Monday, December 27, 2010

illustration friday ~ winter

I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape - the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn't show. ~
Andrew Wyeth

Not sure if it the heart-racing exhilaration that comes from being in the middle of a blizzard or the mile long list of things that I need to do (two grant proposals due by Dec. 31st), but whatever it is, sleep eludes me. So when the cold nose nudged me at the break of dawn I was happy to oblige, and Scruffy and I went out into the white wonderland which Mother Nature has so beautifully produced. And it is a blizzard ~ winter tundra comes to mind. This storm has a major wind element which has created magnificent drifts and valleys which the hound and I happily crashed through.

Upon returning I made myself a large mug of hot chocolate, turned on Yo-Yo Ma and planned to tackle my grant proposals. But, of course I need to check my emails and in my typical productive procrastination mode I saw that this week’s Friday Illustration was “winter” ~ how appropriate. So before I disappeared into my proposals I wanted to post this illustration. It was done as an assignment: illustrate one of your favorite childhood memories and mine was the Chicago Blizzard of 1967. I would have been 3 yrs old and my brother was 1. The city had shut down! My parents had an impromptu party for all my father’s colleagues who were stranded in the city. The spontaneity about everything was so magical to me ~ there was excitement in the air. And sometime during the evening my father decided to take my brother and me out for a sled ride!! This was more than exciting! We were all bundled up and the three of us took to the darkening streets. Everything was white and quiet, and what was most amazing to me was that my dad was pulling the sled down the middle of the STREET!! As a toddler who had been told numerous times about the perils of being in the street ~ this was cool!! So we three traveled around the neighborhood, my brother snug in my lap, my father in control, leading us past townhouses with their warm cozy light spilling out onto the snow in front of us. This is one of my fondest childhood memories and I think it works with this week’s IF theme as well as the current Boston weather.

Now, no more procrastination, off to the proposals (or at least until the girls wake up and want to go sledding). Thank you Daddy for that amazing ride!!! peace to you and peace to all!!! xxx

Snow day!!!

I am happy to say that I have not lost that uninhibited joy of a school girl when I hear the phrase 'snow day.' Those words still hold the magic of an unexpected gift ~ a free day, a nugget of unscheduled time for me to fill. So as the Boston area prepared for the imminent blizzard, I collected a few of my projects and settled in for a cozy and creative day, watching snowflakes accumulate outside my window ~oh, what joy! However, before I installed myself in my home I headed out into the storm for an inspiring and exhilarating jaunt (with hound in tow).

My day started happily with a cold, inquisitive nose in my face, accompanied by subtle grunts saying, “The sun is up, outdoors is calling, smells to be smelled ~ time to get up!”. So Scruffy and I got ourselves suited up ~ me in a little more outerwear than the boy ~ and slipped out of our sleeping house into the prelude of the storm. It was a beautiful morning. In this early hour the snow was just dusting the earth and there was a soft brightness illuminating every branch, bud and berry. The streets were quiet, the sound of traffic nonexistent, being the Sunday morning after Christmas. Scruffy and I decided to take full advantage of the peace and headed
out or a long walk. We eventually headed toward my studio building with the thought that my buddy, David Lang, may already be at work. When I found a dark building I thought that I would leave him a little dress ~ my calling card, ‘Virginia was here.' He always gets a kick out of finding a dress at his door. So I looked around for possible materials to use and suddenly I was in heaven. I was back outside creating a dress. I felt a quickening, my mind and body were in a different place. I found a few pine cones but I realized that they vanished on the driveway in front of David’s door. So I gathered my treasures and headed to a snowy parking lot. From here Scruffy and I commuted back and forth to nearby woods to gather pine needles and pine cones, then back to my dress. Scruffy was a bit put off that we were not going further into the woods but he soon resigned himself to being my patient assistant.

So as the snowflakes fell and I made a dress. I cannot express how good it felt. With the holidays and the many other things going on in my life I have been feeling a severance from my studio and especially my dresses. So it was heartening to be back outside, foraging for the perfect shaped pine cone. And I am always amazed how focused I get when in the zone. This morning it was cold, however it was too hard to manipulate the materials with my gloves on, so off with the gloves. I hardly felt how cold my fingers were until the dress was finished. The act of creating has overrule the physical for me many times, I can’t tell you how many meals are missed if I am involved in a project.

Hence, it was great to be back creating, especially back creating outside. Where it is all about the act of creating because soon the elements will whisk my dress away, or in this instance, cover it with 16-20 inches of snow, which is what is predicted.

So if you are in the path of this blizzard I hope you are snug and warm, and have a good book or project. If you are not hope you get to have a ‘snow day’ somehow ~ they are a wonderful little get out of jail free card from one’s regularly scheduled programing!!

happy sledding & peace ~

Friday, December 24, 2010

Breathe in,... knowing we are truly blessed

While perusing my dear friend's blog, Martha Calderaro: writer, poet, roving pen, I came across her Poetry Friday entry with this poem which speaks to how i am feeling today. So I wanted to share. When she posted this poem she was in a place of unease or as she put it "feeling angst or sadness over a difficult decision." She also noted, "I appreciate its (the poem's) reminder of the connectedness of all. Perhaps the right answer is beyond our knowing, or that we are just a part of it?" Not to 'steal' her entire blog but she is the writer and has a way with words.

So as we head into this wondrous & magical, yet at time stressful, next few days i offer you this poem. I hope that these words may help us all to remember to breathe ~
" ...breathe, knowing We are truly blessed..."

by Joy Harjo

To pray you open your whole self
To sky, to earth, to sun, to moon
To one whole voice that is you.
And know there is more
That you can’t see, can’t hear;
Can’t know except in moments
Steadly growing, and in languages
That aren’t always sound but other
Circles of motion.
Like eagle that Sunday morning
Over Salt River. Circled in blue sky
In wind, swept our hearts clean
With sacred wings.
We see you, see ourselves and know
That we must take the utmost care
And kindness in all things.
Breathe in, knowing we are made of
All this, and breathe, knowing
We are truly blessed because we
Were born, and die soon within a
True circle of motion,
Like eagle rounding out the morning
Inside us.
We pray that it will be done
In beauty.
In beauty.

So enjoy these holiday days!!! Be blessed and breathe in!!
Peace to all and all a good night!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The return of the light!!!

Here, in the Northern Hemisphere, yesterday was the Winter Solstice ~ the shortest day of the year and the longest night. It is the point in the year at which the days begin to lengthen and the light begins to weave its way back into our lives. For me it is the December holiday that feels the most authentic as it has been celebrated for thousands of years by many people all around the world and stems from the cycles of Mother Nature. As our lives are more and more connected to and dependent on technology and electronics I feel there is this dire need to reconnect with the cycles and wisdom of nature.

So the Winter Solstice is a celebration of light ~ started thousands of years ago when people were not sure if the sun and warmth would come back. There were not weather folks or scientists to explain about the earth's orbit, however the people noticed that around this time of year the days started to get longer and they had faith that the sun & warmth would return. This tradition goes back thousands of years and have been associated with religious and philosophical importance. In ancient Japan the winter solstice was believed to be the time when the sun goddess Amaterasu emerged from her cave bringing light to the darkness. The Incas held winter solstice celebrations in honor of Init, the sun god. In Germany, the winter solstice was a time to celebrate Hertha, the Norse goddess of light. The Roman celebration of Sol Invictus, the Roman deity of the sun, was held on December 25th and represented the rebirth of the sun. Interestingly, there are many parallels between these celebrations and Christmas. Traditionally, Christians celebrate Christmas as the day of the birth of the Son of God while other traditions were celebrating the rebirth of the Sun. (interesting play with phonics).

For thousands of years,the Winter Solstice has been celebrated as a time of new beginning and rebirth. This year the winter solstice coincided with a complete lunar eclipse which has not happened since 1638. To some this means we have an opportunity for major change and expansion, "what the Spiritual Hierarchy refer to as a "wormhole from the old to the new" (from Solstice Message from Earth Transitions by Christan Hummel ) when i heard that, the image rang true to me ~ a time to move forward, to grow, to shed some old baggage. So this year my family and I light a fire and wrote down 'things' that we wanted to leave behind and burned them in the fire. I also took some time to quiet myself (from all the craziness of this season), to breathe & to celebrate the return and wonder of light ~ because light, sun, warmth are wonderful things!!
So I wish you all a happy Winter Solstice and Peace on Earth!!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

comings and goings and fa-la-la-la

It has been a busy few weeks I am happy to announce ... between my fiber work & my dresses I have been in 5 shows, this weekend there are some ins and outs and closings! First, this past week the amazing show, Carry On at the Attleboro Arts Museum ended, alas all good things must come to an end. I was so honored to be a part of this compelling and provocative show. The staff at the museum said that the response to the show was phenomenal. Here is a photo from the Sun Chronicle of navy veteran J. Richard Lebel and my Tongue Necklace. Lebel contributed astounding poetry to the show and read a haunting piece for the opening reception. However they had to make room for their 2010 Members’ Exhibition in which Treacherous is being exhibited. The show runs from Dec 11, 2010 – Feb 4, 2011 (Holiday closing: December 23 – January 6, 2011. re-opening on January 7th).

Another closing in the New Art Center's Icons + Altars Benefit Exhibition. Tomorrow, Sunday December 12th, is the closing reception & ticket drawing, 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m ~ this is when the ticket holders find out which piece they have won. I am hoping to attend because I hear it is a lot of fun. And I would love to see who gets my piece, All is Well. Click here to see all the entries.

Lastly this coming week my creatures & womb wrap are coming home. Art Organic, at The Harbor Art Gallery, UMass Boston is closing Dec. 15th. So it has been an exciting and full few weeks, spending lots of time in the car, delivering, picking up and going to receptions ~ no complaints here! Just need get my head into the holiday spirit ..... I can't believe it is December!!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

driven by dreams of rats!!!

Today I did a 'crazy' thing .... at three o'clock I wrangled my girls into my car (fresh off the school bus) and I took to the roads, heading west to see a house of rats!!! Yes, rats!! And this was really crazy because the gallery closed at 4:00 and I was '42 min.s from my destination' by Google map's calculations and they didn't factor in manic holiday traffic ... insanity?!?! And this mad-cap adventure was all driven by the desire to experience Zehra Khan's Sweetheart of All My Dreams, a mixed media installation and performance, in collaboration with Tim Winn. I am happy to announce that we got to see the show (a wonderful student stayed late and kept the gallery open for us ~ thank you, Ashley) and we were all amazed and thrilled by the experience. All were in agreement that it was definitely worth the trip!!!
I discovered Zehra's work when we were both in Worcester State University's show, "In-Between" ~ I mentioned her in my post about the show. Since seeing her photos I have become intrigued
by her work. I was even fortunate enough to hear her & Tim speak at Worcester State University last week. To hear about their respective artistic journeys was quite inspiring!
So after navigating crazy~shopper traffic we entered a magical world made out of only black line and paper. In the middle of the gallery a paper 'house' was erected ~ with doors, windows, lights and a piano. We could walk through the house and rest in the bed with the rats. Outside the house was an outhouse and a moon and street light. The play between 2d and 3d sensibilities was interesting to experience. As u can see the girls got into the spirit of the work.

The whole experience has been quite inspiring for yours truly ~ and I am hoping to make my own paper room for a local business' holiday window but I am not sure where to start ~ where to get big paper and where to find the time (since it needs to be done for Friday night :). so we will see - but if not this week, soon. I love the idea of creating an environment for people to explore and I love the idea of photographing the results. Many times during the fall i have found myself looking at my work as elements of a larger photography project ~ close-up shots of my creatures, certain dresses out in the world & maybe just photographing myself in some wacky situations.
So was this that crazy??? while driving out route 9 I was thinking yes this is absolutely crazy! But once the girls and I got into the enchanting world of Zehra and Tim, it all seemed to the perfect thing to do on a cold December day.

If you are near Worcester, try to get by the show. It is a short run, ending this Saturday, but as three 'girls' will attest ~ totally worth the trip!!! the details ~ @ The Gallery, Worcester State University, the Ghosh Science and Tech Building, on view Dec. 4- Dec. 11 th. Or just keep your eyes out for the work of Zehra and Tim!! & lastly, stay warm and peace!!!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Art Organic

Finally I was able to get to the Harbor Art Gallery at UMass Boston and see their show Art Organic ~ it is a beautiful show!!
Some of Jodie Colella's pieces ....
I loved seeing how the curator decided to exhibit the creatures!! & I LOVE how my womb wrap is displayed - how it hangs and I especially love the shadow that it cases. this piece is from Janet Kawada, part of her Time series - marking the physicality of time

..and then we have the wonders of David Lang!