Saturday, July 28, 2012

Studios Midwest ... Arrival

(Above: Mathias upon arrival in Galesburg. Click on any image in this blog post to enlarge.)

It doesn't happen very often that Steve and I miscommunicate something so important as the date for a major trip, but we almost did! Steve thought I was to "leave" Columbia on Friday, July 27th. He made en route hotel arrangements for that night. In truth, I was suppose to "arrive" in Galesburg, Illinois that day! We discovered the error on Thursday morning ... and then had to push everything up 24 hours. Fortunately, I was well prepared for my departure. Mathias was my chauffeur for the two days of driving.

(Above: The apartment complex used by Studios Midwest for artist-in-residents' accommodations.)

The Galesburg Civic Arts Center's residency program is called Studios Midwest. Housing is in a local building that's been converted into college apartments. The former mansion now has six units. I'm on the ground level in a two-bedroom flat with a spacious living room and a kitchen. For the first week I'm sharing the place with Genevieve Waller, Gallery Director for the Hartnett Gallery at the University of Rochester. Her installation enjoyed a public art opening yesterday night. During it, Mathias and I were introduced to several of the Galesburg Civic Art Center's board members and shown around the space that will shortly become my "Illinois studio".

(Above: Chickens outside my backdoor.)

Before getting set up to work, however, I had to settle into the apartment. Please know, I'm from the Midwest ... born in Ohio and went to Ohio State for college. The chicken coop outside the backdoor served as a reminder that this residency is a "return" to my roots and a visit to some of the joys of a simpler life, not in the country but certainly not in a big city! I'm going to have a very productive month here!

(Above: Chickens)

Everyone is friendly. The town is a collection of turn-of-the-last century buildings ... family houses, warehouses for the goods and produce carried by trains to big cities, small college structures, churches, parks, and retail spaces. I'm looking forward to discovering all these places on foot. Galesburg is perfect for walking. Everyplace is within an easy stroll. Trains still come and go ... whistling as if from yesteryear.

(Above: Carl Sandburg's birthplace.)

After grocery shopping, Mathias and I head off to the local historical site ... The Carl Sandburg Historic Site. It was wonderful! The introductory movie shown in the Visitor's Center included footage from various interviews with the iconic American writer.

(Above: Bedroom at the Carl Sandburg Birthplace.)

The birthplace was totally restored with family possessions and other period pieces. Textiles were everywhere ... and truly beautiful.

(Above: Doll and doll cradle on braided rug in the Carl Sandburg birthplace.)

The little doll was found during the restoration of this special building.

(Above: Kitchen in the Carl Sandburg birthplace.)

The kitchen was full of all the expected containers and utensils.

(Above: Crazy Quilt made by Sarah Walker Marshall Lindsay, 1844 - 1924.)

On display (behind Plexi-Glass which made more photos nearly impossible) was also a marvelous crazy quilt made ca. 1898 by Sarah Walker Marshall Lindsay of Galesburg, a family to which Carl Sandburg delivered milk ... one of his many jobs before becoming a double Pulitzer Prize winning writer! The campaign ribbons were all in tact ... helping to date this marvelous piece.

(Above: Early typewriter used and owned by Sandburg.)

I also loved looking at Sandburg's Remington typewriter. I learned to type on a manual machine not too unlike this one. While I love the look of these things, I'm sure happy for a computer's keyboard!

(Above: Remembrance Rock.)

Yet, it wasn't the textiles or the typewriter that brought the promise of inspiration. It was the final resting place of Carl Sandburg's and his wife's ashes .... Remembrance Rock. This special place was described in Sandburg's only novel and later created on the Historical Site. Surrounding the rock is a path of stones on which Sandburg quotations are carved. I've already gained permission to make crayon-on-fabric rubbings. So ... from day one, the seeds of a new project have been planted.


jessica said...

I can't wait to see what this residency inspires you to create!

Gayle said...

Like Jessica I am excited to see where you go with this. Thanks for taking us along.....

lynda Howells said...

Looks a lovely place am as excited as the others to see what you will createxxlynda

Wanda said...

OK, I'm with you. I am really behind on your blog but will catch up. In the mean time though, I look forward to every single day of your residency, as always! OK, chickens remind you of your past? Well, not at home but DEFINITELY by Ava Nani!! Oh's a wonder any of us eat chicken at all!!! ha ha Looking forward to this adventure with you!!

Catherine Mason said...

My mother, Carol Nelson was the curator of the Carl Sandburg Birthplace (1979-2002). She made the braided rug, under the doll, from wool coats and blankets that were thrift store finds. Also, she had to defend the term "Crazy" quilt to visitors who thought it was insensitive to the mentally ill. Thanks for posting the pictures!