I have always been a curious person. Each year that I share the Featured Artist Wall with another member of Gallery Calapooia, I try to bring the results of this curiosity to the patrons of the gallery. This year, I have been intrigued by two interesting aspects of feltmaking that I have observed for the last few years. One of these is “differential shrinkage” and the other is the use of sumi ink on felt to paint directly onto the felt.
Differential Shrinkage- This is the physical phenomena where you can have and control different shrinkage in various parts of the felted object. Because an area shrinks more than an adjacent area, you will get controlled textured surfaces. Some of the factors involved with this are:
1. A small amount of wool will shrink more than a large amount of wool. For instance, if the background is only two layers of wool fiber and the foreground has 6-8 layers, the background will shrink in more and cause the foreground to bulge out.
2. If the background is regular fiber and the foreground is a shape cut out of partially felted fiber, the background will shrink more than the foreground. Something that has already started shrinking won’t shrink as much as fiber that hasn’t done any shrinking yet.
So to combine these two factors, the partial felt shape can be made of more layers than the background fiber. Then the partial felt area will bulge out as the background shrinks in.
This is a really cool phenomena that occurs because of the natural properties of wool itself!
I was able to take a class from Ricarda Assman, one of the felt artists who is working with this property of wool fiber. Ricarda is from Germany and she was teaching at a biennial conference in Wisconsin this past June. I was so excited when I saw her name on the list of teachers because she is one of the felters on my “bucket list”. This is my list of people who are doing exciting things with their felt.
Sumi Ink Painting- I really like the mark made by a person dragging ink over a surface. The gesture is so human and helps me to remember that I need to be not just in my head but also in my heart. For the last few years, I have noticed two world felters working with this technique- Jorie Johnson (who lives in Japan) and Fiona Duthie (who lives in Canada). Since neither of these people were teaching this technique at a time when I could take it, I started my own experiments this summer. At first, the ink washed out. I was painting it on to silk fabric and then using that silk fabric in my felting. It mainly washed away during the felting process which involves a lot of water and soap.
Then I changed my procedures a bit and it started to stay in! I am working with painting the silk I will felt onto a wool background. I am also painting onto a partially felted wool textile that has silk fabric felted on to it. And I am painting straight on to a finished piece of felt- three different ways to work with this technique.
I hope you will come and see the results of my explorations at the opening reception of the October Featured Artists. My Gallery Calapooia compatriot Susan Bourdet and I will be happy to talk with you about our work and share our enthusiasm with you. October 5, Gallery Calapooia, 6:00-8:00.
Susan Bourdet’s nature paintings combine soft-edged, impressionistic backgrounds with delicately detailed foregrounds, a technique she has developed over 30 years of painting. An avid birder and nature-lover, Susan is dedicated to accuracy in portraying both the birds and the botanical elements of her settings. She does extensive field work here in the Willamette Valley, where she finds and photographs her subjects in lush native settings. “Often it’s the little things, like the sunlight illuminating a single autumn leaf or the deep purple color of a ripe blackberry, that will give me an idea for a painting. I like to get out there and hike with my camera, just letting those little visual gems hit me as I go. Birds are difficult to photograph and I’m a pretty average photographer. My reference photos are often lousy by photographers’ standards, but they give me essential information about my subject - the pose, the behavior, or how the light strikes the little form.
In planning a painting, I look for a good bird pose and, if I’m lucky enough to catch it, magical light that ties the whole idea together." Most of Susan’s paintings are being based on a series of unrelated photographs and field sketches, which have to work together to create a believable image. Susan says that the quest for that “good idea’’ and the designing of the composition are most time-consuming parts of her painting process. Once the idea has jelled, the painting itself goes quickly. “Painting is like bringing the whole experience to life again - rediscovering the bird and the little elements that rang my bell when I saw them out there in the field. I love the painting process from the first brushstrokes to the final details."
For this October show, Susan has created 14 new watercolors. Each piece is inspired by the colors and textures of late summer and fall in the Willamette Valley. Shown for the first time, these paintings range in size from small gems to full-sized creations. Susan’s 2019 calendars can be purchased and signed by the artist at the reception.
Please join us on Friday, October 5th from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. to enjoy a the work of Susan Bourdet and Pat Spark at Gallery Calapooia, 222 First Ave. W. in downtown Albany.
The reception will include the works of Bourdet, Spark and 18 other mid-valley artists. Wine, beer and snacks will be served.
Linda Herd invited to participate in 15th annual Philomath Open Studios Tour October 20, 21 and 27, 28
See and buy art at its source during the 15th Annual Philomath Open Studios Tour, open two weekends, October 20, 21 and 27, 28. POST artists open their studios for free, self-guided tours from Noon to 5pm. Local wine tasting rooms also host pop up studios. This year's tour has 42 artists at 16 studios. There are 18 new artists on the Tour this year including seven students, four at the Philomath High School art room with their teacher, Emily Thomas, and three Albany High students at the studio of their teacher, Babette Grunwald.
The Tour brings the visitor “backstage” to meet the artist behind the work, ask questions and see the approach, tools and process for creating a work of art. A full spectrum of art mediums is shown; including ceramics, metal work, jewelry, fiber art, photography, glass work, and a variety of painting mediums. Distinctive yellow signs keep visitors on track through the route where the studios are located.
Tour Guide Maps and artist information are online at http://www.PhilomathOpenStudios.com Brochures are available at the Benton County Museum, the Arts Center in Corvallis and galleries in the area.
Linda will also be exhibiting in New York, New York October 17th and 18th
Designer Open House
October 17 and 18, 3 to 9 p.m.
27 East 22nd Street, 7th Floor
New York, NY
(between Park Avenue and Broadway)
Gallery Calapooia 5th Anniversary Show
On September 7th, Gallery Calapooia celebrated 5 years in business with a lively anniversary celebration. For this landmark in our story, we presented a special showcase of original art featuring creations by past and current members, as well as the work of our newest member, Rachael Oehler. The event was catered by Sybaris, and we were entertained by String Theory with Tom Hughes and Kim Crawford. The gallery was packed with friends, new and old! Our members are grateful for the enthusiastic support Albany has given us since we opened out doors in 2013, and we’re looking forward to many more years of good times in the community.
-The artists of Gallery Calapooia
Local Happenings and Upcoming Events
Nancy Anderson will exhibit alongside 4 other calligraphers at Albany Public Library
During September and October, Nancy Anderson of Gallery Calapooia and four other calligraphers, Susan Wickes, Penny White, Laura Drager and Sandi Cormier, are exhibiting their art on the second floor of the main branch of the Albany Public Library, 2450 14th Ave. SE.
The exhibit can be viewed during library hours which are: Monday-Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Thursday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m.
More than 30 pieces of calligraphy are on exhibit throughout the second floor.
Emerald Art Center visits the Brownsville Art Center
Let Gallery Calapooia help you with special gifts by using our Gift Registry. Come in, note items in our gift registry that you would like to receive as gifts, and let your loved one know so that he or she can get you the perfect gift at Gallery Calapooia. We also have Gift Certificates available.
Gallery Calapooia is a 501(c)(3) organization.
Donations to the gallery are tax-deductible.
Gallery Calapooia is now accepting applications for membership