“Clocking in for Unpaid Labor” Show at the Orland Park Public Library, January to February 2023.

The year started off with a bang – as I installed the Clocking in for Unpaid Labor Show at the Orland Park Park Public Library on January 3rd, and now, in early March, no wait – mid-March (!), I’m preparing for a show in the window space at Ignition Project Space in Humboldt Park in Chicago. That show will be up for the month of April. Yesterday, for that show, I did an almost full-scale mock up, laying out the art on a large piece of white wallpaper on the floor.

I wonder if other artists do this in a different, more efficient way? With Photoshop, or perhaps drawing? I don’t have those skills, so I do it the hard way, clearing out the living room floor and rolling out a precisely measured piece of white vinyl wallpaper that a friend gave me. I’d show you the pictures of the mock up, but I don’t want to spoil the surprise of the new show at Ignition.

It’s an interesting challenge, to design a show that will only be seen from the sidewalk, through glass. The space is three feet deep, and I’m planning to use the depth of the space too, not just the walls. But how much detail will people be able to take in, from the sidewalk, and 3 feet away? This show is called Balance & Tension.

Folded piece of quilted fabrics, cut out in a kirigami shape.

Work in progress, quilted kirigami shape.

Here’s a work in progress that may be in the show at Ignition. You probably know I like to find “cutter” quilts, ones that are beyond repair as a quilt, but can be used in art, and cut up. I’ve run out of pieces of my one cutter quilt and had to manufacture one of my own! I made a piece of quilted fabrics for the express purpose of cutting it up for art!

I’m also getting ready for two residencies this spring! I applied for 18 residencies in 2022 and got many, many turn downs. I’m thrilled to be heading out to in-person residencies and currently in the planning stages of what materials to take with me.

The preparation stage is essential to a residency – knowing that I’ll be somewhere miles away from an art supply store (and not wanting to waste residency time shopping) means I have to decide what I’ll be making and exactly what to take with me. Plus, I want to hit the ground running, and get started making art on day one. I’m also planning to pack in a way that when I arrive, I can unload into the studio and not have lots of unpacking and organizing to do.

One idea I have is one that I saw a picture of somewhere – of a mobile art class team unloading their van. They had plastic drawer units, held shut with long Velcro straps. Perfect! Already organized and ready to work! Just unstrap the Velcro and you’re set!

My other news is that I’ll be starting to teach soon – quilting, garment sewing and mending! I can’t wait to get started! Here’s my current mend in progress:

Jeans pocket mending in progress.

Jeans pocket mending in progress.

I recently mended some clothing for family members – a favorite pair of warm pajamas for one person and a pair of leggings that had been in my mending stack so long that I feared they would no longer fit. Wow, people really appreciate it when you fix their clothes! Each mend took just a couple of minutes; next time I won’t put if off so long.

The jeans are mine – the pocket lining ripped. I used the Fabri-Fuse to iron the piece of fabric on over the rip, and next I’ll hand sew around the edges to secure it. I much prefer machine sewing, but it’s impossible, given how well this pocket is sewn into place. I’ll need to find a podcast to listen to while I do the hand sewing, or a friend to chat with.

One of my kids wants to learn garment sewing, so we’ll be starting a pair of pajama pants soon. We’ll start with a pair of doll PJ pants, not because any dolls need them, but because it’s a quick way to go through the process and understand the process, so that the full size pants will come together more easily and confidently. We have the fabric and the pattern! We’re ready. (Did you know patterns are up to $15.95 when not on sale?)

And my last bit of news for now is that I’ll also have a solo show, this July, on the walls at the Orland Park Public Library. (Thank you to the architects who designed in so much display space when they built this library.). I’ll be the featured artist of the month and will do an artist talk and teach a hands-on art class. The name of that show is Ghost Prints & Shadow Work, though the work will be an evolution of the previous show of the same name. (It’s a good name!) I’ve shown perviously in every display space in the library, over the years, either my own work or a group show, like the time cards or micro galleries. This will be my first time on the walls.

I’m totally looking forward to that show, and also, it will require that I hang my work in some new ways. In previous shows, I’ve been able to pin work directly to the wall with T-pins, but the library uses a wire and hook system. So I’ll be adding some bits to the backs of various pieces, to make them hangable on that system, as well as making new works on more conventional substrates.

And probably some works I’ll make at a residency will find their way into that show!

It’s a big exciting first part of the year, with two residencies and three shows! And then I settle in to hopefully teach a lot, make lots of art, keep hosting micro gallery art shows, and see what evolves in the second half of the year!