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Posts from the ‘Blog About Our Residents’ Category

Janelle Girod and Kristin Rodriguez

April 14-28, 2013
“Give yourself permission to play”- Janelle Girod

FOAWFlowersFiber artists Janelle and Kristin are following their own advice during their residency at A.I.R. Studio. The mother/daughter duo operates Fiber on a Whim together, an online shop based in Marietta, Georgia. This is their third trip to Paducah, but the first time that they will be here to focus on their own work.

When I met with Janelle and Kristin they had already spent some time exploring Paducah with a friend and local fiber artist, Rosemary Claus-Gray. Their favorite stop thus far was Jefferson Street Studios where they coveted both Helene Davis’s hand-dyed fabrics and studio space. They made stops at Bryerpatch Studio and the Yeiser Art Center to see the international “Fantastic Fibers” exhibit.

FOAWIrisBoth Janelle and Kristin rely heavily on collage techniques in their work. Whole pieces of cloth are cut up into smaller pieces, which are then stitched or fused together to construct backgrounds and objects. Stitched lines and layered sections call attention to the important areas of their work. Their wide range of techniques and tools adds to the diversity of their work, and their wide range of subject matter is typically playful in subject matter.

Janelle started making quilts in the 1970s and quickly became tired of the traditional quilt form. She felt constrained by the color trends and wanted to explore more vibrant colors than what was typically acceptable. She was often asked to “sit at the back of the classroom” during classes and workshops, and quickly felt the need to break out of the repetition of the traditional quilt block and be more creative in her work.

Kristin’s intuitive use of color shines through in her work. The range of colors that she brings into her work and application of stitching creates a dynamic relationship in her work to emphasize specific area and make details stand out. Her Iris piece, in progress, was created using Helene’s hand-dyed fabrics. When we talk, she tells me that she is planning to work back into areas with hand stitching to accentuate the middle parts of the flower through a change in texture and color.

FOAWColorQuiltIn addition to their own works of art, Fiber on a Whim specializes in hand-dyed fabrics, supplemented by books and products to promote creativity and exploration. They hand dye more fabrics than just traditional cotton, including silk, burlap and cheesecloth. The versatility of their fiber choices allows for manipulation and layering far beyond a traditional quilt.

FOAWFrontGalleryThe creative spirit that Kristin and Janelle bring to Paducah is sure to transfer to those they come in contact with this week. They are offering several technical workshops this week intended to produce small works while introducing a specific product or skill and encourage creative play with materials. For more information, visit their website at


Sarah Holland

April 1-13, 2013


Sarah Holland is an emerging artist visiting from her hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee. She graduated in 2011 from the University of Tennessee with a B.F.A. in Painting.

I met Sarah for coffee last week, and dropped in on her again later at A.I.R. Studio. This is Sarah’s first residency. She is hoping to immerse herself in a process of art making here that she can apply to her daily life back in Knoxville.

SarahHollandPhotosSarah interprets her environment and experiences to produce large, colorful abstract paintings. Her work is process oriented, building with multiple layers and reacting to the surface over time to dictate the content. She uses photography as a source to inspire her work, and spent the first day of her residency exploring and photographing Paducah.  During her time in here, her focus is on creating new work. She expects that the local area will act as a source for her new paintings.

SarahHollandPaducahShe would like to be compared to artists Cindy Sherman, Jessica Dickinson, and Mark Rothko; they avoid the obvious, and allow the viewer plenty of space interpret the work. She tells me that Jessica Dickinson makes four paintings a year. She admires her discipline and ability to let her work develop over a length of time.

SarahHollandSarah is mixing paints when I drop by the studio. She works with a wide range of colors, but feels limited sometimes by her palette. The floor is covered with a variety of painting surfaces in different stages of progress and there are little picture frames scattered across the table at the back of the studio. She has been working on small paintings and collages to fill the frames to take a break from her larger works. I am impressed by her ambition and energy, and look forward to seeing what she has finished by the end of the week.

To see more of Sarah’s work, visit her website.

Bob Donahue

January 18-22, 2013


Behind locked doors, tucked away in a matchbox, or overlooked in discarded photographs, Bob Donahue believes that great things, life-changing things, can be found in the mundane objects of our daily lives.

Bob’s mixed media sculptures are tiny, often about the size of a matchbox. His materials frequently include found photographs, maps, and photographs of his own, carefully cut and collaged together. Intimacy is imposed on the viewer through the scale of his work, drawing the viewer closer to examine the individual elements included in the piece, and to privately explore his thoughts and his narrative.  He longs for more intimate moments of a greater variety in his daily life and imposes that same need on the viewer though his work.

Open MatchboxText is used occasionally to introduce Bob’s voice into the work and add written cues to an otherwise visual piece. He refers to his work as something “akin to a visual koan”, a paradoxical statement or question in Zen Buddhism that is used as a meditation in order to abandon analytical thinking and encourage intuitive thinking instead. He looks to the paleolithic, to the da-daists, and everyday experience for inspiration in his work.


His intention is to convey a sense of wonder and mystery. His work frequently explores contradictions; mercurial and static, loving and detached, intimate and cold, dark and illuminated, powerful and flimsy, voyeuristic and watched, magical and scientific, and so on.

Bob’s residency allowed him a brief break from his regular work to reflect and relax.

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