Another Quarantine First

Dear Liza,

Making the meeting fun!

I’m sure, after we are all free from the threat of Corona virus and free to wander about as we please, this part of our story will be a short, odd, chapter. But for now, it is where we are, every day.

Sausages and yummy cheese

Last night, Auntie Bridgett’s art gallery, SideStreet Arts, had their first ZOOM First Friday. Folks logged on at their houses with their own snacks and drinks, and we got to talk with artists Amy Rudinger and Michelle Sabatier about their art. Amy is a talented metalworker and Michelle is a gallery member and wonderful encaustic artist. That means she makes pictures by melting wax onto a surface.

One of Michelle Sabatier’s encaustics

Auntie Bridgett and I set up at the dining table, with wine, crackers, nifty goat cheese, sausages, and a bottle of Cotes du Rhone wine. Grandpa Nelson is still feeling tired from the fevers he’s been having, so he escaped upstairs.

It was fun to see familiar faces, and in their own homes! We saw one lady’s family heirloom sofa, another’s bookcase, and our dear Alicia Justice sewing away on one of her delicate, personable dolls.

We learned about how Amy goes to Mexico every year to gather the special coppers they mine there, and how she has learned from the artisans there. She says that her copper vessels and their wonderful patinas are ‘part chemistry and part magic,’ and I believe it. They are lovely.

Amy Rudinger’s copper vessels

During the event, a lot of folks logged on, listened for a while, and chatted. Even my friend Ruth Inman joined us from Illinois. I became aware, slowly, that pieces were being sold. Ruth noticed it, too, and said, “How do I log-on to buy before something ELSE I love goes away?” I’m not sure if she did make a purchase, but a lot of folks did! It was a very big sales night.

Actually, this shut down hasn’t been as bad for business as we all expected. Businesses that have figured out how to stay in front of their customers online and continue selling, like Auntie Katie’s Books with Pictures and SideStreet Arts, are having really good months. It is harder work, to be sure, with mailing and delivering, but if the alternative is going out of business, it’s worth it!

Hoping we can look back on this time knowing we did our best.

Love,

Grandma Judy

Celebrating Print Month with Poppy Dully

Dear Liza,

Saturday was drizzly and cold but there was lots of warmth in the SideStreet Arts gallery…folks chatting and smiling, having delicious snacks and drinks, and looking at the wonderful art.

This weekend the gallery celebrated January as Print Month, with a show featuring work from fifteen different artists. This is the gallery where Auntie Bridgett shows her work, and I love visiting it. I got to talk with some of the artists!

Poppy Dully and her work

Poppy Dully creates her prints on actual old books. She noticed me walking around her display and we had a nice chat. I asked her about her work. She said she has made forty of these wonderful pieces in ten years, and her process for each is the same:

She starts with a book that interests her, sometimes recommended by a friend and sometimes the book just leaps out from the shelf. She looks for good vintage books and checks to see if there has been a film adaptation. She reads the book and researches the film. She watches the film to find the images she wants to illustrate each turning point of the story, photographing and sketching as she goes.

She then takes the book apart, applies her oil based monotype prints to the pages, and puts the books back together in an accordion fashion, using the original book cover. These can be displayed open on a bookcase, or read by flipping the pages.

Loving old books, movies, and prints as much as I do, I was fascinated. I kept walking around the display, reading Beauty and the Beast and Beckett and loving what she did with them.



Besides art, we talked about being women of a certain age, of needing to reinvent yourself after retirement, and of finding new wrinkles in literature. It was a great conversation and I feel like I have made a new friend.

Love,

Grandma Judy

First Friday in November

Dear Liza,

Auntie Bridgett Spicer staffing the desk

The First Friday of every month, SideStreet Arts, the gallery Auntie Bridgett belongs to, puts on a reception for the new art that is hung every month. It is always fun to go and see what’s “up”.

This month’s artists are monotype printer Katherine McDowell and ceramic sculptor Kendall Jones.

Katherine’s work is colorful, with lots of deep blues and splashes of orange, but also still and restful, because of the horizontal lines. Many of the pieces have an almost ‘sunset’ feel, and I like them very much.

Lake Monotype 393 be Katherine McDowell

Kendall’s ceramic sculptures are of a darker nature. Her portraits of children seem to me to have a hidden meaning, as though these kids are more than they seem. It is a bit unnerving.

Hermanas by Kendall Jones

She also goes in a different direction with some of her pieces, exploring the process of growing up, growing old, and dying. As macabre as they are, I like them better. They reveal, rather than hide. “Yes, we grow old, yes, we die,” they say.

Inhale, Exhale, Repeat by Kendall Jones

Being at the gallery is also fun because I get to visit with the other artists. Dawn Panttaja, who plays in the Karaoke From Hell music group we saw on Halloween, makes delightful sculptures of blue-green mythical characters.

Flying Mermaid by Dawn Panttaja

Gail Owen is a printmaker with great color sense and a contagious, resounding laugh.

Hollyhocks by Gail Owen

Alicia Justice always looks like she just stepped out of one of her own mixed media pieces, classically beautiful and just a bit otherworldly.

Alicia Justice, left, and Gail Owen
Grandmother by Alicia Justice
And a new favorite piece by Bridgett Spicer!!

After Grandpa Nelson and I had chatted, looked and nibbled some treats, we walked home through the neighborhood, enjoying the Halloween decorations one last time before they are replaced by Christmas garland and waving Santas.

Love,

Grandma Judy