An inspired reunion

When I reflected on having done a year of workshops for individuals, I had an urge to invite people back for a reunion. I was eager to reconnect with workshop participants, and to have people who attended different workshops meet one another.

It was an inspired idea! The group that gathered at the reunion included people from five of the workshops. Everyone connected easily and spirits were high. The pot-luck dinner was special, as everyone contributed a dish made with love. As if by magic, the meal was perfectly balanced and every taste complemented the others. It was as if a master menu-planner had created the meal.

As we ate we each shared something we created, something that has inspired us, or both. The range of offerings was fascinating. One person brought a magnificent glass bowl she recently made (a new technique for that person, and one she’d dreamed up and sketched shortly after taking the workshop). One person came with gardening gloves of various sizes — hers, her kids’ and her husband’s. Following the workshop she attended last summer, she discovered that being in fresh air and tending a garden was the creative outlet she craved. And, for the first time, her family happily centered some of their weekend activities around her passion. One person brought back her sketchbook from the workshop. It was nearly filled with vivid drawings and poems she’s been creating. Someone else brought a dramatic drawing, also done in her sketchbook, that she made on a vacation soon after her workshop experience. She said that drawing held more vivid memories for her than all of the photos from her trip. 

After eating and enjoying all of the creative sharing, we moved on to start creating anew as a group. I had been inspired by two visits I recently made to the ICA, to see the work of Nick Cave. He uses "mundane" materials like buttons, pipe cleaners, yarn, beads, and more to create his sound suits and fabulous “paintings”. With that in mind, I hit art supply and craft stores, as well rifling through my own cabinets and drawers, to source a host of fun materials. With Edith Piaf as our sound track and glue guns in hand, we dove in and started playing and forming the materials into fantastic creations.  

As the evening came to a close, someone suggested that the reunion had been more fun than a book club meeting and that we should continue to meet and create together. Plans are underway already for our next creative adventure!

Nick Cave sound suits at the ICA Boston; creations made at the reunion from similar materials.

New discoveries at two very different museums

In the last 2 weeks I’ve been turned on by amazing art at the ICA in Boston and at the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, New Hampshire. I am happy to share some of the memorable pieces I enjoyed.

The ICA’s current special exhibitions are outstanding. Nick Cave’s sound suits and his newer sculptural works knocked me out. The inventiveness of materials and forms, his colors and concepts, were delightful and exciting.

I also discovered the incredible work of South African artist, William Kentridge at the ICA. His pulsing Refusal of Time installation was fascinating and mesmerizing. If you get to the ICA, plan on spending at least 20 minutes taking it in. Equally exciting for me was seeing his monochromatic and varied works on paper. Imagine my delight when I visited the Barbara Krakow Gallery a few days later and saw another group of wonderful pieces by Kentridge. I intend to continue to explore the work of this marvelous artist.

Over the weekend I had the pleasure of taking a day trip to New Hampshire to spend time with a dear friend. She told me the Currier Museum would be a treat but I was surprised by their eclectic and impressive collection. My favorite discoveries included paintings done in the middle ages, including one portrait that looked amazingly modern. I loved walking through the gallery of modern art that included stunning works by Picasso, Matisse and O’Keeffe. And, we spent a lot of time in a contemporary gallery that included a standing mobile by Alexander Calder, a large Joan Mitchell painting and intriguing sculptures by Louise Nevelson and Marisol. Savoring a cup of tea was especially enjoyable because the dramatic cafe space was framed by a pair of enormous, colorful paintings by Sol Lewitt. 

I hope you can plan an excursion to a great museum or gallery soon. When you soak in the beauty I predict that you’ll start to notice and enjoy more of what is in your every day surroundings. And, your emotions can become fuel for your own creative expression.

Let me know if you come across wonderful new art and where you’ve found it.