Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Last Exchange Basket Finally Received: for Janet Bonnell...

Janet Bonnell was supposed to receive a basket from Jessica Parker. Jessica made a lovely basket, titled "Blue Sky, Blue Water." How what a beautiful look, with variegated thread giving a soft suggestion of sky and water.
We have waited and waited for it to reach Janet, but it after 3 weeks, i suppose we will have to call it "lost." So sorry, for both Jessica and Janet. Here are photos of it anyway.

Well, our Summertime Exchange is finally wrapped up! But to make sure Janet actually got a basket, i made an extra one.

Janet received a basket from me, finally! She wrote:
"What a surprise the mailman had for me today. As you all probably know my exchange basket disappeared in our mail system. Pamela was gracious enough to make me a replacement basket. It is a breath taking horsehair freeform titled "Damsel Fly Wave" Pam coiled it around one of her pottery bases with lovely teal seed beads disguising the holes in the base. All of it is stitched together with artfical sinew."
Damselfly Wave has little damselflies (similar to dragonflies, but smaller) on the base at the center.

Wonderful job, everyone! thanks so much for participating!

I am going to take a break from hosting exchanges for awhile. But if anyone else wants to host one, please contact our exchanges coordinator, Lynn Hoyt.

Monday, September 27, 2010

How to Read an Online Newsletter/PDF File

More and more organizations are going to online newsletter formats. There are lots of advantages to this, the most obvious being saving money, paper, ink, and other resources. Getting a newsletter electronically also means it is delivered faster, and is more easily recalled when needed. There is less trash to dispose of, it never gets lost, and does not have to be filed! But there are more advantages. Electronic newsletters allow instantaneous connection to the web - links and emails become clickable, photos can be examined more closely, all without killing trees! Ready to start receiving your newsletters electronically? Let's see what you need to know...

Some newsletters are delivered by email, but many are in PDF format. PDF stands for "Portable Document Format," and was made to be a universal document exchange medium. This means, no matter what software created the document, once it is converted to PDF, any computer should be able to view, save and print the document - as it is shown. Ever had someone send you something, only to find it would not print, or printed off the page? PDF files are supposed to eliminate that. So let's go through what you have to do!

First, you have to have the Adobe Acrobat Reader program. (I hear groaning...) But the program is FREE and you can download and install it yourself. Just go to http://get.adobe.com/reader/ and click on the yellow button to "download." If you are operating in a different system from Windows XP, you will need to click on the link that says "Different language or operating system?" and you will be assisted in finding the operating system you need. The program should prompt you to install once it is downloaded. Done (do a little dance!)

Once you have installed Adobe Acrobat Reader, you can open and read your newsletter. You CANNOT edit documents or change them in any way with this program. You also cannot create PDF's with this program. To do that, you need to purchase the entire Adobe Acrobat program, and you probably don't need to do that for casual use.

Here is the latest Natural Fibers Group Newsletter, in PDF format. (You can click on any of these photos in my blog to make them bigger!)

To make more room on the screen, more "reading" room, you can get rid of the "stuff" at the top of the screen. Try pushing "F11" at the top of your keyboard. This toggles off and on your "fullscreen" option. here's what it looks like with the "stuff" at the top removed:

Can you see the difference between the two pictures? (It gets rid of some stuff from the bottom, too!) Anyway, you don't have to do that, but sometimes it helps cut down on all the "stuff," and lets you see what you need and what you don't.

To page through the newsletter (or find a page you are looking for,) use the page feature at the top

To find something you know is in the newsletter (a word,) use the "find" feature at the top of the page, i bet you can find it!

Wow, what great photos! Want to see the detail on that thatched roof?

No problem. Just use the ZOOM feature at the top of the page to change the size by percentage...(Or you can hold down control on your keyboard and scroll your mouse button up and down to zoom in and out.) What a difference! (Very cool article, by the way!)

The Natural Fibers Group Newsletter is full of links, and that is one of the best parts! How to take advantage of that????? Just click on the link.

A dialog box pops up, asking if you want to go to the link. Choose "allow" from the box, and the link will open in a separate page - just like that! Same for email addresses!

Say you want to save it to your computer. You can do that! Use the "Save" icon at the top of the page.

If you want to print the pdf,choose the "print" icon from the top of the page....

When your print dialog box pops up, it will look something like this...if it is a little different, that is okay.

What you want to look for is the dropdown box that has the option "fit to printable area," which allows your pdf to fit on the page (just like it says.) Watch your print preview pane to see how your documents looks, and print away!
That's about it! Now you know all you need to get started reading your electronic newsletter in PDF format! Let me know how it goes.

Incidentally, the Natural Fibers Group newsletter is published four times a year, and focuses on natural basketry. It costs $10. Check it out!


Thursday, September 23, 2010

By Special Request: More Dinosaur Sculpture

I received a facebook message requesting i post more of the dinosaur sculpture photos from my trip to the Pickens Museum, and i am happy to do so!I just heard from the Museum Director, Allen Coleman. This piece is called "Velociraptor," the sculptor is William G. (Bill) Jackson from Aiken/North Augusta SC. He is currently represented by iF Art Gallery in Columbia, SC.

And here are more photos...enjoy! Remember you can click on these photos to make them bigger!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Basketry: Traditional To Contemporary Woven Art at the Pickens Museum

Two days ago, I began relating to you about my visit to the Pickens Museum in Pickens, SC, for the exhibition, "Basketry: Traditional To Contemporary Woven Art." Sorry, it took me an extra day to get this little blogpost finished and ready to publish! But here goes, finally!

The exhibit was curated by Pati English, known for her weaving and teaching in throughout the southeast US. I have enjoyed knowing Pati at the North Carolina Basketmakers Association Convention each March, where she usually teaches. Here is Pati, walking through the gallery of baskets, surrounded by reception attendees:

Evidently, the Director of the Pickens Museum, Allen Coleman invited Pati to curate a basketry exhibit at the museum. What a wonderful idea, and such a fabulous opportunity for the weaving community! Pati decided to highlight basketmakers from SC and the neighboring states, showing a range of basketry from the traditional, functional use baskets, all the way to the strictly modern-style, non-functional baskets featured in art galleries.

The opening reception was well-attended, bringing interested parties (and alot of basketmakers!) from several states. It was a great opportunity to meet with the artists whose work was included in the exhibition. Above, Tika Tucker explains some of her work to an attendee. More photos of the exhibition, including of all the artists, are on the Picken's Museum Facebook page. But here are some excepts. Most of the works are for sale.

By Barbara McCormick, "Sweetgrass Fanner Basket."

All of Barbara's sweetgrass baskets are woven using the coil method, and include sweetgrass, long leaf pine needles, bulrush, and palmetto leaves, as generations of her family have done. This is an example of a traditional basket that was particularly important to SC. Historically, this style (and material) basket was made by African slaves for use on rice plantations. This particular type of basket was used for fanning, or winnowing, rice hulls. Barbara's version is probably a little fancier than most, with it's braided rim.

By Gail McKinley, "Fish Basket (Trap) of Split Oak," and "Miniature Fish Basket."

Gail uses hand-pounded white oak to make traditional use baskets. These fish baskets were made the way her father and grandfather made them. Gail says she has met people from around the world who recognize this style of woven trap! She also displayed a selection of other traditional use baskets, seen in the background, most of them were typically used for eggs.

By Pati English, "Twill in Black."
Pati's choices of baskets for this exhibit demonstrate her versatility and love of color and form. Pati's baskets use traditional techniques, but she stretches the traditional use basket into the modern era. Her baskets, while still recognizable as baskets, have additional elements of color and shape that obviously transcend traditional use. She also did a fabulous job curating!

By Dolores Von Rosen, "Mountain Range."
Dolores was first intrigued by basketry in the first grade (!!) and now focuses on form and color, dying and weaving reed and seagrass. The lovely undulating shape and rich colors of this basket was obviously inspired by the mountains. Dolores is another basketmaker who uses traditional techniques to sometimes make baskets that are useable as containers, yet are made with an extra aesthetic as well.

By Laura Lee Zanger, "Diamonds and Arrows Mat," and "Chitimatcha Diamonds."
Laura Lee focuses on eye-dazzling plaited designs. This particular color and pattern combination is wonderfully appealing. Though Laura Lee also teaches, (as do most of the artists in this exhibit) she is immersed in mathematics and technique. She spends weeks before weaving figuring out the basket - graphing the weave, taking traditional Native American designs to the next level by combining them in new ways. Her work is as much graphics and surface design as it weaving.

By Tika Tucker, "Migraine," "Bark Basket," Navajo Jewel."

Tika has a real talent for form and color, and this arrangement pleased me most of all those in the show. I love the juxtaposition between the very even repetitive structure of the baskets flanking the random beauty of the natural bark basket, as well as the very lovely subtle color play. Tika experiments with color and pattern and seems to love the challenge of making the squared element round. Her work is always an amazing dance.

By Michael Davis, detail of "Pointalistic Dance."
Michael is very obviously a gallery artist, and uses basket weaving techniques to create very sculptural, colorful, non-functional pieces. Also, he sometimes uses familiar, non-traditional objects in his weaving to provoke and give unique texture. This piece uses quilting pins and watercolor brushes for texture and interest. Another used giant pine cone scales. These are pieces that take center stage, and in this exhibit, the lighting does a dance with the baskets as well.

Me (Pamela Zimmerman) with my baskets:
My little corner of the exhibit contained five pieces of my work, "Trade Cargo: Passages," (on the wall,) "Heart of the Tangle," (on the stand in front of me,) "Catching the Moon on a Star," (black, to my right,) and the sister pieces "Blooming Twisted Sister" and "Budding Twisted Sister." Three of these pieces are from my "face basket" series, and two from my mobius strip experiment.

It is a genuine pleasure and honor to have had my work included in this show!

Of course it is worth a special trip to see this exhibition! It runs through November 11! Don't forget to visit the nice little gift shop and museum.

There will also be a basketweaving workshop on October 30, taught by Pati English, as part of this exhbition. Registration deadline for the workshop is Oct. 16. Don't miss it!


Monday, September 20, 2010

Pickens and Greenville, SC: Fun Places to Visit!

The “Basketry: Traditional and Contemporary Woven Art” Basketry Exhibition at the Pickens Museum Of Art & History, in Pickens, SC which I attended last week was wonderful! What a little haven of culture that place is! I would never have expected it. I will tell you all about the exhibit, but I suppose I should tell you about the our overall experience first. My friend, Lynn Hoyt, and I traveled there Sept 11, specifically to see the basketry exhibition.

We stayed in Greenville, SC, at the Drury Hotel. Have you ever stayed at a Drury? Well, I had never heard of them. I have to tell you, I did not envision coming home and raving about the hotel in my blog. But it was that nice. Very reasonably priced, and included a free hot dinner (with wine, etc, included) as well as a full hot breakfast. The room was one of the nicest I have ever stayed in, and boy did the hot tub feel good! I highly recommend them. You can tell them I sent you, but of course they have no idea who I am. Next time I visit I hope I will be able to take advantage of their free hot dinner, we were on our way to the exhibit's opening reception and had to skip that part. But there will be a next time!

For lunch, we found a fabulous Indian restaurant, The Saffron, and indulged in an exotic lunch buffet! Heavenly.

Greenville is a lovely city, with freeways and a zoo and meeting centers, public murals and a river running through it. We could have spent weeks exploring, but we had only a couple of hours. We did have a few minutes to visit their downtown. The little streets were very charming. They had streetcars, (above, left) which would have been fun to ride in. and lots of pedestrian plazas to sit on and admire public artwork from.

But we only had time to visit the Beaded Frog, (right) and Ten Thousand Villages, and buy up some goodies. We both were wishing we had at least another day to explore and try all the great places to eat and shop!

Pickens is a small town, only about a 30-40 minute drive from the big city of Greenville SC. It has the feel of a real country town, a little sleepy perhaps. But the museum - wow. Definitely worth the visit.

But FIRST we spent some time in the history part of the museum. We saw artifacts all the way from the Archaic period through WWII.

It is a converted jail, and retained some of the lockup features, which makes it doubly interesting. One of my favorite parts was the little cell they kept intact. I am sure they cleaned this up quite a bit for us. Also notice they still have the barred windows. Lynn did agree to stand outside it, so I could take a picture.

Upstairs was the Cherokee Carver's Exhibit, very nice. You can see they kept a lockup door in this exhibit area, also. It is in the wall at right, next to the carved masks.

The Carver's Exhibit was wonderful!

One of the things I really liked was the actual maul and wedges or "gluts" made of oak by Stan Tooni, Sr. These are used to split the logs he carves. These are traditional, handmade tools, which of course are made by the carver. These were made in 2009...Though made of oak and very hard, I'll bet he wears a few of those out!

Some of my favorite carvings were "Corn Maiden," 2008, by John Grant (of stone, wood, and corn, at left,) and "Standing Guard," by James "Bud" Smith (of cherry wood, right.) But it was really hard to pick, everything was so beautiful!

In the middle of the Cherokee Carver's Exhibit, there was an extraordinary bench made of twisted wood. I confess, I was so busy trying it out and taking photos of it, I neglected to get the wood and maker information...but here it is! Lynn was kind enough to sit on it for me, so you can get the scale. I would LOVE to have a whole house full of furniture like this. It was comfortable, too! (Don't forget, you can click on any of these photos to see them closer!)

Another great part of the downstairs exhibits was this fabulous dinosaur skeleton constructed of metal pieces...I thought it was a real raptor skeleton at first! It is constructed largely of rebar and large scale machine chains - like bicycle chains, but huge!

Visit again tomorrow and I hope to have my basketry exhibit photos up...the BEST PART!