the fabulous Brick by Brick LEGO exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry.

This exhibit showcases landmark buildings while also teaching about structural engineering and other scientific feats pertaining to construction and architecture. We even get an inside view of the Giza Pyramids.

Adam Reed Tucker is the architect behind all these amazing structures. Who knew one could turn LEGO-building into an artistic career?

The Golden Gate Bridge had to be completed onsite and is 60 feet long.

Each display has facts about the real building as well as the number of bricks and hours it took to construct the replicas. Who wants to go to Rome’s Colosseum now?

Children of all all ages can build their own LEGO structures, and interact with a few other exhibits.

The buildings range from historic to modern around the world, and even a structure in outer space that is actually built like LEGO components.

Adam Reed Tucker took the solar panel bricks from Harry Potter sets. He also designs the architecture kits you can buy in stores.

Of course the MSI had to be replicated.

So much detail in each structure!

Visitors are encouraged to use the force.

There is a wall where all types of LEGO bricks used for each display are highlighted.

Disney’s Cinderella Castle is so lovely.

Engineering, calculations, patience and lots of imagination!

I love all the land-and waterscapes as well.

It makes me want to visit the real-life structures too, though I may not want to ride the American Eagle Rollercoaster.

Smaller structures are highlighted throughout as well, though I am not sure who created those.

After all that, we wanted the Great Train Story to be all LEGOs too, but that would be too much to ask.

Prompted by Cinderella’s LEGO digs, I told my friend about Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle, and was thrilled to introduce her to it for the first time.

The Castle sparkles after its recent renovation.

There is so much to see, and each time I marvel at Colleen Moore’s dedication to this project, and her desire to help children with this ambitious hobby.

I reread the book about this project, and love how all the artisans and celebrities involved were captivated by the project as well.

We clowned around in what I call the Circus Wing.

I learned more about some of my favorite elements.

My visit is not complete without chuckling at Jollyball, my favorite pinball machine in the whole wide world (as far as I know thus far).

The museum is such a great blend of playful learning along with instruction about history, the environment, inventions, nature, scientific phenomena, and life.

Brick By Brick remains at the Chicago Museum through September 4.

Everything is AWESOME at the Museum of Science and Industry, and all the other museums Chicagoland cultivates.

What’s your favorite exhibit?

Making a Swarm

With Evanston Made kicking off June 3, I am thrilled to be part of the official Evanston Art Center Exhibit as well as a special show featuring critters near to my heart. SideTracked Studio will be hosting Swarm, a small works exhibition.

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Jason McPhillips, “Negentropy,”
Oil and Gold Leaf on Panel, 10″x10″

The word can be defined in different ways – from an act of aggression/protection to simply a group of animals – and the Coynes thought it high time to mount their own swarm via artists interpreting the theme.

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Lauren showed me her concept art, which aligned with my vision of creating a butterfly mobile, and I am excited to be included in this show with such highly talented artists.

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Works on exhibit will be: Lauren Levato Coyne, Rory Coyne, Jason McPhillips, Erin Gergen Halls, Anthony Cramer, Gail Potocki, John Walker, Erich J. Moffatt, Victoria Fuller, Renee McGinnis, Maike van Wijk, and Stephanie Inagaki.

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This exhibit will be a wonderful spectacle of highly crafted works that are mostly no larger than twelve inches, and an installation made of smaller components by the artists to make one collaborative piece, or swarm.

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The opening reception is Saturday, June 4 from 6 to 9 p.m. with beverages provided by New Holland Brewing Co. The exhibition continues through July 2, 2016.

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I had fun creating different critters, dressing them (aka making up my own species), and arranging them in various ways.

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There is no telling how Lauren and Rory will install them when they combine my pieces with the other artists’ submissions.

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Sidetracked Studio is the storefront studio of artists Lauren Levato Coyne and Rory Coyne founded with collector and advisor Michele Mahon Jahelka. Throughout the year Sidetracked Studio, located at 707 Chicago Avenue, also presents gallery exhibitions of visiting artists, workshops, and lectures. For information visit sidetrackedstudio.com or find them on social media.

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Sidetracked Studio is located near the purple line Main Street station, as well as the Main Street Metra station. Metered parking is available on Chicago Avenue, and you can find residential parking a few blocks closer to the lake. The gallery is wheelchair accessible.

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A lovely local pop-up

Art & Wine Night at Creative Coworking is always a fun event, but even more exciting when you’re an exhibitor.

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On March 18 numerous Evanstonians perused the artful mixed media collages of Melanie Deal.

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They also chatted under my encaustic and steel wire works on the opposite wall.

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I also popped up with my jewelry, which was well-received by many.

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A pair of angels flew to new homes.

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There was much conversation and perusing of art.

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Wine and nibbles were served and the evening was videographed by Creative Coworking interns.

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Photo by Abby Powers for Creative Coworking

I observed my pieces in profile.

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I was thrilled to see my friends pop in and out.

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Photo by Abby Powers for Creative Coworking

You can enjoy pie by Pyrite Sun, get massages from Rebecca and Journal with Maggie.

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Photo by Lauren Levato Coyne of Sidetracked Studio

A few pendants, earrings and a keychain got adopted.

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Check out Creative Coworking’s upcoming events here.

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Photo by Abby Powers for Creative Coworking

Thank you Angela for hosting me!

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Photo by Abby Powers for Creative Coworking

I’m still sorting out details for my next pop-up.

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Photo by Abby Powers for Creative Coworking

In Evanston you can find my pieces at The Collage Cafe and See Jane Sparkle (the latter has a soiree Thursday you’ll see me at).

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I was gifted a rainbow of macarons from Bennison’s Bakery too!

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The show is up through the end of the month, and then a new artist will rotate in.

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So swing by between 9 am and 4 pm on weekdays at 922 Davis Street.

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Photo by Abby Powers for Creative Coworking

Hanging my Show

It’s been a fun few months preparing for Friday’s Show Opening.

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After creating all the substrates and bending the shapes to go on top of the pieces I had to attach the hanging hardware before fusing everything together.

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Then I fused the wire to the encaustic backgrounds and did the hanging test to make sure the shapes would stay put.

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Meanwhile, Downtown Evanston promoted the show in their newsletter, right above Ayla’s Bead’s upcoming event.

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Next came the challenge of transporting dimensional art to its destination.

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My bouncy heart of Communicating Love had to ride shotgun so I could keep the springiness at bay.

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Then came the daunting task of filling up a giant wall.

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I have hung art, but I have never hung an actual show before, and having a vision for how to hang it is much different when faced with the blank wall in actuality.

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But I hammered in nails, and eyeballed the spacing as I went.

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I learned a new vocabulary word, hexaptych, in time to describe the 6 piece grid I made.

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I like how the angles are reflected in Melanie Deal’s mixed media collages as well.

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This one might be my favorite, but I haven’t looked too closely at the other ones yet.

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Such fun details!

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To bookend Communicating Love I added triple heart collages next to the re-wired Piano Scrolls Diptych.

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Tomorrow I’ll also be popping up with my Jewelry pieces for one night only.

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The art show remains on display through the end of the month.

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So come on out to 922 Davis Street for some wine, good company, and colorful art from 5 pm to 8 pm. Creative Coworking is a fabulous space to peruse.

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I think we complement each other well.

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Here’s hoping for a good turnout tomorrow!

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Finishing collages for my show

My encaustic wire collages are all finished and the March show is hung!

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It’s been fun to explore what to make and how and when.

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Some substrates lingered while I tried out various ideas and rejected them, and other pieces came together in consecutive sittings.

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I repurposed some older pieces into different looks. Adding wire and changing colors gives a whole new perspective. The beauty of encaustic is that you can keep fusing layers on older paint.

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While I understand the premise that one must create every day, sometimes you cannot force where you want a piece to go and have to wait for inspiration to strike.

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It’s a balancing act to live the artists’ life and take advice about what that life should look like.

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I think the key is having discipline, knowing how your personality works, and being realistic about other demands on time.

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Pushing too hard to make art can lead to burnout, but not going into the studio regularly will make for a lesser artist.

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I find myself missing studio time if I let other things interfere with my rhythm.

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It is easy to get absorbed in schedules and obligations, but ultimately the passion that calls you to make art will also force you to do it, or you won’t be as happy.

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When my wire won’t bend the way I want it to or the heat gun seems to have a mind of its own and the wax won’t cooperate, I just putter around for a bit and think about what I want to make.

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Filling the Creative Coworking wall was a challenge, and I do feel like I should have made more and bigger pieces, but I couldn’t push myself too hard with other things going on in life.

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I hope you come by on Friday to take a peek. Melanie Deal’s collages are really cool and I look forward to scrutinizing them more.

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Creative Coworking is located at 922 Davis Street in Evanston.

Ravenswood ArtWalk, the third

September was a whirlwind of weekend fairs and pop-up applications. The Ravenswood ArtWalk was moved to mid-September as well, which proved to be a great idea weather wise.

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I had secured an indoor spot, which meant that the weather was lovely on both days.

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Had I been outside, the outcome would have been different, with my luck. Social Media was abuzz with the event.

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Setting up was fun and easy after navigating the three doors. Tony Nuccio set up his digital art next to me.

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I met encaustic artist Flora Calabrese who has a love for vintage illustrations and insects.

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Gwyndolyn Siebert also showcased Insect Art on her hand-painted greeting cards.

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Apparently my booth area used to be the home of District Chicago’s workshop space, but the company has moved to a store on Damen.

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I couldn’t resist playing with their metal letters but couldn’t come up with a good reason to buy the little man and woman.

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Platform Coworking has open non-dedicated spaces for occasional members, and designated areas for more regular business people. They also offer phone booths with discreet lights to show if they are occupied or not.

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The lounge area proved to be cozy (with furniture provided by District) which was great for my friends stopping by.

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I had fun chatting with Erin Rossi Designs and admiring her aluminum wire wrapped jewelry, along with some enameled copper pieces.

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There was time to take the Day 1 Selfie.

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Packing up the first evening was easy, and I enjoyed not having to dismantle everything.

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On day two I was the first to arrive to the sleepy booths.

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I put all my pendants out again.

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Soon traffic was flowing again, though I had mostly looky-loos on this day. They were all drawn to my keychains.

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Between breaks the Day 2 combination was documented. You can view my weekly jewelry combinations and works in progress on Instagram.

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By the end of the weekend I had recouped my booth fee and earned enough to make my coveted purchases.

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For further affirmation, my Geology Rocks wax and wire pendant found a new home via Etsy.

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It was a fun weekend of new connections and new admirers. Here’s hoping for some holiday sales from the business cards that flew away.

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Platt-A-Palooza this Saturday

This Saturday I will be surrounded by flowers and garden sculptures as I set up my shop at Bloomingdale’s Platt Hill Nursery.

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Last year’s Platt-A-Palooza was a blast, and I hope to find new and returning admirers of my jewelry and mini-collages this year.

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It was fun to browse the other tables and see all the household goods, ceramics, garden decorations and gifts made by local artisans.

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Platt Hill Nursery offers all the tools and supplies you need for your garden, and has a plethora of fun decorative items as well.

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Come on by to 222 W Lake Street, Bloomingdale, on September 5 between 9 am and 5 pm to take advantage of sales, delicious food, and creative fun.

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Additional sales happen throughout the weekend, but the artisans will only pop up on Saturday.

Celebrate Art on a Yacht!

I’m thrilled to announce that  I have been selected to participate in the April Exposure showcase sponsored by RAW: natural born artists.

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On April 23, numerous artists will converge at the Odyssey Chicago, a 3-deck yacht docked at Navy Pier, to showcase their creativity and talent. EXPOSURE will include an independent film, a fashion show from an up-and-coming local designer, a musical performance, an art gallery featuring several independent visual artists and photographers, and performance art.

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Tickets to the event are $15 each and can be obtained online by April 16.  The tickets will be $20 at the door. With artists in film, fashion, music, visual art, hair & makeup artistry, and performance art, RAW events come together to form an amazing one-night circus of creativity.

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We took a tour of the Yacht last month to get our bearings, and I am excited to set up my wares in such an unusual spot. The Yacht has 3 decks, named after lovely gems (and birthstones), inspiring me for a future creation.

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One or two bars will be open for spirited libations, and you can peruse the creations of about 40 artists throughout the ship. There’s an access ramp to the boat and the stairwells inside are just like home. The boat will remain docked throughout the event for stragglers, so you can come for an hour or for the duration of the event.

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I had seen mention of RAW in various places, and love the story behind it.

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Founded by Heidi Luerra, the seeds for RAW were sewn in 2005 in Los Angeles. Heidi was seeking a way to get her fashion designs out into the world and banded together with other artist friends to create a platform of talented, yet unnoticed artists. By 2009, RAW was formalized, and a web site collaboration added the online venue.

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Since 2011, RAW has expanded to 54 cities in the United States, and even went overseas to Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom.

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EXPOSURE takes place Thursday, April 23 from 7 to 11 p.m. at the Odyssey Chicago yacht at Navy Pier, 600 E Grand Ave, Chicago, Illinois 60611. The Yacht is near the Shakespeare Theater. Parking is recommended in the West Garage of Navy Pier. Alternate parking directions are here.

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Tickets to the event are $15 each and can be obtained online by April 16: right here. I poked around and saw that a luncheon will cost $50 per person, so getting in at $15 is a bargain! You can put the event on your calendar via this link.

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If you can’t make it to the Chicago event, check out RAW’s calendar for a showcase near you!

Communicating Love

The Textual Encounters show at ARC Gallery inspired me to create two new collages in February. I wrote about Encounters with Language prior to the show opening.

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When I warm up the various wax colors I generally have two new substrates to play with. This keeps me from ruining a layer when I am too impatient to wait for it to cool off enough. Overfusing can create interesting effects, but once collage pieces are laid down the heating and reheating options become more limiting.

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Communicating Love was prompted by the statement that attention and communication are the same thing. I disagreed, but since English is my third language, I gut-checked with my friends (who sided with me—YAY friends!) and checked the trusty dictionary. I always consult the dictionary to confirm the meaning of a word, and find joy in uncovering the layers, origins and evolution of definitions.

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While attention and communication are not the same, they are both ingredients to a successful relationship, so I decided to create my own aspirational recipe for success and added additional words I’d like to see as part of my future. I pulled definitions and highlighted what spoke to me. Then I embedded the paper scraps into the warm wax and fused them with encaustic medium.

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The embedded words include attention, communication, trust, appreciative, respectful, dependable, devoted, worthy, bold, kindhearted, authentic, integrity, reliable and reciprocal. Whether these words are interpreted the same by a partner is what makes a relationship ground for challenge and discovery.

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When the fusing of the collaged pieces was done, I decided to apply the oil pigment technique from prior workshops, and carved in the words love, admiration, fun, joy, laughter, faith, companion, happy, pleasure and agape.

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I thought about adding a wire heart and a small wire embellishment to this piece before I started it.

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Finishing Encounters with Language expanded on that notion and had me wrangling 10 feet of wire into my biggest heart-shape to date.

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Sizing and resizing took some effort.

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Packing this bouncy piece would have been a shipping challenge.

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I am glad I could drop the work off in person.

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I am extremely proud to have my own wall in the gallery, and look forward to expanding on the wire-y elements of future wall decor.

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Textual Encounters is up through March 28. ARC Gallery is located at 2156 N Damen Avenue in Chicago. The Gallery is open Wednesday through Saturday from 12 to 6 pm, and Sundays from 12 to 4 pm.

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The participating FUSEDChicago artists in Textual Encounters include: Ahavani Mullen, Alicia Forestall-Boehm, Amy Van Winkle, April Nomellini, Brad Hook, Carol Hamilton, Carol Myers, Cat Crotchett, Catherine Keebler, Cheryl Holz, Dan Addington, Donna Zarbin-Byrne, Elyse Martin, Emily Rutledge, Jennifer Schmidt, Jennifer Terpstra, Jenny Learner, Julia Ris, Karen Tichy, Kari Hall, Kathy Blankley Roman, Katsy Johnson, Laura LaRue, Linda Sorkin Eisenberg, Maike van Wijk, Mary Krebs Smyth, Michele Thrane, Pat Lagger, Rebecca Stahr, Sarah Rehmer, Shelley Gilchrist, VA de Pintor.

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