Monday, December 2, 2019

The Life of a Fabric Artist -- Cathie Ugrin

In this post, MB/SK member Cathie Ugrin shares with us the very exciting work and exhibiting she's been doing.  Enjoy!

A Day in the Life of a Fabric Artist
Actually, the title of this blog post should read ‘A Season in the Life of a Fabric Artist’ and believe me, this has been a busy one! 
Two years ago, my good friend (and excellent photographer) Dmitry Kirshner and I decided to create an exhibit highlighting both of our work and playing off of each other. We named it ‘VIEWPOINTS – A Unique Photofabric Journey’ and started making our plan.

Featured in the invitation - bottom photo:
Endless Time

Endless Time

Endless Time - Detail

The main focus of this exhibit would be five images taken by Dmitry which I would than interpret in fibre.* Each photograph would be different and unique; each fibre art piece would reflect some element present in each of these photographs. This was one of the most challenging yet rewarding projects I have ever done as it really pushed me outside of my comfort zone all whilst meeting numerous and continuous deadlines.
*Editor's Note: Dmitry's photographs are on the left; Cathie's interpretation, on the right.

Northern Lights/Northern Sky

Northern Sky

Northern Sky - Detail

Dancer/The Dancer

The Dancer  - Detail

Golden Aspens/Kaleidoscope of Seasons

Kaleidoscope of Seasons

Waiting/Stormy Skies

Stormy Skies - Detail

The rest of the exhibit was composed of individual work by both of us that fell within the theme. The gallery owner, Jordan Miller contacted the Winnipeg FreePress and VIEWPOINTS was the featured article for the October First Friday column!

Our exhibit dates were October 3 – 29, 2019 and we could hardly wait for our Opening Reception on October 11 - little did we know Mother Nature had other plans!  

Our families and friends were true Winnipeggers though – supportive, brave and not scared of a big dump of snow - and we did have a small gathering of people at the Opening Reception/ Blizzard evening.
With enough food for a small army, all purchased the day before, and lots of room to run around the empty gallery space, my grandkids were probably the happiest people there!
Jordan agreed to a Redo Reception that was well attended and all in all it was a fabulous experience for both Dmitry and I. We are already starting to plan VIEWPOINTS II where we will combine not only the concept of fibre and photography but the actual artwork as well.
At the exhibit, I also featured a sampling of a huge project I am working on for March 2020 - 6” x 6” thread portraits of seventy of the artists involved in the last ten years of the Cluster New Music and Integrated Arts Festival.

I started with an ink image that I then traced onto Water Soluble Stabilizer, sewed over the lines on my fabric, dissolved the stabilizer and then finished the detailing and quilting. The finished pieces will hang as a massive grid which will be exhibited during all four days of the 2020 Festival.

Close-up: Matthew Rickets, Composer

Next up, the Textile and Fibre Artists of Manitoba were asked to show a portion of their
Manitoba Moments Exhibit at a Folk Music Workshop in support of Manitoba Opera’s ‘Susannah’, the premier opera of the 2019/20 Season.  As the TFAM Exhibits and Events Coordinator, I am always on the lookout for this unique kind of opportunity. We are so proud of this exhibit and it has been to 16 different venues since June 2018!

Close up: Manitoba Moments

Meanwhile, I was sewing like a maniac in preparation for the Winnipeg Art Gallery/ Manitoba Craft Council’s annual juried event, CRAFTED Show + Sale which took place at the WAG on November 8 & 9. Every time that I am accepted as a vendor at CRAFTED, I create a collection of Table Art specially for this fabulous event. I choose a theme that is reflective of what has been going on in my life – this year it was Inspiration!

I even ended up creating a double-sided, appliqued, reversible Table Art piece that I will definitely be making more of.
The idea came out of the practicality of not wanting the back to look like a dog’s breakfast after all the layers of stitching I was doing on the front. One of the Quilt Store owners who popped in to CRAFTED even asked me to teach this technique in the spring!

Detail: Bloom 'Table Art'

 To the left: Artichokes by the Dozen - from the front.

To the right: Artichokes by the Dozen - from the back

I couldn’t resist doing a few thread portraits of my grand-kids Henry and Ruby  as examples of possible commissions!

Finally, I finished off the month teaching and lecturing in Canmore, Alberta and enjoying a couple of days of vacation in the beautiful mountain air.  
The Play with Piecing technique [shown below] was inspired by the one day workshop I took from Joe Cunningham during 2015 Quilt Canada called Rock the Block. I have since modified the technique, added more fabrics and finishing options.

"Play with Piecing" - Class Sample

From the Editor:  Many thanks to Cathie for sharing a season of her artistic life with us!  This is the sort of story-telling that I believe weblogs (blogs) were made for: an assortment of photos with accompanying text that documents a personal journey and/or highlights events in the life of the writer.

As December winds down, I expect to have fewer opportunities to create posts of interest for our SAQA Western Canada membership, and as you likely know, I am retiring from the Blog Editor position at the end of this year.  If you like to tell a story -- or to help other SAQA WC members share their stories with others, please consider giving the Blog Editor job a go.  Contact me (Margaret) or one of your SAQA Western Canada Co-Reps (see the side-bar for links) if you are interested and/or need further information.

And thanks for your support!

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