Friday, September 26, 2014

Beyond the Bricks opening reception

Last night we had the opening reception for the Beyond the Bricks exhibit at the non-profit for which I work. You may remember me sharing a little bit about the Behind the Bricks project, where volunteers went into the Crow Wing County jail and taught art and writing to the inmates.  We asked community members to create companion pieces in response to those pieces, the result of which was the Beyond the Bricks exhibit.  

I created this boxed landscape in response to my companion artist's writing about a small brown leaf he had found in the jail. At the reception last night I had an opportunity to meet my companion artist in person. He told me the whole story about that leaf, and he explained to me how difficult it was in jail to be utterly separated from the outside world. We talked about my piece and what it meant to me and how I tried to imagine how I might feel in his situation, both of us knowing that I couldn't fully appreciate that kind of pain without having lived it. As he read his own words aloud, he was visibly moved, I think by the memories his words brought back, by this event celebrating him not as an inmate but as an artist.... as a human being, and by this community reaching out and embracing him. We're all deeply flawed, and last night was not about passing judgement, but about acceptance.

My words can't convey how moving this was for me. I walked away with tears in my eyes, but not before thanking him for being open to this project, shaking his hand, and giving him a hug. Later in the evening he came up to me and told me that he planned to keep on with his art, and that this project had changed him.
The arts matter, people. The arts matter.

Below are images of companion works from the exhibit. Several of you had asked if I would share images so here are a few. The visual art in each of these was created by a community member and the writing by an inmate artist. Next week I'll share some of the visual art created by inmates with companion writings by community artists.  If you're a softy like me you might want to grab the tissues.  

You Could Be Anywhere

A glimpse at the exhibit as a whole. If you are in the area, please stop by and see it. The show is here until October 11th and then will travel to a few local churches. It's extraordinary, you won't want to miss it.

Beyond the Bricks
at The Crossing Arts Alliance's Q Gallery
2nd floor, the Franklin Arts Center
Brainerd, MN 56401

Tues - Fri 10-4
thru Oct 11

As part of this project a book was published featuring the art and writing of the inmates. The companion pieces are not included in the book but believe me, the book is incredible in its own right.  It is available in the Crossing's Sales and Gift Gallery or on Amazon.  I hope you'll give it a look, and if you would consider spreading the word, I'd be so grateful. I'm so proud to be a part of this important work and would encourage other communities to consider a similar program as well.

Long-windedly yours,

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

work continues - stitching stones

Work continues, in between lots of life stuff, work continues.

Bandaging an accident-prone (fearless) boy, supporting the arts in my region, getting our homestead (as it were) prepared for winter, worrying about loved ones, and soothing myself with comfort food (lasagna, chicken and dumpling soup, pumpkin cake) have filled in the rest of my time, but still there grows a small pile of stones on my table.

These will go in my shop once the pile has grown a bit more.

Hope you're all have a good week. Happy Wednesday, all.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

work in progress wednesday

I used to do "wordless Wednesdays" but wasn't always successful at the "wordless" part so today I'm going to say this is a "work in progress Wednesday".

A small pile of stones is starting.
A collection of tones that remind me of the changing foliage outside my door, the richness of Autumn.

I'm hoping to get a sizeable stack of these completed before I put them in my shop.  I'll share photos in the process.

The maples and cherry trees are already glowing with color here and the light has that warm golden glow.  I could live in Autumn, but the joke here is that Fall is the best week of the year here in MN.  The only way I know how to prolong it is to spend as much time outside as I can, capture the moment in color, and eat lots of caramel apples.(side note: I stopped in at Fancy Pants Chocolates in town yesterday because I had heard that Nancy had caramel apples, and caught her right in the middle of making them. She handed me a honeycrisp covered in still-warm thick handmade caramel. It was wonderful.)

How are the seasons changing by you?

Sunday, September 14, 2014

an autumnal shop update

There are a few woolies in my shop tonight.  Some acorns for your autumn table, naturally-dyed fairies, and some brooches to spruce up your fall wardrobe.

I'd be delighted if you'd stop by and have a look.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Beyond the Bricks piece

A while back I talked about a project we are working on at the non-profit where I work. Volunteers had gone into the local jail to work with the inmates on creating art and writing. We asked community artists to choose one of their pieces and create a response, a companion, to it. The completed works will be exhibited side by side in our gallery in a few weeks.

I had chosen a writing from an inmate who had found a crumpled brown leaf in their cell. They remarked at how odd it was to find a piece of nature in their hi-tech, sanitary environment. I couldn't help but ponder how I might manage if I were far removed from nature.

This was my response.

I would have to hold nature inside me, somehow.
If I were denied it, if I were contained, I would still contain it inside me.

Needle-felted wool inside an old wood cigar box.

For those of you in the area, do not miss this exhibit.
It opens Thur, Sep 25th at 8:30 in the Q Gallery in Brainerd, MN and runs through October 11th.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

my work in Australian Homespun magazine

This was a lovely thing to come home to yesterday.
My wee sheep and mushrooms in Australia's Homespun magazine.

What a lovely magazine, too.  Chock-full of great content.
Thanks Homespun!

Thursday, September 04, 2014

rainbows after rain

We had a heck of a storm blow through this morning.
I stopped counting at 19 trees down in our yard.
My little ones made it safely to school and though we're all a little shaken up, all is well.

After that I needed a rainbow and since mother Nature wasn't providing it, I made one of my own.

Take care everyone, and I hope you have a great day.

Monday, September 01, 2014

double duty

Food dehydrator trays make a pretty nifty wool bead dryer.

It's that time of year and I can't resist making a couple of acorns.
These are headed off to the sales gallery at work.
Once my hands recover, I may make a few for my shop.


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