Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Labor Day Weekend 2008

(Click on image to enlarge. CYBER FYBER ATCs in binders.)

Labor Day weekend provided an opportunity to really "labor"...uninterrupted work time...a chance to really get some important organizational things done for CYBER FYBER. I worked on the 163 ATCs for two days, creating all the exhibition labels and the small binders. Each binder has approximately 20 plastic sleeves. Each sleeve has a page with an image of the ATC I traded and its description plus the name, country, and blog/webpage for the fiber artist who created the ATC that is also inside the plastic sleeve.

(Above: CYBER FYBER ATCs in binders. Click on image to enlarge.)

I had lots of help with CYBER FYBER! I also had lots of help with my evening embroidery! Shadow loves to be nearby for all important things. Below, Crazy Blues has progressed from quilt top to being quilted. I have no idea how others quilt; I've never had any formal instruction in this area of fibers. I use two backings instead of one because my "quilting" is done in all sorts of different threads and in a wide range of colors. Once finished, I back it again and use buttons on the reverse to "quilt" the new, "pretty", unstitched back to the piece. Thus, while "quilting", I'm still adding beads and embroidery.

Now....to change the subject entirely. I wasn't going to blog about this. In fact, I've been told not to mention this at all because there are people who fear this episode might have a negative impact on the arts community. Yet, something terrible happened to me and it's in the newspaper and the local authorities have actually received permission to list this minor's real name! So, I'm going to blog about it.

Almost two weeks ago I went to an art event in town. It was rather late because I'd taught my first class at the art museum earlier in the evening. It was "party" to celebrate an upcoming arts center, a chance for people to contribute money for this new place. It was held in the coolest, most upscale, modern loft created from a former warehouse. Cinder block exterior walls blended with custom cabinets and granite counter tops. Gallery lighting showcased the contemporary interior. I immediately thought of my son Mathias...how such a location was PERFECT for a young, artistic professional. The party was excellent. Money was being raised. A Power Point presentation featured the work to be shown in the soon-to-be-opened new art center.

Okay....the location of this loft isn't in the most desirable part of town. What chic warehouse for an artistic type is generally located in the "best" neighborhood? There's something sort of romantic, definitely bohemian, and totally "right" about an upcoming "warehouse" district! Artists have always moved into the "less" desirable parts of cities...cheap areas where crime does happen....until renovations take over, rents increase, and artists can no longer afford the location. They move on...to the next "slum". This loft is part of an exciting effort in just such a section of Columbia. Despite what happened next, if it could be worked out, I'd move our home/business to just this street!

An artist friend of mine was walking me to my car at about 10:30 PM. It was parked in front of the building beside the loft...about fifteen or twenty yards from the loft's enclosed doorway. My friend is from Buenos Aires and we were deep into a discussion about Sara Lechner, who is also from Argentina, and other artists who have found homes in other countries. We were talking under a bright city street lamp. Two youths ran up and demanded "everything we had". They both had guns. They held their weapons above their heads, pointed down, as they sort of hopped up and down gesturing like so many "gangsters" in rap videos. The only thing I had was my keys. (I'd locked my purse in my van when I'd arrived.) I didn't hand them over; they had to grab them from me. I actually tried to grab them back. The larger of the two pushed me to the ground. I scrambled to my feet moving away from the two....moving back to the loft's door, moving in ways that were meant to attract attention to us...moving even when I was told to stop...pretending to be drunk and out of my mind...waving my arms frantically. The smaller of the two demanded to know which vehicle was mine. I pointed at a car furthest away from my van....closest to the loft. "What? The Jag?" (Unless I actually see the little creature on the hood, I can't tell a Jaguar from a Honda.) "Yes," I said, "It's my husband's." Basically, this meant that the smaller, younger one then tried to open a Jaguar using my utility van keys. The bigger, larger one had taken my friend's wallet and rings. Finally, someone inside the loft either saw me or simply opened the door setting off the security light. The two ran away, up the street. I actually chased them....screaming. Of course, then there were police officers and reports made; Steve was called to come with our spare set of keys. The next morning Steve and I returned and scoured the side of the road for my keys...thinking they'd been tossed during the "escape". I inquired at the three businesses along the road. Believe it or not, someone turned in the keys later that day. Unfortunately, my friend's wallet wasn't found. We'd hoped the robbers would have just taken the cash and pitched the rest. His green card was inside. Since then, we've learned that there had been the third person involved. Someone else was in a car likely a block or two up the street. This person and the bigger, older one have been caught. Evidently, the three had been on a spree of armed robberies during the past week....in every part of Columbia...on the college campus....near the mall...and even in "better" neighborhoods. Only the younger one is still at large. Now, his name and picture appear in our newspaper. Please know, I am fine. I'm amazed at my own reaction. I was never scared. I was mad. I'm rarely ever mad...but I'm still mad. I know that I was supposed to just hand over everything....as if doing so guarenteed I'd not be shot. I'd recommend this to anyone...but it isn't what I did. I just couldn't. I'm a pacifist in every other respect. I'm never been in a fight; and yet, I couldn't just give in to this violence. I wanted to get away; I wanted to stop it. My instincts took over...and I'm amazed what my instincts told me to do! By the way, the art event was still wonderful, successful, and had nothing to do with this!

Midlands Most Wanted
Valtori Chapman-Hopkins
Each Monday, The State will run information on a suspect wanted by authorities. Since the feature began in February 2004, 75 suspects have been taken into police custody.

• Age: 15

• Description: Chapman-Hopkins is 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighs 165 pounds. He has black hair and brown eyes.

• Wanted by: Richland County Sheriff Department

• Charges: Armed robbery and aggravated assault

• Last known address: Chapman-Hopkins may be staying on Burdock Circle, Gingeroot Way or Flamingo Drive

• If you see him: CrimeStoppers at (888) CRIME-SC


Angie in AZ said...

Wow Susan, that is freaky scary! I'm glad you were not harmed.

Smokey looks like the perfect studio helper. Hey, I'm wondering if you could sometimes post a photo of the "button" thing you do to the back of the quilts? I'm trying to visualize. I have often found myself doing all my quilting on just the front and batting layers and then adding a clean back to hide all the stitching but I'd love to see what you are doing to remedy the problem.

Sue said...

What a horrific experience. I'm also so glad that you were not hurt and lost nothing, but so sorry your friend did.

What a productive weekend you had, otherwise: in excellent company, too!

Jacquelines blog said...

I am glad that you are not hurt Susan, I am like you not affraid at a time like that; but I agree with you that it isn't a wise thing to do. You acted like a hero and where not scared but you took a great risk, I am glad they run off, wouldn't think off anything happend to you.
big hug

Carol said...

Oh SUsan, I am so mad for you too, to have to go through that, it's awful. I am glad our ok. I bet it is only now you think about the what if's, no one ever knows how they will react until they are in that situation, I am just gad 2 of them were caught, it won't be long before the other is. Big hugs

Paula Hewitt said...

Im glad you are both ok - what a horrible thing to happen

Julie said...

So glad you are ok Susan. What a terrible experience for you. We are always told not to resist or retaliate but you obviously acted instinctively.

Aren't cats gorgeous? They always want to be in the middle of things. It must be very comforting (when it's not frustrating) to have Smokey nearby when you are sewing. I haven't done a lot of quilting but I work so far in the same way as Angie.

Doreen G said...

Wow Susan--I have a picture in my head of the crazy woman jumping up and down - long hair flying everywhere ranting and raving trying to attract attention.
Even though I know you shouldn't have done it I admire you for your strength.
Glad you are ok.
Wonder Woman strikes again.

Pat said...

Well done you! it just shows that we should never say "what she should have done..." because we just don't know haw we would react in the same circumstances.
What would frighten me is the amount of work you are putting into Cyber Fyber!!!!!

Judy said...

OMG, you must have been scared after the adrenaline subsided. You just never know how you're going to react to a situation. I'm glad you came out of it okay.

Margeeth said...

I just visited your blog and fell right in the story of your robbery. What a terrible story, but it also made me smile. You just did the opposite of what everyone advises you to do in those cases. That just shows that people can give lots of advise, but you only know what you are actually going to do when you are in the actual situation and adrenaline kicks in. It would have been something I could have done and felt very stupid about afterwards.

I love your cat he is helping you quite well.

Emmy said...

I am glad you did not get hurd
and took so well

You also did a great amount of work for cyber fyber

go for it girl

Sharon said...

gee Susan, what an experience. So glad you are OK.

Cyber Fyber certainly is well organized. Your productivity in making CF happen and in creating your art is amazing!

Genie said...

So Sorry to hear about your Fright, Glad you are both ok.
Love your little helper, I used to have a tortoise called Sammy that loved to help.

britta said...

Hey there you crime stopper.
Glad you are OK. Carlos had the same experience of armed robbery last Nov. .....Scary times. As you have figured out we did not come to SC in July. we came to our senses that driving from Chicago with the twins and Jessica would be suicide. We will attempt sometime in the near future. Will let you know when. Meanwhile you can always visit us in Chicago.

artisbliss said...

Oh my goodness. How horrifying. I'm so glad you weren't harmed physically and hope you aren't having psychological fallout.


I need to read your blog more...I can't believe this happened and I'm just now finding out about it. I don't know what to say other than THANK GOD YOU ARE ALRIGHT...and as for your reactions? Well, I guess instinct just comes into play and you do what you do at that moment...I love you, I'm just glad you are ok...hope Steve made you tea and babied you lots when you got home!

Wanda said...

Gee..I thought you pointed to a Porsche. You are a hero and crazy at the same time. But I admire you so much.