Good things to celebrate
This season has been surprisingly busy. In addition to my spring sales, I have entered group exhibitions; in addition to the two I announced in my last blog entry, I was accepted into a lovely show titled “Blue.” The gallerists at the O’Hanlon Center for the Arts in Mill Valley, California, invited artists from around the country to participate. The theme clearly was the color Blue and inspired creations in all media. I submitted three likely candidates from my collection and the jurist selected my piece “Hear the Echoes", drawn by the vibrant hue of the sky and the contrast with the red cliffs.
The artists from the exhibition were invited to participate in a Zoom call on May 18; after signing in at the wrong time (twice! dang time zone gap!), I joined about 6 dozen participants in the Zoom. We had a chance to say a few words about our entries, as the entire show was presented to us one piece at a time. Stirring statements and astounding creativity, from Cape Cod to Seattle…it was inspiring to see the variety. The Zoom was recorded and is accessible for view, as is the entire show without commentary.
I have been submitting applications for more shows; these exhibitions expand my horizons internationally. I feel honored to be included with the other creators. The work on my 12-piece opus “Coral Reef” continues to grow, and I hoping to complete this year.
Meanwhile, I am off to read in the garden – irises are in bloom!
Spring is here and the restrictions imposed by the pandemic are easing, and my world is opening up – I am out exploring, and in… expanding my vision and my reach.
In the middle of April, I did a short road trip to El Malpais National Monument in western New Mexico. The name means “badlands” and refers to a vast area of volcanic land created tens of thousands of years ago, considered inhospitable to many people for centuries. Nowadays, we appreciate the geology and the flora and the fauna. I arrived early on a frosty morning, the first to park at the trailhead. I started my hike by following a portion of the Continental Divide Trail through the verdant lava fields. I was fascinated by the evidence of elk; their hoof prints were huge and deep – the size of my hiking boots and making 3 times the impression in the soft mud. The soil reminded me of the red mud of Maui. I climbed the cinder cone and explored the lava trenches; I did not encounter any people until my return to the trailhead; mostly ornithologists, it appeared.
As Santa Fe begins to open post-pandemic, I have been expanding my activities. I am pleased to have been accepted in two upcoming shows. The first is in Norfolk VA, Merged II, an exhibition of collage and assemblage. The piece they accepted was “Hear the Echoes”, the Original Collage commissioned by the State of New Mexico a few years ago to honor the poets of the state. This exhibition will be live and in person – I shipped the framed collage this week. The Gallery is D'Art Center, 740 Boush St., Norfolk, VA 23510. The Opening Reception is on Thursday, May 6, 5:30-7:30 pm, and it runs until May 23, 2021. I encourage my friends on the East Coast to check it out and take photos!
The second show is based in California, but has an on-line exhibition component, so everyone will be able to view the art. The exhibition is Purely Abstract, a Group Exhibition, and is presented by Las Laguna Art Gallery, 577 S. Coast Highway A-1, Laguna Beach, CA 92651. The exhibition includes all media; this is the first time I have had my paper mosaics accepted into an all-abstract exhibition. They selected an Original Collage from my Coral Reef series, which I titled “All there in… (black and white)”. The show opens on May 6, and runs until May 29, 2021.
What's coming up
I continue to submit my work to national and international shows, and I look forward to the possibilities locally too. Meanwhile, the sale that I am featuring in my three Etsy shops is coming to an end soon. I offer a 20% discount on the purchase of any 2 items, and the sale ends on May 7. You will find items to please a Mom, a grad, as well as confirmation candidates. Take a look; enjoy!
My mom’s birthday was a few days ago. She’s not around anymore, but while she was living, we always added festive elements of a St. Patrick’s Day celebration – some of the traditional foods and drinks of the Irish-Americans in Chicago, where I grew up. Here is a picture of her kissing the Blarney Stone in Ireland when she was a young woman. I miss her. She was proud of her bright intellect, her creativity, and her drive to improve her community. She was not a touch-feely person, and did not like hugging, although I have no doubt that she profoundly loved me and my five siblings. Motherhood does not always match what shows up in the selection of Hallmark cards! As a mother myself, I learned that one of the characteristics of motherliness is Ferocity. I do not know of any mom who lacks ferocity. A mother is often ferocious in her love; ferocious in her support and protection.
Honoring Your Mom too
Mother’s Day is around the corner (Sunday May 9 this year), and I wanted to do something special, so you can celebrate your mother. In honor of my mom, I am offer two sales in all my Etsy shops. The first sale is for the Early Bird, which offers 25% off the purchase of 3 items – anything in the shop! Yes, even framed originals. Of course, the shops also have smaller items, like greeting card sets and journals, which are easily giftable to your own mothers or new moms you know. The Early Bird sale runs from March 31 to April 7, 2021. The second sale is the traditional Mothers’ Day Sale and offers 20% off the purchase of any two items in the shop. This sale runs from April 8 to May 8, 2021.
Three Etsy shops
My three Etsy shops include:
Colorful days ahead
In other good news, New Mexico is opening up after pandemic restrictions, just in time to welcome Spring. The landscape is always beautiful, but our spring weather is capricious, and I can plant pansies and two days later, wake to winter white. I am looking forward to more colorful days ahead; soon, I will welcome family and friends to my backyard, join friends in a local wine garden and return to traveling.
I like February even though it has brought snow and icy cold over much of the continent. In Santa Fe, the temp dropped to below zero (that’s -18 Celsius!) and many residents’ pipes burst (not mine - whew!) Then came the white blanket – not as much as other regions, but a goodly amount. However, the snow was a polite visitor and melted away in the midday sun, with only a dusting or too over the next few days.
I had a Snow Day and used the time to rework some collages that I had developed while I was set up at the weekend markets last year and the years previous. I met a ton of people there, both at the Railyard Artisan’s Market, and El Museo Mercado, making solid connections with my colleagues, and my work was introduced to hundreds of visitors. Every weekend, I set up an easel and cut and paste my collages in full view of the public, who were intrigued with my technique and product. But the lighting was not the best! And I did not have a large selection of paper. I am glad to have the time to work on these – they are mostly from the Coral Reef series (nearly done!)
February brings lots of holidays and birthdays to celebrate. We celebrated Tet and Mardi Gras, and saluted Abe Lincoln, Yoko Ono and George Harrison. As part of the Fest for Beatles Fans birthday celebration for George Harrison (February 25th), I am curating the art show, with art selections flowing in from all corners of the world.
Today is National Drink Wine Day; I salute you!
(Read the label on the bottle!)
Love and peace!
Eyes on the Future
I saluted the new year with joy at midnight on December 31 and opened my heart and mind to the possibilities of the New Year. Reflection on the year past and contemplation of the coming year was especially poignant. I welcome both the tumult and peace, progress and stillness.
For the last several weeks, I have been adding new products to my Etsy shops. I have added new originals and prints, and I have expanded the selection of sizes of the prints that are available for many items. I added new products, like a new Mouse Pad, and I will continue to add listings over the next few months as well. I have a lot to offer! Here is a glimpse:
New Work ahead
Online Greeting Cards
When I was participating in the local art markets – so long ago, in the Age Before Covid – I had a large display of greeting cards in my booth, usually prominently placed near the aisle. Featuring reproductions of my Original Collages in a 5” x 7” format, the shop had 30 individual cards and 10 card sets, plus journals and other small items. These brought many customers to me – locals and tourists who wanted gifts and souvenirs. I used to joke that this was “Deco’s Little Card Shop”.
Recently, a customer asked if I “still had greeting cards…” Goodness, yes! I have the 30 individual cards, and the 10 gift bundles, all in my two Etsy shops DECOfineartcollage and StarArtbyDeco. However, the way that Etsy displays the items, it is not as easy to find the giftable selections as when I had my booth. The Etsy shops show huge Original Collages next to posters which are next to staves, etc. I can arrange the display – somewhat…but it is not like have the 3-foot by 3-foot rack of cards available for selecting. My solution: a new Etsy shop!
Card Shop on Etsy
Today, I introduce DECOcollageCards, an Etsy shop devoted to the sale of Greeting Cards and Journals!
I have 10 card collections and 4 journals in the shop, all with my original collage designs. I plan to add more items in the next few months. Until I can have my big card display “in real life”, Deco’s Little Card Shop will be virtual. The shop specializes in the card collections – that is 4 or 5 identical or related cards bundled with envelopes and tied with a ribbon. More individual cards available as well, and I will set up a marketing plan for those – maybe a mix-and-match collection?
Of special note are the autumnal collections – it is now the season of golden aspens, and ristras and pumpkins. These images are in my two “Autumn in New Mexico“ collections – one set shows the aspens and the trees in the mountains, and the other shows the harvest in the Southwest – the red chile peppers and the pumpkins. Soon the pears will ripen – I have a whole collection devoted to my favorite pome.
I invite you to look at all the fantastic collections in my new card shop. I am also offering a coupon to my first 10 customers for DECOcollageCards. Go to the Etsy page and "favorite" a selection (click the heart) and you will receive a 15% off coupon – FIRST10
Summer is Beatles Time
A busy month in Santa Fe… Our usual summer activities have transformed and we are finding news ways to have fun.
For me, August always meant attending The Fest for Beatles Fans in Chicago and meeting with friends and family; this year our Fest was Virtual. We Beatles Fans met up in a massive 3-day Zoom Festival; we enjoyed live-streamed music, panel discussions, and interactive presentations. I hosted the “Happily Ever After in the Marketplace” Zoom Room, where we presented the Fest Store, huge Memorabilia collections, and my specialty, the Art Room.
When Fest is live and in person, we meet in a hotel – in Chicago, it’s the Hyatt in Rosemont (though some of you may remember the Palmer House in 1977) – and I am in charge of a large room dedicated to Fan Art. I receive and display Fan Art in all sorts of media, run the Art Contest, and present the Awards. This year, our Fan Art was displayed on a Facebook page, and our Zoom Room was dedicated to live events. Although our new platform was limiting in some sense, Virtual Fest was an exciting opportunity to expand outside of the usual Art Room experience.
On Friday, we showed a slide show of the Art Room from the 1970s to the present, using photos from the Fest Archives. On Saturday, three Beatles Fan Artists welcomed us into their studios, in Brooklyn, upstate New York, and the west suburbs of Chicago. The three artists - Marlene Weisman, Regina Gelfer, and Sandra Ragan - have radically different approaches, media, and points of inspiration. This visit led to a lively discussion with the zooming audience about the nature of art and what motivates action in art.
We dedicated Saturday evening to a special presentation - a Retrospective on one of our most popular Fan Artists from the Fest in Chicago, Nicole Nigh Hondros. Working with photos and stories from her husband, her mom and her good friends Danny Donuts and Barb Charteris Raudonis, as well as my own archives, I compiled a slideshow. We gave Beatles Fans from around the world the opportunity to enjoy her unique creations. Nicole started submitting her work to the Fest when she was a teen; her work explored the unusual art media and extreme scale variations. Sadly, Nicole died two years ago, and is missed by her family, friends, and all of us at the Fest.
On Sunday, I was pleased to host photographer John Hester, who has been taking photos of Fest guests since the 1990s. He showed us over two dozen of these, including Billy Preston, Astrid Kirchner, Pete Best, Patti Boyd and many others. John, who is based in New Jersey, was able to share his work to a whole new audience.
Our unique situation this year has thrust us into the present! We were able to link artists and audiences from around the world, show slides and retrospectives, which we hadn’t been able to do previously. When we meet in hotel again (Next Year!!), I can’t wait to incorporate these innovations.
A few weeks before this Virtual Fest, I connected with some Beatles fans for a charity fundraiser called Rock n’ Pies at the Wolf’s Den which helped raise some dollars for My Block My Hood My City (MBMHMC Chicago). I donated an Original Collage to the raffle, and it was won by a Beatles fan who turned out to be a neighbor in River Forest, IL, where I lived before moving to Santa Fe. I also performed a fun bit of zoomed theater, with my Troika cohorts Victoria Pichla Luz and Walter Podrazik – it involved handing a plate of pie “through the screen” to them, some 1,500 miles away! I had to bake a pie to make this comedy bit work; it was delicious! (Cherry-peach-apricot crumb top)
This is the first time I am in Santa Fe in Mid-August. I am discovering the beauty that is here in these warm days and cool nights, hitherto unknown to me. Meteor showers! Awesome! My little garden is offering its modest harvest (…praying for rain). My daughters assure me Santa Fe always had mosquitoes in August; I remain doubtful. We have weekly dinners outdoors, inspired by global cuisine – this week: poké and musubi! As lovely as these summer days and evenings have been, I am looking forward to spending my August in Chicago next year.
Love is worth the risk.
D E C O
Art, news and thoughts from Santa Fe, New Mexico.
National Exhibition of Collage and Assemblage
May 1-23, 2021
D' Art Center
740 Boush Street
Norfolk, VA 23510
Thurs., May 6, 5:30-7:30 pm
May 6-29, 2021
Las Laguna Art Gallery
577 S. Coast Highway A-1
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
May 17 - July 2, 2021
O'Hanlon Center for the Arts
616 Throckmorton Ave.
Mill Valley, CA 94941