|Detail of the mask I made for a|
collage page in my friend Jill's
So, it's July. Though I have been gathering both my thoughts and images on my computer, for much of this Stay-at-Home time, I have been quasi-frozen. Like many of you, I have learned how to manage a Zoom call. I have rearranged my work spaces, including clearing out a lot of currently unused items from my art studio, to make room for more art supplies. In the process, I found some wonderful old artwork treasures that I'll share with you another time.
Some days I hum along happily, doing the work in front of me, writing emails, letters and postcards, and, now, in the summer weather, spending time in my lovely garden. Other days, though, like my birthday in May, or now, when my county in Ohio is in the State's Red Alert public health crisis zone, I feel alone, isolated, vaguely sad, and, recently, absolutely furious. Outraged, in fact. Darn right pissed off at the self-centered crazies who simply will not wear a mask or follow the simple rules to get us all through this thing. They are making it worse for all of us, as we suffer together through a lack of federal leadership and crisis response. I have never witnessed such blatant corruption and incompetence in my life.
So, what to do? Well, I do have a journal on my desk in my office here. It says Grateful on the front in all caps, gold lettering on a pretty orange cover. I write in it. Some days I can't think of anything new to write that I'm grateful for. But I'm trying.
Enter my longtime art group. The three of us, Jill Milenski, Gail Crum and I, have had three three-woman exhibitions with a hundred artworks in the past four years. We normally meet every week. I cannot tell you how much I have missed them.
Back in April we "met" on Zoom. We didn't make anything; we just talked, face to face, so to speak. I talked about how surprised I was at what a hard time I was having. We caught up on news, family stuff. At some point, Jill, always full of boundless energy, suggested we do an altered book round robin. It works like this: we each picked a book to alter and worked on it to set the theme, making pages to build on. Then, dressed in masks and gloves with books in plastic ziploc bags, we traded on each others' porches every week or so. Gail picked a German language kids book. Jill picked a kids book of knowledge, and I picked a book I'd had for years, Drawing at the Circus. The circus theme appealed to me, given the fact that a few months ago I finished making Clown Show: The Smallest Man in the World.
|Clown Show: The Smallest Man in the World. It's |
a big, 3-D piece, 36" high. I haven't been able to
exhibit it anywhere yet. It speaks to the times.
|This is the front cover of my|
altered book. It is currently on view
at the Yards Project gallery.
Liz Maugans, the incomparable Cleveland artist, curated an exhibit at the Yards Project gallery called Art Made in the Shut Down. Gail and Jill suggested we enter our pieces. Gail had already made another altered book by herself, a book about Time, which was perfect for the show. Jill and I entered our pieces. Recently, Liz did a gallery tour, and another one is scheduled for tomorrow, July 11. I'll add the link to it after it happens. You can see her paging through a few of our altered books on the video.