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Spring 2024

Spring is speeding in a month early. Everything seems to be charging up for a fast year. I'm working hard to slow things down.

I spent a transformative three weeks in Santa Fe in January and during that time found a new self with new values and managed to slough off some less-than-helpful perceptions. Being granted an artistic fellowship by the Board at WISC Santa Fe was a gift beyond imagining.

During this respite I decided to take a year off from the maddening schedule of shows and travel and really embrace a slower, more present existence. I decided to Lean-in to Lawrence, Lean-in to being with people in the moment and Lean-in to my art, to myself as an aging artist and to a better quality of life.

Having all this time to reflect, clarify, recharge and even grow homesick illuminated many things. One: I love Lawrence and I love my life here and am not going to keep living in the "when I move to New Mexico" mode. Two: I can stop chasing fame, money, recognition, acknowledgement, because... I am enough. My life joy is in the making, the sharing, the connecting with people through my art. I don't have to follow the striver's path by making a certain amount of money or by showing in prestigious places, I just have to make sure the pieces move from my hands into another's so the work table is clear for the next inspiration. The value of my work is what I get to experience while making, not what it is traded for. Three: I'd like to have a better work-life balance. I work 32 hrs a week as a Librarian and pretty much all the rest as an Artist. There's no dinner parties, there's no curled on the couch novel reading, there's very little gardening - you get the picture.

To facilitate this balance, I recently signed a lease at Art Emergency and will enjoy a spacious studio, similar in dimensions to the one I enjoyed in Santa Fe and bonus.... We will gain a living room and dining room. (time to polish Gammy's silver)

To pay for this tremendous change, I'm happy to say my toddler-sized dresses have been accepted at the Phoenix Gallery and new thematic pieces will be created, similar to the PNW dresses seen above. I'll be approaching other museum shops like the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art to foster additional outlets for my pieces. Making this decision, which I have resisted my entire adult life, has supercharged my artistic self - such a validation of space and time and balance.

For my Colorado friends, I'm excited to announce I will be teaching a couple of workshops in the fall for Two Hands Paperie: Embroidered postcards and Doll-sized paper dresses. The dates have not been set yet, however I'll post on social media and update this post as soon as the fall schedule is posted.

Beginning March 8th, the 2024 Lawrence Arts Center Annual Art Auction will be open for viewing. I've donated a large framed dress honoring Lutie Lytle this year. Lutie Lytle was the first African American to be admitted to the Kansas bar.  After attending college in Nashville, TN she returned to Topeka in 1897 to practice law.

Currently, I'm gearing up this week to return to Santa Fe to present my final project along with students from Santa Fe Prep at the Acequia Madre House. We will have a little reception and will be presenting our pieces together on the evening of March 14th. You are invited to attend! These Senior students led by History teacher Lisa Nordstrum will showcase and discuss their final projects. I worked in person with them in January and have been Zoom coaching ever since. They each chose a figure from the New Mexico Historic Women Marker Program and have researched their lives and fashioned historically accurate costumes from paper.

I have made my first full size adult paper garment, inspired by this 1870 dress worn by the vibrant 20 year old Eva Scott Fényes. The cream and peach gown photographed below is made of paper, decorated with Moroccan designs to honor her extensive, life long love of travel. The paper fan is decorated with portraits of dogs from the early 1900's and inscribed with the names of many of her beloved companions. Here she is later in life with a sweet friend on her shoulder.

Here are some photos from today's shoot - all amazing images by Susan Wolfe!

A few snippets to end with:

I've been asked to contribute to  "Topeka Reflections: Unveiling the Soul of the Heartland" at the NOTO Arts Center in Topeka in May. As part of the 60th anniversary of the Brown vs. Board of Education ruling, I will be recreating Linda Brown's dress from relevant ephemera from the case and surrounding news.

Collaborating with Karen Roberts and Susan Wolfe, we will be hosting "Inhabiting Georgia O'Keeffe" on Final Friday, July 26th upstairs at Sarah's Fabrics. This is a highly interactive event which will include calls for vignettes and GOK inspired artwork; Art Tougeau float and sewing classes at Sarahs to make her classic black wrap dress. Please contact me to find out more details on how to participate and attend.

What else does 2024 hold? Hopefully balance and more creativity, connection and mindfulness.

Thanks for following my progress as a person and as an artist. Here's a silly picture of the day I matched my kitchen....

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