Obviously there are times when something's gotta give and for the last several weeks, among other things, it's been tending this blog. The large public art project I'm finishing will be installed in December, so I've temporarily put personal work aside to focus my attention there. The boxes of mystery I'm sharing here arrived in Alaska at the end of August and beginning of September and there are about 4 more posts about the crowdsourced vintage linens I received for the Inheritance Project, so if you haven't seen your shipment profiled yet, please hang in there.
It's been a little intense around here.
If you didn't know me and you didn't know my mom, you'd probably look at this picture and think there was some kind of crazy argument going on here. Actually, it's two Swedes getting into some serious crowdsourced domestic linen organization. When my parents visited Alaska in August, a bunch of shipments for the Inheritance Project needed to be gone through, the correspondence filed and the laundry picked up where I'd left off a few months before.
And when I say laundry, I mean laundry.
And then I found out my mom was staying up until 10 pm ironing linens each night in my studio after we'd all gone to bed, so it was time to stop all that nonsense and produce an actual Alaskan vacation for her.
And a bear.
Having my parents here was a huge help -- they also helped install a piece of public art in a library (different from the one I'm currently working on).
Below are the boxes of mystery that arrived at about this same time. It's been good to go back and look at summer photos since, hey, it recently snowed.
My gratitude to Tracie Savo-Bolack for sending this one doily. It is the size of my hand, fingers outstretched, but she wrote so much about her grandmother, Lena Scinto-Ferraro, that the small work may as well fill an entire room. A bit of what she shared:
"...She and my grandfather would wake each night around 2 am, have a sandwich together and return to their separate bedrooms. When you looked into her small, perfectly round brown eyes, you saw kindness. For every mile walked, there were equal miles of thread run through her fingers, doily after doily. The rhythmic movements taking her someplace else, or maybe within? I wish I'd asked her when I had the chance...."
"...Now that I've had my own children, I cannot imagine handing a three-year old a needle and thread, but she did. And that afternoon, which I can still see so clearly, showing me how to sew buttons onto an old sock for a hand puppet (God, how I wish I still had it), she set me on a course to keep needle and thread in my hands (and life) forever, to pass on and awaken in me what was already in her, a stout Italian woman, a needlewoman."
I am honored to inherit such a legacy. Thank you Tracie for your generosity of object, narrative and spirit.
I have a strong connection to libraries. Our main branch in Anchorage is under renovation so our normal every-other-week jaunt has been a disrupted over the past several months. Our family is looking forward to the dust settling and we aren't alone.
Many thanks to Sherri Douglas, Assistant Director for Public Services for the Anchorage Public Library for this box of mystery. She and I have worked an many projects together over the years, from poster artwork, to painted kiosks, to 30-foot dragons. When my children were small they always looked for her at the Youth Services desk, shyly whispering, "Oh, there's our librarian," or hanging on my pant leg asking, "Mama, where's our librarian?"
She shared an enormous holiday tablecloth crocheted by her paternal grandmother, a hand embroidered apron from Russia (?), a tea towel she embroidered with mushrooms in 1968 and an unfinished cross stitch made by a dear exchange student from Thailand. I'm honored to receive such things from a friend.
More to come soon.
Artist in Anchorage, Alaska, sometimes blogging about the collision of history, family & art, with the understanding that none exists without the other.