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Woman's Work?: An Exhibition at Northeastern Illinois University Art Gallery

The innocent sleep,
Sleep that knits up the ravelled sleave of care...
~William Shakespeare
Tomorrow is my visiting artist talk at Northeastern Illinois University Art Gallery from 3pm -4:30pm, followed by the closing reception the next day with another of the artists attending.  Anni Holm will be bringing her performance piece Networking, a gorgeous work that is part performance, part installation, and part community art.  The reception's hours are 6-9pm.  I hope you can make it to one of the events.  While you are on campus, check out the yarn bombing created by the students! 
It's been a pleasure to be in the show Woman's Work? and has me thinking in what direction my art knitting will turn.  More sculpture?  Community art like The Red Thread Project?  Street art / yarn bombing?  I don't actually know.  I guess you could say I'm in flux at the moment - or twisted in a tangle if you would prefer a yarn pun. *grin*
Heather Weber, NEIU's gallery director and curator, wrote a wonderful essay for the show .  As you many not have received one of the brochures, here is a copy:

The theme for this exhibition was taken from a series by Lindsay Obermeyer which, in turn, was inspired by a text entitled "Women's Work: The First 20,000 Years: Women, Cloth, and Society" by Elizabeth Wayland Barber. (1) The title, Woman's Work?, in the context of art, brings to mind the traditional (acceptable) forms of artmaking by women such as knitting, crocheting, embroidery, etc. Endeavors such as these not only have had to overcome the stigma of "craft" but also their association with the feminine due to their ties to the home and to the family. Yet while our customary idea of family has changed and "sewing arts" have overcome their non-high art classification, there remains something inherently familial, homey often, about these particular art forms. The three artists chosen for this exhibition, Anni Holm, Mark Newport, and Lindsay Obermeyer, share both their process-knitting-as well as the use of knitting as a metaphor for our connection to one another.

PlastiCity by Anni Holm, 2010

Mark Newport knits several Costumes whose bright colors, often recognizable symbols, and shape are reminiscent of the super-masculine action heroes which picture largely in our childhood memories. The concept of action hero speaks to the traditional notion of husband and father as protector of the family.   Not only do Newport's Costumes remind us of heroes battling outside forces but also of our interior world, our home. When juxtaposed with the medium of knitting the Costumes conjure memories of the warmth and safety sought in our domestic environment through their allusion to cozy blankets and warm sweaters. Due to the lack of an actual body to fill these Costumes, when exhibited, they appear passive as they hang limply from the gallery wall. Thus Newport creates performances which "activate" the Costumes by showing himself in the process of making and wearing them.

Superheroes by Mark NewportThe connection of textiles to the traditional role of woman finds its strongest voice in the work of Lindsay Obermeyer. For Obermeyer's series entitled "Woman's Work" she addresses the relationship between mother and child. For example, in her piece Twirlers Obermeyer uses thread to create a sweater whose "breasts" extend and pool onto the gallery floor. The resulting image is one in which the viewer is invited to connect to the biological demands of motherhood as well as the reality of an unending bond/giving of parent to child. Twirlers also alludes to the demands upon one's time which can be problematic for an artist/parent. Historically, for women, a choice must be made between their artwork and their duties to their family. Obermeyer reconciles this dilemma by conflating the two.

  1. Barber, Elizabeth Wayland, Women's Work: The First 20,000 Years: Women, Cloth, and Society, New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1994.

About  NEIU Art Gallery

The NEIU gallery is located at 5500 N. St. Louis Avenue in building E in the northwest area of the campus.  Parking is free in parking lot F the night of the reception only.  The Fine Arts Center Gallery is a visual exhibition space committed to showing innovative works of art in all media within a  pluralistic, culturally diverse setting.  Fall gallery hours are 10am-5pm Mon-Fri.  Please call 773-442-4944 or visit our website at www.neiu.edu/~gallery/ for more information.

Make a Vintage Inspired Angel for your Holiday Table

Smoothfoam and Paper Angel, Vintage Inspired

We trust in plumed procession
For such the angels go -
Rank after Rank, with even feet -
And uniforms of Snow.
  --  Emily Dickinson

Inspired by my collection of vintage German ornaments, these little angels are sweet tabletop decorations for the holiday table.  They are simple to make and a whole choir can be completed in an afternoon.

You will need to make 4 angels:
-   4 Smoothfoam™ 1" balls
-   acrylic craft paint in skin tone, blue, red, yellow, and brown 
-   paint brush - #000 round
-   paint brush - #1 sword or filbert 
-   4 toothpicks
-   8.5 x 11" glitter paper (One sheet is large enough to make 4 angels.) 
-   40 1/2"  white tinsel or red tinsel pompoms per angel (160 total for 4)
-   hot glue gun with low temp setting
-   hot glue sticks
-   8 paper holly leaves
-   gold glue glitter
-   scissors
-   pencil or pen
-   lid to food container that = 4.5" in diameter
-   paper cup 
-   sheet of printer paper 
-   paper plate 
-   a couple of clothes pins or binder clip 

Let's create!

1.   Cover your work surface.
As this process can be a bit messy, cover your work surface with newsprint or brown paper. 


2.   Paint the heads for the angels.
Turn the paper cup upside down.  Take a toothpick and poke 4 holes into the paper cup.  Space them widly apart.  The cup will be your drying station.  Push a toothpick 3/4 of the way into each of the Smoothfoam™ balls.  Pour some skin tone paint onto the paper plate.  Using the sword or filbert brush, paint each ball.  Place the toothpick end into your drying station to allow the balls to dry.  Add another layer of skin tone paint and allow to dry.  Paint the hair, giving your angel bangs across the forehead.  If you want a blond angel use yellow paint or if you prefer a brunette angel, use brown paint.  With your round brush, use the back end of it to make two dots for eyes with blue or brown paint.  With the brush end, use red to paint a small smile.  Allow to dry.

3.   Embellish the wings.
Add a thin line of gold glitter glue to the edges of each holly leaf.  If you smear a little, that's okay.  It will add just a bit more sparkle!  Allow to dry.

4.    Make the template.
Trace the food container lid on a sheet of printer paper.  Cut out the circle.  Fold the circle in half. Fold it in half again.  Open it up and cut one quarter out of the template using the fold lines as your guide.


5.  Make the paper bodies.
Plug in your hot glue gun and let it warm up. Set it to low temperature.  Trace the  template onto the back of the glitter paper. You should be able to make 4 tracings on one sheet of paper.  Carefully cut out each circle.  Roll the first piece into a cone shape with the edges overlapping each other.  You should have a small hole at the top of each cone.  Add a a few dots of hot glue to hold the cone shape. Clamp with clothes pins or binder clips until the glue has set.  Repeat this procedure on the other three pieces paper bodies.


6.   Add the head to the body.
Remove the pins or clips.  Add a dot of hot glue at the tip of the first cone.  Push the toothpick of the first angel head through the hole at the top of the cone, pushing it into the cone until the head is at the tip touching the hot glue.  Allow to set.  Repeat this procedure for the rest.

7.   Embellish the paper bodies with pompoms.
Just under the head  draw a ring of hot glue.  Push pompoms into the hot glue until you've achieved a full collar.  Draw a short line at the base of the cone and push pompoms into the glue.  Repeat this procedure at the base until the entire base of the cone is covered in pompoms.  Add two dots of glue evently spaced between the collar and the base at the front and push a pompom into each dot of glue.  These two make the "buttons" of the angel's "dress."


8.   Make the wings.  
Put a dot of glue on the back of the angel's "dress" and add a holly leaf. Add another dot of glue and place the second leaf.  

Your angels are now complete!  

Winter Holiday Hop :: Paper Christmas Tree

Christmass tree

This December,
That love weighs more than gold!
~Josephine Dodge Daskam Bacon

A colorful holiday tree to decorate your sideboard, mantle or dining table.  Use a paper with a holiday print or upcycle from your stash.  This project is easily completed in an afternoon.

You will need:

1" diameter circle paper punch
1" star paper punch
12" tall x 4" diameter base paper cone
thick glue (I used Aleene's® Fast Grab Tacky Glue™.)
pencil or pen 
2 sheets of 12" x 12" holiday-themed paper in one print
1 sheet of holiday-themed cardstock 

Let's create!

1. Mark your cone.  Begin by making a mark  1" up from the base of the cone.  Now mark every 3/4" from this mark to the tip.  These marks will be your guide for lining up and overlapping your circles.

2. Punch circles.  With your ruler, mark 1 1/4"  rows along the back of your holiday-themed paper.  Cut the paper into strips along the lines.  Using your circle punch, cut circles out of the paper strips.

3. Glue the circles around the cone.  Starting from the base and working your way to the top, glue the circles to the cone.  Add glue only to top underside of the circle.  This will allow the cicles to overlap like scales.

©2012 Lindsay Obermeyer Paper Christmas Tree, overlapping circles

4.  Make a star.   Once you've covered your cone with overlapping circles, use your awl to poke a hole at the tip.  Punch out two starts from cardstock.  Add some glue to the center back of one star. Place the toothpick in the glue.  Add the other star.  Allow to dry.  Be sure you glue the backsides of the cardstock together and not the frontsides!  

©2012 Lindsay Obermeyer Making a star!

5.  Place the star at the top of the tree.  Push the toothpick into the hole you made at the top of the tree.  Allow only the star to be visible.  If the connection is not secure, add a dab of thick glue and allow to dry.

A big thank you to Jen Goode of 100 Directions for organizing this blog hop!  There may be some blogs that will be offering giveaways so make sure you leave comments along the way.


Designer Crafts Connection Blog Hop: Thank You Sachets


"Praise the bridge that carried you over." --  George Colman

These sachets are quick to make and a great way to say "Thank you!"  The size of a business card, one will sway nicely from a car's review mirror or tucked on a hanger in the coat closet.  The lavender scent is refreshing and better yet, a natural alternative to moth balls!

Materials (for one sachet):
12" x 12" patterned paper
business card enevelope die (2 3/16"w x 3 11/16"h - assembled) 
die cutter (I used my AccuCut GrandeMARK.) 
glue stick
1/2" round sticker 
hole punch (1/16")
8" of 1/4"  double-faced satin ribbon 
1 T dried lavender  



Center the paper on the die and run through your die cutter.  (Don't have a die cutter?  Use a store bought envelope of the same size and embellish with rubber stamps!) 

Fold the edges of the envelope.  Seal 3 of the 4 sides with glue stick.  

Fill the envelope with a tablespoon of dried lavender.

Use a 1/2" round sticker to seal the envelope.


Punch a hole toward the top envelope with your hole puncher.  

Fold the ribbon in half.  Thread the folded edge through the hole and pull the two ends through the loop.

Knot the ends togehter.

That's it!  You've made a sachet.   For a lovely twist, mix dried rosemary, thyme and lemon balm. 

Present your gift with a handmade card or tie one to a bottle of wine.  

For more  "Thank You!" craft ideas, checkout the work in the Designer Crafts Connection webring wherever you see this logo.

Each blog in the hop is written by a designer associated with the Craft and Hobby Assocition.  We each have unique styles, so be sure to hop through to see what each is doing with this month's theme!