Posts tagged ‘surface design’

August 19, 2011

Friday’s Field Trip::Penland Surface Design Class

by heatherkp

I’m finally getting around to sharing the ART part of my experience at Penland.  It was such an inspiring time.  I loved the energy of working in the studio every day with a variety of other artists.  I don’t really have a studio space at home so I often feel guilty if I leave my art supplies out for a long period of time but for me I need to be able to walk away and come back to my work.  I learned a lot about how I like to work while I was there.

Knowing yourself as an artist means knowing how you like to work, for what period of time, when to step away from something and knowing when to push through and let the inspired moment sweep you away.  Being in a class for the first time since some graduate classes I took back in 2004 offered the balance of exploration and structure which also helped me grow as an artist tremendously.  The irony of this is that as a designer I was trying to loosen up and allow myself to be more free and expressive (and abstract).  Each day our instructor began the class with short exercises that allowed us to be gestural, free, expressive and not to over think what we were doing.  These were fantastic and fun.  I didn’t always like the outcome of what I created but that wasn’t the point.  It was about just getting out of my own way and letting whatever creative expression inside the chance to escape.  Some of the works created by the class in these short exercises are below.

Another fun aspect of the class was that our instructor, Jason Pollen (check out his amazing work if you don’t know him!) used Astrology as an inspiration for us to focus our creative energy on.  Each day we discussed a different planet, the corresponding sign and the energy surrounding it.  In this way we were encouraged to channel certain emotions or energy to put into our work.  This class was primarily a surface design class and we began with limited materials and an 8″ x 8″ format using black backgrounds.  The way we see color on black is different and this encouraged each of us to shake free of the “normal” color combinations we might use.  We started with only gesso and color and eventually were encouraged to add stitching, collage or whatever else we wanted to.  I find it tremendously helpful when I’m creatively stuck to really limit my options, within more restricted boundaries I find my self stretching to explore those limitations.  After a few days experimenting and playing in this smaller format most of us began to explore other mediums and formats for our work.  A group of us in the class began raiding the iron departments scrap pile and we began experimenting with rust dying.  There is a good description of this process over here if you want to learn more about the technical aspects.  I loved how as a group we got swept up into this creative process together.

Rusty metal pieces laid out with fabric for rust dying.

Completed pieces of rust dye fabrics.

Another process we began to experiment with was Encaustic painting.  Although this was not a class in Encaustic one of our classmates was using encaustic and there was also a class being taught so those of us interested in experimenting with this process got the chance to give it a try.  As you can tell we covered a lot of ground in this class.  It was so freeing and inspiring, I came home with several new materials, techniques and ideas to work through more thoroughly.  Both Jason and our studio assistant Debra Smith were fantastic about assisting and encouraging each of us in our own directions.

Jason working on one of his stitched pieces for the auction.

Debra’s scarf and a collaborative piece by Jason and Debra, donations for the Penland fundraiser auction.

Debra modeling a purse made by one of the students for the fundraiser auction.

Below are a variety of samples of fellow classmates work and working shots.  My class mates ranged in age from 18 to over 75 and came from both the east and west coasts with all different backgrounds.  Each one of them was an inspiration to me.  I am so glad we all got to meet and work together:)  Thanks to each of you!!One of the final projects I worked on was a collaboration with 3 other students which we donated to the Penland Session 4 fundraiser auction.  I love to collaborate and this piece turned out well.  I wish I knew who bought it…

Next week I will be back to share some of the work I began personally in class.  Some of what I started is still incomplete but hopefully won’t be by the time I post again.

August 6, 2010

Metamorphosis

by heatherkp

metamorphosis= transformation or rebirth

I started this blog back in January after many years of fantasizing of starting my own studio. I put blogging aside and even though I have thought over the last 6-7 months about posting here I remained hesitant as I’ve undergone many changes in my life over this period.

At the end of January I lost my job of over 7 years as a senior designer working on custom rug and carpet design. I was shocked, devastated, afraid, excited, angry, hopeful, relieved, worried just to name some of the emotions I have experienced over the last 6 months. It is pretty ironic reading back to my early January 1st entry here. I will still be exploring this process here but will no longer be doing so anonymously.

I realized pretty quickly that this loss was also a wonderful opportunity to make my own dreams a reality. Dreams are funny though because sometimes when you come face to face with them you flounder and don’t know where to begin. I began my metamorphosis by doing a lot of introspection, reading, researching, talking with supportive friends and family and giving myself time to revel in this chance to enjoy my life and recreate it.

As much as I loved moments of my corporate career it had become terribly unsatisfying over the last 2 years as I became bored, unchallenged and lost creative enthusiasm. In hindsight perhaps these were the exact reasons that I lost my job but I also worked very hard and was a loyal employee; something that is becoming more of a novelty in today’s corporate environment.

I decided pretty early on after my job loss that I didn’t want to pursue the same type of career path. I contemplated going into Non-Profit arts, beginning a Non-Profit (which I still aim to do one day), working in a Museum environment or working on a farm. After these ideas of radical change subsided I slowly realized the value in the many years I’ve invested in the world of textile and carpet design. I love so many aspects of design, I love working with clients to create something that evolves from a collaborative vision into a reality.

The process of collaboration is one that I love and am fascinated by. It is something I have explored over the past years as I’ve participated in and organized many collaborative art projects with fellow artist friends. I will be launching a design studio (virtual) with the dream of providing designs that come from a diverse group of designers and artists. These designs will not be trend driven, they will be created by individuals for the sheer joy of the process of creating. There will be designs that stand alone, photography, design collections, designs that are by anonymous individuals and designs that are collaborations between more than one designer. This is an aspect that I am so excited to explore. Please join me here until I launch my website (www.hkpowerstudio.com). For news, sneak peaks, inspiration and bits of knowledge I will share about this process of launching my dream business.


Share on Facebook Share