Happy All Soul’s Day, All Saint’s, Dia De Los Muertos, or New Year. I’ve been so busy that I never even got pumpkins to carve for last night’s celebration, so I went back in time to Orkney for today’s photo. I spent yesterday finalizing a new association / adventure that I’ll tell you about soon. That was supposed to happen last Friday, but I was hooked up to machines. Having it finally begin on October 31st seems appropriate: a new path for a new year. Now I am behind on only about three projects, and have the day ‘off’ to do some work on those, catch up on laundry, collect seeds from the garden, and get ready for this:
Below is Shawn’s excellent statement about the show. We necessarily invited all local folks and we’ve been excitedly collecting the work this week. Installation begins tomorrow!
“In assembling work for an exhibition entitled “Natural Cycles: Sustainable Book and Paper Arts,” curators Melissa Jay Craig and Shawn Sheehy not only included artists who use sustainable materials, but also those who consider sustainable concepts and techniques. As a result, many of the artists in this show treated this theme by either limiting their use of new materials, avoiding use of toxic substances or fossil-fuel power, or considering the theme of sustainability in the content of the work.
The exhibition includes a number of pieces from Craig and Sheehy—for the most part sculptural artist books based on forms and creatures of the natural world, and made from handmade paper. Another notable work using handmade paper is Jen Thomas’s “Forced Sustainability.” Her outdoor installation piece, composed of 10 handmade-paper panels, tells the story in words and images of the loss of her car to the July hailstorm and her decision to move exclusively to bike riding for transportation. Cecile Webster’s handmade sheets demonstrate the papermaking potential of many local garden plants and weeds.
Many of the pieces in this show are created from re-used/recycled/reclaimed materials and boldly explore the concept of sustainability. Scott Wolniak creates gorgeous sculptural weeds from junk mail and trash. Leah Mayers, in a piece called “Constellation Prize,” uses reclaimed umbrellas pierced with star chart patterns to comment on light pollution and a longing for a more ‘natural’ world. For her series of sculptural books, Karen Hanmer pledged to use a minimum of electricity and new materials.
The curators thank Ryerson Woods for the opportunity to exhibit this work and they also thank the artists for their participation and inventive treatment of the theme.”
It’s been much fun, and the installation will be as well; the gallery is an unusual series of spaces in a graciously-proportioned historic home. The work is wildly varied, and someday I would like to take this exploration even further. Below is a sneak peek at only one page spread from the lovely Cecile Webster’s sumptuous book of papers. She is Chicago’s Own Queen of the Harvest: