Sunday, August 26, 2012

Reception for "The Canopy" and wrapping up the residency!

(Above: The Canopy during the art reception on Friday, August 24th at "The Box" in Galesburg, Illinois. Click on any photo in this blog post for an enlargement.)

Last Friday night was the art reception for my August residency work at Studios Midwest, a program administered by the Galesburg Civic Art Center in Galesburg, Illinois. It was held in "The Box", a privately owned urban warehouse that has been renovated for studio and exhibition space. For the past month I've been working in this very location ... stitching 180 square feet of a canopy directly under where I hoisted it.

Earlier blog posts have covered the construction and the method of raising The Canopy. As pictured, it is 12' in height, 10' in width, and 18' long. I took plenty of early photos ... being very careful to exclude the two wooden beams in the room and any other extraneous distractions. While these are nice photos, they lack a true sense of scale. Thus, my husband Steve (who flew to Peoria on Thursday night ... Atlanta to Dallas to Minneapolis to Peoria) took photos at the reception. He tried to capture people under The Canopy ... for scale, for atmosphere, and for fun!

Thus, I'm in several of the images ... including the one above where I'm talking to Mark Holmes, the head of the Knox College Art Department and owner of "The Box", his wife, and Joanie ... who, along with her boss Dennis Johnson, became my best friends in Galesburg! They are the team at Johnson's Wallpaper, a business elsewhere at "The Box".

I particularly like the photo above because it really captures the size of this piece.

The reception was hosted by the Galesburg Civic Art Center under Heather Norman, its director. Heather had a lovely spread of finger food, water, and wine which was near the public sock art quilt and the door into the space.

I got lots of comments on the series of doll photographs too ... which made me feel very good. This was the first time I've shown my own photography ... as straight photography instead of as photo transfers or through other ways of incorporating image into another medium.

I did a lot of pointing and talking about the construction, the method of hoisting The Canopy aloft, and how I attempted to balance the design in terms of color and composition.

Steve also thought more detail images were needed. So, he took them.

He really captured the flood lights coming through the vintage crochet and lace.

His photos concentrated on the complexity of the many doilies, the subtly shading in the overlaps, and the draping of the fabric.

Steve also took two videos. I've posted them on UTube. One of the actual canopy is HERE.

Steve's other video captures a few moments of the reception and is HERE.

Just off the main exhibition space is the smaller studio where I also worked. On display was an art quilt (folded on the chair). It has the rubbings made from Carl Sandburg's Remembrance Rock. After finishing The Canopy, I put this piece together, did the free motion machine embroidery around all the letters, and started the hand stitching for the background. (I stitched on it for the entire drive back to Columbia too!) On the table is a small antique chest filled with wrapped and stitched wooden thread spools. Some of these were my demonstration pieces at the Fifth Annual Clay and Fiber Festival in Bishop Hill the weekend before last.

(Above: Taking down The Canopy.)

After the reception and dinner, Steve and I returned to "The Box". It took only one hour for us to take down all the photos and The Canopy and pack them into our car!

(Above: The Canopy ... rolled up on my shoulder!)

Amazingly, The Canopy rolls up and is easily carried! The entire piece really isn't that heavy! The next morning, Steve and I headed east toward Columbia.

(Above: Fiber demonstrations at the Clay and Fiber Festival in Bishop Hill ... spinning and rug hooking!)

But before sharing a few photos from our trip back, I want to "wrap up" some of the other things I did in Illinois ... like the Clay and Fiber Festival in Bishop Hill! I spent Saturday, August 18th demonstrating hand embroidery along with some other fun fiber artists.

It was a two day festival but I only went for one. I did have a chance to watch some of the other "hands on" areas ... like the potter's wheel! What fun! (I'm glad these kids weren't getting back into my car!)

There were all sorts of vendors too!

Also ... I wanted to share my favorite pizza place in Galesburg. It's new ... under two months in business. It's called Baked and is owned and operated by a young husband and wife duo. Pizza is bought "whole" or by the delicious slice. While waiting, customers can select from a stack of LPs ... to spin on one of the most unique combinations of musical machinery ever ... Victrola, Hi-Fi, and computer speakers!

The day I took the photo at Baked was also the day of the Galesburg Car Show. Four city blocks and their side streets were closed off for the occasion. I spent over two hours taking pictures. Learning more about my camera and its settings is another thing I love to do, especially while on an art residency! I took over 330 photos, keeping 130 of them. They're on Flickr! as a "set" or as a "slideshow".

I tried especially hard to "take the photo" I really wanted ... as I wanted them ... without having to play with it in Photoshop!

Some of these are pretty much "straight out of the camera".

Okay ... the weather was perfect and the colors are amazing to begin with!

I'm very happy with all the photos I kept.

I even saw an old Cutlass ... very similar to the first car Steve and I ever had.

It is sort of disconcerting to think of that car as "vintage"!

Well ... on the way back to South Carolina, we stayed overnight in Corbin, Kentucky. Corbin is the home of the first Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant. It is still serving buckets of fried chicken but is also has a souvenirs and areas that serve as a "museum" for Colonel Sanders.

There's plenty of memorabilia too!

I posed with the plastic Colonel.

Steve posed with the 1940s restaurant kitchen. Now ... we're back in Columbia. Tomorrow morning I face all the work that piled up during my absence. It was worth it!


Anonymous said...

Wow, the canopy is stunning! What a triumph of art and engineering to get it organised and up!! I love the subtle shading and layering of the creams and whites of the underlying fabrics. The road trip home looks like a work of art all of its own!

Margaret said...

An absolutely fabulous piece, The Canopy -- and to think you can roll it up like a sleeping bag and transport/store it easily. May it make its way to another installation before too long! You're right about the one photo really showing its scale/size. Your partnership with Steve in the creation and recording of your residency and installation is to be applauded, and certainly inspires this textile artist to keep moving forward.

Doris said...

I'm glad you posted these photos by Steve of your canopy--I was dying to see details. I have all sorts of vintage linens (because I take them from anyone and everyone--I can't bare to see them end up unloved!) and I love how you incorporated them into this work of art. Also, your car photos are amazing! What kind of camera do you have, I desperately need an upgrade.

Sarah said...

Just found this post (and blog)looking for textile-based art installations. The Canopy looks amazing! I'm working on some installations myself and wanted to see what other people were doing. I love that your audience has to look up to see the piece. I'm trying to figure out what that gives to the meaning of the piece.

Gayle said...

That is a lot of "Art In Stitches"!!!! It turned out ....not just beautiful, but thought provoking as well with the added questions. Bravo yet again.

Unknown said...

I'm not sure if you know it, but Jewish weddings use a "chupa" (hoopa) for the bride, groom and rabbi to stand under in the service. This is so beautiful, you may find that it could be rented, also charge to set up & take down and bring joy and beauty to a wedding celebration. Just a thought. My children are grown and long married, but you could turn a nice profit on your beautiful art as well as bringing beauty to the service.

Unknown said...

I'm not sure if you know it, but Jewish weddings use a "chupa" (hoopa) for the bride, groom and rabbi to stand under in the service. This is so beautiful, you may find that it could be rented, also charge to set up & take down and bring joy and beauty to a wedding celebration. Just a thought. My children are grown and long married, but you could turn a nice profit on your beautiful art as well as bringing beauty to the service.

Susan Lenz said...

To "unknown":
Yes, of course, I know that Jewish weddings are conducted under a chupa! I've often thought about researching for a wedding planner who might actually purchase The Canopy or a large synagogue. I have no desire to go into business renting it out with installation and dismantling fees. One would need to be licensed and bonded to be able to do such a thing ... just like a contractor. After all, one would be using the physical structure of the building. The truth of the matter is that the research could take months. During that time, I'd lose precious studio hours. One day, I hope The Canopy does find a permanent home ... and if you know of a place ... please have them contact me. It would be beautiful to have couples marry beneath it. Susan