So I am going to try to elaborate a little more on some of the great people I met at Reuse Conex and my epic effort to pull this together, and hopefully, for your sake, perhaps some kind of coherent plot will develop (one ussually does)...
Upon arriving the night before for set up, it quickly became appearent that my booth, if not my self, was drasticaly over dressed for the occassion. Though we had all had been alloted 10 square feet, most of the other exhibitors used about half of this space, opting instead for a table with a taupe table cloth..My booth, or 'hut', as the Scrap Gang called it, jutted way out into the isle. My booth neighbors rightly convinced my to trim back the bamboo twigs sprouting from my trellis poles, this wasn't Eno River State Park, after all. As the only covered tent in this large convention room, I do think it added some good variety to the landscape though, a tree patch in the taupe table savannah. Not to say that there weren't several other installations as well though, such as Form and Function, The Green Chair, and Nail Kicker, and several others.
After I finally got my booth set up, and everyone else had (wisely) long ago left and gone to bed, I stayed up until about 3 sewing up Tyrius's guts with fishing line in the silence of the carpeted lobby.
As I lay there in that great long tube of 'the belly of the beast', sewing away, doing an inner jig to the Pogues, a great calm washed over me, and I almost fell asleep there while sewing. However, eventually I heard the foot steps of a security gaurd making her rounds, outside (of the worm) probably thinking she was alone in the deserted convention-hall lobby, save for this bizarre giant rubber satanic snake thing. Well, when I heard her steps, and gave a "hello?" I think I must have scared her pretty good, because all I heard was dead silence for a good long while... Eventually, I took pity and explained, "Hi, I''m in here, working on the worm sculpture." "Oh! God" she exclaimed. She explained that she had been working since 4 that morning, and when she heard the worm sculpture speaking to her, she feared she was finally loosing her mind. Poor gal. Then, though we never did see each other, as I was buried deep inside of the tube, we both shared a long long laugh of delerium and relief, I on my side (of the tire worm's belly), glad that she hadn't riddled me with bullets, and she on hers, I guess glad to know she still had her wits...
A little while after she left, I sewed up the last seam, making Tyrius a whopping 50 foot long snake. But before I sewed up the last quarter of the seam from inside, I grabbed my trusty scissors, and pulled them in with me. I had a 50 foot long foot-first inch-worm-shimmy to make down Tyrius's intestinal tract, and I wasn't about to get stuck in there!
I did make out, with out having to perform a self C section either. Taking a long look at the hulking giant, no doubt as tired as I was, I decided to curl him up into a tight coil on the carptet infront of the doors. I nestled his snout against his side, like a cat or a duck, and called it a night for both of us.
I was satisfied to have completed him, and a coil seemed like a good position from which to spring the dance that he had in store.
After a few short hours of sleep in the now cleared van, I opened my bleary eyes, shook off the cold, and exchanged my sleeping bag for some fresh duds. It was show time, so I shuffled in to get some coffee and bagels.
AND WE WERE OFF!
To kick us all off for Reuse Conex, we were very lucky to have a wonderful Keynote 'speech' by none other than Garth Johnson, madly brilliant mind behind 'Extreme Craft'.
What a pleasure this guy was! He came decked out in several pairs of pants, funky as skunk. And his opening address... I knew I was going to learn something from this guy! Garth is an Art History Proffessor, and he chose to use his talk to give a GREAT historic context to what may sometimes seem like a 'new' movement in the art world Art from Reclaimed Materials (his specialty). Another artist complained that he did not talk about current practices.Bah! For the past two days, the word 'Spoli' has been ricocheting around brain. Spoli, Spoli, Spoli. Spoli, illuminates Garth, is the term that the Romans used for incorporating older sculptures into new ones...thus attempting to 'borrow some of the power' of the older scuplture...! Garth seemed like a great guy too, I wish I had had the chance to hang out with him more.
I have to say I am very glad I got to hear Garth speak, because other than catching that I did a very poor job of getting with the program, and missed most of the people I really wanted to hear. It was hard to devide my focus between my booth and the conference.
But in between talks and during Exhibit times, I did meet many interesting people.
Heres a list of some of the people I met.
I was blessed at this event with the sweetest neighbor I could possibly hope to have (good luck with this so far!). Reena is the owner of Eco-ArtWare, a web-based Gallery based out of DC, specializing in creations from reclaimed materials. It was very exciting to meet her, because I have been a fan of her site for quite a while now. And we bonded almost immediately.We had a lot of good conversations throughout the conference, and it was interesting to hear that some of the artists in her stable had run into the same issues of copyrighting that I am so cautious of. Rena was a real pal to me throughout the event, even helping me to breakdown 'the hut' at the end. And She threatened to beat me up if didn't put price tags on my work! I'm working on it Rena!
Annie- Annie is one of the first fellow artists I met. She is a trip, and she was a pal and a half. She took me under her wing, helped me unload, kept me on track. That there is a good woman. She also let me model one of her awesome belt buckles, which I hope I did justice too. Her work was really fun and impressive too.
Leslie- Got connected with the event through her visit to my installation in Siler City. Her display was gorgeous, a light table made from a window from the Habitat home store, really set her glass work to life! Her work seems to have really developed into something very unussual and interesting, and I am glad that she got involved. She was a pleasant presence too.
While people were in a talk, I rearanged Tyrius into 'Yoga Pose' Number 2. For this one, I curled him into a long S shape, and propped both his head and the open end of the tube on his back, for him to peer into. I called this one Self-Reflecting Worm, and the title is a play on the term Self-Reflexing Form. Self Reflecting Worm, get it? I swear, I should be a comedian or something. I wanted this one to be a graceful transition from the curled up shape to the knot he was to become. I don't know if it was a graceful transition, but I do think it was a graceful shape, and probably did the job ok. And actually, I do think it worked ok as a transition.
My Mom and Sister, and Martha came by, and we had a little mini sweatshop going in my booth. That was awesome. They also convinced me that I needed to bring my coin purses up front. They were soo right.
Dr. Martinelli "Better Homes and Garbage"
At the end of the evening, at 6 pm, we had a Fashion Show. For this special occassion, I donned my very special redbutton necklace, created by Norma Hawthorne?, and on loan from the collection of Stacye Leanza. It was pretty magestic, I had to keep it mostly concealed, for fear of upstaging the entire fashion show.
But the fashion show was pretty cool! No tire outfits, but I think I understand why...
I got Atom Cianfarani! This was a real pleasure. She was very cool, down to earth. But boy did she land me a suprise- She has developed severe Latex Allergies! I wanted to give her a change purse, but she couldn't take it! I feel bad for her, because I know she must have loved the material as much as I do.
She was kind in sharing her cautions with me.
I also met up with 'my girl' Buffy, who I approached at the Festival for the Eno, and with whom I am hoped to do a splendid collaboration with. I used the oppurtunity to lure her to my tent, and make the alligator clothespin pass off.... we'll see where she takes it...
The next morning I woke up reenergized. I strapped on my Air Jordans, jumped out the van, and flew through the doors, determined to give Tyrius a hell of a day.
TYRIUS Action shots.
Bob- I cannot say enough odes to Bob. Bob is great. When Bob and I learned we'd been accepted, I wrote Bob, and asked if I could mention his involvment in a press release, as he is another great Reclaimed Materials artist from this neck of the woods. He and his wife dropped by one afternoon, and Bob had a good time playing around in my studio. Got to show some pictures. Bob was a huge help to me, handling Tyrius. When wrangling a 50 foot long tire worm, its good to have a guy like Bob on your side.
That day, as planned, the new NC Chapter of the Reuse Alliance the 2nd Meeting there. I have to admit, that I felt pretty cool (Brittish Inteligence Style) gathering with this small group of people, to discuss next steps, and what we had gathered at the conference. I suggested that we create a focus group to learn how to incorporate Femi's software into our businesses, as this would provide us with the numbers we will need to get more funding for various projects, a goal of the group's. Anne pointed out that the Index which MaryEllen has created will be very useful to this end as well.
At the meeting, I met a gentleman seated to my left, Gustavo, a great guy who runs an eco-friendly landscaping business, out of Siler City! After the meeting, he told Murial (who once lived in Siler too) and I the sad story of how City Hall was not working with him in his efforts to start a Building Materials Reuse Center in the building which used to be JD power sports. I think that would be so awesome. While he seems to have given up on working with the City Hall guys, I am hoping I can somehow connect him with people who can help, if he is interested.
Muriel- a classic. A fav. Muriel brought her Mama Lama, and the baby too. I think she needs an earth-worm in her menagerie, don't you?
The Scrap Exchange Gang Its always good to see the scrap girls, and its seldom I get to see them all together in the light of day! They all insisted on called my booth a 'hut'. While its true that of late I am dividing and advertizing my work into tire art for the jungle, and tire art for the hut..I don't think they knew that...were they just being deminutive?
One of the legendary Scrap Girls is Ruth- Has been a cohort and collaborator in this event from the beginning. Her work had always sounded interesting in her describing it too me. She says she likes to recycle unfinished quilting projects into her work! I always thought that was a really sweet proposition. A chance at redemption, wish I someone to salvage my miscarriages. Her work proved to be everybit as rich as her description suggested.
Nice Teacher Woman from New York. Socrates? This was a fabulous person. My favorate kind. Bright, shining.
Reuse in the Building Industry
Kemi- wow, a true gentleman. He makes this awesome software for businesses in the reuse sector to track the sources of their materials. I am very excited to learn more about this tool for capacity building.
Kemi seems like a great guy to work with.
While I was packing up in the deserted parking lot of the hotel, Kemi came down looking for the waterbottle he set down to help a very tired looking booth mate, and helped me pack up a little. We hung out and had a good time talking about Tyrius. We decided I need to get a stretch limo for him, and just shuttle him around from party to party, the big celebrity he is.
Nail Kicker decided Tyrius was a menace to society, and kept a close watch over him!
Leslie from Asheville/Shakori- Starting a Creative Reuse Center in Asheville!
Erica Pittsburgh Reuse told me she like my work. I asked her what she liked about it? She said what she liked best was the sign that said no photos. She said she could appreciate that, and we had a good talk about it.
William Photographer Very kindly helped me take some photos of Tyrius Tied, as my camera's memory card was tragically full up by that time. William took some gorgeous shots, and I can't wait to see them.
Duke Students- Eddy?
Moise- Reuse Connections?
Cleaning up afterwards with Congolese.
He did bestow the honor of coming to visit my booth, which I think he seemed to enjoy, though I did not get as much of a chance to discuss my work with him as I would have liked. We were joined by a Fiber Artist and proffessor at NC STATE, who was hosting Garth the next day in her class. She turned out to be very cool! First, she answered a candid question which I have been dying to ask NC State Design school professors, and that is, would it be worth my while to attend the program? She asked me why I would do that, and gave me her honest answer which I found very helpful. Then, looking around my booth, she told me something else, which was very funny for me to hear.
She said, "I hate to tell you this, but you're a Fiber Artist."
Well, I don't know if she expected this to offend my male ego; even if it did, which it didn't, I had to admit that it was something I had suspected this for sometime now! And actually, I had to thank her, and tell her what an honor this was for me, as I have recently considered approaching some Fiber Arts institutions, but I wasn't sure how I, and my tires would be received. This certainly gave some validation to that suspicion..
There was also another Artist there, Jan Ru, who is a professor at NC STATE's Design Program. She was very cool (her installation art is amazing, and she is starting a reuse program there.
They invited me to come visit with Garth the next day. While I was Very tempted, and would have been a reallly fun adventure, unfortunately I had to pack up that night, leaving no space to sleep, so I had pass on the oppurtunity. Jan Ru did invite me to come speak to her class another time though!
MaryEllen Etienne, the Director of the Reuse Alliance, who organized Reuse Conex seemed pleased with Tyrius's participation, and said some very sweet things about him. She said she liked that Tyrius crawled around the space over time. I was glad she felt this way. As I told her, and several others, Tyrius is a worm, and worms will wiggle.
I did very poorly at this. I think I missed just about everyone I wanted to hear talk. I have always been pretty bad at getting with the program, and I really suffured for it this time. However, I did happen in upon a few rare gems, most notalbly a teacher talking about art projects, and a great talk about reuse in the building industry. Still I missed Anne, Reina, Atom and Femi, all people I really wanted to hear. Its hard to do several jobs at once...Also, in general, I was so wiped out from the double installation the night before, of my booth, and then Tyrius, that I was just kind of out of it the whole time. I don't feel like I was at my best in my interactions with people.
This was both a lesson, and a realistic glimpse into what I am trying to pull off.
Showing both a large public sculpture, and also offering smaller works through a both, was somewhat the realization of the dream business model for Reptire Designs. But attempting to pull this duplicity off at the conference amply demonstrated the pitfalls of this model which I have always been both weary and tryed to be cautious of: namely of spreading my self too thin. And at this event, I felt, at least, visibly so.