Much of my work is influenced by the inner workings of the kitchen, but I'm also very moved by the natural world. Periodically a landscape of personal significance (such as previous works of Italy and the Berkshires) drives me to create a series of works. In this case, the dragonfly spoke to me. I was blessed to live in Sussex County, NJ, for several years where more species of dragonflies make their home than in any other county in the US! I was delighted in my backyard and on hikes by their many colors and dances. Dragonflies are fascinating in their array of hues and their amazing iridescent properties. They are incredibly powerful and agile at the same time, with the ability to fly at speeds of 45 mph, can hover like helicopters and also fly up, down, sideways and in reverse.
These pieces were actually developed from reference photos I took while visiting Dale Chihuly's exhibit at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden in 2006. I began them sometime while living in Newton, NJ, but like so many of my art starts, they were left unfinished due to other projects or family obligations that took over. I'm not one that easily lets go of an idea, especially once it's begun. I feel the urge to resolve it so that I can then let it go. I'm pleased to say after a burst of focus I completed both of them and they are now available for purchase through my online store.
I'll leave you with The Dragonfly, by poet Louise Bogan, 1897-1970, who was considered by many to be one of the most accomplished female poet of the 20th century. Learn more about her through the Poetry Foundation.
The Dragonfly, Louise Bogan
You are made of almost nothing
But of enough
To be great eyes
And diaphanous double vans;
To be ceaseless movement,
Link between water and air,
Earth repels you.
Light touches you only to shift into iridescence
Upon your body and wings.
You split into the heat.
Swift beyond calculation or capture
You dart into the shadow
Which consumes you.
You rocket into the day.
But at last, when the wind flattens the grasses,
For you, the design and purpose stop.
And you fall
With the other husks of summer.
Like what you're reading? Don't miss a post by subscribing to TraillWorks: Art Blog through Bloglovin. My next post will highlight conversations with a new collector, and the wall of art where my piece now hangs.
I had the delight a few weeks ago to spend a long overdue day with my mom, without my kids! We had planned for her birthday to take a trip into the city and visit a museum. My mom lives in Easton, PA, so getting her to my place then into the city is not an easy endeavor. We were determined to do it.
Sadly, the day we picked ended up correlating with my car in need of a new set of tires. This in and of itself shouldn't be a problem. After looking at our schedules, my husband offered to take my car, plus the kids, the morning of my day with my mom, to Costco to have them replaced. Great, I thought! It was one of the only days that we thought we might fit it in, and I can still spend the day with my mom in NYC.
As my mom arrived to our house, my husband texted me: the wait at Costco was 3 hours long! Can you imagine trying to sit there with a toddler and 6-year old? That was the end of my trip to the city. I drove out to Costco to free my husband. Upon my return and the realization that it was almost lunchtime, my mom and I decided to stay instead in NJ.
I was bummed at first, but it turned out to be a perfect day. We ended up in Summit because of a potter that my mom had seen at the Maplewood Art Walk. Her wares were available at MONDO and she couldn't get a particular berry bowl by Laura Hanley out of her head. So we made that our destination and ended up having a delicious lunch down the street at FOOD. We shared a fresh salad and a savory grilled brie and fig sandwich, with a side of sweet potato fries. Loved the food at FOOD, the atmosphere, and delighted that we were given time to enjoy.
After our lunch we stumbled into the Papery, not a short visit for two artistic types. We walked out with papers and gifts, after exploring every nook and cranny.
We were about out of steam, but I really wanted to fit in some art before the day ended. So we drove over to the Visual Arts Center of NJ. I love that place! My work has been included in two of their past International Juried Shows, I've demonstrated materials there on behalf of Jerry's Artist Outlet and Pebeo, and I've attended some of their panel discussions. Sadly, I don't get there very often, but this trip was well-worth it.
So many exhibits and works to take in! These are gems! First, we encountered the stacked concentric rings of marble, stone, topped with brass horn-like fittings of artist, Don Porcaro's "Talisman Series" in the Sculpture Park. Then we walked through the ceramics studio to see the main exhibit titled, Adhere, which explores works by artists using glues, tapes, and other "sticky" media in unconventional ways to create. After walking down the hallway by the tape installation of grocery store shoppers by Tirtzah Bassel, we encountered the intricate cut-paper collages by Casey Ruble which upon further exploration are more than what meets the eye as they document former "Underground Railroad safe houses, and places where race riots have broken out" around NJ. Lastly, we stopped by the 2nd floor exhibit, featuring the works by VACNJ teaching artist, Anne Kullaf. While we weren't there long, each of the exhibits have left a significant impression on me, whether it be as inspiration for future lessons or how to explore my own work in a different way.
As an artist, I know it is important to get out and see art that is not your own. As a mother of young kids, who is also trying to maintain a studio, getting out is not always easy. This day was important both for the time with my mom, and for the time in front of other artists' art.
If you'd like to visit the Visual Arts Center of NJ, the exhibits I viewed are up through January 17th. It's well-worth the trip, as are the food and ephemera.
September 27th I had the opportunity to exhibit my work in the 4th Annual Maplewood Art & Music Walk. It's the first time in several years that I set up a booth at an outdoor art fair. And, while I was a little rusty, I was thrilled with the results of my setup, the numbers of people who stopped by, and my sales. There are certainly some things that I might change, but I thought I'd take a minute to share my successes, which I've learned over many years of doing shows, as well as the failures. I'm still learning from my mistakes and will be brutally honest about what hasn't worked.
Before doing so, I have to thank my helpers: my husband, Lee, who gave up part of his Saturday to run errands for me and test-run my tent, and most of his Sunday to help me set up my exhibit and tear it down. My littlest helpers were my two sons, who despite sometimes being difficult to have on hand, were actually quite helpful. Joel, my 6-year old, helped put up the tent, velcro the walls, and hang signage. My 2.5 year old, mostly stayed put in his stroller (very helpful), then played with bungee cords with his brother (helpful while they were having fun, until the big bro knocked over the little bro on the sidewalk). I have to say it wasn't the most relaxing setup I've done, but they all really played a huge part in what you see above. Looking back, I wish I had the clarity to take some shots of them helping.
THE MUST HAVES:
Quality tent. My tent, made by E-Z Up, is over ten years old. It's their standard model with white vinyl sides. While it's been great, even outlasted a small tornado in Sparta years ago, some of the trusses couldn't handle the age of the tent and snapped at the end of its last use. FYI - E-Z Up sells replacement parts! So, for $48 (included shipping), I was able to replace two of the trusses which extended the life of my tent. I was able to place the order a few weeks prior to the show and repair it in advance. Hopefully I'll be doing more shows in the future, which made this a great investment.
Welcome October, with something new from me! I've always wanted to offer a desktop wallpaper of my work to my fans, and I've finally figured out how to do it! Best part of it, it's FREE! So, take a minute to download and set it up as your desktop's wallpaper for the month of October.
This first image titled, Pick Me Up or Down, is a mixed media piece, featuring a watercolor of one of my favorite, handmade mugs, on a ground of collage Yogi tea bag wrappers. I'm a big coffee drinker who also appreciates an occasional, calming cup of tea. Enjoy and please share with friends!
This will arrive monthly on the blog and to my email subscribers, so be sure you're signed up!
Jennie Traill Schaeffer
Sometimes called the Kitchen God's Artist, I'm balancing mothering two energetic sons, a big mutt Ringo, making and teaching art. TraillWorks is the apron under which I create and teach. My own art develops mostly in my West Orange home studio, but is sometimes spurred through my teaching, which takes place at Oh! Canary Studio, located in Maplewood, NJ.
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Studio on the 3rd Floor
West Orange, NJ
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Photos of Jennie by Kat Dela Cruz..