Wednesday, August 8, 2012

so far, so good

If you count houses, studios, apartments, and storage units I’ve moved eleven times since 2010, six of them in the last six months. Not surprisingly, I’ve been having difficulty keeping track of all that has happened. I decided to take a page, or maybe it’s a post, out of friend, and fellow artist, Megan Chapman’s excellent blog and write a recap of the last few months. Megan is a believer in the power of a periodic review and has repeatedly encouraged me to go through this exercise. Why do I balk and fuss and procrastinate? How hard could it be to list all the exciting things that have happened recently? Good question. In the best of times it is easy to get discouraged and think, oh, I’m not making any progress, my work doesn’t really matter, or my personal favorite, what was I thinking? Those are the usual self-doubts of any creative person and they are magnified under stress. Many wonderful things have happened in the last six months, but as with every life there have been shadows around the edges—for every win there was a loss or two—sadness, illness, disappointment have made their appearances. So every memory contains some difficult moments but I’m making the choice to believe that every moment we are alive is a moment for which to be grateful so today I want to chronicle some of the triumph’s and successes that have been part of my extraordinary journey.

 In January I moved from Northwest Arkansas to Kansas City, Missouri and went looking for studio space. In February I signed a lease on my new studio in the Hobbs Building, located in the West Bottoms neighborhood of Kansas City, it is an old furniture warehouse that has been converted into six floors of artist’s studios, a printmaking studio and even an art school. The artists in the building hold two open houses a year, the next one being October 20th and 21st, 2012. You are all invited! Of course, if you are ever in the Kansas City area, there’s no need to wait, just contact me here if you’d like a studio tour.

Studio 409 • Hobbs Buliding • Kansas City, Missouri • ©2012 Jennifer Libby Fay
With a lot of help, I moved all my supplies and tools into the new studio, and promptly left for Europe.

I used to design housewares products, mainly kitchen tools and gadgets. I “retired” a few years ago but was lured back into the fray, bribed, really, with a trip to Frankfurt, Germany to attend Ambiente, the largest international housewares show, and a side trip to Porto, Portugal to visit both a cork factory and a dinnerware manufacturer.

Ambiente • Frankfurt, Germany • ©2012 Jennifer Libby Fay
Somehow working, when one is in Europe, doesn’t really feel like working. It was exciting to scout new trends, see old friends, and feel a part of the big picture again. This time, since my focus has been on art and not product for awhile, I was able to see things with fresh eyes and I found myself dreaming of possible projects that might combine the two.  It was an inspiring and magical trip, which is good because when I returned I really had to get busy.

The rest of February and all of March were spent in the new studio working on my solo exhibition, Rubicon. This intense creative time, fueled by a tight deadline was a welcome respite from the chaos of moving boxes and organizing the new apartment. The first weekend in May I delivered Rubicon to the Art Center of the Ozarks in Springdale, Arkansas. I was thrilled that so many people attended the opening reception and expressed interest in my new work.

Rubicon • Crimson Trespass • ©2012 Jennifer Libby fay

In June I returned to Northwest Arkansas for an art filled week. On First Thursday I participated in an exciting exhibition called east prospect. Artists Megan Chapman and Stewart Bremner transformed her house into a gallery for the evening. They removed all the art from the walls, put away most of the personal items and stored some of the furniture creating an intimate and delightful venue for the work of ten artists.

east prospect exhibition • Fayetteville, Arkansas • ©2012 Jennifer Libby Fay
Including, Craig Colorusso and his Sun Boxes which sang in the yard while the sun shone. The exhibition was such a success it was extended through Saturday and we plan to have another one in December.
Sunboxes @east prospect • ©2012 Jennifer Libby Fay
Later in the week I had the honor of attending a party thrown by one of my collectors. She was eager to have me see the two pieces she purchased from my Don’t Forget to Breathe exhibition installed in the guest suite. It was a lovely evening of laughter and sparkles, I felt on cloud 9 to have my work included in such a grand home and personal collection.

I returned to Northwest Arkansas in July for the opening reception of Megan Chapman and Stewart Bremner’s exhibition, a place called home. This beautiful body of work is a collaboration between the two artists and a exploration of concept of home. I highly recommend taking a look here. The three of us traveled to Hot Springs, Arkansas to do art business with our galleries. I delivered new work to Justus Fine Art Gallery and was extremely excited to learn that two pieces sold a few days later!

Justus Fine Art • Hot Springs, Arkansas • ©2012 Jennifer Libby Fay
July brought temperatures of over 100 degrees F to the Kansas City area. Every day I kept thinking it would cool off tomorrow. It didn’t and it hasn’t. I do have a portable air conditioner at the studio, which has become my new best friend, but it can only manage about 10 degrees of cooling off, which normally would be great, but 90 is still too hot to work, so I’ve spent most of the month working on computer related things. One day, I ignored the heat and toured most of the art galleries in Kansas City.

It has been an exciting year so far. Especially rewarding is getting to know the incredible people who collect my work. One couple told me they were giving this piece, Violet Surrender, to each other for their anniversary present. It now hangs in their bedroom. I love that.

Violet Surrender • 16.5" x 15" • Textile Painting • Private Collection • ©2012 Jennifer Libby Fay
Another collector wrote this as a response to my thank you note: “We want you to know we are thrilled to have your work in our collection.  And we hope to purchase more in the future as we both feel your special pieces are not only unique, but truly beautiful.  We see YOU in them! Your kind nature, your passion, your training, your expertise, your love of nature itself, your spontaneity!  Thank you for the work you do, and that you share it with others.  We are the lucky ones!”

Lucky? Blessed? I am grateful everyday for the opportunities I have to travel and make art and enjoy the many wonderful people in my life. I’ve chased the shadows away for now…and I’m looking forward to what the future will bring.

I’m sorry for the delay in my blog posting, but now that I’ve gotten you all caught up I would love it if you join me again next week when I travel to Peter’s Valley for a textile dyeing workshop.


  1. Wow! It all sounds so wonderful and inspiring! You left the hard parts out, so we just get to enjoy the excitement. It sounds like you have moved into a wonderful community and that many doors are opening up to you. It's great! But, I also know how hard it can be to be on the go and not have time to settle. May it all fall into place in a way that gives you peace.

    I've really struggled with heat here in Paducah, too. My garden is stressed, crops are failing... it's been pretty awful. But, we move through it. Be well!

    1. Thank you for reading and for your kind and encouraging words, Rayela. I'm sorry to hear about your garden, I hope there is some relief soon. I send peace back to you…