Monday, January 18, 2016

Moving things around!

(Above:  Scrolls of exotic fabrics!  Click on any image to enlarge.)

Last December I blogged about my Cabinet of Curiosities. It is a project I've been thinking about for a long, long time.  I'd already made a few objects ("curiosities") for it but hadn't tackled the actual construction until then. Yet, I'd already entered the work into ArtFields, a 9-day arts competition in Lake City, SC.  How was this possible? Well, ArtFields accepts "proposals" for new work or works-in-progress.  I entered. Amazingly, it was accepted!  The only real thing that has changed for me is that there is now a deadline.  The Cabinet of Curiosities will be finished and on display April 22 - 30, 2016.  So, I've been turning my attention to making more "curiosities".  Fortunately, several nice people have been helping with my "hunter-gather" phase ... including Lindsay Hager, Ed Madden and Bert Easter, my sister Sonya, Kim Bendillo, and Noel Gilliam.

(Above:  Box of "goodies" from Lindsay Hager.)

Sometimes I remember to snap a photo when a box of "goodies" comes in the mail ... like one of this cool assortment of naturally dyed, rusted, vintage, indigo dipped, and exotic silk fabric from Lindsay Hager!  (Thank you, Lindsay!)  I've been ripping and wrapping the material, making little scrolls.  It has been an excellent way to spend time in the evening in front of the television!

(Above:  The Cabinet of Curiosities includes several cigar boxes ... all firmly screwed into place.  Now, one is totally filled with fabric scrolls.)

I've filled one of the cigar boxes with scrolls ... very, very tightly.  I don't think another scroll could possibly be crammed in!  But ... I still had more!

(Above:  Cedar box, attached to the Cabinet of Curiosities and filled with additional fabric scrolls.)

I drilled holes in the bottom of this cedar box in order to tie the ribbon firmly around these scrolls.  Yet, I still  had more!

(Above:  A new curiosity!)

This ceramic donkey and pull cart came from my sister Sonya.  It had been our Grandma Lenz's and likely once had an African violet planted inside.  I put the plastic Jesus inside (sort of like "Palm Sunday").  The Jesus figure came from Bert and Ed.  In order to keep the figure upright and firmly in place, more fabric scrolls were added.  They are so dense that the container can be turned upside-down without anything falling out.  I added a necklace chain and a clip-on earring. 

(Above:  My 3D home studio.)

Because I will be making dozens and dozens of additional "curiosities", I needed to organize my back room ... which is my 3D home studio.  (When I say "organize", I actually mean "cleaning up".  The top of the table was totally covered in "stuff".  That happens when I'm in my "hunter-gather" phases! LOL!)

(Above:  To the right of the work table in my 3D home studio ... shelves full of "stuff" meant to become additional curiosities.)

It took most of an afternoon to sort through boxes, bags, and the pile of things I'd put on my work table.  Most of the items were put onto shelves just a foot or two away from the table.  Now ... almost everything is in sight and ready to be made into the additional curiosities that I will need to fill the cabinet.  Below or several photos of this items.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed.  Of course, I'm still accepting donations of small trinkets, keepsakes, souvenirs, and assorted "stuff" that is suggestive of a narrative or resembles things that might have been treasured by someone.

Lots of these things came from Bill Mishoe's auction.

Other items came from my own jewelry box, the back of my closet, or tucked on the top of a couple bookcases.

I love making these curiosities.  Many will include epoxy ... like the ones initially made.  (To see them, CLICK HERE and HERE.)

(Above:  Soon to be my new home studio ... for STITCHING!  Photo taken from the doorway looking diagonally across the room.)

At the end of last year I wrote about "hitting a creative plateau" and my decision to CHANGE THINGS in my artistic life.  One of the most important things I've decided to change is my studio.  I've had a rental space at Gallery 80808/Vista Studio from the end of 2002.  That was only a year-and-a-half after I started making art. So, almost everything I've ever made has been done in this small room in the middle of a cooperative studio setting.  Immediately, I grew. Being surrounded by other professional artists was beneficial ... but things change.  I've been spending more and more time in my home studio. It makes sense to move my sewing studio home now.  The room above used to store boxes, suitcases, installations, my 10' x 10' Pro Panel booth, and boxes of vintage materials.  It is now EMPTY!

Here's the view from the other corner ... looking back toward the door.  This room is actually bigger than my rental studio.  I'm a little scared to move, but I'm also quite excited.  Steve is excited too.  I couldn't manage this without his help. 

This is a former bedroom in the back of our house.  (Please know, we live above Mouse House, our limited service custom-picture framing shop which also doubles as a gallery for my artwork.  For a tour, here's a link to a video!)  The Pro Panel booth's walls are immediately on the right.  Behind them is my installation Cotton: Triangular Trade ... waiting to go to the Textile Museum in DC (April).  There are large plastic bags full of artificial flowers collected from cemetery dumpsters, a crib of vintage crocheted bedspreads, a shelving unit full of vintage textiles and small 3D pieces, and ... just peeking out near the center window is one of three giant, black leaf bags full of unraveled thread for Threads: Gathering My Thoughts which is going to the Mesa Contemporary Museum in Arizona (April).  Storage is a real issue for an installation artist!

(Above:  The converted garage.)

Another issue is shipping.  I need all sorts of boxes.  There is no reason, however, that they couldn't be stored in the garage. Recently Steve and I converted the racks that once held hundreds of feet of picture framing moulding into shelves.  (Mouse House once had up to fourteen on payroll ... until I decided to become an artist!)  We don't need all those racks.  We did need the shelves!

So ... all the boxes are now neatly on the top.  I can actually SEE all of them.  On the bottom are two boxes full of "stuffing" ... crinkled paper, pieces of bubble wrap, Styrofoam sheets, etc.  Plus ... the U-Haul boxes are filled with a little more than half the 130+ baskets needed for Threads: Gathering My Thoughts.

(Above:  The back side of the new shelving rack in the garage.)

This is the back side of the shelving rack.  It stores things like nine white, wall cubes for 3D displays, five brackets for other 3D displays, a pile of recycled industrial felt ... and more baskets.  This weekend Steve and I started moving the first items from my studio at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios back to Mouse House.  I will continue renting through February, making the transition easy and allowing everything to be put in a proper place ... at least from the start.  I'm sure I'll have it all messed up very, very quickly!

I'm linking this to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Fridays", a site for sharing fiber arts. 


Eleanor Levie said...

Brave, ambitious, proud, and dedicated. Bet blogging about this experience crystallizes it for you as it provides a fascinating narrative for us!

Wanda said... are moving your studio. That's quite a move. I don't mean the actual move (although that is also an undertaking) but yes, it is a huge change. The new home studio is awesome though. I don't even recognize it! The Curiosities are wonderful. I can imagine how it will affect people. I think there will be people that will have to stand and just stare at it for long periods of time. I had to do that even with the photos you posted! The garage looks so orderly. Yes, without Steve, this undertaking would be overwhelming. With Steve, I'm sure it still looks like a lot of work but do-able. I'm very excited about following your journey this year. You said you were making changes and, by gosh, you do it. I'm very excited about it all.

Margaret said...

I think your move will be well worth it -- and it looks to be such a light, airy space! With that now-unused fireplace, it has me wondering what that room was...originally. Before your house became "Mouse House". And I just know people are going to love your Cabinet in the exhibit!

Maggi said...

This sounds like it's going to be an exciting year for you.

I hadn't even considered storage for an installation artist, at times is must seem like a logistical nightmare.

Shannon said...

I love seeing details from your cabinet of curiosities!

Angela said...

You Cabinet of Curiosities is such a fun idea!

Anonymous said...

The hunter-gather image really resonates with me at the moment. I think my whole house is a cabinet of curiosities and I'm starting to experiment with more mixed media in my work. My childhood piano teacher had a parlour crammed full of ornaments and knick nacks and on occasion, after a lesson my brother and I were allowed into this room of stories. So many of the ornaments could be categorised as naff or cheesy, but each one had a tale attached, stories of people and places. My mother hated it but I loved that room! And I feel that your cabinet will be something similar. I love it already!!