Thursday, November 26, 2020

A breather

Backwards, now! I had wanted to do this for my show but didn't get around to it until I realized I wanted to recycle some old art, and do jiseung without making cords.
This was before I suddenly decided I needed to make even more food than I've been cooking for weeks. Because my hands are so restless, if I'm not making art, I have to be making something. The food happened because of hosting and then tons of food in the fridge, which is so unlike me.
In the beginning...but seriously. Today I am grateful for the pause to contemplate why we get this pause anyhow. All My Relations has, as always, an excellent episode about Thanks...taking. A friend then shared with me another excellent perspective from Tommy Orange, which made me realize why this ominous feeling about spreading this current virus by being intentionally reckless and endangering others is such an old feeling. It replicates the plague and disease spread on this continent to harm others.

Thanks to those of you staying home in your bubbles and keeping us all safe.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Lately, with pictures

My two-person show with Sarah Rose opens tomorrow in person (I know, no one is going given the state of the world) and virtually on Saturday with a zoom thingy. This is my old brick wall piece that I was content to throw over the office wall but then I was told it would be MUCH better if I suspended as it was originally built to do.
Yesterday, I asked Bill to help me light and of course that meant being roped into doing other things, like poking monofilament through holes that my eyes could not handle. We are both in the stage of our lives where we need new correction to our vision but haven't figured out ideal solutions. I can't even get an appointment so I keep hoping I can figure it out in Korea.
If I don't support it with the pedestal, the left side goes way down so that's why it's not completely free hanging. Also, I added backlighting today and the pedestal helps to hide the floor lamps. This is in the alcove of the main gallery, where Sarah Rose is showing.
She and Nadia drove up from Penland and unloaded and installed and lit in record time. I was worried about Nadia getting home with the big van in the dark in the North Carolina mountains but she made it safely.
I was worried about the floors because the previous show had a piece where the artist smashed TONS of glass on the floor. I warned the ladies and you can see the vacuum and broom in the back. Unfortunately, SR still got cut up by the glass shards that remained. I think that even before college students become interns, much earlier in life everyone should learn how to clean a floor.
The final installation. I'm using the exaggerating lens, obviously.
I love these bark lace pieces. SR was so good at this when I taught bark lace making at PBI in Michigan several years ago so I was not surprised that she graduated quickly from bark lace bananas to bark lace furniture.
Since the space we are showing has no budget, I hosted the ladies, and SR told me her trick for de-seeding pomegranates: do it underwater! This option is great because then you don't create a murder scene/stains everywhere. I peel the rind first because I always dry and save for dye.
On Friday, I started by trying to set up all my pedestal work and mark the pedestals that needed to be taken from the back room through the main gallery, across the parking lot, through the courtyard, and down and up a step to the annex gallery. There was only one old dolly so it took a while, and too many of these pedestals are actually weighted with cinder blocks and sealed so they are monstrously heavy. I wanted to pry them open and take out the weights because truly, that is overkill.
Shawn, who runs the Davis Foundation part of the whole compound (which owns both buildings), was very helpful in figuring out the pedestal groupings, getting the heavy ones in, and then getting them back out once we figured out which to keep and which to ditch. He had great tricks, like tipping them onto their sides to create different heights and surfaces. He also noted how difficult it is to show work as small as mine. In between LONG installation days, I'd spend nights fixing things like these underwear (first, pinning them to a handkerchief, and then sewing a sleeve to hang them).
The real bear was going to be the bricks. My person wisely suggested the alligator clips (I thought 100 would be overkill but I could have used more!!) and I got tin versions of split shot sinkers, which filled in when I ran out of the clips, and also was grateful to Pati for turning me onto these pin clips.
When I first loaded the bricks, I felt optimistic, like this would be fine, no big deal.
At the gallery, it was actually very helpful to see how brick walls actually fall apart.
My view from the top of the ladder. I definitely forgot the clips were on the shelf a couple days ago and they scattered all over the floor.
I had first masked the bricks on the ladder and Shawn devised a very smart system, which was to hang a rail and then use binder clips to secure the monofilament. I had thought I would tie on, but after trying that once and comparing to the clipped version, I knew he was right.
I had strung in small sections to make transportation easier and also because I had no idea how I'd actually rig once I got to the space. This is 100% an installation that is best built in situ. I should have kept the top rows like this but started to fiddle with them right away.
Because I wanted the wall to clearly be disintegrating/not functional, I played around with distancing.
This was only the first 9 rows. I had to attach the next set, and they weren't all spaced the same way because I had an idea at home that I knew was extremely iffy but did anyhow.
The whole adage about measuring twice and cutting once is apt. I knew that there was no way mathematically that this would work, but I kept going.
At this point, it became clear that I was trying to smash two things together that were not supposed to be joined. That meant taking down a whole bunch of bricks, pulling out the threads, re-piercing, re-stringing, and re-hanging.
After this stage, it was clear that I needed more intact rows at top. If these were all on one thread, that would be fine, but they're sectioned with sequins holding the tops and bottoms, so if I pull on one, it only goes so far before it hits a sequin/knot. And if I want to re-tie one, I have to do enough around the one line to even out the pulling on either side. And then I have to let out more thread at the very bottom.
The big gap is caused by the sequins all hitting mostly on one row. To raise the bricks, I'd have to retie all 19 times two (undoing the sequin from both the top and bottom lines. I know, none of this actually makes sense).
At this point, I should have STOPPED. This would have been FINE.
Instead, I tortured myself some more.
And more.
And more! This is what happens when I am alone without someone to drag me away.
The combination of installing at a place not equipped to properly hang a show (e.g., the fire hazards of the lighting situation, the damage done by too much Magic Eraser scrubbing, non-matching paint colors, and so on) + hosting the ladies (and then my person, who lost power for a few days) = insufficient sleep for five nights in a row + losing my mind + being worried I was getting sick. I'm feeling better now and the upside to hosting is that I stock my fridge like a Serious Grownup so I've been able to eat well the entire time.

Saturday at 5pm Eastern Time is our virtual opening, and you can register here for free.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Re-weaving us

I'm in the slog of data entry to thoroughly catalog my artwork in one place (aka a proper database) after years of putting off a better system than I have right now (separate files in at least three different programs to track art info, images, sales, annual production, and shows). I kept telling myself I'd do it and then I'd put it off, and now I have an excruciating number of pieces to inventory. I started this project earlier this year, going backwards from 2020. Last night I made it to 2016 artwork, and the current records are still not complete.

In the process, I've been looking for old images and finding others that remind me of how I go small when I am regrouping and trying to stay afloat (I've also learned that I used to travel A LOT, who is that person??). That would explain the tiny box stands I've been constructing for the past few weeks when other jobs are more pressing. The two brown ones above are from old paper I made in 2006 on a Nebraska farm, dyed with walnuts from the land. The other two are covered with lovely paper from birthday cards. I love recycling!

My friends continue their work and I am grateful: Chandler and Jessica created a wonderful broadside to celebrate the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as part of their Dead Feminists work. The original printing sold out before I could buy but they are responding to demand and printed a gold version. There are a few in black of the original edition and proceeds to both will go to organizations that support voter rights and democracy, especially now in Georgia. I love these ladies and the work they have done for years with so much skill, heart, and gusto.

Finally, tomorrow morning at 10:30am Eastern Time, I'll give a presentation of my book work for the NJ Book Arts Symposium. If you miss that, you can see me at the virtual opening of my show next weekend!

Saturday, November 07, 2020

Relief, and noise

Yesterday I held my in-person class remotely as a precaution. Since my students aren't all responsive to email (the only method we have of communication), one didn't respond to my notice, so I went to school in case they showed up. Turned out they were sick anyhow so I ran a remote class in the morning, had lunch, got a Covid test (again, precaution, though it was extremely difficult to find a location that would test me), and then drove home to finish remote class from there. By the time class ended, we found out that there were students who tested positive and the entire student body was asked to shelter in place this weekend. So even though HR told me I should not have gone remote, I am so glad that I did.
Last night I slept deeply enough to get up and start a billion loads of laundry for deep cleaning, and flipped my mattress. When my final load was in the dryer, two dear friends sent the good news and I cried out of sheer relief and for joy about Kamala. I went outside for a much needed walk, and came home to drink pickle juice because that's all I have to drink (and I love it). The colors are still gorgeous though many leaves have dropped, and I marveled at how many saplings have grown and how much this metro park has filled out after not that many years removed from being a golf course.
Today I missed home because I heard about the noise and celebration in the streets from loved ones. All I saw here was my next door neighbor taking her daughter out for a skipping walk. I have no idea how they vote but I like to think based on the timing, it was a victory walk. After weeks of cutting myself off from media outlets, I got back on to indulge a bit in the hubbub today. Here is more noise that I have added to the internet, an interview with Amy & Brien on Cut the Craft.

Next Thurs at 10:30am Eastern Time I'll give a free 20-min talk for the NJ Book Arts Symposium. And here are one and two posts about me for the Book/Print of Color Collective. This morning I got the negative test result and tonight I will be searching for cake.

Tuesday, November 03, 2020


My friend took this picture of me on the Ledges trail at the Cuyahoga Valley National Park on Halloween. It was a gorgeous day after lots and lots of rainy and overcast days, and a weekend, so lots of people were outside hiking (including dogs and babies and children and people who enthusiastically shared my friend's alma mater).
Between a rock and a rock, a gap that small children can get through. I hope we make safe passage through this, have no idea what is on the other side. I know my friends have voted, and it's only you who read this, so thank you to my fellow citizens for exercising our right/responsibility—and thanks in advance for continuing to work towards always improving this place every day.
Then we can protect places like this, and share them, like these two on the rocks at the overlook point.
Otherwise it's not so fun to fall down from the summit. It was a rockier path than I expected but a challenge is not a bad thing.
Arriving is always a celebration, and there was a Halloween photo shoot at the most lovely vista, which attracted the most people.
These have been pushed WAY to the back of my head as I try to keep balanced. I might be able to try and make a bit more new art tonight but that is because I don't have a TV, will not turn on the radio, and can always unplug my wifi.
To physically exhaust myself in hopes of being able to sleep tonight, I did almost three hours of yardwork, peeling off layers quickly until I had only one shirt on. One rake, one reel mower, one body. A white larkspur bloomed in this cool weather, and I was grateful to say hello. Therese sent an incredible package of dried herbs from her garden and concoctions in glass bottles to keep me held. After well over a year (or more?), I finally dug out some old primer to spot paint the ceiling in the second bedroom where a rusty nail in the roof had come loose and caused discoloration and blobbing. Suddenly it's time to do all the things I've been putting off, no matter how insignificant.