I hung a show of my mother's and my art work on July 1 and 2 at the Port Townsend Boiler Room. It will be up for all of July 2014.
I was convalescing from the nasty combination of systemic streptococcus A and the autoimmune illness. I have to pay attention all the time once the strep is gone, because I get chest pain and shortness of breath as soon as I do too much. Temporary angina, I suppose, but it's not coronary arteries. The antibodies raise my heart rate and heart and lungs retaliate if I push them. Slow down I keep forgetting and starting my usual run up the stairs and then getting chest pain.
However, it is (probably) temporary. At least it went away in 2005 and 2012. As long as I don't do anything too dumb.
The Boiler Room put out a request for artists and I thought, oh! I can do that. The last time I hung an art show was with my mother in my 20s. She was a prolific artist and since my father died last year, I have a storage unit full of art. I sold some. I threw a little out but not very much. I couldn't stand it. All that work.
My cousins said build a website to sell it. Well. Maybe. Eventually. Maybe. I know how to hang an art show from watching my mother and helping, somewhat reluctantly. Not so with websites.
I told the Boiler Room I would buy them picture railing and hooks for the red wall that they have for art, but I couldn't find either by July 1. I wanted to get the show up because the Gallery Walk in town was July 5th. The wall was full of old small holes. I asked if they cared if I used the holes. The answer was heck no. They didn't have picture hooks, so I used screws and tapped them into the old holes. I put half the show up the first day, just putting up screws and throwing pictures up.
By the second day I had picture wire and picture hooks. This made hanging neater. The center of the wall has a ceramic sign saying "FEAR ART", which I like.
The show has four themes. One is portraits. My mother did 18 by 24 inch portraits and there seven in the show. One is by me, the rest by her. Mine is of my grandfather. Hers are a self portrait, my grandmother (her mother) and her grandmother (my great grandmother) and grandfather (my great grandfather). Then three of models. All of the portraits are in conte crayon or charcoal. None are smiling. They all look rather fierce, though I know that the one of my mother is her concentration look, rather than anger.
The second theme is the poems I wrote in my 20s with her etchings. I have 7 of the 10 hung. I do not presently have them all framed.
The third theme is photos. I have the photo of my grandfather that I did my portrait from, the photo of my great grandmother that my mother did the portrait from and the photo of my grandmother that my mother did the portrait from. I took photos of my mother doing etchings, so those are included. I have a photo of her drawing a blue crab, since one of my poems was about a Blue crab. We were in Alexandria, Virginia and begged a live blue crab from a restaurant. "One?" said the restauranteur, "One blue crab? Live?" My mother waved her hands, trying to explain the drawing. We got the crab.
The fourth theme is my poems. I have a few in a binder and then two up with collages of photos and postcards. The first, Support from my Peers, I made in 2005 and the second, Forgiveness, for this show, though I wrote it in 2007. I got influenza in 2005 and was out for two months, probably the same autoimmune response. My fellow doctors did not understand why I was out, I didn't either, and they did not want me back. It hurt. I returned to another clinic within the hospital system, frail and short of breath. My husband and I didn't get divorced until 2007, partly because I had gotten so sick. He moved back in for a year.
I did not get the show listed in the local paper because I didn't even know I was doing it until the deadline passed. And then I was doing controlled running around, since I can't currently run, to get what I could done. I brought simple food to the gallery walk, to avoid cooking. Cherries, chips and three cheeses with crackers. The Boiler Room folks ate it up and enough friends stopped in that I got short of breath talking and had to leave.
The Boiler Room does not take a percentage from the artist. I have a sign up that 1/3 of anything sold will go to the Boiler Room. I've been a sponsor there off and on through the years. Nothing has sold yet, but this is the first show of my mother's art work since she died in 2000. That was the point, more than sales. I already have a second site in Port Townsend agreeing to a show in the winter, and if I have the energy when I go back to work, I'll dig around for a gallery in Seattle.
Some people get a funny look on their faces when I tell them about the show. Many people in town have never gone into the Boiler Room, because it is the coffee house for the disaffected. It is staffed by volunteers. It is drug and alcohol free. It has music and a knitting night and various instruments and a book exchange. Yet for many people, it's the place where "people who use drugs go". People are funny, the ideas that they get. Blue hair, a tattoo, a piercing, a reputation. People are so afraid. Other people are saying, "I love your show!"
And maybe we will even get a new home for one of the pictures with someone who loves it.
Hey, the Port Townsend Radio Station interviewed me at Gallery Walk and it was on today! Cool!