African Party

September 19, 2010


The cool autumn air filled ones lungs Friday night when I attended a party in Lawrence, KS, which revolved around Africa accentuating the launch for Mayhew and son’s three-week tour of Africa.  The house environment colorfully reflected the travels of the Mayhew family with heavily graced walls in native crafts from not only Europe, Latin and South America, Australian, Korea, Indonesia, Hawaii, Native American but also African folk art. People who have supported African missionaries or live part time in Africa or even those like me who just have an interest packed the party with their attractive presence.  I studied African textiles what seems like yesterday but in reality was several decades ago, ack!  What prompted my African studies was its connection to the earth and not ethereal or complicated by man’s love of commerce or money.  Not to infer it is pristine or free of man’s influences because they are after all, made with men’s hands on the “dark” continent filled with a rich history of plunder. As most of us have read Joseph Conrad’s short story, “Heart of Darkness” that only briefly reflects such.  Yet, if one scratches the surface of historical ancestral designs, there lays simplistic richness with deep roots of generational spirituality abiding in a continent of dwindling resources.

Anyway, at the party I reconnected with old friends, met new ones and some with interesting businesses. One such company was Stubenraugh Designs. The owner is a truly gifted artist, with fine art background who has found a new love: copper. I was particularly drawn to his site as copper is my secret lover.  I integrate it into my work, when it fits.  It has been my metal of choice since the 1980’s and my studio is laced with copper paint, copper wire, copper mesh, copper tubing, copper glitter, sheets of hammered copper, get the picture? Copper reminds me of earth’s red clay, as in the glistening hills of Sedona, Arizona and a glorious trip the Mayhews and my family took to the Grand canyon.  The sumptuousness of Stubenraugh’s designs is particularly interesting because of the textures and his choices of patinas. He uses an ordinary sheet of metal and turns it into a magical, mystical, section of craft that blurs the line with art. A piece of his decorative copper, which he has developed, a foolproof patina of pattern, is unmatched. Stubenraugh also sells extra thin sheets available for use in art books, weavings, and other textile arts. This winter, as continue with various felting art projects, I hope to incorporate more into my work. Look at his site and I am confident you will be as mesmerized, as I am.

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