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Monday, February 28, 2011

Walking in Lacy Winter Love

The dance between the gorgeous white panels and the snow fall amazes me this week. Each day something new. A dusting of snow, a panel delivered. I continue to get phone calls from friends asking "how many panels?". The best answer at this point seems "don't count your chickens before they hatch." Every day brings a new report. A panel completed, a panel that did not quite make it. Twins birthed from an original idea, last minute enthusiasm and new panel created, hurdles to overcome and dedicated artists persisting in their quest. Take heart everyone. The show will be wonderful and you are making it happen. Thank you to all who are cheering from the sidelines too.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Metal Spiral Created

I really wondered when I left the house at 7:30 in the morning yesterday if I would be able to make the trip to Anderson, California. It was snowing. I had the tiny Geo Metro and the road was icy. I only needed to get to Hayfork where Jim would give me a ride out of the mountains and into the flat land of the central valley of California. It is never a sure thing, the mountain weather, in spite of the confidence of weather reporters and satellite imagery. I very nearly cancelled my trip. Some little voice urged me on. I did make it out safely and Jim delivered me to Hudson Mechanical, Inc. owned by Blaine  and Colleen Hudson. Blaine and Colleen very generously let Metal Artist John Ritz use their giant shop to work on the project. John is creating the metal spiral that all the art pieces will hang from for the Walking in Love Installation.

I wonder if there is anything (other than fabric) that is more thrilling than copper? I spent a fun two hours with John as he drafted a grid pattern onto the shop floor and then proceeded to bend one inch diameter copper tubing to fit to the spiral he had drawn within the grid. I marvel at how this whole project has worked. It has gone so well, not without troubles, but every step in perfect timing. Even the delivery of the copper hangers John will use to install the spirals into the ceiling at the Highland Gallery arrived as we worked on the spirals. Next week installation! Thank you John, Blaine and Colleen for your participation in the Walking in Love Installation.

Other good news of the day: the Long Arm Sewing Machine that was left in bits and pieces last week was returned to working order by one of our panel artists and overall mechanically talented, Nick. Frannie is off and running to finish her panels!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Milestone Day

A delightful field trip to Weaverville today with Susan for the first round of collections for the Walking in Love Installation panels! Yvonne at the Highland Gallery made us welcome in the East Gallery as we collected and then labeled seven panels. Each of these panels is unique and wonderful. Love has so many facets. These panels are the  beginning of the flow which will continue to pour in. A good thing the deadline has a little flex in it. Some artists are encountering difficulties which will hopefully be solved before the installation. The current plan is to install the show March 1 through 4. Opening night March 5th!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Dancing Hands

Karen Renaudin, a ceramic artist living in Hyampom, California, allowed me to visit her in her studio home and film her creating a unique concept for the Walking in Love Installation. Karen's vision and enthusiasm for the project are heart warming and exciting. Her idea of hanging multitudes of thin tiles of porcelain in an undulating pattern will be stunning once realized.  The combination of classical music and Karen's hands working the clay were enthralling. Her joy for living is infectious and I left her home feeling glad to be alive and participating in the project. Thank you Karen!
I love how serendipity works. A snow storm descended on us the last few days leaving behind a foot of snow. I got my little car stuck at the bottom of my road so my neighbor Phil drove me to Karen's house for the filming. Well, Phil being the curious person he is jumped right in and began to interview Karen asking great questions. It was a wonderful spontaneous event and I suspect the entire documentary of this Walking in Love Installation will be richer for this unplanned time. Thank you Phil!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Snow White

Heavy snowfall for the last two days mesmerizes. What a way to stay in white.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Obstacles to Walking in Love

How often do I set myself on a path determined to a certain end only to find I can't get there from here? Most of the time I have a certain amount of resilience, the ability to shift about a bit and make adjustments so I may continue on. The ripples in the pond are not so big. What do I do when a giant boulder has been put into the pond and the water is so turbulent that I forget everything except keeping my head above water so I can breath air? Little different story here.

This project presumes working on the art pieces, and for my part as the curator working on all the rest that goes with an installation as well, while holding the concept/feeling of love. John is helping with the metal work that will support all the art pieces. He reminded me a few days ago to return to the premise while working all aspects of the project. I infer from that the necessity to stop myself when I find I am veering off course from the intention of love. The goals, however, have a subtle way of trickling in to take precedence over the premise. After all, deadlines are looming and the Highland Art Gallery is waiting expectantly for this new birth. As are many. And birth it will. But not at the expense of friendships and harmonious gatherings with one another and inside of oneself.

It is important to me to support all of the many artists who are creating pieces for this project. To that end I have found myself helping to install a motor in a long arm sewing machine that decided it had had enough right in the middle of a panel Angenett is working on for the installation. Frannie is scheduled to use the machine after her and neither one  is able to carry out their vision at this point, at least not in the initial way they conceived of it, until we fix this machine. The machine is not cooperating and the four of us who are working on it have set out again and again with the intention of love and have not been able to fix the machine. It is the 15th of February and the deadline is days away. Today we found such frustration come up that we walked away from the machine leaving screws, tools, parts and manuals just as they were while we've been working. It seemed best.

All of us have lives that are going on while we are working on Walking In Love. I don't know anyone who has been able to step completely away from their life and all of it's responsibilities to do this work. And some of us have some very stressful things going on. I know everyone committed to this project would like to complete their pieces and see the final installation, myself included. I also know that if I work on the Walking in Love Installation while I am in extreme anger or frustration or judgment then I am missing the point.

To everyone working on this project please remember to breathe. Those deep breaths really do help release tension. Breathe again and again until you  are able to return to your life, to your art piece, to whatever you are doing from a place of calm, to your ideal of love. And breathe again and again if the first breath set did not help. It took me 45 minutes of breathing after feeling so frustrated working with the machine to release my tension over all the panels that will not be completed because of the machine being out of commission, of the impact on the whole.  In the light of more clear vision I ask that if you are not able to do the piece the way you envision it fully then do something simple. Keep it simple and do it with renewed commitment to the premise: Walking in Love. I believe that the intention will come across whether the art is simple or complex. And if you can't make the dead line for this particular installation then know that this show will move on and you can join in later. Bringing yourself to love is the first and most important step, the cake. The art work is the frosting on that cake!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Walking in Love on a Frozen Path

I am a lifelong sewer. Seamstress. Lover of fabric and what I can make with it. I spent much of my free time as a high school student behind a sewing machine in the middle of our family room making clothes. My three brothers and my sister did not complain. There I was in the middle of the room we all shared as a place to hang out, sewing. I do remember some complaints about the pins and needles occasionally found in the carpet. Since I was the only one who actually stepped on a needle and had it break off in my foot I guess there is a certain rightness to the way it all works.

As anyone who has sewn even a little bit knows, there are times when we need to unsew. We put something in upside down or inside out or backwards. As tempted as I am to keep on going in these situations and just leave things in, with clothing this simply gives you an unwearable or strange garment. I want to say that even mistakes need not deter someone from continuing on without 'fixing' is important. If Loss of Momentum to keep on when undoing would stop you in your tracks completely.

I think I loved to sit in the family room of the home I grew up in and sew because it kept me centered somehow. Grounded in the middle of where I lived, the people I lived with, the rushing about of seven people who were all going in several different directions themselves! The care of myself in a fundamental way: making my own clothes. But also I could use the machine to zoom through the making of clothes while my heart and mind could zone out, contemplate, kanoodle, wander, meditate. And my body could be still from all the activities I was engaged with.

Unsewing must be one of the banes of our life with needle and thread. And yet every single one of us have need of this at times no matter how skilled and gifted we are in our art and craft. As I sat down to write this I suddenly saw how my life is not unlike my sewing. In my life I act in ways that are upside down or backwards to what I know I want the outcomes to be. Many times the results, the consequences are not big. Often times when I go to someone with a wrong I think I have committed they don't even see it. But there are those times in life when a big undoing is needed. Necessary. Important. Vital. To leave A garment without a thorough redo when the sleeve was put in without the ability to put the arm through would render it useless. So too our lives at certain points invite us to examine what might need to be taken out, removed. In a garment a seam ripper is an invaluable tool. In life I find friends are there to help pull out threads and pull apart seams, quilting, put in wrong.

I had the opportunity to have dinner last night with friends. Women that I have sewn with for years. Women that are looking after one another. Women that are standing with one another while some of us are ripping out the seams of our lives and putting things back together correctly. How grateful I am to all of you who are working on this project. Walking in Love in your lives while you do everything you do in your life and are still finding time to support this art. Thank you.

I sing out encouragement to Frannie: You will get your panel done, machine or no machine!
To Angenett: All the love and care you give will come back to you multiplied! Happy Birthday!
To Susan: You are a role model to me in this project the way you are steadfastly giving the work of Walking in Love your full  focus. Happy Birthday!
Mary: you live life in love so seamlessly you are a graceful dance to watch.
Karen: take courage to keep going in following your inner voice creatively.
Everyone: keep breathing. Those three slow deep breathes do return you to the depth of who you are.
To those on the sidelines cheering as we come near to the finish line: Thanks!!!!

Monday, February 7, 2011

A Walking in Love Panel is born!

Today I had the delightful opportunity to witness a new panel being born right in Hayfork, California. The panel was birthed at 2:17 PM and weighs all of 1/2 pound with a pillowcase covering! This creative child comes out the wild experience Nick has had over the last three plus months. An accident put Nick into the home and care of his mother Angenett who is a quilter making a panel for Walking in Love. Who knows how this idea popped into Nick's creativity hopper, but I am so glad it did and that he followed through on the idea and finished! The very first panel to be completed for the Walking in Love Installation (as far as I know)!! 

The panel is created from kerlix and timtex with a small amount of cotton fabric and some white seam binding and steam a seam. Kerlix is the rolled gauzy fabric Nick and Angenett have been using to dress the wounds for all these months. I say this is taking something difficult in life and finding at least one beautiful outcome. The panel is stunningly elegant.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Katie's Panel

Returning to the San Francisco Bay Area to gather for my father's 80th birthday this last weekend was a wonderful opportunity to work the Walking in Love Installation. I brought the  panel I began to honor the life of Katie who recently died. How sweet it was to sit quietly for an hour in the midst of all the running around and parties to celebrate my father and work on the panel. Katie's Mom and Dad helped to stuff the tubes that will weave in and out of the panel. Another brother and his wife sat and stuffed tubes. My father sat and stuffed a tube. This panel is infused with love for Katie. It also brought me to a quiet place in a race around weekend where I could have lost track of what is most important!