The image above was taken around the Summer Solstice. Where I am in Anchorage, Alaska, the sun rises at 4:20 am and sets around 11:40 pm -- almost 19 1/2 hours of daylight. Children ride bikes and scooters and play until 10 pm (not mine, well, not always). Gardeners push till 11 pm. Before kids, we used to pitch a tent at midnight without headlamps and manically wonder why we didn't do this more often.
And then mid-July hits.
Which in my house is called the "Cranky Season," a close second to February, which is "The Really Cranky Season." During "Cranky" we start thinking about darkness and how lovely it would be to crawl into bed at 8:30 pm without an eye mask, wrapped in a cloak of deep blackness. Overcoming "Really Cranky" requires more desperate measures, which usually involves 10,000 IUs of Vitamin D, Mexico and far less clothing.
If you've been following this blog, you know about the Inheritance Project and the amazing items that have traveled to me here in Alaska from people all over the world. The generous nature of this outpouring says so much about women and memory and the making hand. These are the materials and narratives that will inform a solo exhibition called Inheritance: makers. memory. myth. slated for the fall of 2018 at the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center. I've been inheriting items for nearly a year.
Here are the 14th Boxes of Mystery:
33 Problems and a Hankie Ain't One.
Thank you Marolyn Cook for sending 33 delicately crochet-edged linen hankies for the Inheritance Project. These are buttery soft, apparently never used, and while it's unclear whether the same hand made them all, the edges run the gamut from butterfly to Crinoline Lady. (I know the "Crinoline Lady" is a thing because Marolyn sent a pattern book circa 1949 with just such a title).
Marolyn loves handmade items, has sewn all her life and formerly made sample pieces for a needle art company. Her gaze has since turned to rug hooking and waxed linen basket coiling. She collected these hankies over the last 20 years, like many of us, recognizing the quality yet unsure of how best to use them.
I have some ideas.
My gratitude goes to Victoria BC- and Princeton-based artist, Diana Weymar for sending her grandmother's handwork. I know Diana as a curator, artist and writer; last year she invited me to participate in a textile-based show she curated at the Arts Council of Princeton ("Every Fiber of My Being" coincided with her artist residency there). Our cyber paths crossed again when the Gynocentric Art Gallery (The GAG) asked me to write a companion essay to Diana's online show. (You can read an excerpt of that here, or the full essay and full set of images here).
Although Diana and I haven't met in person, we've spoken on the phone and maintain a yes-let's-meet-we-will-meet-when-can-we-someday-meet relationship like so many others born online through image, words and the intensity of making.
Diana recently sent several needlepoint embroideries made by her grandmother, Roxana Keller Brakeley:
I appreciate your time, Diana. And we will meet. We will.
Very Important Household Projects.
Thank you Michelle P. for sending these lovely crocheted potholders. According to my studio assistant, the little dresses have become more ubiquitous around here ("Mom, did you know you have 6 of these!?"). The other thoughtful gesture is the inclusion of a 1968 Coats & Clark's pattern book. For 35 cents, you too, could fill your home with charming decor and your closets with enviable accessories, all seemingly whipped out in an evening.
All I have to say is -- "Ring Hot Plate Mat" aside -- if you appreciate my sense of humor, you can't go wrong with the "Leper Bandage" pattern and instructions. You'll note that Coats & Clark's did not include a sample of this project on the cover of the booklet. Curious. Nor is there an address included as to where to send completed bandages.
Ha! And you thought crowdsourcing was a new thing.
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If you've contacted me already regarding the Inheritance Project -- or have been meaning to -- I'm accepting items for a little while still. I plan to wrap it up around the one year mark (soon) or 20th Boxes of Mystery post, whichever works out best. To read more about this domestic linen/doily/embroidery crowdsourcing effort, you can click on the sidebar categories Boxes of Mystery or Inheritance Project and scroll down to see more.
My gratitude goes to all who've contributed and encouraged. My work is hinged on the work of other women, past and present, and this is not lost on me.
Artist in Anchorage, Alaska, sometimes blogging about the collision of history, family & art, with the understanding that none exists without the other.