Saturday, May 18, 2019

A' La Carte project

Some of you who have taken a class from me have probably heard me say that someday I want to rehab the old winnebago rusting away in my back yard into a mobile studio. Given the fullness of my schedule and the enormity of the task of fixing up said winnebago, that idea remained on the wish list.

Until April.

Sprout MN and Region Five Development Commission are launching a mobile food market - a customized van that will bring fresh produce to areas that may not have access - and were looking to add a cohort of artist carts to add to the experience and tie in art and agriculture.

I attended the info session but knew I had no business taking on a project. None at all. But the idea of turning my wish list item into a reality was a strong pull. Sometimes the universe has a way, you know. So I took a breath and wrote a grant request describing my dream of a mobile felting studio. I talked about how exciting it is for me to think about sharing knowledge and experiences with others, and how I might design my "cart". I described how visitors could feel and smell a greasy raw fleece, how they could wash a little to learn that process, how they could run some clean wool through my picker and then the drum carder, how they could sit down and add some dyed wool to a community project.

And I got the grant. 

Holy buckets, I got the grant.

The design of my cart originally centered around a cute little vintage Shasta, but there were obstacles and this less-cute but more practical dude came into my life. (our winnebago was far too large of a project to consider)

This guy, while not much to look at now, is in pretty good shape and has a lot of potential.

I'll be sharing process pics on my Instagram and Facebook pages, but will share here when it's all done.

Wish me luck!

And, big, big thanks to Sprout MN, Region Five Development Commission, Five Wings Arts Council, and the McKnight Foundation for making this project possible.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

A new chapter

I'm about to embark on a new project, a new chapter really, in my life as an artist. 

For many years I occupied this space as an artist, woods-dweller, and mother, sharing my work and life in the woods of rural Minnesota. When my youngest was entering kindergarten I made the announcement that I would be making the leap to be a full-time artist. No sooner were the words out of my mouth when my husband became ill. Instead of throwing myself into my creative work, I found work as the Director of a nonprofit arts organization and thus began a wobbly balance between being the sole breadwinner to support my family, and my creative needs. For anyone who has worked for a nonprofit, you may have already guessed how the scales tip.

Flash forward some five years to where I am now. Still living in the woods, but the chickens, ducks, and guineas are gone in an effort to pare down some responsibilities. My children are becoming more independent and capable souls full of their own personalities and talents. My oldest, now a Marine, stationed in an interesting part of the world touching base through daily chats on messenger. My husband's illness continues. I'm still an arts administrator, dedicating much of my energy to creating arts opportunities for others, occasionally teaching classes, rarely creating artwork.

I've gotten good advice from people who care about me to find a better balance. And, because the universe has a way, I was presented with an opportunity that would allow me to share my love of wool and felting with others, in a fun way. It also presents me with an opportunity to take on a "fixer-upper" project, which I also love.

I'll be back soon to share the project specifics. 


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