Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tired? Most Assuredly.

This is a photo my daughter Caroline took of me on Sunday evening after four days of family flying in and out for the opening of Second Seating and all of its attendant celebrations. It's Tuesday and I could still fall asleep on the floor given a moment or two. And I wouldn't have missed one minute of anything. Good days, all.

Welcome: International Quilt Festival

Quilt festival was born thirty years ago right here in Houston and today, it's the city largest annual convention, filling more hotel rooms and restaurant seats than oil and gas get-togethers. Imagine that! The vision of Karey Bresenhan and the power of quilters makes history year after year.Quilters and quilt lovers, welcome to Second Seating, the visual arts installation that is a fabulous mix of diverse dinner tables and quirky chandeliers all made from found objects, reclaimed materials and recycled packaging from Houston's East End industries.And Second Seating is right next door to Irma's Restaurant. Winner of a 2008 James Beard Foundation American Classics award, Irma is serving a 'Second Seating Lunch Plate Special' through November 7.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Second Seating 'Gatherings'

Lots of visitors and the guest book filling up. And hey folks, the work of eight artists is beautiful and all for sale. Every plate, every cup and every chandelier, every painting and table is for sale. Agnes Welsh Eyster's chandeliers are encrusted with metal flowers and colorful strips of aluminum cans. Jose Solis assembled a terrific chandelier with blue wine bottles and wire. I'm loving it all.We've discovered that Second Seating is so beautiful at night that we're planning several evening 'gatherings.' Let me know if you want to be on the email invite list by leaving a comment below. Place is truly gorgeous after dark. Enjoy.
We're loving this 'take' on Post Oak Boulevard's stainless steel arches. We even have bedding plants at the base of each beam. Ode to John Breeding and all those flower beds along the boulevard.Detail of a blue agave from one of Mercedes Fernandez' paintings. You can find yourself falling under the spell of these paintings because they are simply so luscious.A detail from a wall hanging with fabrics damaged by Hurricane Ike flood waters. I love the piece.
Bayou, Bay, Beach table in the late afternoon when the western sun shines through the windows. Just like an underwater fantasy and I love all the shreds of plastic hanging from the bottom of the chandelier on to the table and candelabra. A very good idea, Mark, to hang all those shreds of plastic.
Love the shadows and light that play behind Aggie's Tapestry piece.
And who would love a pot of pinto beans with clay roses. A lady bought one of these roses today. Shall I wrap them in pinto beans when she picks up her rose on November 7 when the show closes?
Aggie's tables are divine. Now is the moment to buy one.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

A Few More Photos From Opening Night

Lots of folks taking pictures when Second Seating opened on Thursday evening. Here are a few more just downloaded. I think I was introducing Councilmember Sue Lovell here in the first photo.And here's a photo of Diverse Works co-director Diane Barber whom I first met when she came to volunteer at FotoFest in 1990. Thanks to Diverse Works for becoming the first underwriter of Second Seating last January.
And then there's that Wall of Plates, each with a hand written message. You've got to love that strawberry pink!
Here's Phyllis and me. And then a good photo of Mary, Sonya and Queta at the supper we all shared out on the patio after the reception.
Here's a photo of Catarina Williams' grandfather and family.
And Joe Cooper, a man who has supported this project when it was just a five page document. He could see it, or perhaps he simply knew that I could gather the wherewithal and the whomevers to do it.

And here are the guys very late in the evening. That's Gonzo247 on the far left and then Moises, Jeff, Alex, Chad, Martin and Angel. And I couldn't bear not to be in the middle of the photo. It was a wonderful evening.

Second Seating's First Day

The good news is that folks were coming to Second Seating all day long. Jeff Brown, our docent for the very first day estimated about 20 during the morning hours and many said they'd come because of the coverage on ABC Channel 13. And while I was there, a steady stream of people wandered through the exhibition. What's not to love?The girls and I got there just before noon. Caroline and her high school friend Mary T. Anderson went into Irma's for lunch. Caroline asked for the Second Seating Lunch Plate. Must have been the first request and there was some confusion, but I think that little signs on each table will help. The special consists of two of my favorite things from Irma's menu: a spinach enchilada and a chicken mole enchilada with a little salad, beans and rice. It's terrific.Sidebar: Below is a photo montage I made of Caroline and Mary T. for the SiliconStones installation at Houston Center For Photography in 1985. They were probably sophomores in high school when I shot this image on a stretch of beach at South Padre Island. And that means I've been loving the making of installations for 25 years. SiliconStones was the first.I must make a docent schedule for the run of Second Seating. I'm learning what duties docents will have: Windex the glass top table, feather dust the objects on the several others, straightened the wall pieces, water the bedding plants under the silver arches, keep the music playing. I need to buy a counter so we know just how may folks wander around the space each day. Aggie stopped by to wax her table tops. That may be another periodic job for docents.
Must email Ted and Jose and let them know they were really missed on Thursday evening.
It's going to be a big month and a fun month. Here are a couple more photos from opening night. Can't wait to see the hundreds of photos that Laurie will bring. That's Laurie's back and she's busy photographing.
I love seeing the folks in the photo below. Modelle's on the left holding roses that she bought for me and which were such a surprise. Modelle, I couldn't have made it through without you. Then there is Hedy from the Greater East End District who's been in on this grand project since its inception. John is there from The Clorox Company. Clorox is one of the first underwriters sho signed on for Second Seating and has been supportive in every way. Then, there's my high school friend Carl, my brother John, my long time friend Sheila and Spectrum Metal Recycling's Byron Capito and his wife. So, a composite of wonderful people. Multiply that by hundreds and you get a sense of the evening.
Right in front of us all is that gorgeous table that Offenhauser made as a scale replica of the Post Oak Blvd. arches which the company fabricated years ago. We added a flats of bedding plants below the table, because those boulevard arches are perennially surrounded by elaborate arrangements of seasonal flowering plants.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Second Seating Is Here

Haven't posted in days because my little camera broke and when the girls arrived they bought me a new one and then I couldn't figure out how to download. So the opening of Second Seating has come and lingers yet. It was pretty wonderful to see so many friends and business associates and colleagues and supporters. Truly wonderful.And how lucky was it to have ABC Channel 13 call on Tuesday and ask to do a story on Second Seating, broadcast live from the space for both the 4:00 and 6:00 news hours?

Everyone was in good spirits and it sure is wonderful to hug so many terrific folks and hear mariachis and see how many appreciated the space and the work of individual artists. More photos are coming. Laurie was very busy with her cameras this evening.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Saturday, A Very Good Day

We got a lot done today. Finally got the wall of plates 'right' with lots of bright pink checkerboard pattern along the edges in tandem with Aggie's little strips of metal cans. Suddenly, I knew I had it. It's been days, but it happened this morning.Nathan arrived to see why the big can lights aren't working and then he went off to Home Depot to buy fluorescent lights for the tracks. There simply is not enough light and he has a job ahead of him. On Monday, he may have to buy all new light bulbs for everything and reinstall.
Mark and Moises brought ever more of that green corrugated metal from behind my studio and filled the space between the metal walls and rebar on the back wall near the Bayou, Bay, Beach table and it is remarkable how good it looks. Pulls the whole back of the space together.
Early this morning I finally, at long last, drilled holes in the sheets of Plexi and got them nailed to the collage frames and then carted them to the space. We've not hung them yet because we got busy on the table top for that Bayou, Bay, Beach tableau. We are adding more 'plastic' besides plastic bottles amongst the oyster shells. Whole thing will be brocade, fishing nets and plastic. I actually need some more silver scalloped shells. I thought I had enough, but I could use more. Amazing.
Irina brought us sandwiches from Whole Foods which was a lovely thing to do. Late in the afternoon, I finished two more columns for the Clorox chandelier so that's done now and level. Also like the table top, such as it is, for the bale of compressed cans and so Moises and I put all the oil drilling pipe lights on the table 'just to see.'
This evening I looked through all of my fabrics wishing I had a very formal white linen table runner with cut work to spread over the center of this 'found' sign that is the table top. Instead I have a collection of great fabrics, including some old red velvet draperies I bought in Galveston years ago with Irina which sheds, but may be the very thing for this crazy table. Hope it works.Ended the day at El Rey with Cuban tacos. Time to shower and get into bed. Haven't even taken the NYT out of its blue plastic wrapper in two days. Simply working.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday and Counting

Slow start today. Not out of bed until nearly 9:00. What a surprise. Then spent time catching up with emails and putting something really nice in motion with the Houston Dynamos and their terrific chandelier. More on that later. So I didn't get to the Second Seating space until nearly 11:00 a.m. Met Moises and Mark there and we began on too many projects at once. An exercise in futility and disorganization.Finally hit our stride late afternoon after a clarifying trip to Bohemeo's over on Telephone Rd. for lattes, espresso and fish and veggie tacos. Well caffeinated and having taken many photos (They asked, "Are you always photographing what you eat and who you're with?" The answer is "Yes.") we returned to the space and began to hang stuff on the walls.We hung Aggie's things first and then my three photo montage pieces. Her work is beautiful. Folks are going to go crazy for it. The tables, the wall pieces. Can hardly wait for them to see it all. Jesse came by and took two of his batiks to get them ready for hanging.
We came back to the house for some of that green corrugated sheet metal Mike Garver let me have last year for my studio walls and screen porch. I still have some pieces left and we strapped them on the top of my car with bungees and drove them down to Chenevert. The guys inserted them piece by piece in between the rebar and all of a sudden the corner took on a whole new atmosphere. It became a 'space.'
They went back to the house for more and I stayed and painted on the Wall of Plates shelves. Added some of Aggie's colorful cut out metal from aluminum cans. We'll see how it looks in daylight tomorrow.Then we looked at how we'd hang things on the green wall. Mark and Moises took that fabric wall piece I made and instead of holding it out as a big square, one of them hung it by a corner and - wow, it looks great and we'll hang it that way. And there is plenty of space for my collages. The real trick is to get the Plexi on them - still not done. May go out to the studio in a few minutes and drill some holes and try to get at least one done...or go to bed and get up early in the morning. Nathan is coming at 10:00 to check on the big stage lights. They are not turning on yet. Hope it's not a big deal to find what the problem is.
So, all is well and there is still a ton of work to be done. More than a ton. What am I doing adding all these photos to this post? When I should be out putting Plexi on painted wood frames.