Hometown, Back Home

Cleveland was, as always, wonderful and way, way too short. (Trip recuperation has been way too short as well, as I’ve needed to jump right into things, most notably to hack back a huge amount of vegetation in order to be able to re-enter, at both the back gate and the front porch.)
A six hour drive from Owego, NY was a bit too much for me, especially with storms during the last third, so I was glad to be able to take two relatively slow days in Cleveland.

aneon The SmithSanctuary always is just that, easy, good good talk, beautiful healthy food, the light, air and comfort of the space high up at the top of an old Victorian, high ceilings, good people, approving amusing cat queen. Bee talk, homegrown hometown honey to eat and bring home. Crystals in the window to send morning light dancing, tighter twilight rainbow reflections onto the windows and calm Jeff Chiplis neon light for the night. Traffic goes by on two sides, a busy street and a freeway, making an amazing range of sound. After Kathy says, “I think of it as two rivers,” it’s impossible to think of the flowing sound in any other way, and it adds to the peacefulness. Aaahhh…indeed, and thank you.

adux I did something I’d never done before, which was a ‘private class’ that did not feel at all like a class and was mighty pleasant and it, too, was peaceful. Aimee came along to visit while it happened (and wrote about it) so we were four very compatible women on a quiet big brick porch, working and talking after good food on a most mild, most lovely day. And ducks! I’ve been loving watching the ducks each emerge online, and there they were. So fine to handle each, to look close, feel textures, and watch two grow.
The next day, the Morgan was peaceful too, though with a poignant air of unused potential. I was glad not to be teaching, yes, but it was hard not to think of the space as I usually experience it, a buzzing hive in that beautiful light. But it gave me some time to just wander a bit. And ducks, more ducks, including the head-explosion-in-reverse finish of this one:

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aRadhaAimee And these two, Radha and Aimee. With the quiet and time to talk, I came away aware of long lines of strong paper women, of Marilyn, of the odd but wonderful lives that paper leads us to.
Just as I was leaving the Morgan, Ana Fernandez, on her way home from my WSW class, pulled up for a visit.

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Hush…

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…a murmuration…

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…impressive and somehow in harmony with the unaccustomed hush in this big, beautiful space.

Then, after driving vaguely remembered streets, I spent the late afternoon with long, longtime friend Joanne, finally seeing her great place, near to the city but tucked up against a Metropark. We’ve known each other since the 70s, were late night RAT compadres: the camera went away, the old mail art and letters came out and so did a lot of laughter; nice. Back to Smiths’ for an equally nice night on into the neon, up and easy relaxing till out, and a no-drama six-hour drive that was still a bit too much, and now: lots to think about while I do the lots there is to do.

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Hometown and Back Home

I’ve been home since Tuesday and quickly became thoroughly immersed in what I hurried home for: our shared not-blog-able situation which is just beginning to shift into high gear. It will rumble on, occupying much of our time for the next few months.

MorganCatalog

This really is a really good show, and the catalog is excellent, with brief essays by each artist.

Cleveland was grand, grand, grand: all of it, the class, the Morgan and Morganites, the friends!  Oh, the friends.  But still I have no words, just huge overflowing gratitude to everyone there in my hometown (friends who reside there and friends passing through) for a time that I can carry within as we go on with our extended odd and sometimes difficult tasks here.

I may not find many words for awhile, but I will try to have images and write a bit, captioning those.

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This is where I asked to stay while teaching, on Tom’s second floor.  I love the light, the space, and waking up to the three koi who live in this fountain. Though they are friendly and stick their heads out to be fed when you whistle ‘Garry Owen’ they’re almost impossible to photograph, never still.  But I like their greeting each morning and evening, very much.

MorganTeach2Above photo courtesy of Lauren Sammon; pretty much the entire class on the first day (a few people were out of the frame).

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The classes all seem to need to start the same way, even though I had several people who were repeating. I do lots of demos, talk, answer questions, and from the first day, odd amorphous shapes begin to appear. The magic is in watching these blobby things develop, get added to, and completely transform over the next few days.

(You can see the Morgan’s Facebook album here. Lauren shot photos almost daily; I didn’t have time for much).

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When the kozo and the color come into play, things begin to get quite exciting. Several people made bark lace to be shaped later; some made bark lace to be cast then and there. I try not to be jealous of people whose knees still function properly!

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At the dye table and in the paper studio; by day 3, people were spread out all over the Morgan.  We were lucky to be the only class running during our five days, so we had it all!

Morganclass3I truly enjoyed working with Radha, who came to develop part of her MFA thesis work; she got some viable prototypes and I will be eagerly looking forward to seeing what happens with them, how the whole fits together.

MorganOceanLike the WSW class, most people came to add something to already substantial practices or to develop specific projects; most left with prototypes and / or components for work to be completed later, which pleases me to no end.  This is Ammon’s main project, a bark lace sea and an abaca boat which will ultimately become an animation.  (On the very last day, a whale’s tail appeared, too). There were many, many colorful bark lace pieces, a series of red bark fists, collages that attained dimension, a series of large abaca-dipped mesh geometric shapes to become an installation, components for arrangements by an Ikebana master and oh, so very, very much more: riches.

MorganFlowahsSome people did finish things; on the last day, Susan left early, all spiffed up for an event, carrying a bouquet of big calla lilies made by re-shaping and dyeing air-dried sheets of abaca and flax.

JulieKiMoNoMorganJulieFriend Julie McLaughlin, whose big beautiful kimono was one of (several) personal favorites in the show, was in the studio making more from the big deckle box; Tom was making some work with it as well. I wanted to, too.

MorganKimono2MorganKimono1Ivey, Eastern Paper Studio apprentice extraordinaire, combined one of her kimonos from Julie’s class with bark lace and a subtle use of dyes, in addition to making several other great things.  This was just gorgeous, both with the light on it and showing through it.

MorganMilkweedThriving Morgan milkweed!

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ASmithpstersThen, after class and leaving the Morgan, a lovely, restorative time at the SmithSanctuary, with message rocks, bee talk, poetry, a trip out for so much great ice cream that it became our dinners (“Our portions are…rather large”, said the waitperson after delivering the giant bowls), stretching, congenial quietness, homemade jam: touchstone time.

GahdenHomeHomePeppasHome, to mid-August gardens needing a lot of trimming back, and burgeoning harvests, some of which have already begun.

ChanceHomeAnd this one. He is HUGE, grew so much; the markings on his coat are changing, becoming more defined; his eyes appear to be changing from bright electric blue to a pale greenish-grayish-yellowish hue.  He is shedding a short, dense undercoat, and he was a total drama queen, yelping and yowling whenever I left his sight for a few days.  We’re back to much-needed training.

To WSW and (partway) Back

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Women’s Studio Workshop is growing!

I am sorry to have neglected the blahg-o-sphere but it couldn’t be helped: busy busy busy!  But pretty much all good, and am having a great time seeing old friends and making new ones.

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It’s much more extensive than either of these photos show; there’s lots more going on behind the second house. Hooray!

I worked pretty much up till the moment I left Chicago; drove straight to the Morgan and dropped off the work for Revive and Renew, which (as I saw yesterday) is a Really Good Show and had a lovely dinner with Aimee and Velma, and then a fine evening and early morning with the Smiths at their peaceful sanctuary.

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The human press dance, performed enthusiastically by Teddy and Jean.

Then, the long long drive to a stellar week at Women’s Studio Workshop. I do so love it there at any time for any reason, and it was made even sweeter by a workshop that was sort of a dream class.  Everyone in it was a working artist with a considerable practice, who came to shake things up a bit. And everyone GOT it: that this five-day workshop was much less a place to focus on making Cool Stuff Right Now, but something to be used as a catalyst.  Everyone left with components for works to be completed, test pieces, the knowledge to be able to take things further, and best of all: ideas.  That all made me SO happy (in spite of the coughing cold that two of us developed early on that, for me, is still lingering, and the fact that one person had to leave to deal with a home situation after only one day: I hope you are OK). The collective spirit and tone of the class was happy, friendly with lots of exchange, industrious, and above all, one of discovery. I simply couldn’t have asked for more and I am eager to see what will come of things in the future. Many thanks to you all!

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Here we all are on the last day, minus one who had to leave: Andrea, some weirdo, Teddy, Jim, Jean and Donna.

The non-class time, too, was filled with excellent activities: a delicious dinner with Ann, Tana and Susan (whose class in the front studio filled the walls with colorful innovative prints), a lovely long visit and dinner out with Amelia who drove over from Connecticut, an afternoon of walking and mushroom-foraging with Tana, getting to hang out with the fabulous Chris (who helped locate and install some WSW ear-fungi on Saturday) and Sara, and two interns, Alyssa who was a HUGE help in the workshop and Mary who cooked up some fantastic lunches (and kindly popped some very tasty vegan leftovers into my little fridge).

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Up at the ArtFarm with Chris.

Early Saturday evening, after ears were installed and the car packed (with just what I needed for the night and morning left out), I did something I’ve wanted to do since I first came to WSW in 2009: walked the (expanded, but now restricted) rail trail past the eerie old mine shafts and then: out onto the tall, tall former railroad trestle that spans the little river valley over Rosendale. It’s been restored and is now open to the public.  I don’t really like heights, but have always wanted to get up there.  It’s gorgeous.

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Gorgeous views from the trestle…

Then I got up at 5 am, drove all day and got to the Morgan just as Aimee and Velma’s joint class was wrapping up; I got installed over at Tom’s and had a nice visit with him, Aimee and Velma, and then Velma and I got an all-too-rare treat, a couple of hours just to talk.  She’s headed back to the North Country now (safe travels).

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...but a long way down.

Even more good things happened:  Aimee’s article about the Morgan’s Eastern Paper Studio appeared in the Surface Design Journal, and one of my works was chosen to accompany it with a very lovely layout; the Revive and Renew exhibition opened at the Morgan on Friday, and it is fantastic, with a lovely catalog, and Ann Starr came to review the show but so enjoyed the Morgan that she wrote this, which perfectly captures the place (and I thank her for the shout-out as well). Now I’d better get over to the studio…

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I couldn’t resist this “collaboration” with Tana (even though she didn’t know about it).

73 Hours

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The thriving (and newly mulched) kozo garden at the Morgan, wearing that fresh clean June green. Beautiful.

In the past 73 hours before beginning to write this, I have: shipped out 26 pieces that comprise three larger works (it was a twelve hour day before, carefully packaging fifteen of them that have never been shipped before), driven to Cleveland to pick up more work (a flying 47 and ¾ hour trip from my front door back to it), made a morning rush-hour run to retrieve work from ZIA, and packed and shipped out 42 more pieces that make up seven separate works. Here’s a nice brief advance notice of what the packing and shipping is for (which shed some light on curatorial curiosity I had). Tonight, I am happily having a small thud, the palpable relief of getting the work (almost) all out in decent time.

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After a great breakfast, a sweet short morning walk to Smith Farms, complete with milkweed.

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A friend’s lovely house and huge studio behind: hometown is having her come out to the second floor porch to say hi when she saw us passing.

Running to Cleveland was not at all exhausting, it was strengthening, calming and heartening (and a few times, almost teary on my part) because of the good people I saw (and even a couple I missed due to the pace) and the gentle pouring out of support amid the laughter and good talk that is what, well: going home is.  I didn’t even realize how much I needed that until it happened, and oh, I thank you all.

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Big Ass paper was happening at the Morgan: Julie (at left) and all the great interns and staff.

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Tom and Aimee joined in.

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Rain threatened, but (probably impressed with the paper) held off for The Drying.

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Oh, the Morgan of Cleveland, Oh

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(There are always unexpected ideas there: tartan felts!  I’m sure I still have a worn out kilt here).

Tomorrow, we learn a great deal about what the next few months will hold for us at home, and that will bring another sort of relief: paths to follow. I’m so glad my own path took me where it did this week.

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And a new young kozo plant and a four-leaf clover followed me home: even more well-being came with them. I am a very lucky woman.

 

…and on

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Not much to say, still working on three upcoming shows, waiting for rains to subside (tomorrow) before being able to cut down crate materials, which must initially be done outdoors.  Thanks to the lovely Alicia Bailey for the fine postcard above, which lists both of the Denver shows, and here is a bit about the third, with kudos to the Morgan and Julie and Aimee and the Eastern Paper Studio.

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This not-so-wee monster is adding a bit of adolescent angst to everything.  He’s starting to challenge the pack order: predictable, but not fun.  I’ve had to break up some semi-serious dog brawls, particularly when he tries to claim me and /or the space anywhere near me as his own. Not cool, kid. (But I do like that amazing tail.)

 

Poised at the studio door…with dogs.

aaaaspringrain

Blessed Beltane! Spring rains moved in rather beautifully last week and stayed: persistent enough to get a whole ton of indoor spring cleaning AND *studio setup* done (though – have I ever said this before? There’s more to do). Though it kept things too wet and muddy for the gardens, the rain itself has been intermittent enough for Lupe’s long walk and two extended training sessions / walks per day for Chance.

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With the new collar, as much as I was trepidatious about it, Chance has progressed rapidly.  We go on longer walks, exposing him to more things.  The contact this collar gives me tells me much more about what he is responding (and wanting to react) to. (The trainer said, “Just like power steering, isn’t it?”)

He sometimes reminds me of a sight hound.  Many years ago, before I began to seek artists’ residencies, my dog Face and I would spend a month each summer having an odd sort-of paid residency of our own, living in a lovely north suburban home (with use of a beautifully-equipped basement wood shop) and taking care of three champion Scottish Deerhounds while the owners were out of the country. They were sweet, affable, and totally independent dogs. I fed them and walked them twice a day and that was pretty much it; though they all liked me, and would express that by jumping up to delicately put their feet on my shoulders whenever I saw them during the year, they had a big dog door leading to their nice fenced run, and though they liked being petted, really didn’t ask for that, or for any attention outside their routine.  Chance is much, much more interactive, needing / craving human company and direction, but still the things that excite and distract him most are things he sees: Squirrels!  Cars!  Discarded plastic grocery bags blowing in the wind! He wants to give chase.  But he’s realizing his job is to work in concert with me, follow my pace, sit when I stop, ignore what I tell him to ignore.

The spring cleaning, and his maturing, has allowed me to expand Chance’s access to new parts of the house; he now has an area outside my upstairs studio where he can hang out, watch me while I work, or go nap in his open crate.  Today was his first exposure to that, and: he is now tall enough to see himself in the mirror in that space.  He thought he saw one scary dog; it was hilarious!

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When the rains subside this weekend: back to the garden work, alone and with a friend, and: the first outdoor fiber cook of the season!  (Hello, mulberry.  I’ve got plans for you).

Here’s a nice little blurb about the Morganites show, too, and as of yesterday, there was a cancellation: one space has opened up in my Morgan workshop: grab it quickly!

 

MJC Fiber Flux by Smith

My friends Smith & Lady went to the Morganites: Fiber In Flux opening reception this past Friday in the hometown.  Smith kindly sent some excellent raw photos of my works in the show. I did some color-correcting due to the hot harsh gallery lights, and -presto- an instant almost-no-writing blog, on a grey cool rainy day. So: here is my part of the show, with many thanks, Smiths.

aflux‘Incident’

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‘The Rationale Escapes Me’

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‘Reap’

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Lady K with ‘Up My Sleeve’ – a book made in 2013 that’s not on the web site and is hard to photograph.

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‘It’s Academic’ (note to self: send more detailed installation instructions).