Friday, February 06, 2015

Panel Discussion, three poems, and two new Lancet Windows

 (Above:  Lancet Window L ... as in FIFTY ... Roman numerals!  Inventory # 3358. Framed: 31 1/4" x 11 1/4". $375 plus tax and shipping. Click on image to enlarge.)

Daily I split my time between custom picture framing (the "day" job aka the "paying" job), making art, and doing the many things that go into growing a career as an artist. What does that really mean? Well, the first part is fairly obvious.  I work at Mouse House, a business I own with my husband Steve. We frame pictures for our clients. Our hours are weekdays from 9:30 - 5:00 and some Saturdays from 10 - 2. It's a full time operation.  Yet, I'm the boss! I do have a great deal of flexibility in terms of my day time hours. Frequently, I'm mounting and framing my own work. This is also when I blog, enter work into my inventory book, apply for juried shows and other opportunities, and ship artwork to various locations.  

 (Above:  Lancet Window XLIX. Inventory # 3357. Framed: 31 1/4" x 11 1/4". $375 plus tax and shipping. Click on image to enlarge.)

The past two weeks have been packed full with installations and exhibitions ... but I've also been MAKING ART!  Behind the scenes I've been working hard to create a good collection of pieces for the upcoming ACC (American Craft Council) Baltimore wholesale (Feb. 18 and 19) and retail shows (February 20 - 22).  I can't ease up because March will find me at the ACC Atlanta show.  I need all the art I can make!  Thus, two more Lancet Window Series pieces are part of this final push.  Over the coming weekend I hope to make two or three more small "In Box Series" works.  MAKING ART is what I live to do.  The day job and the "other job" is what I have to do in order to sustain the "making".

(Above, from left to right: Cindi Boiter, editor of Jasper Magazine; Michael Krajewski, and me at last evening's artists' panel discussion for Art from the Ashes show at the Tapp's Art Center.)

So ... the "other job".  Like custom picture framing and "making art", its another full-time commitment.  In a sense, I'm constantly working THREE full time jobs! Yet, these are all labors of love.

The job of growing an art career is a commitment to being organized, keeping good records, following-up on the details of documenting, marketing, selling, and shipping artwork. It involves Internet searches for opportunities and follow-through on projects. It means a lot of writing: artist's statements, exhibition proposals, interviews, press releases and articles.  It means a lot of record keeping too.  But, sometimes it also means the honor and great fun of an artists' panel discussion!  That's what I did last night.

Cindi Boiter and her Jasper Magazine made it possible for me to create THREE installations and hang two art quilts in an invitational exhibition called Art from the Ashes, one of the events in the city-wide sesquicentennial commemoration of Sherman's Civil War burning of Columbia.  Last night the public gathered to listed to six of the visual artists (including me) talk about their inspirations, creative process, and the deeper meanings behind the works in the show.  It was great!

 (Above:  Poet Al Black and me in front of our collaborative installation, Nails in a Coffin.)

One of my installations was a collaboration with local poet Al Black. Al and I were the only two non-Southerns involved in the Art from the Ashes project. He's from Indiana, played football for Purdue University, and is a Big 10 fan. (He teased me all fall but cheered for my Ohio State Buckeyes in their successful bid for the National Championship.) More importantly, Al Black is the kind of poet with whom any visual artist would be proud to collaborate, especially on a project inspired by the Civil War.  Like Walt Whitman, Al served with country as a conscientious objector ... working in battlefield hospitals ... tending war torn wounds ... and writing profoundly deep words thereafter.  Al graciously gave me permission to reprint all three of his poems in this blog post.  Read them for yourself. I'm sure you will be touched.

 (Above:  Nails in a Coffin, a collaborative installation with Al Black.)

Handful of Nails, Part I 
The Undertaker
this war of hubris
I was
a cabinet maker 
crafter of tables & chairs
couches for the parlor
pie closets, shelves
dressers and beds
to lie on 
I hammer together
rough boards and nails
for the dead 
if the resurrection
comes to pass
a handful of nails
is all

they'll find

 (Above:  Handful of Nails, Part Two and view of wrapped, rusted nails.)

Handful of Nails, Part II
The Native Son

I was your native son
your barefoot soldier
your collateral damage 
tenant farmer's son
forced to fight
or find other fields to plow 
you planted me
along the hedgerow
no place for momma to pray 
only a handful of nails
remain to testify

that once I was a man

(Above:  Nails in a Coffin, detail.)
Handful of Nails, Part III
Soldier Blue

Soldier blue
Yankee Doodle Dandy
marched south then east
and north to heart of sedition
I saw America
not in Leaves of Grass
but in the blisters
on the soles of my feet
in Pee Dee gator swamps
typhoid found me
name and address
pinned upon my chest
my family will send
the undertaker
to build me a pine bed
with a handful of nails
and carry me north
so I don't have to
sleep alone in
blood red clay


Margaret said...

Handsful of nails...Good Friday poems. Beautiful. Thank you.

Wanda said...

The installation with Al Black is wonderful. It puts puts words to things that I find hard to put into words! It is a beautiful, thought-provoking installation. I like the two new Lancet Windows...both are so unique and yet, the same. I know you must be going non-stop with Baltimore coming up. But as you said, it is all a labor of love...and I know you absolutely GLOW when you are busy!!

Maggi said...

Thank you so much for sharing the very powerful poems. What a wonderful exhibition this must be.

Els said...

What a special collaboration with that poet !

(All the best with your Baltimore show, Susan)