Tuesday, August 16, 2016

What Fun!

Mediating Memory reception

I started the evening with the very good intention of photographing everyone who came but, as with most good intentions,  I lost track of my mission sometime after the first hour.  Thank you to everyone who came to the reception for Mediating Memory at Axel's last Friday night.  I apologize to those of you who weren't photographed, but perhaps you are just as happy to have escaped me! 

This being the first time I showed the Heirloom series I was nervous but delighted to hear everyone's comments.  During the artist's Q & A I was asked, Why twelve (meaning why was my series based on the year I turned twelve)?  To which I said,  it was a year of transition from childhood to teenage/quasi-adulthood and I was becoming more and more aware of the political, social and environmental upheaval in the world around me.  The year was 1969 and as I turned my attention away from my immediate family I witnessed how the world around me was changing, being transformed through race riots, war protests and environmental disasters.  This sensitivity to national events would come to shape my conscience and attitudes permanently.

The Heirloom quilt pieces deal specifically with how my newly formed global interests affected my role within the family, specifically my relationship with my mother.  She began losing her position as center of my universe and lacked the experience of how to navigate that uncharted territory.  Heirloom is a reflection of the confluence of cultural and personal forces that moved into my family relationships.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Mediating Memory Reception

This Friday, August 12 from 6 - 8:00 pm there will be an artist's reception at Axel's Gallery in Waterbury for Mediating Memory.  I invite you to come and see Heirlooms and Nuclear Family along with my friend Amy Hagberg's stunning and haunting pinhole camera work.

Creation Grant

I am pleased to tell you that I have been awarded a Vermont Arts Council Creation Grant funded by The National Endowment for the Arts.  This grant will allow me to devote more time to my work, specifically the Remembering Our Future Death series.  I will be showing the series at several points throughout the upcoming year and will let you know when and where as the shows approach.  I offer up a huge THANK YOU to the Arts Council and The National Endowment for the Arts!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Final Five

This is where I started nearly three months ago:

And this is where I am today, complete with final titles:

Saffran 2016 Before We Disappointed Each Other  24" x 24" sewn photographs
Saffran 2016 Always Listening For What Wasn't Said  24" x 24" sewn photographs

Saffran 2016 Happy Birthday  24" x 24" sewn photographs

Saffran 2016 She Was Me And I Was Her  24" x 24" sewn photographs
Saffran 2016 Who Would I Turn Out To Be?  24" x 24" sewn photographs 

The Heirlooms will be showing at Axel's Gallery August 3 - September 17 with a reception on Friday August 12, 6 - 8 pm.  I look forward to seeing you then!  

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  She Was Me and I Was Her  23"x 23" sewn color photo-collage 2016

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



Saffran  Always Listening For What Wasn't Said 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.