On My Way To The MASTERS

So, I’ve been working my way through level I of the Master Hand Knitter series offered by The Knitting Guild Association.  It’s safe to say I was a solid knitter, but by no means an expert, when I started level I.  That said, I have learned more in the last few months about knitting than I ever thought I would and I am seriously looking forward to learning even MORE as I continue to work my way through this level and the two to follow.

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I sent off my binder of work at the beginning of January and received it back from the Master Hand Knitter committee this past weekend.  The response to my work is nothing short of incredible for its attention to detail, and the awesome amount of information it contains.   I did quite a few things well – and I certainly left much room for improvement in many other areas.  Currently I’m working to correct the things that need correcting, and will soon send back my revised work.

You know – the last page of the response, which was about a dozen typewritten (single spaced) pages – said that the reviewer hoped I would take the response in the spirit in which it was intended – as guidance rather than as criticism.  Absolutely!  I couldn’t be more grateful to be learning from knitters who are among the best in the nation.

Knit on…!


Why MHK with the TKGA?

Ok – so, if you know what the abbreviations MHK and TKGA stand for without me telling you, you’re already in a particular group of people who are wildly focused on knitting.  I happen to be one of those people.

MHK stands for Master Hand Knitter.

TKGA is The Knitting Guild Association.

I am currently working through the Basics, Basics, Basics knitting course taught by Arenda Holladay, through the TKGA, and have ordered and downloaded the Master Hand Knitter Level I course.

Why, Ladianne – why would you take a course in craftsmanship and technique (and a second, far more rigorous certification course in same) when you’re an artist who paints landscapes?  It’s pretty simple, really – I’m an artist who explores theories of place and identity.  My family has been in the Southeast for generations, in Appalachia, and I come from a long line of needleworkers of various sorts.  Knitting, needlepointing, cross stitching, tatting, embroidery – it’s all in my blood.  Oh, and a bit of crochet too…  That said, I can’t really understand my identity and the nuances of place in the context of my life and my family without following the thread (or yarn…) that ties me to my family members and to this area.   I want to continue to dig into landscapes through painting, but I also want to have the level of skill necessary to execute my ideas through the languages of paint AND fiber.  So – I’m furthering my education.

There is something to be said, for sure, for the enhancement of one’s ability to render ideas creatively with absolute skill and craftsmanship.  So, that’s where I am!

It is going to be an adventure – one I’m ready for.  It’s also going to be a ton of challenging work – accompanied by a ton of great learning.

If you’re on Ravelry, hit me up here!

Whew – here we go!

Landscapes (and Life) Through Lenses

I am an artist.

That’s the answer I give when people say “What do you do?”

But, saying you’re an artist is like saying you’re an office worker.  Or a human.  It’s a ridiculously broad answer – perhaps an answer that, for my part anyway, needs some retooling.  Really, when I stop to think about it, I’m an explorer.  It just so happens that the results of my explorations are ‘art’.

For the last 12 years I have been very interested in place and identity – the ways in which the places we work, play, live, and learn affect who we are, and the ways in which we – in turn – affect those places.  I have painted portraits of people in situ, their settings and their personae inextricably and obviously bound.  I have also painted a wide range of ‘scapes’ – city, land, sky, mind.  Most recently, most of my ‘scapes’ paintings have been of urban settings – or of the odd and uncomfortable, liminal spaces between the urban and the other-than-urban.



The Edge of That Place


Increasingly, however, I’m called to consider my own ties to place rather than the nearly complete lack of ties to place I experienced as a result of my childhood in a military family that moved quite frequently.  I have begun to think about the ways in which the artwork and crafts completed by members of my family for generations before me tie me to Appalachia and, far before the arrival of my ancestors, to places beyond the shores of what we refer to presently as The United States.

What has arisen is a series of works that are initially painted in a traditional manner – oil on canvas or panel – but are then converted to stitching (needlepoint) patterns.  I’m fascinated by what happens to the ‘feel’ of the work when the very masculine form of the initial artwork is translated into what has been considered a very feminine form (needlework).  This line of exploration has led me to consider the ways in which landscapes are gendered – and the ways in which artists’ depictions of them are gendered (and empowered – or not) as well.



In addition to all of this, I’m led to think about the relationship between craft and place – and the gendered nature of craft – even in this day.  So, on I go – exploring.

The next time someone asks what I do, I suppose the best answer might be – “I explore places.”

We’ll see…


So, admittedly, the “30 in 30” irritates me. I decided to ask why – and then answer through art. What is emerging is a very Gestalt-y sort of abstract exploration of both the exercise itself, and the possibilities inherent in the expression and understanding of numbers vis a vis counting. I think the production-y aspect of the exercise – if done as I believe it is intended – teases me into wanting to subvert it. Through all of this I’ve gone further into it by asking questions about qualia of numbers and forms. What is emerging is not an answer of any sort, but rather a series of open ended illustrations that feel to me like strange philosophical flashcards. I am beginning to wonder what people’s “number stories” are – what oneness might mean to them. Or five-ness? When my parents lived in Japan we learned about the number four as it pertains to Japanese culture – so, for me, there is a definitely fourness to certain things.

Here are five of the pieces. Maybe a few are missing. Maybe not. Depends on your view of things:

Body. Beauty.

My art practice involves the constant turning over and picking apart social narratives around theories of place, identity, community, and communication. Beauty looms over my illustration and art practice in the form of an irritant, a dystopian ideal, a distant Platonic value, a strange and unsettling shadow, and a tool (weapon?) of criticism, judgment, and justification.

Today I have spent a considerable amount of time thinking through a potential project that will put me up against my own lifelong discomfort with the term Beauty, while engaging others in the area in which I live in dialogue about ideas around Beauty.  In sifting through the myriad notions and reactions I have to the term, I’ve become compelled toward the  dismantling and dissection of the term Beauty through the following questions:


  • How are our own identities, perceptions of place, and systems of community and communication tied to definitions of beauty most frequently (and unconsciously) constructed of base arguments from analogy?
  • Is it possible that collective unpacking of elements used to develop these arguments from analogy might make space for Beauty as process of discernment rather than Beauty as an ultimate value?

I can directly tie my need to explore theories of place and identity to the fact that I am the child of a teacher and a U.S. Navy officer – and to decades of constant transience induced by my father’s career. But I want to know how other people struggle with ideas around Beauty, Place, and Identity – and if my own struggles with ideas around Beauty spring from my rootless childhood. I want to know if it is possible to turn dialogue(s) around ideas of beauty, place, identity, and community into opportunities for shared experience.  Toward that end, I’m applying to a program that will allow me the space, time, and resources to bring these questions out into the light and share them with people in and around my city – with the goal of turning the resulting conversations into an illustrated treatise on our city’s ideas of Beauty.  Perhaps, through all of this, through this engagement in dialogue, I’ll begin to solidify my own ideas around Beauty.

After thinking through all of this I worked through my ideas of Beauty as related to the body, for submission to a juried show upcoming at Ciel Gallery in Charlotte.  As I started trying to apply my morning’s intellectual sifting and sorting to notions of the corporeal, I felt it necessary to apply my aesthetic to the figurative.  Here are the results:

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What a WEEK!

Wow!  Ok – so, I’m going to blop out a bunch of stuff!

First, I got up this morning and realized my client, the Arts & Science Council, published the presentation I illustrated for them on their blog!  How COOL!  You can see it here….

Also, I decided to publish an eBook version of my illustration portfolio on Blurb.com!  I mean – HEY – why not?  The truth behind that whole project is that I needed to update my portfolio, and I decided that actually doing it as a publishing project would be a great learning experience.  Believe  you me, it was just that…  Click on the cover below to see the listing on Blurb.com!


As if THAT wasn’t enough this week, I dug into the business side of things and started using Xero.com for my bookkeeping!  I know – ACK!  Bookkeeping?!  Yep – part of running a studio is running the business side of things.  And I actually kind of enjoy it – or, well, I enjoy having my business and if I want to keep it that way I have to make sure I do what has to be done from a back office perspective!  At any rate, if you are interested, check out XERO!  I really like it!


I found out my mural has been selected as the new Charlotte Chamber of Commerce Grand Mural to go in their newly remodeled headquarters!  I cannot believe it! I am so incredibly excited and grateful!

Here is an image of the mural, a collaboration between the Arts & Science Council of Charlotte, MetLife, and the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce.  To read about the mural selection and the mural itself, just click on the picture below:


I competed against two other finalists for whose work I have great respect, and whose entries were very interesting and powerful.  That said, I am incredibly honored to have been chosen!  Ok – back to studio work for me now!!


Newest Postcards Came!

This time I ordered my postcards from OvernightPrints.com.  They just came, and they are really fun!  Here is a pic of the new postcards:


I am pleased with the color and printing quality, and the cropping is exactly as I wanted and expected.  My only issue is that they aren’t as sturdy as I hoped (though not bad…they just aren’t the same cardstock as the postcards I got from Moo.com last time.  The issue I have is that they were just sort of chucked into an envelope without any sort of protection, so they were all sort of untidily jumbled.  Just seemed haphazard. 

Ok…now to await the matching stamps I created on Zazzle.com!!

PLEASE VOTE! My artwork is a finalist for a GRAND MURAL in my city of Charlotte!

Wow!  I found out yesterday that my artwork is one of three finalist pieces in the running to become our Chamber of Commerce’s new GRAND MURAL!  Here is the artwork:


CLICK HERE TO VOTE FOR ME, Ladianne Henderson:  http://charlottechamber.com/index.php?src=forms&id=Mural_Vote

So, this artwork is about how alive my city feels to me.  I love where I live – and I love the people, culture, and businesses in my city.  I love the music!  I love the artwork – and I love the theatre.  We have an incredible array of artists in this city, and an incredible sports scene as well!  This city also has an incredible green canopy of trees, remarkable parks, and wonderful greenways.  We have wonderful old neighborhoods with lovely bungalows as well as incredible modern architecture.  We have great things for families and singles alike, and we are a place of diversity with a rich texture of cultures and people that come together to do all sorts of amazing things.

Ok – I’m gushing about Charlotte, NC, USA, but it really is a beautiful place and I am grateful to live here.  THAT is what I want my artwork to show…!