Tuesday, September 6, 2011

My Dig Deep Button is Broken

Storm Warning • 13" x 15" • Dye on Cloth • ©2011 Jennifer Libby Fay

My Dig Deep Button is broken.

I didn’t realize it until I read Tracey Hewitt’s delightful blog post, It’s All about Sunsets. Seems Tracey’s Dig Deep Button is broken too.

Sometimes my Dig Deep Button breaks because of too much and sometimes too little. This time it’s a too much problem. There are so many things I want to experience, places I want to travel, people I want to meet, and art I want to make—I have a hard time saying no to all the wonderfulness. My schedule gets crowded, my time in the studio shrinks, I dig deeper and deeper, and wham, try as I might, nothing seems to work right.

Trust in Your Love • 12" x 12" • Dye on Cloth • ©2011 Jennifer Libby Fay

At times of high stress, you’ll probably find me reading a book—or a blog.

I read a lot yesterday, compulsively devouring information, processing it, putting it in the “I need to do this” file for future use—how to get more followers, more friends, higher scores, more sales…

I read Tracey’s post last night. As I looked at the beautiful sunsets and read Tracey’s words I could feel my shoulders relax. That person in my head who has been yelling, “Come On! Come On! Come On! Go! Go! Go!” for what seems like months now, actually took a step back.

In the silence that followed I was shocked into the present moment and realized it is time to rebalance again, time to answer Tracey’s question, “What resets your Dig Deep Button?” for myself.

This morning I cancelled a few appointments giving myself time to accomplish some things that were really only important to me. I started to feel better. I looked at the stream of information coming my way a little differently—I let a lot of it just go by…and then I spied a post by Chris Brogan called, Say No Faster.

Say no faster? Say no with love and respect and gratitude?—that could mend my Dig Deep Button pretty fast.

Here is Chris’ “Say No Faster” Resolution

Repeat after me:
From now on, I resolve to say no faster. I will say no with grace and poise and kindness, but I will say no. Even when something takes “just five minutes,” if I don’t have the time or don’t feel compelled to sway from the course of my own commitments, I will say no with kindness, and wish the person well. Saying no faster is much better than not responding, and much better than the guilt I will feel if I say yes, but can’t deliver.

I am grateful to Tracey and Chris for sharing their vulnerability and inspiration. I predict that after a few days of finding the beauty in my surroundings and saying no faster I'll be ready to dig deep again.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

From There to Here: A Commission for JB Hunt

Andrea Cornwell, Don House and Jennifer Libby Fay in the JB Hunt lobby • Photo ©2011 House Photoworks
As a proactive artist I am always looking for new opportunities to show and sell my work in the community. I try to build relationships with designers, decorators, and the community at large in hopes of finding new venues for my abstract textiles.

I was thrilled when Andrea Cornwell of iSpace suggested that my work might be perfect in the newly redesigned headquarters lobby of JB Hunt Transport Services. It was exciting to meet with her and show her my ideas. After our discussion, which included Don House of House Photoworks, we decided the piece should would be largely abstract hand dyed fabric and also incorporate photographs which from a distance would present as abstract shapes but as the viewer moved closer they would see trucks and trains, wrenches and wheel rims. I prepared small scale mock-ups and we pitched the idea to company executives. When Andrea told me my proposal for three 10’ x 2.6’ panels had been accepted I felt as if I was floating with happiness and excitement. Fortunately, working on large scale textiles—wrestling with big pieces of wet fabric, hot irons and a fussy sewing machine can bring a person down to earth quickly!

I designed the 10’ x 9’ textile painting, From There to Here, to show off the diversity and breadth of the JB Hunt company. As CEO, John Roberts told me, “we’re not just a trucking company anymore.”  J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc., is one of the largest transportation logistics companies in North America, they provide transportation services to customers throughout the continental United States, Canada and Mexico. 

In Phase One the photographs were transferred to the cloth.

From There to Here, Phase 1 • Photo ©2011 House Photoworks
In Phase two each panel was marbled.

From There to Here • Phase 2 • Photo ©2011 House Photoworks
Then I did a lot of ironing.

From There to Here • Phase 3 • Photo ©2011 House Photoworks
Next I made the colorful hand dyed fabric that would add color and interest around the photograhs.

From There to Here • Phase 4 • Photo ©2011 House Photoworks
The Back Vault Gallery at the Underground was used as a laboratory to determine the next steps.

From There to Here • Phase 5 • Photo ©2011 House Photoworks
 I added stitching to intergrate the layers.

From There to Here • Phase 6 • Photo ©2011 House Photoworks

And then we hung it up.

From There to Here • Installation • Photo ©2011 House Photoworks
This is an exciting chapter in my career as an artist and I am pleased to be able to share it with my blog readers. I thank everyone for their support.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

It's About Time

Lifting fabric from the dye bath • ©2011 Mike Hagerty

My dear family and friends,
Thank you for your patience with me these past two months while I was working on a large, 10' by 8', commission for the JB Hunt headquarters lobby in Lowell, Arkansas. I know I haven't been in contact with you as much as I would like and I appreciate your understanding. 

Ironing • ©2011 Don House Photoworks

This project was the largest and most complicated I have ever attempted and also had the tightest deadline. The piece, From There to Here, was installed today and I am very relieved! I promise there will be photos of the finished piece on this blog towards the end of the month.

Lots of new scarves • ©2011 Jennifer Libby Fay

Tomorrow I leave for Minneapolis to attend a Surface Design Association Conference and a workshop. I am really looking forward to being inspired and seeing good friends. If you are in Minneapolis on Friday night, June 10th, please stop by the Radisson University Hotel between 6 and 10 pm and say hello. I will be participating in a trunk show, along with other textile artists—there will be lots of new scarves to see!

Through a Narrow Place • 20" x 20" • Dye on Cloth • ©2011 Jennifer Libby Fay

I will return to Arkansas around the 20th—just in time to put the finishing touches on my solo show, Through a Narrow Place, an exhibition of abstract contemporary textile paintings that considers the miracle of hope and inspiration experienced after a time of transition. The show, which opens July 6th, will be at the Fayetteville Underground, in Fayetteville, Arkansas. There will be an opening reception, Thursday, July 7th from 5 to 8 pm. Please consider this your special invitation—I would love to see you!

Words cannot express how much your phone calls, emails and comments of encouragement and support mean to me. I am truly grateful for each of you. Some of you I have known all my life and some I have never even met, but I know I am blessed to have each of you in my life—you make my world better. Thank you…

Much love,


Friday, April 8, 2011

The Fayetteville Underground

 What did you miss this First Thursday • video by CE Nelson ©2011

Being a part of the Fayetteville Underground has enriched, challenged and exploded my life in so many ways I sometimes think I am a different person than the one who applied for a studio a year and a half ago. Actually, I am a different person—I’m an Artist. I never felt I could totally claim that title before. I just danced around it saying, I’m a graphic designer, or product designer or handweaver. Then I snuck up on it with textile artist, but now I don’t even need the qualifier. I’m an artist. I owe that to the Underground. If you don’t think that is a big deal, you’ll have to trust me, it is.

The back of my studio door • ©2011 Jennifer Libby Fay

The Underground has given me a place to do my work. A space dedicated to experimentation, creation and production. In other words, a room of my own. I love being able to show up and just start. I spread out my fabrics, I paint, I mix, I sew and cut. Everyday is a filled with the joy of getting to do what I really love to do.

And, if that wasn’t enough, and it almost is, every month hundreds of people show up at our First Thursday event who are truly interested in viewing art. I have had amazing conversations with the people who visit my studio. We talk about color and process and ourselves, but sometimes we have those conversations that make life meaningful. We talk about love, and pain and the meaning of it all. That’s what I really want my work to do—to inspire a deeper conversation. Sometimes people want to take that conversation home and they buy a painting or a scarf. When that happens, I am always grateful in a way I can’ t explain—deeply and profoundly, like we are forever connected even though we may never see each other again.

It's your Move • Dye on Fabric • ©2011 Jennifer Libby Fay

The Fayetteville Underground is an extraordinary place. I’ve only told you part of the story here. I’ll save community outreach, arts education, and neighborhood revitalization for another post. Oh, and I want to show you the book I made at a workshop we sponsored.

Like all community non-profit organizations we need your support to continue. If you live in Northwest Arkansas (or even if you don’t) you can help in two ways—by purchasing art from the artists who show at the Underground. Or you can make a tax deductible donation. Either way, we are truly grateful for your support and encouragement. And if you ever want to have a conversation, I’ll be in my studio.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Miracle Nosh

Winter Sunset Scarf • 10" x 72" • ©2010 Jennifer Libby Fay

On the morning of Christmas Eve there was only had one errand left. We were on our way to the Fed Ex substation to pick up the case of wine I'd ordered from Hafner Vineyard, one of our favorite California wineries.

"Do you want to stop for coffee?", he asked.

"What I WANT, I replied, is a REAL bagel, with REAL cream cheese, and LOX with a slice of tomato and some capers. THAT'S what I WANT."

"So that would be a no on the coffee then?"

Feeling instantly terrible that I was once again focusing on what I don't have instead of all the wonderful blessings that fill my life, I said, as sweetly as I could, "of course honey, I'd love a cup of coffee, thank you for asking."

The day went on with it's usual Saturday tasks and Christmas preparations. At about 3pm the door bell rang. It was the UPS guy with a box his arms. We weren't expecting any deliveries so I must have had a surprised look on my face because he said, "Must be a present." and pushed the box toward me. At that moment I noticed that there was a little white sticker on it that said BAGEL BRUNCH.  

No, that can't possibly be, I thought. How weird.

Zabar's Bagel Brunch Gift Basket

Yep, the bagel brunch gift basket, all the way from Zabar's in New York City! Thanks to Julie, Kirk, Eliot and Will for REAL bagels, two kinds of REAL cream cheese, lox and a bonus supply of coffee and rugelach. I had the tomato on the counter and capers in the fridge. It was a feast, I tell you, a miracle feast!

Due to judicious rationing, I'm still enjoying the bagels and every time I take a bite I am grateful for the reminder that miracles do really still happen.