Terez (WSW ArtFarm papermaker), Ingrid, Pamela, Arielle, Meg, Kelly and me – behind (and in some cases, wearing) some of the work.
I can hardly believe it, but the first class is over; ended yesterday. It flew by incredibly fast, while I slowly acclimated to the pace, the new apartment, and Women’s Studio Workshop in Summer Arts institute mode, something quite different from what I experienced as a resident, but still great. (Actually it’s not yet in full SAI mode: that happens Monday. Abby’s class and mine were tacked on early when our regular classes quickly filled, so only our two classes were going on last week). My two major solutions to personal problems I experienced in the first two days: take my hearing aids out as soon as class ended, and take a nap before the various dinners and events at seven. It really helps the busy busy flow.
Kelly and Arielle on Thursday evening, at the moment a lung turned into a hat.
The five women in my first class were a wonderful group, so enthusiastic, so willing (and eager) to experiment, and so incredibly productive. Classes officially end at 4, but a core group would go eat together, and then return to spend every evening from Tuesday on working late into the night, carpooling to the places where they were staying. Everyone’s hard work showed. Arielle knew what she wanted by the beginning of the third day and went for it: a giant abaca-covered corset shape draped in layers and layers of kozo lace, which will become the core of a larger installation. (It traveled back to Ontario with her today; I hope Air Canada treated her well). Kelly made 50 abaca bones, some with added kozo, which will become a hanging chandelier-like environment. Ingrid experimented with just about everything, making dozens of small-ish to tiny shapes, which assembled on the last day into reliquary like containers holding detailed artifacts. Pamela translated shapes from her main body of work into paper, and Meg became fascinated with the translucency of stretched abaca and the vibrancy of the dyes, and began to bring versions of her color-saturated drawings into three dimensions. And everyone made more than what I’ve mentioned. We could easily have gone for another few weeks – though Arielle might have needed to charter her own plane home!
Towards the end of Friday lunch on the second-floor deck.
All that was added to an evening life much busier in wee Rosendale than at home in Chicago. Abby and I went to dinner; the next night we went to a lovely dinner at Tana and Ann’s; last night I went to dinner again in a loud, loud place with Ann, Tana, Jackie, an early-arrived teacher, Gretchen who will teach later but came from Maryland to install her show and Lynette who came to help (and whose name I am not sure is right, but who I liked even before I learned she had once given a presentation on my work). When I gave my talk on Tuesday evening, a lovely lady named Leslie asked me if I had ever used lichen dyes on my lichen pieces. The next day she stopped by during the excellent communal lunch (that new intern Meghan prepares each day), and brought me a bag of dried lichen that makes a beautiful magenta dye, a small sample (all she had left) of another that makes a rich gold / sienna, yarn swatches of each, the dyeing methods, and advice on responsible harvesting. The gold dye lichen crows on trees on the Maine coast, where I’m headed next. When she learned I’d be here another week, she came by again on Friday, and left me a lovely book to look at, on British lichen dyes. I was so astonished and pleased…I don’t think I’ve ever had such a nice response to a talk.
There’s really much, much more, but it’s all moving way too fast to cover…I had time to write this today because I brought my laptop with me to the laundromat!
Arielle’s piece drying…
One of Meg’s works.
The backside of Pamela’s Venus drying.
Not all 50 of Kelly’s bones!
Looking into just one of Ingrid’s vessels.