Saturday, October 18, 2008

Meandering Thoughts Meander Too Far Afield

Funny how all of a sudden both tv remotes were out of service last night-  some planetary configuration must have drained our batteries to get their spaceship back home... and I am sticking to that story.  

I finally bit the bullet yesterday and actually signed on for a class at QBL next July.  I*don't*take*quilt*classes as a little self imposed law, but the second I saw Dorothy Caldwell was teaching it started pecking away at my brain.  For six days the idea pecked until it finally got through the skull to the gray matter that this is exactly what I need to do.  So off went my credit card number, the hell with the economy, for a five day session.  

It will be almost like returning home since it's in Syracuse.  Since I was only there for my junior and senior  years I really didn't get too involved except in my studio and home football games.  (Regretfully I missed Ernie Davis by a semester-  see the movie and you will understand the Ernie Davis cult.)  We were so fortunate that a hospital right on the edge of campus closed and the University let us use it as studio space until they decided what to do with it.  We basically set up camp in the building which looking back now was pretty dangerous-  no locks, anybody could wander through, and it was a huge rabbity warren place located right on the line between a pretty sketchy area of the city and the campus.  

(Similar in feel and look to this more recent shot by Shadowman from nearby Utica.)

But it didn't stop us-  people were always there doing something or other, even a little art.  I was busily doing these massive
Sol LeWitt-ish full room paintings but they had to be done on paper to transport out of the room and back to class.  Not terribly successful in their execution or craftsmanship, but a great WOW factor when it was still in my studio.  Something about removing and transporting it around and about got it all dog-eared and raggy...  

Syracuse was also where I first encountered weaving.  There was a wonderful old woman there who had the corner on fibers in the art school (not much competition for that!), and back then that encompassed her little domain in a dank basement loaded with maybe 15 looms and dust a few inches thick that mesmerized me completely the first time I saw it.  Fortunately there was a slot in my last year where I could fit in her class and I was hooked forever.  
The first major thing I bought after I moved to Boston and paid first-month-last-month-and-deposit was a 45" LeClerc loom which was shipped from Quebec with no English directions.  It took me weeks to assemble because each piece was beautifully finished oak and looked exactly like the other 87 pieces of beautifully finished oak.  I never did get the rubber feet on the bottoms because I never knew I had put the bottoms together until it was all done!  This weighed about as much as a small tank (I did mention the oak part, didn't I?) and I was sure not very popular with friends when September 1 came around and we would move again-  usually to a third floor- seven times.  

After I started teaching several years later, I had my first summer off ever, and spent it taking a contemporary weaving class through Mass Art.  The class was 3 hours every morning but we all spent the entire day and into the night at our looms, then worked there after the class was long over for the rest of the summer.  Way back in 1974, and I will always remember this as my favorite summer EVER.  

There is a new film out about Women Artists that I just found out about. It is currently debuting at different film festivals around the country so watch for it. It's called 'Who does She Think She Is?" and deals with the big picture problem of women artists balancing home and work. I don't know anyone for whom this isn't of major importance. Can't wait to see it but a drive up to Portsmouth today, where it's being shown at the library during the NH Film Festival, isn't possible. But do go look at the trailers on the site for the artist interviews.

And now back to my own private collage discovery program!

1 comment :

June said...

Good heavens, Sandy, I too was at Syracuse -- only one year. And I think that I walked around, or maybe to, that hospital to do some community service. I was young and idealistic and from a tiny little hamlet in Pennsylvania, so the city came as something awesome to me.

And I too would take a Dorothy Caldwell course if she got anywhere near the west coast. She's the only fiber artist I am aware of that I would say that about. I'm a tad envious of you.

But glad that we both had Syracuse experiences-- strange convergences.