Friday, March 27, 2020

Time Standing Still, a mini art quilt

 (Above:  Time Standing Still, detail. Click on any image to enlarge.)

As news of COVID-19 spread into Italy, events in America started canceling.  My once busy April calendar cleared.  Soon, events in May were canceled or postponed (often indefinitely).  Restaurants went to curbside "to go" delivery service after dismissing most of their staff. Stores closed. Schools closed.  Toilet paper and hand sanitizer became rare commodities.   For the past two or more weeks, Columbia's residents weren't supposed to gather in groups numbering more than ten ... then five ... then three. Starting at midnight on Saturday, Columbia, South Carolina will get even tougher in its fight.  We will go into "sheltering in place".  No more walks around the neighborhood.  Everything deemed non-essential will have to cease operation.  This means, Mouse House will be closing its doors for at least two more weeks.  This means that I will be confined to my studio.  As scary as this virus is and despite my depression over the lost art opportunities, I'm truly going to have an art residency in my own house.  I'm guessing, this is a silver lining.  At least I'm hoping it is!

(Above:  Time Standing Still, a mini art quilt. My digital image printed on fabric and embellished with both hand and machine stitching.  12" x 12".)

For the past two weeks, I've been amazed how quiet night times are. There is no sound from the highway (just four blocks away).  I'm equally astounded to wake to birds chirping ... loudly.  When I get up, I have to think ... which day of the week is it?  Time seems to be standing still.

(Above:  Time Standing Still, reverse.  Included is a piece of lace from an amazing stash donated to me by art quilter Gay Lasher.  Thanks, Gay!)

The sensations remind me of art residencies, days when the only thing on my "to do" list is "make art".  Yet, this is different from any other art residency.  While away, I'm being influenced by new surroundings and different people.  I have only the materials and equipment I brought with me.  There is almost always a proposal for the intended work.  Now, however, I am in a very familiar place:  my own home and studio.  I am not alone (like most residencies).  I have Steve here with me ... cooking and cleaning and providing feedback and suggestions ... basically, I have company!  Most importantly, I have everything ... absolutely every tool and scrap of fabric, every button, every book, every EVERYTHING.  Plus, I can do whatever I want.  There is no expectation, no proposed project, no obligation, and no ending date on which to pack everything up and leave.

In one sense, this is amazingly easy!  In another sense, I am finding myself almost ready to start too many things!  My mind is swirling with new ideas and seeing potential in every found object I own.  I need to be very, very careful about what I do.  As tempting as it is to act on all these plans, time really isn't standing still.  It just feels that way.

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