onsdag den 29. december 2010

Unconventional parking or lack of excitement?

Ok. It's winter her in Denmark. And we do have a lot of snow... But what's really going on?

Our drive way has been filled with ice and snow for over a month. So I always use the back gear to drive in, so I won't stuck fast in the snow piles when I drive off to work the next day. Today I was coming home from a quick tur to the neighbour town, when I suddenly realized I had reared into the wrong drive way. It was actually not a drive way, but the tiny snowy lane to my neighbours by the lake. To make things worse, there was a sign right behind my car. Oh-oh, I thought, not another one! Last fall I managed to run a traffic sign down midt in a sleepy drive throu town nearby...

I tried to turn away from the sign, but the wheels wouldn't find any stand in the snow. The car slid down. I managed to turn it, so I didn't bump into the sign. Full stop. Check all mirrows... Sigh! Nothing happened. Not yet anyway. But the sign was only a few millimeter from the car! I felt helpless! If I tried anything at all, I'd certainly dammage the car... I called for help. A couple of hours later my car was safe and unscrached back on the road thanks to the car helpline!

As I sit her and think about it, I wonder what really is behind my moment of distraction, which lead to the "unconventional parking" a few meters from home. Why did I make that mistake? Why am I so light headed? Is it just one of those moments of human nature's failure, or is it something else?

The phone rang, and I talked to my dear friend, Mette. She had an interesting theory: maybe I'm lacking excitement. Life is good right now in many ways. And I was used to beeing challenged all the time. So when things are calm, I might unconsciously attract situations or even create them, where something unexpectet happens and messes up with my plans...

That was a very much to the point observation! :-) But is it true? A little soulsearching brings me back to a nagging feeling that's been with me since last summer. I've been so busy that I haven't had time to work with my art. And that's been creating this huge frustration inside me. So, that might be my 'lack of excitement'.

For it is exciting to start a new art piece, to play with my textiles and coulors not knowing what they will turn into... It's in a way risky - I have to move pass my confort zone, I have to dare my "sensible" self and give in to my "sensitive" side.

So my new year's wish is to get excitement back in my life, through my art, through expressing myself. And hopefully that will keep me grounded, so I won't turn into wrong lanes or make ill choices...

Happy New Year, everyone! :-)

onsdag den 1. december 2010

My sacred inspiration spot

Last week I found my sacred place in the forest behind my garden. The lawn ends up in a wall of bushes and small trees, where birds eat the seeds we spread for them in winter time. I've sometimes wondered what was behind the bushes. In spring time, some of the higher trees were filled with flowers, and later on, with fruits. But that remained an unaccessible place for me until last week.

We've just had some snow, and I'm always thrilled to try and walk there, where my feet sink deep into it. Suddenly I discovered a path with small footprints on it. Certainly a fason. I followed the path and a second later I was in a magical spot: the tree branches and bushes evolved to a net above me, where soft balls and rools og snow lay gently. I looked around and discovered more paths, but since I'm not as short as the animals that use them, I couldn't get further that where my sight could reach.

The light sky, behind the forest on the other side of the stream, filled the room with atmosphere. I felt myself in peace and deeply grateful for being alive. A part of me was awaked and my creativity boomed with ideas...

Since then I've been itching to do something creative, artistic, involving that side of me I reached in my sacred spot in the woods... I'm looking forward to it!

fredag den 19. november 2010

5 years as an artist

Amazing! It's already five years ago I decided to take the big step and become an artist. Become is probably not the right word. I've always been an artist, being creative, using my fantasy, finding beauty in every day things and studying shape, colour and light everywhere.

But to dare call myself an artist, to stand by what I make and show it to others - that demanded courage. Could I call myself an artist? Would I like to be called an artist? What does it mean to be an artist? Will people look down at me because I'm an artist, or idealize me? I soon discovered that my biggest hurdles were my own prejudice and expectations to what an artist is.

For instance I grew up in Brazil, in a very conservative environment - even though my mother always encouraged med to be artistic and creative. I realised I expected to be identified with the worst image of an artist: the drunken person, who is so chaotic and desoriented that nobody can trust and who ends up dying in the gutters, poor and sick.

Once I identified the image of an artist I possessed, I started to work towards changing it. For instance, I contacted the Danish Artist Union and became a member. I discovered that many artist are quite organized and reliable people. Artists in Denmark work hard to be seen as workers and tax payers. This is great!

I had to decide on a media in order to concentrate my activities and expenses in one direction. Painting ended up being too expensive (paint spots ended everywhere, on the floor, on the ceiling, on my clothes...) and space demanding. Back in 2005 I lived in a 60 square meter appartment in Copenhagen, with my boyfriend. Ceramics was neither a possibility and photography was again too expensive...

But then I had to make a birthday gift to my good friend, Mette. I had just read something about free machine embroidery in a book and I decided to try it. My old sewing machine, which was probably buildt in the sixties, could only sew straight and zigzag. I managed to sink the feeddogs, but the machinery just wouldn't work right: every 30 seconds the tread broke! I was getting mad! At last I decided to try sewing zigzag with the feeddogs on and gently moving the piece the way I wanted. That went better. The result proved to be good and my friend was really happy for my gift, which I called "Mette's sun" - see the picture above.

I was so happy with the result! I enjoyed the process and the only thing I needed was to continue working with it. But I needed a new machine. My then boyfriend had a very kind mother, Merete, who was once a weaver. She had a Bernina she wanted to lend me. I grew so fond of free machine stiching that I decided that this was going to be my media as an artist.

In Portuguese there's a saying: "Uma andorinha só não faz verão", in a literate translation it says: "A single swallow makes no summer". It means that you need a network in order to make things happen. So I googled and searched and read a lot of stuff on the net, in books and magazines. I discovered a whole world of art quilters and joined SAQA - Studio Art Quilts Associates as soon as I could. What a wonderful world full of gentle ladies and creative souls!

My first exhibit happened in an art gallery in Frederiksberg, in Copenhagen, in Debember 2005 I mananed to make 20 art quilts in 9 months! That was a record I haven't managed to achieve again yet!

Becoming an artist had it's consequences. For instance I moved away from my then boyfriend and out of Copenhagen in May 2006. I moved to the woods in the country side and that's been the best for me, no doubt. Adjusting to a new environment took time and energy, but nevertheless I managed to exhibit several places, hold open studio days and develop my identity as an artist in the public eye with strong PR work. I was soon selling many os my pieces and now I've got this luxury problem that I'm almost out of art work, while exhibition places still show interest in my art work... :-) Not bad!

Two years efter moving to the country side, I met my soul mate, Michael, and we got married this year. As I experience this great energy of consolidation and grounding, I finally feel I'm getting into a period which is clearly more introvert, where I need to and want to work with my art in depth. And I look forward to it!

onsdag den 22. september 2010

Pine Tree series for sale

Wedding bells! So exciting and ... so expensive...

So I decided to put my Pine Tree series for sale now. So this is a good chance for you who like something beautiful and unusual to hang on your walls! The five art pieces below are all made by soldering organzas and other synthetic materials with a soldering iron. You can see me working on one of them in the picture above.

Since organza is a shinny textile, and some of them were woven with two colour threads, the art pieces are very lively. You will experience that they change character depending on the angle from which you view it and on the amount of light it receives. So the photos beneath are just one of the many expressions hidden in each art piece. All pictures are framed and should you wish it, there's a matching glass to put in the frame to protect the piece from dust.

"Skovens Juveller I"
In english:
"Jewells of the forest I"

Inspired by the forest in Denmark last winther. Beading provides the gentle snow.

"Skovens Juveller II" :
"Jewells of the forest II"

"Skovens Juveller III" :
"Jewells of the forest III"

"Skovens Juveller IV" :
"Jewells of the forest IV"

"Skovens Juveller VI" :
"Jewells of the forest VI"

søndag den 25. juli 2010

Working on a series

It's been a real adventure working on my new series. I decided to keep the motive simple and to work in a small size, and to frame my art work. I always ment that art quilts are not meant to be in frames, but when the size is no larger than an A4, it really means a lot to have the peaceful passpartout around it.

I've been pushing my boundaries working with a technique new to me: soldering organzas and other synthetic textiles. And it's payning well off! I was a bit scared in the beginning, because I found out that the gases produced under the process can give cancer. But I found out that using a proper mask, and working outside is the solution.

This new technique is allowing me to work with what I'm in love with: tranparency and layers. It's amasing how colours surprise me when they're overlayed... It allows me to interprete the beautiful landscapes in my surroundings. I live in a forest in Denmark, where the changing light creates awesome atsmospheres.

My new artist identity

Welcome to my blog!

I'm approaching one big mile stone in my life: I'm getting married on October 10th! Love's in the air.... :-)

Along with this big change, I've decided to take another important decision: I chose to use an artist name, so there's a room for my private life and my art. It's a good move both for my new family life and for my art business.

Choosing Tove Pirajá as my artist name was the natural choice. Tove is not only my first name - it's as Scandinavian as it can get. It's an old Nordic name - at least 1000 years old. Tove was not an easy name to have while I grew up in Brazil, where nobody at all would dream it's a girls name. But it has a strenght, which I've always been found of. I was the Dane in Brazil, the girl with the odd name. It might have isolated me in those years, had I not been my mother's daughter... But nobody is more out going than her!

Pirajá is my mother's surname. It's a family name with lots of history, with Indian roots and Brazilian aristocracy glamour... For me it represents all that's Brazilian in me - the 21 years I spent there, my childhood and young years. It binds me to the values I grew up with: faith, love, hope and a universe filled of cultural and geographical diversity. Pirajá reminds me of the energy and power my mom, and most of women in her family possess: a will to live, to make the best out of things and to choose positive attitude to life.

So, yes, Tove Pirajá is the perfect artist name for me, and for my art. And now it's great to share this with all of you! :-)