TAFA: The Textile and Fiber Art List

Monday, October 31, 2011

Artist Erica Harris and the Buddha's Smile School

Scholarships at the Buddha's Smile School awarded to Paro, Vishal, Ravi, Khusboo, Rekha, Sunita, Brijesh, and Pooja.

Erica Harris is a new cyber friend.  An extremely talented artist, I found common ground with her because of her interest in economic development and cultures around the world.  In her own words:

"I live in Brooklyn, New York. The history, debris, languages, and industries of my metropolis are a huge source of materials and inspiration. I also teach art to children, both here and internationally.

In recent years I have facilitated projects in India, Guatemala, Macedonia, Brazil, El Salvador, Southeast Asia, and Brooklyn. These settings have had a profound influence on my work, and the collaborations with children have been extremely rewarding exchanges. I learn as much, if not more, from looking at children’s art and talking with them about their process and ideas as I do from the museums and galleries of New York. Using art as a tool to outline and interpret their relationships to family, school, work, play, death, violence, society, and the environment, I am provided with such a simple visual vocabulary, so eloquent and universal."

Her work ranges in mood from serious to whimsical, but always meaningful.  Here are a couple of examples:

Cambodian Woman by Erica Harris

Studiocraft for American Craft Magazine by Erica Harris

Erica is currently helping the Buddha's Smile School in India to raise money for their scholarships.  She has a couple of events and is donating proceeds from her Etsy shop.  Here is the info she sent me:

We have started a Scholarship Fund for 8 students of Buddha's Smile School in Varanasi, India and hope you can contribute!  (Pictured at the top of this post)  The students are: Paro, Vishal, Ravi, Khusboo, Rekha, Sunita, Brijesh, and Pooja.

Each scholarship of 25,000 Rupees (about $500) covers costs for school supplies, books, clothing, first aid, meals, and transportation for one year.

These are children previously holding down full-time jobs, mostly as garbage collectors and recyclers on the streets of Varanasi. For most of them, Buddhas Smile School, a non-denominational, non-profit school, is their first experience with education and with someone taking an interest in their well-being.

Kids at Buddha's Smile School in their new winter clothes.

Here's how you can participate:

All proceeds of any purchase on my Etsy site from now until November 15th will be contributed to the fund.  In partnership with the lovely Brooklyn Commune cafe in Windsor Terrace, a print sale of my collages and drawings is running until November 24th.

All proceeds go towards the fund. 
Prints are 20 bucks. 
25 prints= 1 scholarship.

If you would like to create a full or partial scholarship either by purchase or donation in your name, or in the name of your family, school, organization, press or label, I will make a one-of-a-kind certificate and present it to the school when I visit in January. Just think of it!

For donations, please go HERE, and scroll to the bottom of the page.

As always, thank you so much for your support.
If you have already contributed, your generosity is greatly appreciated!

-Erica, Shannon, and Rajan (founder of Buddha's Smile School)

Erica's shop on Etsy: 


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Following the Bison Trail Part II by Doris Florig

"Gros Ventre", Bison Fiber Sculpture by Doris Florig

Part II.  Gros Ventre

Read Part I
It took all summer to complete but it was worth every minute. While working on him, he got moved around quite a bit from studio to studio. Everywhere he went he created quite a stir. Unlike other art work, there was never a hesitation in the response of the observer.   Some jumped because he seemed so real, others thought he was scary and others laughed showing great pleasure.  The reactions changed as he took shape, but there was always an uninhibited reaction. He has been fun from start to finish.
He was constructed from nothing but wire, a raw fleece, felted wool, yarn, real bison hair and real horns. Once completed, he sold immediately. I am happy to say that he went to a good home. He was purchased by Marie-Eve and Harvey Locke.  Harvey is the founder of the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, commonly known as Y2Y. One of their projects is to reintroduce the Bison to Banff National Park.
With my approval Harvey and Marie-Eve named their new sculpture after the location where he was conceived, “Gross Ventre”.  Headed for Canada, they left my studio grinning and smiling. ”Gros Ventre” become the first bison to migrate to Banff National Park as part of the BISON BELONG project.
Should I do a big horn sheep next?


Doris Florig is currently teaching in the fiber department at Jackson Hole, WY at the Center for the Arts. To learn more about workshops and classes offered contact Doris: email.

Doris is a TAFA member although her member profile is still not posted. Visit her website.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Steve Jobs Leaves Us a Challenge: Live Fully

Steve Jobs, Apple Genius and Visionary

The sad news that Steve Jobs has died is a top story on the news today.  Can one man or woman change the world?  Steve Jobs did.  And, he did it in an elegant and dignified manner.  I don't know how he passed his last weeks or hours, but imagine that he did it with similar grace, as much as that is possible as a body succumbs to cancer.  I know so many people right now who are also facing that inevitable transition we must all go through someday: when death closes the final door to life as we know it.

A couple of quotes from Steve Jobs:

"Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn't matter to me.  Going to bed at night saying we've done something wonderful, that's what matters to me."

"I'm convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance."

Most of us will not make the headlines when we die, but we can impact those around us with our talents and gifts.  We can be a light in our small corner of the world.  Steve Jobs strove to keep things simple and light, to make things functional and useful, and to enjoy the process and make it meaningful. 

I wonder what else he would have brought the world if he had lived to old age.  A candle that burned too brightly and too quickly?  In the end, all of the money in the world, all of the medical knowledge we now have, the resources and technology, cannot save us when it is time to go.  

Life is precious.  Live fully!



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