This is the antepenultimate post about the Boxes of Mystery sent to me from all over the world, the materials gathering phase for the Inheritance Project -- what became a year-long crowd-sourcing effort -- during which contributors from many countries sent boxes of domestic linens they either found or were ready to pass on to me as the final inheritor. The process has been beautiful (love process), the narratives have been moving (love stories), sometimes sad (love a good cry), and the administration for this effort has been overwhelming with all the organizing, laundering, pressing, photography and correspondence (love staying on top of things, but this has been tricky). Did I mention I made every contributor a teeny tiny doily as a thank you? And some got two?
BUT. The effort has been worth it. Not only have I met wonderful people from all over the world (thank you, Instagram), but I've also been awarded two 2018 solo shows based on the work I plan to produce from these items, and I just found out I received a Sustainable Arts Foundation Grant, which will help cover studio expenses and/or childcare for the next year so I can actually...you know...have something to hang in a gallery (besides laundry).
A friend of mine recently joked that I could always hang that 30-foot dragon in the gallery (a different project I've been deep into for the last 2 months, and will be installed in a week...more on that soon). It's been busy around here.
Meanwhile, below are the contributors for the 20th Boxes of Mystery.
Thank you, Boel Werner from Sweden -- long time friend, children's book illustrator and artist. Boel was one of the first people to send a Box of Mystery to Alaska and I have a stunning collection of hand-crocheted Swedish grytlappar (pot holders) to work with as a result. You can see the contents of her previous Boxes of Mystery here and here. While the Americans have thrift stores and the Australians have op shops, the Swedes have loppis and it's not unusual to receive a photo from Boel with the message, "Can you use these? How about this?" She has just as difficult a time walking away from unwanted domestic linens as I do. She's my Swedish Rainbow Connection.
This Box of Mystery held an additional "Envelope of Mystery"... inside a tiny silver grytlapp pendant that Boel made for me. She's since gone on to make a doily pendant using the teeny tiny thank you I made as the mold. I feel like my friendship with Boel -- a woman I met in 2004 at a children's book conference in L.A. -- is such a beautiful example of how symbiotic the relationship can be between women and their work. It should always feel this easy with people.
History & Treasure.
Thank you Lynette Fisk. This is the second group of items she's sent, the first were included in The 17th boxes of mystery post. As before, she carefully documented the provenance of each item as best she could. Thank you for your time, Lynette. These items are wonderful, zany and make me smile.
"...I love old crochet pieces, but my absolute favorite 'doilies' are knitted. We have 5 including one large (36" diameter) antimacassar my mother used to put across the back of the couch. During and after WWII, my mother and her mother-in-law-sent care packages of coffee, chocolate, clothing and other necessaries to relatives in post-war Germany. The relatives sent back photos, letters and gifts of hand-knitted lace! This week we found the folder of letters, photos of children and notes about what they sent. That is a treasure!"
Many thanks to Suzanne Williams from West Virginia for sending embroidered dresser scarves and doilies of various origin, most unknown and some very large. She layered the items in a box with descriptions on pastel sheets paper carefully rolled around each colorful, sweet group. Many thanks for your time Suzanne. These old things deserved your consideration and care. I'm so happy to receive them.
Antepenultimate is a word we should use more often. I'm happy to throw it around a bit more: antepenultimate, antepenultimate, antepenultimate.
Go use that word today.
Boxes of Mystery posts, on the home stretch....my gratitude to everyone who's hung in there with me.
Artist in Anchorage, Alaska, sometimes blogging about the collision of history, family & art, with the understanding that none exists without the other.