Artist Profile: Maude May opening at Guardino Gallery
We are excited to feature Bolt community member and artist, Maude May here on the blog! Her creativity and mastery have fascinated me over the years. I was fortunate enough to get to stop into her space during Open Studios last year, where she taught my kiddo the encaustic technique (read more about this below). She has a show opening this week at Guardino Gallery on NE Alberta and 30th. Enjoy learning more and check out the show!!
Title: Hydrangea macrophylla
“She is a friend of my mind. She gather me, man. The pieces that I am, she gather them and give
them back to me in all the right order.” - Toni Morrison
MM: I have been making art in one form or another since childhood–stitching pre-printed samplers, fabricating elaborate collaged drawings and designing tiny dresses for my troll dolls. With advanced degrees in ceramics, textiles and photography, my passions have led me in many directions and my journey has encompassed a wide variety of professions: pastry chef, art director, location scout, miniature golf course designer, photo stylist and paint-color consultant. For more than two decades I owned a graphic design business, meeting with clients, designing invitations, favors and collateral for corporations, non-profits and private individuals. I love the creative process as much, if not more, than the resulting artwork or product.
These days I am focused on collage and figuring out methods that marry two of my most favorite and dissimilar mediums: encaustic* (working with hot beeswax, resin and oil pigments) and stitching. Compelled to tell visual stories, I combine discarded snapshots, iPhone pix and photographic transfers of my encaustics on fabric (linen and cotton), creating both simple and complex fabric collages which are hand and machine stitched. I strive to move the viewer towards discovering and honoring the mysteries of the people, ideas, places and possessions that were once deemed precious and now have been left behind.
Making is what gets me going. Curiosity keeps me on the path and assists me in arriving at my final destination, which isn’t always where I thought I’d end up. The push/pull “randomness” vs “structure” of art making and graphic design continues to challenge me and draws me into the studio daily.
BOLT: How long have you been a practicing artist?
MM: 60 years - I’ve been making stuff in one form or another ever since I can remember. Even while I have worked in other fields (restaurant catering, graphic design, retail) i have always continued my art practice. I recently closed my business of 20+ years (creating custom invitations for corporate and private clients) and now am able to spend more time in the studio.
Title: Kornus kousa / Korean dogwood
“I am the way a life unfolds and blooms and seasons come and go and I am the way the spring always finds a way to turn even the coldest winter into a field of green and flowers and new life.” - Charlotte Eriksson
BOLT: Has your work shifted through using different media, if so, what has prompted shifts, interests, approaches?
I’ve worked with many types of media. My first college degree was a double major - ceramics / photography. I taught ceramics and also photography. Ceramics fell to the wayside when I couldn’t deal with my hands being so dry all the time. Photography has been a life-long interest and my photos figure in many of my stitched works. I also have a degree in weaving / textiles. Stitching is a constant and 5 years ago I fell down the encaustic “rabbit hole” and have been incorporating photographic images in my encaustic artworks and also photographing my encaustic pieces and then creating fabric transfers of them.
BOLT: Can you tell us about your upcoming show at Guardino Gallery? What was your inspiration for the theme?
MM: I will be showing in the main gallery at Guardino with Gail Owen, a wonderful artist who creates multi-colored linoleum reduction prints of flowers which she sews together to make larger works. My collages feature fabric photo transfers of flowers onto cotton lawn fabric (from Bolt) with both machine and hand stitching. Central to each piece are photographs of girls from the Library of Congress - from artists (some known, some anonymous) working for the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in the 1930’s and 40’s. I am intrigued by these black & white images of young women and girls - some in extreme poverty. What are their stories?
BOLT: What are you doing when you're not making art?
MM: Gardening and in mid-July we’ll be picking up our newest family member - Nora - a 12 week old Irish Terrier puppy. So I’ll be rather busy.
Title: Helianthus / Sunflower (detail of piece)
“What about the nobodies and the nothings, the invisible girls? We learn to hold our heads as if we wear crowns. We learn to wring magic from the ordinary.” - Leigh Bardugo
BOLT: What's your favorite month in Portland?
MM: Hard question - I love as the summer moves into autumn - so I guess August / September.
BOLT: What's your go to restaurant when you don't want to think about where to go?
MM: Go to restaurant is Lucca - their pizzas are delicious and I’ll always have a Lovejoy cocktail.
Show open June 27 - July 23
Reception: June 27, 6-9pm
Artist Talk: July 13, 2pm
2939 NE Alberta
Hours: Tuesday 11-5 / Wednesday-Saturday 11-6 Sunday 11-4
Title: Scabiosa fama white / Pincushion flower
“Nothing is every really lost to us as long as we remember it.” - Lucy Maud Montgomery
Thank you Maude for sharing your story!