Saturday, September 5, 2015

A Slice of My Summer

Coconut Cream Pie at Irondale Cafe in Birmingham Alabama.
Irondale Cafe is the location of the movie Fried Green Tomatoes.
A quintessential southern whistlestop diner and the fried green tomatoes
are dangerously delicious.

It has been so long since I've written that it's become awkward for me to transition back into it.

To counteract my paralysis I'm going to jump in with two feet and write this abbreviated version, however long of a post, about my summer. Enough to break the ice and get back into the swing of things!

June 3, I accompanied my father on a trip to his childhood home in Birmingham Alabama. He manages to visit every couple of years but it's been about 25 since I've been there. I reconnected with aunts, uncles, cousins and met new family. Attended the 60th reunion of my fathers junior high school. Made significant progress adding information to a family tree. Visited graveyards, old houses, swimming holes and hangouts. Listened to many stories. And consumed lots of southern delicacies like catfish, hush puppies, biscuits, barbecue and more. A very rich experience that has given me new perspective on my family history.

My Uncle Donnie's installation.... I mean garage.  We definitely share a family resemblance!

Late June into July I had the honor to teach at Governors Institute on the Arts in Castleton VT. Faculty from diverse backgrounds including visual arts, poetry, music, puppetmaking, dancing, singing, acting, videography, and so much more, convened for 2 weeks of total immersion in daily artmaking. I taught two classes, Power Figures and Installation. The privilege to work with these passionate high schoolers who are finding themselves through art is bigger than I can put into words. Watch this video and see for yourself.

One of the many beasts created by the talented students at GIA.
HOUSE -  Conceptualized and installed by the Installation class in response to the haunted
second floor of the house where we held classes plus their interest in material culture.
Just a few of my fantastic, fun, intelligent rock-star students!!!

Three days after arriving home from GIA in mid July, we left for a 17-day jaunt through Peru. This trip proved to be very challenging for my husband and me. We were plagued with altitude sickness and other things which slowed us down and affected our energy level. In spite of those distractions we travelled to Lima, Ayacucho, Cuzco, Ollantaytambo, Chinchurro, Pisac, Puno and more. I met nationally renown artisans in their studios where they shared their artmaking processes with me. We visited Machu Picchu. We visited an authentic Reed Village on Lake Titicaca. We experienced the ingenuity of Inca culture at the Salt Terraces of Maras and the horticultural experiments in Moray. We witnessed the spirit and life of an indigenous proud people with spontaneous, unrehearsed happenings of dance and music that popped up everywhere when least expected. The colors are stunning. The vistas are raw and majestic. Individuals are incredibly independent, free-spirited and have a strong sense of who they are and where they come from.

Extremely photogenic and friendly smiles everywhere we went.
This photo was taken in the weaving village of Chinchurro.
Notice the hat. Each region of Peru has their own style of hat worn by the women.
Farther south in Puno, the hats are made and embroidered by the husband
upon the promise of marriage.
One of the artisans I had the honor of visiting during our stay in Ayacucho.
Here, Julio Galvez Ramos is teaching me how to carve alabaster into a heart pendant.
Not as easy as he makes it look!

So now it's September and the beginning of a new year (can't shake that school year cycle).

Here's a highlight of the coming months: 
- I'll be in a pop-up show with Adria Arch in Beacon Hill. We'll be showcasing our new work and providing a great reason to have a party... more on that soon!
- New workshops that I am offering beginning in November. Check out my website for current info.
- A tutorial video with Creative Living Works on needlefelting technique that we'll be recording in September.
- Thrilled to be mentoring an extremely talented MFA student from Lesley University for the semester.
- Invigorated by a new Artist Reading Group.
- And the whole month of October as the Artist in Residence at Weir Farm in CT where I'll be preparing for my solo show at Maud Morgan Arts Center happening in January.

If you made it this far into the post, I thank you for your attention! Please write me about your summer too.

One of my many rewards.
I received so many hugs and thank-yous and gifts and notes.
A real treasure.

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