RED Exhibition at the Arlington Museum of Art
 
Peccadillo Still Life Photography by Holly D. Gray

"Peccadillo" my most recent work created for the curated RED Show at the Arlington Museum of Art.

RED is a conceptual exhibit from the the Fort Worth Art Collective using the color red in solidarity with those living with HIV/AIDS and is coinciding with the Keith Haring exhibit: Against All Odds from August 1-September 22.

Join me for RED and the Artist Reception - Friday, AUG 2 6:30pm-8:30pm

 
Mixing Cyanotype Chemicals - Part One

Behind the scenes, while I prep Cyanotype chemicals. I feel like a mad scientist every time I start mixing this magical powder! This is Potassium Ferricyanide, one of the ingredients that make up the alternative process of cyanotype image-making.

I have new works in progress with my favorite light-sensitive material and I can't wait to share!

 
 
Photography Quote by Diane Arbus

This quote....ahhh! I love it so much that it lives forever in my thesis document. Photographs don't give away all the secrets and why should they? 1/1000 of a second freezes time and closes off the senses. Let's vow to all keep secrets in our art.

 
Diane Arbus_Photography Quote_Hollydgray.com
 
Amazon Prime Day - Marketing Hype or the Real Deal?

This time last year I was wrapping up my series Fundamentally Prime. This body of work ran from July 11, 2017 to July 11, 2018. One full year of documenting each and every box and bag that landed on my doorstep.

Amazon Prime Day to Amazon Prime Day.

212 deliveries and packages to be exact.

 
 

I use Amazon Prime for many things but the items I purchase mostly revolve around my daughter and her medical needs. Although I use Amazon to make our lives easier when it comes to her supplies; I was also using it for frivolous purchases to pass the time. These binge shopping sprees happened mostly late at night right before laying my head down. I would see something that I just HAD to have. Am I right!?!?

I learned SO much with this project. Here are 3 takeaways…

  1. Amazon Prime Day feels like (and is) a marketing ploy by a HUGE company. I didn’t find ‘deals’ on the golden prime days. It’s simply a way to get customers on the platform and having them drooling for more. The PR push for Prime Day was the initial inspiration for my series Fundamentally Prime. The hype was huge and I realized that I was falling into it.

  2. Amazon has cheaper prices especially with free shipping…. sometimes. You have to be a research shopper and not a convenience shopper. Not leaving your house has its price.

  3. My consumption throughout the project and the year since has dropped dramatically. I kept a running spreadsheet with every item, cost, and date during the year-long duration. Seeing a running total, and documenting every package that entered my home helped me think about each item that I was bringing into my space. I think that if we have to think about what we are buying, truly think about it; we wouldn’t consume as much as we do.

 
 

In the end my patterns have changed with online shopping and I’m thankful for that. I’m living a more minimalist experience as an American woman, mother and artist. I pay attention to what is grabbing my attention.

You can see the entire body of work, Fundamentally Prime, here.


 
 

Making Art in the Tiny Cracks of Time You Have

When I started to create art after my daughter was born, I didn’t have the luxury of time on my hands. Flash forward to 2019 and I hadn’t made a body of work in over nine years. There was portrait work, crochet, and project for my daughter here and there, but really time was one of my excuses. Mine and my daughter’s health was another big factor.

Learning to use the bits of time that I had whether I felt good, awake or ready was one of the real reasons I was able to create again. I’m glad that I kept showing up and I’m glad that I figured out a way to fill those tiny moments with something that is important to my mental health.

 
Artist Studio_Hollydgray.com
 

Julia Cameron said it best “Our days are chopped into segments, and if we are to be creative, we must learn to use the limited time we have.”

 
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Holly D. Gray
HOMEMADE LAUNDRY DETERGENT FOR SENSITIVE SKIN

Hi, my name is Holly and I have crazy sensitive skin.

I can only wear certain types of make-up and I can barely wash my face with anything. Trust me it's über cool.

My husband has even more sensitive skin than I do. Years before our daughter was born we figured out that he was reacting to perfumes in our Tide laundry detergent. We switched to All Free and Clear at that point and things seemed fine. He would have frequent flare-ups, but we would blame them on the environment at large. He even had some trusty steroid foam to calm things down.

 
HOMEMADE LAUNDRY DETERGENT FOR SENSITIVE SKIN via hollydgray.com
 

Flash forward to our ever so sweet daughter and you've got some of the most sensitive skin around. She definitely is a combo of her parents. Her allergic reactions and sensitivities are on her medical file, and weekly I have to list them at whatever appointment we might be at.

Like me, we can only use a few products on her skin. So when she was a baby, and having skin problems, we switched from All Free and Clear to Seventh Generation Free and Clear. I thought it really worked well, but I got tired of spending $20 a bottle on it.

I've been making my own house cleaners for almost 15 years now. Every now and then I will buy a Seventh Generation product, but it doesn't happen often. Basically our house is cleaned with baking soda, vinegar and hydrogen peroxide. Our laundry soap was the final hold out. So I started searching Pinterest. I wanted a laundry soap that didn't have Borax in it. I've read conflicting information about it so why chance it? 

I found a blog called Delightful Creations where the author gives some great tips on making your own homemade laundry soap without Borax. Her recipe calls for baking soda, washing soda and castile soap.

I've used castile soap in the liquid form to make some of my more elaborate homemade house cleaners, but I had never used the bars before. There are several organic scents to choose from. I always come back to the peppermint and almond. It smells so clean.

I originally made a small batch to test it out. I am beyond thrilled with how this has turned out. We just thought our clothes were getting clean before. So when I noticed that I was barely having to pre-treat stains I got all kinds of giddy. I do still use Ecover Stain Remover. I've used it for years, I love it and I probably won't stop using it, but now I am needing much less of it. The dried and finished laundry is so much cleaner than it used to be. The word crisp keeps coming to mind.

 
Homemade
 

I found my soap bars at Whole Foods, on sale for $3.49 each. The large bag of baking soda comes from Costco. It's about $7.00 and there is plenty left over. We buy a bag or two of it each month anyways The washing soda was about $3 and I needed 3 boxes for this recipe. So for around roughly $30 we will have laundry soap for 3-6 months depending on how much we use in each load and how big the loads are. I have my 1/8 cup in the tub, and I usually put two of those in for good measure.

I'm pretty excited about the fresh and crisp potential here. Happy washing!

UPDATE: 7/11/19 — I still make this formula! This blog post was moved and adapted for my new website. Original was posted on 9/8/13 at madeofgray.com

UPDATE: 10/5/15 -- I still make this formula every 3-4 months for our family and I love it! Check out the comments for more ideas and suggestions when making your own laundry detergent for sensitive skin. 

PRO TIP: If you have a food processor, definitely use it for grating the castile soap into teeny tiny crumbs! 

My exact measurements for a 3 month supply:

16 cups baking soda (1 - 13.5 lb bag is plenty for this recipe)

12 cups washing soda (This is a little less than three boxes)

8 cups of grated castile soap  (1 bar of soap makes 2 cups)


 
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Creating Work After Grad School

My studio practice this summer has been fast and furious coming off of grad school. The pace of that dense critique setting was bonkers, but it was my groove for the last 3 years. I'm wondering when I will give myself time to breathe?

 
Creating Work After Grad School - hollydgray.com
 

July is here... the deadlines of August are approaching, and the pull of adjunct life will start.

Time is frail and always has been for my little family. Counting down to deadlines, the next thing, milestones, surgeries, spending as much time as possible with C, organizing and of course creating. Maybe the limits of time are real, but maybe they're all in my head.

Post MFAHolly D. Gray
Photography for Artists - Make your life easier!

Summer has SO many projects on the burner! One thing that I've been working on over the last several weeks is updating my portfolio website and adjusting my reach into workshops, visiting lectures, and services geared toward artists.

Part of my overhaul is to set up services geared toward artists and creatives.

  • Documentation services

  • Headshots

  • Opening reception photography

  • Gallery and exhibition documentation

  • Lifestyle and studio shoots

  • Social media imagery

  • Website photography

 
Holly D Gray - Services for artists and creatives Photographing Charlyn Reynolds Glassworks
 

By offering my colleagues and fellow artists the power of photography, I can take image creation off of their shoulders which ultimately allows more studio time.

Being a helpful resource for artists is something that I've been doing for several years now. Turning my love of boosting artists up with fabulous imagery is really exciting and rewarding.

You've worked hard! Don't forget to capture and hold onto that hard work!

Reach out below for pricing information and available packages.

 
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My First Saggar Pottery Firing - Raku Kiln

This past weekend I was able to participate in a Saggar ceramic firing at Windstorm Studio. The saggar process speaks to my love of the unknown when it comes to art-making. Reminiscent of the surprises found in Holga photography, Saggar pottery is full of colorful wonderment.

 
Saggar Pottery Bisque Firing HollyDGray
 

A thin coating of Ferric Chloride on bisque ware… throw in some organic material, copper wire, steel wool and a heavy dose of salt and you’ve got the recipe. Wrap your ingredients in foil and fire away. The whole firing took around 20 minutes.

 
Saggar Firing Pottery HollyDGray
 

What I was left with was a combination of beautiful reds, pinks, greens and browns.

 
Saggar Pottery Hollydgray
 

All that was left to do was a quick wash and a light sanding. Beautiful. I can’t wait to try this process with my sculptural works. It’s SO satisfying. Many many thanks to Windstorm Studio for having me over!


Collective Vision - Fort Worth Art Collectives Join Forces

Last week the Fort Worth Weekly showcased the Collective Vision of Fort Worth’s art scene. I’m proud to be the newest member of the Fort Worth Art Collective, which is Fort Worth’s oldest art collective. This coming year we will celebrate ten years as a collective. Getting out into my community has been one of the biggest goals post-MFA, and for this omnivert, it’s been something that I need to work on. I’m excited to see the growth of all the art-related groups in Fort Worth. I’m thrilled that we are working together to create a grassroots movement in our hometown and I’m absolutely sure that doors will open throughout the city for artists, businesses and citizens to work together to make our community brighter and definitely more beautiful.

 
Fort Worth Weekly Collective Vision