Summer Happenings / It's Been a While / by Brielle DuFlon

Hi buddies! I haven't made a post in a while and it's because I stepped away from my fine art for a few months this year (between March and August) to launch the little business I wrote about in the last blog post - Window & Wing! 

Guess what? It's up and running and you can visit the shop at www.windowandwing.com

I'm pretty excited about it - it's just the beginning and there is still a lot to do and add to this platform but it feels good to have the foundation built. It's thrilling to think about how it might change and grow to encompass a wide variety of items that I'd like to make and learn how to make as well as focus more on sustainability and reducing fabric waste. As it stands, you can buy three kinds of things in the shop: wall hangings made out of recycled fabric, used and vintage clothing that I've made unique through embroidered embellishment and embroidered/beaded jewelry that is small edition or one of a kind. Here are some examples: 

Thoughts on what I'd like to add to the shop eventually include:

  • Woven wall hangings, woven textiles for the home (that could be commissioned) such as throw-pillow cases, tablecloths and bedspreads, placemats and napkins, tea towels and maybe even clothes some day.
  • Baskets: I'd like to learn how to make baskets and have them for sale through the shop (decorative and useful).
  • Handmade paper (from scrap thread and other fibers) available by the sheet and envelope. 
  • Stationary and notebooks
  • Patterns for fabrics and wallpapers (partner up with designers to make these available to people)

The potential for collaboration through Window & Wing is huge and I would like to partner with other lady-makers and small female-run businesses when I can. I'll keep you all posted on all of this including letting everyone know about any workshops or camps that I might run that have to do with the skills needed for this shop (something I'm very interested in exploring). I'm giving myself another full year and change to continue to lay the foundation for this and practice weaving, basket and paper making, learn how to use my sewing machine, and grow a following that trusts me and is interested in the next thing that might come to the shop.

So that's that for the craft side of things. 

On the fine art side, I signed up for two group shows this fall which are very important to me - the first being an activism show at the McGuffey Art Center called "All Rise" that opens next month and the second being a group show at Second Street Gallery in December that I'm extremely excited about (I'll post a Second Street update closer to the time of that show!).

I'm currently working on three pieces for the show at McGuffey that approach the division between groups of people in the contemporary U.S.:

  • people of color vs. white supremacists (and the greater theme of white privilege)
  • the LGBTQI community vs. those who want to take away or limit their rights
  • immigrants and refugees who would like to be part of our community vs. American citizens who do not welcome them.

I'm making these pieces all in the same style - as abstract representations of the voices of these oppressed communities getting pressed on, squeezed or pushed away by their oppressors. The pieces are titled "Voices of Color," "Proud Voices," and "Voices from Outside." Here are some progress shots from "Voices of Color" which is nearing completion: 

The cool thing about these pieces and the ones for Second Street is that I'm combining various media that I've become familiar with over the last few years into single pieces that have richer depth and texture and are more expressionistic. The emotion of making them feels evident in them, and that makes me ECSTATIC because with the preciseness of needlework and some of the geometry I like to include in my abstract representations, I've felt that the expressionism and emotion have been somewhat compromised. Now I feel like I can have it all and it feels great! 

On a final note, I wanted to mention three positive additions to my life: 

  • I joined an amazing Femme creative group called the FUCC (Femme Union of Charlottesville Creatives) that has not only introduced me to some really cool creative female energy in town but has also offered some incredible resources.
  • I attended a Social Media Workshop led by one of the FUCC members that has totally revolutionized my approach to instagram for my fine art and for Window & Wing, which is exciting.
  • I signed up for and completed a time management course online through Coursera that was extremely empowering - it's a multi-stage sort of thing so I'm currently in the process of tracking my time in 15 minute increments for a month! There are tools for higher efficiency, faster completion of projects and taking less transition time between projects as well as organization tips and things. It's been really great. Overwhelming sometimes, but amazing. 

 

In general it has been a very tender and sensitive month in C-ville. It makes me happy to be working directly on activist pieces right now. I've been feeling really emotional about the dark feelings a lot of people around me put so much energy into and behind - close-mindedness and division that have deep roots in this country and that are terrifying. The positive additions to my life mentioned above have been key in pulling me through these tough times, as well as open conversations with friends, family, acquaintances, strangers, reconnecting with my neighbors and making human connections everywhere I can - eye contact, acknowledgement - making those around me feel as welcome as possible. We have a lot of work to do as a community and a country and I'm excited to be diving into it using some of the best means of communication I know - art! 

Thanks for stopping by! 

B