Almost a Normal Week, kind of sort of

Like most people, I have lost track of how long we have been living an altered life style. But last week I had what almost resembled what I would have considered a normal week at one point.  So I will recap it here as a reminder that, with adjustments and care, we can sort of move forward a bit.

Podolsky Prayer for Justice and Peace
Prayer for Justice and Peace, 2020, Mixed media on paper mounted on canvas, 3′ x 6′, Hickory Museum of Art Raise Your Voice Project

Monday – I installed my piece Prayer for Justice and Peace on the Raise Your Voice community mural at the Hickory Museum of Art.  The mural is a 75 foot long, 9 feet high piece of canvas installed in the museum’s main gallery. They invited people to submit their ideas on social justice. They graciously accepted my proposal but I choose to work on my section at home on a large sheet of paper (6 feet x 3 feet) and then mount it on the canvas when it was complete. So on Monday, I went to install my section.  It was a wonderful experience and I felt very safe the way they arranged for every person participating to be there at different times.  Of course I wore a mask as did the gallery manger. The other pieces installed were extremely powerful but museum policy is that I can only share my own work at this time. When the museum photographs the project, then I will be able to share their links. (Note – since this post was written a time lapsed version of Phase 2 of the mural installation is now available here)

20200810_082121
Getting near the end of the tomato harvest this year

Tuesday – Tomato harvest day. At 6:45 a.m. I headed over to my friend’s “garden” which consists of 350 tomato plants and an odd assortment of okra, cucumber, and who knows what else that he decided to plant this year.  After all, he is cutting back (so he says). Now this is a man who spent his entire life farming.  He is now 92 and growing things is what keeps him going so his daughter and I talked him into planting a few tomato plants this year. Of course this was before we knew about a pandemic and our idea of a few plants was maybe 50 tomato plants and a few other odds and ends.  Well so much for plans. In his mind, what he planted is scaled back from whatever he did at another point in his life. Everything is relative.

Wednesday – I had a Zoom meeting with artist friends from the Plastic Club, an historic artist club from my old home town. We were going over the details of a program I will be presenting. I am still of the opinion that, on the whole, more good things are coming out of this goofy situation than bad things.  Lots of new ideas, ways of approaching things that I think will be useful when this is far behind us. But what is most interesting about this Zoom meeting is that not only have I connected with many people I have not seen in quite awhile but have managed to make new artist friends. Wonderful!

Thursday – not really memorable. I seem to recall being aggravated by something that I now cannot remember so that goes to show it was not worth being aggravated over to begin with. Note taken for future.

The great herbarium trade off
The Great Herbarium Exchange

Friday – I had an appointment to go to the herbarium where I volunteer in order to pick up work to bring home.  Right before everything shut down, the herbarium was given an enormous amount of collected plant specimens that needed mounting. Having the plants sit around waiting to be mounted is not a great thing so these arrangements were made. I was not allowed in the building so the staff brought everything out to my car. It was really wonderful to see “the gang” at the herbarium – Lenny, Stefanie, and Dr. Jim Matthews, who the herbarium is named after. The herbarium is one of my earliest social encounters in North Carolina and will always hold a dear place in my heart. I have posted other articles on collecting specimens that you may have read. The only mishap out of this was that the glue we use spilled on the floor of the back of my car. Oh well!

Saturday – we steamed cleaned the carpets. I am not fond of our carpets but since we live in an apartment I have little choice. After we had done the entire apartment we realized the plug was faulty. Of course, I still worried over this after-the-fact event. Anyway, the carpet is greatly improved and we have decided to hire someone in the future.

Sunday – Today we had an earthquake.  Like I said, it was almost a normal week.

A Few New Linocuts

Cats on the brain. Here are a few new block prints.  Some of these I did in early spring and the astronomy one I finished this week. I waited to put them up here and on Etsy until I found a post office I didn’t mind going to!

Astronomy club
The Astronomy club Meets on Tuesdays, Original block print, 
Fat Cats
Fat Cats, Original block print & chine colle, Edition: 11
Cat Tails
Cat Tails, Original block print, see how this was made here

A Walk Around the World

This book was started some time ago but I did not like the way it was progressing so I put it away to work on “in the future”. Well, the future came and here is the finished book. It is a fond memory of my mother. Each panel is shown enlarged so the text and illustrations are easier to see and read.

A-Walk-Around-the-World

A Walk Around the World, Mixed Media Artist Book, 9″ x 21.5″

Paris

Alps

Italy
A Walk Around the World, Panels 1, 2, & 3.

 

 

 

 

New Work: Diary of a Vegetable Farmer

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This is a piece I have worked on off and on since last summer.  For those of you who do not know me, I work as a vegetable farmer for a small commercial farm. The above work is an artist book consisting of four parts.  Each part folds out into a section of three pages. I have not yet made the slip case for this book but will post it when it is complete.  This work was printed by hand using black ink on Rives BFK and backed with a cream color Unryu paper.  Each section, folded, measures 5 x 7 inches.

Seeking Understanding of “The Other”

other people
The Other, 2018, Mixed Media on Paper, Collection: Free Library of Philadelphia

It’s odd how things come in clumps.  Or maybe we are just more tuned in when we are engaged with a particular topic.    Not long ago, an opportunity arose to participate in an exhibition honoring women of the Civil Rights Movement.   What immediately came to my mind was a piece I had been working on called Making the Dress.  While not really about Civil Rights, a large influence on that piece was the sacrifices women have made to support their families, often in the clothing and textile industries.  While some women worked from home doing mending and tailoring, others faced terrible working conditions in factories.  A particular tragedy that comes to my mind when I reflect on this is the Triangle Shirtwaste Fire of 1911.  The curator of the exhibition was very gracious and said she would include my piece and asked me if I had any other work.  While I did not have any pieces on the Civil Rights Movement, I realized that I have made work in the past that subtly addressed the topic of race relations.

I had made a series of drawings and linocuts back in the 1990s that included generic faces which were always multicultural.  It was sort of my way of saying we are all human beings and here together.  In addition, I just recalled today that the first commission I ever had was for an organization called the Frankford Human Relations Coalition.  I made a cut paper collage of various ethnic groups of people engaging in chatting, playing jump rope, etc.  I have no record of this piece but it was made similarly to the image below of the people riding the subway.  Again, not a big statement, just a way of showing people living together going about their daily lives.

Morning Edition
Morning Edition, circa 1988

 

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