Tuesday, December 29, 2009

 the newest art installation, MILK going up at Hooked on Colfax Cafe, 3213 E. Colfax Ave.  Denver, Co 80206.  Showing January 5 through February 8, 2010.

Entitled MILK, referencing the material's original purpose, this installation resonates with previous installations by HOL SUM.

The major theme for HOL SUM's installations:  the material of the installation is a product, by-product or waste product from the environment in which the piece is installed.  The material is revised and re-purposed from its original function and appearance, then installed as a textural reference to where it is placed.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

christmas in chesterfield

I spent Christmas in Chesterfield, VA, the county where I grew up.  Directly below the "D" in CHESTERFIELD, you'll see Chester.  My parents live in the middle of that town and so did I until I went to college. 

Blessings over my Grandma Kay, it's a difficult time for her right now.  Cheers to my sister and her good life and good friends.  Love to my parents leading fulfilling and strong lives in this community. 

Returning to Denver tomorrow...

The week ahead: 
1.  work on screen-printing, cutting and sewing 9 costumes for Louder Than Words Theater's dance production, Shift premiering Friday January 8th.  Tickets on sale at Hooked on Colfax Cafe! 

2. work on the site specific art installation going up at Hooked on Colfax Cafe January 4th... more information to come!

3. Snowboarding? 

4. 2010!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

another new york (times) minute

 Aaron Koblin’s “Flight Patterns” shows a real-time image of the aircraft flight paths over the United States.

Alice Rawsthorn writes about the digital art show at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.  I  recommend reading the article and wish the show were here for me to see on my non-traveling budget!  I've often felt awkward about digital art, but I think mostly because I use my computer mostly for what I'd call graphic design and for my art works, the computer comes in handy for making templates and precise measuring sans tedious ruler work.  I'd say it's just not my bag - I crave the physical processes of drawing, painting, printing, sculpting, sewing, etc. etc. - so my attraction to digital art has been limited.  This show, on the other hand, is greatly attractive to me and it brings to mind the digital works seen now and then (individual works, not a whole show) that have peeked my curiosity and art loving joy! 

That all sounds a bit art lover-ish.  From the perspective of an artist who makes art related to repetitive and meditative processes, the image of Aaron Koblin's work, "Flight Patterns" touches home.  If in each plane flight stretched a brilliant colored thread from departure to arrival, the representation of repetition, much like weaving weft back and forth through the warp, could be gorgeous.  (How appropriate that it is digitally represented as the consequences of this project in physical space would obviously create environmental and social problems - Christo and Jean-Claude could have told us that!).

Saturday, December 12, 2009

speaking of circles

Circles of Circles on view and sale at Hooked on Colfax Cafe (E. Colfax between Steele and Adams Streets) as part of a Barista Art show there for the month of December!  The secret's out, I'm a Barista.  All of the proceeds from sales at the show support the smiling faces and growling tummies of your favorite caffeine dealer.  I easily assume you would consider any of us your favorite, even if it's your first time at Hooked.  Come on out.  7pm onward.

But speaking of circles, the New York Times' Natalie Angier wrote an article about the The Circular Logic of the Universe. She specifically mentions the art of Vasily Kandinsky, a wizard of circles, now on view at the Guggenheim (how appropriate).

Several Circles   Vasily Kandinsky 1926
(this image belongs to the NYT co.)

Friday, December 4, 2009

winter wear

This winter is loaded with projects!  One of which, the winter dress, wearable as a jacket.  Soft wool with a smooth polyester lining. Tabs and buttons down the front, fold over, stand-up cowl neck, empire waste and cap sleeves.  Light sweaters fit under it and coats fit over it.  Leggings, tights or jeans... layer it up!  We love dresses and we want to be warm in the winter;  these are not mutually exclusive factors of fashion.

Monday, November 23, 2009


Circle of Circles.  A simple template of circles that I'm filling repeatedly with the classic rainbow pencil - 4 color lead; red, yellow, green and blue.  Each composition is dependent upon the amount of each color in the pencils' irregular lead and however the pencil is sharpened.

circle of circles 4
Lyra 4-color pencil on paper

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Flock to get Hooked

 Bomb it.  The newest art installation:  a legal stencil.

 Commissioned by Hooked on Colfax Cafe (3213 E. Colfax Ave.) owners Scott and Malissa Spero, this new flock joins the neighborhood hooked on the warmth and affection of the baristas and coffee.

happy birthday to my sister and to me

I didn't put this post up on my birthday because... well, I had to send Erin's gift to her before I could exploit it on my blog! So, back to some of my drawing roots, I made a drawing for my twin sister that (I think) speaks to her soul (and frankly speaks to mine too).

Erin's always had a fondness for the complex and beautiful celtic knots, so I bit the bullet and figured one out. Saturn finds a place in the work because we're 28 this year - Saturn's orbit is 28 years long. So, here we are again, Erin - two fish swimming to find our place in the world; two birds in free flight toward the stars. I should mention that Erin always loved raccoons when we were children, so inevitably, I love them too. The curious face, turns to see what is.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


While in Barcelona, one of my favorite things about European cities, we happened on many specialty shops - anywhere from chocolate to leather. So, we stopped into said leather shop and had some belts made while we waited. There were more than 100 kinds of belt leather to choose from, so we took advantage of the opportunity. While waiting, I found the box of scraps! What a jackpot for the seasoned thrift artist. Granted, I like finding and using nice, more expensive materials, but reality check: I'm creative, raw material is available, hardly any money required, AND I had an idea almost instantly for how to use some of the stuff in the box. Most of the scraps were nice material in scrap-disguise, what a score! a large-ish scrap of fuchsia dyed leather becomes a souvenir for my student and friend, Kali. She brought me back the coolest bottle opener from Turkey. The least I could do was give her a gift up to par! Hand-cut, lace-like, necklace -

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Bologna and Barcelona trip 2009

We were hosted in Bologna for one week and then traveled to Barcelona for some free-wheelin' travel! I hope you'll take some minutes to look at the photos of the places we went, food we enjoyed, and moments we hope to remember while traveling. head to Flickr and see the images larger if you like.

These are our photos from Barcelona, I'm just now realizing that our photos are in reverse order from the trip... Bologna was first, then Barcelona. Eh, what the hey. I'm sure you get the idea: the trip was inspiring to say the least!
This is my collection of graffiti photos from Bologna and Venice, Italy as well as Barcelona, Spain. Graffiti: so important.
at Cersaie (International exhibition of ceramic tile and bathroom furnishings) We were here because Christian Butler (my partner) and Michael Johnson (his mentor) both received awards from the Ceramic Tiles of Italy group and hosted us for a week overlapping the conference dates. Here, pictures of the exhibit with our work and images of Michael speaking. Also, images some pieces in the show we thought to photograph.
See Christian and Rebecca in Bologna, Italy.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Sarah and Aaron are getting married!

SARAH WRIGHT AND AARON VOSKULL, I LOVES YOU! Here you see Sarah's wedding dress:
I've been fretting over this dress, but it seems unnecessarily as it turned out lovely! Thanks to Sarah for giving me another opportunity to challenge myself and show you how much I appreciate you. I hope your day is as lovely as we all would dream of. Christian and I leave for Italy and Spain on Saturday!!! I've been working to complete many projects before departure. It's best to be free from home when traveling.

We'll be in Bologna for a week and then Barcelona for another week. I'm an open cup and ready to be filled with the beautiful art, architecture, food and culture of these cities!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Malissa in her dress

...maybe we'll have a full body image sometime, but here's sweet Malissa in her dress made for a wedding she attended in Hawaii!

What is contemporary art and do we know it when we see it?

What does it mean to us to go see art?
Do we know what we intend to do?
Do we think about receiving the work and looking into the work?
Are we willing to be confused and affected by mystery?
Can we expose ourselves to the indefinable sensations art can induce?

The popular art show at museums across the nation is one that is just that, popular. Holland Cotter, in the New York Times article, Top of the Wish List: No More Blockbusters, points us toward smaller, manageable, more accessible exhibitions. In this scenario, the art may be more visible as the viewer may not have to bring his mind past the grandiose idea of being in the same room with a celebrity.

Friday, September 11, 2009

food and dresses

These days, clothes and food have really taken center stage. I wonder when I'll be drawing again? Soon I hope.
This past week, I've been making pasta. I've been cooking in our tangine (Thanks Lara and Grant, I love it.), and of course, designing and making dresses. This purple and turquoise, corduroy jumper is for my lovely friend Ruby Elizabeth Sutherlin-Sovern. Happy Birthday to Ruby! She's Seven. This is her new dress from Hol Sum. How fun to deviate from the formal and grown-up needs for clothing. I love these singing bird pockets for keeping keepsakes.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

we climbed, we conquered.

A few weeks ago, we walked to the top of Mt. Quandary. Here we are at 14,265 feet above sea level. This guy was also up there.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


Fitting the form... a sort of architecture for the body. I've finished a few dresses in the past 2 weeks. One more in the works, preceded by a test dress... Altogether that's 5 dresses in a month. Not bad. I don't have photos of the wearers wearing these dresses as I don't expect them to do a photoshoot on their own time, but eventually, we'll have photos with these beautiful ladies.
In this picture, I'm wearing Malissa's dress because we happen to be the same size.

I do finally have the pictures of Kali in her dress (see last month's posting). She's a charm! We'll be starting sewing lessons this week! Anyone else want to learn to sew? Let me know.

Yesterday, a quick, stretchy, tube dress made in the morning in efforts to be comfortable all afternoon car-shopping. Done!

Friday, August 14, 2009


40 needle felted birds
wool, alpaca, lama fibers
approx. 2 x 4 x 2 inches in dimension

click on images for larger view.

This installation of Migration at the Red Squared Gallery in Spring Green, WI is the first formal installation of the work. Passing through an invisible plane in space, the birds are simultaneously indicative of the immediate and gradual processes of change. Their color changes in one slice through space. The process of needle felting is hours of almost unnoticeable transformation. They are representative of the duality of change, always immediate and always gradual.

Thanks to Michael Desbarres and Ryan Hewson for creating the gallery, Red^2 and connecting the community of Spring Green to the community of contemporary artists and designers at Taliesin. Thanks also to Emil Crystal for his work in bringing this show together and organizing artists. If you are in South Wisconsin during this month of August, please consider visiting the gallery and the show.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


This time next week, I'll be in Spring Green, Wisconsin setting up a show at my friends' gallery, Red Squared. Michael Desbarres and Ryan Hewson, recent graduates of Taliesin, the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, refitted an old auto parts store that covers 5000+ sf on two levels. They've organized a series of shows relating to art & architecture, the next of which is entitled CONJURE and will feature the artists who have come to Taliesin over many years.

My work on display includes MIGRATION, a collection of needle felted birds (seen on this blog over the past year). Indicative of invisible change, MIGRATION is conceptually and symbolically the slow process of change that is, however, immediate. The time spent in slowly felting the fiber using a single barbed needle is in line with meditation. Meditation is simultaneously an effort to cultivate stillness and a basis for progress and growth.

Also included is BREATHING ROOM, layers upon layers of translucent white paint and the transcribed syllables of the breath, are again a result of meditation – breathing and meditative mark making. The focus upon one’s breath, the sound and sensation of it, is a simple meditation technique here made visually apparent. The end product is a created atmosphere of stillness and the simple knowing of one’s living by breathing.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Today's sewing accomplishment: Fancy jade dress. Like Fancy purple, this dress is made with a cotton/polyester blend, satin finish fabric. This version incorporates another tie at back to make wearing more simple. Keeping this dress simple, with embellishments centered on fit, is the goal in my design.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Arlene Shechet's cast paper art works currently on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver are a brilliant change from the often color-lost, subject-heavy paper pulp work I relate to paper making. Often categorized as craft, paper-making rises to an honorable height with Shechet's work. Above, a detail of Shechet's paper work. Her colors, amorphous fields and fluid lines create depth and atmosphere with stunning clarity and simplicity. Shechet confidently gifts the viewer with continuity between upwards of 10 cast paper works keeping to the same pallet of color, texture and form. Go to MCA on 15th St. and Delgany St., Denver or their website to see more.

Monday, July 20, 2009

where have I been?

It seems I've been missing for almost a month... at least according to my holsumation posts. We did travel to Wisconsin for a week, which required working extra to prepare for being gone...
I did make a commitment to myself to make 1 dress every 2 weeks starting (when?) sometime in June. I made the dress for the Guggenheim opening and finished a dress started last year. I made a commission dress for a friend of mine, drawing here - photo of actual dress to come. That dress led to another dress for myself using a variation of the style she wanted. I finally had a reason to use the last of screen printed whale fabric I printed 2 years ago. Now I'm working on more dresses of that type for potential consignment in a Denver boutique. For these I'm using solid colors of a satin finished cotton/polyester blend. Next will come some Autumn oriented styles. All my styles are personally draped patterns (meaning, I'm not using patterns from an envelope at the store right now. If I do use them, I use them for reference).

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

in town

Check this out. R. Justin Stewart at Plus Gallery, Denver, CO. This is my favorite gallery in Denver yet. Regroup (The Google Diaspora), 2008 (commissioned by Esq, fleece, rope, paint, pvc cap, hose barb and metal hardware, 8.5 x 21 x 13 feet

I'd put my work in this gallery.

Partitioned 12-18 (detail), 2007, thread, metal frames, lead weights, site specific installation, Denver, CO

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Unfortunately, there are no pictures of the day we grated 60 lemons while 3 liters of Everclear 191 filtered through the Britta. But today! Today was filter and finishing day for the Taliesin Limoncello.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

the show is on

It's good when things work out well. My stuff over at Hooked On Colfax, E. Colfax Ave. and Steele St. gets a nice brick wall background.

Show opens on Saturday night at 7pm.

Otherwise, check out the cafe, have one of the best latte's of East Denver, and see the handiwork in person.

Friday, June 5, 2009

work for life

Today, photographing older work from a few years ago... This piece is part of a large movement of my work based on migration and prayer flags.Birds become a symbol of ourselves and a sort of prayer flag, as in Tibetan symbols of offerings for the world carried by the wind. We, as immigrants, movers, travelers, beings of constant change; we are like mobile prayer flags. We have the power to move across this earth as offerings of peace, compassion, and love.

These ideas are still the power behind my present work. Practicing in meditative, repetitive drawings and making flocks of birds from different materials. These represent a practice in quietness and receptivity. These represent my and, I believe, humanity's capacity to live as offerings of goodness and trust.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


These bags and purses are for sale beginning June 8th at Hooked on Colfax Coffee - Steele and E. Colfax. We're also throwing a party on Saturday, June 13 from 7-9pm.
Check'em out.
these are some of the large size bags - each large enough to carry a 12" laptop, magazines or text books. Each has pockets.

These new pieces are a riff off of the work I was doing 2 years ago. The canvas fabric is painted with acrylic paints to give a tough, non-fray finish. The fully coated fabrics are water resistant. Each bag is designed and sewn by me. No 2 bags are ever alike. In my last post, I included a picture of a mini-bag.

hol sum.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

a growing family

no, I'm not pregnant. silly....building a family, hol sum style; I finally took on crocheting a little bird yesterday and finished her this morning. I used a nylon cord for stiffness and also filled her with beans. She stands alone. The silicon birds are still in progress (another one on the way) and the slip-cast birds are still on the radar screen.

Coming up, a little show at Hooked on Colfax (Steele and Colfax, North side of Colfax) with a little opening the second Saturday in June.I'm actually making a ton of painted bags between now and then. Every bag is hand painted and printed, pattern-designed and sewn by myself. I'm hoping these can be a segue into selling on consignment at some hip little boutiques in the city.

I know, we went to New York, the city, and, lamentably, we forgot our camera. OMG. We were stretched in every direction (as the city requires) as we spent time with family and friends visiting for the Guggenheim show, friends living in the city, and our good friends, Art and Architecture. The short list:
-Guggenheim: Frank Lloyd Wright Retrospective, 50th year anniversary, and reopening (after years of restoration). Christian's work is on display as part of their education program. My good friend Jamie Zander helped with an animated tour through the Taliesin, Spring Green, estate on level 3 of the museum ramp. (Wow Jamie!)
-MOMA: Mira Schendel and Leon Ferrari show, which I talked of already.
-Cooper Hewitt Design Museum show on FELT!!! Way to go Molo! Hell yes Andrea Zittel! Jean Nouvel, I want your sofa.
-Ceramic Tiles of Italy, Surface Magazine and the Meat-Packing District Initiative's design tour: That was an amazing block party in honor of contemporary GOOD design. May I add that the MOD FAB was front and center at the 414 Gallery's design show!
-ICFF: International Contemporary Furniture Fair. The world's front running design show for new furniture and such accoutrement.
-Kevin and Marie Butler: Christian's parents, two people of astounding generosity and good taste. Thank you for making this trip to NYC such a beautiful (however exhausting) experience.
-Erik Krautbauer and Grace Stanton: the hostests with the mostests. (I can barely read that out loud) Because of these people we found the local fine eateries and cafes and never felt out of the loop.
-Erik's great artwork and clever artist's statement. (more on that later)
-2 French bakery/cafe's each within 2 blocks of our hotel. Need I say more?

That is actually all I can say for now. This trip was beautiful. Both Christian and I are feeling inspired and bright about our work despite the tiresome wake of this trip.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Mira and Leon

We're in New York City.
I will say more about that later.
For now,
yesterday - MOMA.
Mira Schendel.
Leon Ferrari.
Magical Modernism.
fully satisfying.
I want to make
these filled fields.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

gray or grey?

my favorite (not)color is gray. or grey? Spell-check says, "gray." I like grey. My favorite color? So hard to say, but yellow is often an easy choice, especially when paired with grey!

And now, the Grey Dress.

I've been working on this one since last weekend and it's gone through a major revision. The last time I used this (basic) pattern, the fabric was more pliable, and this being more rigid of a fabric - silk acetate blend, I'm finding little room for flex. Stubborn as I am, I didn't want to use a zipper and I think I accomplished that goal. The dress is for the Guggenheim show we'll attend in a few weeks. It's important to look our best and represent ourselves well through our dress am I right? Thinking I might have to go shoe shopping... a sweet dilemma.

So now, obviously, I'm off to work the hem.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


The road south of our apartment has been under construction since we moved here (3 months!) and today, the asphalt eater came through. I don't actually know what this million dollar piece of machinery is called, but it's truly a feat of human engineering. It slowly rolls along the street behind a dump-truck, its rear ripping and digesting the old asphalt, which then rides a conveyor belt to dump into the dump-truck. What's left is a perfectly cut away, single lane, tamped and ready for replacement asphalt. It's somewhat inspiring - maybe a long roll of paper with a bird's flight, the disturbed air of its flapping wings, a smudgy, erasure of mark-making following the flying bird form. A bit like Blu's animations throughout South American cities, where you can see the history of his drawing as he covers it up or smudges it away.
I've been working a lot lately... not much on the computer though. I think my lack of blog posts reflects that. The grid on rotated grid, gray tones drawing is still coming along slowly. I'm debating over whether to contact Prismacolor about the crappy quality of their pencils. I swear I'm getting about 50% of my expected use out of these pencils... they just crumble sometimes. Occasionally I wonder what other media I might use to achieve the look I like so much using the pencils to burnish the paper. Nothing else ever seems to promise the same or similar effect. Is this the price I pay? This is an expensive drawing! I'm saving all my stubs... planning to add up operating costs when this one is done.

I'm also working on the slip-casting molds for the ceramic birds (at Peter Kramer's studio up north of Denver). It's been hard to get myself up there because it's a long-ish bike ride and the weather has been poor on the days when I have time to get out there. I have to remind myself that there's no real rush to get this project done, so I don't have to worry about momentum. It is strange to be away from a project for so long - I find I'm not sure where to begin. I did take the opportunity to try silicone in one of the molds that's done already. I had the idea last Fall while using black silicone caulk on the Mod Fab that a black silicone bird would be beautifully opaque and transparent at the same time. I'm testing with some left-over translucent white here, as you can see. It worked! I'll have to work on the seam that's left and how to achieve best aesthetic. Overall, I'm glad the original idea seems like a real possibility.

There's always something going on with these creative juices... I did find a fabric store very very near my house here. I'd say it's the biggest, baddest selection of fabrics I've seen since visiting a fabric store in NYC. So, I bought some! Last weekend I started banging out a dress to wear to the Guggenheim in a few weeks (for the Frank Lloyd Wright and Taliesin Retrospective show opening!!!). It's coming along. Pictures when done...

Friday, April 3, 2009

Mira Schendel have you seen my breathing?

This is what I'm up to these days:
I was turned on to Mira Schendel today, thanks to New York Times article, Alternative Modernism via South America and the MOMA's show, Tangled Alphabets. Her series, Graphic Objects, evokes nostalgia and security in me as I recognize my own meditative repetitive writing and assembling of lines, letters, marks, and forms. A few images of her work at the MOMA: This untitled piece is such a simple albeit beautiful use of graphic text to form atmospheric texture and space. I imagine these letters as abstract and arbitrary forms evoking language and communication depicted here as form and texture relevant to time and space. Our human existence at once archived and forever forgotten in disjointed memories of communication. This next image is redolent of chaos as it suffuses all of our well meaning organization.
Yes, we will be attending this MOMA show in May while in NYC for the Guggenheim retrospective of Frank Lloyd Wright (including Christian's work!). ...can't wait!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

mountain carving

...taking time out to be with lovely people in a lovely place.