Category Archives: event

Harvest of the Heart

“As you learn to live by heart, every choice you make will become another way of telling your story, calling your tribe, and liberating not only your heart but the hearts of others.” –  Martha Beck   http://ow.ly/OiQJA

I read these words by Martha Beck​ and see the sequence of choices that led to the creations of “Harvest of the Heart” – a body of work in encaustic monotypes that evokes the bounty of nature, ripeness and my childhood in the countryside in France.

It started with a pause, and stillness. I was on a creative retreat where nature was the heart of the experience, as a studio, a subject and co-teacher.  I paused because I did not quite know what to do, where to go, so I stopped for a moment.  Then I took a step, rather tentatively. I gazed down, spotted a feather and picked it up. I gaze up and see this small wild apple, still green at the end of a branch.

Apple K. Chaussabel

Apple
K. Chaussabel

I found my inspiration, or rather it found me!

I sat down on a big boulder below the tree, feather dipped in ink, my hand following the contour of this fruit, over and over.

Nature notes - apple

Nature notes – apple

 

I loved the ease, the gentleness of this find, of this encounter,  and I felt it also in my hand, in the contact between the feather and the paper. There was a certain tenderness. It was echoed by the presence of a statue, hands cupped, an orb resting in them.

Nature Notes & Statue K. Chaussabel

Nature Notes & Statue
K. Chaussabel

 

 

Holding K. Chaussabel

Holding
K. Chaussabel

In hand, and in my gesture,  I was following my heart, connecting to memories of my childhood spent in the countryside in my native France.  Those memories were more vivid at this point time as I had moved to Texas where the land was flat, arid and felt very foreign to me. Suburban life added another layer of challenge to the experience…  Here I was, on this retreat in the Eastern Townships in Québec, in a natural setting that brought all those feelings to the surface.  Ink and feather in hand I was retracing, and recalling my roots, steeped deep in nature.

It is a process that continued, grew, beyond time and place.  Back in the encaustic studio, “Harvest of the Heart”, emerged from pools of molten wax, spreading and sinking into paper – along with a touch of pen.

The making of a monotype K. Chaussabel

The making of a monotype – Harvest of the Heart series
K. Chaussabel

I grew up harvesting cherries from a cherry orchard, vegetables from my parents, grandparent’s gardens.  Abundance was shared. We gave and neighbors brought and shared what they grew, raised.  Our family also gleaned chestnuts,  foraged for wild blueberries, raspberries, mushrooms.  There was a bounty from nature, wild and cultivated that permeated my childhood.

This is the story woven into Harvest of the Heart.

Harvest of the Heart Diptych Encaustic, Paper K. Chaussabel

Harvest of the Heart Diptych
Encaustic, Paper
K. Chaussabel

Harvest of the Heart Fullness I, IV, II Encaustic, Paper K. Chaussabel

Harvest of the Heart Fullness I, II, IV
Encaustic, Paper
K. Chaussabel

It is a story I get to share  this coming July for my debut at The Island Gallery.

There is a natural unfolding, an ease, just like the beginning of this journey, to showing  Harvest of the Heart for the first time, here on Bainbridge Island.  For I have found, for the first time, since leaving my native France, a place where my French country roots are alive, once again. It has been a long dormancy for sure! The taste of the local harvests offered by farms, food artisans, neighbors and friends, has awakened them!

I am deeply grateful for nature’s offerings as well as for those who share their bounty with me.

Harvest of the Heart Encaustic, Paper K. Chaussabel

Harvest of the Heart
Encaustic, Paper
K. Chaussabel

Harvest of the Heart Encaustic, Paper K. Chaussabel

Harvest of the Heart
Encaustic, Paper
K. Chaussabel

Harvest of the Heart Triptych Encaustic, paper, pen K. Chaussabel

Harvest of the Heart
Triptych
Encaustic, paper, pen
K. Chaussabel

Opening night is July 10, 2015!

 

Framed and matted pieces are available through The Island Gallery

 Ste 120, 400 Winslow Way E, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110 –

(206) 780-9500  – http://theislandgallery.net

SHOW CATALOG:

 

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Two Journeys- Photos of the installation and reception

Photo by The Encaustic Center

The Encaustic Center has posted a very nice slideshow of pictures for the installation of “Two Journeys,” for the opening reception and the demos. You can see more pictures by clicking on this photo and scrolling down to “images from the reception.” I very much enjoyed doing the demo and to be able to talk about how I work.

“Into the Horizon” at The Encaustic Center

 

 

Two Journeys
Karen Chaussabel and Susan Sponsler
November 20 – December 20, 2009

Opening reception: Friday, November 20th, 6:00 to 9:00 pm

Karen Chaussabel
Into the Horizon
Born in France, Karen spent her childhood steeped in nature, aware and appreciative of her surroundings;
the connection endured, all the while moving to Canada, and now creating in Texas; her work speaks to those
landscapes and the process of integration and movement.
“This body of work represents a journey of exploration, both personal and artistic. The fluid quality of
monotyping with encaustic paint, is particularly suitable to embodying land and sea masses. The experience
of loosely brushing the paint onto a hot plate, having colors run into one another, blending and melding,
contributes to the feeling of exploration, of stepping a little further into those horizons as expansive
bodies of water and land emerge. Trust and respect of the process are at the heart of my creative journey.”
“I enjoy being in the process, engaged in a dialogue with my material. I find that through that dialogue,
my experience in art and life are enhanced. By letting materials be my guide, I get the unique opportunity
to grow and cultivate my creative voice. And exploring those new horizons through art has given me a familiarity
with them I did not have when I stood in their midst. That connection brought me to appreciate where I am”

Susan Sponsler
Yellow Work
Susan Sponsler was born in Seoul, Korea. She was adopted by American parents and arrived in the United States –
Iowa, specifically. Sponsler’s father, a Korean War veteran, and her mother went through the Holt agency to
adopt two babies – Susan and the two years later, a brother.
“The Yellow Work series consists of encaustic photo-based images related to my experiences as an Asian American
adoptee. My early dislike of the color yellow was closely entwined with my low self esteem as an Asian American.
From derogatory to powerful; naming ourselves Yellow now comes from the strength of our survival.”
“Yellow Work incorporates photos of myself along with items symbolizing Asia including, traditional Korean
language symbols, bamboo, the beautiful yellow leaf and other nature photos with yellow as the main focus.”
Sponsler’s work has been exhibited internationally – Seoul, South Korea, The US Embassy in Panama City and in
various cities in the US such as New York, Los Angeles, Houston and Dallas, to name a few. She has a bachelor’s
degree in advertising and a Master of Fine Arts degree in photography from Texas Woman’s University.

Play on Words

I have a mixed media collage on paper piece at the Texas Federation of Fiber Artists show, Celebrating our Creative Spirit, at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. It’s called Play on Words

Play on Words

Play on Words

And this is its story:

“Play on word” embodies how I go about creating a piece: following my curiosity and trusting the process. It started off as an experiment. The initial idea was to brush medium gel on mulberry paper to render it transparent. It worked and when I tinted it with an ink wask , the gel medium acted a s a resist. Neat! Still, it felt like this was not a finished piece and that I needed to look further what to do with it. So I decided to see how I could play some more on the transparent effect and tried to use the mulberry piece as a layer on top of other pieces. It all came together when I laid this experiment on top of a thesaurus page that I had sketched on. It just all fit. It belonged together. I had to sneak a bit of cheese cloth thread in there for the final touch and that was that. After I finished collaging the layers, I realized that the thesaurus page contained the word “play.” One can see it through the translucent paper (top right – middle). This word indeed described both the process and the spirit of this piece. Playing with techniques, materials, words, letting them be my guide, is my way to explore and cultivate my creative voice.