Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Daily Art Project as a Dialogue: Daily Mail

I started reading Kathleen Loomis' blog just about a year ago. I'd met Kathy for the first time at a Masters Composition Class at Nancy Crow's barn in Ohio in 2008. At that time I had been filled awe and respect about her work - after all, she was the first person ever to machine quilt one of Nancy Crow's quilts! At the barn, I got to work on the table next to Kathy, and although we were both caught up in our own work, we had enough time to look at what the other was doing, and I was really impressed with the pieces Kathy was working on, and also with the way Kathy was talking about her art.
After that, we had a few contacts by e-mail, and finally found out that we were both going to be part of Color Improvisations, soon opening at Karlsruhe, Germany.
A few weeks before the first opening of Color Improvisations in Stuttgart on July 12, 2011, I then found out about Kathy's blog via a hunt from Bonnie Bucknam and, not having had any real experience with blogs before, started reading it backwards. Slowly I made my way back to January when she had started writing it, reading a few entries every time I had a chance. About two weeks before the opening in Stuttgart I had finally found out how Kathy got started on her Art-a-Day project, which she regularly posted about, and which had had a most inspiring effect on me. Knowing that I would meet Kathy in Stuttgart a thought occurred to me which then slowly evolved over the next two weeks: what would it be like for two people to join in such a daily art project in an exchange? What kind of dialogue would it turn into?
It took me a lot of courage to tell Kathy about this idea at all because I was a little bit afraid she would think I would be trying to steal her idea. But it turned out she was very open to my initial suggestions, and within less than a complete half hour we had come up with a handwritten "contract" about our joint project which would be called "Daily Mail":

'Contract' for joint "Daily Mail Project",
signed July 10, 2011

Starting on September 15, 2011, we would commit for a period of six months, each of us sending the other one an e-mail every day, with either a picture, or a piece of text, or a little explanation. Themes were allowed to develop.
During the two months between our signing of the agreement and the actual beginning I started taking many more pictures than I ever had before, trying to stock up on pictures because I was slightly afraid that at some point I might actually run out of current pictures to send. Little did I know about the dynamics that this project would get caught up in!
I was lucky early on, too, to find two instances of a motif  that made it possible to open and end the project with a pun on Kathy's blog title "Art with a Needle", as I could name them "Art with a Noodle":

Daily Mail, September 15: Art with a Noodle

 Living in Europe means that I was six hours ahead of Kathy, and I got to start first.
Early on I sent a picture of our local cemetery - which got Kathy started on a long though intermittent row of cemeteries from all over the world:

Daily Mail September 16: Cemetery

 And that was only the beginning of it all.

See future posts for further reports on the project, and read about Kathy's side of the story here!

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