Textile, Print, and Adventures in Mapping at the Loveland Museum Gallery

A little over 30 years ago, I feel in love with Printmaking while working on my BFA degree at Colorado State University.  There was just something about the combination of drawing with a needle on an etching plate – almost “plate sculpting” – and the graphic quality of the finished image, not to mention the intriguing process involved.  I’ve always been a process person.

About 8 years ago, I started taking note of the high quality of exhibits (in my opinion) being shown at the Loveland Museum.  It seemed like one after another were top notch and I felt like this space was the jewel of the Northern Colorado region when it came to shows of great quality.  Who is responsible, who is curating this space, I wondered.  I want to meet this person.

Fast forward 8 years, and I get a phone call from Maureen Corey, Curator of Art at the Loveland Museum, inquiring if I would be interested in having a solo show of my work at the Museum in spring of 2016. There were two reasons for the timing, 1) She has a show of 5 women sculptors from Northern Colorado planned for the main floor gallery during this time frame and wanted to keep the focus on women artists from this region and 2) She wanted a show that had a tie-in to Printmaking, to coincide with the Mo’ Print Event (Month of Printmaking) being planned for Denver and Front Range during March/April.

My solo exhibit, “Textile, Print and Adventures in Mapping” will be opening at the Loveland Museum/Gallery on Friday, Feb 12, 6-8 pm.  The show will run through April 10 and I’ll also be doing a gallery talk from 5-6pm on Friday, March 11th.

"LineScape #36 (Bridges)", deconstructed screen-printed cloth, batting, stitching), 42 x 69 inches ©2014 Ayn Hanna

“LineScape #36 (Bridges)”, deconstructed screen-printed cloth, batting, stitching, 42 x 69 inches ©2014 Ayn Hanna

The timing of this show is purposeful – to coincide with “Mo’ Print”, the Denver area biennial month of printmaking in March/April 2016.  The goal is to generate a critical mass of printmaking exhibitions and events happening in the Denver metropolitan area, and the Front Range region during this celebration.  The first Mo’ Print during 2014 generated over 50 exhibitions, events, and workshops showcasing fine art prints and the printmaking process.


“Big City” (detail), deconstructed screen-printed cloth, batting, stitching, 40 x 60 inches overall © Ayn Hanna

So what does Printmaking have to do with my textile fine art work, you might ask?  Well, my work in textiles is an extension of my Printmaking background.  I earned my MFA in Printmaking many moons ago, and in my textile work, I’ve been working to combine my printmaking techniques with textiles, exploring various ways of drawing and mark-making through surface design.

An example of this is the deconstructed screen-printing process, which I have used in several pieces in both my Dye drawing and LineScape series (including the 2 images above).  Through this process I’ve found a new way of mark-making that is a perfect blend of drawing, printmaking, and painting.  Like intaglio etching techniques, it takes practice to achieve intended outcomes and yet still affords that serendipity, that uncontrolled element within printmaking media which contributes to a sense of mystery in a final printed image.

"Drift #2", eco-dyed and printed wool, stitching, 25 x 17 inches, © Ayn Hanna

“Drift #2″, botanical plant-dyed and printed wool, stitching, 25 x 17 inches, © Ayn Hanna

Also included in this show will be some of my newest pieces made from my botanical plant dyed and printed cloth, such as “Drift #2″ above.  Contact printing leaves on cloth is a technique I’ve been using for the past 5 years, combining this printing with natural plant dyes and stitching to created textile wall art pieces.

While my love of Printmaking means I’ll always be a Printmaker first, I am drawn right now to working in textiles as I find some of the same qualities I love about Printmaking in fibers too – rich textures and surfaces, a variety of mark-making possibilities, both are mediums that have been around for a very long time, have utilitarian aspect, and both have also sometimes been relegated to the “lesser than” medium status.  I always cheer for the under dog, maybe that’s another reason I like working in these mediums.

If you’re in the Denver/Front Range area and love Printmaking, March/April will have plenty to offer.  My show in the Loveland Museum will be up through April 10.  Please join me at the opening reception on Feb. 12, 6-8pm if you can swing it – would be wonderful to see you there.

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After 11 shows, its back to the studio she goes

The snow is flying outside and I am hunkered down inside.  I couldn’t be more ready for some creative time alone, in my studio, to go further inside, to explore, to play, to make some new work.

a new piece in progress

a new piece in progress

I’ve had 11 shows this year (4 are still in progress) and since the year is not quite over, I’m not done yet.  I have one more show of my work that’s just recently opened that I’m pleased to tell you about – it’s at Gallery in the Woods in Brattleboro, VT.  This is my introductory show at this gallery and includes several of my B&W and more neutral palette textile paintings, circular blocks, dye drawings, and some hand-printed pillows.  If you’re in the area, I hope you’ll stop in and check it out.

a new small stitched piece in progress

a new small stitched piece in progress

Speaking of B&W, I’ve started work on a new smallish piece (above) as well.  Lately I’ve been drawn to slow down and simplify, which means “drawing” with hand-stitching and a limited, neutral color palette – my healing response to the flurry of show activity and the energy of craziness going on in the world currently.

I’m working on getting my creative mojo going again….seems like awhile since I’ve been creating and I miss it.  With the intermittent time I’m able to be in my studio, along with my show commitments, I need to get a rhythm going and I’m excited about making some new work.

Some really great things are coming up in the new year, including a couple of shows in Feb (which is really just right around the corner when you think about it – yikes).  In addition to this brand new work I’ve started above, I’ve also pulled out some pieces I started earlier in the year which I’m going to try to resolve so I’ll have new works finished for the February shows.

another work in progress, started earlier this year

another work in progress, started earlier this year

Its really wonderful to be taking some time to slow down, reflect, and create at this time of year.  I do enjoy going out sometimes, but for this introvert, right now there’s nothing better than being at home with some quiet creative time in the studio.

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Mounting textiles for wall display

Halloween is a distant memory and we’re shooshing on into the holiday season.  This week brings the close of one show (SOFA Chicago) and the opening of another (Holiday group show at Gallery 360 in MPLS).  I have 3 other shows currently in progress in Auburn (NY), Guilford (CT), and Denver (CO) – please see my Exhibits page for full details.

The show at Gallery 360 includes 25 of my personal badges and the opening reception is tonight, 11/14 from 7-10 pm.  If you’re in the twin cities area, please stop by the reception if you can – while I won’t be at the opening event, my artist partner Barbara Gilhooly WILL be in attendance as she is the featured artist with her solo show “The Language of Patterns” opening in the main gallery.

a selection of my personal badges

a selection of my personal badges

Mounting my personal badges on wood panels

One of my blog readers asked me recently if I could share how I mount my personal badges to the cradled wood panels.  There are two things I feel are important when considering how to mount my textile pieces for hanging – 1) I want it to be archival and 2) I want it to be easily “undone” if a collector wishes to display the work in a different way.

To mount my badges, I drill holes in the panels and then simply stitch the badges to the panels using needle and thread.  This method meets both of my criteria above.  The steps I use for mounting are pictured below – for some reason, the board game Operation always comes to mind while I’m stitching the badges to the panels!


Step 1 – I center the badge on the panel and then using acid-free tape, I tape it down lightly to hold in place.

Step 2 – I mark two small dots on the panel with pencil, underneath each of the edges of the 4 corners of the badge.

Step 3 – Using my Grandpa’s handy dandy hand drill and a very teeny bit, I drill the holes in the panel.

IMG_1560Step 4 – I take a very small thin needle with a 2 ft length of thread, and starting from the back of the panel, insert the needle in one of the holes pushing to the front and through the badge.  Then bring the needle from the front to the back through the other hole in that corner.

Step 5 – Adjust the thread so that it is even and then I tie a couple of knots tightly on the back and trim the excess thread.

Step 6 – Remove the tape from the badge, add the hanging wire, and the piece is ready to hang.

"NYC: Brooklyn Bridge", 8 x 8 inches, hand-dyed fabrics, stitching, birch panel.  © Ayn Hanna

“NYC: Brooklyn Bridge”, 8 x 8 inches, hand-dyed fabrics, stitching, birch panel. © Ayn Hanna

Simple as that.

This is one way to mount textiles for wall display.  What other ways have you found work well to display textile wall art?

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A Fall Eco-Tribe Gathering in Colorado

IMG_1373The Place:  our new dye deck

The People: from near and far

the tribe

The Fun we had: over 2 days, with 3 natural dye pots, a steamer, and a bunch of leaves





We laughed, we tried new things, we learned and shared good times.

stained handsLooking forward to the next time we’ll have the pots going again and can expand the circle of our tribe enjoying our creative time together.

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What do NY, CT, Chicago, and Minneapolis have in common?

I have artwork in 4 shows in these locations, all of which will be opening within the next month.

My studio art-making and shipping/receiving department have been on overdrive the past couple months prepping for these and other upcoming shows.

Here are the specifics of the 4 show locations:

NY – Quilts=Art=Quilts at the Schweinfurth Art Center in Auburn, NY.  Opens Oct 31 through Jan 3.  My piece “City Lines” was juried into this year’s show.

"City Lines" (detail)

“City Lines” (detail)

CT – Artistry 2015 at the Guilford Art Center in Guilford, CT.  Oct 30 through Jan 3.  I’ll have some of my personal badges and other small wall art textile pieces as well as a large number of my eco-printed and black patterned scarves available for sale in this show.

"Orchid Grid #1 through #9" available at Guilford Art Center (CT).

“Orchid Grid #1 through #9″ available at Guilford Art Center (CT), opening Oct. 30 – Jan 3.

Chicago – SOFA Chicago Show (Palette Contemporary booth) at the Navy Pier, in Chicago, IL.  Opening Nov 5 – 8.  I’m excited to once again have my work represented in this gallery show for the 2nd year in a row.  My largest work from my LineScape series will be on display.

Minneapolis – Gallery 360 Artists’ Group Show in Minneapolis, MN. Opening Nov 14 – Jan 10.  A good number of my personal badges will be included in this annual holiday group show at this wonderful gallery.  And my artist wife, Barbara Gilhooly will have a solo show of her work concurrently in the main/solo show gallery space too.

a selection of my personal badges

a selection of my personal badges

“Above the Chatter” Exhibit continues through November

In addition to the 4 shows above, my work in the “Above the Chatter” exhibit at Metro Frame Works in Denver will continue through the month of November.  This 3 woman show is beautifully curated and the opening on first Friday in Sept was a fun time, lots of children and dogs (including Lucy, the resident rescue greyhound), and some adults too!  Below are a few photos of this exhibit and the opening festivities:

IMG_1320above the chatter 1above the chatter 2IMG_1331IMG_1323IMG_1319IMG_1340IMG_1339IMG_1329IMG_1335That’s it for now.  More soon, including some pictures from last weekend’s eco-printing workshop here at Hanna-Gilhooly studios: 8 women, 2 days, 4 dye pots – can you imagine what a good time we had?

Happy Trails!

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“Above the Chatter” show opening in Denver

“Above the Chatter” show opens tomorrow, Sept 4 at Metro Frameworks 44T Artspace in Denver.  I am excited to be showing with 2 artist kindred spirits – Mary Bergherr and Barbara Gilhooly.  Our work plays well together.

LineScape #29 (Tent Rocks)  © Ayn Hanna

LineScape #29 (Tent Rocks) © Ayn Hanna

I will be showing a large selection of my personal badges as well as this “Tent Rocks” piece above.  Mary’s work will include paintings on wood and paper, and Barbara will be exhibiting carved paintings on wood as well as her “wall of balls” and “wire doodles” sculptures.

a selection of my personal badges

a selection of my personal badges

"Wall of Balls", © Barbara Gilhooly

“Wall of Balls”, © Barbara Gilhooly

If you are in the Denver area, please join Barbara and I at the opening reception tomorrow night, 6-10pm (we’ll be there by 7).  The gallery is in the Berkeley neighborhood and there are lots of great restaurants and galleries in the hood and it’s always a fun time during the First Friday Gallery Walks.

Hope to see you there,

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Sum Sum Summertime….Riding the A Train and sleeping in a Teepee

Art train that is.

Since my last post, I’ve had 2 art exhibitions and been to one workshop.  A quick drive by to catch up –

9 patch - plant prints on silk

9 patch – peony, catalpa, sumac, prunus, cotinus, and eucalyptus plant prints on silk

I’m working on a video – a virtual tour of my studio as I apparently didn’t take any photos, but did do a quick video walk through while everything was set up for the show.  It was a good studio tour weekend with near 200 visitors, the majority of which were new visitors to my studio – so happy to see everyone!

I have 2 pieces in the New Legacies show at the Lincoln Center.  It closes tomorrow, so only one more day to see it before it comes down.

My next show opens in Sept:  A 3-person group show at Metro Frame Works in Denver.  I’ll be showing a bunch of my personal badges and textile paintings and I’ll be there for the opening event on first Friday, Sept. 4, so please drop in if you’re in the area.

IMG_1115In late July, I got to hang out in Boulder with some of my eco-dyeing tribe for a wonderful workshop with Irit Dulman at the Living Craft School.

irit workshopAt week spent in this incredible setting learning, sharing, and experimenting together filled my cup.  So inspired, I came home and spent the next 2 weekends dyeing and printing out on my new dye deck – will be sharing this space with some students in less than 2 months when Barbara I will be teaching our workshop here in Fort Collins.  It’s sold out and we’ve got a wait list going, so we’re considering possibly adding another session to our fall schedule.

aug-1Probably influenced by the fact there was a teepee in the workshop space at the Living Craft School and the week I spent there allowed me to re-connect a bit with myself, once back home I kept being reminded how much I have always wanted to sleep in a teepee, ever since childhood.

IMG_1273Well, turns out I finally did just that, thanks to a friend who has 2 of them at her home in Poudre canyon.  It was fun sleeping outside in the round although I do admit, these days I much prefer my comfy beauty rest mattress over sleeping on the ground.

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Behind the Scenes of Running an Art Business

I’m smack dab in the middle of a stretch of doing 6 shows in 5 months, so LV has quickly passed into rear view as I have to keep my focus forward on the road ahead.  My next show is coming up this weekend as I join over 60 other area artists in opening my studio to the public as part of the Fort Collins Artist Studio Tour & Sale this Friday 4-9, Sat. 10-5, and Sunday 11-4.

I recently finished a new large textile painting and the studio tour visitors will get to see it up close in person.  Below is a sneak peak – behind the scenes of photographing the piece.

photographing artLots of work yet to be done this week to hang work and clean things up all around here.  Visitors to our Hanna-Gilhooly studios will be the first to see our new studio deck where we’ll be gathering around the dye pots this fall during our Eco-Dye class.

new deckLast weekend I was able to take advantage of the return of the Sun and hot weather to create some more black patterned fabric – urgently needed to make a pillow “on demand” as I received another order from the Artful Home store and alas, it included a pillow design which was out of stock which needed to be shipped within 3 days time.

raw fabric 2fabricW









And, then it was time to get a recount of how many pillows and what designs I DO have in stock, then photograph some of the “one-off” color ones that I don’t plan to make any more of as these will be good candidates for the upcoming Fiber Art Sale that Artful Home will be running in July.

photographing-pillowsI’ve added 7 new galleries and artisan shops this year across the US that now carry my work (and I’ll be adding 3 more this fall).  You can see the full list here.

Most recently, I’m happy to share that Chemers Gallery in Tustin, CA is now carrying my eco-dyed scarves and the Gallery in the Woods in Brattleboro, VT is now carrying my fine art textile work.  I am looking forward to plans to do a show there sometime next year.

Learning Your Chops

Why am I sharing all this business-y stuff?  To give you a glimpse of the not-so-glamorous yet oh-so-necessary side of running an art business.  It is said an artist needs to spend at least 50% of their time on the business side of art to be successful and the truth is, it actually may require more than that.

It definitely takes lots of hustle and hard work to find gallery partners and homes for one’s artwork.  And as the great visual coach Christina Merkley often says, (whatever you’re in the midst of learning) “the only way out is through”.  Well said, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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A Mighty Lonesome Show


When someone refers to your fine art stitched textile wall pieces as “pot holders”, it’s a pretty big clue you’re at the wrong show.  Unfortunately, such was the case for me this past week at the ACRE Las Vegas show.

stitched sweetiesThe good news is I wrote 2 orders with 2 new galleries and met some new artist friends, several of whom have many years experience selling wholesale and doing these shows, and they shared good insight and knowledge.

It was a painfully long 3 days with so few buyers at the show, I enjoyed being able to take a break to go watch some of the national barrel racing championships which were happening just down the hall in the arena.  (There was an airline bowling team championship going on as well across the hall, but I passed on checking that out.)

IMG_0978The drive across Utah (especially coming home) was the highlight.  I had no idea the variety of colors and texture of the land of this state – so many oohs and aahs along the way –  I’m thankful for this road trip and the time to contemplate what’s next.


The story behind City Lines

"City Lines", 29 x 36 inches, Dye Drawing (cotton fabric, dye, stitching, batting) gallery wrapped over canvas stretcher frame, © Ayn Hanna

“City Lines”, 29 x 36 inches, Dye Drawing (cotton fabric, dye, stitching, batting) gallery wrapped over canvas stretcher frame, © Ayn Hanna

My first home in New York City was a shared loft space on the north side of the Williamsburg bridge.  I rode the subway into the city and back each day for work, and walked under the bridge to get home where I was frequently greeted by abandoned stolen cars, usually stripped of their wheels and often set on fire.  (Williamsburg was a different place back then in the early ’90’s.)

From the window of my studio, the bridge traffic was my movie.  For hours I studied the shapes and lines of the bridge and the buildings beyond it.  There was something comforting in the strength and solidity of that structure, especially as my own existence seemed so day to day.

"Williamsburg Bridge", 24 x 18 inches, etching @ Ayn Hanna

“Williamsburg Bridge”, 24 x 18 inches, etching @ Ayn Hanna

I jumped at the chance to move to the East Village when through a friend, I found a “deal” on my own studio apartment which had been abandoned – hadn’t been lived in for 20+ years (save for the homeless who had climbed through the broken windows to seek refuge) – and I agreed to fix the place up while living there, in exchange for a reduced rent.

NY apt

Finally, I had arrived – I was a young artist living in Manhattan!  Never mind I was advised to install locking window “gates” (which I procured and schlepped home on a dolly from a lower east side junk yard) as a safety measure, along with new window panes.  The entire space was less than 300 Sq. Ft. and it took 20 gallons of spackling compound to fill in the holes in the walls and ceiling.  But the place was mine, all mine.


The facade of our building seemed so plain given all the colorful characters that lived within.  My neighbors were either older Ukrainian’s that had lived there for decades, or other young artists finding their way.  I loved being able to walk to work, taking different routes to see the visual array of iron railings, fire escapes, and pieces of sky framed by the groups of buildings all lined up together.

"City Lines" (detail)

“City Lines” (detail)

All of these memories informed my recently completed piece, “City Lines”.  It is a dye drawing on cotton, stitched and mounted to a stretcher frame.  This is one of 15 of my textile painting pieces that are included in a 2 person show I’m doing with Barbara Gilhooly which opens this coming Saturday, May 16th, 3-6pm at Palette Contemporary Gallery in Albuquerque, NM.


What a time it was, living in NYC as a young artist.  And now I love being back in CO.  I actually love both the big city and the mountains, for very different reasons.  The postcard image above is “LineScape #29 (Tent Rocks)”, based on my memories of that special place.

Please join me this Saturday for the show opening if you can – you’ll be able to see “City Lines” and “Tent Rocks” in person and if you can’t make it to the opening, the show will be up through June 22.

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