Thursday, September 30, 2021

Hello October!

 Well, some things don't go as you think they will. Here is the response about my grant application.

Board Member Comments from Artist Grant Review 9/23/21.

Several Board Members noted that the artist's project is described well and is detailed. Because this is a new venture for the artist, it definitely contributes to the artist's growth; and Teresa is changing from writing to drawing and now felting. Since the artist is moving to a whole new media, adding in additional details and description about how it is a natural progression to move from drawing to fibers would strengthen the proposal. Also, the budget is clear and appropriate for the project. Two Board Members stated concerns and said the application was too vague. While they appreciated and admired the applicant's desire to continue to make art, there needs to be more specific goals included. This applicant has no desire to pursue a career as an artist. While "career" or "artist" may be broadly defined, a Board Member noted that it is important to show evidence that supports an ongoing practice with definable goals, and this application did not do this. A Board Member noted that while Teresa is new to fibers, she has engaged in publicly displaying her work in shows. This as well as the desire to take a course to fulfill the vision she has for her work, demonstrates her dedication and ability to carry out the project. The course and additional exhibits will strengthen her resume, which while arts-focused has yet to be developed in terms of exhibitions. A Board Member noted that they would have liked to see this artist have a stronger artist statement pertaining to their artwork. They feel this artist needs to provide more responses to the questions. The artist did not speak about how they plan to present the work. She needs to focus on growing her resume. This artist needs strong work samples and documentation of them. The work samples did help Board Members see, through drawing, the relationship to landscape. However, the samples did not help them understand why pursuing felting and stitching is the logical next step. A Board Member commented that despite being early on in her artistic work, as described by the artist in the application, they could easily see Teresa’s vision for transforming her drawings into fiber arts. The drawings capture the textures of the landscapes well with simple strokes of the pencil. Since she is venturing into a new material however, it would be good to see some examples of explorations in fiber to support a full grant.

So I learned a lot from doing this even though it was stressful and last-minute. Last-minute could be why it was so stressful. They offered me and several other artists who were not awarded the big grant, a chance to apply for a $500 stipend which would allow us to pursue our goals on a smaller scale. I'm working on that one because it is due today, but I probably won't do this again. I think I'm a dabbler and not nearly serious or focused enough. 

I spent four hours in my garden yesterday doing this:

  • Treating all incoming plants with insecticide.
  • Bringing them into the back porch so they can transition into the house.
  • Setting aside the plants that have to go into the ground. I keep some hostas in pots but they might not survive the winter like that.
  • Cleaning out the garage.
  • Hauling some crap to the curb.
  • Putting away the garden stuff that has to be stored in the garage.
  • Watering the garden before it freezes.
  • Blowing leaves into the garden. We used to rake them. This is much easier and much better for the garden and the critters that live in the leaves. 
  • Getting the fire pit ready for the first chilly night.
 It's been a busy week. Mom is doing better, carrying on with her busy social life and getting stronger. Regis and I are making our annual trip to Hope for a case of butter. We've done it every year for a while but missed last year due to COVID. We always had lunch at a little joint called Spurgy's which closed during the pandemic. We were sad to hear that.
Better get on with the day. 


Wednesday, September 01, 2021

ready to leave some things behind and move on to new mischief

 I did some things today that I might not have imagined myself doing a few years ago.

First, I put in my application for a booth at the Arts Center's Holiday Market. I'm going to make paper earrings, an idea for which I have all the supplies and the concept, but no prototype. That is a project for next week as I need to get my studio cleaned up and organized before I start making things. But it's all there! Everything I need...even the display and the pieces necessary for that. How did I manage to pull this together? It's some kind of miracle!

The other thing is my really big stretch. Our regional arts council offers grants for beginning artists. They offer $1500 for whatever you space, supplies, books, a class. I have been pondering it for a while but just couldn't get it to come together in my head. (See previous paragraph.) It seemed like so much money for one of my projects.

Then, one day I looked at three books I own.

For a long time, I've loved fiber but I only collected it. I never made anything with it. For a long time, I have loved Moy Mackay's beautiful felted landscapes but I never seriously considered making one myself. Well I did try twice, but they were pretty dismal. Nothing like this.

 And suddenly, there it was. My inspiration, my purpose, my new adventure. I checked out Moy's website and she offers a felted landscape class online (from Scotland) in October and November. There's my project for the grant. The class, the supplies, travel to photograph, again, the landscape of Southwestern Minnesota. Mom says every time we pass a wind turbine, I have to stop and take a picture. It's true.

The application was long and arduous, made more so because it was last minute. I didn't have an "artistic" resume or a budget or an artist's statement but I figured it out over 6 grueling hours yesterday and a few more today.

Here's my artist's statement.

"I grew up in Southwestern Minnesota and have always loved the horizontal grandeur of its landscape. As an older beginning artist, it’s been surprising to me how the landscape of my early years creeps into so many of my artistic pursuits. I have been a writer all my life and have documented the beauty of the land through poetry and essays, and as I’ve begun to study drawing, painting, photography, and now wool felting, there it is again. The beauty of Southwestern Minnesota.

Wool felting feels like such a natural way for me, as an artist, to capture the colors of the summer harvests piled up in front of grain elevators in every small town or the endless wind turbines that dot the border between Minnesota and South Dakota. That the rolling hills of Blue Mounds State Park with its pure bison herd can be created in wool is a cause for joy.

Fibers can be carded together to make a picture that might be difficult to create in any other medium. Those fibers, that might have come from a bison or a local sheep, are directly connected to the land by the animal, its food, its people. 

Life is a big circle. Making art this way makes this very true for me."


It's probably not the best but for a first effort in a pinch, I'm ok with it. I also did some research on the artist's resume and wrote what I thought was a decent one.


A note re: wool. I'm searching for local bison wool. I can buy bison roving online but I'd love some local stuff. 


I'm not letting myself even be a little bit hopeful but it's given me a new energy that feels good. I thought this week that I am ready to be done with the grief the last president and the pandemic have brought me. I'm ready to be done feeling cynical and bitter so much of the time. 


Onward and upward, my friends.