(Above: Opening reception for Artfields in the Jones and Carter exhibition space with my The Canopy! Click on any image in this post to enlarge.)
My last blog post was called "Busy! Busy! Busy!" It was written just over a week ago. The pace has not slowed up. In fact, it seems to have multiplied! I've been to Lake City four times since then. I've also been featured in the local newspaper, given a radio interview, helped kids make embellished bookmarks, packaged up and mailed my Decision Portrait Series to Vision Gallery in Chandler, Arizona, and much, much more. In order to blog about all this ... I'm hoping this post is roughly in chronological order!
(Above: Darla Moore delivering her opening reception speech at Artfields.)
So ... last Friday night, April 19th. My friend Dolly Patton and I went to the opening festivities for Artfields, a 10-day epic arts festival aimed at an economical revivial of Darla Moore's hometown, Lake City, SC. Four hundred works of art from all over the Southeast were juried into this event. There are over forty venues hosting the work. There's $100,000 in prize money. Three historic structures were carefully renovated to preserve the cultural integrity of each place, including the Jones and Carter building, a former seed warehouse. My The Canopy is in this beautiful space where an orchestra played on opening night following the speeches and ribbon cutting.
(Above: The official ribbon cutting that opened the 10-day Artfields festival in Lake City.)
Everyone in Lake City seems to be totally supportive and completely involved in this arts festival. Shuttle buses transported us from "the Hub" where art voting registration occurs back to the lawn in front of the civic stage. Even the landscaping was beautiful.
(Above: The police force in Lake City.)
The shop owners all seemed so proud to have artwork in their establishments. The police force was on-hand to assist visitors crossing the street ... like "legal" jaywalking! Really! Traffic was stopped all along Main Street on opening night ... mid-block, any time any one wanted to go to the other side of the road! Everyone was so nice and so into the art!
(Above: The Canopy in the Jones and Carter building.)
I returned to Lake City on both Saturday and Sunday. Artists were encouraged to interact with the public. I brought an art quilt on which to stitch. There was a steady flow of visitors both days.
(Above: The former owner of the Jones and Carter building with one of the many Artfields representatives.)
During my time with my work I got to meet the former owner of the Jones and Carter building. This woman was dazzled by the careful renovation and the state-of-the-art track lighting. The original wooden floors were badly damaged when the building lost its roof. What could be salvaged, however, was used for cabinets and shelving behind the entrance desk and as a ledge below the windows (right side of the photo above.) These former openings, now windows, still have their original wooden doors ... which have been mounted on the interior and are easily rolled like interior shutters.
(Above: The Canopy. A photo taken by my friend Nancy Chambers.)
The Jones and Carter building is simply a gorgeous, new space for art. After Artfields, it will continue as a permanent location for arts exhibitions. In the meantime, it is a perfect historic setting with every modern convenience for my totally new work made entirely of vintage household linens, lace, and crocheted doilies!
(Above: The Canopy.)
As much as Artfields could have occupied all my time, I still had other things to do ... like getting ready for Thursday, April 25th and the opening of Artista Vista, the 22nd annual art crawl in downtown Columbia. This year is extra special because I was named "Artista Vista Artist of the Year." A detail of one of my large stained glass fiber pieces was used on the event poster and all the promotional material. It's been amazing to see these posters and fliers all over town. This piece is to hang in City Hall, the mayor's office, for a year ... and might even get purchased to hang there permanently!
(Above: Artista Vista 2013 Poster featuring a detail from my work.)
Well, this honor meant that The State Newspaper would be writing an article and sending a photographer. Otis Taylor came to my studio last week for the interview. I know him. Katie Alice Walker, the owner of the PR firm handling the Vista Guild's publicity was there too. I know Katie. We were idling chit-chatting for about fifteen minutes before I said, "Well, Otis, don't you think we ought to begin this interview?" His reply, "I've been taping since I got here". For a moment, panic set in. What had I already said? What had we been laughing about? All I could do was add, "Please be kind!"
Thankfully, he was! (Thanks, Otis!) ... and the article also has some of the humor from that day. It is HERE.
(Above: Stained Glass XXXVII. 64 1/2" x 24 1/2" framed. Polyester stretch velvets, acrylic felt, metallic foiling, chiffon overlay, free motion machine embroidery with melting. Click on image to enlarge.)
The photographer, C. Aluka Berry, was sent to my studio last Tuesday morning. I know that it is difficult to shoot photos of artwork with glass or Plexi-Glas ... so I was determined to finish another large piece, have it in a frame without glazing, and make it available for the photo-shoot. This meant a few long hours late at night in my studio last weekend after going to Artfields ... but it was worth it! (Thanks, Aluka, for this great image!)
(Above: Stained Glass XXXVII and me ... as shot by C. Aluka Berry for The State Newspaper.)
As soon as the photos were all taken, I got the piece back to Mouse House. Steve put the Plexi-glas into the frame and delivered it to Ellen Taylor Interiors for Thursday's art opening.
(Above: Stained Glass XXXVII. Detail with framing. Click on image to enlarge.)
While Steve ran this errand, I continued to package the rest of my Decision Portrait Series for a show at Vision Gallery in Chandler, Arizona. Forty pieces were at the International Quilt Festival in Houston last November and were shipped directly to Arizona. The other 60 or so are now joining them for a solo show opening on May 17th with a reception on the 18th (which Steve and I will attend!)
(Above: The back of our car at FedEx Office ... delivering two boxes of artwork to be shipped to Arizona.)
Before the end of the afternoon, I'd dropped off the two heavy boxes at FedEx office and was on my way to McWaters, a local office furniture company with a most spacious and beautiful interior. (On Thursday, I also packaged up two boxes of my work for a trunk show benefiting the Katonah Art Museum in New York. I met one of the organizers while at the Buyers Market of American Craft. I'm hoping this opportunity might lead to "something" because the museum's website is so promising!)
(Above: The interior of McWaters, an upscale office furniture and work space interior company.)
The Carolina Chapter of the International Interior Design Association asked me to judge their fund-raiser, The Pillow Project. This initiative serves as the group's charitable work. All proceeds are going to update and renovate one of the girls' cottages at the Thornwell Orphanage in Clinton, SC. Over twenty pillows were created by the interior designer members from fabric donated by Designtex.
(Above: Interior sign for the IIDA "Pillow Project" inside McWaters.)
I arrived early to do the judging. Thankfully, none of the designers' names were on the provided paperwork because I know a few of them personally. It was lots of fun to look at the creative ways these professionals used the materials that they ordinarily select for totally different uses!
(Above: The Designtex representative preparing examples of her fabric line.)
(Above: Table decorations of fabric swatches by Designtex.)
There were several people already in the space working to prepare for the silent auction. Flower arrangements, food trays, and information tables were all under construction. The Designtex representative created great table arrangements with her line of fabric.
(Above: Loop to Loop, an environmental design fabric.)
The most amazing material was this "Loop to Loop" line ... totally brand new. Company research was conducted for months trying to figure out how to recycle already recycled materials. This fabric was made from older panel material ... that had previously been recycled from other materials. The texture is incredible. The science and environmental sensitivity are truly amazing. I'm sure I'll be seeing more of this and other, similar fabric.
(Above: Anita Holland and the Designtex representative ... ready for their charity event!)
By 5:00 PM we were all ready and the crowd started to mingle into the space. One area served as a place for food and wine. The other area included all the pillows and auction bid sheets.
(Above: The Pillow Project ... waiting for me to judge!)
I was alone in this area ... quietly reading each pillow's title, inspiration, and description. It was hard to narrow the field to one winner and three honorable mentions, but I manage it.
(Above: Sprout, one of the pillows!)
I adored the fact that many of these designer were taking time to participate despite their busy schedules. This rather plain (but FINISHED!) pillow included "the best" description, one I can certainly relate to! You can click the image to enlarge and read: We got the fabric Saturday night and started sewing 9:30 Sunday. I know !!! Still, they were determined to finish, to participate, to help raise money for a worthy cause. Love it!
(Above: Anita Holland, the winner, me, and the Designtex representative!)
The IIDA Carolina Chapter purchased a small, faux-stained glass fiber piece from me last March as the prize for this competition. I adored the "Time Travel" pillow. Each triangular flap on the pillow was lined with a different colored upholstery material from a single line of Designtex fabric ... each color growing richer in hue. This pillow was remarkably well crafted with a great title and statement but was also quite functional. PERFECT! I don't know who eventually purchased it, but I do know they got a great pillow!
(Above: My artist talk/trunk show at Artfields last Wednesday afternoon. Photo by my friend Nancy Chambers.)
So ... that was Tuesday afternoon. By Wednesday, I was back in Lake City and preparing from my artist talk/trunk show in the Jones and Carter building. This informal chat was called "Going Green with Textiles from the Past". My friends Nancy Chambers and Ellen Lindler came from Columbia. I brought several other pieces that incorporated vintage linens or found objects or transferred images from old family photo albums. It was lots of fun to share all this work so close to The Canopy.
(Above: Me at the microphone at The Palm 92.1 Radio station.)
Thursday started with radio interviews at The Palm 92.1. Sarah Luadzer Lewis, the Vista Guild's Executive Director; Katie Alice Walker, the guild's PR firm, Jeffrey Day, and I took turns answering a few questions about Artista Vista between popular music. This continued until 9:30 AM ... the total "drive time" hour. We talked about the event, my artwork, the participating galleries, and the Palm Passport.
(Above: Sarah Luadzer Lewis, Executive Director of the Conagree Vista Guild with Heart of the Vista, my piece that became the prize for the Palm Passport. Click on image to enlarge.)
The radio station sponsored the Palm passport. Five hundred cards were printed listing all the participating venues for Artista Vista. The public was invited to take the cards and collect hole punches at these places. As long as three venues were visited, the card could be turned in and one lucky person will win Heart of the Vista, a piece I created for the prize. I don't know who's going to win, of course, but it was great seeing all sorts of people collecting punches last night at the event.
I got to my studio in the early afternoon ... time enough to "find the floor" under the mountains of polyester stretch velvet. I even swept. (Okay, I admit it. I had help! My intern Charity was there and we managed the job with time enough for me to visit the bathroom and change clothes!)
(Above: Time in the foreground, my 3D assemblage, with me in the background at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios. Photo by my friend Kristine Hartvigsen.)
Artista Vista is now in its 22nd year. I think Steve and I started attending at the beginning ... long before I dared to dream of making art much less having a studio at one of the premier locations, Gallery 80808/Vista Studios. It is always a magical evening, a time to think back to earlier work displayed in the same place, to see my own artistic progression. This year, as Artista Vista Artist of the Year, I gave an exclusive for my fiber stained-glass work to Ellen Taylor Interiors. This meant I had to show something "different" in the group show outside my studio door at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios. Five of my 3D assemblages focusing on the concept of "time" are now on view. It was great to hear people's comments since most had no idea that I also do this sort of work. For me, they are completely related to my fiber work. They examine the passage of time through generations. They question what objects are of value and what one might want to keep for the future.
(Above: Making embellished bookmarks in my studio during Artista Vista.)
One of the things that is also great about Artista Vista is the fact that many people bring their kids along. This gives me the opportunity to pull out my embellisher and allow young people (as well as a lot of interested others!) to play with wool, felt, yarn, and other materials. I have pre-cut extra-firm Peltex stabilizer ... to make into bookmarks.
(Above: A happy Dad and his three daughters with the bookmarks they made ... in my studio ... in front of The Wall of Keys.)
Generally, lots more bookmarks are made ... but last night I had to attempt being in two places at once. I had to leave my studio every hour or so and walk to the building directly behind Gallery 80808/Vista Studios ... into Ellen Taylor Interiors where my faux-stained glass pieces were on exhibit!
(Above: A wall of my fiber stained-glass pieces. Click on image to enlarge.)
Ellen Taylor's storefront is beautiful and she creates comfortable living arrangements inside the shop ... an excellent way for her clients to view artwork, a home-like setting. Her staff must have spent hours getting this wall's work in alignment! I'm impressed!
(Above: Me with my work at Ellen Taylor Interiors.)
Steve went with me ... and took several photos. There was also a singer performing and Ellen's husband was pouring nice bottles of wine too. The space is just off the DuPre Gallery (same building) and gets plenty of foot traffic during Artista Vista. Lots of people had their Palm Passport too!
Steve got a good photo of me with this piece ... even with the glare from the Plexi-Glas! I think I could live with all this! I'm linking this post to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Fridays", a site to share fiber artwork.
(Above: Ellen Taylor Interiors ... before the Artista Vista evening started!)