If you follow me on Facebook then you probably already know all about the opening of my exhibit this past week and have seen most of the photos. But for those who follow me solely through this blog, I am finally getting around to playing catch-up and posting some photos here!
It has been a really crazy last couple of weeks. The last two weeks before the exhibit opened were a whirlwind of last minute details and extra touches. I was extremely excited and grateful to receive the news a couple of weeks ago that I was one of the recipients of an ARTicipate grant through Arts Ottawa East (AOE) that could be used towards my exhibit. That funding allowed me to do a lot of promotional things that I otherwise would have been unable to do. As soon as we knew we had that green light we sprang into action ordering postcards and organizing an unaddressed admail campaign through Canada Post. We also had an exhibit brochure that we designed (and then thankfully remembered to send off to a translator for the French text!) printed up. Our house filled with boxes and last minute framing materials. It was a crazy, crazy time but in the end with the wonderful and much needed help of my husband and kids we got it all done!
Last Wednesday was set up day at the gallery. My husband dropped off the bigger and heavier pieces for me first thing in the morning and then the kids and I brought by the rest in the afternoon. I can’t begin to say how nice it is to live just minutes from the gallery! Almost all of the past shows that I have participated in have been at least a 3 to 5 (or more!) hour drive away so this was a really pleasant change. And, I can stop by the gallery whenever I want!
The Trinity Gallery at the Shenkman Arts Centre is beautiful. Everyone who sees it is blown away by what a nice space it is. I feel so fortunate to have such a place in my own community. And the staff there is beyond helpful. They took such great care of my work and did all the hanging for me- it was so appreciated, especially with two kids in tow with limited patience!
I’m not sure I can describe the feeling that I had when I went back to see the exhibit all hung the next night. I remember standing in the Arts Centre several years ago when I was participating in a group show there and thinking how cool it would be to have my own exhibit in that same space. But I didn’t really, at that point, think it could happen. And now it has. I don’t think I can say enough times that if you work hard enough and persevere, things will happen for you and your dreams will come true. I absolutely believe this.
I’m really happy with how my information table (does it have another, more formal name??) looks. As I have been posting on Facebook all of the promotional things that I had printed up, more and more people were making comments like “you are really making this your own” and “you are owning this.” That was totally what I was trying to do. At the end of the day I wanted to make sure that I had done everything in my power to get my name out there and to make people aware that the show is going on. I really feel like I’ve left no stone unturned. Some of my attempts may turn out to have been less than fruitful (I’m not totally convinced that the mail-out campaign in the end was worth it) but at least in doing those things I am armed with information as to what I would use again for a future exhibit or not, rather than wondering “what if I had tried this or that.” I have really given this my all.
This past Sunday was the Opening Reception. It was a pretty cool experience. I have been to many openings before, but always as one of a group of artists. Being the only artist in a room full of your own art is, well, awesome. To look around the room and to see that all of your hard work (because trust me, it has been a lot of hard work and long hours to get to this point) has paid off, is so extremely rewarding.
There was a good steady stream of people that came by during the afternoon. I think it is really hard in the summer to get people out to things. And it was a really nice sunny day so that made it even harder.
That being said, though, I got the chance to have some really great conversations with other local fibre artists who dropped by to see my show and the adjoining show (which was also a textile exhibit). And I got to showcase my medium of hooked fibre to those who weren’t already aware of it or who had never seen it being used in the way that I use it. And I can’t say enough about how good it made me feel to see people I know come to show their support for me. For people to have taken time out of their day and schedules to stop by just to let me know that they were excited for me was huge and so meaningful.
It was really interesting in talking to people to see that everyone has a different “favourite” piece. My ‘Undeveloped Memories’ piece lacks some of its impact in photos, I find, but in person it was almost universally a crowd favourite. It was also very gratifying to see that the new pieces that I have been working on were really well received and it has helped to bolster my confidence as I continue to explore these new directions. And it always gave me a boost when people recognized that I have really moved in a new direction and am pushing my comfort zone. People still like some of the older pieces too, like “Solitude” and “Ghost Trees.” It was a real mix and meant that there was something to talk about with everyone who came through as there was always at least one piece that they could identify with.
This whole journey has been equal parts tough and exhausting, and exhilarating and rewarding. I wouldn’t change a thing. The lessons I am taking away from this and the confidence I am gaining can only mean that there will be even more great things ahead.
The exhibit runs until September 22nd.