On a Dark and Stormy Night

As it snowed outside, I felt so warm and cozy inside.  I love being in my studio, marinating in creative juices. 

Standing at my window for a moment to watch the snowfall, I noticed blossoms on the tree under the snow.  Then…my reflection and that of the warm room glowed trancelike to my attention.  I captured this image. 

My studio’s warmth on a dark and stormy night…

Creativity inside and out...nature: the ultimate inspiration...

“Spirograph Memories”

“Spirograph Memories”

Not sure where this one came from.  It just emerged…and it was a lot of fun to create!  I loved spirograph as a child.  This piece called for lots of different shapes and motion, a relationship of movement and strong color between the piecing and the thread painting.  Spirograph used such neon colors.  I always felt such joy as the colors created amazing shapes that interwove before my eyes, surprising me.

$280

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Wedding commission

This small commission (approx. 14″ x 20″) was made as a wedding gift for people who love hiking and nature.  Reports are it was received with delight.

This slide show offers some of the creation process, as well as the completed piece.

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The Whole Shebang

 Complete images from work currently hanging, through February 26th, at Illahe Gallery at 4th & Main…with poems.

“Snow Creatures”
 
I reach across the sky to you

With Creation’s Sistine touch

Deep communion

Arcs Self to Self

One Self

Reunion.

Stephanie K. Nead, 2010

 

 

Canyons”

In dark clefts

Between towering walls of darkness

All seems lost



I wander

Vanquished from hope

Absorbed by black

 

Yet time passes

Earth turns

In my wilderness of night

Appears a shaft of light

 

Looking up

My towering dungeon glows

Deeply burnt

Oranges, purples, reds

Warmth radiates

Nourishment as honey to my lips

 

Above me

Through water-worn canyon walls

Appears high heating sun

There all along

I had but to wait

For light to rise

And come ‘round again

 

I had but to wait

For the blessing of light

To know my Valley is not a trapped dungeon of despair

But a carefully carved path of earth

Blessing my night with color in forms of grace

A marvel of elemental communion

 

Small me

Blessed to know the dark

The light

The color

The grace…

I breathe.

Stephanie K. Nead, 2010

What the creation process looks like…

This is a slide show of “Antelope Canyon‘s” “birth” process.   I hope you enjoy this glimpse of the stages and layers to creating a piece such as this.  Believe me, this is the short form!            Stephanie

 

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“Bridges To Nowhere”

"Bridges To Nowhere"

“Bridges To Nowhere” has been a long time in process. 

As densely layered with memory, emotion and meaning as any of our lives, I hope it touches that deep and almost wordless place inside.

This is the poem that — in some dialetical process I do not entirely remember — both gave birth to, and was given birth to by, this piece’s creation.

“Bridges To Nowhere”

this quilt lacks a center

a central form to draw the eye

this is deliberate

this quilt is metaphorical

it depicts a very unhappy time in my life…

 a time of grays and blacks and browns…

little color…

no life..

 when I felt like a stick figure…

wandering, searching…

alone…

down streets that led nowhere…

turning corners to other nowhere streets…

searching for bridges to something good…

finding they only reached another side of pain…

only another dead end empty space…

 all that seemed constant was the ticking of clocks…

relentlessly…

far too slowly…

marking the time until I could leave…

run away…

escape…

hoping endlessly this might mean new life…

New life…

is like lightening…

bright, stark, brilliant, blinding…

deafening, terrifying…

coming with storm…

rending the new from the old…

lightening breaks apart the clouds…

bringing new birth…

color…

light…

after the storm…

Kali’s destruction…

necessary…

though terrifying…

for new birth…

Music was my one light…

it softened the pain and gave me strength…

gave structure to my desolation…

as I poured my emotions over the keys…

Music was the new life I hoped for…

the only place where color still lived…

along with hope…

and the possibility of love.

 Stephanie K. Nead

 

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Art & Craft: The Difference

What is the difference between art and craft?  As I am about to create a “Holiday Sales Gallery” that will be almost entirely craft, this seemed a good time to write my thoughts on the subject.

This can be a volatile topic in the art and craft world (or worlds, as the case may be.)  There is much dissension. 

I do think that art and craft are different.  I also think there is crossover.  There are art pieces that contain an equal, or almost equal portion, of craft (see the quilts of Gees Bend.)   There are craft peices, many, that contain an artisitic esthetic and/or originality to them.  Reducing anything to a label seems to me a mistake, especially as there is much beauty in both.

In general, we have an understanding that craft applies to those objects that also serve a useful purpose, generally in the home. 

For me the distinction between art and craft has more to do with the originality brought to the creation, the idea/vision, the techniques and how they are applied, whether the final piece makes you, on some level, gasp.  If it does, it is art, whether it is an earthenware bowl, a quilt, or an oil painting. 

Artists and craftspeople often see the art of craft and craft of art somewhat differently than nonparticipants.  Because we are “in the conversation,” we are generally more aware of what is being produced, and so of what is original, unique…what we consider art.

A bystander might experience art in a piece that is little more than a semi-original copy of another’s style.  To another artist or craftperson, this would not signify as art.  But if it is the first time you have seen it, then to you it might be.  I think both perceptions are valid. 

To take away someone’s awe at what is new to her, is mean, and it certainly doesn’t encourage her to trust her response to beauty as she perceives it.  Such response is essential to art making and art loving.  At the same time, it is possible to share someone’s enthusiasm while sharing knowledge of the broader context for this art.

As easy examples of art and craft from my perspective, below is a slide show of three pieces I have created: art and craft.  Creating something from one’s own vision in a unique and original way, this to me makes art.  “Antelope Canyon” and “Bridges to Nowhere” are art.  “Batik Queen” shares an artisitic sense of color, but is essentially craft.     

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