Studio and Sunshine

 I can give my teaching and traveling shoes a breather till the end of the month.

Taught a local mudcloth class today during which some very nice work was accomplished. My next assignment will be gut for the local basket guild, then some mudcloth in Michigan, basketry in Indiana, installation work also in IN, ….

What I need to focus on now is doing some artwork!  Mudcloth keeps calling to me as I want to try some different approaches since the trip to Mali. I also need some basketry developed not only for the installation work, but also for a companion exhibit. And some work for an invitational at Mobilia Gallery in MA this fall. And a possible installation piece inside our local library.

Certainly enough to keep me busy and off the streets. And in my studio. Which is downstairs in the basement without a window. And the weather is extremely gorgeous right now and predicted to remain so for the week.

Sigh. It just isn’t fair.

I may have to claim the deck as studio space this week.

Gotta get my vitamin D, doncha know, from all that promised sunshine!

On the road again

I’ll be back on the road – or rather, up in the air – again this week for some teaching in Florida for FTWG. Right now my bags are mostly packed. I needed to see if I could get all the supplies for the two classes (mudcloth and seagrass soft sculpture) into my luggage or whether I would have to ship things. Fortunately, it fits! I don’t have much room for many clothes so I will be a bit fashion-challenged this trip, but it sure beats the extra postage. Good thing I won’t be needing thick, heavy clothing. The best part is that my bags will be almost empty when I come home.

Oh, and the hot tub preparations are under way! My love dug four very nice and neat and deep holes yesterday. Through the mostly thawed-out ground. Through the solid clay that is our back yard. Today those holes have concrete setting up in the bottom of them. Next weekend the posts will be ‘planted’ in the holes and the platform for the tub will be constructed. The rest of the decking will wait for the tub to be in place first. My big, thirsty towel is ready.

Walking While Driving

A little road trip is always fun.

While being a good goddaughter in upper Ohio, I slipped in some time with the three boys and their loves and then rounded out the travel by presenting a program and mini-workshop on mudcloth close to Chicago. The only problem with doing all that is making sure you have all your directions and times straight, and all the appropriate stuff with you. So I wind up with different suitcases and bags in the car for different days and locations. And hopefully I remember which bag and suitcase is for which day and occasion.

The driving time gave me lots of hours with my books-on-tape. Listened to Random Walk by Lawrence Block. The jacket credits him with all sorts of literary awards and a couple mystery series that I haven’t read yet. Apparently, this novel is an early one of his. It is called a visionary fantasy – had a hippies feel to it as well as a bit of Gandhi, Pope Paul II and Forrest Gump. Interesting. Certainly gave me something to think about.

This week I get to try my hand at power point. I’ve scanned lots of slides – now to put them into some sort of order for a presentation at our local library on Wednesday. I’ve been told it is easy to do…….

I could have sworn…

…. that I had posted something earlier this week – after the bit about the chili. But it seems nowhere to be seen. I guess I should chalk that up to delusions. Or maybe a result of too many beans…

The big thing this week was setting up a solo exhibit at the local public library. They have some high shelving and two glass wall cases. I managed to fill the cases quite nicely and some of the shelving.

Brought out some work that hasn’t seen the light of day for quite awhile. I forgot how nice it is! Lots of reminders that I need to “go to my studio and make art”!

Actually, I have this huge urge to play with mud. I’ve been researching the trees used in Mali, finding out (to no surprise) that they don’t exist here and trying to find trees that might be similar in tannin and colors to the Mali ones.

Came across the American Smoketree as being a good source for dyeing. Used to be plentiful across most of the US – they are native to North America – but are now scarce in the wild. Drove in to one of the local arboretums today to view their two examples.

I figure I could plant one in our yard, and then in fifteen or twenty years I could find out if it works…

Mali music and more!

This is the next to last set of Mali pictures. Some music related shots, some having to do with the puppets/marionettes, and others just because I like them or forgot to include them earlier!

There seemed to be music every night – somewhere. When we were in the cities, the music was in the nightclubs. Sarah tried her darnedest to be there for all of it. When we were in the villages, there was music around the campfires. Not sure if all the performances were just regular village life or something for the visitors, but it would go on well past dark.

Now, dark wasn’t all that late, but since it was dark, and there were no lights other than our flashlights, and we would be awake again by 4 am with the roosters, getting to sleep was a priority even when the music was interesting. Plus we were usually exhausted from the day’s trek/touring. Night music and shooting stars were a lovely combination, though.

At the music festival, they had several stages with events and bands scheduled non-stop. The beginning parade was such a wonderful mix of everyone showing off all at once with both sights and sounds. As the schedule went on, you would see the crush of people move from one spot to the next depending on who/what was ready to start.

To me it was all exotic. And I think to many of the Malians it was, too. There were tribal peoples in their traditional dress who don’t usually get to the city. And dances/stories that many of the children and younger folks had not seen and heard before. Costumed figures became real for the kids. Young eyes were bright and expectant and full of wonder. Older eyes were looking for familiar scenes. All seemed captivated by the activity.

Of course there were the standard festival booths – the beer and food stands along with the T-shirts and souvenirs and DHL booth . Not too terribly commercial – cultural booths were prominent, too. Sadly for me, all in French.

There was an emphasis on bogolanfini both traditional and contemporary. Atelier Soroble had a large display and sales room. And there was a fantastic exhibit of contemporary work in a building specially built for the occasion and event. We couldn’t take pictures (rats!), but it showed a great range of what is being done artistically with the bogolan techniques, plus some really nice sculptural work. Not sure if the artists were juried or invited to exhibit. Ginger wound up taking a lovely piece home with her!

At one point, looking at all the electrical lines and microphones and amps, it was hard to believe we were in Africa and not somewhere in the states at a concert.

Well, the pictures tell more of the story. I’ll probably have more to say about the trip and the bogolanfini experiences.

I DO have one more set of pics to show – my fellow travelers! What a group!