Its that time of year, time for Lawndale Art Center's
Dia de los Muertos. Since I love Lawndale, and its staff, I always try to make a retablo for this fundraiser. This year, even though I am crazy busy, I always want to do something in keeping with the retablo theme. I decided I would paint a traditional ex-voto dealing with this library project.From wikipedia:"Ex-votos ("from a vow") are different from retablos in that they often depict the story that led to their commission. These stories recall dangerous or threatening events that actually occurred, and which the person survived, thanks to the intercession of a sacred person - God, Mary or a saint. They are made as a way of thanking the sacred person for protection in precarious situations, such as surviving an illness or earthquake. On a strict definition, this class of ex-votos should display the protected humans in the dangerous situation, and the sacred person who protected them, usually with an inscribed explanation of the events, with the date and location. "
This is what i came up with. I think the stress of this project might be getting to me. The text translates to:
"I give thanks to Saint Sherman, kitten of the crochet, for the miracle of helping guide me through the craziness of making a sweater for an elephant. When the stress of the project tried to crush me, his cuteness came to the rescue, and in the end I did not die." (Sherman is my cat)
Long story short, i kind of fell in love with this retablo, and was a little superstitious that if i gave it away before the miracle of surviving happened, then it would bring bad luck to the project. So at the last minute i had to come up with a new retablo which i would be able to give away. I think i did a pretty good job, and it still relates to what i'm working on, and relates to Day of the Dead and the tradition of sugar skulls. Hopefully someone will buy it and it will raise a little money for one of my favorite non-profits. (I will try and upload a better picture soon).
So, I've been back in my studio at Box 13 for over a month now. Lots of adjustments switching back to my old studio life, but the one thing that hasnt changed are crazy amounts of hours in the studio. And although this studio is much bigger, it is also filled with other artwork, so things have gotten very crowded. All of the geese were never in the same room at the craft center, now there are geese everywhere.
As I completed these geese, with the help of my assistant Emily, it was like a goose operating room in here. Each one has taken longer than I anticipated, who knew making sweaters for geese would actually turn out slightly harder (though not as time consuming) as making a sweater for an elephant.
I now have to attach and sew together the sweater for the elephant, and we will be mostly ready for the install on my end. Lots of bumps in the road have come up in terms of the install, but my installation guy is coming up with solutions. Hopefully by next week I can give you guys a date.
This project is taking longer than expected, but i think, as usual, i over-estimated how fast I can crochet. And how long finishing things up take. But I can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel, and can't wait for it to be done and up for everyone to see. Wish me luck with that.
Today was moving day for the elephant. My residency is over at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, so we had to take him apart and move him to my other studio. It was a little stressful for me, but everything turned out fine. And i had a lot of help from my friends, which always makes me feel good. I actually had way more people than we really needed show up to help move him into the truck at the craft center. Special thanks to everyone, i'm so glad to have such great support.
After loading him into the truck I had to run off to the Vinson Library to do a site visit with my friend and installation guy, Dillon. After some ladder issues and some security guard issues, he was finally able to take a look at the platform the elephant will be installed on, and is working on a plan. Its so nice to be able to delegate responsibilities to other people who know what they are doing. It leaves me time to get back to what i know, finishing the crochet.
So after the visit to the library I wrangled Dillon into helping me drive the truck to Box 13 and unload the elephant. I am now a little battered and bruised from my battle with the elephant, but as JoAnn said, I won because I tore him apart.
Anyway, the elephant is now in his new temporary home at Box 13 Artspace (I forgot to take pics there, I was too tired and hungry, I will post some later). But, thanks to JoAnn I do have some of loading him up at the craft center. Enjoy.
Special thanks to Robert, Randall, JoAnn, Mike, Anna, Jenny, Kristi, and Dillon. And also to everyone else who volunteered to help, but I ended up not needing, I love you guys too.
Apparently I am really bad at blogging. Or i'm just too busy to try and keep up. Sorry that it has been 3 months with no update. Things have been moving along, just not quite as quickly as I had hoped. At this point the crochet for the elephant is all but finished and I have almost completed 6 of the geese. Just 3 more to go.
The geese are actually taking me longer than expected, but considering they looked like this just a few months ago, i think i'm doing pretty good. I have had to push the installation dates for the project back and am hoping to get everything done and installed by the end of Sept/ beg of Oct. I forget that though the crochet is a big part of it, there are so many finishing elements that are going to take some time. Like attaching all the sweaters and sewing all the seams, figuring out installation hardware, and building a platform to distribute the weight of the elephant. Its now time to begin focusing on these things. So much to do, so little time.
And sadly, my residency at the Houston Center of Contemporary Craft is coming to and end this month. Which means the next week will be dealing with packing everything up and moving it all over to Box 13 Artspace. I've rented an extra studio downstairs to house the elephant for the next few months while i finish things up. Everyone please think good thoughts for me so that we get him there unharmed, i'm a little nervous about moving the big guy, but luckily should have a little help from my friends.
Ok, so it isn't next week like i said when i would post photos, but i have been hard at work making a sweater for an elephant. I think i'm moving along pretty fast, but it still doesnt seem fast enough if i want to get this project done by the deadline. But here are some pics of what i did in the first 5 days. After that i seem to have stopped taking photos every day. But getting photos of the back of the elephant is a little harder since he is in a corner in my studio.
Since these photos I have finished the front and a large back panel. I am almost done with one side panel, and 1/4 done with the other. As I am piecing together this sweater I am begining to realize just how difficult this installation process is going to be. Once i get everything crocheted and ready to go, it all has to come off the elephant so he can be disassembled to get out the door. And then everything will have to be put back together on site at the library, and his sweater seams will have to be sewn in situ. I have no idea how this is all going to work. I'm beginning to feel the pressure, but am trying to focus on just getting the crochet done first.
So things have not progressed much since i last posted, but for good reason. I had to go out of town last week to meet my new niece and nephew. My brother and his wife had twins.
They are pretty adorable, so I spent a few days down in south texas with them and am looking forward to spending more time with them, but for now its back to work. While I was down there I got an email that the elephant was finished. I have to say, though I havent seen him in person, he looks fantastic in pictures. He was shipped today, and should be arriving on Thursday, just in time for my birthday. Happy Birthday to me, months and months of crochet ahead. I will post pics when he gets here, gets set up in my studio, and i get started on the insanity.
It's been a busy week. I had to go to Corpus to do a lecture, work on my taxes, and there were a crazy amount of tours through the craft center. So i'm not as far along as i would have hoped. But I have made a lot of progress on this first goose. Hopefully this first one will be the hardest. There have been a few times i have had to rip out the crochet and start over on complete sections because they weren't fitting right. But here are some images so you can see how its coming. If you get the chance, feel free to stop by HCCC and watch me in action. I think (hope) that once my days become less crazy, and I can spend all my time working on these that I will be able to meet my goal of finishing one a week. T
For my last post of the day, I thought I would share some images from my trip to Hobby Lobby to buy the first big round of yarn for the project. My friend Dennis said it was like an episode of Supermarket Sweep, but with craft supplies. Its now all organized in my shelf at the craft center, ready to begin. I pick up the first Giant Goose this evening, and the crocheting crazy will begin tomorrow.