Monday, May 30, 2011

laundry day.

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it is memorial day and we are in a small town in arkansas. we had main street to ourselves as we got caught up on our clothes cleaning.

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the mending.

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socks, shoulder bag, table. a pit stop means fixing the things that have been falling apart. can't see what i did to the shoulder bag? that's because my first stab at saddle stitching was so awesome! slightly less awesome is the durability of washi tape as a mending material - but it sure is purdy.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

setting up (work)shop.

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can you tell which trailer the crafter is in? yup those are some neck warmers hanging out to dry after one last refreshing soak before they get their buttons sewn on.

setting up to hunker down.

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here i am setting up for a few days of hunkering down in this small arkansas town. the motel is cheap and the neighbours scream and yell daily. but give me my folding table and i can make just about anywhere feel a little like home.

return to sender.

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greetings from carlisle, arkansas, an oasis we found years and years ago on an earlier tour. even though the past can never entirely be called back and memories make everything mistier, there is still a kind of fun in return to places that felt magical. and besides, we saw signs that a new mexican restaurant had popped up since our last visit. here it is:

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there is kind of nothing outwardly magical about this place. it's probably not magical at all except that we have been here before and had a good time together. i dunno - i like it here.

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Saturday, May 28, 2011

scenes from a motel.

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homes away from homes. this time, in benton, arkansas. there is a real beauty to these non-chain establishment - right down to the painted signs.

Friday, May 27, 2011

children of the 70's.

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on the way out of dallas, we also managed to stop in on another shop we have heard a lot about over the years, we are 1976. for indie craft wares, it does not disappoint and i saw a lot of familiar indie lines there. plus, they have a big, presumably old, mural in the shop (a la wholly craft). i am such a sucker for such architectural touches.

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oil and cotton.

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and as one thing leads to another, julie emphatically recommended that we look up oil & cotton when we shoved off to dallas.

newly opened in the fall of 2011, owners shannon driscoll and kayli house cusick founded oil and cotton to be an educational epicentre of sorts. although they do carry some support supplies, the studio's main focus is skill sharing. as we travel, it is deeply heartening to find spaces like this popping up all over the continent. workshop spaces exist beyond the constraints of retail, working to ensure that craft practices endure as well as goods. even as a workshop space, oil & cotton distinguishes itself in the scope of its class roster. the offer all sorts of workshops that i have not encountered before in this community - prenatal art, basket weaving, music (to name a few), and all sorts of syntheses between these practices.

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not to mention that its uneven and dusty walls provide for one of the most textured and photogenic spaces i have ever encountered. and did i mention they make their own inks (above)? and use its rooms and flex spaces for pop-up events and happenings? amind the supplies you can even spot vestiges of such events (like the large bag of gold suspended from the ceiling) - and each object has a story. this space, and its owners give the sense that anything is possible and that whim and business are perfect counterbalances for one another.

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more images here.


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based on an emphatic recommendation by russell, we made our way out of austin today and straight to a specially arranged gallery visit to the webb gallery in waxahachie, texas. even at off-hours, we were lucky enough to get to meet both owners, bruce and julie webb. the place is beyond amazing, and so are the webbs. passionate about what they do, kind, generous with their time and knowledge and, as it relates to the gallery, each of them has a killer eye for the obscure and the heartfelt.

housed in a spacious old building in the centre of waxahachie, the gallery is such a feast for the eyes and senses, that it is hard to even begin to capture a visit in pictures.

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the main exhibition at the moment is a grand-scale collection of sculptural works by camp bosworth entitled 'plata o plomo'. in exploration of the mexican drug trade, it features relief portraits of drug lords, massive hand-carved wooden guns that fold out into bars and the biggest piece of bling i have ever seen (bling not being a word i use often or lightly). it is a brilliant show, dazzling and scary, that is installed perfectly into the spacious gallery.

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in their smaller loft space upstairs is another show by another texas artists, esther pearl watson. i have been aware of miss watson for a long while now from the zine scene. in fact, some of her zines must be some of the earliest added to my collection. but i have never had the privilege of seeing her paintings in person. i found this collection - an autobiographical series based her childhood home and family happenings from her formative years - incredibly touching. for me, it fell somewhere between fine art, self-revelation, sequential art and snapshot. you know those moments when you feel incredibly broke because artwork is so reasonably priced yet you are so outpriced? yup. i felt really compelled by these works.

and all of this not even to mention the webb's extensive collection of circus ephemera, secret society regalia and general wonderfulness. suffice it to say, if you are in the area, you should seriously make a visit. especially you, faythe.

more pictures here.