All throughout my childhood, my mom was writing books while my brother and I were at school. We would come home around 3 o'clock to snacks of apples and cheddar cheese and regale our mom with the day's stories. I never really knew exactly what her day entailed, but there was evidence of her writing by the sofa: her long-hand writing on yellow legal pads, a smattering of dull and sharply pointed pencils, an unfolded blanket and an empty water glass, perhaps some pretzel rods. It was curious and inspiring. She would read her writing to us some nights. In these days, they were Viking tales.
I was a bit young at that time to understand much, and I drifted in and out. In the end, I think my brother heard more of them than I did. Through the years her stories have changed and I have read them. They are good. Her latest writings are mysteries, the Rodney-Winslow mystery series to be precise. She invited me to make the covers ages ago, and they have been a long time coming. Thankfully, she is patient. It was hard for me to find the time but so rewarding to experience translating my mom’s writing to picture. Collaborating with G.G. has been very cool.
The hard cover books are at press right now and I cannot wait to share them with my mom. She has no idea that they are on the way! Here are the dust jackets for the first three books in the series:
You can read the Kindle editions here!
In 2005, I performed a puppet show for PS1's Greater New York: Performance Series. The story is called Can't Find the Bottom and is performed with my fabric characters, fabric collage backdrops, pre-recorded audio and me.
The audio recording was made with the help of the extraordinary Tunde Adebimpe of TV on the Radio. He and I share the voices of the characters. Tunde did the recording. It was such a joy creating this with him. His voices are incredible!
This initial story became the makings for a book I've been writing on and off for years. It's about a woman who chases a hot air balloonist seeking a stolen treasure map and a misunderstood perception of love. Throughout the adventure there are pranks, ghosts, cults, muddy hands, dead birds, bandits and old mercury mines. There is understanding, heartbreak, laughter and self knowledge.
You can listen to the recording at PS1's radio archives on their site or right here just below. Give it a listen!
After speaking on the Untitled Art Show about my Powers of Ten series, I've been thinking again about the wonderful individuals who helped me out with all of the coloring that had to be done for this series. As I ran out of time to finish the drawings on my own, so many people came to help. The coloring circles were amazing gatherings, and I was thrilled with how much everyone enjoyed the activity. Adults love coloring and thrive in the meditative process. Here are some photos of these tremendous individuals.
I think I managed to get an image of everyone - my incredibly supportive and infinitely loving Mom and Dad; my patient, encouraging and spectacular husband Mathias Leppitsch; my great great friend Jessica Riquetti who came out from Oakland to help; Tallie Dietz who tirelessly helped many many days and hours upon hours at a time; Liz Green who dedicated so many hours and much enthusiasm; Sabin Aell and Randy Rushton, Rachel Prago, Chase DeForest, Libby Saeger, Jamie Marchbank, Philip May, Gretchen Schaefer, Rebecca Peebles, Cindy Frigard, Jeremiah Hueske, John Grimberg, Jose Medina, Janice Schindler, Andi Todaro, Adam Gildar, Sander Lindeke, Owen Gordon, Whitney Stephens and Lindsay Roome. You are all such generous, creative and joyful people. I am so happy to have you in my community! Thank you!
I recently began collaborating with my husband Mathias Leppitsch on a furniture line for a newly founded company called Vogel Vau, a design collective that is composed of us and our two good friends Sabin Aell and Randy Rushton. Our first project is a set of three nestling ottomans. I created the textile design which was inspired by my recent Powers of Ten series and Mathias and I worked together on the overall furniture design. These ottomans stack one on top of the other and also nestle close together. They are currently being exhibited as part of Design By Colorado's exhibition that is being held at the McNichols Civic Center Building in downtown Denver through April of 2013.
See more here.
In 2007 I collaborated with Asya Palatova of Gleena Ceramics on a set of plates. Her work is truly lovely with all of her porcelain tableware pieces handmade by Asya in her studio in Pawtucket, RI. This collaboration was brainstormed by the wondrous Sara Grady as a wedding gift for a dear friend of ours. Sara now works as Vice President of Programming at Glynwood Farm which is located in the lower Hudson Valley in Cold Spring, NY. She writes for Edible Hudson Valley and created a great film about Glynwood Farm. I miss her! It was such an honor to work with these women on this project. Our friend was married in Joshua Tree National Park, and in celebration of this, the illustrations depict various joshua tree blossoms. I would LOVE to get these plates into production.
Elyse Allen, artist and designer extraordinaire, taught me how to make both rope and peanut people. She is a remarkable woman. I know of very few artists who can make stunningly gorgeous things while actively pursuing the art of play. Once we collaborated on a whole troupe of peanut people circus performers. They were incredible. Elyse is a favorite of mine and I do believe a good peanut people making session is in high order. But be careful if you make them, because once I had a large family of peanut people in a cold non-winterized sun room that I avoided until warmer weather, and upon returning to it in the Spring, I found a slaughter - all of my little friends had been gnawed away by mice!
Back in April of this year, Stephen Prochyra of Vostok Press invited me to collaborate on a woodcut project. It was an honor for me to work with him. His work is purposeful and poignant, beautifully drawn and painted with honesty and integrity. Stephen is a great artist and part of an ever expanding group of individuals that know how to keep time for themselves while generously sharing their passions and time with others. We created a four color reduction print, 30" x 30", titled Balance, Music and Humanity. Prints are available for purchase here.
Rope Pile Triptych is shown on a massive billboard in downtown Denver as part of the Denver Theater District's (DTD) mission to present the arts more visibly around town. The billboard is located on 16th and Champa. Check it out if you're in the area. There are lots of great artworks presented around town, so keep your eyes open.
Last spring I was invited to exhibit at RMCAD in their small Rude Gallery. The space is 15 feet by 8 feet with 12 foot tall ceilings. I wasn't sure what I wanted to investigate for my new body of work, but by July I had decided on tornadoes. Growing up in Kansas, I have always identified with tornadoes as they were a constant force every year that brought curiosity, fear and excitement to the late spring and early summer days. The sky grows dark and ominous, turns to a moody grey green, then a stillness and the storm breaks in. Great thunderstorms with vast lightning would streak across the skies and there was a real sense of being alive.
As tornadoes swept across the US in unprecedented areas this year, I felt that my personal identification with them was somehow shifted. "What I Thought Was Once Mine is Now Ours" is a new series of artwork that explores these thoughts. The Rude Gallery exhibition contains a large tornado sculpture based on one of my drawings. Exhibition dates are August 26th through October 7th, 2011. A painting, drawing and printmaking exhibition of the same title will be held at Naropa's Lincoln Gallery in October.
The sculpture "What I Thought Was Once Mine is Now Ours" is made of steel, wire, wood, fabric, fiber fill, paint, sand, hand made rope, papier mache and fur. Mathias Leppitsch donated so much time in helping me by welding the armature, problem solving potential issues, assisting in the planning and install and in general making sure that I kept my cool as time ran out. Major thanks goes out to him.
Concrete Stair Construction:
The finished piece:
It has been a whirlwind of a year. Between teaching loads of classes at Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design (RMCAD), Naropa University and CU Boulder, moving to Denver and making art, I've neglected posting news about all the wild and fun stuff I've been up to. The school year has started up again. I'm teaching Drawing, 2D Design, and Contemporary Art Studio this semester. When I'm not teaching I'm working on a new body of work about tornadoes. And when I'm not working on that Mathias and I are continuing to build out our live/work studio.
I hope that you are all well and looking forward to the coming of autumn. More to come soon. Enjoy.
Poetry reading and sculptural performance for the chapbook launch of Dana Elkun's Black Box Theater as Abandoned Zoo. Performed at Endden Bellegrade in Boulder, Colorado on 18 March 2010. Read by Dana Elkun. Designed & Performed by Pattie Lee Becker and Lacey Coover.
"Black Box Theater as Abandoned Zoo" Performance
Ropes at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art runs from 5 Febraury through 23 May 2010. To commemorate the series, a Coloring Book and Artcard Set with letter-pressed hang tags were developed with designer Justin Fuller of Pencil + Paper and printed and bound by Brad O'Sullivan of Smokeproof Press.