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.


Grandma Judy

Karen Thurman’s Critters

Dear Liza

Karen Thurman, herself

This past Friday was the opening of a new show at SideStreet Arts Gallery. It features the work of a delightfully talented, sweetly quirky woman named Karen Thurman.

Double Garden, by Karen Thurman

We saw her work last year at the Guardino Gallery, up in Alberta neighborhood, and just couldn’t stop looking at it. How does she make these odd, alien-but-adorable creatures? She makes them out of felt!

Baobab, by Karen Thurman

Yep, she uses needles and wool fibers and patiently creates these shrimp, spiders, and various floating and growing shapes. She used to make flat items, like scarves and table runners, but once she learned how to do 3-D, she says, “There was no turning back!”

Of course, it wouldn’t be a First Friday without treats and other artists, as well. I made a new kind of polka dot cookie to echo the dots in Karen’s work, and they turned out pretty and tasty.

There were also new works by Alicia Justice and Julia Janeway, and some fragile, lovely encaustic bowls by Frederick Swan.

There was a good turnout, even with the public health concerns of the Novel Coronavirus, and my cookies got eaten up!

Vessel, by Frederick Swan

It was a good evening for sales, too, with folks taking home jewelry, cards, and some small prints.

Hooray for art!

Deer Plate, by Julia Janeway


Grandma Judy