The Stone Hefter is a small (3″ x 5″) wood engraving that I first carved and printed in 2020. I think it must have struck a chord with people dealing with the weight of the pandemic and the resulting economic and cultural fallout. The first edition of 40 prints sold out rather quickly (for me) so I have printed a second edition on cream paper (the first was on white). It is available to purchase here.
The following is a sheet I typed up concerning the symbolism and some of the personal meaning of the piece.
When I learned of the passing of my cousin this week, this song became a prayer and requiem. I had already thought of the title, “A Man Walks Into a Clearing” and it seemed right for one who had lived such a life as my cousin, Clayton. I recorded an iPhone video of myself playing it for my Aunt.
I wanted to share a series of images showing the process of the making of an underpainting which I have been working on for the past few months. The image itself is an illustration of a vision of the biblical prophet Zechariah laid out in chapters 3 and 4 of the book of Zechariah in the Old Testament. It is a beautiful story of God’s grace and restoration, rich in symbolism and images. It is not very long and is certainly worth reading.
This grisaille is done in egg tempera on an oak panel, built from an oak that came down on my father’s farm in Greenwood county, was subsequently milled (quarter sawn) and air dried for 10 years. The panel has been cradled with walnut and ash to help keep it flat over time. The surface is a traditional gesso as describe out by the 14th century Florentine Cennino Cennini in his Il libro dell’arte. Once the grisaille is complete, I will start to paint layers of translucent colored oil glazes, hopefully to beautiful effect.
The Lawrence Arts Center, in Lawrence, Kansas, recently had an exhibition featuring work from across the rich artistic career of my Aunt, Chris Wolf Edmonds. There are many creative people in my Aunt’s immediate family: her father (my grandfather), her children, Jason Edmonds and Brynn Edmonds Burns, all of them making beautiful art. The happy idea surfaced that it might be interesting to include some work from my Aunts creative family. They even reached back to her great grandfather (my great great grandfather) Johann Severin Kiemig, who filled his farmhouse in Zenda, Kansas with murals and paintings. They graciously invited me to participate. I am very grateful for this, for I respect my Aunt and my cousins very much, and my grandfather was a profoundly important figure in my life. Often, I contemplate the creative legacy that flows through my family, the generations who celebrated making things with hands, and placed a high priority on light, color and beauty. That benefaction shaped me and continues to do so. It is incredibly meaningful to be a part of an exhibition that celebrates that legacy and especially honors the one who has worked so hard and gracefully in her carrying it forward.
Deeply principled, generous and compassionate, my Aunt Chris always seems to know exactly who she is. Nurturing a deep love and kinship to the land, specifically Kansas, she has taken a path in life that I seek to emulate: a multi-disciplinary agrarian artist/craftsperson, manifesting excellence in craft, remembering tradition while pushing her own creative boundaries, and constantly evolving and growing as an artist and human within a flowering context of family and community. I know that she is a treasure. I am grateful to be part of her legacy.
As you look through the images from the show, you will see the quilted and fiber based art of my Aunt, carved wooden birds from my grandfather, wooden sculptures of my cousin Jason, photographs from my cousin Brynn, and paintings and prints from me. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to make it up to see the exhibition, and I don’t have titles to provide for all of the works at this point, so I apologize for not providing more detailed captions.
All of these photographs were provided by, and used by permission of the Lawrence Arts Center.
Five bowls turned from part of a salvaged Ash tree from Peabody, Kansas. The tree was well over one hundred years old and was nearly five feet in diameter. Most of it we milled into lumber but some was set aside for making wooden bowls. It is a humbling and awe-filled experience getting to work with material from such a being as was this tree.
It has been a long time since I have drawn much with colored pencils- many decades as a matter of fact. But the youngest of my kids love to draw with them and we have been spending time drawing together in the evenings. There are many levels of joy in rediscovering the accessibility and immediacy of colored pencils with my children.