Thank you! Remembering ‘Saltus Chori Aevum’, the MMMM 2012 performance

‘Saltus Chori Aevum’, the MMMM 2012 performance happened more than a month ago; it’s difficult for me to believe.  I usually drop off the planet right after finishing a huge project, and this one was no different, except for the sense of moving the action and motivation of themes of the project into the recesses of my private life; cleansing, scouring, stripping down to a rawness and starting fresh, renewing.  I have been cleaning my house like I have never done before;  moving into my own home with a baby 7 years ago, I have never taken enough time out from working to really even move in, or upkeep much of anything.  There is always a new project, more work.  But this has created mental blockages for me that have grown difficult to overcome, it seems silly but very real.  So, it seems small, ordinary, menial, unimportant to even mention; giving away piles of things, removing old patterns, and cleaning layers of real and psychological dirt….but it feels very much like the process of creating this performance is the impetus for this private excavation, and will hopefully un-block my way to re-newed making.

It brings me to a feeling of gratitude for choreographer/dancer Jessica Jobaris, for helping all of us involved to dig around in our heads and bodies for the movements to say what we needed to see.  Through meditation and improvisation workshops, she helped us all create a score, and I always found myself on the floor scrubbing, pushing and pulling imagined waters.  More than just creating what you might have seen at Dupen Fountain in May, she helped me unlock a new quiet vocabulary in my own body, and I’m nervous and excited to see how it will influence my new work.

I owe huge thank you’s and deep gratitude to all my collaborators on this project.  All of them, as well as Jessica, Monica Schley, Saskia Delores, Andrea Ivesand Rodrigo Valenzuela approached this project with a sense of nurture and working from a place of intuition and experimentation.  There was a rawness in the piece that I really loved that reminded me of community gatherings and ritual; intent takes priority over perfection.  And this is what I found compelling about the flood of cell-phone pictures that I found on the internet after this public piece opened; they’re like tiny moments of the individual’s perception.  The images in this post are just a few of those:

I also am so thankful for the guidance and support of this project from Marcia Iwasaki at the Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs  and  Layne Cubell from The Seattle Center Foundation/Next 50.  This project wouldn’t have been possible with their sharp management and dedication.

I also am grateful to the kind volunteering efforts of the friends and acquaintances who came out to assist us with putting this on: Mary Lee Drake, Rebecca Bloom, Wyly Astley, Kristie Metcalf , Glenn Billard, Ellen Eades, Barb Matthews, Renata Almeida.  I know I have forgotten a few names – I’m so sorry – but I am so grateful for the support!

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More images taken by Photographer/Filmmaker Rodrigo Valenzuela

MMMM River comes down in Atlanta tomorrow….

Bye-bye Agnes Scott College….

Curator Lisa Alembik is a saint for taking down my installation without  me…..

Next, it returns home to Seattle for a little urban installation at Ohge Ltd. Gallery here in Seattle, which I believe opens on January 23rd…..and I just realized I’ll need to make more ropes, oh my!  Watch out for a crochet party coming soon!!

More images from the fun in Atlanta here

A little film from the “Knitting and Networking” event at the AFTA conference on June 19th

 

YouTube – hooked in seattle 7 1 09.

A perfect example of the flow of conversation  when people have something to do with their hands.  (but it looks like I’m talking about washing dishes….)

Dancing at the Sustainable West Seattle Festival a few weeks ago

 

Patti's hands

Patti's hands

I’m continuing to try to catch up with posting about all the great places and events I’m visiting, in no particular order.  A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of bringing my project to a booth at the Sustainable West Seattle Festival.

getting sunburned

getting sunburned

  I just happened to share my booth with West Seattle’s “Dance for Joy” studio, who spent their time teaching people to dance in the street!

Dance for joy, ya'll

Dance for joy, ya'll

 I also chatted it up with members of West Seattle’s Senior Line dance troupe, all decked out in fringe.  I want to kick my own shin for not taking their picture, drat!  For a good part of the day, I felt like I was in the middle of a musical, which is a pretty good way to feel. DSC_0097 Met many West Seattlites excited about this project sited in their neighborhood!  (Still hoping to catch up with some of them for crocheting this weekend when I’ll be at Delridge Day at the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, 11am-4pm)!  I also began having the trippy experience (it’s now happened at least 5 times!) of having someone say to me “There’s this show down in Portland that you would love….”  or  “I saw this show at BAM last year, did you see it?, you would have liked it…”  That’s me, those are my shows…  It’s a funny experience, takes me off guard, I get tickled…I’ll say it.  But it also got me thinking about another benefit I’m gaining from this project.  Often, when I set up a huge installation, it’s like a gigantic marathon, all I can think about.  It goes up, there is an opening for a few hours, then I leave.  People see it, and I never really get to hear their thoughts about it.  A review may happen, and a friend or two may email.  But in general, there is not a lot of discussion with people I do not know about what I made, what they saw in it, how they felt about it, etc.  Being so out in public, so all over the city with MMMM, I’m getting these conversations that I have never had before.  Critics are one thing, friends, other artists are another.  But getting to hear what the general public thinks about your work is eye-opening.  Valuable.

Robert, chain maker

Robert, chain maker

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not so precious

not so precious

Ballard coming and going; This weekend and last

 

working in the gutter

working in the gutter

I have such a glut of images of all the events and people who have been joining in with MMMM! The weekends seem to coming at me faster and faster as this phase of the project, the community art events, move into their last month.  From June 15th till the performance, I will mostly be full time working at building the river in Camp Long, so this last month I will really be trying to get everyone involved with the project who would like to be.  So…if you are one of those people who have been telling me how excited you are about this project but haven’t been able to attend an event yet, get out your calendar and pick a day!  We all know how fast a month goes by…….and I hope you can make it!

 

So back to back weekends I will and have been crocheting in Ballard.  Last weekend, it was at another of the CAN “Seattle Summer Streets” events, this time hosted by Cascade Bicycle Club as a way to celebrate “Bike to Work Day”.  Bikes everywhere!!

bikes , bikes!!

bikes , bikes!!

 

 

  Sadly, I did not bike to work that day because I had so many crocheting supplies, but if I had a Bakfiets Bicycle  from Dutch Bike, Co. of Seattle, perhaps I could have!

I want one!

I want one!

Dutch Bike, Co. also had another CRAZY bike that kept going up and down the street past me, each time I tried to run after it taking a picture, because it reminded me so much of what I was trying to do at the time — gather people in a circle for a little unusual creative connection with people they don’t really know.  I give you the Conference Bike!!  I enjoyed my

crazy , giggling mass of people!

crazy , giggling mass of people!

there it goes again!

there it goes again!

early evening in Ballard and had quite a few lingering loungers, a few returning friends and new acquaintances!

Here’s Diem Chau (new Ballard business owner, artist!) taking my picture as I take her picture!

 

Diem!

Diem!

 

 

Now this coming weekend, on Saturday from 12 – 4:30pm, I will be back in Ballard, this time at the lovely green-roofed public library.

And then sunday, I’ll be at the Beacon Hill Library.  Please come, even for just a bit as you get out of the sun!

  • 23rd of May, Sat., 12 noon – 4:30pm, Ballard Library meeting room, 5614 22nd Ave. N.W.  206-684-4089 , directions
  • 24th of May, Sun, 12:30 pm – 4:45 pm, Beacon Hill Library meeting room, 2821 Beacon Ave. S.
    206-684-4711, directions

Broadview Revisted….

After tonight’s date with the streets of Ballard, I will be heading back to Broadview Library on this Saturday  from 12-4. A few weeks ago, I took my project to Broadview on a Thursday night, already knowing that my non-weekend night library gigs were usually not well attended. I had just really wanted to get my project out of the center, south end or west seattle, so I took the Thursday and this later Saturday date. And since most of the meeting rooms in the new libraries are amazing spaces filled with light, I just figured I’d get some work done by myself in a great room, and just spread the word for this next visit.

Chandra and Mary

Chandra and Mary

It was slim, but I did meet some wonderful people who detoured their evening plans to spend an hour or two with me.  Just coming in to return books Chandra learned to crochet for the first time, while her sweet daughter and I played with the camera.

working the camera

working the camera

 Pretending to be superheros and dressing up in the crocheting, unraveling yarn and touching it all, I am well versed in the joys of being four.  Then Mary came in and quickly revisted crocheting from when she was a kid.  

pals!

pals!

And all three became instant pals!  Seriously!  

 

This was not the only high-five

This was not the only high-five

High Fives and laughter for the whole time.  Chandra just moved here from Georgia, and Mary and I were telling her about all the stunning parks all over the city to take her little one.  Anyhow, Broadview here I come again.  

There were many high-fives!

There were many high-fives!

 

This is how a super-hero takes off....

This is how a super-hero takes off....

Welcome to Seattle, you two!!

Welcome to Seattle, you two!!

Valuing Process over Product: West Seattle Library

very special yarn

very special yarn

It was a quiet day at the West Seattle Library a few weeks ago, which gave me some insight into what it means to really value process over product.

Robin with her yarn

Robin with her yarn

Robin stopped by with several balls of wool she had spun and dyed just for the project!  How incredibly lucky I feel to get to work with this stuff, and I’m giving a ball to my husband Paul Margolis for a new ‘crocheted second skin’ project he’s working on.  Robin and I worked and talked for four hours about the pleasure of figuring things out and making things ourselves (and the many uses of Youtube for the autodidact), from roasting coffee in her backyard, to butter making, tatting and making cheese.  It was a conversation I probably wouldn’t have had if 15 people had showed up, and I really don’t know if I would have ever met Robin if it weren’t for this aspect of this project,  to create a space for people to come together, work with our hands and allow the slow and meandering flow of conversation to happen.  It’s not about some preconceived notion of what dialogue or discourse about art should be, or even community.  I have to begin with why on earth I’m there, how this piece came to be, what it is about for me the artist, and then something just begins to happen, sometimes slow, sometimes hard.  And then, like making butter (really), it turns to something harmonious.   The process has opened me up more to taking people as they are, and allowing this work about creating conversation to mean a little something different each time.  DSC_0179 Meeting Robin also  gave me the opportunity to get a bit more earnest about this project being about ‘process’  rather than ‘product’.  Admittedly, I am a person with a drive and a particular amount of ambition — it’s just how I have been able to get things done  — and there is a certain part to ambition that views things in numbers, and ‘how many’.  Is the project a success if I don’t have hundreds of hundreds of people participating?  The last three weeks of meeting many, many people, and the huge spectrum of interactions from 2 minutes of describing the project in a coffee shop, to sitting and talking with a stranger for four hours — this stranger giving up four hours of their time to contribute to something I deeply care about — has made me come to understand that I also have to accept the process of making this River as it unfolds, rather than what ambition might have wanted.  One person showing up at an event allows for a different sort of interaction, just as important as feeling like a lot of people have made space in their lives to join this project.  Community is a word used to describe a group, but that group forms around the tiny moments of connection that happen between 2 people at a time.  I feel much more energized, moving around the city, more appreciative of the small moments of this project.

Robin's yarn in a system of pools

Robin's yarn in a system of pools

At Delridge Library….all about the Mother

DSC_0225It’s been almost three weeks of really traveling the cardinal directions of Seattle.  Today I’m spending some time crocheting up huge strips of hand-dyed silk, alpaca and pearls for the wearable element of MMMM, and I also need to reflect upon and share some of the places I have been to.  Thank you Delridge neighborhood for joining in with MMMM!  

brother and sister crocheting duo

brother and sister crocheting duo

 

A diverse group of all ages

A diverse group of all ages

Now that Camp Long has been confirmed as the site for this installation integrated into the natural environment, interpreting and celebrating our urban creeks and watersheds, it felt good to be working just around the corner from the Longfellow Creek watershed at The Delridge Library , and sharing my project with members of the community the creek runs through.  

It was one of my best attended events that wasn’t a street fair, several children playing hookie from homework made long beautiful chains, including 2 four years olds.  Towards the end of the day, yarn was everywhere with kids running around the room eating animal crackers, and still crocheting.  I loved it!  For me, art and learning are both messy chaotic and wayfaring processes, full of sensory overload.  So I was quite pleased with the rumpus!  And glad I could create a space where children can mess around and babies can screech while mother messes around with yarn!   Even my doula stopped by, Betsy Hoffmeister who is an activist in her community supporting mothers and children with birth and breastfeeding support.  

Betsy and Becca

Betsy and Becca

We have hardly seen each other since she was with me during the birth of my son, so I am really thrilled to have a tiny fuzzy whirlpool made by her hands join this long river.   She sat and taught her daughter to crochet, as well as two other mother and child pairs.  

Brenda teaches her son

Brenda teaches her son

Crocheting has been a way for me to generate my giant installations in tiny bits of time, because it’s a very simple looping process I can keep in a little bag and carry with me throughout my daily life.  My ordinary experiences of watching my kid at the playground or waiting for a few minutes in the car get imbedded in the larger mythical narrative of my work.

I'm just waiting...not driving

I'm just waiting...not driving

 

 

  I always feel like this correlates with how myths or archetypes would have been created, the repetition of the ordinary story until it transcends the individual.  So to have these moments of mothers and  children, passing hands through hands, recorded in knots in this work, to me, gives it some powerful magic.

See the entire set of images here

Mariko and little one

Mariko and little one

Robert and Tenny hold back nothing

Robert and Tenny hold back nothing

 

babies don't crochet, but they sing for us

babies don't crochet, but they sing for us

 

 

already a crocheting ace, taught by her grandmother

already a crocheting ace, taught by her grandmother

 

a tiny pool

a tiny pool

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A HUGE thank you to Karin Skacel Haack at Skacel Yarn! Crochet hooks for kids!

This piece is bringing me in contact with so many generous people, freely giving their support (a hem, Sharon Arnold at dimensions variable), encouragement, their time, old clothes, old yarn, etc. etc.  But I have to just also give a gigantic thank you to Karin Skacel Haack , the president of Skacel Collection, Inc. , a Seattle-based family business importing yarns and beautiful German crochet hooks.  Karin contacted me during the making of my last project, The Silvering Path, and wanted to donate some yarn. crochet-party I believe she had seen Small but Mighty Wandering Pearl, and also one of her newest designers had helped me with some beading on that project.  She generously gave us a mountain of yellow yarn and other supplies.  She also came for a day and crocheted.  Karin and I recently got in touch again, and she again wanted to donate more yarn and asked me what else I might need for this new massive project.  I told her how I have been giving away my crochet hooks to kids who come to the events, and yarn where I could, to the point it was outside of my budget.  She said she’d find me some hooks too.

Well, her awesome web designer Candice, came to the Southwest Library crochet event with a giant bag of the most beautiful blue yarns, and a box of an unbelievable amount of glittery crochet hooks (yes, they have gold glitter in them, they are truly the glam rockstars of crochet hooks).  Not only has she insured that I can take this piece to the scale that I would like it to be without busting my budget, but also I can make sure to pass on a crochet hook to every kid I come across.  

Skacel yarn and hooks!

Skacel yarn and hooks!

Crochet hooks are like special wands of transformation, simple and elemental, archetypal tools that can create infinite variety through the single gesture of knotting loops inside of loops.  I don’t even know how old they are…..It feels good and full-circle to hopefully keep a kid working with their hands.  Handwork and reading were really the saving grace of my childhood.  Someone somewhere taught me the simple gestures that have shaped my life and set my hands and mind into the motions that will probably be with me for as long as I know.  Thank you Karin for such generosity.

 

 

crocheting at Delridge Library

crocheting at Delridge Library

 

four hands together

four hands together

Thank you SAM for a great “Climate Day for Kids” at the Sculpture Park!

Last weekend I had the pleasure of participating in SAM’s “Climate Day for Kids” in celebration on Earth Day.  Jackie White, Environmental Steward at SAM, and her crew put together an incredible event for kids and families at the Olympic Sculpture Park.

an invigorating studio for a day

an invigorating studio for a day

 I brought my own family, and now seem to hear daily from my son how to “reduce my carbon footprint”, the catch phrase of the day.  

recycled art sponsored by SAM's Teen Advisory Group

recycled art sponsored by SAM's Teen Advisory Group

Worm bins, scavenger hunts, Tesla coils, recycled art projects, eco-gaming, walking school buses, and free organic trail mix all made for a big crowd and many, many engaged crocheters. Several of the people I worked with were just in the park that day, and were just drawn to all the crazy fun ( the hair-raising Tesla coil!) It also continues to be my great pleasure to teach really young children to crochet, as well as work with families making together!  

learning how to add on to other's patches

learning how to add on to other's patches

 

brought her own glittery crochet hook

brought her own glittery crochet hook

There were moments were I was teaching the basics over and over breathlessly, which feels good and grounded for this project where I am trying to connect with and connect together as many people as I can.  The little repeating loop stitches are visual reminders of a few minutes of conversation or a few minutes of quiet with oneself.

Thanks, my friend, for your patience and appreciation

Thanks, my friend, for your patience and appreciation

 I’ll also be heading back to SAM for their “Celebrate Wildflowers” Day on June 6th.  I  continue to fall more in love with the park every time I go, and plan to go back with my picnic blanket for more crocheting on my own, and with whoever would like to stop for a few minutes.  

See more images here.

 

for a few moments

for a few moments

my first volunteer

my first volunteer

 

mom and daughter hung out for the whole day

mom and daughter hung out for the whole day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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circle of hands working

circle of hands working

 

TAG volunteer helps out for a bit

TAG volunteer helps out for a bit

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All you new crocheters, remember…..

 

Beautiful hands working at SAM Olympic Sculpture Park

Beautiful hands working at SAM Olympic Sculpture Park

……..insert, wrap, pull through one, wrap again, pull through two, insert, wrap, pull through one, wrap again, pull through two…

Many many thanks to all who have joined in!

Crocheting at Libraries! (Douglass-Truth, Columbia City…)

 

The River taking on a little bit of shape

The River taking on a little bit of shape

 

This patch made from small bits from a workshop at Cornish

This patch made from small bits from a workshop at Cornish

Many of my crocheting events are hosted at Seattle libraries around the city, utilizing a fantastic public resource, the community meeting room.  They are free to use, as long as the meeting is free, open to the public, not selling anything (and a few other common sense rules).  And because of “Libraries for All”, most of the meeting rooms, and libraries are gorgeous wonderful places to work.  Anyhow, I love Seattle libraries. Here are some images from some recent meet-ups with people around the city.  I’ll also, today, be at the West Seattle Library from 4-7:30, and on Sat, at the Delridge Library from 12-4:30.  Hope to see you!

 

Robert Shavin is an artist who helped me on a earlier project, and Cindy came again after the Greenwood street party

Robert Shavin is an artist who helped me on a earlier project, and Cindy came again after the Greenwood street party

Georgene's hands:  George was trying to find a way out of the library and happened in.  She ran some errands and came back for several hours.  Thanks George!

Georgene's hands: George was trying to find a way out of the library and happened in. She ran some errands and came back for several hours. Thanks George!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taylor, a junior at Garfield H.S. stops by the Columbia Branch and learns REALLY fast (she also knits)

Taylor, a junior at Garfield H.S. stops by the Columbia Branch and learns REALLY fast (she also knits)

Last Friday, Greenwood/Phinney “Seattle Summer Streets” !

 

Last Friday, at the Greenwood/Phinney “Seattle Summer Streets” giant block party, I rolled out my traveling studio-on-a-cart down the middle of the street, sat down and got to work!  

 

settling in on the yellow lines

settling in on the yellow lines

 

At first the empty street felt pretty eerie, but once things started going I had more people than I could handle wanting to crochet or find out about what was going on.  It was  a real blast, with kids wizzing by on bikes and stopping to talk, giant bubbles and squealing toddlers.

 

proud of the ring she's done

proud of the ring she's done

Special thanks to Wyly Astley for all her help!

 

 I felt like I handed out a hundred or so cards, so I hope to see those faces further on this spring.  It was a great kick-off to this project, and the conversation veered mostly to people talking about who they learned to crochet from, who crocheting reminded them of — mostly grandmothers, aunts, 70’s crocheted vests one was forced to wear as a child, and the way our hands seem to remember things we thought we had forgotten.  A lot of kids stayed to keep crocheting even after it got dark and cold.  Thanks for hosting me Greenwood/Phinney people, I had a blast!

See the whole set of images on my flickr

 

The family that crochets together

The family that crochets together

 

 

still going

still going

 

smaller-cindy-and-barbara

 

a very special contribution!

a very special contribution!

 

At dusk, things got kind of messy and exciting

At dusk, things got kind of messy and exciting

 

Very focused

Very focused