Archive for November, 2010

A bunch of new small works are emerging….

November 24, 2010

Small Tangled Webs and Wall Drawings emerging from within.

Several small textile paintings all in a row on the long arm machine, ready for stitching.

Tangled Web #5 revealing itself in stages:

Tangled Web 5, states 1(left) and 2(right).

The studio is abuzz with abundant creativity

And I’m so very appreciative of this Vortex moment – pure creative life, love, family, friends, and holiday time.  Happy Thanksgiving!


My Earliest Self Portrait

November 16, 2010

I haven’t made many self portraits lately, but I did make several of them during my art school days.

"Self Portrait with Apron" © 1990 Ayn Hanna, 60" x 48", mixed media

The image above is a large mixed media self portrait drawing I did in grad school. I spent so many hours every day in the print studio back then wearing my printmaker’s apron that I decided to incorporate the actual apron itself into this drawing, gluing it directly to the paper surface.

I recently attended Nicola  Jarvis‘ visiting artist’s lecture at the CSU Fibers Department.  Nicola is an artist and deputy course leader at Royal School of Needlework, Hampton Court Palace, Surrey, England.  She is a master of embroidery stitching and presented many wonderful examples of her students’ work as well as shared many stories and images of her own work.

While having moved on to other subject matter now, earlier in her career Nicola spent ~20 years focused on doing self portraits, and some of her work has been focused on her early childhood.

Listening to Nicola’s stories and seeing some of her self portraits led me to reminiscing a bit about the self portraits I have made, and thinking about the earliest self portrait that I can remember doing.

Thanks to my wonderful Mom, who saved just about every piece of art I ever made as a kid and can still find the whole lot of them (it’s nice to feel so loved!), I do have a copy of the earliest self portrait I can remember making.

"Self Portrait" © Ayn Hanna, ink on paper

I believe this portrait was from my early Jr. high school days and vaguely remember that our teacher’s instructions were to draw a picture of ourselves and then underneath it, we were to make 2 columns and write lists of the personality traits we felt we had that were “Great” on the left and the traits we felt we “Needed to Work on Improving” on the right.  (Hmmm, now wouldn’t that be a fun exercise to do with our family, friends, or co-workers?  We could probably learn a lot about how those that we interact with see themselves….)

For this exercise, we had to draw ourselves from memory, sitting at our desks in the classroom….no mirrors available to be able to draw from direct observation.  I remember closing my eyes and trying to visualize that image of myself I’d see in the bathroom mirror every morning.  I also remember being really conscious about having lots of freckles – so those are freckles not chicken pox on my portrait.  And according to my lists, looks like I’ve always been a fierce competitor and tired since about age 13.

How about you?  Do you remember your first self portrait?  Do you still have it?  What memories do you have about the first time you drew yourself?

Happy Veterans Day: A Navy Quilt Challenge Award Winner

November 11, 2010

"Keep Your Mach Up, Always Check Your Six" ©2010 Ayn Hanna, 41"x42", Textile Painting (Cotton Fabric, Fabric Paint & Ink, Cotton Thread, Cotton Batting)

Openings and Closings

“You are a Navy Quilt Challenge Winner!”

What a nice message to find in my email inbox on this Veterans’ Day.  “Keep Your Mach Up, Always Check Your Six” is the winner of the “Best Use of Aviation Theme” Award.  Both of the quilts I made for this Navy Quilt show were inspired by and in honor of Navy Pilot and Commander Captain Bill Catlett.

You can see all of the award winning quilts in the show here and the full list of venues where this group of quilts will be on tour throughout 2010 – 2011 here.  The debut showing of the whole quilt collection is this weekend, 11/12-11/13, at the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, FL.

While the Navy Quilt Show and year-long tour is kicking off this weekend, 2 other shows that I have artwork in are coming to a close.  The Drawing in the Expanded Field Show at CSU’s Hatton Gallery will end tomorrow, and the Simply irRESISTible Show at Some Things Looming Gallery in Reading, PA ends on Sunday.  The Evolutions Show at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum ended recently as well, so I’m now starting to get my work returned from these shows.

It’s fun to get these pieces back and have a chance to spend a little time with them again, revisiting and reviewing the work in the context of who/where I was when I made them compared to who/where I am now and the work that I currently have in progress in the studio.  These pieces are visible records of my process of becoming.

Morphing and Shifting – We’re not the same people we were just 5 minutes ago

Change is everywhere – days are noticeably shorter now, winter has arrived with our first snow of the season, a change in my day job role, and completing Wall Drawing #3.

My artwork and I are shifting too.  Supported by the change in weather, I’m drawn inward toward cocooning in my studio, allowing myself some intuitive drawing and play time, exploring fabric surface design techniques that best convey my visual messages.

I’m focusing on several new small scale pieces, extending my tangled web series.  It’s all about intuitive drawing and mark-making through surface design, with intent to also eventually incorporate some hand-stitching as well.  Here’s a first look at the first few of these new small pieces in progress:

TW 6 (state 1) ©Ayn Hanna, 17"x10"

TW5 (state 1) ©Ayn Hanna, 17"x10"

TW 7 (state 1) ©Ayn Hanna, 17"x10"

Hand Stitching a New Wall Drawing

November 4, 2010

"Wall Drawing#3" ©2010 Ayn Hanna, 18" x 17.5", Textile Painting (cotton & velvet fabrics, fabric paint, cotton embroidery threads)

I started this latest piece from the Wall Drawing series during a Leslie Gabrielse workshop in September.  I first posted some thoughts from this workshop experience here.

While the subject matter and imagery are familiar, the construction methods were all new to me – this piece was completely done by hand by collaging and overlapping pieces of fabric and pinning them together, adding some paint with stencils and then hand-stitching the layers together, adding texture with a variety of hand-embroidery stitches.

"Wall Drawing #3"(detail) ©2010 Ayn Hanna

I’ve always admired hand-stitched work, especially for the texture and line quality that you just can’t achieve through any other stitching methods, and for the low tech human-ness present in every piece.  But I never really knew much about it.

Watching Leslie conduct the needle and thread across the fabric surfaces and seeing the magic of the thread drawn marks was all it took to really hook me into this process.  I like the slowed down speed of creating with hand stitching – it’s a meditative, rhythmic, thoughtful process, something soothing to look forward to doing a little bit of every day.  It’s good thinking time.

"Wall Drawing #3" (detail) ©2010 Ayn Hanna

Wall Drawing #3 was completed with no deadlines, just playing and having fun.  I learned and practiced a few of the many embroidery stitches – running, blanket, cross hatch, seed, back, and French knot.

I’ve found a new repetitive meditative way to create, a process that allows easy connection to one’s quiet thoughts and feelings, and generates new work by drawing, with thread.

"Wall Drawing #3" (detail) ©2010 Ayn Hanna

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