Saturday, February 10, 2007

Day Eighteen - She Made Her Mark

Finally and at last, the work of curating the fiberarts, art quilts for She Made Her Mark at The Marie Webster House in Marion, Indiana, is complete. Lists of the accepted art works from thirty three artists have been published in prior days.

She Made Her Mark, Too, a separate but associated exhibition, also has thirty three art works from thirty three artists.

Day seventeen was a six hour day for anyone keeping track of the woman hours. Today, I've spent two hours cleaning and tidying my workroom and filing away all the documentation from She Made Her Mark in my quilt archival files.

Someday I hope that some researcher receives all my archival files. There is a lot of information in there. I don't sell the patterns I draw when I make one special quilt. I fold up and file the kraft paper drawing. Most times I also save the vellum tracing of the pattern that is used to cut every piece of the sonoran desert landscape quilts accurately.

So, with some sadness, I must conclude that this job is done. I have had a great deal of pleasure working with all the images other artists have sent me to select from. She Made Her Mark is going to be a memorable exhibition.

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Friday, February 02, 2007

Day Twelve - She Made Her Mark

Thirty three artists have been notified today of their acceptance in to the exhibition She Made Her Mark. Opening reception, by invitation only, is Sunday, March 4, 2007. The Quilters' Hall of Fame is on South Washington street in Marion, Indiana.

No notices of works declined have been sent as nothing has been declined yet. I have to pull the two additional southern California exhibition packages.

Sorry about no photos today. I've put in eight hours. Peg Keeney was here to help with the database. It's the first time she has been here since we completed the initial administrative work. No one, except the cats, have been here to ensure that the integrity of the curatorial process.

Tomorrow, photos of the mock up. Beginning selection of the two additional groupings. Email notification for all involved. Maybe by Sunday I will have typed lists of all the accepted artists in each of the categories.

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Day Eleven - She Made Her Mark


I received a lovely pack of snap shots in the mail. Yes, they clearly match the space I have mocked up. Whew ! That is a relief. The exhibition She Made Her Mark is going to be memorable. I can now see each piece in it's place in my mind's eye.

She Made Her Mark will open on Sunday, March 4, 2007. The reception will be by invitation only. The exhibition for the general public will open on the sixth. Last day will be June 30, 2007. Check the website; there is a treasure trove of information behind the index listings.

The Marie Webster House has been lovingly restored and is far from the childhood image in my mind. I used to pass it on my way to school. Next door was a drive in and soda fountain that had tin roof sundaes. Just south of that was the railroad station, Railway Express, the Broadway Limited; the door to the universe.

The selections for The Quilters' Hall of Fame are visually complete. The administrative work has not been done. The form letter and database need work. Selected artists should receive their emails no later than Monday, February 5, 2007.

Artists who have works selected for the greater Los Angeles basin exhibitions may lag just slightly behind this. Shipping instructions will follow in a separate bulk email. Please make sure my thelmasmith@thelmasmith.com email address is in your address book. You don't want your notification languishing in a spam blocker.

This has been one of the most exciting months of my life. It is also the most heartbreaking. You have a certain number of wall spaces. There are four or five equally good choices for each space. Quality has not been an issue. What has been the most difficult is understanding the flow of a residential space. It was restored with white walls and lovely carpets. It is good, professionally lit, display space. It is not one huge gallery room.

I have lived my life by the rule of the continuous right turn. No sooner had I said that publicly than Robert Genn published his thoughts on Gallery Flow. I felt a bit foolish. I read what he said carefully. I tried to put my past experiences with different sorts of spaces, my thoughts on flow, his thoughts on flow, the images in hand, into some sort of pleasing equation.

I know I have gotten it right. The selection became not a question of what was best; almost all were "best." The selection came in response to the space itself. People will laugh if I say the house told me to do this. So laugh. The snapshots confirm my intuitive process.

Sarah Ann asked about the mock ups. They are not actual architectural models; just a rough spatial 3D. I would be ashamed to have them exhibited. They are very rube goldberg in structure.

However, once the acceptances have gone out to the artists I will photo document the stack with the scaled images in place. I'll get pictures from every angle. Sadly, the doors and windows are in light pencil. They are not cut in. I did not think the mock up would hold together if I cut out the broad pocket doors. The broad bay windows to the north both upstairs and down were not mocked up. Maybe I'll take a felt tip so you can see more, to better understand the photos. However, it's almost impossible to get a straight edge into these rooms once they become 3D.

The cats are quite fond on the grand parlor. Don't know what they would have done had I opened the pocket doors, built the staircase instead of just the landing, put in floors upstairs. So far they have made no deals with the golden retriever on TV who is trying to sell recipes.

An aside here, eleven days hardly make up most of January. My life right now is quite complex. I've lots of medical trips for my husband. So, even though I touch on this work daily, some days it's a snoop at two in the morning to reconfirm that I'm seeing what I think I'm seeing.

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Sunday, January 28, 2007

Day Ten - She Made Her Mark


I know it seems as though I've been absent without leave. Actually I've been present, accounted for, and absolutely horizontal due to some sort of virus that produced the filthiest sinus headache I can remember in some decades.

The image of a jig saw puzzle of a Victorian house I once owned in Port Townsend, Washington, will be more interesting that a haphazard pile of foam core board. When I was young and foolish I ran a construction company that specialized in the restoration of Victorian and Edwardian era residential buildings. So when Anne Copeland of FiberArts Connection of Southern California took me up on my word about curating an exhibition I thought I know all about old buildings.

Ah, hubris, I thought that less than favorable aspect of my personality had gone the way of all my dark brown hair. Mock-up, sure, not a problem; um, . . . the walls in my stair well are not plumb. The downstairs has no ceiling. The two rooms I've been assigned upstairs have no floors. I thank the universe every day that I had enough sense to mock this up in scale.

There is no way I could have gotten the rhythm, balance, cadence of this exhibition without being able to see it in miniature in the round. It has truly been an exercise in humility. I think there is a possibility I am done. I don't really know. I need to look at this again, and again, and again. I look in from the vantage of the front window downstairs. I look in the rooms upstairs like a parakeet. Mighty pudgy parakeet.

Even if this still looks right on Wednesday there is still a lot of work to do. I have to annotate the data base. I have to notify each artist. I have to work my way through the first round of declined works because every one of them is worthy of being in the master exhibition. I still have to pull two small, concise exhibitions that will be specifically for the greater Los Angeles basin.

I have about five and a half hours in today. I've completely lost count of the total woman hours to date. Maybe someone who has been paying attention can post a tally as a comment.

I'll be back at it again tomorrow.


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Saturday, January 20, 2007

She Made Her Mark -- Day Six

Well, day six is sort of squirmy. Maybe it's me that's squirmy. I'm heartily sick of the back brace that allows me to sit upright in what a doctor considers comfort.

I've been through this image deck again and again. I've sorted it six ways from sunday. Sorting is about useless when it comes to setting the sequencing of an exhibition. The Marie Webster House, The Quilters' Hall of Fame is an Edwardian mansion built in early in the first decade of the twentieth century.






This image is the floor plan of the entry and main area in the building. It shows the architectural vestiges of the Victorian era. Note the main staircase in the very large entry hall. On back you see the servant's stairs.

From two thousand miles away it's a bit difficult to envision the traffic flow. An exhibition has to grab a visitor and pull them along in a predetermined path. It's particularly important in a space such as this. As 80%+ of the population is right handed and everyone in America drives to the right of the center line of the road, it is normal and natural to live one's life in the continuous right turn sequence. It avoids all sorts of problems in life.

So, looking at this floor plan, the reception area opens directly on the staircase proceeding up. It is the most "drawing" architectural element. So, with right hand preerence, the keynote and first major exhibition area is just past the double pocket doors leading into the grand parlor. It's counter intuitive because the huge space of the pocket doors wants you to turn right. However, if you want the viewer to enter the grand parlor a bit farther back in the house, the enticement must be strong enough to be placed between the front door, the stair, and the entrance to the gift shop.

That done, the visitor can choose whether to work their way around the grand parlor in the continuous right turn of clock wise. So, the works selected for the grand hall~reception area and the grand parlor all have to speak to each other. It's like selecting voices for a large choir; each has it's own range yet each must be a comfortable and capable part of a congenial whole.



This image gives you the wall space of the interior of the grand parlor, the wall containing the pocket doors.

I had thought about doing the arithmetical acrobatics to scale color xerox images to match the scale of these drawings. Then, hum, you do call yourself an artist? Don't you? Eight inches to represent a ten foot high room doesn't seem quite sufficient.

Why not draw each wall in a one inch equals one foot? That will make, eventually a mock up of each room. You will be able to sort and try and fuss and fidget. The works will finally tell you where they belong. So, I'm thinking of searching out the B size quad pad. What? You have a T-square and the ability. Why not just re-draw each wall on foam core?

So, that is where my squirmy mind is taking me today. Choosing the works for an exhibition is the very least of the work. Creating the sequence, rhythm, balance, and cadence of the works is what excites the viewer and draws them through an exhibitin.

Bleght ! I've a lot of work to do.

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Sunday, January 14, 2007

She Made Her Mark - Day Four

This box for entry forms that have been entered into the data base. That box for artists' statements. The shoebox for CDs that have had the images pulled off of them.

The tape measure holds down one group of papers; the stapler another. Another shoebox holds other stuff. Every, and I mean every piece of paper and Cd must have the same entry number. Every bit of computer data has to be backed up by plain old paper.

For day four, we have completed the remaining 15% of the image file building. There still remains about 40% of the database entry to go. Peg took one look at me and said, I don't think we will get much done today.

So for our two hours each we entered the image files in the iPhoto6 software and took a look at the slide show. OH, oh. One file is in a format incompatible. Hum, drag and drop doesn't tell me those things. iPhoto doesn't tell me which image is bunk. Oh, my, oh, my.

Well, we had loaded the 72dpi into the macbook. Came over and loaded both the 72dpi and the 300dpi into the iMac. Now we have five incompatible format files. groan. I have a message out to my Spider. Maybe he has a quick trick for identifying. I certainly do not wish to drop each and every one of these files into Photoshop to read the entire label. Maybe help will tell me how to expand the Information panel in iPhoto.

The slide show was highly professional and holds all sorts of possibilities. Now, we just have to do a whole bunch more grunt work.

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Well, Shame On Me

I left you a nice little photo as a teaser for She Made Her Mark about a week ago. Then I went AWOL again. Healing bodies, unfortunately, do not work to order or expectation as the same body and mind worked last year. The mind is still as questionable as the caterpillar climbing up my spine; it works when and if it wants to.

The work on doing the administrative intake on She Made Her Mark has begun. Peg Keeney, a friend and colleague who is in the Southwest to avoid the worst of winter's rigors has kindly volunteered her help in building the database. However, she has brought 27ºF early mornings with her.

The first day she set up the database. We had to make sure we got all the bits of information we would need to refer back to. It was decided to give each entrant a number and then to label the images as A, B, or C, as full images ad a, b, or c, as detail images. Name, phone, email, blood type, preferences in coffee, chocolate?; everything went into the planning.

Once we had decided that I went to work building the image files. Thank the universe for a two computer household. It's not quite perfect as each machine has a different version in iPhoto. Since the iMac has the150GB external hard drive I decided to keep images on desk folders and then input them in bulk into the big machine.

Loading images does not mean looking at them. It simply means first a drag and drop and then a renanimg of the file; each file name has to have entry number, last name, size of work, and then dpi and format. There were lots of individual creative efforts that had to be reduced to a simple, standard. It takes a lot of time.

About forty per cent of the time the artist had not marked the detail shot. Open Photoshop, inspect all images, correct file name. Time and frustration.

Loading images also means making two folders. One large image folder at 300dpi is held aside and backed up on CD.

These 300 dpi files mean that I can respond to any magazine editor, in a matter of minutes. I get requests for certain artists or images from all over the world. With the 300 dpi file I can upload whatever the editor needs to a non public space on my website; I email the editor the hotlink. Your path to fame and fortune are secure. No waiting around for the mail man. No bouncing of an image too large for an email.

We worked steadily for four and a half hours each. No lolly gagging around and talking shop. We are on a mission. This first day we were able to get 38% of the entries loaded.

Thirty Eight percent? Is that good or bad. It's neither; it just is. The day's accounting based on whether you had phoned Kelly Girls was nine woman hours. Nine hours of volunteer labor at market rate of $20 an hour is $180US. That's just for the first day and getting the set up and a small portion of the work done.

Neither Peg nor I are being paid; we are volunteers. The point of the accounting is to allow you to think about the time, overhead, and headaches of putting together an exhibition. We'll keep the accounting going.

Another point of the accounting is to encourage you to help support the good work being done by Anne Copeland, FiberArt Connection of Southern California. Please give a click to Anne's name and make a tax deductible donation. The work she does on a shoestring is really quite amazing. But like all shoestrings things break, office supplies are needed, the electric bill needs paid. Anne needs your help for this organization to grow to the point that Anne has an annual salary. Help do your part, please and thank you.

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Monday, January 08, 2007

Dressed for Work



Three weeks to the day after back surgery that means my back is a junk yard unacceptable to the Department of Homeland Insanity, I have drawn myself up, much like Scarlett. I have work to do.

Tomorrow you will see the pile of mail. The next few days will show you the process of the administrative beginnings of volunteer, free lance, curating. We'll be accounting for hours invested. The number of images placed in files. All this before any image is ever inspected.

Stay tuned. It should be fun.

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