“I wish to thank my parents for making it all possible...and I wish to thank my children for making it necessary." -- Victor Borge
Woo hoo! My trademark application for The Red Thread Project has been accepted! The trademark simply covers the name as it applies to my work. I narrowed it as I know there is an incredible adoption organization by a similar name, let alone a beautiful song. I didn't want to tread on and somehow interfere with their great works. I simply wanted to protect an artwork of my own that keeps growing by leaps and bounds. Without such protection I risked some unfriendly folks taking the idea and skewing it into something far different from its community / grassroots art base.
This process would not have been possible without the efforts of several lawyers, in particular James Peterka who filed the application on my behalf. He volunteers for Lawyers for the Creative Arts. I don't know where I or other artists would be without this organization. If you don't have a similar organization in your community, join hands and start one. I know that seems like a huge undertaking, but my good friend and former studio assistant Adrienne Outlaw did just that in her current hometown of Nashville. Anything is possible.
Thank you to Penelope Dullaghan for The Red Thread Project's beautiful logo.
You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough." -- Mae West
I woke up this morning with an overwhelming sense that life is just beginning for me. I made the decision earlier this summer to rejoin the ranks of the self employed. I would finish teaching summer camp and continue teaching a small group of senior citizens, but for all intents and purposes, come the end of the summer I would live by my wits. Yesterday was the last day of camp and the end of regular income. Despite a teensy weensy bit of apprehension, I am gosh darn excited!
What led to this rather dramatic decision especially given the state of the American economy?
Well for one thing, I have spent an average of 2 hours a day sitting in a car in the middle of rush hour traffic for the last 8 years. When you multiply it out, I have wasted 20 days per year, or 5 months total, of my life commuting to and from my many teaching positions. I won't even go into the cost of gas and the pollution for which I have been responsible. I need to spend my life in the act of making and not passively sitting (though you could contend that fighting Chicago traffic is anything but passive).
I want more time with my family. As you may know, my mother has been sick. I'm not moving to St. Louis, but I want the flexibility to visit on a regular basis. If she has another relapse and requires emergency medical attention, I want to be able to go. For the past few years I have been paid by the hour without sick leave or vacation time, so if I don't teach I don't earn income. This is no longer acceptable.
I want to enjoy all those little things that life has to offer. Some weeks have been so hectic that I felt the need to schedule pee breaks. Seriously. When you realize that it's been 8 hours since you last used the restroom, it's a sign that life is just too busy. I want to enjoy my morning cup of coffee in a china cup and not a plastic travel mug.
I am well aware of what it takes to run a retail enterprise. For nearly 6 years I owned and managed a yarn store. Before that, I made costume jewelry for sale at boutiques in St. Louis, Chicago, New York and London. Being self employed has its challenges, but the work is rewarding.
Enjolive!, my online store, opens on September 15th. It will feature a collection of whimsical hand knit and embellished accessories designed to banish winter blues. Mark your calendars!
"He got his dog trained so that it only does it on newspapers. The trouble is it does it when he's reading the blasted things." -- Honore de Balzac
Josie (aka Monster Pup) strikes again. While doing dishes she was pawing madly at my leg. I didn't think too much of it as I had some cheese on the counter. Cheese ranks up there with peanut butter and carrots as all time favorite dog snacks. After dishes I headed to the basement to fold laundry. That's me on a Saturday night, domestic goddess. I finished the laundry, turned and walked smack dab into a piddle puddle. The sneak! I had misread her pawing. The funny thing is, I didn't even hear her. As I came up the stairs she just looked at me and blinked. I mean really, how can humans be so ignorant?
Thank you Sandi for the fab photo of her royal highness!
“The old cathedrals are good, but the great blue dome that hangs over everything is better.” -- Thomas Carlyle
Big Blue is in San Francisco! These photos were kindly sent by Deborah Corsini, museum curator of the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles where some of my other sculptures are currently on exhibit in the show Beyond Knitting. Look carefully in the distance. You can see the Golden Gate Bridge. I mean, really, how cool is that!
Here is another pic:
Look at all that good ol' San Francisco fog.
Photos by Christine Soto, intern at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles. Thank you both!
"In summer, the song sings itself." -- William Carlos Williams
Living in a region of the world where winters are long and summers are short, I spend as much time outside gobbling up every last drop of sweet sunshine. Last weekend some friends hosted an art opening at their farm. The farm is close enough to the city to make a roundtrip in a day, but far enough that one can see the stars come out at night.
The event wasn't fancy. It was hosted in their barn. And though the barn isn't a fully renovated gallery, it has oodles of mid-19th century charm. I know they were a bit disappointed by the lower turnout than anticipated, after all they had put a huge amount of effort into cleaning, installing, publicizing and cooking, but as a participating artist I thought it was a smashing success. I didn't sell any work, but that wasn't the point for me. It was nice to get out older work I hadn't seen in several years and see it hung. It was great to share this work with friends and get their feedback. I'm not much for studio visits or critiques, but it's great to hear what is said after a work is completed.
The work I showed was from my Visions of Paradise series. All of it had been created 16 years ago or more. Last month I started and completed the first new piece for this series. It was like visiting an old friend. My fingers felt their own rhythm as I stitched.
My daughter was in much need of a break too. She's been working crazy 50 hour weeks as a young pastry chef. (She says she is a sous sous pastry chef as the recipes are not hers.) Anyway, she had the surprise and pleasure of having her first driving lesson. City driving is nerve wracking, so she's never been too keen on learning, but out there in the country, she was itching. After a few rounds in the family car, she took the golf cart for a spin. I was okay in the car, I'm proud to say, but a wreck in the golf cart. It was lacking steel walls. I don't want my fears to make my daughter a nervous driver, so a friend helped out.
She made it back safe and sound, cornfields intact. My friend was amazingly unnerved.
"We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master." -- Ernest Hemingway
Join me for a preview showing of the much anticipated film Handmade Nation: The Rise of DIY Art, Craft, and Design by filmmaker Faythe Levine. Immediately following this event will be a panel discussion on the intersections of gender, race, and class within the DIY community with Faythe Levine, Shannon Stratton (co-founder and Chief Curator of ThreeWalls Chicago), Deborah Maris Lader (Founder and Director of Chicago Printmakers Collaborative) and me.
Thursday, August 7
Jane Addams Hull-House Museum
Residents Dining Hall
800 S. Halsted Street
Free. Open to the public.
Please RSVP: 312.413.5353
Exhibitions - Opening in August and September
Cool Globes: Hot Ideas for a Cooler Planet - see my public art piece "Adjust Your Thermostat" (aka Big Blue) at Crissy Field Promenade (part of Golden Gate State Park) in San Francisco August 5 - October 13. Mini Big Blue is on exhibit at The Kennedy Center through the end of August.
Showing on the Green - This new alternative gallery space at 7381 N. County Rd. O in Elkhorn, WI will be featuring two pieces from my Woman's Work series August 8 - 31st. The opening on Friday August 8th is sure to be a big bash!
ArtXposium - If you missed it at Looptopia, here is another chance to participate in my community art performance piece The Attachment Project. ArtXposium will feature work by local, national, and international artists September 19 - 21st at the former home of Grobe’s True Value, located at 103 W. Washington Street in West Chicago, IL 60185. A catalog will be available.
Exhibitions - Continuing through August and September
San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles. San Jose, CA –Beyond Knitting: Uncharted Stitches -- June 17 – August 24
There is still time to catch this well-received exhibition exploring the convergence of contemporary art and knitting. It features several pieces from both my Woman's Work and Chirurgi series.
Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum,
Check out my Throne of Thyme at the front door of the museum!
Jewish Healthcare Foundation, Pittsburgh,
August 5 August 31
My solo exhibition has been extended until the end of the August! It features work from my Chirurgi series including new embroidered and knitted works.
Knitting Art: 150 Innovative Works by 18 Contemporary Artists by Karen Searle features a section on my work. It is scheduled for release in October. Order your copy in advance and save money!
My new line of whimsical handknit hats and scarves will be available for purchase at enjolive.etsy.com September 15th - just in time for the fall's cooler weather.
Photo: Genetic Bondage, 2008, hand knitted and needlefelted, photo by Larry Sanders.