Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Check Is In The Mail

Indeed, the check from Diverse Works arrived yesterday in the mail. A check for $3500 from The Idea Fund, a joint program of Diverse Works ArtSpace, Aurora Picture Show and Project Row Houses which is funded by The Andy Warhol Foundation.
Have to say that after I opened the envelope I burst into tears and hugged the check. It's all about validation and confirmation. You work away at something, yet even working with skill and confidence, it fabulous to have tangible affirmation. This was it.
The check's in the bank now and I'll be able to give stipends to each of the artists who are beginning to work on this project with me. Hurray for us all. We've got lots of work ahead.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Table Cloth for Banquets In situ

Just came in from the studio after an hour or more of work assembling a layout of the Hurricane Ike fabrics for the fabled 'Banquets In Situ' table cloth. I say 'fabled' because it's been so much on my mind lately and when I go to the studio over on Harrisburg and see the potential size of the thing, I turn up the anxiety meter. Then I have to tell myself to 'trust in the universe' and just get busy with it.

A friend is coming to the Harrisburg studio mid-week and I'm making this visit a reason to have a section of this immense cloth stitched or at the very least pinned together, so that perhaps we can both envision how a finished crazy quilt of silks, brocades, chenilles and velvets look all torn and layered and encrusted with bias strips of ruffles and random pieces of silver plate flatwear.By the way, I keep siphoning off pieces of these Ike fabrics so I can make myself some floppy vests. I've already draped one and cut a lining on which to piece it together. I love it already. And I have to say, I'm liking some of these fabrics with my crochet work. So it's onward on two fronts with these salvaged fabrics that just got better after the storm and a stint in my washer and dryer.

I am remembering just how it is when I work on a collage or an sort of arrangement. I can stay with it for just over an hour and then I have to take a break. This morning, I've had an extended break, frying three breakfast sausages for a snack and then giving a call to my dad in Seattle who is celebrating his 92d birthday today. Will wonders ever cease? He says they tied a balloon on his walker and he'll have birthday cake at lunch. I said, "Dad, your birthday is a miracle." Last fall, he was on hospice and then as we were all holding our breaths and fearing the worst, he got stronger and stronger and called last night to ask me if I'd send him the tape of his tenor rendition of "Shine on Harvest Moon" which he sang in Aruba back in the 1950s.

OK, back to the mixing and matching of bits of fabric. We'll see how many square feet I can piece together today in one way or another.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

More On Chandeliers and Plates

One thing leads to another. When I went to Lighting Unlimited today to replace a few track light fixtures for my dining room which have been been nonfunctioning for more months than I care to remember, I asked the salesman if they sold parts I could use to build a chandelier or two. The salesman referred me to a shop further west on Richmond and within half an hour I had a much better idea of what is possible for this chandelier that will be overrun with cascading filigreed Clorox bottles. Plus, I'll have a bid for some welding work by tomorrow.

That bit of work sent me on to Southern Imports to price and measure mirrored glass balls. Purchased a ten inch ball and the small motor that goes with it. Also stopped at Texas Art Supply for a few more hole punches. I need to sketch what's in my mind so we can all see a before and after. Hoping to use the white tablecloths that Sonya sent me, rolling them diagonally and running them through the Clorox bottles - yes, we'll cut a hole in the bottom of each bottle. Then we'll hang them all from a central core as if they were part of a May Pole. Need a fan or an air vent near the chandelier so the bottles and fabric waft gently as the mirrored ball in the chandelier's very center covers everything with sparkles.

Thanks to Anne, I am also thinking about plates. I took some unglazed plates to Jesse yesterday that I bought on our trip to Progreso, and now think that we'll cover a whole wall with plates. Hello, garage sales. The wall will have both precious and junk, handmade and made in China.

And I am beginning to put more thought into a chandelier layered with 'Irma things' and garlanded with bias strips of vintage fabrics. Here are some bits and pieces of 'Irma things' that I liked photographing. Can you see some of this stuff on a chandelier?

Wish I had a cache of crystals to use also. And what about the beaded flowers that Mary Garcia fashions so delicately? I need to ask her about those. On it goes. And off to bed.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Second Seating: An Accounting

'Taking stock' of a project's progress is a good exercise. I've always been a big list maker - those perennial 'to do' lists keep me pushing forward, but I am finding that with 'Second Seating', acknowledging accomplishments large and small is a way of affirming real progress and frankly, a good way to keep track of it all.

Since the new year began, I've been keeping very close tabs on where and how 'Second Seating' is moving. I note accomplishments in my day timer along with the meeting dates with potential funders and contributing artists. I think it's made a difference.
Several days ago, I bought a really large desk calendar and am color coding meetings with funders and visits with contributing artists and resource people. I'll know how many calls or visits pushed 'Second Seating' forward, month by month.

It's interesting, or perhaps it is horrifying to note that until I began to write this post, I hadn't color coded time for actually making art for 'Second Seating,' though I have been very busy getting others lined up to make art.

And how does one color code the hours spent 'thinking about making the art'? On my walk today, I designed the internal structure for the Clorox chandelier. It would be interesting to make note of the hours spent 'thinking.' Are there, perhaps, better verbs to describe what goes on in one's head? Mulling? Wool gathering? Day dreaming? I sure spend a lot of time in my head, doing whatever 'it' is.
Here's what happened in January that 'moved the meter' as CK used to say:
1. 'Second Seating' was selected for grant funding from The Idea Fund, a program of Diverse Works, Aurora Picture Show and Project Row Houses that is supported by The Andy Warhol Foundation. This was very good news and a great way to begin the year.
2. I moved a lot of 'stuff' into a large studio space on Harrisburg where I can see how things are shaping up. Most of the images in this post are things I took to the new space. Sometimes, seeing them there comforts me. Other times, I panic.

3. Invited two major East End companies to become underwriters of specific chandeliers or tables. Outlook is positive.
4. Set the stage for meeting with three other companies.
5. Found an electrical contractor who will make sure that the chandeliers are properly wired and workable and will install them when the moment comes. Thank you, thank you. This means that nothing will blow up or short out.
6. Met with three artists who'll participate in 'Second Seating' by creating chandeliers and/or tables. I'll write about these terrific artists in other posts. They are each skilled and talented in different ways. Ceramics, metal work, painting, batik. It will be grand to watch how and what they produce for this installation.
7. Met with an artist friend who teaches at HCCS Southeast who asked if her two classes could participate in 'Second Seating.' They'll help make the chandelier of Clorox bottles in the weeks of late February through mid-March. June and I are now making samples of filigreed bottles and I'm wondering where I'll go to buy several hula hops for part of the structure.

8. Met Irma's architect who declared she'd been looking for resources for recycled objects to put in the new space. We're a match.
9. Drafted a first press release that I hope will generate two hundred coffee mugs from East End residents. Still must send it on its way.
9. Rewrote a grant application for Houston Arts Alliance - it took many hours of the last week of January. How I labor over words. Pushed the submit button at 4:24 p.m. last Friday.

In addition to all of this, I spent a weekend seeing as much as I could of Prospect.1 New Orleans, traveled to Brownsville with Irma to meet with Ted and Jose about the project and yes, Irma and I spent a day shopping in Progreso. A friend hosted a Sunday afternoon trunk show for me and I sold ten pieces of crochet collars and capelets (Will I ever find a fit name for this wearable art I crochet?). Throughout all of this, my siblings and I are communicating daily about Mom and Dad's increasing care needs, quality of life, meds, caregivers: there are no good solutions. We spin our wheels and try to make decent decisions. Not a bit of it is easy.

Had a cold, tachycardia overtook me twice, currently have an inflamed right eye... are these coincidences? I think not. And then there just happened to be a presidential inauguration amidst the growing financial doom that is beginning to affect every single one of us. Safe to say I absolutely loved Barack Obama's Inauguration Day and am in denial about financial doom.
So that sums up January 2009. It's February 2 now and I've had a late evening sinking spell of acute proportions and am calling in more troops to help with this whole colossal task. Am I an absolute fool or is this all doable?