Diem Chau: Sojourn

Two days ago, I received an email from the Friends of Fiber Art pointing out the exhibit of Diem Chau’s embroidered objects in the Packer Schopf Gallery in Chicago. I am completely taken by this work- the surprise of it, the well-drawn embroideries, the considered placement, the mix of ordinary objects and narrative moments. It made me stop and take note. You really need to see the range of work shown on the Gallery’s website to have the full effect.

Diem Chau and her family came to the United States as refugees from Viet Nam in 1986. She received her BFA from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle and has exhibited her work in New York, Chicago, Miami, Seattle and Los Angeles. Her website and blog show that she lives in Seattle, does the things that many emerging artists do: make “plushies” for her Etsy shop, do commission and exhibition pieces and run a new gelato shop. Take a peek and see for yourself.

If you’d like to attend the show, it’s on view through March 27. Packer Schopf Gallery is located at 942 W. Lake St in Chicago. Telephone: 312-226-8984. Gallery hours are 11am-5:30pm.


In the new year, I’ve come to think a lot about mark-making. I define that as the kind of gesture left behind after a stroke of painting or drawing. Marvin Lowe, my printmaking professor at Indiana University, drilled it into me. No, you are not allowed to make “chicken scratches” on your metal etching plate. Mine etching plates were zinc or copper. Every mark must be considered, should have presence, weight, character.

We’ve now had over 60 days of consecutive snow on the ground here in Iowa. Winter in general, and snow in particular, tends to isolate the visual effect of a tree’s bare branch, or whithered vegetation against the snow. I’m seeing “marks” all over the place, and were it not for the sometimes dangerous cold, I’d show many more images. Here are a few.

A screenprint, or a monoprint is a type of mark. Usually I overlay them.

snow shadows