In-Between Time

I’m loving this sort-of suspended stage between winter holidays, though, as I’ve been learning, this will always also be my most intense time of missing the Bro, not painfully, but poignantly. I’m thinking of some new year-end celebrations to try on for size.

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I had a great time installing at Prairie State (here is the guide for the show), and a wonderful warm time with the family the next day (where long-held traditions are now beginning to shift as lives evolve, as well.) Our December 24 and 25 were warm, quiet, nice and very, very well-fed: we shopped together and cooked up a storm.

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Boxing Day was a welcome gift: a sunny, 48F day to spend in the gardens. I was able to do several things I thought I’d sacrificed by extending the Ragdale residency (not that there was any contest.) My little urban ecosystem is now ready for winter, and I’ve seeded milkweed, cleome, fennel, dill, nigella and lunaria (reserving some milkweed to start indoors too.) The 27th was drizzly and my first day to just totally relax; yesterday I again spent outdoors, though it was much colder, wrapping up the last bits of garden work.

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I may have lost several plants during the reinstallation of a fence that blew down on Halloween. And, when I came home from Ragdale for Thanksgiving, I discovered a leak in the ceiling. After assessments and estimates and holidays, materials arrived today by a huge mobile crane; tomorrow and Wednesday, we’re getting a new main roof. My task will be to keep Chance calm while alien beings swarm over the heavens of his secure indoor world.  I plan to keep him with me while I work in the basement studio, unpacking from the residency and setting up for the winter.  He likes it there; so much to sniff. I’m not sure what (if anything) the roofing job will do to the house gardens (also just seeded) but we’ll be ready for spring revelations with a cozy roof to winter under first. I’m looking forward to that: a three-month span of projects planned, most at my own pace.

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Today was the day of 1,000 cranes. OK, well, three; before this retrieval truck there were the big city tree-trimming crews with their own cranes and shredder for the big stuff. Chance is deathly afraid of large machines, but he did OK in my office while I wrote this blog about nothing, really.)

Hectic, happy holiday season.

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After a couple of days to chill (and an afternoon acknowledging that this is actually the holiday season, plus two annual vet visits), I’ve been working full-tilt on three projects, portions of which I delayed during the residency; it’s all been inching forward and everything will be finally resolved and sent out this weekend.  Plus, I am getting ready for 2015’s first show…

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…unpacking the works from their crates so that they can all be stacked gently in a single load in my car in their bubble wrap, and tweaking a brand-new piece from this year’s Ragdale residency that will also be shown here. All of it will be delivered and installed on Monday. (And I’ve also been in e-mail conference about two new upcoming 2015 shows that appeared in my inbox this week.)

Meanwhile, ZIA Gallery’s annual winter group show has been going great for me, and in the past few weeks, several works have found new homes:

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Another grouping of these Exo Studies were purchased; I think only one or two remain at ZIA now.

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Two Years in Reverse was acquired by Oberlin College’s collection. 

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Up My Sleeve went to a lovely lady I met at Ragdale, a holiday gift to herself!

I saw her heading to the office on my last day there as I walked out to pack up the studio, and she told me she was the collector.

(Up My Sleeve is a favorite of mine so I am impressed by her choice.)

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And just this week, ‘Flow From’ went to new collectors at the gallery. Wonderful!

Our family celebration is Tuesday, Wednesday we’ll shop for a lovely meal I’ll happily cook, and then we’ll gratefully collapse for a quiet warm holiday at home: lots and lots to celebrate!

I wish you all peace, warmth and joy, whatever and however you celebrate, and, as always, thanks for stopping by.

Bliss

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Calligraphy is everywhere on the prairie and in the woods.

I’m home; got in Friday during the late afternoon, very tired; unloaded the car yesterday, am not yet unpacked. The final 10 days of the residency were absolute bliss; I pleaded a bit and was temporarily excused from all but the most urgent outside admin till this week. And so I was able to let myself surrender fully into the flow. Not only was I able to I get to that place that seemed so far away during the first bit of the first residency, I went way, way, way beyond it.

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There was a second piece that insisted on being made. The final Saturday morning, I brought food for lunch and dinner out to the studio in the morning and then spent eleven straight hours of what can only be called perfection, quietly bursting through any last shred of trepidation to a complete understanding of all the work, where it is headed, and most importantly, what it means to me and why.

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The overbeaten milkweed was terrible to cast with, at least with the sheet formation method I had to use (it did, however, make lovely sheets; I air-dried several to use, and restraint-dried some in the wee press.) But, oh, the beautiful pale glowing color!  Moon-like. I’m not giving up yet, but further experimentation was best left for the home studio.

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The final week wasn’t without a few physical struggles in the making, but it was still wonderful, purposefully moving forward, happily solving those problems, fully engaged.

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It was a time like the beginning of my work with paper, in this same geographical location in the old Meadow Studio: like music. What the current Meadow Studio gives me, among many other gifts, is the ability to spread out, switch processes, work on several things simultaneously, and to see all the work in relation to itself, the space, the prairie, and: my worldview. I repeat: bliss.

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(Final tally: just under six weeks in residence, not counting time spent at home, seven new works, counting the ear installation. Only two are ‘finished’ – one of those gets a wee bit more tweaking then heads out into the world in ten days – but I know exactly where each piece is going!)

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This Single Species (working title) is by no means finished, and will probably never be seen again this way, but I had to see them together on a wall for myself. They will not be for sale for a long while, if ever; they’re going to be tweaked, then move around.

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The Flow

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December! Things are moving along wonderfully and peacefully in the studio.  I met most of the new group on Monday (one person arrived Sunday night – an artist I went to school with! – and the final two arrived yesterday). All interesting folks, and of course everyone is happy. I went home again, after Wednesday night’s dinner for Thanksgiving, and cooked us a lovely, stress-free holiday dinner: we had things to celebrate! Now I stay put till the residency ends.

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Before I left, I added some color to another piece, and resolved and built a rather complicated odd armature, which is kind of funny because the shape is quite simple. Needing to extract it after casting made it complex. The piece has been asking to be built. I came back Friday at noon and made a fat post of heavy sheets for it.  Saturday was beautifully warm, so there was a long, muddy but lovely prairie walk, then a late night casting and embellishing the piece: so far, so good. There are two more points at which it could fall apart, but that’s how I roll. (Then again, if it all works, the armature is adaptable and re-usable; a series could happen.)

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Now that most of the leaves are gone, you can see the ears from the studio door.

I came back to the Barnhouse wireless near midnight to discover that ZIA sold a significant piece from the group show, as well as a few small studies. Excellent! Sunday, it was misty, drizzly and wet. I did the extensive prep – building a single-use armature – for another floor-cast piece. Yesterday was another late night, casting it in one go. This rather dull list-blog is meant to say that I am in heaven, with only a tiny bit of admin (due this week) to interrupt this beautiful, peaceful flow.  (Today, the sun is out: hello, prairie).

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My world. And a summer-worthy sunset.  Ahhh.

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