New Project- How Do I get Myself into These Things??

I have to learn one of the most basic lessons every new recruit learns in the military- NEVER VOLUNTEER! What have I done now? Well, a call was put out for artists to decorate chairs to be auctioned off for the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra (KSO) and, like the idiot I am, I volunteered. Now, don’t get me wrong, I enjoy making my annual piece for the Cheff Therapeutic Riding Center. But I know when I commit to it that the deadline is the first Friday in September. I have MONTHS to come up with an idea, develop it and make the piece. We got the call on December 1st. We didn’t get the actual chairs until the first week of January and were given a deadline of February 28th. Ulp, I already had plans to be out of town January 31- February 4th….knocking out an entire week of work time. Ok, that still gave me a week at the end of January to come up with an idea and 3 weeks in February to get it done. So, brainstorming: I love classical music and have 4 favourite pieces. I was able to immediately rule out two pieces: Strauss’s “Death and Transfiguration”…..definitely too dark for an auction piece (I still plan to do a piece based on this….maybe this summer) and Mussorgsky’s “Night on Bald Mountain” which I see as a “Halloweeny” piece. Again, not quite appropriate for the goal of auctioning the chair off to raise funds. This left me with two options: Mussorgsky again with “Pictures at an Exhibition.” This piece was written for a dear friend of Mussorgsky’s, artist and architect¬†Viktor Hartmann. My idea was to print out on fabric, works of Hartmann’s and decoupage them on the chair and then add figures of people enjoying the exhibition as well as print outs of the actual sheet music. Simple, right? Well, it would have been except there are only about 12 pieces of Hartmann’s that have survived. Given that the images would have to be fairly small (the only large area on the chair is the seat) that would make for a pretty sparse exhibition. Ok, going with what was actually “Plan A.” As a teen in Hawai’i I attended an outdoor concert in Honolulu. The park was on the ocean and the music for the evening was Handel’s “Water Music.” To this day (almost 40 years later) when I hear that music I can feel the gentle breeze and smell the ocean just as if I was back in Hawai’i. I took this memory, and the memories of some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world (yes, in Hawai’i) and et voile! Yeah. Simple…..NOT. ¬†The chair has a center panel that is about 4″ wide at it’s widest point, but it’s scalloped. No problem. It’s perfect to have a waterfall cascading down. Now, how to make a waterfall in fabric. I wanted it dimensional. I went to work with all kinds of fabric and a photo of a waterfall. After multiple rejected attempts I finally came up with something I liked. So, I got the waterfall done. By the time I accomplished this I was off to Pittsburgh. I felt ok with this as the waterfall was the most labor intensive part…or so I thought. I had posted some photos of the chair (on Facebook) with the waterfall in place (sort of) and lamented that, while I had decided that the out two spindles would be trees (again, dimensional) I just didn’t know what to do with the two inner spindles. I have to extend my thanks to dear friend (and fellow displaced Nova Scotian) Louise Perrin who suggested vines….Perfect!! Now, the bad news. Originally the deadline was 28 Feb right? That was the date the photographer was to come to my gallery to take promo pics of all 12 chairs. Well, apparently he had to go out of town and informed the organizers that, if they wanted him to take the photos (and I’m not mentioning his name because he is an internationally known photographer and architect) the date would have to be changed…..to the 21st! An email was sent out (that I never saw) to that effect. Gee, let’s inconvenience 12 artists rather than find a different photographer. Worse, I was too sick the entire week after I got back from Pittsburgh to work. Fast-forward to the 14th…..Got the tree trunks done. Decided to go buy silk vines and leaves to complete the vine spindles and the trees rather than try to make them. Decided to also decorate the legs of the chair with vines….hey, I want to do the ENTIRE chair. Unfortunately I forgot to stop at JoAnn’s after the run to Michael’s for a seat cushion which will have “dirt” fabric (from the Stonehenge collection) on the bottom and this great water fabric I have on top. So, tomorrow it’s an early start so I can run to JoAnn’s for the cushion and drop off my Riccar vacuum for servicing (it’s due and the vacuum shop is on my way from JoAnn’s to the studio. Tomorrow I attach the waterfall, put the stone fabric on the back of the upper part of the chair back (there is already stone fabric on the front….the waterfall will appear to be coming up out of the rocks) and cover the seat with “dirt” fabric……to be continued (someday I’m going to figure out how to get the pics to line up where I want them…..)

Vine base done and tree trunks added

The naked chair from the back.

Naked chair from the front.

Vines in process

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