Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Small felt artwork

A small sample testing out industrial felt:


This piece is about 8" x 10" and my influence was topographic maps.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Artistic Connections

An older artwork done with cotton that has been hand dyed and painted:

tidepullwebTide Pull, commercial and hand dyed and painted fabric, machine and hand stitching; 22" x 19"; 2004
© Rebecca Howdeshell

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Making a living with your art

There is a very interesting article published by the New York Times called Tight Times Loosen Creativity. The NY Times put out a call for artists to share how the economy is affecting their lives and work. The author, Robin Pogrebin, discusses how the downturn has, in fact, contributed to an upturn in creativity. Basically, artists who did work for specific clients and no longer have that income, are being freed to do new and their own artwork. Of course, all is not sunshine and roses as everyone has to make some money to pay the bills. They work at odd jobs, many of them teaching, and one young man (who they profile in a video) works at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and makes $12K per year. He is very upbeat and positive about the future, as are many of the artists profiled. One works a typical 9-5 job but does it to be able to go to Spain every year for 5 weeks to paint.

How about you? How has the economy affected you as an artist?


Preparatory Drawing; graphite on watercolor paper; 22" x 30"; 2008; © Rebecca Howdeshell

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A recommendation and artwork posted

I love basketry. I know how to make a coiled, plaited or twilled basket and know the effort that goes into being able to control the material and produce a well done basket. I also love the line of the form and the shadows that produce those astounding secondary (shadow) lines.

Jerry Bleem is a fiber artist who makes 3D forms. His artwork is very formal yet he uses a lot of found materials and when you get close you also see that it is comprised of thousands of staples. I was fortunate to see his work in person at a show curated by Amie, Traversing Fibers.


Wade, fish scales and staples, h: 14.8 x w: 16.5 x d: 11.5 in, © Jerry Bleem



Above two images, The Heart is a Mouth; found papers, staples; 1992 © Jerry Bleem



Above two images, Parable, found paper, thread, staples; 21 1/2" x 24 3/4" x 16"; 2005, © Jerry Bleem

Bleem is teaching at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago this summer. A friend of mine is lucky enough to be going and taking his class.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Recommendation – Neville Trickett

I was reading dear ada the other day (a wonderful blog, by the way, highly recommended as well) and found a link to a flickr set of antique kimonos from Neville Trickett. I’ve posted a sampling below:


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Check out his blog, Saint Verde. I especially loved his post on getting up close and personal at the MoMA. For those of you who love Matisse, you will love that post.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Lesli Robertson

Lesli Robertson is an amazing artist, a very accomplished weaver and someone who I admire tremendously. She has no fear when it comes to weaving and instilled that attitude in her students. If you wanted to try something, she would encourage us to “go for it” with comments such as “it’s all good.” Not everything would work out perfectly for us, but in every single instance I got the weaving finished and learned a lot about yarns, warping and how to produce the beautiful open weaves that I love so much.

Below are some images from her website, including her MFA show in 2006. She is currently coiling and casting baskets and doing a lot of plaiting (basically an over and under weaving technique).

leslicoiling leslibaskets

Above two images are Re-position, concrete, graphite
© Lesli Robertson, 2008-2009

lesli8detail lesli8

Above two images, Begin with 8 equal parts, Mixed media © Lesli Robertson, 2009


Nkata Series, Mixed Media, © Lesli Robertson, 2009


Interchange II, Handwoven cotton, rock; commissioned Kiganda raffia and banana stem basket from Namutebi Margret, © Lesli Robertson, 2006-2007


Abiding Delicacy, Handwoven cotton, concrete, fiber reactive dyes; concrete Installation, © Lesli Robertson, 2006

Lesli’s work is influenced by her travels, she has made four trips to Uganda and has lectured and written about her interaction with the people and materials (such as bark cloth) of Uganda.

Monday, May 11, 2009


The two images below show a weaving that I was working on a few years ago. In this weaving, I am adding details by weaving in different threads to create interest in the overall cloth. Once this weaving was done, it has been cut up and stitched to felt artwork and a 3D project.

In the weaving below, I used a raw silk in the warp and bamboo in the weft. I warped it 2" apart and added the weft in sections as wide as the warp and also 2" apart. I love the contrast of the reflective qualities of the bamboo against the raw silk.

This is a full shot of the weaving, which is approximately 12' long and 19" wide.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Recommendation - Nick Cave

Forty of Nick Cave's soundsuits are on view at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts through July 5th. From the website

YBCA presents the largest scale presentation of work by Chicago-based artist, Nick Cave, featuring forty of his "Soundsuits"—multi-layered mixed-media, wearable sculptures named for the sounds made when the sculptures are worn. As reminiscent of African and religious ceremonial costumes as they are of haute couture, Cave's work explores issues of ceremony, ritual, myth and identity. He does this through a layering of concepts, highly-skilled techniques and varied traditions, using materials such as fabrics, beads, sequins, old bottle caps, rusted iron, sticks, twigs, leaves and hair. Mad, humorous, elaborate, grotesque, glamorous and unexpected, the Soundsuits are created from scavenged ordinary materials—detritus from both nature and culture—that Cave re-contextualizes into visionary masterpieces.

Mr. Cave taught at the University of North Texas for one year - unfortunately before my time as I would have enjoyed talking to him! The Center has an interview with him that is very interesting. Here's a short youtube video of Nick Cave discussing his soundsuits: