Thursday, August 5, 2021



Mouse House Party: Fill the Hole opens this Friday!

I am honored to be one of 150 artists invited to participate
 in the Mouse House Party: Fill the Hole.

The exhibit opens at Current Cleveland art gallery on Friday, August 6, 2021
and was spurred by Liz Maugans and organized by her, as well.

Using an arch shapes provided by Maugans and representing a Mouse Hole, artists were asked
to make work expressing how they felt last year during the Covid pandemic, 
or illustrate how they spent their time.

My work, Prayers for the Dead, illustrates the grief and loss I have 
been experiencing since the beginning of the pandemic.

Monday, May 31, 2021

Learning To Follow My Bliss: part one

Double Rainbow, barely visible
  The spiritual writer Deepak Chopra has a meditation that I     like to do on a regular basis that he describes as "Follow     Your Bliss." Translated from Sanskrit, Chopra describes   these meditation principles, Sat Chit Anandan as   foundational to existence. This meditation mantra   emphasizes that there is more than enough of all we need   and desire to go around. In my meditation, I try to focus on   being filled with love, and  calling in the love that I desire,   the love that is already there for me.

 Extra love is the nourishment I require right now. Extra is   the wrong word, but I don't stop to interrupt the flow of   writing to try to find a better one. I call in love to comfort my feeling of overwhelming grief.

 I don't think I told you yet that I saw a double rainbow last   week. During my trip back home to see my ill sister, I was   a passenger, so I tried to capture the private sensations I   experienced while traveling the familiar roads, because I   wanted to share them with you, you riding beside me in   the car, walking beside me as I walked the familiar streets,   seeing all the familiar places that created us in our youth.

Seeing a double rainbow is a spiritual experience, an auspicious omen of good things ahead. That's how it felt seeing it, the longest-lasting rainbow of any sort that I have ever seen. Barely visible in this snapshot from a moving car, it shimmered in a rainstorm sky for a good twenty-five minutes, sending out its blessings to all who saw it.

Today I am the white horse riding alone, remembering the rainbow, but not basking in its soft, colorful glow. I am seeking my bliss, but not finding it today, even though it is there waiting for me. 

Medicine Sticks for the memorial

Yesterday, while I was still in the thrall of my bliss, I did my meditation at my studio. After a morning of sorting through my brother's belongings, a parting gift from his former landlord as I left my childhood home to return to my current one, I needed a place to put my feelings of peace and joy and connection. I took with me a stick my brother had started to work into something, the dark one second from the left, along with some deer hide lacing he had wrapped around the stick. Both the stick and lacing reeked of cigarettes that will eventually dissipate, even as they carry the energy of my brother's hands. I put on my new Spotify playlist, and got to work with my drill, the stick beginning to smoke from the friction of the drill bit going deep until it emerged on the other side and I thought of my deep joy. I finished with sand colored waxed linen, carefully wrapping it tightly around the surface, imbuing the beautiful beach stick with my wishes for dear Denny: Deep peace of the quiet earth to you. 

And I am looking to find my double rainbow.

We are, each one, on our own path.

Monday, May 24, 2021

Full Circle, Beginnings and Endings


My brother Denny and my mom in the 1950s
This has been quite a year so far, a time of quiet reflection, of rediscovering passion, of circling back to childhood, of reconnecting with people who loved my family and who love me. It has also been a time of unspeakable loss, beginning with the sudden death of my brother at the end of February and the precarious nature of life itself even in the present, as other loved ones face down illness and more. And in the middle of all of it, I had an amazing opportunity to exhibit my work, which is one of the greatest honors of my life, sharing my work with the public and hearing their comments and feedback.

Working on the exhibition interfered with my grieving process. Because I am an artist, I was grateful to be able to begin finding my way again through sitting quietly and making art as I prepared for it. I mentioned one of the new pieces, Traveler, in a previous blog post, which I finished and dedicated to my brother. Following the gentle rhythm of my ideas and trusting the process, I kept working.

I finished a second piece, Talisman, that ended up being a trip down the rabbit hole back into my childhood family and my own childhood. The eggs at the bottom are my siblings; the five of us, now down to three. There are many childhood references, address numbers, birthdates, toys, moving parts, game pieces, a clock face, a broken Swiss army knife. A whiff of the past that pulsed through my veins into the present, as I let it come out in the work. It's one of my favorite pieces. Value the process.

Talisman by Gayle Pritchard, 2021

So, I go 'round and 'round, my head and heart spinning and breaking as I try to return to joy. This is the energy of the week of an total eclipse, the psychics and astrologers say, a week where it is time to be quiet and reflect while the full circle is completed. Clear the way for the future, make room for what is coming.

Grief and loss can consume a person. The path to living, however, is digging your way out from the abyss. That takes resilience, a highly undervalued skill developed through adversity; a skill that allows humans to completely lose their way and still come back, full circle, once again, to brings their gifts back to the world. What I am truly grateful for, as always, is that I know how I will heal; it will be the same way I have always healed: picking up the bits and pieces, fragments of memories and conversations, glimpses into another's soul, while I wait for what is mine, a gift from the universe.

This last artwork says it all, which is why I bought it from my friend Jill Milenski when it spoke to my heart. I have it hanging in my home where I can see it several times a day. It will be my new mantra for now.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Art and Meaning

She Found Her Voice by Gail Crum
from the exhibition 
Uncovered Stories

  If you are a member of the viewing public as opposed to being an   artist,   you may not know that one of the many beautiful things   that art does   is bring meaning to the times. Artists have a way of   looking at the world differently than most people. That quirky way   of   seeing gets   combined with the tools of expression, and the     end   result, the piece of  art, is what you see when you visit an   exhibition like my current   one, Uncovered Stories

 In this three-woman exhibition, the fourth one presented by Gail   Crum, Jill Milenski, and me in as many years, much of the work   presented was made during the pandemic last year. Artworks, such   as our trio of altered books made to keep us going and connected,   reflect what was happening just as a contemporaneous journal   written during the Civil War would. You just need to open your   heart to connect to the artwork.

The artists created altered books, which they shared in a 
round robin during the pandemic, to stay connected with 
each other when they couldn't meet.


Gail's piece, shown above, finds meaning in  uncovering the beauty in a cast-off cloth doll, which she placed in a glass case she lined with delicate handmade paper. She recasts the broken-down figure, ennobling it with beauty and grace. Indeed, she found her voice.

In her piece, below, Jill combines drawing, painting and  collage to create Doorways Into the Past, a piece that contemplates the joys and perils of raising a teenager during the pandemic. It's both fraught and wistful at the same time, and certainly something any parent can relate to.

Doorways Into the Past by Jill Milenski, as
seen in Uncovered Stories.

    Jill has made nearly two dozen pieces in this series,   exploring the rabbit hole of feelings, finding new   expressions every time. This is another beautiful aspect of   art, this time reserved for the maker of art. Yes, the viewer   reaps the benefits of the rabbit hole journeys, but for the   artist, long series such as this one, lead not only to deep   personal meaning, they create breakthroughs in one's   work  that forge new paths and create new challenges. It's   an exciting place to be.

  One of my own series relates to home and houses. I   started both drawing and constructing them as   assemblages about five years ago, when we were working   on an exhibition entitled Memories Evoked: Circling   Back  Home. In addition to teensy little oil pastel   drawings  of houses on top of boxes, I added sticks   stitched in place. I even created one large piece from an   old dresser drawer. Called Pink House, it was almost a     3-D  diorama of my childhood home. I put legs from an   old television on the bottom and an old rabbit ears   antennae on the top. I love that piece, which I still have.

Traveler by Gayle Pritchard, as seen in 
Uncovered Stories.
As I was preparing for my current exhibition, I started working on several new house drawings for my series, including Traveler, left. The two-dimensional wooden house is mounted on another piece of wood replete with my ubiquitous marks. A sort of map is nailed to the bottom, the "ground" area, and a beach stick is attached at the bottom. My oldest brother died as I was completing it, so I decided to dedicate the piece to him. I added the word cut from an old dictionary, traveler, as a sort of send-off for his soul. The map will help him find his way. Traveler is also a metaphor for his Irish blood; he had even more Irish DNA than the rest of his siblings, and one of our Irish surnames is a "traveler" name. Rest in peace, my brother.

So, these are just a few of the ways that artists both find and create meaning for the rest of the world to contemplate. I am grateful for the task.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Uncovered Stories: Open Through May 14, 2021

Yes, the Playhouse Gallery on the BAYarts campus is open, and our exhibition, Uncovered Stories, is installed. We had a terrific (and safe) opening last Friday, with more guests flowing through all afternoon on Saturday. Hope you can stop by to see the show. Click here for the show times and appointment schedule. We will be in the gallery every Friday night and Saturday afternoon through May 14th.
As always, it is such a rare honor for artists to be able to speak with exhibition guests about their work. Many visitors were familiar with our styles, but many weren't. Gail, Jill and I are always eager to answer questions.

In the front of the gallery we installed Jill's Fairy Tale series, which makes for an intricate and unusually beautiful entry into the exhibition. Along with many other highlights, the altered books we made during the shutdown, and shown at the Yards Project exhibition last year, were very popular.

In the BAYarts Sullivan Gallery the same night David King's exhibition Time Travel opened, also an interesting exhibition of paintings about family.

After the crowds died down, we enjoyed the firepit and lovely outdoor patio with some pizza from the delicious new hot restaurant on the campus, Chatty's Pizzeria. I can personally attest to the deliciousness of their gluten free cauliflower crust. Yum!

Installation view, Uncovered Stories
  Today, SCENE magazine had a nice article about both       exhibits on the BAYarts campus. Arts writer Shawn Mishak,   who interviewed us prior to the opening, called our work   "outstanding and contemplative." 
Gayle and Jill relax on the patio in their
Gudrunjodens dresses.

We had a lot of sales at the opening, but there is a lot of excellent work available and waiting to go on YOUR walls. Hope you can stop by the show. It will be installed through May 14, 2021.

Gail Crum, Gayle Pritchard and Jill Milenski
at the opening of their exhibit Uncovered Stories.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

New Year, New Art, New Opening

In Our Studio

   Spring has arrived, along with vaccines, we have a new studio       space, new artwork, and a new exhibition.  

   The opportunity to exhibit our new work, and some made just       at the beginning of the pandemic, came about suddenly. In the       past three weeks, we have been working like crazy to finish up       pieces and install the show. It opens this Friday. Here's the             information:

Uncovered Stories

featuring the artwork of Gail Crum, Jill Milenski and Gayle Pritchard

BAYarts, Playhouse Gallery

28795 Lake Rd., Bay Village, Ohio 44140

Hope to see you there! Masks are required, and the number of people in the gallery at once is limited. So, grab your mask, and enjoy the beautiful patio and firepit after you see the show.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Women in Conversation reopened this past Tuesday for the final four viewing days, and we couldn't be happier. The opportunity to show a body of work is rare enough, but in these times, it is truly soul-stirring. As an artist, it is a rare moment to sit in a large gallery space and see the work you have created over years installed, living and breathing, interacting with the other artworks and the viewing public. It leaves me breathless. 

As Ben Johnson observed in the opening line of his article in The Chronicle, "Time stood still...". Indeed, our work has been in place since February, and stayed in place over the ensuing months, bravely waiting for our return. We are so thrilled to have a few more days to enjoy the work in situ. Here's when you can see it: 

Thursday, September 24, 2 p.m. - 7 p.m.; Tuesday, September 29, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Closing day: Thursday, October 1, 3 - 8 p.m. See the gallery link above to read the safety protocols.

You can also choose a time slot for the the closing event on October 1 and view a map CoolCleveland.

Can't make it to the show? You can still see it at the Beth K. Stocker Art Gallery Women in Conversation online. Check it out, and thanks for your support.

In these crazy times, it's wonderful to have a 'rainbow day' as my family calls it. I get a few extra ones this month. Stay well.