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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Disaster Area

I've been doing so many things around the house and trying so hard to keep it moderately tidy that I have done almost no work for the past three months. However, I must finish the mural I worked on during my 10-week autumn residency with third graders from the P.E. Bowe Elementary School (Chicopee, MA) before the end of the school year (just after the middle of June).

Since we have had to delay putting the house on the market (long boring story) I took the opportunity to create a little temporary chaos in the living room. You can see what it has looked like here. And here was its state last Wednesday:

However, it's all in a good cause. All five panels are done (except the extensions where the tree branches will continue into the neighboring panel). Now I must quilt and mount them.

For the mural part of this program (we explored several quilting techniques and traditions) the children (three classes of about 25) drew vegetation then translated it into fabric and designed the three middle panels ("Spring," "Summer," and "Fall"). They also decided that the 200+ words about community they came up with would be written on "seeds" (carpentry biscuits) suspended from the bottom of the quilt and "rain" (method and materials TBD by me).

When it is done the piece will measure just under 4' x 10'. Hopefully I'll be done with the bulk of the work by the end of next week.

Anyhow, I have completely enjoyed myself (other than stressing slightly about the mess I made and how short my time is) and can't wait to finish this up. The process demonstrates, however, why it was important for us to find a house with a large, dedicated studio space somewhat removed from the rest of the living space in our house. Apparently my creative process requires chaos to thrive!

So-cool Treehouse!

Was on my way to the music store the other day when I saw this awesome tree house (tree complex?). If you look carefully on the right-hand edge of the photo you can see where the second-floor roof of the house is--this thing is waaaaaaay up in these extremely large trees!

As if the suspension bridge weren't cool enough, these folks have attached a series of rings to the bottom side of it so you can cross like a monkey if you'd like. And they've kept safety in mind--the high ladder is surrounded by construction fencing so kids don't topple off backwards.

Makes me feel a little inadequate as a parent!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

My new studio (and house)!

We have a house in Kingsport! Woo-hoo!

It's a ranch with a big yard in a family-friendly neighborhood in Kingsport City proper, so the kids' schools will be great.

It also has a great BIG studio space--the entire finished basement! Imagine this space with a whopping stash, racks of thread, rolls of batting, a big design wall, and a large space for felting and dyeing (and pay no attention to that woman sticking her tongue out--it's an obscure counting ritual practiced by overwrought house hunters.)
On our first visit we saw deer in the backyard.
My youngest's favorite feature--the laundry chute:Definitely some super spy possibilities here!

Anyhow, it's a lovely house in move-in condition with discrete spaces for living and working, so I think we'll all do very well here.

I already have plans to update a couple of things (like the matchy-matchy pink toilet, bathtub, and twin sinks in the master bath and the dark, dated kitchen) but overall it's a pretty great house. And the housing dollar goes a lot farther down there than it does up here!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Fiber Art Center Closes Doors

So sad. I went in to the Fiber Art Center today to help pack up the last of the consignment goods. It is so difficult to see the physical closure. It took 7 years of hard work by so many people to build it up, yet everything has been dismantled over the course of just a couple weeks.

I have enjoyed the Fiber Art Center as an artist, teacher, vendor, student, audience member, volunteer, working member, cheerleader, public relations coordinator, newsletter editor, fundraiser, curator, etc. It was a lot of hard work but I am so much richer for having done it.

The Fiber Art Center was a marvelous dream and wove together a community of incredibly talented artists and fiber art enthusiasts. Unfortunately, the current economic climate is not conducive to the survival of a small nonprofit arts organization.

I will cherish the memories and the and friends I've made and be eternally grateful for the opportunities, guidance and encouragement I rec'd at the FAC. You all rock!

The website, with a retrospective look at the last 7 years (scroll down the first page) will be up for a few months. Check it out to see what we all wrought.