Tuesday, March 11, 2008

An Inspiring, Busy Weekend With Laura and my daughter

My daughter and I went to Laura's quilt showing at the One Earth Gallery on Saturday. Great turnout. The gallery did an excellent job with this event and the space is perfect for viewing large pieces, like Laura's "Samba" quilt which is 12 feet by 10 feet. Also, you can see the quilt "Laura takes a leap" that is featured in the Until the Violence Stops Documentary. The imagery on the quilt, from the stream made of shining blue fabric to the grinning, nude woman leaping across it, is more vibrant when seen in person. Even my 12 year old daughter loved looking at the quilts and we spent an hour examining each one, discovering the hidden treasures Laura includes with the fabric, like large feathers, shells, beads, antique earrings and heavy necklaces, lace and bone. She peered closely at the quilt with the four faces representing the seasons and said, "That one looks like it's made of leaves, like fall." I loved spending this time with my child; a reminder of how much she's grown. Gone are the days when I'd have to chase her around the gallery begging her not to touch the art with her sticky fingers. Now we can talk about the creation of the art, laugh over the images, and enjoy the beauty created from bits of fabric, thread, and buttons. Plus, I'm sure she enjoyed it because it was made by Laura her teacher, and a very important person in her life. She did like the other artist's works too, especially the mosaic tiles. We plan to attempt a mosaic together this summer.

Sunday was definitely not a good Mother/Daughter day, but she did have an ice-cream date with her dad. I sold some of Laura's books at the Women's Political Caucus/Women's Art Awards event at the Fairgrounds (see prior post). Laura received an award for her quilts, along with four other women artists. Unfortunately, we didn't sell many books. Pretty much everyone Laura knows in our little town has already bought one. Happily though, I got to hear directly from people how much they love her book and how impressed they are with the quality of the book itself. One person said she's heard nothing but praise. It was also an excellent opportunity to let people know more about Medusa's Muse. Several didn't realize we're a local press. Whether sales were good or not, going out and talking to people about the press and the project was well worth my time. I gave away a few books, chatted with several people, met someone interested in submitting her own work, and got to spend time with my favorite author, Laura.

While Ronnie Gilbert was receiving her award, I looked out across the audience and suddenly felt a profound sense of home. Mendocino County. I listened to Ronnie sing one of her songs and watched the crowd soak up every word, felt the room humm with praise and hope, and realized I am exactly where I need to be. This community, especially the Mendocino Book Company, has been incredibly supportive of this little endeavor of mine and Laura's. Of course it helps when you publish the work of someone who knows EVERYONE and is respected by EVERYONE; makes selling the book a lot easier. But the community has also been supportive of me and the press, irregardless of Laura. People here support the arts, especially women artists, and they respect the work I've done creating the physical book from Laura's manuscript. I realized just how welcome I am here.

Just listening to Ronnie was inspiration enough. Here is a tiny elderly woman who has spent her entire life fighting for Social Justice with only her passion and music. And no matter what happened, even through being blacklisted in the McCarthy era of the 1950's, she has remained true to that cause. I hope I can someday be just as strong and outspoken as she.

Next weekend Laura and I are giving a talk at the American Association of University Women's brunch. Saturday, March 15th, 11:30 to 1:30, at the North State Cafe. We'll be discussing the process of developing her book, from the moment I asked to publish it to today, and talk about working together on the book, as well as working to help my daughter grow and gain independence. And with luck, Jane, the editor of Medusa's Muse, will be there too. Books will be available.

1 comment:

janemac said...

I will definitely be there!