Stuff, and not enough Nonsense

Arrowmont sent a lovely (paper, non-electronic) postcard image of my class, with the URL of their Flickr site on the back.

Yesterday, we went way Beyond Busy into Total Exhaustion. Assisted by Paul The Brave, who went above and beyond the call of partnership, I finally freed myself of the major storage space albatross just ahead of yet another rent hike. (The old facility was more crowded than I have ever seen it, with a whole lot of others moving out).

It became apparent during the week, as the house began to fill, that I couldn’t entirely jettison external storage in this time frame, so we rented a van and took one large load to a recycling center and others to a much smaller, much cleaner, less than 1/3 the cost space at another facility even closer to home, and, yes, brought more stuff home, where we will just be a bit overcrowded until our Very Odd Yard sale at the end of the summer.  Earlier this week, stuff went out to two community arts organizations, and yesterday began with a pickup from a sweet curator (it was his birthday!) of stuff that went to a museum (which helped offset the angst of sending other parts of an installation I loved but will never exhibit again to recycling.)

I am mightily, mightily tired of stuff and yet still crave, above all else, time to make more stuff.

Today, deliver work to this show (I’m sad I will miss the opening), address a mile-long list of little wrap-up tasks, laundry, packing, loading the car in the evening when it’s cooler, a good sleep, and out the door early in the morning heading for Women’s Studio Workshop, then the Morgan. But first, I’m looking forward to tomorrow evening chilling with the Smiths!  It’ll be my first bit of actual relaxation (except for the time spent writing this report). And hopefully we will make some (at least) verbal nonsense together; it’s tradition.

I’m pleased to say that there’s a wee interview about (S)Edition coming out soon by  Akeem K. Duncan at Quiet Lunch Magazine, probably while I’m on the road.

In the fast lane, out of sight

My new, favorite Teaching Photo, taken by Karen Hardy.  Not sure which I like best, the appropriation of her artwork, or the final-day Arrowmont class schedule on the board.

Busy busy busy again, making these few days at home count. Have upgraded everything on computer and phone -which took an entire day! – and am now Lion-ed and iClouded and software-updated, o my. I’ve found and documented a few more altered books, which necessitated a new gallery on the web site as well.

Dealing with the physical storage space in earnest (which reveals more soon-to-be dispersed, artwork-I-forgot-I-had daily), nailing down show details, details of other upcoming ventures (i.e., paperwork, electronic paperwork and paper work), not being social at all (sadly), missing shows I’d like to see, but cranking it all out. And so it will continue till I leave again in a week or less, for two full classes at WSW and a well-populated one at the Morgan, huzzah!

I’m honored to be part of this upcoming show at Woman Made Gallery, though slightly sad that I won’t be in town for the opening reception; read a bit about Woman Made’s mission, past and anniversary here.  It will make you feel good.

20th Anniversary Exhibition: Twenty Jurors

The invitational exhibition includes work by 20 jurors of past WMG group exhibitions. 

Laura Anderson Barbata, Karen Bondarchuk, Whitney Bradshaw, Cat Chow, Pritika Chowdhry, Melissa Jay Craig, Barbara Crane, Colette Gaiter, Fujiko Isomura, Indira Freitas Johnson, Julie Karabenick, Dorothy Simpson Krause, Yolanda Lopez, Leah Oates, Betsy Odom, Monica Ong, Catherine Blackwell Pena, Corinne D. Peterson, Mary Stoppert, Kathleen Waterloo

Exhibition Dates: July 13 – August 16, 2012

Detail of The Building Of Our Nation (altered book). I thought it was hilarious back when I made the piece, and still do, especially in relation to my current to-do list.

Arrowmont Redux

Karen Hardy –  Jake Weigel

I’ve been trying to find the best way to show some of the work that happened at Arrowmont. Everyone in the class gave me permission to post their work, but there are hundreds of photos.

Linda Kossmann – Martha Olson

I tried narrowing it to one photo each, and that was a shame, so instead, I’ve made an album with at least two photos of each person’s work. The album is here, but it is still only a tiny, tiny portion of what was made.

Cathy Mills – Josephine Faulk

Some folks focused intently on one or two projects, others on a larger project with multiple components, and others experimented wildly; to me, that mix makes an incomparably satisfactory class, an exciting, vibrant one.

Summer Carmack – Kelly McGrath

If you click on an image in the album, you can see a progression of images with the artists’ names.  Betsy Patten was working on what will become her Senior Project installation this fall at George Mason University, an undersea environment. Recent grad (soon to be full-time faculty) Naomi Adams experimented freely, as did Kelly McGrath, using multiple techniques alone and in combination; so did Cathy Mills, Noel Tillman, Martha Olsen and Josephine Faulk, who were all making individual transitions from 2D to 3D (Josephine made the. best. stuffed. armature. I have seen to date).  Sculpture grad Jake Weigel made multiple structures as well, many by combining steel wool and overbeaten abaca, some containing magnets.  Summer Carmak made vessels, concentrating on a large teapot; Linda Kossman also made a large and lovely vessel and some smaller works, embellished with materials she’d brought along.  Karen Hardy, a grad from University of the Arts, worked diligently on her ‘spores’ and their environment (which, you know, I just have to love) and BFA student Emma Roeder delighted us all by making a beautiful, resonant kalimba with the cooperation of the wood and metals studios (as well as a group of oddly charming insects).  Lovely, hardworking Heather LG Bella actually was able to find time to make multiple experiments as well, and even I got a few projects started during the final two days. It was, as I say, a stellar experience. I thank everyone at Arrowmont, but especially the fantastic folks in the class, for making it so.  Enjoy the wee sampling of their work!

Below, top: Betsy Patten – Noel Tillman; bottom: Naomi Adams, Emma Roeder


My hat’s off to Karen Green for her lovely installation of 18 copies of (S)Edition!

After a follow-up session with 2/3 of the class (three folks were working as Studio Assistants at Arrowmont, and one had already left) and two margaritas with my fellow instructors and a lot of other Arrowmonters, I packed up my room, loaded the car, got a good night’s sleep, had one last Arrowmont breakfast, hit the road and drove all day with a couple of stops just to get the kinks out; and Paul had a late dinner waiting when I got home last night …perfect!

Two-thirds of us Friday evening – before margaritas!

I’m back in Chicago for 10 days, with lots and lots and lots on my plate to be accomplished during that time!  The Swiss Army Subaru is not even unloaded yet.  I do have to say (and I’m saying it over and over) that my experience at Arrowmont was: stellar.  Tonight or tomorrow, I’ll sort through all the photos and show you some of the fantastic work that was made in the class.

But first I want to introduce you to my new, photo-based blog (yes, I am insane): MakerCentric, where I’ve already posted some of the highlights from Arrowmont.  I’ll let the blog explain itself; subscribe if you think it’s something that interests you.

I’ll be back here very soon with the promised art images: you will be absolutely delighted.  I was!

Below: we had to be out of the studios by 6pm and we were.  I returned to photograph a few extra things for MakerCentric at 6:10, and this is what I found. Ha! (The next class in the studio begins tonight).

Arrowmont Energy!

SO much happening!  No real time to write about it though; our studio at Arrowmont is buzzing, hopping, jumping, a hive of incredible pulpy energy with literally hundreds of projects and experiments happening everywhere; we’ve had to expand into a second room.  I am loving it!  Here are a few inadequate shots (not much time to remember to pull out the camera, either); watch this space for names and (I confidently predict) amazing final results soon.

Day one…

Day two…

…and here’s one Day 3 sample – and more here. And this is just a wee sampling.

…and its opposite.

You’d never guess what’s out there beyond that wall…

Today was my first full day at Arrowmont.  Things went a wee bit haywire before I left; I’d originally planned to leave Thursday afternoon and spend the night with friends in Indianapolis, but that didn’t happen, so I drove here in one go Friday.  And, due to the  haywire-ness, I’ve had to cancel two visits to old friends that had been planned for ages, while wending my way between here and Women’s Studio Workshop. Instead, I’ll immediately return to Chicago for 10 days to take care of business.

Yesterday’s drive should have taken just under 10 hours but took well over 12, due to a chunk of 1-75 that was missing (looked like might have slid down the mountain) outside of Knoxville, and then worse: driving through Pigeon Forge on a Friday evening.  I can’t even begin to explain; I’m trying to forget.  But we are in Dollywood Territory, and what that has become is INSANE.  Giant ‘attractions’ that look like half of the Titanic, packed in next to thousands of others like enormous King Kong figures with glowing red eyes, popping flashing animated signs everywhere, Shark Attack!, fake mountains obscuring the real ones, and traffic to rival a Chicago rush hour. Gatlinburg, which I remembered as a sleepy little mountain town from way back in time, is now like Pigeon Forge’s even cheesier sideshow. I am so, so very sad for the dignity of the beautiful, haunting Smoky Mountains themselves. But when you turn in the driveway to Arrowmont, suddenly, you are in a small peaceful haven, a different universe. One step out, though, and it is immediate, total tourist hell and there are multitudes, thronging the sidewalks, choking the roads. Food everywhere; none of it real. Corn dogs, fudge, taffy, deep-fried Oreos. I actually ate at a Subway, because at least they had a tub of squashed avocados, some shredded lettuce and flabby pink tomato slices, the only vegetables I saw.

One of those dormers is mine.

But tomorrow night, Arrowmont begins feeding us; most of the instructors and students will arrive during the day. Somehow, I had it in my head that classes began at 9am on Sunday; no.  There’s a short session at 7:30 pm. and it all really starts on Monday. I’ve met 4 of the folks in my class; 3 are working here. And friend Kerri is here, working for six weeks, getting a show ready!  Sweet!  So is the little Valley / Voith beater: it overbeat abaca beautifully in just 3 ½ hours today; perfect shrinkage and translucency. With luck, I might not have to go back out that driveway till I’m headed home.

One for the record, one for the road

On June 1st, I drove up to Ragdale to install my work in the Meadow Studio, got stuck in traffic on the way back, and missed the window to drive down to the Lubeznik Center in time for the Beaten and Bound reception; not so great, but I used the evening to get things done, at least.

Saturday a ton of tasks, including running some dogbane fiber through the beater (I can’t tell you how good that felt) and Sunday, up early and out to set up for Ragdale Day, which was incredible, indeed, one for the record.  Over 500 people came through the studio in four hours. I talked non-stop, taking group after group of engaged folks through the process of harvesting and stripping dogbane fiber (which grows in abundance just across the meadow), preparing it and then demonstrating the making of sheets, answering a lot of good questions about both the process and my work, then repeating the whole cycle for the next group who wandered in. It was a complete blast.

Friends came out, and several were also presenting / performing / doing workshops; supposedly there was a schedule but out in the Meadow, we were simply swamped, so I didn’t get to see what anyone else was doing. But I did tour the lovingly restored Ragdale House, and I am SO impressed – and reassured! It IS still the Ragdale House, very much so…and even more beautiful.

Two lovely folks from Lake Forest Open Lands were out on the Meadow Studio porch and in the meadow, doing presentations and walks. While we were all setting up, discussing what we’d be doing, they asked if I’d like to display several gorgeous Baltimore Oriole nests that they’d brought, made from milkweed fiber. Those nests really did help to explain the process!  At the end, I gave the Open Lands folks some of the stripped fiber and paper to use in their future presentations, and I got the marvelous gift of my very own nest (collected by a licensed naturalist; it’s illegal to take them otherwise) to use in mine.  It was grand: it was Ragdale!

Today, out to bring home the work; taking it down felt oddly like the end of a residency, so I went for a prairie walk and even wrote in the studio log, and got to visit with Susan a wee bit.  When I came home, my copy of 1000 Artists’ Books was just being delivered. It went beyond my expectations.  An unanticipated treat was seeing a number of books that were made in my classes, and not exclusively those taught at the former kollidge; that definitely made me smile.

Tomorrow (Tuesday): finish a writing project. Wednesday: pack. Thursday, load and hit the road (on Paul’s birthday!), arriving at Arrowmont on Friday. Whew!  Seeyou  then.

A tritoma-fest is occurring in several locations around the yard, up to about 30 blooms now from seeds started two years ago. Paul: “What ARE those things?”

PS update: shots of my Ragdale Day installation on the Facebook Page.