|Bringing my beadwork to the Museum|
Many, many moons ago, when I first started beading, I made an important decision about my future beading career. I decided not to be in the business of selling my beadwork. That’s a huge and somewhat uncommon decision for an artist, because most feel that in order to justify the time it takes to do beadwork and the cost of materials, it has to be sold. Many also take sales of their work as a marker of their skill as an artist… “if it sells, then I am an artist; if I sell lots of it, then I am a successful artist; if a gallery takes my work, then my work is good,” etc.
|Demonstration prior to the Opening on April 1st.|
|My dear friend, Liz, drove to La Conner for the opening!|
So, when beadlust jumped in my heart, I almost immediately decided I would not sell my work. Instead, I would make my living by selling beads and beading supplies, teaching others how to bead, and writing books about beading. It’s been a great pathway for me, almost always fun, challenging, exciting – and, it has paid my bills and given me the means for many beady adventures. To be sure, I have sold some of my beadwork, especially jewelry, here and there. But it’s always when opportunity comes to me, not when I’ve struggled to be accepted for a show.
Twenty-seven years later, I am looking back down my beaded pathway with great satisfaction, pleased as punch about my initial decision. Twenty-seven years later, I also own a substantial stash of beaded objects that I’ve made over the years – beaded jewelry, bags, books, dolls, wall art, sculptures, and quilts. While many of them decorate my studio and home, some live in boxes, stored away in cabinets. I feel a bit guilty about those poor babies. Shouldn’t I get them out, brush the dust off, and sell them? Oh yeah, I forgot, I hate selling/promoting my beadwork.
All of the above is to introduce a fabulous and unexpected opportunity that came my way recently… The curator of the La Conner Quilt & TextileMuseum contacted me to ask if I would be willing to exhibit my beaded quilts and other beadwork in a one person show at the museum for the month of April, 2015. WOW! Would I be interested? You bet I would!!!!
Twenty-eight pieces! Once I cleared the pieces for the show out of my studio, the nearly empty walls and display counter was depressing. Guess what happened? I opened up those boxes, and brought out things I hadn’t ever displayed, or at least hadn’t displayed for a long time. What great fun to see them every day this past month! I love it!
Two days ago the show closed (waaa), and my work is back home again. Here it is, all piled up on my studio tables. Nice to have it home; not so nice to decide which pieces go back into boxes.
|Exhibition closed - beadwork back home again|
And then there is the question of what is to become of it in the long run. I am 72 years old. It might be time to start thinking about that. Some will go to my beady friends, and some to my nieces and nephews (if they want it). And, I’d die happy if I knew that some of the best pieces were in the permanent collection of a museum or two. Rosie, The Uncaged Hen, for example should be in a museum, don’t you think?
|Rosie, The Uncaged Hen|
Having the show in La Conner, seeing my work so beautifully displayed there, gives me the energy to start thinking about the future of my beadwork, to make a list of my all the pieces, place an "insurance value" on them, and start talking to acquisition curators about it. Although the idea of this task seems a little like “selling my work,” the show in La Conner makes it worth the effort.
|La Conner Quilt & Textile Museum|