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The Artist’s Challenge; February

We met only once.  Then the Pandemic hit.  But so committed to our ArtistsU process, we continued to meet virtually for the next 6 months… then continued for an entire year.  Encouragers, sound-boarders, jump-starters and as friends scattered over the whole state of New Hampshire, we are now going into our second year of challenging one another to make great art.

As a remedy to the creative blocks that can come with these stressful times we are living in, a group of artist friends and myself are challenging each other monthly.  These out-of-the-hat challenges have been fun for all of us and, because we each work in different mediums, has given us all a stretch to try something new.

Here’s the idea: we each have taken responsibility for a particular part to the challenge—color, shape, material, emotion, finish—and have made a “hatful” of answers for 12 months.  We Zoom each month to share our finished pieces, then randomly draw the slips from the hats for the next month.

When we met in January we chose the following: 

  • Benjamin Moore’s color of the year 2021 Beacon Hill Damask
  • The shape of New Hampshire
  • Foam material
  • Sassy emotion
  • A hammered finish

Here is what I came up with:

I first grabbed some images of the state off the internet then sized them in PAGES, printed then cut them each out as a template. I first experimented with cutting out different types of foam–what a crumbly mess–and ended up simply cutting out some balsa. This allowed me to use the hammered element.
Since I am a fiber person I then went to some hand-dyed fabric. I traced then discharged [removed color] in the shape of the state. I tried the more golden fabric but realized it discharged too reddish to blend with the Beacon Hill Damask color. I moved into a more green color on the right; the paste is wet there.
Inspired by the relief map of the state, I used those crumbled, messy bits of foam mixed with tacky glue to create the some mountains on my balsa cutout. I then color matched the Beacon Hill Damask and painted the balsa then touched with foam parts white to represent snow.
It then started coming together. Ah ha, I thought, the shape of the state is a bit like a mountain range. I went to my bin of hand-painted fabrics and pulled out this that looked like sky and also had that damask color in it. Score.
I then layered it and began quilting it. But it felt flat to me and uninteresting. Where was the Sass? What was the point? Then as it usually does when I am blocked, words started coming to me…
Walkin' with my head in the clouds,
between this rock and a soft place.
Thinkin' my thoughts to the birds out loud,
very happy I made this my home state.

So I had the ideas to continue….I made some cotton & wool rag paper dispersed with more bits of that foam to resemble clouds, printed my verse onto paper colored with that Damask, made a polymer head of myself on a pin then assembled it. Check.

The big reveal of everyone’s art piece was earlier this month and here are photos of what my friends came up with:

Thanks for reading. Stop by next month for the March challenge!

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