I planned to post a picture today, one of Bessie's Quilt. But, yesterday I had to go to Charleston. I still have one very important framing client there. He's a very important business man, a golf course & clubhouse and real estate developer who has trusted me to do my best work. He's the type of man that requires/demands speed and excellence...and expects to pay for it...always within days of the invoice. I've never pushed myself harder than to please him. For him, I've framed the River Course Club House, the Cassique Club House, three different personal houses, four sales centers on Kiawah Island, the sales center at Doonbeg in Ireland, most of the Doonbeg Club house, his suite at Doonbeg, his office, and the upper school building at the private school attended by his four children. Everything was the "best" money and my talents could provide. It is my honor to work for him. I've also framed and cataloged his entire art collection...all original...valued well over 1.2 million. Yesterday, he needed me to pick up a painting he'd commissioned. I had to rent a truck. It is 6' x 8'. Needless to say, it took all day to drive there, collect the painting, discuss the framing, and drive back home. I will likely write about this experience later...it was unique...a visit to an aging but legendary painter...a glimpse into a studio the likes of which were amazing...the air was full of intrigue, greed, and also touching patience. I got dozens of photos but they're still on my camera.
With all this going on, I still finished Bessie's Quilt in my studio later in the evening. Personally, I've been absorbed with this project....so absorbed that I haven't even mentioned it until now. I only started on Saturday. I don't know why I decided it was time to do this project...it just was time. The vision came to me when I visited the Pickens County Museum, the site for my solo exhibition this coming summer. I knew I wanted a quilt with Bessie Smith on it. I knew how it was suppose to look...a rare thing for me. Honestly, I didn't think I could do it. I almost forgot about it. Then, I read my notes...from the notebook I keep in my purse...which I posted on my blog.
It was time to try a xylene transfer and use the strips of vintage, quilted fabric, and make Bessie's Quilt. I spent every available moment on this...loving each little stitch (yes, it's hand stitched), every single button, all the fabrics, and I even listened to the CD I have of Bessie singing the Blues. It is finished now. I'm thrilled with it and wanted nothing more than to photograph it today to post here.
It's Christmas time, however; and even down-sized, Christmas is more than a little hectic here at Mouse House. A designer dropped off over forty big pictures...all for "stock"...I'm to frame them beautifully...that's the only way I accept framing. I get to select everything...without input from the client. Yes, this is more than a bit arrogant; but, I use to have fourteen people on payroll. I couldn't stand it any longer and forcibly downsized. Now, it's just Steve and I. So, we can be quite selective when it comes to clients. This was work we would happily take in and frame before Christmas...so I couldn't photograph the quilt today.
Tomorrow, Steve and I leave at the "crack of dawn" in order to get to the Wayne Art Center outside Philadelphia for the Craftform 2007 reception. Honestly, I'm a bit nervous...just to be in such a talented group. Part of me is wondering why I got in. Part of me is wondering why I can be so secure about the framing I don't really want to do...but require the income...yet can't manage the smallest degree of self confidence about my artwork. I'll wonder about it in the car. It's almost 7 PM and I haven't started packing.
When I get back, I'll post all the things I've been thinking about:
1) How my catalog and paperwork is organized
2) Manning Williams' studio in Charleston
3) The Craftform 2007 reception and show
4) The Hopper and Turner and Rauschenburg exhibits in DC that we'll see on Saturday
5) Whatever I stitch in the car
6) The photographs I still have to take of Bessie's Quilt