Beasts II coming out of the barn !

I have had a busy summer! If I listed all the things I have been up to this summer I might run the risk of having my audience fear for my lack of sleep and sanity...so, let me just report on my comings and goings one small bite at a time. 

Today let's start with the emerging Beasts II series. This series will feature Heritage Breeds and Heirloom Seeds. A Heritage Breed is one that was originally brought to this country (United States), usually from Europe or Britain to work on farms in the new land. Those original breeds were largely inbred over and over and manipulated to give more meat with less illness (put simply). The result has been breeds of animals like cows, chickens, goats and horses that no longer resemble their ancestors that came over on the boat. There is an exciting movement to bring back these breeds to populations that can resist extinction. The Heirloom seeds have a similar history and fate and are being grown by professional farmers as well as back yard gardeners in an effort to bring back our ancestor's plants from nearing extinction. 

In this new series I hope to adopt a looser, more joyful and intuitive way of working. I will continue to incorporate hand embroidery on layers of tissue paper as I did in the Beasts series. I hope to push the boundaries of my typical way of working with the embroidery needle as well. The pieces will be smaller and most likely just one panel per piece rather than the multi panel pieces in the Beasts series. I want to adopt a simpler, more straight forward way of working to mimic the spirit of our ancestors. Keeping it simple and straight forward will be my mantra as I work on this series. 

"Lipizzan" 16" x 16" Acrylic, oil stick, gouache, tissue paper, ink on wood panel. All Rights Reserved

 

"Guernsey Goat" 10" x 10" Acrylic, gouache, ink and graphite on wood panel. All Rights Reserved

"American Cream Draft" 10" x 10" Acrylic, ink, gouache, tissue paper and graphite on wood panel. All Rights Reserved

"Arapaho Goat" 24" x 24" Acrylic, gouache, ink, graphite, tissue paper and hand embroidery on tissue paper on wood panel

Detail: "Arapaho Goat" - hand embroidery on wood board 

Visual Scavenger Hunt

The opening reception for the "Beasts" series show at the Hanover Theatre in Worcester, MA was wonderful and exciting and overwhelming. I was, however, struck by something while showing a few individuals my show this past week. I wonder whether much of the pertinant messages of the works may have been lost that big night. I have developed a sort of visual scavenger hunt to try to highlight some of the themes that are woven into the fabric of the works. If you are local to Worcester,Ma and would like to meet up with me at the theatre to see if you can find the elements I list below please contact me and we can arrange a time. The gallery room where the show hangs is off limits to the general public but a meeting with the ArtsWorcester staff (508-755-5142) or myself (janemhoughton@gmail.com) can be arranged to gain access to the show. 

"New Haven" 12" x 12" Acrylic, gouache, ink, vintage papers, tissue paper and hand embroidery on tissue SOLD 

 

Incorporated into the pieces are reminders of our shared cultural values. These values butt up against the industrial and financial practices our community and political leaders carry out. These practices impact life for all of us on this planet we share and sometimes run counter to one another. It is this tension that I elude to throughout many of the pieces in the "Beasts" series. Can you find examples of them in the pieces? 

 "Humans are a cultured and civilized species" 

  • find a tea party set with china cups
  • find wallpaper patterns featuring abstracted natural beauty. Ask yourself where this type of wallpaper is often found.
  • Can you find the evidence of hand written letters and cherished literature? What habits of life from the past do we still practice and what has replaced them? 

"Religion gives us our guidance to be godly beings"

  • find a Madonna-like figure
  • find a Tree of Life image (used by Christian teachers of Biblical stories during the Spanish Conquest) 
  • find Mandalas (used as a mediation tool by Buddhist practitioners) 
  • find a pagoda (used in most East Asian communities as a religious structure) 

"Commerce brings wealth to all layers of society" 

  • how many pieces contain vintage food labels and advertisements?
  • how many food labels that you find would not be possible without the work of the honeybee and other pollinating insects?
  • can you find Monopoly money? 

"We value our heritage, often handed down through folk arts and hand made traditions" 

  • Can you find traditional design patterns from African tribal dress?
  • Can you find evidence of hand embroidery? 
  • Can you find vintage sewing patterns?

"We feed the hungry and heal the sick"

  • Can you find food stamps?
  • Can you find examples of endangered plants and trees often used in traditional medicines and researched for their healing properties? 

"We make sense out of chaos in order to understand our world" 

  • Can you find places that I used a grid pattern to mimic the categorization of species and specimens often found in Natural History museums and laboratories? 
  • Can you find illustrations cut from vintage text books and field books of insects and birds and plant life? 

...and finally, how many endangered and at risk species can you name? 

I am planning a meet-up at the gallery in the Hanover Theatre on December 30th at 10am. 

Please join me to view the show and search for these and other clues in the works! 

I know why the caged bird sings...

“Anything that works against you can also work for you once you understand the Principle of Reverse.” 

             -- Maya Angelou from, "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" 

"And the Song Was Wordless" inspired by a poem written to honor military experience  Acrylic, watercolor, ink, colored pencil and tissue paper on 2" gallery profile wood panel  $475.00 Available in my Etsy shop:  https://www.etsy.com/listing/98486156/and-the-song-was-wordless-mixed-media  

"And the Song Was Wordless" inspired by a poem written to honor military experience

Acrylic, watercolor, ink, colored pencil and tissue paper on 2" gallery profile wood panel

$475.00 Available in my Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/listing/98486156/and-the-song-was-wordless-mixed-media 

I am listing this favorite piece of mine to honor the great life and works of the beautiful Maya Angelou. Enjoy