I'm teaching a workshop? Yes, I'm teaching a workshop.

The experience of teaching Design and Graphic Design at SUNY Cobleskill as an adjunct for the past 4 years has started to really pay off. I have been doing an Altered Book Final Project for my class for 4 sessions now. It's been really great to see what students can do in just 4 sessions. I get really excited and very humbled when I see the talent that I can draw out of people.
This challenge  has appealed to me and I find now that I have some confidence and experience behind my belt. It means I have the skills and courage now to tackle teaching a local workshop. Whitney Hubbard of the Fort Plain Free Library has been urging me for awhile now to do something at her library. It's such a beautiful location, with glorious wooden floors and tall ceilings all wrapped up within this stately and unique old historical building on the corner in Ft. Plain.
I love the space! It's got a huge table, with I don't know how many seats plus a nice glass display case where I can display some samples of Altered Books from times past. I can't wait to let my various artist friends know that their work is on display here in town!
I set up a workshop based on 6 weeks, figuring the general population will need 6 weeks...some will miss some clases, some will be so challenged it will take awhile, and others hopefully will be in a creative rapture and be unable to quit!
I am so glad to be active and busy again in my art life. The past 8 months have been difficult while I quit my day job and took on working with my husband full time for his Antique biz. I finally have relaxed enough and figure that now I really can make enough money to survive. Now I am back at the table, back at work, and teaching even!

Come join us if you can, in Fort Plain during the month of March while we tear up some books!

The poster

A Black History Month Special featuring Denise Allen

Please note: All images used in this post are copyrighted by Denise Allen. All right reserved. Permission to use these images MUST be cleared through the artist.

It isn't too often that an exhibit that entices me so much comes to the little town of Canajoharie! This month we are all blessed with an exhibit of dolls, story quilts, paintings, and mixed media by the talented local artist Denise Allen.
Second Floor space at The Brotherhood filled with  artwork

I first heard of Denise a few years ago from Chris. Denise shops our Fort Plain Antiques store and buys up all sorts of vintage linens. A passion for linens is something I can appreciate. I like to use them and hoard them. I have my grandmothers hand crocheted work…I use tidbits in my work. Already I had respect for this woman and I was intrigued about what she was doing with all these forlorn linen pieces that I also adore. I couldn't wait to see how she used them and what she did with them.

I have heard many good things about Denise…. She is doing good things for our community! One such good deed is the donation of her time and effort on behalf of Tyson Fowler. (see the entire story here) She sadly lost a son during the 911 catastrophe and has made a story quilt documenting the experience. The proceeds from the sales of  the 911 Prints will be donated to the Tyson Fowler Fund. I love how she has taken her grief full circle to help someone living....There's depth to this person and her ability to give to those in need through her work shows it.
She makes story quilts, these incredibly rich tapestries of brute honesty. She has exhibited in some pretty high profile places and I am so humbled.  I have more seriously been wanting to catch up with her and meet her ever since I saw her work in person at The Brotherhood Antiques store where she has some things on display and for sale. And so it was with great excitement  my pal Travis Button and I went down to The Brotherhood in Canajoharie to see this exhibit!

Detail of Quilt, Above

It's on the second floor of the building in this hauntingy beautiful open and raw space. The bones of this building are exposed and it provides a great foil for the most intricate and decorated work of Denise Allen. The front windows provide an almost primitive style light and atmosphere perfect for absorbing these intense pieces of artwork.

1154 Dean Street, $650
This is my personal fave. Collage built on a wooden door. Swoon!

I was very slow as I went through each piece trying to take in all the multitudes of materials that Denise has mastered and used in her work.

So many materials are used!
There is no limit to the types of  items that may appear in one of her compositions. A work with fabric for a base will have painted surfaces, embroidery, attached objects, handwriting and even cardboard fastened to it to help tell a tale.

Cool! Figures extending beyond the boundaries of the picture plane!
Her talent is extraordinary in that these various items work together in harmony to tell the story so well, you forget to see the individual parts I was mesmerized and happy to be able to spend time up close and personal with these works in such a cool setting.

The Negro Cooks, Recipe Collage Cookbook Cover, $380
I love this  blue and white pottery made of fabric! It's  really ingenious
 Cheers to Joe Fowler of The Brotherhood for supplying such a groovy space for such a great cultural thing for our community. (and especially for me! I love to see this in our town! Collage On!)

These dolls have such stature
Isn't her attire so lovely??

These intense pieces of art are really involved and active. It's easy to get lost in her neighborhood and look to see who is there! Her ability to show expression on the faces of the dolls is also quite extraordinary.

Joe The Mechanic, $450
They have such feeling, and their elaborate costumes had me wondering which little tidbits she got from our store?
Church Gossip, $450

 I am so glad Denise has shared her work in this exhibit! This type of web weaving isn't something you see often. This is some seriously good stuff. They call it folk art, but I just call it creative genius!
Mother Butler, NFS

Denise's 911 prints will be for sale at the Tyson Fowler Fundraising Event on Sunday at Canajoharie High School. See you there!

___A place to find all kinds of information about collage.