Every once in awhile, I hear from former customers regarding work they purchased and it is always lots of fun to hear how they have lived with the work through the years. I had such an experience last week when a customer from the early 1990s contacted me to ask if the piece he purchased could be used for a virtual art exhibition. He then explained that he and his wife run an art and cultural center in an under served community in Nicosia, Cyprus. The piece they own is called By Night and they want to feature it as a homage to healthcare workers in their community.
This was very meaningful to me on a variety of levels. First, that the piece is being used to honor such an important sector of the population. In addition, artists often wonder if what they do has any long term benefit. Also, in this case, the idea that something I made in 1993 has not only been enjoyed all these years but has managed to make its home in Cyprus, where it has been displayed off and on and viewed by the local community.
I have thought of this piece and other similar ones recently because I have considered returning to work in this method, as it is very similar to many of the artist books I currently make. At that time, instead of making prints to be viewed as prints, I made them to be cut up and used as collage elements because I mainly worked in the medium of collage. So the idea that this piece showed up to me at this time, is somewhat of a nudge to possibly work like that again.
Though I have posted the piece above, I would encourage you to check out the organization’s Facebook page to see other works and events they have featured. It is a great way to “travel” while we are all home. Check out: Kuruçeşme Projekt. https://www.facebook.com/kurucesmeprojekt/
Several months ago, I watched a wonderful video called Between the Folds which went into great and surprising detail on the art of paper folding, also known as origami. The video covers way beyond what we traditionally think of and even gets into how the art form is also being used by scientists to study complicated problems. So of course after the show was over, I got a piece of paper and started to fold it. The form that I liked the most is pictured below. It reminded me of a mother holding a baby.
I saw this video not long after visiting my grandson. One of the things I enjoy most about my visits is participating in his elaborate and nurturing bedtime routine. I started to think of lots of parents and their children and bedtime routines, remembering the one we had with our daughter. It quickly came to me that this was the making of a “bedtime story”. So I started to experiment with coloring papers and different types of papers thinking of a quilt like form to play with.
After deciding on the colors I would use and folding a number of the squares, I pieced things together as seen below.
While this may look nice, it was clearly not going to work. My overall idea was to have this structure fold up into one square that could be stored in a box, sort of like folding up a quilt and storing it and taking it out when you use it. The other problem was that I wanted to add stitching and it was very difficult to stitch in this form. So after wresting with this for several weeks, putting it away and taking it out to think about it some more, I decided it needed to come apart.
Maybe I am putting too much emphasis on the ‘quilt’ idea and not enough on the ‘story’ idea. Perhaps putting equal emphasis on both: the quilt and the story? I found some handmade paper I purchased a few years ago that spoke to me for no reason except that I knew they would be perfect for something someday. That day came today. So here is the current version of the Bedtime Story, though it is still far from finished. The smaller squares are not yet glued down so this is a layout pictured below. I will post the piece when it is finished. I am also documenting this via short (1 minute) videos on my Instagram account.
Cynthia lives in Lansdowne, Pennsylvania, just outside Philadelphia and was born in St. Louis, Missouri.
Home to me is an open door, warm and inviting. Home is sunny and colorful. It is defined by the gardens, animals, and humans that live in and around the actual structure called home. Home is the memory of places lived and future places imagined.
About Cynthia: Cynthia Back has exhibited widely both in the U.S. and internationally. She is the recipient of numerous awards and honors including grants from the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, Puffin Foundation, Pollock-Krasner Foundation; residencies and fellowships to The Artists Centre Dale, Norway; The Women’s Studio Workshop, Blue Mountain Center, Acadia National Park; The Ballinglen Arts Foundation Ltd., Ireland, Fundacion Valparaiso, Spain, Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, The Cill Rialaig Project, Ireland, and The MacDowell Colony. Her work is included in numerous private and corporate collections, including The Library of Congress, the New York Public Library, the Newark Public Library, the Free Library of Philadelphia, The New-York Historical Society, Pfizer, Inc., and The Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.Cynthia Back earned a BFA at Minneapolis College of Art and Design and a post-graduate certificate at St. Martin’s School of Art in London, England. Cynthia’s website can be seen here.
Allison Wooley was born in Cleveland, Ohio and currently lives in Cleveland, Ohio.
When thinking about what home means to me, I thought of all the various places I lived or traveled to and made my home. I began thinking of that saying “home is where the heart is”. Being born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio and then spending 17 years in Philadelphia, and visiting my sister in Wisconsin on a regular basis, I thought of the many places I call home. Whether it’s family, friends or coworkers, I have managed to make a home in various cities. I even call the Dagara Music center in Ghana my family because we made such lasting relationships. I collaged my piece using maps and photos and included a heart in the center.