September Update

I started the first semester of my final year of undergrad just over one month ago. As expected, every day has been packed to the brim, especially the last couple of weeks. I worked for the wonderful artist Betsy Youngquist at the Plaza Art Fair, finished up some custom nursery decorations for a close friend, had my first critique of the semester, helped with the opening celebration for the Plains Indians exhibition at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, dyed fabric for Kadie Nugent (a classmate and good friend), wrote a show proposal, attended the Kansas City Yoga Festival, hosted a BBQ and bonfire for my friends, and bought a new vacuum cleaner. Are you tired yet!?! Cause I am! Although I'm running on fumes, I truly think it's all worth it. I know that someday I will look back on this crazy time and be glad that I pushed myself, took risks, and didn't necessarily sleep a lot. 

Grrrr, a sculpture by Betsy Youngquist

I always enjoy working at the Plaza Art Fair. While some of my classmates turn up their nose at the perceived commercialism of art fairs, I see the value in learning how artists sell work and try to suck up every bit of knowledge that I can. There are so many different kinds of artists there to talk to! Betsy treats me well and buys my meals for pete's sake- how could a college student turn that down?!?! Seriously, though, every time I work for her I am incredibly inspired by the whimsical beaded sculptures that she makes. They are beautiful, have a sense of history, and a sense of humor. I leave the art fair every year with grand intentions of covering everything in my studio with beads. Beading, however, is not really my thing. Dyeing is though...

Hand-dyed fabric by me!                                                                                                                    Photo by Kadie Nugent

I recently dyed this fabric, requested by Kadie Nugent (a super awesome artist/ friend of mine)... and she turned it into this...

In process dress by Kadie Nugent!                                                                                       Photo by Kadie Nugent

The dress is still in process in this photo, but you get the idea. She used a pattern for a 50's style dress and then customized it to make it more modern. Kadie and I have been collaborating a lot lately and it has been such a positive learning experience. Despite our almost ten year age difference, we have similar tastes and interests, which helps when planning and designing something. We just proposed a show for a gallery space available to students. Planning and writing the proposal together was fun AND challenging. It is so beneficial to have someone to share ideas with, knowing there won't be judgement, just honesty. 

Hot air balloon mobile made for baby E! 

Another project I have been working on is custom nursery decorations commissioned by one of my friends for the arrival of her second daughter. Although this was vastly different from what I normally make for school, it was a nice change to make some purely decorative and whimsical work. I hope baby E is thoroughly entertained!


And, last but not least, of the most deeply moving experiences that I've had in the last few weeks was helping with the opening celebration for The Plains Indians exhibition at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. I've had the pleasure of interning in the Education department at the museum for the last few months and have enjoyed every minute of it. Plains Indians artwork resonants deeply with me for many reasons, one of which is having spent a large part of my childhood in Western South Dakota, where Native American culture is ubiquitous. On the day of the opening, I had the honor of escorting The Royal Valley (Potawatami) dancers. Unfortunately, I was too busy to take any pictures, but it wouldn't have done them any justice anyway. The Boyz, an intertribal drum group with members from across the country accompanied the dancers throughout the day. Watching the powerful performances brought tears to my eyes. It was so magical seeing the normally quiet and austere Kirkwood Hall full of music and dance. The Plains Indians exhibition is on display at the museum, through January, for a small fee, and I highly recommend going to see it!