Posts Tagged ‘Mending’

On view now at SouthShore Arts, through August 27, 2022, is a stellar array of works centered on the theme “Nature Lovers.” So many respected artists and such wonderful works in conversation with each other, curated by the creative force of Linda Dorman and Tom Torluemke, curators, writer, photographer, and organizer and artist and stellar gardener, respectively. Featured artists include: Featured artists: , Zbigniew Bzdak, Peggy Macnamara, Casey Roberts, William Nichols, Corey Hagelberg, Joanne Aono, Tony Fitzpatrick, Catherine Schwalbe, and Em’rynn Artunian. See some of show below in this slide show and better yet, if able, check out the show in person!

I have four new works from 2022, three specifically for this show. I wanted to share a rare political act I have taken with my work, Mending a Nation. I originally created the work for Earth Abundance, curated by Pauline Kochanski for Oliva Gallery, for a show that opened on Earth Day in 2022. I collected moss, soil, rocks, sand, worn drift wood, on my own in places across the US, or had friends in those places send it to me or gifted directly to me. Thank you for your contributions: Danny Mansmith Stephanie Samuels N. Masani Landfair Dr. Geoffrey and Andrea Bove.

Most who follow my work know that I have been facilitating a Social Practice work called Before and After: Mending a Life after a pandemic or some other catastrophic event in your life. Mending a Nation is a continuation of that theme. This statement below was shared for an artist talk I was unable to attend:

“Hello fellow earth lovers.  Thank you to Pauline (Kochanski) and Kimberly (Oliva) for including my work in this important show.   I firmly believe that how we treat each other is how we treat our Mother Earth. We need to do better. Things fall apart. We mend.  They fall apart. We mend again.  My Mending a Nation piece, made of soils and other material things from coast to coast, represents the actions we are taking to mend our lands, our relationships, our systems, and even our thoughts and ways of treading more mindfully – with each other, during this amazing and awful life we are given.  Thank you for your interest in my work and all the works in Earth Abundance.” May 2022

The original work, shown below right before the action, including soil, water, rocks and plant life from Washington, Maine, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois and the Great Lakes along with hand-built stoneware brick clay, a pit-fired needle from a spring workshop at Stirling Hall with Patty Kochavar, and cording for stitches. As spring moved towards summer, political actions continued to shift, especially as they related to decisions by the ever more conservative Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS).

I felt called to act based on some of the eroding of so much SCOTUS precedence. Below is my statement, near the work currently on view at Southshore Arts.

“It is with a heavy heart that I spread the parts of this work, Mending a Nation, apart.  The photo above shows the work in its original intention, conceived in thought, earlier in 2022.  The opening for this exhibit showed the work intact.  This political action is taken by me for the following reasons:  The multitude of decisions made by our current Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) will have ripples for years to come impacting judgements regarding guns, women’s right to choose, ensuring solid voting rights for the most vulnerable, religious schools and federal funding,  the power of EPA to regulate, and even our beloved and most fundamental Miranda Rights.  I genuinely feel the decisions made have gone towards further unraveling and division for a nation and its people already frayed.  Going forward, if this work is exhibited elsewhere, it will be shown having fallen apart and without making sense, as you see right now.  This piece, in wild array, correlates with the highest court in the land not adhering to the will and the consensus of those they serve – you, me, and the most vulnerable citizens.  I am not sure when I will feel comfortable showing Mending a Nation as it was originally intended.  May it be sooner than later.”

Most action images of Mending a Nation – in Protest were taken by friend and fellow artist, Nancy Pirri. Thank you for them! Thank you, too, to the curators Tom and Linda, and the gallery director Brandon Johnson, for supporting this action.

I covet your response to this work, this action, and the call for mending and repair (the root word of reparations) needed. Rumblings of a civil war, a deepening cultural divide, extremism and insurrection, learning to live with an endemic vs a pandemic, and more, call us into the act of mending again and again. Works such as Jenny Kendler’s Mending Wall give me hope. Watch for a Mending a Life event at the wall, later this summer.

What gives you hope?

What do you do when in despair?

How do you maintain relationships with those with whom you disagree?

What are your questions these days?

If you got this far, drop a note to me privately or via this blog post. I will send you a little something for your time. Not kidding. In a world of distractions your attention matters to me and I am grateful.

In art, falling apart, and mending


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Thought I might share an update and information about my upcoming Visiting Artist event at Mosnart.

Before and After – Mending a life after a pandemic or some other catastrophic event in in your life, and my completed installation for Fermentation Fest 2021 titled: Mending Waters – Mending Soil – Mending Lives.

In my previous post, I shared some preliminary images from the first large stitches across Honey Creek at the historic Witwen Campground. Below, are some images while in progress and upon completion the stitches, throughout the two days of Fermentation Fest. It was such a pleasure to do this work “live” while people strolled in to the wonder of this venerable event in the Driftless Region, (or as my photo location states: Troy, Paleozoic Plateau). The inquiries, curiosity, apathy, empathy, and deep gratitude were responses I received throughout the weekend. Thank you Jay and Donna of Wormfarm, for your continued interest and support of my works.

Some notes on images: pictured one or two images in is Zane, a local, curious resident, who assisted for a bit on Day 2. He had some wonderful stories about growing up and living a few buildings away from Honey Creek. Also assisting is Sarah Butler, both by stitching the creek and documenting the work progress. Other photographs of me working were taken by visiting artist at Wormfarm, Hannah Taylor (also doing red stitching!). Thank you to you both! A special treat was a visit by dear friend from college (UW Milwaukee School of Fine Arts) and local resident, Kathy Koehl. So fun to share the work with her, too.

Mosnart Visiting Artist is up next and nobody is more excited than I am!

A much anticipated visiting artist stay at Mosnart in the historic Pullman community! JB Daniel’s venerable visiting artist space, lovingly restored Pullman employee flat, is made available to creatives, travelers, and even short term rentals for those in need of alternative living during a pandemic. You can see more images of the amazing, well appointed while spare, art filled, quarters for people like me and maybe you! I will be back to mending with people all weekend (following a private mending event held this past weekend in my own back yard!), during the Pullman Arts and Culture Fest It would be delightful to see you, hang out, mend a textile that you have in need of repair, fix a few worn spots, learn a fancy mending technique centered around the (ancient) trend of visible mending, and so much more. Most supplies will be supplied by me and so far most needs have been anticipated. Side note: please no zipper replacements. The options include you mending your piece. I could mend your piece. We both learn what your piece needs and we collaborate on the best way.

Before and After – Mending a life after a pandemic or some other catastrophic event in your life a Social Practice work will be conducted 11-4 Saturday and Sunday October 16 and 17th, 20201 at Mosnart’s back yard at 11319 S Saint Lawrence Avenue in the Historic Pullman Landmark District on Chicago’s far Southside.

Message me if you would like such an event at your home, gallery, alternative space. I have witnessed fun, connection, and deep gratitude for this gathering as we all negotiate life in the (not quite yet) after times.

A big thanks to Nicole Gotthelf (pictured below at Witwen and currently a Chicago resident) for reserving and then purchasing the first of the edition of 10 mending boxes! Here she is holding her box #1. As always, I appreciate her support and unequalled enthusiasm for artists and all things creati

Message me if you are interested in a Before and After Mending Box. Part art. Part function. Would love them to get into appreciative hands. Message me for details and happy to ship most anywhere.

Nicole Gotthelf, sporting her Before and After Mending Box at Witwen September 2021

Lastly, if you want to dig a little deeper into the Before and After works, consider listening to this interview conducted by the inimitable Nance Klehm for Lumpen Radio. I so appreciate her following my work and please know that part of the inspiration for this work was from Nance, who invited me to her home, to mend of course, many winters ago. Many thanks Nance. Interview here:  https://www.mixcloud.com/lumpenradio/spontaneous-vegetation-with-nance-klehm-9-12-2021-cathi-schwalbe/

Thanks again dear reader, art appreciator, and friend.

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