Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Heirloom Quilts, the chapter ends?

I set out to make five photo-collage quilts, a number that matched the projects five source images.  I think I'm done (with this chapter anyway).  Over these last few months I made many more than five pieces but eliminated those that didn't fit the story or had become overly complicated to the point that they were more about design than narrative.

Come see the final series at Axel's Gallery August 3 - 17.  Hanging with the Heirloom Quilts will be the Nuclear Family series, along with a few surprises!  Showing along with my work will be the haunting and enigmatic pinhole camera photographs of Amy Hagberg.

I look forward to seeing you at the artist reception on Friday night August 12, 6 - 8 pm.

Saffran  I Thought She Was The Coolest  23"x 23" sewn color photo-collage 2016

Saffran  Who Would I Become?  23" x 23" sewn color photo-collage 2016



Saffran  (Untitled) 23"x 23" sewn color photo-collage 2016


Thursday, June 23, 2016

More Quilts

Saffran   I Wanted To Sing Like Joni Mitchell   23" x 23"  sewn photographs   2016


Saffran  Before We Disappointed Each Other  23" x 23"  sewn photographs  2016

My work continues on the series of paper quilts for the 1969 series.  I Wanted To Sing Like Joni Mitchell and Before We Disappointed Each Other are the two most recent images pieced together from that same group of 5 snapshots (all taken at my twelfth birthday party) that the earlier two quilt pieces were made from.  My goal is five new pieces to mirror the five originals.  Forcing myself to meet this goal has pushed me to look and look and look again at the same few snapshots and dig beyond their surface to see what else may be there.  On the face of it these source images seem to deny a deeper exploration.  They are simply what they are, yellowed with age poorly composed records of one evening forty-seven years ago.  The longer I study the snapshots the more detached I become from them.  Its like repeating a familiar word over and over to yourself until it becomes strange and removed from its meaning.  Searching the faces and analyzing the gestures of my family and preteen self I find no meaning, locate no memories.  In a sort of backwards projection these snapshots have become a repository for everything I now know.  Their meaning comes, not from what they literally recorded, but from all the events of my life that came after that night.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016


Saffran  Happy Birthday!  2016   24" x 24" sewn photographs with journal pages

detail  Happy Birthday!

Saffran  You've Come A Long Way, Baby  24" x 18"  sewn photographs with journal pages work in progress  2016
detail  You've Come A Long Way, Baby  
Amy Hagberg, good friend and fellow alumna of Lesley College of Art and Design (better known to my graduating class as the Art Institute of Boston), have continued the schedule of twice yearly artist residencies that we began as MFA students.  In our version of the residency we alternate between Amy's home in Maine and mine here in Vermont.  The last time we met I shared the collages I have been working on in the "1969" series.  (see Thursday January 21, 2016 post)  After several minutes of true looking Amy said these should be quilts.  That was all it took! 

Armed with my newly found "The Standard Book of Quilt Making and Collection" by Marguerite Ickes, copyright 1949, I set to work.   In quilts I have found a design structure and a connection to time past and to women's craft that are perfect accompaniments to my photographs.  I try my best to follow the quilt patterns but invariably get lost along the way and end up with an amalgamation of tradition and invention. 

My goal is to have five quilts finished in time for the August show Amy and I are having at Axel's Gallery.  Our shared penchant for mediating memory through the photograph will make for a dynamic show.


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Texas National 2016

Saffran  2016  And Baby   13" x 19"  archival color photograph collage sewn with thread

Juror Abelardo Morell selected And Baby (I Know a Story series) from over eight hundred entries to be part of the 2016 Texas National show at Stephen F. Austin State University Art Gallery in Nacogdoches Texas.  The show runs April 9 – June 11, 2016.

My passion for the work of Morell motivated me to enter the competition.   I was introduced to his work through the constructed image series  Alice In Wonderland  and have followed his many photographic adventures from  Paper  to the more current  Camera Obscura  and  Tent Camera.

His work is diverse in process but singular in vision.  Through the use of a variety of photographic means of reproduction he asks us to consider the photograph as a liveable place that may be experienced with our bodies as well as our minds. 

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Gallery One collage show

Saffran  2016  She Was Fun at Parties  photo-collage sewn with thread  22" x 19"  

She Was Fun at Parties was selected by juror Deborah Faye Lawrence for inclusion in Cut It Out a show of collage work at Gallery One Visual Arts Center in Ellensburg Washington.  The opening reception was Friday March 4 and the show will run through March 26.  Although I will not be able to see the show in person I did see images of all the selected collages.  Cut It Out is a very strong collection of unique and stimulating work of which I am honored and proud to be included.  

She Was Fun at Parties is from a newly developing body of work centered on the year 1969 and how my personal development and relationship with my  mother was influenced by the social and political climate of that time period.   More to come . . .

Thursday, January 21, 2016

new works

Saffran 2016 working title "She Was Fun at Parties"  30" x 19" color photograph with sewing pattern image and thread

Saffran 2016 working title "Inside Looking Out"  30" x 19" color photograph with found advertising image and thread

original source photographs

These new pieces are the beginning thoughts/collages made from 5 snapshots of me on my twelfth birthday.  Although all my work is autobiographical this is the first time I have turned my gaze specifically at myself.  My interest in this series is to refashion the source images to explore the idea of the mother daughter relationship at a time when cultural expectations for women (1969) were changing.  My mother was deeply influenced by the social challenging of the second wave of feminism.  In many ways the women's movement had a profound affect upon her which in turn greatly shaped my family and my own emotional/political development. 

Temple Incense "A Sheaf of Poems"

I was inspired to make this book as a gift for my dear friend David when I found a small incense tin at the second had junk store.  Measuring 3" x 2", the distressed tin was the perfect vehicle for this book.  A few years ago, during a dark personal time, David gave me a collection of cards designed by Rashani Rea that included her original design paired with excerpted quotes from Tarchin Hearn's   "A Sheaf of Poems (1981 - 2010).

On one side of each individual pages is a photograph I made of a dandelions gone to seed, on the other is a quote from Tarchin.  The pages are not meant to be in a specific order and can be shuffled and reshuffled for new associations and renewed thinking.