Sunday, October 18, 2009

Busy is good, right?

Color me! Artist as Quiltmaker entrant Susan Shie brings smiles and happiness everywhere she goes. She added this to the back of her entry envelope.

My busy week began last Saturday in Oberlin, Ohio. I arrived at the Firelands Association for the Visual Arts to meet the Artist as Quiltmaker XIV juror, Carolyn Mazloomi, and the generous volunteers who came to help me, the curator, with the image jury for the exhibition.

Some of the Artist as Quiltmaker XIV entries, organized for the Image Jury.

After a nice lunch with my friend and colleague Mary Ann Tipple, I drove home, showered and dressed for a fun evening out at my local arts facility, BayArts. A local writer friend, Kristen Hampshire, hosted a book signing in the gallery of the art center, and my husband's band, Back Bay (aka 'The Lads') performed. There was a great crowd, as Kristen signed several of her books, and people crowded into the gallery to hear the music and talk. I have never seen so many local writers in one room at one time. What a blast!

Kristen (center) with a fan, and her editor from Quarry Books, Mary Ann (left)

After the show, recording artist Cletus Black stopped by the house to drink some beer and gab with us. It was fun getting to know him better, and, for me, to learn more about being an artist from a singer/songwriter's viewpoint. I have learned over the years that the creative process is the same in many ways, only differing somewhat as the approach takes on different guises. If an artist is a songwriter, musician, actor, poet, writer or visual artist, there is a common experience to be shared. Creative inspiration is universal, yet simultaneously unique to the creator. We stayed up talking way too late. I was invited to join Cletus on Tuesday, when Back Bay went into the recording studio to add some kick-ass guitar and back up vocals for his new album.

Sunday morning, I slept in, and aaahhh, what a luxurious indulgence. I worked on getting the Artist as Quiltmaker jury notification letters prepared, and drank way too many cups of coffee. I like to respond to the artists who enter the show as soon as possible, so that they can either enter their work into another show, or prepare to ship it to FAVA for the Object Jury in November, when the juror selects the final work that will be exhibited next May, and awards the prize money.

On Monday, I began to prepare for my contribution to an artist's group project, Compositional Conversations. This is a cool project started by my colleague Terry Jarrard Dimond. I have blogged about this project before, and encourage you to check out Terry's link to see more. I have now sent the piece to the next artist, and will be writing more about my thought processes concerning this collaborative project later this week.

Back Bay at the Dave's studio (center); David Speaker and Chris Pritchard discuss the microphone set-up with Dave.

Tuesday evening finally arrived, and it promised to be a fun night. I was not disappointed. Chris added a cool rhythm guitar track, then he and David laid down vocal tracks to Cletus' song Drew Us Kings. The album will probably be out in the spring.

Cletus arrived, and he and I sat in the upstairs "crow's nest" listening to the vocal tracks, and talking about art.
Dave's cool board...

Since this was the first time I had been in a recording studio, I was fascinated by every aspect of it. The digital technology is simply amazing. Study and talent in special combinations are required for all: the artists recording, playing music, and singing, and the engineering on the board. Oh, and Dave is also an amazing musician with a great ear!

After David needed to take off to take his dogs home, Cletus invited Chris to stay. He recorded a demo of his version of another of Cletus' songs, Road to Nowhere, from his Down Those Tracks cd. Of the thirty plus years I have been lucky enough to be surrounded by Chris' music, this little demo recording, with his heartfelt vocals and simple acoustic guitar, is one of my all-time favorites. Not to mention, it's a fabulous song, with lyrics that will bring tears to your eyes.

The Taylor or the Fender? The Taylor or the Fender? Chris and Dave test out guitar sounds to see which one will be right for the recording. Just like visual artists, using the right tools for the desired effect is crucial.
After Road to Nowhere, Dave recorded while Cletus and Chris played a rousing Cletus Black version of Kansas City. By the time they were done, it was after midnight (the hour, not the song!), and we had stayed up past out bedtime again. What a fun night!
Did I mention it was only Tuesday? More of the busy week's events to come. Happy October!


  1. Busy is good.
    Too busy is...well...okay for a short time.
    WAAAAAY too busy is a trip to the nuthouse with the padded walls!

    I am familiar with the latter..... ;)


  2. It seems the busier I am at any given moment, the more I accomplish!

  3. I am one of the lucky ones and anxious to see if the next step goes by quickly and I can be part of this event for the first time. I am so anxious to hear the are lucky to have music over the decades in your home. I have been motivated to work hard every day because time is the real present we have to give one another. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

  4. Yes, and congratulations, Mary Helen. Look forward to seeing your piece in person!
    I will have to see if I can get my husband to upload some mP3 files of the music. It's so wonderful.
    Ahhh,'s so fleeting and fragile, and yet if we stay in the moment, it feels like forever...

  5. Looks like you've got a lot on your plate, as ever... but at least you got to hang with "the Clete" ;)

    Love you,


  6. Hi Quatty. I was so surprised, when I came over here, to see my envelope drawing on your blog! Thanks! I was trying to think of what to paint on a nice 24 x 24" stretched canvas, for our Red Cross auction. St Q and some Peace! Thanks for reminding me!

    Hurray for the busy times that are good times, and for your fun with the recording session! Congrats to Chatty!

    Congrats to Mary Helen, too! I hope we both get in, and we can hang out with our men and Gayle and her man at FAVA!

    Love, Pomme

  7. Loved your "color me" envelope, Po! Glad it reminded you. It would be a great drawing for the auction!
    Looking forward to a fun time in May, and hope all of you will be there ; ))