Living in Cleveland

welcomeAs I have been changing my second floor of my home into more of a yarn shop, I have been selling off furniture and anything that takes up too much space and doesn’t have dual functionality.  This has also been an opportunity to meet some wonderful people and have interactions that have caused me to be able to see my field from another viewpoint.

Recently one of those situations gave rise to a chance to talk about my earlier career and the machinations that an artist goes through to get “down the road”.  After I graduated with my master’s in textiles I had the opportunity to live in Ohio.  Back in the days, they were running the best state grant program for artists in the country.  When you applied, your application was kept for a year while the deliberations on who would get a grant took place.  During that year, the granting organization sponsored meetings for galleries, non-profit spaces, artist co-ops, and generally anyone who was interested in connecting with artists.  They would supply your contact information and give slide presentations showing your work.  It was an excellent win/win situation.  While most artists never receive a grant they still had an opportunity or connection with someone interested in showing or selling their work.  The first year I applied my application propelled me into 12 galleries across the US, which grew to about 20 before I left Ohio.

I would like to say that this is still the case but Ohio’s wonderful program is now just another program like every other state, steeped in cronyism.  Why don’t they change?  Well, like anything else, the individuals that run these organizations have too much to loose.  So when I found out that a colleague wrote “F___ Y___” on his rejection letter and mailed it back to a granting organization I was not surprised.  Sad, but not surprised.

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Studio Maintenance Takes Many Forms

In my studio, I make a point of trying, and I should emphasize trying, to maintain my equipment. Mostly after each large project I take a couple of days in maintenance, repair and cleaning my studio for the next project. Although this has worked for my equipment, in a basic way, I have forgotten about my most important piece of equipment. Myself. My maintenance has been hot and cold. Exercising when I had the time and usually never taking a break until a project is over. That scenario hopefully is ending as I transition away from very large public pieces to residential work. This may not work, as I have found in the past that working smaller for me has always been hard.   But for right now, I am a little apprehensive and excited in this new direction. I am also looking forward to having extra time to work on my carbon unit maintenance.

I find that most textile artists, myself included, only make minor changes to keep going. Never really taking out time to stop and take time for repair. I have known artists that keep working to the detriment of their health with sometimes-disastrous outcomes. Even years ago, when I heard that Helena Hernmarck took a year off to make sure that an injury was healed, I was shocked. But that comment stayed with me and it started to subtly change my philosophy of how important my overall health was to the creation of my work.

I am lucky that I have no real problems other than persistent allergies that conflict with my work. So, I have started in the past few years a maintenance program with my carbon based equipment. Eating healthy, taking breaks (ok this one is hard) and a schedule for strength training and flexibility that I have tried to stay on.

As far as food, I will say it has been easier since my husband is an excellent cook and has been assisting me in how to cook fast and healthy meals. So to share the wealth here is one of my favorites.


1 boneless skinless chicken breast
1/4 cup chicken broth
1Tbsp garlic finishing butter

Preheat skillet with a dab of butter. Season chicken with favorite seasoning. We like a lemon herb. Cook until chicken is 165 degrees at its thickest point. Remove the chicken and set aside to cool. Deglaze the pan with chicken broth. Add finishing butter. Add flour to thicken. Additional broth and flour can be added to adjust the amount of gravy you desire. When chicken has cooled, slice at angle.

Favorite greens
Grape tomatoes
Onion, green and Vidalia
Chopped asparagus
Dried cranberries
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
White Balsamic Vinegar

In a large mixing bowl, combine your favorite greens with sliced grape tomatoes, chopped green onions and finely sliced sweet onion such as Vidalia. Add in other favorites such as chopped asparagus, and broccoli. Season with salt and pepper. Add in a 1/8’cup of dried cranberries. In separate bowl, prepare an avocado by slicing into bite size pieces and adding a few Tbsp of lemon juice. Drizzle greens with EVOO and white balsamic vinegar in approximately a 4:1 ratio. Toss until everything is coated.

Plate with sliced chicken covered with gravy. Add greens and top with avocado. Enjoy