Monday, November 24, 2008

At a Glance, miniature art quilt

(Click on image above to enlarge. At a Glance. Miniature art quilt. 22" x 15". Xylene transfer on tea-stained muslin atop golden ochre Irish linen, previously painted WonderUnder/Bond-a-Web, silver metallic foiling, chiffon scarf and tulle, machine embroidery.)

My husband Steve and I have been very, very busy since my return from Maine. All the picture framing work that piled up in my absence was matched by a couple of major most of the finished pictures were delivered to two very, very ritzy cottages beside the exclusive Cassique golf clubhouse on Kiawah Island. I'm now almost totally free to concentrate on CYBER FYBER details.....and my own stitching.

Even so, every late afternoon and early evening, I've been embroidering a new art quilt. I'll post it soon. I took a little break over the weekend to put together the miniature art quilt above. I'm calling it At a Glance. It was constructed from an unsuccessful transfer for my Decision Portrait Series. This is my first attempt at a "quickie"....a journal-like miniature quilt. It was fast and fun...a freeing experience!

Below are a couple of shots of the Cassique cottages. be a rich golfer!

(Above: Cottage B....including a gorgeous chandelier being unloaded.)

(Above: Living are of Cottage B).

(Above: Living area of Cottage A.)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Vista Lights 2008 and Mary Edna Fraser's monotype demonstration

Yesterday was a BIG day! It started when I unlocked the gallery at 4:45 AM for WIS-TV's live remote on Alive at Five. I was interviewed in segments several times between the regular news programing. Deidre Mardon of the Vista Guild was also interviewed about that evening's 23rd Annual Vista Lights Celebration.

Latter that night all the art galleries, restaurants, and other businesses stayed open late. The streets were closed for pedestrian traffic. There was beer and wine and a giant Christmas tree lighting. Horse drawn carriages and trolleys transported visitors to and from parking areas. This is how Columbia kicks off the holiday season every year. Gallery 80808/Vista Studios is always one of the main arts attractions. I was busy all evening...talking about art...being an was a blast!

I had spent most of Wednesday cleaning up my studio. So, I took pictures as it is rarely this neat! My embellished and stitched fiber Christmas ornaments looked festive and several sold. Hundreds of people stopped by. The reception went from 5 - 10 PM.

I also put out my container of wrapped, rusted nails. Everyone loved them and I was proud to announce that the vintage ice scoop with about one third of the nails were just accepted into Materials Hard and Soft, a national juried fine craft show held in Denton, Texas! Unbelievably, I got TWO PIECES ACCEPTED! Behind in the Mortgage is also in the show!

Most of the art I stitched in Maine was in my studio but I had several pieces in the gallery atrium. Above are the four In Boxes with Acorn cups as well as my acorn vessels.

The the main gallery I had two pieces. Above is Bessie's Quilt on one wall. Across of it is Crazy.

Next big show for me in this space is CYBER FYBER! There's plenty to do. I've just ordered 5000 invitation cards and had a meeting about the press releases. Lots to do before January! Yet, today I spent an hour and forty-five minutes at USC's art department watching Mary Edna Fraser demonstrating monotypes. It was part of a one-day program called "Working With Women, Nature, and Creative Collaborations" and included segments with Mary Alice Monroe, a New York Times bestselling novelist, and Marjory Wentworth, the Poet Laureate of South Carolina. Each of the writers held earlier lectures but eagerly watched the printmaking. The images made were based on words from "The River", a poem by Marjory Wentworth.

(Click on image to enlarge. Mary Edna Fraser working on a monotype.)

Mary Edna Fraser is an internationally recognized batik artist and printmaker. Her large scale work and monotypes were featured at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in 1994-1995 in "Aerial Inspirations: Silk Batiks by Mary Edna Fraser." Installations and lectures at Duke University Museum of Art, Emory University, and University of Oklahoma displayed her art of earth’s geologic features as well as those in outer space. She has demonstrated the ancient art form at the Textile Museum in DC, the World Batik Conference 2005 in Boston, Fiber Forums in Australia, and most recently for NASA at the Folklife Festival in DC. Widely published, her work is featured in BATIK for Artists and Quilters by Eloise Piper and A Celebration of the Worlds Barrier Islands by Orrin Pilkey, Columbia University Press. She collaborated with Poet Laureate Marjory Wentworth on What The Water Gives Me.

I've seen many of Fraser's batiks but had never met her. Even though this demonstration wasn't actually a "fiber" opportunity, I couldn't pass it up....and I was so glad I did! It was wonderful to see someone so accomplished that works "messy"....just like me! Although she used a brush some of time, she generally used her fingers....just like me! She scraped "rain" onto the Plexi-Glass plate with her fingernails. She used a paper towel, a rubber tipped tool, and the "wrong end" of her brushes too. She casually mentioned that she "didn't get to go to art school" but she became an artist anyway!

(Click on image to enlarge. Mary Robinson, USC Art Professor and head of Printmaking, examining the monotype before running it through the press.)

Mary Edna Fraser keeps a little notebook in her purse. Her artistic notes are written right side up; her personal notes are written upside down! She was utterly comfortable and truly personal infront of the diverse group even though she mentioned that she'd never made a monotype with people looking on! She considers this form of printmaking to be grown up "play". The words she was trying capture from Marjory Wentworth's poem were: wine, yellow, graveyard, striped, leaf, wind, rain, music, celestial diamonds and islands. Marjory read the poem while Mary Edna worked.

(Above: Mary Robinson holds the Plexi-Glass plate for Mary Edna Fraser to apply red paint to the edges.)

Mary Edna Fraser paints rather thickly which allows a ghost image to be pulled after the initial print. She likes these lighter versions best. She also plans two images for a single sheet of paper. These are called "windows".

(Click on image to enlarge.)
Gene Speer, USC associate, pulls the finished "window" as Mary Edna Fraser looks on.

Personally I was awed by Mary Edna Fraser's easy conversation, relaxed personality, and willingness to share. Listening to her and watching her work gave me confidence in my own abilities.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Festival of Trees 2008

Believe it or not, my husband Steve convinced me that I shouldn't be the one to blog about Festival of Trees this year. He did it. He also took this photo of me decorating our donation "The Tutu Tree". Read Steve's post here!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Grave Rubbings Art Quilt

(Click on image to enlarge. Grave Rubbings: Patience. 23" x 29 1/2". Crayon on tea-stained muslin. Hand and machine embroidered.)

(Click on image to enlarge. Grave Rubbings: Patience, reverse.)

(Click on details above and below to enlarge.)

(Above: The verse was too faint to easily read, so I stitched the words over the ghostly impression: Weep not for me my kindred dear, For I'm not dead but sleeping here; Prepare yourselves to follow soon, For death you know must be your doom.)

While in Maine for six weeks I noticed small, family cemeteries all over the place. Several were within easy walking distance from the MacNamara Foundation. I'd never made a grave rubbing before and I might not have thought of it at all except that I was reading Jeanne Williamson's The Uncommon Quilter which I picked up at the fabulous Maine Coast Book Shop in Damariscotta on "laundry day".

On page 85 I read, "When you were a child, did you ever make gravestone rubbings?.....rubbing a big crayon over the surface....This same basic technique can be used to create textures on fabric. To make the design permanent simply iron it in place." The book went on to suggest other textures for mark making but I was instantly inspired to actually take fabric and crayons to the nearby burial sites. How could I resist "Lost at Sea", weeping willows, urns, 18th c. dates, and quiet moments reaching out to touch the remains of history?

My first attempts were done on a piece of tea-stained muslin. I started stitching right away...all the way home while Steve drove, and over the next week of evenings. I've just finished. A piece of vintage linen for used for the reverse. It had been a summer spread for a child's bed but was damaged. Variegated pearl cotton blanket stitches created the edge.

I came home with yards of grave rubbing material. These were done on silk, a much more receptive material for the rubbings. (For a photo, click here.) Yesterday, I put together another "art quilt" and started stitching again.

I've never actually considered myself a quilter but this format seems perfect for these rubbings. Maybe my anxiety about quilting stems from the seemingly required rules for perfect piecing, even machine stitches, careful measurement, and traditional construction methods. I just can't make myself conform. Yet, I was also reading Robert Shaw's The Art Quilt while in Maine....and learning how others have successfully broken all these rules. Many of the works in this volume closely follow ideal, perfect, traditional construction. They scare me. Yet, many don't. They excite me! The more I read, the more I understood that there's plenty of exploration in this field....even for someone like me!

Okay, I also learned what a "journal quilt" is and what the definition for "art quilt" is! I've been reading these terms on blogs for over a year but really didn't "get it". My abilities with free motion machine embroidery aren't the greatest. My hand stitching isn't ideal. Together, though, unique textures are achieved. This I can do very well. The results give the impression of being crafted by loving hands and almost a sign of well worn age. I like this. Who knows, I might become an art quilter now!

Below is a photo of one of the graves. The name "Tommy" is in high relief on the top of the stone.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Terrace Oaks Antique Mall's 20th Anniversary

(Click on any image to enlarge. Above: The twentieth anniversary sale at Terrace Oaks Antique image of several dealers! From left to right, standing in rear: ME!, Marcia Martin, Trisha Greenburg, Camille Wish (Owner with her "shop dog" Daisy), Maria Schendzelous, Gloria Lombard, Patty Hildreth, and Mary Bisset. In front, Grace Wish (Camille's mother....and about the nicest lady on earth!) with Thomas "Jefferson"...another "shop dog" who goes home with Mary!

(Above: The Mouse House area! View of the staircase....18th c. shell engravings, reproduction Audubon prints (the only non-antiques we sell!), late 19th c. Denton Fish, and assorted 19th c. images.)

(Above: Another view of the Mouse House staircase!)

(Above: The upstairs, former bathroom that has been "Mouse House" in Charleston for nearly 18 years! Stacked full of framed antique "day job"!)

Today was an anniversary. Terrace Oaks Antique Mall turned twenty years old. Of course I was there. I wouldn't have missed it for anything in the world. My life, my income, my education in artistic presentation, and my knowledge of past printing processes are all completely tied up with the history of this marvelous shopping mecca in South Carolina.

Mouse House, Inc. (my business) hasn 't been part of Terrace Oaks Antique Mall since the beginning...but nearly from the start. Steve and I moved into our staircase area while I was pregnant with Alex (July 1990).

Shortly after we started displaying our custom framed, antiquarian prints on the staircase walls we also rented a small room on the second floor. Originally the room had been a bathroom. Now it is wall-to-wall engravings and chromolithographs. Twenty years ago the mall was owned by JoAnn Parker. She sold the mall to one of her managers, Linda Leatherwood. Linda sold the mall to another manager, the amazingly kind and wonderful Camille Wish....who had been a dealer in the mall from the beginning.

Today I walked around the enormous place fingering vintage buttons, considering yards of designer fabrics, and admiring furniture, china, jewelry, leather bound books, silverware, pewter plates, military empherma, first day cover stamps, cigar boxes, fabric wrapped lampshades, kilim carpet bags, majolica, Indian artifacts, and vintage toys. I walked under prisms hanging from gorgeous chandeliers and over finely knotted carpets. I thought back through the years and realized how utterly tangled my artistic inclinations are with the very notion of time and history. I love all this "stuff". Time and history figure predominantly in my personal, artistic pursuit.

Yesterday was also a great day. I set up a table full of work at Garvin Design...part of a one-night only, holiday sales opportunity. It was a fabulous evening among friends. Garvin Designs owns one of my In Box Series....and hangs it in the most promenient place in the building! Their lead interior designer, Kim Bendillo also owns several of my pieces and took my contemporary fibers class at the art museum this summer. We had such a great time selling our work....but we all forgot to snap a photo!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Nuts for Acorn cups!

(Click on image above to enlarge. 6 1/2" x 6 1/2" x 2 1/2". Acorn cup lined fiber vessel with beaded rim.)

I'm gone nuts for acorn cups! Okay....for weeks now I thought they were "caps" but a little research has corrected what even Shakespeare's Puck knew! Act II, Scene I has the lines: "...all their elves for fear...Creep into acorn cups, and hide them there."

I also learned that there are over 400 species of oak trees. The acorns and their cups come in all sorts of sizes, shapes, and shades. Symbolically, oaks and acorns have significance in most cultures from ancient times. Every part of an oak has some use. Obviously there's timber for the lumber industry; but, oaks are used for medicine, tanning leather, certain coffees, ink, Japanese drums, and by vintners.

(Click on image above to enlarge. "Hairy" acorn cup decorated fiber vessel. 8" x 8" x 6 1/2".)

So why the research? Well, I fell in love with these miniature, natural wonders while in Maine at the MacNamara Foundation's artists residency. I came back to South Carolina and noticed acorn cups in my own backyard! Sure, I knew the trees were there. I knew some were pecan trees, but I never paid attention to the oaks or the acorns or their cups....which are unbelievably smaller than any I gathered in Maine! Also, I noticed "hairy" cups within a block of my house. I'd never seen these either. With glee, I collected and started adorning one of the fiber vessels I'd recently made. Yet, I wondered how many kinds of cups there were...hence...I googled.

Above is one of the giant acorn cups I found in Maine. It isn't even the largest. Also above, is one of the acorn cups from my backyard. It isn't even the smallest! Below are some of the "hairy" ones embellished with beads and the miniature cups. I still don't know much about these cups because they're just not that important. They simply attach the acorn to the tree. Once the nut is ripe, they are cast away. I think this is why I love them so. I love restoring something to its former glory, presenting things as the unique objects they once were. No two acorn cups are alike. Even two or three attached in a cluster are different.

I learned so much in Maine....why I gravitate toward certain approaches to making art and how to keep my eyes open to the wonders around me!

PS Thank you Guzzisue for this fabulous link to crocheted acorns stuffed into real cups. I wish I could crochet. Maybe I'll learn because this is the first time I've ever seen something I really would like to make using this fiber technique!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Loren Schwerd and Sarah Hobbs at the Sumter Gallery of Art

I returned from the six weeks artist residency at the MacNamara Foundation in Maine to a pile of waiting mail. Fiberarts Magazine caught my eye first. The cover featured an incredible work by Loren Schwerd. Next to draw my attention was an invitation to the Sumter Gallery of Art...with yet another amazing piece by Loren Schwerd! OMG! I almost couldn't believe it...but it was true...the exhibition gracing the cover of my favorite fiber publication was opening within driving distance! I marked my calendar for last Friday night.

(Click on image to enlarge.)
I found the work intricate, perfect craftsmanship...a blend of concept, sculpture, fibers and a deep emotional response to the victims and loss after Hurricane Katrina. The exhibition was arranged beautifully. The lighting clearly enhanced the viewing. Thumbnail photographs of the buildings on which each structure was based hung near the work. Pedestals included interesting floral arrangements made mostly of synthetic hair. The references to 18th and 19th century mourning through the use of hair was obvious to me. I've framed many such antiques....wreathes, brooches, watch fobs, etc. Yet, even without knowing of this bygone tradition, the sense of memorializing a death/loss through a human element was quite clear.

(Click on image to enlarge. This is a thumbnail photograph of the building, damaged by Hurricane Katrina, that became the model for Loren Schwerd's sculptural fiber art.)

(Click on image to enlarge. Detail of one of the pieces.)

One of the best parts of the evening, however, was the fact that Sumter Gallery of Art's exhibition space nicely breaks into two halves. Mourning Portraits by Loren Schwerd only occupied the smaller side of the building. The other half was an excellent fine art photography exhibition by Sarah Hobbs called Modern Angst. The artist attended the opening and presented an excellent slide presentation about her life and work. Her images were massive and outstanding. Listening to her talk, however, made each work more special. As she talked about her creative growth and manner of working, I felt a kindred spirit. This served to make me think about my own approaches....happily similiar to such a well respected artist currently listed as one of the top 100 emerging photographers in America!

(Click on image above to enlarge. Sarah Hobbs presenting her work through a slide show at the Sumter Gallery of Art.)

Note: Ordinarily I don't snap photos at exhibitions....but lots of others were doing it and there was no sign against I snapped!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

500 Handmade Books....including mine!

(Click on image above to enlarge.)

While I was in Maine the complimentary copy of Lark Publication's 500 Handmade Books arrived. It is a fabulously inspirational text full of amazing images. Creativity runs rampant over the pages...including 219! That page features my fiber vessel full of wrapped and stitched text (mostly foreign) called Some Things I'll Never Know. I created this work in 2005 and sold it nearly two years ago to Suzy Sheffield. Suzy recently bought another one of my books, Buffon, Picasso, and Me. She is also catering the reception for CYBER FYBER!

This week I've been swamped with framing...totally overloaded but managing to sneak most of the work created in Maine into the pile. I've done a little stitching on my grave rubbing quilt and hope to post it soon!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Raising the Barre...article in Lake Murray Magazine

(Click on image above to enlarge. )
Above is my very favorite photo of Mathias dancing. He had just turned seventeen and was competing in the IBC Helsinki competition. Former dancer turned photographer Jonas Lvndquist snapped this image during the contemporary round. The piece is called "Hunter. The choreographer is Joe Istre. Mathias won bronze.

This photo and others appear in this month's Lake Murray Magazine. I've posed the full article on "My Family Blog". Click here to read it! It was written by my friend Cynthia Boiter who is also writing for CYBER FYBER!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Coming Home, Part Three

(Click on image above if you want to really see how deep the pile of work waiting for my attention really is! I'm drowning in framing....the price to pay for six weeks in heaven!)

Steve and I finally pulled into our driveway on Sunday afternoon. I was overwhelmed with laundry, answering machine messages, unpacking, and an incredible pile of items waiting to be framed. My art catalog needed some attention order that all the work made during the last six weeks got entered. This also required some better photos. It's been non-stop work since opening the car door here in Columbia.

(Click on image to enlarge.)
So....why didn't anyone in blogland catch my spelling error? Above is Atheist, a piece in my Decision Portrait Series....a piece I posted well over a week ago...a piece that originally spelled "phenomena" as "phenoma"! If you don't believe me, scroll down or click for older posts! Hilarious....I need "spell check" for my stitching!

(Click on image to enlarge.)
Above is the long awaited photo of the completed Crazy, a crazy quilt depicting Mamie Smith. She recorded the first Blues song, Crazy, in 1920. I couldn't get a decent photo of the whole piece until now. I'm thrilled with it: xylene transfer on tea-stained muslin; machine pieced; hand embroidered and beaded; trapunto stuffed center; 36" x 32".

(Click on image above to enlarge. Grave rubbings from Maine....crayon on silk. These are the pieces I'm not working on! I'll post the "proto-type" soon!)

I'm still getting some stitching done between the mats that need cut. The piece I'm working on is my first grave rubbing. It's turning into a heavily stitched art quilt...I think! It was done on tea-stained muslin but I learned that silk transfered the lettering much better. As a result, I bought several remnants at On Board Fabric in Edgecomb, Maine. A simple, child's Crayola brown crayon transferred the chiseled designs. I set them with an iron. It is the first time in my life that I really wanted a fabric with my own color/design. I have no idea where this obsession will lead me but I'm intending to follow the itch....maybe down to the graveyards in Charleston or the one only a block from my house....maybe I'll start a new series. Who knows!

Coming Home, Part Two

(Above: View of the American Craft Council Show in Charlotte, NC, 2008.)

Driving from Maine to South Carolina can be done in a really, really long, twenty-four hour sort of day....but not by Steve and me! After spending Halloween in Virginia, we went on to Charlotte, North Carolina. Sure, Charlotte's only about ninety miles from home....but...we went to the American Craft Council show, the Mint Museum of Art and Design, and watched North Carolina Dance Theater' Innovative Works at the Booth Theater. Why rush home!

The Craft Council show was a visual delight, of course. Steve and I completely enjoyed browsing up and down the aisles of fine craftsmanship but couldn't help noticing that the number of vendors had shrunk considerably. We've attended for the past several years. Each year the show is smaller. Many of the booths are quite professional units, the type that travel from one high end venue to the next. The art displayed in these 10' x 10' spaces is always nicely presented, clearly tagged, and next to a Visa/MC sign. The artist is generally present, eager to chat about the work, and obviously capable of balancing creativity with marketing. Yet, Steve and I generally look for the "newcomer" or the outlandish artist offering a unique line of work. We want something that hasn't yet been analyzed for long term consumer interest...something novel...something that has more individual spirit and personal touch. We want art...not merchandise.

Please know....I am more than a little aware of the insult that might be found in my last sentence. I also create "merchandise". I understand the need to sustain a moderate income. I appreciate a professional appearance and the dedication to an available marketing plan. I know...yes....I know and I understand....but that's not what inspires me. It's also not what I'm looking for while "shopping". I look for individuality, unique spirit, and work that makes me smile. I smile when I see fine craftsmanship married to a brilliant idea. It's hard to achieve. It's almost impossible to take on the road with a fine craft festival schedule. There's simply no easy way to have a genius idea that easily translates into a marketable product.

Anyway, there was one vendor that truly captured my heart, my eye, and my brain. Frank Saggus' Wing Ding Home Constructions was undoubtedly the best thing at the ACC show. His birdhouses were outstandingly quirky and well constructed. He understood the need to maintain and clean the units. He was familiar with birds. His work blended everyday objects into one-of-a-kind locations for families of birds. Each house was an individual work of art. There was no sign of an assembly line production. Also, Frank Saggus seemed like a really nice man. He had no high-pitched sales line. His website says that building birdhouses "gives me an excuse to do three things that I have loved to do since I was a kid, tear stuff up, put it back together and dig around in other folks’ 'trash' ". I just LOVE an artist who uses Flickr!

I also tallied the list of artists represented at the American Craft Council show. Almost all had websites. All but two listed an email address. Art and craft are totally part of the computer age! There's really so many beautiful works of art just dying to be seen! The Internet is expanding the view! for the Mint Museum of Art and Design, Steve and I saw two exhibits: Possiblities and Ornament as Art: Avant-Garde Jewelry from the Helen Williams Drutt Collection. I was particularly interested in Christina Cordova's work in Possiblities. My friend Jeff Donovan has studied with her at Penland and one of the pieces graces the full color cover of last month's Carolina Arts Magazine. The show was billed as a chance to showcase artist's emerging onto an international art scene....but I couldn't really come to grips with Christina's statement. The work, fortunately, related more than enough spirit. (Above)

The jewelry was....well...avant-garde! Much didn't impress me. Much of it did. Some designs looked good on paper but just didn't function for personal adornment. I coveted many early designs and also many made only a few years ago. Others were too beautiful to consider wearing! Many designs were obviously never mean to be worn. For me, these pieces lost impact because they failed at the function they pretended to adopt. Other works were simply too abstracted to hold my imagination. Yet, most pieces were down right BRILLIANT. The craftsmanship was, overall, beyond my wildest fantasy. I love the Joyce Scott's beaded statements. I saw too much to absorb!

Several pieces were of particular interest as they bridged the gap from jewelry to fiber. Sure, one was by Arlene Fisch. Her work is obvious and brilliant. Yet, I found two other pieces that really captured my attention:

Bussi Buhns' Snow of Yesterday collar (1995). This work blended yards of polyporpylene thread with old (sepia) photo medallions. The work spun memories into a simple tangle of decorative family relations. It defied an era and embraced a kinship. Unfortunately, I could find nothing more about this work or its artist on-line.

Lam de Wolf's Necklace, a painted silk ribbon collar (1983). This work was such a tactile delight...yards of pretty silk ribbon, knotted, wrapped around the shoulders after cleaning up a rainbow of dyes.

Also, I feel madly in love with the concept behind Finnish artist Janna Syvanoja's Necklace, a delicate arrangement of book slices on a metal cord. The concept, the craftsmanship, and the materials simply touched my soul.

The evening's "artistic" event was North Carolina Dance Theater's performance, Innovative Works. Undoubtedly, the highlight was Mark Godden's Constructing Juliet. We saw the full length ballet a couple of years ago. Seeing this smaller segment, however, did not dilute the emotional impact and the contemporary angle from which to view this timeless saga. I was brought to tears. Sasha Janes' work opened the program and was equally entertaining. Steve and I particularly enjoy watching Seia Rassenti grow into a mature dancer. She graduated with our son Mathias and I only hope that there are many watching him since he's so far away. In the meantime, we're really loving watching Seia!

Coming Home, Part One

(Above: Entrance to Mark Cline's Haunted Monster Museum at Natural Bridge, Virginia! The best spooky attraction ever! Click on images to enlarge!)

Leaving the MacNamara Foundation was a mixed emotional experience. Sadly, my "month of Sundays" had come to an end. Happily, I'd be seeing Steve for the first time in six weeks. He flew to Manchester, Rhode Island in order to drive me back home. Along the way we stayed near Natural Bridge, Virginia.

(Above: One our our "guides" through Hallowscream!)

The plan was to burn the petitions for forgiveness in a bonfire. These petitions had been collected in a Plexi-Glass box during my Blues Chapel solo exhibition in Pickens, SC during the summer. I had a sign stating that the petitions would never be read but burned on midnight...the hour separating ancient pagan festivities from All Saint's Day.

(Above: Another view of the Haunted Monster Museum!)

On-line research indicated that Mark Cline's Haunted Monster Museum and Dark Forest Maze would be a perfect place. I even called this eccentric artist and his wife. They thought the plan was totally COOL, but drought conditions in Virginia eliminated the bonfire. Steve and I decided to burn the petitions later...back in South Carolina...over the grave for our recently deceased cat, Siren. In the end, this was a far better plan. The burning was last night. It was quiet and peaceful and the spiritual moments I'd hoped to create. The papers turned to ash. Smoke rose like prayers. Pond water extinguished the flames. Forgiveness and memory melted into the night sky.

(Above: Siren's resting place. Below: Burning the petitions for forgiveness.)

This also meant that Halloween night at Hallowscream was a total BLAST!

We first went to Mark Cline's famous April Fool's joke that has turned into a funny tourist attraction. Steve and I took photos of our shadows too!

After dark we went to the Haunted Monster Museum and the Dark Forest Maze. It was undoubtedly the best Halloween attraction I've ever experienced and completely worth every penny!

(Above and below: It's hard to take photos in a haunted house. These were "outside" and the only shots I could get!)