Weaving the River

I'm  excited to share with you the culmination of a project that has been in the works for the last year and a half. On a warm night in January, the members of the PolyArtery Collective gathered at a KC coffee house to create an immersive art experience to reflect the magnificent history and the devastating circumstances of the Quindaro community. Our group is formed by Jen Appell, mistress of song, Jillian Yougbird, photographer and story teller extraordinaire, and Justin Border, graphic design guru. Weaving the River will be at the Quindaro Symposium, April 20th and 21st, at Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kansas. Follow this link for registration and more information.

Quindaro Symposium

It has been amazing working with these three because our gifts and skill sets blend so well. We have collected inspiration from the old Quindaro site, visited museums, conducted interviews, and worked on grant applications. This has been a challenging subject but it was always the joy of working together and passion for our project that has led us forward. I've grown so much as an artist and a person through working with these immensely talented artists. I hope that you will come, learn the history and work towards a brighter future for the Quindaro community.

You can find out more about our project and supporters at Weaving the River

 PolyArtery touring Quindaro ruins

PolyArtery touring Quindaro ruins

Spooky Action at a Distance

As a quick update I have been in Wyoming since the beginning of January for my show with Maria Rose Wimmer called "Spooky Action at a Distance". The installation at Casper College lasted two full days and spans two galleries and an atrium. I couldn't be more delighted with the work and how it looks in the spaces.

My knees were bruised from kneeling in a glass box installing my interpretation of particles in space. I climbed an eighteen foot ladder for five hours to hang all the strings for the graphing installation. Who knew art would be such great exercise? It's like the installation process adds a performative aspect to the work. There are hyper-lapse videos to edit.

Our reception is on February 23rd at 12pm with the artist lecture at 12:30pm. We'll explain all our inspirations and the fun we had researching quantum entanglement. Albert Einstein, who came up the theory, called it "Spooky Action", hence the title of the show. I am also teaching a soft sculpture workshop at Casper College on February 21st from 2-4pm. The workshop is designed for hand sewers. Fear not those without a sewing machine!

In the mean time, I am the first artist in residence at Art 321, the gallery run by the Casper Artist Guild. The space is gorgeous and there are always interesting classes going on. They are really kind letting me use a table and an outlet for my sewing machine. My parents got a puppy making fiber art and concentration impossible. Spot is an alligator in puppy clothes! You can find me there most days of the week working on some crazy new sculptures and installation pieces for my upcoming shows. More details to come.

lips_web.jpg

I am also teaching workshops or giving lectures about ikebana. I have a workshop at the Nicolaysen Art Museum today. I am teaching down in Cheyenne at the Cheyenne Botanical Garden on February 18th in their new building. I am thrilled to bring a love of plants and Japanese culture to Wyoming.

Eating: Kiwano Mellon, a spiky orange fruit from sub-Saharan Africa. It is so odd looking and tasty. Do you think I could grow it?

Drinking: Wyoming has stepped up it's beer game since I've left. There are three bars within a block of the studio. I'm trying all the kinds, especially if they are on tap! Beer can be a good afternoon snack right?

Reading: Refridgerator Monologues by Catherynne M. Valente - It's the stories of the women behind the superheros. It feels like Marvel fan fiction but smartly done. And there are pretty pictures.

12 X 12

My ink drawing was accepted into the Lawrence Art Center's 12 X 12 show. The opening reception will be on October 27th from 5-9pm. I'm really disappointed to miss the opening, but that is our neighborhood's Trick or Treat night. I would have a very disappointed five year old on my hands. If you are able to swing by the opening let me know! The work will be up until December 22nd so there is still a chance I could see the show.

  Nuclear Option #2,  Ink on Paper, 2017

Nuclear Option #2, Ink on Paper, 2017

Make a Wish for the Birds and Fish

October first Friday, I will be celebrating the beauty of nature at Imagine That! as a featured artist. 

Many of the artists at Imagine That! are drawn to natural landscapes and organic shapes like watercolor representations of the Badlands and playful pen drawings of seaweed. In this show, see the many ways their artists interpret landscape, animals and plant life. Come join us October 6th for all of the “botanical sweets”. Imagine That! is a non-profit arts program founded in 2012 for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

I spotted some innovative embroidery going up, so be sure not to miss it. This is actually the first time that Seedpod has been installed outside my house. I can't wait!

Seedpod1_forweb.JPG

Envelop

Join us Friday, September 15th at 815 Gallery in Columbus Park! I am thrilled to be sharing my fiber work alongside the talented Adriana Luna and Doug Boucher. Be prepared from some new and interesting fiber sculpture arrangements because the space is gorgeous.

Doug Boucher is a local photographer who travels to Florida, Colorado and Oregon have inspired and influenced his work.

Adriana Luna is an abstract artist, creating mixed media paintings. A lifetime of loving art led her to study printmaking and painting at the Kansas City Art Institute.

Hope to see you there!

09_815_Envelop.jpg

Solar Eclipse

The solar eclipse is only 43 days away! Have you made plans? I'm elated that we are so close to the path of the eclipse since we will not be able to make it out to Wyoming this summer. My piece, "Bargaining" was accepted into the show, SOLAR, hosted by the Potter Art Gallery at Missouri Western to coincide with the eclipse. The show will open from August 7th to September 15th.

 "Bargaining", Collage, 5"x5"

"Bargaining", Collage, 5"x5"

Friday we drove the piece up to the art gallery and had a fun little museum/art vacation along the way stopping at the Walter Cronkite Memorial, and then down to Weston, MO to see the Nation Silk Museum. This collection was unbelievable. It was silk tapestries from around the 1700s to the early 1900s. The time and attention to detail to create these pieces was astronomical. Then you look at the weaving and it's clear like a photograph. The museum curator said they have the resolution of our HD tv. If you have the ability to stop and check out the collection it's well worth the drive.

silk museum ruins
silk tapestry spinning

We also got to see the reverse sides on some of the tapestry. This little shepherd girl is extra creepy in reverse.

Weaving the River

Over this last six months I've been working on a new project with my fellow Artist Inc team mates. Go Team Orange! Some really exciting things have been happening and I want to document our progress and introduce the project a little bit.  

Weaving the River is an immersive art experience that depicts the unrecognized history of the Wyandotte Indian Settlement of Quindaro.

Once a vibrant trade port on the banks of the Missouri river and a key stop on the underground railroad; few voices rise to tell the epic tale of the progressive township’s resistance and strength.  

According to the Health Equity Action Transformation report released by Community Health Council of Wyandotte County in November 2016, out of 106 counties in the state of Kansas, the citizens of Wyandotte County consist of the most vulnerable populations in both individual and public health.  There is intense overlap of these social determinants of health that show the area surrounding Quindaro to be one of the most at-risk in the county.

Our team will create an installation that envelops the audience in the landscape of Quindaro. A soundscape composed by Jen Appell will include natural samples, voices of residents, songs of slavery and traditional Wyandot music. This element explores the synergies and counterpoints of the community’s complex cultural experience through the span of time. Jillian Youngbird will weave a “river” from sticks and resources collected from the site of the settlement and yarn steeped in water of the Missouri. This physical interpretation of Quindaro, which means “bundle of sticks” or “stronger together”, represents the strength of weaving together a community. Justin Border and I will  interpret the topography of the valley allowing the public to walk the landscape, illustrating the historical and current disparities between Kansas and Missouri. Our team will also create infographics depicting the population’s past and present challenges inspired by hand-drawn graphics created by W.E.B. DuBois. 

A few weeks ago we reached the final round for the Rocket Grant. Though we didn't win a grant we are still confident that our project will move forward. We've made some great connections with local community organizations such as the Community Health Council of Wyandotte County, the Kansas City Design Center, Freedom's Frontier, Wyandotte Nation of Kansas, Black Archives of Mid America, Grinter Place State Historical Site and Kansas City Kansas Public Libraries. 

We will document the process of Weaving the River in partnership with Fountain City Frequency to produce a series of narrative podcasts that document the progression of our continued connections to the Quindaro community, physical construction of the installation and the history of Quindaro. This is an exciting opportunity to bring the history of Wyandotte County to a larger audience so that the history is acknowledged and not lost. 

Poly-Art-ery quindaro

These are my fellow artists. Looking all business, as we discuss the future of our project over avocado daiquiris. Yum! It's the beginning of a beautiful relationship and project.