Last Saturday, the Danforth Museum in Framingham, MA, had an opening reception for their new exhibits, including my show in the children’s gallery. The original fabric relief illustrations will be displayed here until January 23rd, 2011. I really like the way they hung the artwork, clumped together in tight grouplets, with one above the other. That way they could fit more pictures in the space – 45 out of the 51 illustrations from my new book, Pocketful of Posies.
The museum’s director, Katherine French, worked up to the last-minute, transferring the title onto the wall.
It was great to see my friend, artist and doll maker, Mimi Kirchner at the opening! We’ve known each other for 30 years and her long-standing and popular blog Doll was the inspiration behind starting one of my own a year ago.
I met a museum docent, a young fellow who had not been exposed to these nursery rhymes during his childhood in India. He was so taken with the artwork, that he wanted to learn all of the rhymes from the book. He asked me about my use of wavy borders and commented on the soft curves and lack of straight lines in the pictures. He said, “Looking at these pictures makes me happy.”
I felt honored that Betsy Groban, the publisher of Houghton Mifflin Books for Children came to see the artwork. She had seen some originals briefly a few years ago when I brought them into the office in Boston, but hadn’t seen them since. She let me know how pleased she was to be publishing my book, which really made me feel great!
The book’s designer, Sheila Smallwood also came, with her husband and daughters.
Many saw my work for the first time. They had come to the museum for other exhibits and just happened to come into the children’s gallery. It was fun to watch people of all ages look from a distance and then be drawn in to examine the pictures more closely. It is most satisfying to see grown men’s delight in viewing the work. In the years that I’ve been stitching, I’ve become conscious of the tendency to put textiles in the “women’s work” category, as if handwork wasn’t worthy of recognition. I say that stitching is just a technique and a way of translating ideas. After meeting and talking with people, I feel as if this book has jumped through age and gender barriers.
This woman walked around the room, singing the rhymes to her child. I hope that some of you will come see the show!
See the schedule for the Pocketful of Posies Traveling Exhibit here. I would like to send the show far and wide, so as many people as possible can see it. If you know of a safe venue with funding for shipping to and from, please send information to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m willing to deliver the work to most parts of New England.