Tag Archives: Emile A. Gruppe Gallery

Pulling it all Together

The countdown is on.
This is the first I’ve mentioned it here, but I am in the midst of preparing for a solo show that will run for 6 weeks at the Emile A. Gruppe Gallery starting in late March. It’s exciting to be in the organizational phase of pulling together everything that I have been working on for the past year. Every opportunity I have to show my work reflects the privilege I feel at being able to share my interpretations and insights, and with that comes responsibility.

Cozy

Cozy      ©2017 Elizabeth Fram, 11 x 8.5 inches, Ink on Paper

As you well know, it’s not at all unusual for tendencies toward creativity to be squelched at an early age by rewarding only those who are able to render a realistic likeness or by shaming those who color outside the lines, both literally and figuratively. It’s so important to encourage all young people, as I was fortunate to have been, rather than deterring them in their creative explorations.

Years ago, when volunteering for an art project in my daughter’s second grade class (they were making cornucopia placemats in anticipation of Thanksgiving) I was surprised when her teacher insisted that they paste the cut-out fruits and vegetables in a specific way, and then appalled at witnessing her anger upon discovering some were ad-libbing the prescribed process. This was an art project, for heaven’s sake, to make placemats for their upcoming classroom Thanksgiving party!  It was even more upsetting to me when she proceeded to single out one child as “the artist” in the classroom, announcing that that person was completing the project correctly and her example should be followed. How demoralizing! This must surely have sent the message that creativity wasn’t valued and that the artist “slot” had already been filled.

The next month all parents were invited to sign up to come into the same classroom to share a family holiday tradition. Our family used to make gift wrap by stamping craft paper with sponges lightly dipped into acrylic paint, covering the paper with colorful images. I brought in supplies for everyone and we rolled up our sleeves to get to work. It distressed me how many children in that classroom were concerned that they were “doing it right”. In fact, they almost seemed fearful they might make a misstep. Remembering the Thanksgiving placemats, I felt it was my duty to assure them that there was no right or wrong way to make art…that was the beauty of it. I wanted them to hear from another adult that they were fully in charge of their own work; it was meant to be fun. Period.

Stack

Stack      ©2018 Elizabeth Fram, 8.5 x 11 inches, Ink on Paper

Which brings me back to responsibility. For those of us who have found our way to spending our time making things and expressing our ideas creatively, I truly feel it is our job to pay close attention to the world around us and then to share what we’ve learned with others via that work. This opens a door not only to connection, but also to varying perspectives. What we make may or may not resonate with anyone else, but it’s important to bring it out into the open. It is powerfully rewarding when someone approaches me to say they have found a personal connection between their own life experience and what they see in my work. As Degas said, “Art is not what you see, but what you make others see”.

My upcoming exhibit will include both Shibori stitched pieces and drawings from my daily sketch practice. The basis is to show how each discipline has influenced the other and to honor the “every day”. These works are not political per se, yet my goal is to highlight that the quiet moments of our lives are just as important as the outwardly momentous ones, and perhaps more so in times of uncertainty and upheaval.

Having decided on a title, I feel I have checked off one of the more challenging preparatory elements of any show (aside from making the work itself). Also, I want to share the many resources that have made this organizational phase much easier to navigate. Alyson Stanfield has a terrific customizable exhibition checklist that is well-worth bookmarking. For more helpful resources, check my posts Behind the Scenes and It’s Not Just About the Art.

In the weeks ahead, as I continue to pull everything together, I expect to return from time to time with other behind-the-scenes aspects of preparation. But in the meantime, I hope you will put Drawing Threads: Conversations Between Line & Stitch on your calendar. It will open March 22, 2018, with an artist reception on Sunday, March 25th.

Outside the Studio

Happy June!    …month of the summer solstice and the Beta Taurids meteor shower.

I am really looking forward to being part of two exhibitions that open this month, one here in Vermont and another in Portland, Maine. No matter the venue, there is always a sense of liberation in getting work out of the studio and in front of public eyes. I am particularly excited about the Maine exhibit because it’s my first opportunity to show in Maine’s “big city”, the town next door to where I grew up.

Wild Fibers

Wild Fiberswhich opens locally on June 2, will be on view through July 9 at the Emile A. Gruppe Gallery in Jericho. It’s a collection of work from members of the Vermont chapter of the Surface Design Association, an international organization focused on “inspiring creativity, encouraging innovation, and advocating for artistic excellence … in textile-inspired art and design”.

We who are part of SDA Vermont are fortunate to have a very active committee that has devoted countless volunteer hours securing and organizing exhibitions across the state in an effort to expose the public to the wide range of possibility that exists within the world of surface design.* I think the growth of our membership can be directly attributed to the success of these shows. I am always amazed at the breadth of skills among our members, so if you have a chance to stop by the Gruppe Gallery in the next 5 weeks, I’m sure you too will be struck by the diversity of work and process on display.

For those of you who might be interested in activist artists who use knitting as a means of voicing their ideas and concerns about the world, let me give a quick plug to my friend and fellow SDA member, Eve Jacobs-Carnahan, who will be presenting the talk “25 Years of Knitters Speaking Out” in conjunction with Wild Fibers. Her talk will be on Friday, June 16th from 6:30-7:30pm, also at the Gruppe Gallery.

Knitters

Knitters at Town Meeting Day, Waterbury, VT     ©2016 Elizabeth Fram

Next week I will be shipping five pieces to Able Baker Contemporary for the upcoming show Selvedge, which runs from June 16 to August 5, 2017. If your travels take you anywhere near Portland this summer, I hope you will stop in. Curator Tessa Greene O’Brien has assembled work from nine artists, all of whom incorporate textiles in their practice while strongly maintaining a fine-art approach. The work is process-driven and carries a strong conceptual component. I’m thrilled to have been included and can’t wait to head to Portland in July to experience the show in person.

Selvedge

Able Baker Contemporary is on the Portland Stage block, within 300 yards of The Maine College of Art, Space Gallery, and Space Studios and the Portland Museum of Art, (where I’m excited to see Hans Hofmann; Works on Paper will be showing from June 16 to September 3), — in other words, a cultural hotbed that, combined with Portland’s fine restaurants and oceanside location, makes for an excellent weekend getaway!

Meanwhile, back to the unglamorous…I am slogging my way through an update of my website, and, as is probably to be expected, it’s way more time-consuming than I’d anticipated. There’s no escaping computer chores! However, to leave you on a happy note, I came across this  worthy diversion — a wonderful mix of metaphors and animation by Greg Condon that made me smile; I hope it will amuse you as well.

Radish

First Harvest     ©2017 Elizabeth Fram

*Surface design encompasses the coloring, patterning, and structuring of fiber and fabric. This involves creative exploration of processes such as dyeing, painting, printing, stitching, embellishing, quilting, weaving, knitting, felting, and paper-making.