Laura R. Gadson is a quilt and craft artist who lives, works and exhibits her work in her Harlem brownstone. She is a member of the Harlem Girls Quilt Circle, National Quilt Association, Harlem Arts Alliance and works in close association with Harlem Needle Arts. For more on this artist visit TheGadsonGallery.com
Quilts are not just for the bed any more. They hang on walls as are, adorn other pieces of furniture and are even worn by the very fashionable. This season I will be creating a few quilted pieces as exciting wardrobe accessories . For more on my wearable quilts and how to get one please visit: http://theGadsonGallery.com
Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit Charleston SC for the opening of the "Mermaids and Merwomen in Black Folklore" exhibition featuring the work of quilt and doll artists from all over the country. The stay in the Marriott was fabulous and the company while on this excursion was lovely. We celebrated mermaids, each other and being in this port town with its rich culture of the Diaspora. At the festival of Yemaya we visited Sullivan's Island and were blessed by the water by a Nigerian Prince. As one attendee put it "we each left a piece of us there" since the Mosquitos were relentless in their celebration. The ritual at dusk was moving an picturesque as well as informative. Though it was short and modest I'm sure the ancestors and deities were pleased.
While in Charleston I had the grand pleasure to workshop with batik artist and cultural historian Arianne King Cromer. She is one of our nationally know artistic Divas who has studied the art of batik with the masters of Nigeria and is sought after for her knowledge of indigo history as it pertains to the Gullah and Geehie cultures of our coastal sea islands. Her 6 hour class was full of hands on insight into the world of batik fabric dying. I completed several projects and flew home to start yet another creative adventure.
Back in the 90's I was know as Tie Dye Laura who humbly started out with Rit Dye from the 99cents store and some cotton remnants. I would go to Nafissa Sheriff's West African Dance Class and sell my hand dyed and sewn lapas, head ties, T-shirts... then I could get some groceries to eat and maybe even pay a bill. I eventually graduated to hosting events featuring tie dyed fashions that many folks still have and wear. The labor to income ratio and some worn out plumbing lead me to give up dying and vowing never to return. I love hand dyed fabrics from every part of the world and am happy to buy them when budget allows. Well as you know never say never. This fall I will feature a few table linens, home furnishings and wall art with my batik. The love affair may be short (only time will tell) but it will definitely be sweet.
Woke up this morning to finish a quilt top that I actually started last year. " Fassett Your Seat Belts" uses the same pattern as my "Digital Butterscotch Mocha" with some abbreviated design elements. The fabrics are batiks with various colors of a fabric design from one of Kaffe Fassett's collections.
If you don't already know of him Kaffe Fassett is a American Born Fiber artist who has studied and built his career in England. Quilters know him for his fearless use of color and books that make you want to run to the fabric store and the sewing machine. I hope to have 2 throw quilts that incorporate his fabrics completed and displayed for sale at the upcoming Harlem Week 2012 festival. With 2 quilt tops near completion (they just need some sashing) I will be forced to clear of the long arm and get to work! - Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
Wake up at 5 am purpose driven. Not necessarily organized but on a mission to complete a quilt top. Sit dpwn at the sewing machine and turn on the AC (the humidity in NYC is already kick'n). Out flies a BEE. A big ole' black bumble bee. Not trying to get side tracked from my mission I try to see how he is flowing; will he land and chill out or cause me to take immediate action. As I start sewing the bee becomes atracted to the overhead light, flies into the the center of the energy saving bulb and then falls crashing into the sewing machine. I jump up and fly across the room (there goes the work with the bee in theroom plan). Then I can't see or hear him. When he resurfaces my question is answered. He has got to go - NOW! I put on my McGiver moves and create a net with some toole and floral wire. After a few tries I catch him as he hovers by the window, then run him downstair to the front door and set him free. And so goes the wake up early to get work done mission.
Last month I applied to be part of an exhibition titled "Mermaids and Mermen in Black Folklore", a quilt and doll exhibition in Charleston, South Carolina celebrating our African roots, our connection to water and the deities that reign there. My latest quilt, "Reception at Ibo Landing" depicts the legend of Africans who just arrived to the shores of the Americas; when these soon to be sold into slavery souls saw what the future held for them in this new land they turned around and walked into the ocean saying "The water brought us, The water will take us home". This is the legend of Ibo Landing from St Simon's Island of coastal Georgia. This legend has resonated all over the Gullah Islands of South Carolina and Georgia.
Well not only did I get into the show but it seems that my quilt has made quite an impression. "It is just the kind of work I was looking for" stated the shows curator and fellow quilter Cookie Washington. My quilt is 1 of 4 works of art to grace the front of the exhibitions postcard. What an honor. The show will run August 28th through October 28th at the City Gallery at Waterfront Park in downtown Charleston. A catalog with some of the artwork accompanied by the work of poets and writers is coming and I hope to be include in that as well. I will keep you posted.
There are many wonderful activities planned for the artists and the general public during the opening week end which is Sat 9/8. Kudos to the hard work of curator Cookie Washington who has tirelessly labored to make this exhibition a mega artistic and cultural event. I'm excited and booked my room today! This trip has added meaning since my grandfather is from Charleston. I understand that I still have relatives there that I have never met. I'll be sending them some information on myself so we might possibly connect. Charleston here I come!
eMerge is an exhibition currently on view at the Strivers Gardens Gallery. I have 2 works on display and the newest one titled " Our Lady of the Sacred 3 R's: Recycle, Reuse, Repurpose" is constructed from those tote bags that you buy for .99 cents at various stores to keep from using non-recyclable plastic bags . The show is curated by Souleo and Lisa Hayes and includes veteran artist Danny Simmons in the artist line up. Check out www.SouleoUniverse.com for more on this exhibition and other great art happenings around town. On Sunday 8/12/2012 the gallery will host a very informative artist talk at 3pm - 300 West 135th street between St Nicholas Ave and Frederick Douglass Blvd.
Laura gadsons iPhone
I have not blogged in quite a while but today's events made me come back here. One of my dogs, Emilio, was taken from the front stoop of our home some time between 1 and 3PM Sat 5/19. Our aprox. 7lb bundle of joy is a neutered Maltese mix with big light brown ears and large eyes. He was groomed in April and looks close to this picture but his hair grows long all over. He was on the stoop with our other 2 dogs but he is very friendly and cute and was probably the easiest to take. He ha on a brown collar with several tags on it - 1 of them had his name and info should he be lost. I am almost positive that he did not run away or wander off since the dogs are accustomed to staying close to the house and sunning themselves on the stoop. I am devastated and hope that someone decides to Do The Right Thing. Who ever took him or anyone that has him can bring him back to us or drop him at the 32nd precinct. We Love Him. We Miss Him. The other dogs are very sad to lose him. Contact Raymond or Laura with Info at 212 694-0262.