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Artist Date: Western Avenue Studios

This is a still life I used as inspiration, back in the day when I was designing custom placemats. The delicate balance between two complimentary colors has always intrigued me. How much orange can you mix with a handful of purples before the combination turns unsavory?

A field trip to Western Avenue Studios (Lowell, MA) last Saturday ignited my creative engine like a double-full-strength espresso, and I was reminded of these photos taken when I, too, rented studio space in a building filled with a dozen painters, a basket weaver, a jeweler, and a mixed media artist.

These placemats were for a family with younger children; the deep colors were intended to mask food splatters. The color scheme was pulled from their Sunday dishes.

All of the artists in our building came together and put on a one-night open studio extravaganza. In a three-hour period, five hundred visitors toured our studios! This panel of placemats (pre-cutting and -sewing) was on display outside my room. Sadly, the effort required to maintain a cohesive, organized group was unappealing to some of the artists, and any future plans were abandoned after our first and only event.

This 12-harness cotton and silk fabric was inspired by Gustav Klimt‘s painting “The Kiss.”

My loom was given a new home years ago, and now I have a crafting space in my home. But walking through the Western Avenue Studios building had me thinking about the energy generated by a creative community. I like to think I brought a bit of that home with me, and it wasn’t even Open Studio Day (12noon-5pm, first Saturday of each month). The processes of making and writing are solitary. But an afternoon spent admiring the work of others, engaging in conversation with kindred spirits, are bound to revitalize and inspire.

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  • Kathleen Gilday July 21, 2011, 7:29 pm

    Lisa, I am so excited you had such a moving experience when visiting Western Ave with me — yipeee!! Now that I’m a soon-to-be tenant, I am thrilled that we will be able to spend more time there – just think of all the laughs we will have and the endless creative fun! I SO admire all the creative paths you have taken and I am delighted that you are with me on this new STUDIO 210 adventure!! Kathleen

  • snydeen July 21, 2011, 3:54 pm

    I LOVE those purples with orange. LOVE it! I wouldn’t have thought to put them together ever. You hit just the right amount and I must now rush home and do a scrapbook page with purple and orange. I love seeing pictures of you back in the day. You are still such a beautiful woman.

  • Carol July 20, 2011, 11:28 am

    I love seeing your color inspirations, especially the purple and orange. I am on a yellow-green-blue violet-orange streak right now. The latest inspiration was an afternoon in my friend’s back yard making friendship bracelets and enjoying her daylily garden.

    • myartfullife July 20, 2011, 6:31 pm

      That’s quite the color combo you’ve got going on! Love the idea that it was inspired by your friend’s backyard and garden. A nature date *and* an artist’s date!

  • Fran July 20, 2011, 8:31 am

    Lisa, as always, I am in awe of your many talents. I love the colors here, as well as the composition of the photos. I wholly agree about being with other artists, admiring each others’ work, and talking with others about our shared love of a craft or crafts–very satisfying. ~ Fran

    • myartfullife July 20, 2011, 9:14 am

      Oh, thank you, Fran! A field trip to the Open Studios at Western Avenue might be a fun idea for the knitting group.