(Above: Two, new Large In Box Series pieces ... constructed, stitched, and ready to melt. Click on any image in this blog post to enlarge.)
Lest anyone reading my blog in recent weeks thinks I've given up stitching, rest assured I haven't! I've been stitching on a new, large grave rubbing art quilt every evening while streaming AMC's award winning series Mad Men. (I'd heard of the show but never seen a single episode ... and until coming to Minnesota, I'd never used my laptop to stream anything except classical music via Pandora.) More than that, I'm using some of my studio time to create new work for galleries and ... drum roll, please ... THE PHILADELPHIA MUSEUM OF ART CRAFT SHOW!
Three years ago I got into this outstanding annual event (generally regarded as one of the two best fine craft shows in the entire United States ... one where only 195 artists are selected from a field of over 1000 applications). That show still ranks as my very best one. Two years ago I got wait-listed ... which pretty much means that someone would have to die for a spot to open up. Last year I got rejected. This year my husband Steve and I talked about my application ... excessively. We knew I could apply in two different categories: Decorative Arts (my In Box and Stained Glass series) and in Baskets (my fiber vessels). Two applications would undoubtedly increase my odds but each carried a hefty $50, non-refundable fee. In the end, I did apply in both categories. Well ... I got in! Unbelievably, I got in on both applications. I didn't even think this was possible. The application information clearly states that if one applies in two categories and is accepted in one, the work from the other category cannot be shown. It doesn't say anything about getting accepted into two categories. Am I supposed to have two booths? A bigger booth? Get listed in two categories in the gorgeous print material? I'm not sure what to think or what to do ... and it is Memorial Day. There's no one to call or ask today. I'll just enjoy the acceptances and think about it!
One way or the other, I'm going to need a lot more work. I'm also supposed to have a solo show at City Art in Columbia ... during the annual arts kick-off to the holiday season, an event called Vista Lights. It's a big deal. (No contract ... just a verbal agreement with a lady I've known for thirty years!) That show is the same month as the Philadelphia Museum of Art. So ... I'm seriously going to need A LOT MORE WORK ... starting now! The final melting steps will be done back in Columbia. I'm now constructing and stitching new pieces. Two, large In Box pieces are already done! More to come!
I'm also very pleased to announce that Exodus received an honorable mention at the Fine Arts Show in Decatur, Georgia.
My art residency is naturally progressing very nicely. Today I finished the third (and final) altered Victorian photo album filled with photos from my 2012 trip to see the ancient cemeteries in Edinburgh, Scotland. Lots of people have asked why I concentrate on "death". I reply nicely, "I don't. I'm interested in life ... how to best spent what time is left. None of us are promised tomorrow. I focus on leaving a lasting mark ... the words, life, and art that remain." So, it is fitting that this volume is titled A Book About Life.
(Above: A Book About Life, title page.)
I used a lot of elaborate, decorative letters cut from 19th century books, the sort of letter that began a chapter by emulating the highly ornate first letters found in Medieval prayer books. They are often difficult to read. Yet, many gravestone are difficult to read too. It takes a minute to figure out the letters. Below are all the pages. Enjoy ... that's life (with a good thesaurus)!