Photo of the Exhausted Empath Award by Elaine Luther

The Exhausted Empath Award by Elaine Luther, Copyright 2021.

“Award for the Perfect Tweet,” by Elaine Luther, 2021.

I do things besides the micro gallery, I swear! Twice this year, I was an award-giving artist, giving out an Award for the Perfect Tweet, and one for an Exhausted Empath. The empath in question asked if the award could live with them, and of course I said yes, so then I made another one, so it could be part of the show at the Orland Park Public Library of Medals that You Wouldn’t Want to Earn.  (One is silver and the other’s gold.)

Show of Medals that You Wouldn't Want to Earn by Elaine Luther

Show of “Medals that You Wouldn’t Want to Earn” by Elaine Luther at the Orland Park Public Library in Orland Park, Illinois.

Having joined the world of micro galleries, I began submitting my art to shows in other micro galleries in the U.S. and U.K. and was delighted to be a part of some shows, here are some pictures:

A cardboard box has arched doorways and is painted blue. Miniature photos are admired by tiny model railroad people.

Solo show at A Cardboard Monkey Gallery in the U.K. Photos and matchbox art by Elaine Luther.

A plastic cat inside a miniature art gallery admires a photo by Elaine Luther. The photo includes a plastic cat looking at a plastic bird.

A detail shot of my photos with miniatures at the Tiny Cat Gallery in the U.K.

A two story doll house with attic has white walls and is filled with art, all made out of matchboxes.

“We are Mini Dreamers” Show in The Doll’s House Art Gallery, currently on display in Stockport in the U.K.

The lower level of a dollhouse art gallery in London. The gallery is called the Small House Gallery. There are several sculptures and three photos, printed on aluminum foil and mounted on wood, are leaning against the back wall. Photos on foil are by Elaine Luther.

Small House Gallery, London – Small Photos by Elaine Luther.

Here’s my matchbox that was in the show at the Small House Gallery:

Illustration of the matchbox art by Elaine Luther.

Two Bunnies in a Box Church, Copyright Elaine Luther 2021.

That set me off on a whole thing of making art in matchboxes, including some with timecards:

Six white matchboxes have been collaged by Elaine Luther. Each one is partially opened to reveal the collage inside. Some boxes have a tiny model railroad person inside. Many of the boxes are collaged with old time cards, showing the days of the week.

Six days of the week timecard-matchbox works by Elaine Luther. Copyright Elaine Luther 2021.

Later in the year, I collaged a series of 8 time cards for my series, “Clocking in for Unpaid Labor.”  Here’s a post about that body of work, though I hadn’t given it that name yet:

You may remember, if you’re a long time reader of the blog, that, like all artists, I had a rough patch, a fallow period. I almost gave up. But I didn’t. I kept up my studio practice and my creative sketchbook practice, as taught by Lisa Sonora Beam. Even if things weren’t super productive or successful, I kept going. Coming out of that difficult time makes me appreciate it very much now that things are going well. (And careful not to celebrate too much, lest I fly too close to the sun…)

I had thought my series of Medals that You Wouldn’t Want to Earn was complete, so making two more this year was unexpected. These were also re-photographed this year, at long last, meaning I had to polish the silver ones. Finally those photos have the works on a white background and look great!

Also in 2021, I made the series, “More Work for Mother,” including this one, the largest in the series.

"More Work for Mother" by Elaine Luther, 2021. A red box, about 3" deep is in the shape of a simple house, with a peaked roof. The back wall is gold-leafed. The sides are collaged with bits of text on tracing paper. The inside is crowded with appliance: a washing machine, kitchen sink and cabinet, two fridges, one microwave and one stove. An iron sits atop the microwave. An ironing board is just outside the house on the left. Cubes of acrylic "ice" are the to right of the house form. Various foods are scattered about. A laundry hamper sits atop one fridge. Dishes are in the sink and in the drain rack.

“More Work for Mother” by Elaine Luther, 2021.

Later in the year, I decided that I have said all I have to say about housework and unpaid labor. I’ve already said a lot, through Our Ladies of Perpetual Housework, More Work for Mother, my “Care work makes all work possible” scrubs, and Clocking in for Unpaid Labor.

I was thrilled to travel, just the tiniest bit this year. As a family, during that brief interlude before Delta hit, we visited Iowa City, to see my art in a show at P.S. One, a terrific artist run space. On the way, we saw the Herbert Hoover National Historic site, which is just about exciting as you’re imagining it is. And on my own, I did an independent residency at the Grand Marais Art Colony in Grand Marais, Minnesota.

My studio there was a 1,000 square foot former church, with it’s own kitchen, bathroom and choir loft! It was gorgeous, huge, and just two blocks from the lake. I made some wonderful art while there and came home with new work habits and a lot of energy to reorganize my studio. I hope to attend another residency in 2022.

I worked both very small – as in 1″ x 1″ and worked on working larger. I find it difficult to do both at the same time. Right now I’m in a phase of working larger.

In micro gallery news, I was thrilled to be invited to join the international Guild of Micro Galleries and to be a part of the Terrain Biennial.

With our line of greeting cards and stickers, I was thrilled to work with The Seed boutique in Riverside and Hi Buddy in the Chicago Cultural Center.  Our company goals in 2021 include adding our original artwork and fine products to many more wonderful retail stores.

I’m sure I did some other fun things, I’d have to look through my photos to jog my memory. It’s been a pretty good year, in spite of the pandemic. At my house, we’re all grateful to be healthy, and grateful for ways to get together online.  Oh!  I did the 100 Day Project – 100 Days of Photos with Miniatures – and the Index Card a Day Challenge.  I love doing challenges like that and seeing where they lead.

How about you, how was your year in art?