While the Surface Design Association (SDA) Conference was three months ago, I am still slowly, but surely, working my way through that experience.
This blog post is about the beginning of Gallery Day. This was the day conference participants were shuttled around town in buses to look at all the amazing fiber art being exhibited. As a Featured Artist, this was the day I would see my work hanging at Gallery Nord. I’ll admit it. I did not sleep much the night before.
A couple of days before, I had visited the gallery to prep my quilts for the hanging.
As a Featured Artist, I was encouraged to be at Gallery Nord for the day, so that I could talk about my work with any one who might be interested. I was to get on the first bus which was heading directly to Gallery Nord.
That was the plan. I was ready. I was on time. But there was no Bus #1.
It turns out Bus #1 filled up quickly and decided to hit the road early. There was no room on the bus, so why wait, right?
The Gallery Day Coordinator on Bus #2 and I decided that the next best plan would be for me to get on her bus. As we were driving away, we discovered that Bus #2 was doing the gallery loop in the EXACT opposite direction. This meant I was now going to arrive at Gallery Nord at the end of the day instead of the beginning.
In hindsight this was the best thing ever–I got to see all the art in town and make new friends with all sorts of fellow fiber lovers who were on the bus with me. But at the time, I was quite honestly freaked out.
What to do? There was no way to get on another bus. At first I had a little pity party for myself, but by the third gallery stop I was over it. Interesting art has a way of moving the mind from ego centered thoughts to larger things. I let it go.
Kim Eichler-Messmer was also featured at the Parchman Stremmel Galleries. Kim’s work, especially the pieces shown in this exhibit called Sense of Place, are inspired by the sky in the Midwest, especially right before or after a thunderstorm.
Having looked at those same skies for the first 30 years of my life, her work inspired me to think about how I would interpt them. Kim has an MFA in textiles from the University of Kansas and teaches surface design and quilting in the Fiber department of the Kansas City Art Institute.
Every time I hear about the fiber work being done at KU or at the Kansas City Art Institute, I think why oh why didn’t I figure this all out sooner? Why did my path lead me to Valdez, Alaska to learn how to make quilts when there was so much stitching going on literary down the street from where I lived in both Lawrence and Kansas City?
I suppose the answer–whatever it is–might just be connected to the fact that I got on Bus #2.