Friday, April 27, 2012

Artomatic, Fluffy Flowers and Felines

This is the Artomatic 2012 building. Click here for more info on how Artomatic came about. On Saturday morning I went down early to pick my wall for the art show. I met a friend, Molly, as we waited and also chatted with some people I met while on my first volunteer shift last week. I have to attend 3 volunteer shifts as part of my contract to have a wall showing my art. The event is none profit and run by volunteers yet has become a massive attraction since it started. It always takes place in an empty building, either brand new or a tear down as in this year.
I was wanting a wall on the 9th floor as this had a lot of open space where 3D structures and a stage would be so I wouldn't be lost in a maze of corridors and rooms as some of the floors consisted of. I also wanted an outlet so I could plug in lights if I wanted. Thirdly the Washington Post Peeps would be on this floor so that would be a draw. I had it planned pretty well and had even sort of picked a wall out when I volunteered. Once our group was given the red light I went straight up to the floor and managed to walk straight back to my wall. I quickly found a manager to claim it and felt very smug at having completed so quickly what could have been a headache of a job. Molly was torn between 2 spaces for her 3D work and ended up on floor 10. I met a lady who I'd done conservation work with at Bull Run. She was on my floor and Mark, a guy I worked my first Artomatic shift with has 2 walls in my room.
Here's the room with my wall marked with the red sticker. The blue tape partitions off the areas available.
This is the area outside the room where a stage will be built, presumably with some of those doors we lugged around last week.
Registering my wall.
As soon as I got home that afternoon I sat down and made a list of what I planned to do with my wall. The weekend was spent organizing photos and sketching up ideas. I'm keeping quiet for now about what I envisage my wall to represent or exhibit as I feel I may have bitten off far more than I can chew with my list. We only have until May 13th to finish installations and the show starts on May 18th. I'm not sure if I can accomplish all I want or if I actually have room. But I felt happy at the end of Sunday having definitely got my large ball rolling.
As the sun went down on Sunday I went for a stroll with Kota and my camera to grab a few photos. I'd been noticing how pretty the dandelion seeds were when caught in the light and it was lovely to relax for a while.
On Thursday evening I went back down to Artomatic to paint my wall. I had to park a couple of blocks away and had to carry a chair and a pot of paint through the city streets filled with office workers migrating homewards. I was glad to be on the phone with Mum while I walked as I felt very self conscious but hey, it's an artist's prerogative to be a little 'out there', right?
I got cracking on my wall right away and then painted my chair too. I've left a rough texture on the wall and plan to add a little glitter too but that's all I'm saying. I met 2 new friends, Terry who was painting her wall the same color as her house and John who was just starting a mural that was going to take 90 hours to complete. And he had his own wall to get ready.
I felt good as I left that my project was under way, it was real now I had done some work. I'm excited to start bringing this all together. Lucent Moments will be brief until installation is complete as all my time has to go on the wall, so bear with me.
Last but definitely not least, an update on the puddy tats. Rosie had her all clear at the vets and is settling in nicely. We still have some arguments but the growling isn't quite as frequent or anxious as initially. There are moments that I've witnessed which make it seem that she has always been pals with Kota. They've touched noses a few times and share the couch when I'm sitting on it. We've still got a long way to go but at least it doesn't seem as daunting as it did when she first came to Meadow House. And now that she's been checked out and I've parted with a sizable chunk of cash in doing that, I guess it's time to say, "Welcome to your new home, Rosie."

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Heavy Doors and Rosie

Saturday lunchtime I met up with Huggy and we both went down to DC for our first shift at Artomatic as volunteer helpers. We have 3 shifts to complete as part of our contract and today we were seeing the building for the first time which would house and display our art work. It used to be a government defense building and is slated for demolition after the show. The following photos are all from my phone and I'm afraid have had no editing because I'm absolutely exhausted, the reason for that shall be revealed a little later.
So our task for Saturday was door duty. Most of the doors had been taken off their frames and were leaning against walls or lying on floors. Our job was to move them all to a central point and then remove the hardware. Not too hard, I thought. Except the doors were heavy duty safety doors and weighed a ton and the the locks on them were mainly security locks, which I have to admit, we did manage to remove a few with the tools we'd brought in and one guy commented that we may be detained for security reasons since we were now technically able to get through locked doors. Hmmm.
 The bare doors are being recycled and used throughout the show. They'll be chopped, modified, stacked, nailed together to form plinths for artwork, bars, stages, partitions, anything that would benefit the show.
We also had to clear out the rooms and found this interesting form which would be completed by telephone operators.
 There was an old poster from the last show in 2009, not really sure why it was there...

Murals of military staff covered the walls by the banks of elevators. I wondered if they'd remain for the show. Hope so. I liked the effect of a neighboring office block through a shattered window.

Huggy with her tools and a stack of doors which we hauled from various corners of the floor. We were pretty tired after our shift and glad to leave but we had met some great people and shared some laughs so although the afternoon had been hard work it had flown by and we'd enjoyed it. Two more shifts to go.
On Sunday Rob and I went out to explore an antique shop at Flint Hill I'd found on line. It was highly recommended and sounded like it had some wonderful stuff. Unfortunately we found it closed for business, the store was no more and the buildings were empty. I was very disappointed but Rob spotted a 'Moving Sale' sign by the side of the road so we went down a country lane to check out that instead. We came across a large wooden house where the owners greeted us warmly and invited inside. They were relocating to San Francisco and were wanting to get rid of as much stuff as possible before the move. They also had a wonderful family of cats and then we were told of a little pussy cat who they thought had been dumped in their garden a few days previously and was now living on the floor over the garage. We went to look at her. She was young and very affectionate, wanting lots of fuss and offering lots of licks in return. Debbie, the wife, said they hadn't found her owner despite putting up notices and the local vet had checked her out. Because they were moving to San Fran though, another cat wasn't an option for them and so she'd have to go to the shelter. We cooed over her then went down to see what furniture was on offer. A little later Debbie  offered smoothies while Rob and her husband Dwayne chatted about New York and boats. While Debbie was preparing the drinks I went back upstairs in the garage to see if the cat would come to me. she did and I thought what a wonderful companion she would be to Kota. I'm out at work all day and often at the weekends and always feel guilty about Kota not having any company.
So now the reason why I'm exhausted, drained and shattered. I took her home on a trial basis and Rob came up with the name Rosie. She was timid in the house and Kota wasn't even slightly impressed but she stood her ground and they both decided the best form of communication was growling.
There hasn't been any fighting and Kota has still been getting his freedom outside as I knew he'd want to get away for a bit each day but Rosie has been kept indoors which hasn't bothered her at all. But she has no concept of night and day and every night I've been awakened 5-7 times with my head being used as a trampoline or a kneading cushion. I've had very little sleep and really wish we could get into some kind of routine.
I have no idea what happens while I'm out but each day I've returned expecting either a totally demolished house or injured cats or both, but nothing like that has happened. I get home and they're in different rooms but content. Yesterday evening they actually both sat in the same room with no growling so maybe things are improving. but we still need to get bed time resolved...

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Pittsburgh and Brownsville, PA

We were all up early on Sunday and were soon driving into Pittsburgh and meandering around the town and across the bridges until we stopped at a tea/coffee shop where I had a delicious cup of Assam tea. Then I realized that I had left my camera battery and charger at the hotel. What a tragedy. I couldn't expect everyone to lose a chunk of the day by returning to the hotel so I had to call Marriott and ask them to mail it to Meadow House. So from now on I was solely reliant on the iPhone. Everyone was so sweet and sympathetic about my handicap and it took me a while to accept I had no Canon to record some very important stuff. But I had to just accept it and move on so all photos on this post are from my iPhone. and they're not too shabby. I used my fisheye lens and an app on my phone that stitches photos together to create panoramas.
 These are of Pittsburgh as we drove and walked around. Richard knew of an area known as Mexican War Streets stating that there were some pretty far out houses there so we were eager to check it out. We parked up and rambled through the streets.
These houses were amazing and must surely be endless works of art. The house with Chinese letters is known as the House of Poems and is the house that started the art event. The day was getting overcast and we felt a few drops of rain so it was agreed that it was time for lunch. From there it was our final stop of the weekend, a town called Brownsville, that we had read about here on a blog.  This is an interesting link.
It was largely abandoned and once we had parked it seemed like we were walking into a ghost town.
We found a door open to an abandoned bank and scurried inside. There was this wonderful old ice cream parlor equipment which was being stored here and my heart sank as I realized that I needed my Canon and a tripod to do this scene justice but the iPhone worked OK and I have to admit that the graininess of the shots made a superb grunge effect.
As we walked  through the darkness we came across the safe and safety boxes.
Another photo for my antique wallpaper collection.
The liquor store was the only place open here today. There were a couple of other stores in business but their doors were closed today.
It's a shame so many of these old and beautiful buildings are caught up in litigation, (as mentioned in the link above). I hope they are one day restored as intended.
I saw this poster and decided to check out the website, heartened by the thought of new beginnings for Brownsville. The site has gone....
We drove back south towards home stopping briefly for dinner and then parting as we went our separate ways. What a fabulous weekend with only 2 injuries, a scratched knee from climbing a fence and a very sore throat from laughing so much. Yay!