I'm officially the worst at updating my blog during times of chaos and tight deadlines. It has been a heck of a couple months guys! SO much stuff has been going on! I've actually gone through periods of time where I've been upset with myself for taking on so many things and making myself busy and frantic all of the time, but in a recent conversation with my dad he actually made me feel much better about everything. He was convinced that I'd done this on purpose, that it was strategic and the only way things could be going if I was going to get better, do better and continue to grow. So now and then when I have these moments of panic and think to myself over and over again "I need to get myself together, everything is chaos" I correct myself and try to repeat "I know what I'm doing and I'll get it done" over and over again until I sort of believe it. Sometimes you have to try to convince yourself of things that feel like lies but probably aren't.
I will say that in all this busy-ness it's hard to feel present. When one is moving from deadline to deadline, time really kinda slips away. It's not my favorite feeling, to have my whole year planned out, as organized as I may be. Next year I would like to take it a little easier - allow for a little more meandering, a little more wandering. I think I'm going to aim for 1 solo show and one installation next year, and hopefully a collaborative show or two will turn up that I can participate in. This year I will have participated in a total of 6 shows, collaborative and solo, by the end of the year and that's honestly a little insane!! But hey, my CV is happy and that's worth something. As my dad reminded me - I'm currently laying the foundation for my career and for future shows that will only build my art higher.
Let's review the last couple of months.
So after the completion of 'Roses Redressed', at the very beginning of May, some friends who were getting married at the end of the month (that same month) asked me if I'd be interested in doing some simple embroidery on the cloth covering their Chuppah in their jewish wedding ceremony. For those who don't know, the Chuppah is the altar, but it's a four-post altar symbolizing a house and the home that the two people who are getting married will build together. The ceremony happens within this four-post altar with the cloth serving as the roof/ceiling. I was touched by their request and got to work on a giant piece of fabric for this purpose - it was 7 x 9 feet. They wanted the colors to include purples and greens and told me they loved willow trees, so I went with something really simple and willow-tree inspired (this is a detail collage and doesn't include one of the smaller embellishments I repeated various times throughout):
After committing to embroidering the Chuppah, I heard from them a week or so later when they had a little emergency with the artist who had agreed to paint their Ketubah - apparently an opportunity came up that she had to take and she was going to leave town and couldn't complete the commission - anyway, long story short they asked if I would also consider making their Ketubah, along with the Chuppah cloth. For those who don't know, a Ketubah is an illustrated wedding contract that has the couple's vows to one another, their signatures as well as the signatures of the officiant and a witness, a little introduction in Hebrew and any kind of embellishing or decorating that they'd like. These guys wanted a willow tree, because, as it turns out, they really hit it off under the willow trees on the banks of the Potomac River. For the Ketubah I used watercolor and ink, carefully spacing out and copying the vows, trying to write Hebrew in a way that didn't look totally alien and amateur. I'm really happy with how it turned out though there were a couple of mistakes in the Hebrew composition for the piece in the photograph that I fixed afterword:
Here is a little slideshow of the progress of the willow tree in the Ketubah!
The couple loves it - It's currently on their mantle in their home in Minneapolis :).
After the wedding commissions had been turned in, I celebrated my 29th birthday and weeded the flowerbeds and veggie garden, watered my plants and cleaned the house. May had turned out to be much busier than I had anticipated as the month was beginning, but the challenges had been fun. A week after my birthday came my beau, Colin's. He'd given me some exquisite hand-printed Japanese papers for my birthday that he'd brought back from a trip to Santa Monica (from the amazing Hiromi Paper Inc.) and I wanted to make him a collage for his birthday that included the paper he'd gotten for me. This is what I gave him!
With the beginning of June I made some impromptu little trips - up to NYC for a night to surprise see a dear friend in a play, and that same week Colin and I drove up to Alexandria for the Opening of 'Please Touch' in The Torpedo Factory's Target Gallery. I had one piece in the show, Bedtime Reading/Rest Assured - the pillow that I made out of recycled law textbooks, which I got to talk about a little during the opening. It was really exciting :) The show was curated by the amazing Cynthia Connolly and the audience could physically interact with all of the pieces in it without feeling bad or guilty about it. People put their heads on the pillow and squeezed it, which made me happy!
Here's a reminder of the pillowcase (details):
The pillow about to get shipped!
And a photo of me at the opening!
I spent a couple of days in DC after the opening to get my art fix, hitting up the Sackler Gallery, The African Art Museum, The Hirshhorn, and the National Portrait Gallery. It had been a while since I'd been to an art museum and it felt great to stare in wonder at textures, shapes and colors - to see ancient or old pieces next to contemporary ones. The Sackler and African Art Museum actually kinda stole my heart - I'd never been to either and they were amazing. If you can check them out, do it!
Upon returning to Charlottesville, I finished up the initial stage of one of the smaller embroideries I've been working on to send to Melbourne (remember how I've been talking about doing this for months!? It's still happening!). Here's a photo of the little piece before paint and after paint (still some color embroidery left to go!)
Once I'd made some progress with that piece, I buckled down to work on the rose petal installation that I've been pressing petals for for six months! The opening reception is July 1st from 7pm - 9pm but the show will be up for a couple of months at least. It will be hanging in a little space called The Ixhibit. If you live in Charlottesville and have come to know the IX area a little bit, there is a tiny room (10 x 12 feet) right next to Brazos Tacos and that is where my installation will be!
I've now been working on it for about a week and it's really coming along. The current petal count is up to 2,081! I've been counting them as I go and will continue to do so, so that I have a final count at the end. Here are some process shots.
Thank you for reading this epic blog post, you guys are the best! Promise I won't let so much time lapse next time! The plan is to make shorter posts more regularly - thanks for your patience!!