Saturday, November 11, 2006

Drumroll, please......

Recently I blogged about my method of charting my successes and failures in art shows and art-related applications. My (extremely adult and mature) method is to list the endeavor with a smiley face and frowning face next to it---depending on the outcome of the effort= fill in the face.

So here's a big happy face I got to color in this week:

I have been awarded a $5,000 grant from the Rasmuson Foundation as a Project Award, the funds to be specifically spent on art supplies relating to the fulfillment of 3 large shows I have scheduled in 2007.


This big accomplishment comes hard on the heels of a show rejection just last week that had me reeling with frustration, disappointment and sadness.
Last night I went out with one of my best art friends here, Annie Duffy, and celebrated with about 20 beers (her) and 3 double margaritas (me.) Annie won the Rasmuson Fellowship award---a bigger amount with great prestige. It was SO GREAT to celebrate with a fellow artist....made all the difference. For a few days, I had to keep the news secret until they
published the full list of recipients. I was feeling like it wasn't real---hadn't sunk in---did I imagine that phone call? Celebrating the award was crucial...


This morning I went on my first classic ski of the year...just an hour....

...since it was -12F, so we got pretty frosty. Frommage's beard caught a lot...

and I got frosty fetching! Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 10, 2006

Corners of my Home

Here is one of my favorite corners----with the wood stove. I grew up in log house heated mostly by wood heat in the winter. Every summer, my mom would corral my two sisters and I into hauling wood. This would be hours and hours of scavenging throw-away lumber from building sites, lumber companies and cleared lots. We'd also go out into the woods and mom would chainsaw up fallen trees while we hauled and stacked the logs in a borrowed truck. We didn't exactly dread these outings---it just had to be done. Mom always told us how important it was to get enough wood hauled by autumn. In winter, she would point out our HUGE stacks of firewood and say, "Girls, you did such a wonderful job!"
As an adult, I now love hauling wood. My sister does, too. In building our separate houses, we each made sure to include a wood stove in the plans. I get real satisfaction out of seeing my own porch full of spruce and birch logs to keep us cozy through the cold months. Today it's only +10 out....not too cold (for here) but I am still sick, so I needed a fire in the stove to cheer me up a little.

Oh---and I must brag about something, here. I built that hearth! I knew the kind of look and materials I wanted, so I did lots of library and internet research on exactly how to do it and the materials needed. I made a template of cardboard, took that to the quarry shop, laid slate on it until I figured I had enough rock. (The men working there had never seen this and were....entertained.) I brushed each piece of slate perfectly clean with a wire brush, Frommage built the hearth form out of 2"x8"s with a plywood surface, which I covered with concrete backerboard.

I've saved rocks from many different adventures and trips---picking up rocks on a beach, a hiking trail, riverbed, knowing I'd build something like this hearth someday. Of course, it turns out that since all of the rocks were different sizes, it just wouldn't work! I had to buy a bag of rocks. Perfect, smooth, black rocks. All were attached to the substrate with mortar and then I filled in the grout with my hands, smoothing and cleaning as I went with a big sponge.
I like to tell people, "This is the only part of the entire three-year house building process where I didn't cry and throw tools." Truth!

The stove pipe runs up through the second floor, giving off more heat. Some people have thought that we're nuts for not walling it in to hide it---but I like it in the room. It's an insulated pipe, so it's never so hot that it becomes a danger. I keep my orchids on a humidity shelf to the left of it and they benefit from the slightly warmer temps. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Collection Collective: Lists.....

Here is my current collection of lists...'s the big reveal......I am obsessed with Lists. I don't necessarily 'collect' them, more like, they rule my life and I can't help making them, updating them, marking on them, adding to them, on a daily basis. I make lists of art I've done, art to do, friends I have, things I've done or wish I've done, errands, tasks, New Years Resolutions, things I want to accomplish in the next day, week, year, decade.....
It definitely comes from my mother, this obsessive list making. She has a yellow, lined notepad that she makes one list on every day and tries to accomplish everything on it, carefully crossing off each item as it's done. (My lists are usually way too long for that!) Her list is a well known family fact and often referred to---don't get in the way of my mom and her list! We've shared the fact that if we do something that wasn't on the list, we write it in just so we can cross it off. Oohhh, it feels good to cross stuff off.

I have some really important lists on the wall of my studio---lists that can't be lost in the shuffle.

This is perhaps my most important list right now. This is where I write all of the art shows, grants, exhibits and applications I'm currently involved in and their outcome. By each entry, there is a smiley face or a frowning face---I color in the one that indicates success or failure for the endeavor. It's kind of a kinky thrill to look at how the smiles and frowns line up---and I quantify my successes by their numbers...(are the smiles winning the race against the frowns at last?)

My friend Amy saw this list and laughed at it, teasing me. Here she thought I was this very organized, serious business type of artist and I'm cataloging my shows with little happy faces. In my own defense, this process WORKS REALLY WELL! Sometimes I stare at this list and visualize filling in happy faces for shows I truly hope for...

I've just had to fill in the unhappy face for the EFF exhibit I REALLY wanted to get into.....and cried. Today, I filled in a big happy face for another application that was successful----perhaps the biggest thing I've applied for to date! Yay for me! This is the manic-depressive nature of art....three days ago I was laying in bed crying and today I'm jumping around the house, waiting for Frommage to come home so I can tell him the good news!

And I'll leave you with a bit of art.
This is a project I just finished for a good friend of mine far away whom I'm thinking about a lot. I can't show you the entire thing, because I don't want to spoil the surprise for her as it's in the mail right now....winging it's way southward.

If you like collections check out this blog, or the progenitor blog of all things collection collective here. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 05, 2006

A Crushing Blow...

I received word yesterday that the birch bark hats I submitted to the Earth Fire and Fibre exhibit at the Anchorage Museum were rejected from the exhibit. This is really a crushing blow to me. I had wanted to make these hats for 2 years, and wanted to enter EFF for three years....and finally did all of the work and am so happy with my hats. I was so sure they would be accepted----EFF is the premiere Alaskan arts and crafts exhibit.
I was just so sure they would get in....

So I feel very, very sad right now.
After reading the letter from the museum (sitting in my car outside the post office) I kept myself together enough to do errands in town. As soon as I got home I told Frommage about the rejection and had a good blubbery cry on his shoulder----he is always so understanding.

This whole experience reminds me of something a wise friend of mine once told me---that the career/life of being an artist does not attract the emotionally and mentally unstable---it creates them. She was referring especially to manic depression----our high hopes and expectations being dashed to deep, dark depressions and frustration.
Yes, I'm feeling it.

Combined with this rejection slip, I have the flu and I can't sleep. And the house is a mess.

On a brave note, I spent two hours this morning combing the internet for artist opportunities---juried shows, exhibit applications, grants, etc. My thought was that there must be a craft museum or exhibit I can submit images of the hats to----I need something to ameliorate my sadness over the failure of the EFF show.....

damn it.

If any fellow artists are reading this: where do you get your show opportunity listings? Where do you find shows to enter/apply for?

My sinuses and emotions are both taking a turn for the worse, so I am going back to bed. What the hell, it's Sunday and I am ill and kind of depressed.

Tomorrow is another day.
Sigh. Posted by Picasa