Please Come: Show Opening Friday, Sept 2nd

"Dragon's Rising" 24"

Artist Bio & Statement

All creative expression comes from the One source.  The blessed gift of being creative is my experience of “flow,” when time stops and joy is a stream burbling through me. 

I am fortunate to come from a lineage of female artists and musicians.  Having moved away from my early path as a pianist and vocalist, I had the fortunate misfortune to be felled by serious illness at 28 years old.  Homebound and needing something to do as I moved from bed to couch, I reached for long-forgotten skills taught by my grandmother, mother and aunt.  Thus began a new journey into my artistic soul.  Through the grace of stillness, induced by my illness, I began creating as I felt called. 

I move through the world by intuition, emotion, touch, smell, visual sensation.   Thoughts, ideas and emotions have “feeling,” color, image and sensation for me…visceral experience.  Fiber allows me to integrate my emotional and spiritual “felt” sense with my love for kinesthetic life. 

My art shares my vision of the physical, emotional, and energetic textures of the natural world and internal experience.  My work explores the relationship between nature, soul and humanity, and how the threads of this dynamic relationship impact emotion, personal awareness, and the experience of beauty as the soul is nourished.  All speak to me of that communion which is the essence of Being and the nurturance of soul.

My designs come to me from dreams and dream-like visions, from nature, from the souls I meet, and from my own healing, evolving and spiritual journey as a human being.  I seek to express either a deep felt-sense that wells up from inner experience and body-soul memory, or a spirit I sense in an image.  I explore where that memory or spirit takes me in the process of transforming it into fiber.  In the case of body-soul memory, I seek to follow the thread that creates the bridge between a felt truth within me and visual expression, making visible the inarticulate.  Each piece leads me on a journey.  In the end, I discover a spirit greater than I sensed originally.  The work unfolds to show me beyond, as Leonard Cohen says, “….what I only know the limits of.”

I experience profound communion with nature, with Creation, with my own deepest self, and with G-d through the birthing of each piece.  Poems often emerge to join the artwork, sometimes even preceding and inspiring the piece.  My use of technique is defined by the needs of a given piece.  I love the exploration of technique to “voice” the piece as it wishes to be “heard” and felt.

www.stephanieknead.com

“Abraham’s Children: A Time for Peace”

"Abraham's Children: A Time for Peace" 2002

“Abraham’s Children” was my response to 911. 

It took me a few months to compost that event, for this piece to form itself.  I completed it in February 2002 with the words that came to me inscribed on its back.

 “Abraham’s Chldren” is my plea for peace.  To all the descendants of Abraham: Jewish, Christian, Muslim, we are family.  We have fought as only family can fight.  It is time to work as hard at acceptance and peace.  All the effort, vigilance and commitment we have put into anger and vengeance will create a miraculous and enduring peace for our family.  It is time.

Since then, I have sought the home for “Abraham’s Children.”  Always I have known it needed to belong to people who were doing the work of Tikkun Olam (healing the world) on this level of faith, humanity, and love for this Gaian Earth we share. 

In March 2011, “Abraham’s Children” found its home…with Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi and Eve Ilsen, whose hearts and lives have long been committed to this healing. 

I was honored and blessed to give “Abraham’s Children” to Reb Zalman and Eve when they were in Ashland for a Shabbaton at Havurah Shir Hadash, my own Shul.  I was doubly honored to present this gift on behalf of our entire Havurah Shir Hadash community www.havurahshirhadash.org and in the merit of our own amazing and beloved Rabbi David Zaslow. 

This gifting was a deep blessing to me…a small miracle I cannot define or adequately articulate. I am grateful.

 The Dedication to Reb Zalman and Eve inscribed on the quilt:  

“Abraham’s Children” was presented to Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi & Eve Ilsen, March 2011, in gratitude and honor for your presence among us, your work in the world, within Judaism and Jewish Renewal, for the uplifting of all faith traditions in unity and loving stewardship of this Gaia-Earth, who births, houses and nourishes us all.  Presented by Stephanie K. Nead, on behalf of Havurah Shir Hadash of Ashland, Oregon and in the merit of our beloved Rabbi David Zaslow. 

Thank you for who you are and all you have gifted us.

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Wooded Mountain

I love to be in the mountains, in nature where all sound belongs to the Earth and her creatures…from the wind shooshing through the pines high above to the nestlings of the moles and bugs below.  In between are the streams, pouring down the mountain’s flank, the smell of loamy soil and dry lichen rising under the heat of the sun’s kiss, my own breathing.  My soul opens up and drinks nourishment through my body.  It is a blessing. 

Creating these pieces in my studio takes me back to this communion in nature.  So each piece is infused with that loving nourishment and peace.  It’s a joy to create them.  Pay Pal & Checks.

 

"Wooded Mountain" roughly 18" x 7" $60

 

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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...

“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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“Today the Tao is Dancing”

"Today the Tao is Dancing"

Just as so many ancient spiritual traditions are being renewed today as the world’s heart begins to open again, so this piece reflects an ancient tradition dancing in the light of new energy.

The Tao’s way is very ancient, serene, and patient.  The new world moves more quickly, yet when that movement emerges from a still, silent, deep place it is beautiful dance…in whatever form. 

Thus, the Tao dances.

I accept Pay Pal and personal checks. 

As always, I am available for commissioned work.  Please contact me at sknp4710@aol.com or call 541-292-9390.