JOURNAL

MEET YOU AT GRAND CENTRAL!

Does the whole world pass through Grand Central Station? What a hub of activity and civilization! What an opportunity for more people to see my artwork! I am pleased to report that my Café Experience prints are now on display at Café Grumpy in Grand Central Station through May 31st. Here is a what it looks like if you walk into the Station:

Send your friends & family there to enjoy a great cup of coffee (in ceramic cups!) on their visit to NYC or on their daily commute. That way they can enjoy a coffee break and discover my artwork, too. (Gosh - I'm still waiting to be discovered by Anthropologie or West Elm - maybe this will do the trick!)

* * *

On top of all that the silk painting class held recently at KA Artist in Athens was a great success. We had a room full of creative participants, and the whole event was lots of fun. Here are some of the paintings-in-progress from that day:

 

Currently on display:
Café Grumpy Grand Central Terminal
Lexington Passage, New York City through May 31, 2016
 
Spring Showcase
KA Artist Gallery, Athens, Ga through June 2, 2016

Discovering the Chattahoochee Valley: 
Silk paintings by René Shoemaker
 The Columbus Museum, Columbus, Ga through July 2016

Paris - Wooden Steps

image In our building in Paris the top turn of the wooden stairway was so beautifully worn, so beautifully hand made, so varnished by so many feet over so many years, that I was struck by the glistening patina every time I walked the 4 floors to our apartment.

The design of the steps were pieced together and created an almost abstract design that I felt compelled to document and share with you.

[New art exhibit going up at Aurum in downtown Athens, Ga for the month of February. I am sharing the space with the fabulous textile artist Suzanne Gernandt of North Carolina. Reception: Thursday, Feb 6, 6-8 pm]

illustration:

Steps . Rue Campagne Premiere . Paris . 14th - hand painted silk broadcloth - by Rene Shoemaker - 2013

Color and Pattern on Cloth at Arrowmont

My good friend and great textile artist Susan Gernandt is teaching a workshop this summer at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. If you’ve been thinking about learning about weaving and surface design, it’s your chance to learn from a great one - this is how I met Suzanne - she’ll have you doing great designs and exploring creative ideas in no time! image

I first met Suzanne when I participated in a class she taught titled “Layers of Colors; Layers of Meaning” at the Appalachian Center for Craft. The title of the class intrigued me, yet it is a perfect description of her work.

Added benefit - Suzanne and I are exhibiting together now through the end of February at Aurum Studios in Athens, Ga. The reception is Thursday, February 6, 6-8pm. Come meet her and see our work!

 

Holiday Wishes for You


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          Happy Happy Holidays to You, my special friends!

                         Best wishes for a creative New Year.
                                                                                          -René

— 

René D. Shoemaker

                 fine art on silk

 rene.shoemaker@gmail.com         706.424.4739            www.ReneShoemaker.com  

Creating a New Project – An Animal Alphabet

This week, I wanted to share a new project with you. Though I’ve been working on it for a while, it’s a little different from my normal style! It’s been so much fun to branch out, though facing a new set of challenges can be daunting, too. Of course, that makes success feel all the better!

I had already been thinking a little about experimenting with screenprinting when my friend Lisa Fiscus approached me about developing a product for children. Lisa has created an amazing space in the Hawthorne House - it is equal parts fine decor boutique, interior design headquarters, and inspiration central! In addition to running her interior design services out of the building, she also offers a great selection of antique furniture, contemporary furnishings, and local art in the renovated showrooms. As the house was originally designed by Athens architect Fred Orr, we met when I was hard at work on the Orr2 exhibit that was held in the Circle Gallery in April 2009. For many of his buildings still standing in the Athens area, I created a silk piece highlighting a particularly interesting aspect of the design. In the case of the Hawthorne House, it was so amazing that I sketched the entire thing for my silk piece! Here it is:                        

Lisa recently decided to expand her offerings to include decor for children’s rooms. Though the shop carried some of my silk pieces, she asked if I might be interested in designing an animal alphabet. Her idea was to display a prototype in one of the vignettes that she would be setting up around the store in preparation for the big annual party. 

Since we wanted to develop a set of letters that could be used in any combination and in many different formats - on a pillow, as a wall hanging, even on pajamas! - we decided to choose a few to display on individual squares of fabric. After much discussion, we eventually chose a cotton muslin in a light cream color. 

As for the pictures - well! The alphabet is so long, and there are so many animals to choose from! Studying dictionaries, encyclopedias, children’s books, talking to friends and family – I tried everything I could think of to come up with designs of animals that were unusual, recognizable, and aesthetically pleasing. Some letters were especially tough, like X and V and N, but my favorites were the elephant: 

 and the fox:


Finalizing my decisions and making the sketches was a lot of fun, but when it came time to print, I had a lot to learn! Though I silkscreened a couple of times in college classes, the details had to be worked out on my own this time. What kind of inks work best? What consistency is most effective? What’s the best way to blend colors? As each order would be unique, I wanted to offer customized colors, but I also wanted to be able to reliably reproduce colors. Watching someone create a silkscreened print, it looks so easy - but I worried about every step of the process!

 

 

It’s important to do a series of prints when silk-screening, as you never quite know which ‘pull’ is going to be the best. You don’t just make one, as I do with my silk paintings – and you have the opportunity to print on different cloths in the same series to see how the ink and design and fabric all work together. One thing I continue to be amazed at is that when silkscreening on a heavily textured cloth, the ink does not move down into the ridges and valleys of the cloth the way my silk dyes do – so the image left on the cloth is textured too, rather than being crisp and saturated. Smoother fabrics seem to take the print better – but I would love to figure out a way to achieve a crisp print on textured fabric! 

For the prototype that is still on display at the Hawthorne House, I decided to spell out the name of Lisa’s son. After much trial and error, and lots of repositioning, I completed the sample and hung it on the wall over a beautiful antique bed next to a giant lamp made from Hable Construction fabric. The vignette looks great! I’m so excited about this new direction that my work is taking, and I am pleased to have finally mastered this versatile skill. Though I’m still stuck on X and V and N, if you have any suggestions, let me know!!