Sunday, June 14, 2015

Ah, back in the studio, finally

The studio's been a mess, with all manner of goodies piling up as I've recovered from the final round of heavy-metal chemo. Now, I'm back to the regular, not-so-toxic infusions (though with an additional drug whose side effects are still manifesting themselves). No matter. I spent last week in the studio working on collages for the Carnegie's 2015 Community Supported Art project, and have been on a tear. But before getting to all the cutting, tearing, and pasting, there was stuff to sort, and put away, including …



an assortment of odd/cool chemistry lab beakers and test tubes (a donation to Brazee from a high school teacher) that will be used as part of the "Miracles" series, when I return to it …


… a selection of museum-quality frames (thanks to my friend Nick Paddock) that also are earmarked for the "Miracles" series …




… engravings, and more engravings that had to be scanned before being used, and which are destined for the Carnegie collages … you can see the start of one of the collages above, and a closer view of it below ...


I'll be posting plenty more images since there will be, gulp, 50 collages in the series!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day back when it was Decoration Day

Postmarked May 28, 1913.
At 31, future president James Garfield
became a brigadier general in the
Union Army, then, a major general
of volunteers at age 33.
I thought I had posted Memorial Day postcards from the archive in the past. And had planned to link to them, but a search through the blog did not turn up a single one. Odd.

So, I scanned in a batch. As the headline notes, Memorial Day began as Decoration Day, a public tribute to those who had fought in America's Civil War. My holiday postcard collection contains images from before 1919, so it reflects this initial celebration, which later morphed into a day to acknowledge all those who fought in our country's wars.

I'd like to think that I do not believe in war. I've marched against war on many occasions, and been arrested during a few of them. But even I know that there are times when war has been necessary, and that whether I back a war or not, I do respect those who have served … including two of my brothers, my father, quite a few of my uncles, and others in the past.

Postmarked Wooster, OH, May 29, 1909. Publisher unknown.

 

Two postcards by artist Ellen Clapsaddle (above) that were published by the International Art Publishing Co. of New York and Berlin. Both were printed in Germany. The one on the left was never mailed; the one on the right is postmarked Cleveland, May 27, 1912.

Published by Raphael Tuck & Sons, Decoration Day series No. 107. 
Published by Cincinnati's Gibson Art Co.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Open studio! Friday May 8

I'm flying high!
So, I reached the end of the heavy-metal round of chemo, and am celebrating by throwing open the doors to the studio for the second Open Studios of the year at Brazee Street Studios.

Yes, I may be a bit wobbly, and more than a bit bald, and bruised. BUT the weather is fabulous, there are some new greeting cards in the studio, plus copies of "Harper Ever After", the Charley and Edie Harper book I penned the essay for, for sale ($5 off the list price), and the studio is freshly painted, and cleaned (thanks to the loving Mr. P and  The Kid).

On top of all that, a cool exhibit is opening in the C-Link Gallery, and there will be lots more happening throughout the Brazee campus from glass blowing demos to ballroom dancing (not kidding).

Look for me on the first floor, right across from the gallery!

Note: image above is from a recent find: Vol. 3 of the Encyclopaedia Metropolitana or Universal Dictionary of Knowledge, London, 1845.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

How can this be? Light where dark was expected

This is the moment in chemo that I call the dark night of the soul. When the steroids that have been propping me up in the days immediately following treatment, stop working, and the chemicals take a nasty turn.

But, something surprising has happened, instead of curling up into and a ball, and retreating into myself (in short: throwing an internal pity party with me as the solo guest), I'm filled with light, and joy.

It is not an epiphany. At least I don't think so. No. It's the accumulated impact of hundreds of small, but genuinely heartfelt, things during the past four months.

It is Joe and Pat Moellers dropping off a ginormous vase of daffodils from their garden yesterday afternoon ... the shasta daisies from Pat Frey still abloom on the dining room table, along with the vivid yellow tulips from Mr. P that smell like honey … and the vivid bouquet of mixed flowers atop the mantle from Carol and Jon Falk ...

It is the snail mail cards and notes, many handmade, others bought because they were handmade, that arrive almost daily ... the card signed by the staff of the Friends of the Library shop (where my greeting cards are a teensy part of their business), the graceful card and "courage" bookmark made by calligrapher Maryanne Burke …

It is the bag of inspirational books that Peg Rhein dropped off, along with a few additions to the collage stash … the goofy care packages from Betsa Marsh of snarky books whose pages hide "Downtown Abbey" quotes, funny news clips, and Monopoly money (the latter is a whole other post) … the "mix-Nano" from Michael Roberts that drowns out the worst moments …

It is kielbasa from Buffalo via John Byczkowski, who holds out the hope that I will be able to taste it sooner or later … the warm pot of chicken chili that Julie Engebrecht dropped off that came complete with an array of garnishes (fresh cilantro, corn chips, grated cheese) and dessert from the Bonbonerie … the lunches at Jo-Beth's cafe on two of my "good days" with Carol Kerr, and Betsa Marsh ...

It is the tiny crystal angels sent by my baby sister, Helen, and the socks to wear to chemo that say "fuck this shit" … the cards sent by my sister-in-law Ann Caswell in my older brother Rick's stead (he's recovering from his own health problems) … the surprise call from my baby brother, Matthew …

It is the e-mails from my Aunt Marlene and my friend Shirley Tenhover when they have not received an update in a while … the news about what's happening in everyone else's life that helps me stay in touch, and to think beyond myself … the offers of rides, the visits in the chemo suite by Leslie Daly and Kathy Holwadel, the brief "art field trips" with painter Lisa Molyneux ...

Yeah, this is starting to sound schmaltzy, like "a few of my favorite things." Yet there is one more thing to mention …

One of the many deer images I'm collecting.
From Animate Creation: Vol. 2 (1885).

It is the healing image of a deer grazing among white aspens, surrounded by the herd; an image given to me months ago by Mary Hargrove and her spirit guides.

Those who know me well, know that I'm not exactly a "healing image" kind of person. I went along with it during the first round of chemo/radiation in 2009/10 as a favor to my friend Betsa. "Can't hurt," I told myself after much cajoling to pick an image.

Back then, I settled on the moon. During the darkest times, I imagined walking along a beach under a moonlit sky, waves gently lapping my bare feet, a slight chill in the air. It was soothing, yet something was missing …

I was alone.

Not that everyone wasn't supporting me in the way they are now; they were, maybe even more so, because the Stage 4 diagnosis was so sudden, and alarming. No, it was me. I was determined not to be defined by cancer, not to be needy, not to be hurting, not to be afraid ... in short, not to appear weak.

Part of that lingers, but it has been surpassed by the knowledge that the more you give, that the more you open up, the more you get. So, my thoughts have turned to the good things in life, and that's where they will stay, as I graze among the aspens in the clear light of a spring afternoon … surrounded by my herd.


Friday, April 10, 2015

I will be closed for tonight's Open Studios at Brazee
but please pop by to see the other studios

I try not to miss a single Open Studios event at Brazee Street Studios
especially not the opening one of the season, but must pass this time.
 There will be lots happening tonight, so please drop in to see
 the other artists' studios; live glass blowing demos;
 "WORD IMAGE OBJECT," the new exhibit in the gallery
 by Miami University Department of Art students.

See you in May! Come chemo or high water ...