Sunday, April 28, 2019

River Terrace Church Installation

Here it is.  The final hanging day of my River Terrace Church installation.  It felt like being in art school all over again, up until 3am sewing for a 9am critique.  It has to be done.  My energy and spirit was deep into this project.  I have been through a lot in the past 6 months and this piece lived with me along the way.  Somewhere between exhaustion, joy and beauty I teared up when I finally saw it complete and hung in place.  

I am so honored to have been chosen to create this piece for River Terrace.  I told Laura as I was hanging and hemming the dowels into the bottom of the panels that, as an artist, I usually hope that I am pleased with the work I create (it doesn't always happen), I hope some other people like or appreciate it, but this is different.  This piece I hope, pray, that a congregation of 400+ people like this piece.  I created something that would change the entire background of their sermons as long as it is up.  Laura, Mark, Melissa and Carol all encouraged me to come to the Easter service.  I wasn't really planning on it since that week I had to finish this piece, I was late at work for floorset and I was volunteering for the Capital City Film Festival.  I wasn't just tired, I was exhausted.  I decided I would make my best effort and the fact my Dad wanted to drive in an hour to come to the service with me that  morning solidified my decision.  

Approximately 38 hours + of designing and meetings.
More than 130 hours of pinning, sewing, hand stitching and cutting.
315 some odd feet of black satin ribbon.

I felt like I was running back to Jo-Ann's for more ribbon every week.  I could do a two hour lecture on the design technique and my process creating this work.  I'm lucky that I had such a great group to work with while putting this piece together.

I've been to a lot of Easters, but this one meant much more to me than any other Easter. I was pretty much in tears the entire service.  Every word that the Pastor spoke, the hymns, the congregation spoke to me.  It kept circling me back to my past 5 months when I had decided it was time to join AA, and without that fellowship, support and weekly meetings, I wouldn't have gotten this installation finished by Easter.  The constant state of overwhelm I was living in has washed away and from it came this piece and a new beginning of my artistic drive.

This piece was commissioned to highlight the beautiful stained glass windows at River Terrace.  I have always been inspired by stained glass but I've never pursued any work based on it.  From the first meetings around doing this piece I've been excited to play with this inspiration and now I want to do more.  Please excuse the above weird panorama, but the color was better split between two different photos so I just plopped the one over the other so you get the idea. 

Thank you Dad for coming out and supporting this piece, thank you to the group and River Terrace that made this possible, a huge thanks to my boyfriend for tolerating piles of paper, ribbon, needles, pins, thread and fabric taking up the living room, dining room and studio, and thank you to my AA groups (you know who you are, you've heard all about this piece).

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

River Terrace Church Installation Teaser

I'll start by saying that I am not posting images of the final installation here.  I'll post it on Sunday.  I really want the church to enjoy this piece before it hits social media.  The above and below photos are from the pre-hang we did 1 week ago today.  It feels like it was a month ago right now!  So much has happened in a week and I barely slept last week with the looming Easter deadline.

There was a lot of discussion and research going into the decision of ho to hang this piece.  This is an issue I always run into.  Many of my pieces are meant to be hung away from the wall rather than on on it.  Luckily I had a great team that I was working with through this process and there had already been a cable system hung elsewhere in the church.  We went with the "classic" dowel rod, with 2 tiny hooks on either end.  The pieces are put on the dowel then Wayne and Cory (their assigned job now) take poles with hooks on the end and lift it with the poles on to the cable above.

I will go into a lot more detail on the final post about the Easter Sunday "unveiling" but I cannot say enough how honored I am to have been hired for this installation.  I have always been inspired by stained glass windows and this piece gave me the opportunity to apply that inspiration to my own work.  I had a great team to work with from the church throughout this process, it was all in all an amazing experience. When the piece was in place and finished on Friday, I cried.  I was moved, joyous and exhausted.  I have to admit, I'm still riding this wave of excitement and I hope it wears off soon so I can get more than 6 hours of sleep to play catch up!

Along the way this piece has taken over our dining room.  My studio space with the loom, sewing table, general disaster, was not spacious enough to house these pieces.  Each panel is about 3'4" by 12' long.  I was working on the table for most of this process, but when it came down to hemming the sides, I couldn't measure it rolled up, I had to keep re-stitching areas into place, so the second 2 panels I moved to working on the floor.

Other issues I ran into...for a week I could not get hold of the dark green crinkle satin from Joann's.  I ordered it online from my local stores, 3 hours or so later I got an email that the order had been cancelled.  I ordered it online from the company (they had to have 2 yards somewhere) and about 4 days later I got an email cancelling the order.  I pleaded in an email to customer service with no response.  The following week I found a bolt sitting in my store.  I bought all 4 yards.  I usually purchase too much in yarn or fabric when I'm working on a piece, but since the terms of the commission was that they were paying for materials, I was using coupons and buying what I needed as I needed it (hence using Joann's).  I also purchased fabric from Field's fabric in Grand Rapids.  I really had to reel myself in on that shopping trip.

My sewing machine jammed to the point that whatever I did, it did not want to go.  I am so thankful to have 2 sewing machines.  This seems to happen every time.  The week the piece is due, the week of Halloween, you name it.

Moving to the floor.  I had to be careful in my ironing to not melt this piece to the carpet.  Also, you cannot directly iron the silver fabric, it's content is all sorts of strange, including some metal because my touchscreen on my phone would react to it if the silver happened to graze it.

I love the ironing/sewing novelties section of Joann's.  Above is a normal press cloth on the left, the more expensive but sheer silk press cloth in the middle and on the right, an ironing pad that's meant to lay over the top of your dryer to iron, but works great as a portable ironing section (for the floor).

It was a bit too late in the process when I realized that I should have gotten knee pads too.  Even my dining room space wasn't that big to work on this piece, but I got it together and it is done!  Such a relief.  And I only dropped 3 pins in my coffee through the process.

Weaving and Life Update

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