Those of you who have been paying attention know that I have two solo shows scheduled for February. I prepped and mailed 17 pieces to the Wiseman Gallery in Grants Pass, Oregon for a show called The Art of the Grid.
It has been a long year of truncated nights and endless days behind one sewing machine or another. Finally, on Thursday morning, I packed my car with quilts and headed down the highway. I was going 220 miles down the coast to Homer, Alaska. There was great mid-morning sky for the road trip.
I arrived in good time.
Asia Freeman, the Executive Director of the Bunnell, and Michael Walsh, the Artist in Residence Coordinator, and I got down to the business of hanging the show. I brought plenty of work with the hopes Asia could help me edit the exhibit into a cohesive visual statement. We spent a lot of time moving the pieces around and discussing how to transition from one piece to the next.
We hung everything that could be hung for the day. I had finish work to do–this is the story of my life. But with a full 24 hours until the opening of the show, I was confident things would fall into place. I set up a mini-studio and went to work.
I spent the evening stitching and then went to bed at a very reasonable hour. I was staying upstairs at the quaint Old Town B&B which is also run by the Bunnell Street Arts Center.
I got up early and began to quietly stitch on hanging sleeves. The wind continued to howl. I should have gone downstairs and fired up my sewing machine, but I didn’t. I focused on handwork.
At about 10:30, I met with Asia and Michael to figure out our next step. All of the staff was marveling at the gusts of wind rattling gutters and flinging roof shingles. The stop signs outside the front window of the Bunnell were speaking in tongues while others simply fell to the ground.
Unbelievable. I have dealt with this plot thickener before when a massive windstorm left us without power for days on end while I prepped for the Bellevue Arts Museum show with a generator powered sewing machine. It is a good story now, but at the time, I thought I might fall apart and not be able to put myself back together again. Fortunately, this is a different show.
I continued to stitch in the dark while Asia and Maura the caterer, who was also without power, mapped out a Plan B.
While most of the town remained without electrical power, we had a little fully charged hen party. It was quite delightful. We talked about art, and craft, and movies, and food, and community. Once Asia and Maura finished cooking, they began painting, and all the while I stitched.
And that is the story of how my first solo show opening was cancelled.
Strangely, it was not a disappointment. In fact, it was a totally fun adventure. I got to interact with the Bunnell and its people in a much deeper way then if the power had stayed on. And I am grateful for that.
Here is the Bunnell when I arrived on Thursday afternoon. Homer had just experienced its warmest January on record. All the snow had melted.
Maybe you will join me? I hope so.
PS Who knew windstorms and power outages would become an ongoing trope in my life.