Since November, I’ve been lucky to be able to participate in figure drawing sessions taking place right down the street. Artists Elizabeth Manfredi and Lew Schnellmann opened up their studio and organized a series of models for our drawing pleasure every Saturday for about seven months. It was a great opportunity to brush up my figure drawing skills and especially wonderful to only have to drive 5 minutes to get there!

Elizabeth and Lew decided to host an opening to celebrate the many months of work by the drawing cooperative group. I didn’t want to invest in frames for the 5 drawings I culled out of a rather large stack of work. I thought and pondered. I rummaged about in my studio to see what I had on hand. Low and behold, there were some sheets of lovely natural colored mulberry (Japanese) paper. Just enough for my purposes. I made the concession to buy a few additional sheets of bright red mulberry paper at the art supply store in Tucson when I was down there running errands. Did some more thinking, then some experimenting and finally started to work.

I’m not a planner. I looked at the materials at hand and decided it would look good to sew the drawings onto the natural colored mulberry paper. Found some red embroidery thread of my Mom’s for the sewing. Now what?? I realized that I would need something to keep the paper hanging nicely, so I found some balsa wood sticks and glued them to the top and bottom of each sheet. Then I added a border of red paper to the top and bottom. I originally thought I’d use re-bar and wire to hang the work, but the re-bar looked clunky. Luckily my friend, papermaker Val Bembenek came by and said she had just the thing. She reappeared with some long saguaro spines. They were perfect, light weight, strong, the right color and texture. I wound some thin black wire together, attached it to the balsa wood stick and the top and wound it around the saguaro. Voila! It was actually rather time intensive, but oh so cheap and fun to figure out, to boot.

Imo, drawing paper stitched to Mulberry paper, hung with wire to a saguaro spine

Figure drawing, charcoal on paper stitched to Mulberry paper

Last Saturday we had the exhibit. Lots of local Oracle artists and other friends came by to see what we’d been up to. We also had some people visit from Tucson. It was a lovely afternoon of chatting about art and lazing about admiring the work of the group. Martinis and snacks rounded out the scene.

Typically, I forgot my camera, so no photos were taken by me of the party. Here’s a snapshot of one of the hanging pieces.