Saturday, March 28, 2020

Troubled Times

It's hard to write about anything now. Difficult to move from moment to moment in the uncertainty that surrounds us. It would seem as a tapestry weaver who's used to spending long hours alone, and also as an introvert who prefers to have little interaction with people, this time would be ideal to be in the studio working. But anxiety is a constant companion and keeps me from staying on task with much of anything. I jump from project to project and don't really complete much of anything.

One of the plans I had for the spring was a one-person exhibit at Sarratt Gallery, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee. And a workshop during that time to be held there. Well, I shipped my tapestries to the gallery on March 2. It was installed just a day or so before the university there went to online for the rest of the semester. Hadley, the director's companion dog, was with him when he sent this photo of one wall of the installation. Remember seeing sweet Hadley from a post last year when she was with him at Aya Studio in Florida? Scroll down at the post and you'll find her several times.

Photos of Sarratt Gallery installation by David Heustess
The gallery director is showing my work periodically on social media and I appreciate that effort to share my work through that means. But the tapestries won't be viewed on site in the gallery; that's one of the best things about having an exhibit--getting to see one's artwork in a gallery space.

Another plan was to submit a small tapestry for the American Tapestry Alliance small format, non-unjuried exhibit to be held in Knoxville, Tennessee this July in conjunction with Convergence. Over the past two weeks, the ATA Board had to assess the impact of the pandemic and, after much discussion, made the very difficult decision not to hold the actual exhibit, but rather to create an online exhibition of the tapestry entries. I had shipped my tapestry earlier in the month and it joined the over one hundred that had already been received by the volunteer working with the exhibit. The Board asked that other shipments be suspended (the deadline had been March 31). This was an extremely hard decision to arrive at--and I know first hand because I'm a member of the ATA Board. Many people have been disappointed by this turn of events and some are even angry. We certainly don't have a crystal ball to see what's to come but the likelihood of plans for the summer event being in jeopardy is distinct.

Here's my small tapestry, 10" x 10", called Springtime in North Georgia.
I've had to empty the studio freezer of the dye materials I'd been storing: zinnas, marigolds, black walnuts.  Making room for extra frozen food items seemed like a better use of the space right now. I've dyed several skeins of yarn so far and plan to do more today.

These are minor, unfortunate disruptions to life. Nothing comparing to the illness and death of thousands. And the fear that has swept the world since the beginning of 2020.

Springtime has arrived in north Georgia. I am still able to get out in my neighborhood to walk each day. And in the woods at our creek house nearby. In the past weeks I've watched the bloodroot and the fiddleheads return once more and that is a solace. It helps me think that things will recover... maybe not ever be the way it was before this novel coronavirus entered the world. But a new normal. Until the next crisis.

My husband and I are self-isolating and plan to for some time to come. How long? Who knows but hope is still with us for health and safety in these trying times. I wish the same for each of you.