Monday, October 25, 2010

Refined Beauty-The Artistry of Morgansilk

Welcome back to the ARTSYTYPE! blog where we continue to explore the creative spirit.

In this week's edition, I was lucky enough to interview one of my favorite artisans on, Morgansilk. She makes beautiful, handpainted silk items, all inspired by the colors and patterns that occur in nature. As I wandered around her studio, I discovered this photo in her biographical material.  She was in an article in U.S. News and World Report! If you look at the photo, you will notice that she is holding a flower in one hand and painting the image of it on silk with the other. That she paints from the actual live subject is one of the reasons, I believe, that her work is so vibrant and alive.

I asked Morgansilk a few questions about the foundation of her creativity. This is what she had to say:

Artsytype  What is your biggest inspiration?

Morgansilk   Color, color, color and their juxtapositions. I spend a lot of time scrutinizing natural patterns and negative space. Almost anything that has interesting negative / positive space catches my attention. I am less interested in replicating nature, but I love using the colors and textures found around and about as a starting-off point.

Artsytype      What, if anything, did your family do to foster your creative spirit when you were a child?

Morgansilk    I grew up in a very small college town, and there was a local art center and lots of interest in the Arts. I started taking drawing and painting lessons there when I was twelve-- all the rest of the students were adults. I was a sponge. Both my parents encouraged me; my Dad told me just a few days before he died that he wished I would paint more. I don't think he really thought my fabric design was quite the same thing as painting a scene to hang on the wall.....Lots of people have that point of view; I don't. How much wall space can you have, and there are a plethora of gifted painters out there.
I do have to say that no matter what your art, a person should study drawing and painting in a traditional manner, including emulating the dead Greats. It takes a long time to develop a style. I spent a lot of time wandering around the landscape with my watercolors and paper; a strange little hermit a lot of the time.
I used to play the piano, too, but am completely without natural ability. I should also mention that I am left-handed; lefties will understand that the world is a bit skewed for them, and there is a certain pride in being different that bleeds over into other things. 

Artsytype     Why were you initially attracted to your preferred medium?

Morgansilk    I was taking a required  undergraduate Design in Fiber class in college, doing loom work. My professor, the Great Nancy Belfer, used her free time in the college studio to experiment with dyes. She was very secretive because she was writing a book, but I eavesdropped when I was supposed to be stringing a floor loom. I took an advanced class from her, but we did nothing with dyes-- I just wanted to sneak around and see what she was up to. We became friends and traded artwork, and are still friends. She is still creating some of the most amazing work in the field of Surface Design. ( as an example. Her book on fabric dye was the definitive at the time in 1969. She has also been featured in Surface Design Magazine and sells to mostly corporate clients and galleries)

Artsytype      How do you address those times when you are experiencing artist’s block?

Morgansilk    I hate to sound phoney, but I have never had that problem. I work constantly on new designs. I get ideas walking around the block or in my dreams. Nature is a never-ending inspiration: all our color preferences come from what we see created around us naturally, so I get ideas every time I look outside. Going on a prolonged trip gives me weeks of thoughts to work through. I also like to experiment with unusual color combinations, and they give me spurts of direction as well. I like to take two opposite colors and play around with their tertiary colors in contrast to each other.

Artsytype          Let’s say that the earth is going to be hit by a rogue meteor. And stretch your imagination to the point that you can even pretend for a moment that humans have their shit together well enough to find a way to evacuate the planet. But each person can only take three items that must weigh in at less than 20 lbs. collectively. What three items would you take? 

Morgansilk    Twenty pounds is not enough! You can't take people, and my dog weighs too much. Probably photos of my family......not my artwork, because everything I would see after that event would make everything I had done before obsolete. Which reminds me, I am fascinated by nebulae, but am not ready to attempt making one on silk......  Maybe if we had our shit together we could all shrink ourselves first........

Here are some photos of the incredible handiwork from her new fall line.

And here is my favorite from her studio, this lovely spin on my favorite plant, the coleus.

I hope you enjoyed getting to know Morgansilk as much as I did. Here is her contact info so that you can visit her studio and pick up a piece of wearable art for yourself or someone you love.

Morgansilk's Website

And while you're at it, please stop by and visit me too!
Wendy Adams

Thanks so much for stopping by and reading all about another ARTSYTYPE!

Next time join me while I talk a little about artistic confidence and change, from a personal point of view. Until then, remember, the world needs art and music more than ever!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Artsytype Soapbox

    Hi! Welcome to the Artsytype blog. My original plan for this blog was to research and feature information about the creative mind and what makes it tick. This blog actually started in my Artfire studio which you can find here: Adamsarts For that post I interviewed one of my favorite artisans from Artfire. Her name is spiral and you can go read about her in my Artfire blog and visit her studio as well because she is a very talented and fascinating person.
   For this post I am diverting my course a bit because I have things to say that I just have to get out. Please bear with me while I hop up on my soapbox.

  It's all over the news: Another young life lost to intolerance and hatred.
  In my nearly half century on the planet I am sad to say that I haven't seen much change in the world where hatred is concerned. Every day innocent people die because of it. Intolerance is just as rampant as it has ever been. With the advent of the internet and social media it is as widespread as ever. Every day, all over the planet, people die because they are "different". Children die because they are powerless. Women and girls are abused and killed because they are female. Lives are cut short because of a difference in sexual orientation, skin color or religion. It happens all the time in every nation. No country is exempt.

  You may ask yourself, "well, what can I do? I am only one person. I can't change the hate mongers!"
You are infinitely more powerful than you think you are. Start by setting a positive example in your every day life. Show the world that you will not put up with ignorance and hatred. Stand up for what you believe in and DON'T BACK DOWN. Most importantly, teach your children that bullying is wrong and then repeat that lesson over and over, as if they were memorizing their multiplication tables. Because this IS the most important lesson that they will ever learn. Teach them that to hate a person based on their age, sex, skin color, religion, disability, sexual orientation or monetary worth is WRONG  and that will never change.
   Then teach them the power of love by your example, as well. Show the people that you care about how you feel, in both word and deed. Show your community that this issue is important to you and that you will make a difference.

   Come on, people. We can DO this. Let love and sanity prevail.

  The "soapbox" versions of this blog will be few and far between. I am grateful that you read this one. Oh, and I would appreciate it if you can pass this along.

  On my next post we will be exploring what link, if any, there is between "handedness" and creativity.
'Til then, Peace!