So what’s on my mind today as the residency comes to a close? Nothing really. My brain is kind of mud.
Here’s what’s been going on. The John Michael Kohler Arts Center has a Connecting Communities program which exposes community members to many different art forms by inviting established artists to lead workshops in or related to their areas of expertise. Yvonne Montoya heads up this department. She plans years in advance for projects that will serve various charities or purposes in the Sheboygan area. In my case, since the center brought me on board before to make sock monsters, they asked if I’d come back for the Creature Comforts project. Yvonne asked me if I’d develop a stuffed toy pattern using socks to make tummy pillows. Patients of abdominal surgeries use tummy pillows to press against their incised areas when they need to stand up, sit up, sneeze, laugh, cough or wear a seat belt. Otherwise there’d be heaps of pain and maybe a ruptured suture. I’m guessing.
Anyway, here’s what the tummy pillow creatures look like.
Today I woke up and discovered my month old Palm Pre was effed up. I can’t hear any phone conversations, music or video, nor can anyone on the phone hear me. The alert sounds work just fine. When I visited a Verizon store here in Sheboygan, the clerk beeped and booped around with my phone long enough to confirm that it was effed. Other things started going wrong with it. The touch screen feature became slow and unresponsive. The screen zoomed randomly and refused to scroll. When I backswiped in the music application, the phone started dialing my dad. It was ridiculous.
Long story short, I went to a corporate Verizon office and they are sending me a new phone. Trouble is, they are unable to dump the contacts from my current phone to the new one. I think that’s a tad ridiculous, personally . I might have to wait till I’m done with this residency to do that. I’ll go back to the store where the phone was purchased and get it taken care of.
I miss my camp kids and have already bought two postcards for them apiece. It’s expensive to stay in touch, but I want them to be sure I’m thinking about them while I’m away. Each one of my campers is incredible and I’m really lucky to be working with them, no matter how unruly or rude they become. When you love kids you just love ‘em. It’s sickening, but sometimes those kids need to be adored no matter how horrid they get. I got a huge group hug from ‘em one day. It was cool. I’d been pulled by our MC to cover another group while their chief was in meetings (my co-chief was also on, so I could be spared). When I returned like 4 hours later, each of my 9 guys ran at me and piled on top of me shouting CHIEF JOHN! It really, really hurt, now that I think back. I was kind of bruised up (like half a ton of teenager?). But it was awesome. Things like that make me want to work at camp forever. I really am lucky to have such a great group of guys. But now that I’m on vacation, I will try not to feel too guilty, I mean, I’m here to work after all.
Truly, I do enjoy sleeping indoors and relaxing for a bit. In fact, in many ways I feel downright indulgent (I tried to eat some potato chips. Tomato basil flavored. They nearly sickened me. Anybody want what’s left?). I’m thinking about my co-chief stuck in the woods by himself with my 9 guys. They’re an intense bunch. I will text my co-chief most days just to check in. I gave one of my guys the address of where I’m staying in case the campers wanted to write. Long shot, I know, but I wanted to be thorough. A departing parent would do no less whether it was for a business trip or out to dinner with Mom.
So tomorrow I meet with the center’s marketing group at 10 sharp, so I gotta run and finish the instructions for our kit. More soon as it develops!
Be the first to own a piece of my new line. The first four D’Zturbanites are available in my Etsy shop right now (one was donated to a local function). In keeping with the prevalent graffiti in my neck of the River Arts District, I’ve decided to take a basic sock creature construction method and embellish it a bit. I’m using cutouts from elaborate printed cottons and solid T-shirts. The results are really striking. More D’Zturbanites (pronounced Dis-turb-an-ites) will come soon. I couldn’t wait to make a ton before I started posting. This should tide you all over till more Zombabies and Glumys appear.
“Urban” art and fashion is very popular in our culture, even in places that are largely rural like Asheville. It seems few people, especially youngsters, want to cultivate or glorify (or even develop) aesthetic motifs that represent a more rural surrounding. So, with the D’Zturbanites, I’m kind of poking a little bit of tongue in cheek at this unacceptance of situation I see around me. Some of the local proponents of “urban” ism probably couldn’t even define what “urban” ism means without resorting to tons of buzz words delivered with imitated ethnic inflections. Still, it’s a great aesthetic and I’m glad people are actively developing and propagating it. Maybe I’ll learn something the more attention I pay, and wind up changing my opinion about these locals and their motivations. I’m always open to that.
Ultimately, I’m very fortunate that my studio overlooks a vacant lot full of constantly changing graffiti murals. The work is incredible and I hope it stays there always. There’s a good chance it may since the lot is privately owned, and I believe the owner allows all of the painters to come and contribute. The murals change perhaps weekly. I’ve taken advantage of the exceptional work as backgrounds for my photo shoots. Gosh I love this area.