Friday, February 24, 2012

Charity, Part One

(Above: Ancient Mysteries. Artist decorated plate for Dining With Friends 2012, an AIDS Benefit Foundation fund raiser. Fiber piece from my Archeology Project and buttons from the former South Carolina State Mental Hospital. Click on image to enlarge.)

Artists everywhere are asked to participate in charity events. There are hundreds of opinions for doing it and for not doing it. Both sides have very good reasons, and I respect them all. Yet, it is not my intention to expound here the merits either way.

Years ago, Steve and I decided that we would "give" to just about any non-profit ... just not cash! So, Mouse House, Inc., our business, donates to dozens of school auctions, church bazaars, social causes, and arts organizations for their annual fund-raisers. Generally, we give a framed print. As an artist, I try to say "YES" to organizations that return a portion of the sale back to the artists who created the work. I also try to say "YES" for other events too. All these causes really are so very worthy!

So ... I've recently, I've been working for charity.

(Above: The reverse side of the fiber piece used for my Dining With Friends, AIDS Benefit plate ... never to be seen again! It's now glued to the plate! Click on image to enlarge.)

For years I've decorated a platter or plate (depending on who you ask!) for the annual Artists Against Aids/Dining With Friends, AIDS Benefit. This year the silent auction will be held on March 24, 2012. My work features a fiber piece with a carved Oriental wooden dragon. Originally, this little piece was part of my Archeology Project. I reworked the Archeology Project into The Collector which was accepted into Craftforms 2007, an international juried fine crafts show. Since then, all the parts were simply "in storage". (To see both the Archeology Project and the Collector, click HERE.)

(Above: My "fiber bonuses" for Foto/Fiber. Click on image to enlarge.)

I got into the suitcases about two months or so ago ... for yet another charity event: Virginia Spiegel's Fiber Arts for a Cause: Foto/Fiber. Virginia raised over $7500 for the American Cancer Society. People donating received one of her photos and a "fiber bonus" from an artist like me. The three pieces above from the Archeology Project/Collector became my donations.

I also pulled out the green piece with the wooden dragon. I glued it on my brown painted plate ... so the reverse side will never be seen again! That's alright with me. At least it isn't in storage any longer. The buttons along the edge came from the former South Carolina State Mental Hospital.

(Beginning, Not an End Table. Donation for MIRCI's upcoming fundraiser. Click on image to enlarge.)

I have LOTS of buttons from the former South Carolina State Mental Hospital. It was my privilege to be granted access and permission to carry away items from the now vacant laundry and alterations building. The buttons sure came in handy for this next donation artwork!

(Beginning, Not an End Table. Click on image to enlarge.)

(Mental Illness Recovery Center, Inc.) is holding an event called 52 Windows, An Evening of Art to Benefit MIRCI on May 10th. The organization distributed 52 old windows from a board members house (she was renovating). I turned mine into an end table.

I really didn't do anything to the window. It is simply under a piece of beveled glass. Under the window is a mosaic of buttons from the former South Carolina State Mental Hospital. Fortunately, my new studio assistant really helped with this project. She primed all the wood and helped glue down all the buttons! (Thanks Eli!)

The end table is now called Beginning, Not an End Table. The drawer includes nine index cards for the former State Mental Hospital.

Each index card is collaged with words that keep patient names confidential but also serve to remind people that mental patients are fathers, sons, daughters, neighbors, friends, etc. Across the middle I used my stash of vintage clipped letters to read: There But By the Grace of God Go I.

(Above: Photo from the former South Carolina State Mental Hospital's laundry/alterations building showing a floor covered with buttons!)

Above is a photo I took when I first entered the room with all the buttons. The colorful buttons were further to the back of the space. The building has sat empty since 1989. There are no words to describe how dirty and dusty everything was. I washed them earlier in the year ... but not so cleanly that they don't still look "used". I like that. All the white buttons were sorted from the colorful ones. I used the white ones in my storefront window installation at S&S Art Supplies last December ... called "Hung By the Chimney with Care". I will be using them in my upcoming entry for Runaway Runway, a fashion show of recycled materials. (That's in April!)

(Above: Buttons from the former South Carolina State Mental Hospital after having been washed!)

I am working on two more charity projects right now! Gotta get them done before I leave next Wednesday at dawn! I'm headed to Key West for a month as an artist-in-residence at The Studios of Key West! Can't wait!


David West said...

the things you thought of and decided to do are very thoughtful. Wonderful!

lindacreates said...

You are truly amazing Susan. I love this donation project with the buttons. The story behind it makes it even more appealing.

Congratulations on your artist in residence. I look forward to seeing your work.

Julie said...

Your table is wonderful and so colourful, someone is going to love it. Have an amazing time in your residency. I'm looking forward to hearing all about it.

Els said...

Lots of "good causes", lots of donations ... and a lot of happy people after achieving something yóú made at the auction !
(wonderful items)

lynda Howells said...

I love buttons and am just in awe of so many..sigh! good luck with the next residency..look forward to seeing the resultsx When are you next in UK?xxlynda new studio and workshops will be open in about a week...scared or what?!xx

Elizabeth said...

I love what you ahve done with all of those buttons!! Fabulous piece and the message goes right to my heart. Yes, they are fathers........

Elizabeth said...

I love what you ahve done with all of those buttons!! Fabulous piece and the message goes right to my heart. Yes, they are fathers........

Wanda said...

I am fascinated with the Ancient Mysteries piece because I can't really make out what is around the edge. Are those buttons too? They sort of look like rocks which make me think....leave a little room in your suitcase when you come in April! The table is just awesome! In some ways, it is very different from your regular work. Of course, the buttons aren't but the way the table actually is painted. I love the cards in the drawer. You honor individual people and also everyone. The indidvual names may be blocked out but they know who they are. And you've kept their anyonimity but shouted it to the world. Wow...the things you can do!

Anonymous said...

What a fascinating story and pictures about the Mental Hospital buttons and papers. Dayton use to have a Dayton State Hospital (circa 1855), and my mom worked at it for a short while as a nurse. About 25-30 years ago it was completely restored after years of sitting empty and turned into Retirement, assisted living and a nursing home section. The building was so old and unique I am glad they didn't tear it down!