Elaine Luther's Instagram Top 9 from 2022.

Elaine Luther’s Instagram Top 9 from 2022.

On Looking Back

I usually do a year in review post, but I didn’t for 2022. So here’s a mini look back and a look forward. I did extensive reviewing of the year on my own, back in November. Quite possibly too much reviewing and goal setting, as I did the workbooks/email prompts from more than one organization. But it was useful.

I also almost didn’t post a “Top 9” to Instagram but then got swept up in it around New Year’s Day and went to do one – well, so did everyone else in the world – the apps were overwhelmed, so I did a DIY “top 9.” What the apps do for you is pull out the posts with the most views/likes/comments. I did a quick version of that on my own. It’s not entirely reflective of the whole year though, because I had more followers near the end of the year, therefore more likes. I don’t know if the apps control for that or not.

What’s Referenced in the Top 9 Image Above

In 2022, I was thrilled to get back to attending conferences in person! And giving speeches. In the center image, that’s me speaking at SECAC, an academic conference, on the panel, “Work, Work, Work: Domestic Labor in Art History and the Studio.” It was wonderful meeting people, speaking on the panel, hearing other’s talks, and learning about Mary Cassatt in another session.

To the right of that picture is a little zine that I made to give away at the Makit Together Conference at MakitTakit in Lincoln, Nebraska. My business cards have a picture of me on them that’s really, really old. I last minute ordered more of them before some long-ago conference and have way too many of them but I couldn’t give them out because of that picture. I had forgotten about this until the last minute, so I made some mini zines to share with people. It has a QR code and tells people about my projects they might want to get involved in – the micro gallery and the time cards project. People loved getting these! I will definitely update the zine and continue to give one out at future events. It was really fun, allowed me to share more information and links than are normally on a card.

Photo of Rust Print by Elaine Luther

Rust print on muslin with additional handkerchiefs printed with photograms of doilies in sepia color, plus one actual doily. Art and photo by Elaine Luther.  Solo show at the Compassion Factory, Brookfield, IL.

The rest of the pictures show some other highlights of the year – including having a couple of my seed packet designs in UPPERCASE Magazine, a time card, and lots of Solar Fast prints on fabric. The Solar Fast prints are all made on vintage hankies, doilies and napkins, using the light reactive dye. I had a whole show of those in May 2022, Ghost Prints and Shadow Work, at the Compassion Factory in Brookfield, IL.

"Labor" wall by Elaine Luther, as installed at NIU

“Labor” wall by Elaine Luther, as installed at NIU’s Backspace Gallery.

My next solo show in 2022 was in October-November at the Northern Illinois University’s Backspace Gallery.

One of the year in review/annual planning activities I did had us look back six years! It was really interesting to look back at six years of art making, seeing the highs and lows. I’m grateful that things are going well now, and I also remember the fallow times and when I posted on this very blog “I Quit.” I didn’t quit, obviously. Still here, still making art.

In that six year review, I noted that I started working with time cards at a residency at Grand Marais Art Colony in 2021. I’d bought the time cards at a creative reuse store. The trip to that particular creative reuse store was probably a pandemic road trip, in the part of the pandemic when things were better for a bit, remember that? Maybe summer 2021. We did some other quirky road trips during the pandemic. I called them “road trips to nowhere.” We visited Casey, Illinois, home to the World’s Largest Rocking Chair, Mailbox, See-Saw, Knitting Needles and more. (We recently saw online that multiple states claim the world’s largest rocking chair, but ours is pretty big, it’s made with telephone poles, I think we win.)

Residencies have been a theme lately, and that’s continuing into this year. In 2022, I did two virtual residencies, and this year I’ll do another virtual one and an in-person one! I applied to eighteen in-person residencies in 2022!  And I got one! I am really looking forward to that.

A few years ago, I stopped teaching art, having gotten a little burned out.  The pandemic extended my break.  This month, I got back to teaching art with a workshop on making time cards on the theme of Clocking in for Unpaid Labor, at the Orland Park Public Library, and it was such fun!  I’m back!  I’ve been contacting additional libraries and art centers to teach that workshop and other workshops.

Highlights of 2022

Solo Show at the Compassion Factory, Brookfield, IL, May 2022

The Artists in the Archive Virtual Residency with the Kolaj Institute, May 2022

Solo Show at NIU’s Backspace Gallery, DeKalb, IL, October-November 2022

So many terrific shows in the Angelica Kauffman Gallery!

Also in 2022, my art was sold in the Art Candy Machine, fulfilling an almost lifelong dream of selling art in a vending machine.  Yes, I know that’s a weird dream.

Clocking in for Unpaid Labor Show at Orland Park Public Library

Clocking in for Unpaid Labor Show at Orland Park Public Library. Front lobby display cases at the library in Orland Park, IL.

Cool Things Happening in 2023

Clocking in for Unpaid Labor Show at Orland Park Public Library

Book!  A book that I have an essay and photos in comes out this spring!

2nd floor room in dollhouse with art.

This room is on the second floor, on the right of the Dollhouse Art Center. Collages by Mel Kolstad.

More terrific solo shows in the Angelica Kauffman Gallery!
The year started off with something completely different, as I installed about 300 1″ x 1″ collages by artist Mel Kolstad all over the inside and the outside of the Angelica Kauffman Dollhouse Art Center.  Last year I said I was only going to host one solo show per month, but ended up doing way more than that.  This year, I’m slowing the pace down.  Really, really, only one solo show a month.  This month, January, we had Mel’s show, then two group quilt shows, the last two of the Quilty Nook series that started last year.

Photo above is of Mel’s show.  I generally find the dollhouse much harder to photograph than the box galleries, but i really like this photo.  I think it’s the architectural details, plus the lighting, art, the plant, the way the whole thing comes together.

The micro gallery has been an amazing way to meet fellow artists, and learn about what it’s like being on the other side of this curation thing.  This year’s bookings are starting to fill in, and I hope to have some public displays again in 2023.  After having the micro galleries out on display for more than a year, total, in 2021 (because of overlapping shows and multiple galleries), there were no public shows in 2022.  But don’t worry, big things are coming for the little galleries in 2024.

I’m studying curation this month, with the Kolaj Institute. In February, I’ll participate in a virtual artist residency, right in my own studio, but with the support and community of an online group. I got a ton done last February in the virtual residency and am really looking forward to it. Not that I’ve cleaned my studio yet, but any minute now, any minute…

I have two solo shows already booked this year! One in April and one in July. More details on those as we get closer. I have an in-person residency. And many more applications outstanding, for residencies, shows. You have to pitch a lot to get the things. For the very first time, perhaps ever, I asked, “Wait, do I have enough? Can I stop applying?” And I found that yes, I do have enough planned for the year, and I could stop applying. Then I applied for three more things, and then stopped, because I was on a roll.

There it is, a not-comprehensive look back at 2022 and an excited look forward at this year!