And surely the gods and goddesses were with me for this surprisingly fun event. Not to mention my personal chauffeur, Samsun, and DC connection/PR person/ personal assistant, Ariella.
I don’t know how we happened to get the one day in the whole week with decent weather for our 9 1/2 hour drive to DC. (It dumped a foot of snow at Squam while I was gone). With Samsun’s help, we flew down 95 (flew on 95???) through NYC (!) and into Washington. My nightmare images of endless traffic jams creating a 14 hour drive did not materialize, and we were in DC by 6 PM on Thursday, March 29.
The next day we awoke to pouring rain. The drive was over and the art was covered in towels – it’s 2 seconds of exposure to the elements was nothing to worry about as we tucked it inside and up to the gallery at Stimson. Once in the gallery, it was a matter of how to hang the the 3 slats that support the fabric. I had been in communication with Will (from the gallery) re. this concern and he had reassured me that there were hooks that hung from a wire. Yes there were, but they were the size of crochet hooks, i.e. meant for the size of picture frame wire. Thank goodness Will came up with another solution: drill holes through the slats and anchor the wire from “stoppers” underneath. We loaded the slats with the fabric and hung them using this technique and it worked perfectly.
Samsun was my righthand man, handing me one numbered bag after another to me so that the silk went in perfect order onto each slat. Ariella was untangling long threaded loops when needed, conversing with Aliya (sp?) who is in charge of the gallery, and then stepping in to help with the hanging as well. Will, too, was preparing the slats, then helping to hang and adjust them. Meantime, there was this ongoing stream of people attempting to make their way through the room since the gallery is also at the entrance and exit to the Center. Each one, or group, would take a moment and then comment. In the middle of being so focussed on getting the art up, there was this sweet hum of positive feedback.
On the wall adjacent to the main wall, we hung the animal alphabet: 9 framed pieces. There was an issue of keeping them flat to the wall, but otherwise, putting them up was straightforward. I had, for some reason, thought the hanging would take 1 hour, so 3 hours later, everyone was hungry and thirsty: ready for the BEST authentic Laotian food. I would have loved that food anytime, but it tasted sooooo good at that point. Thip Khoa. I need that restaurant here in Holderness.
So, huge thanks to Ariella. Did I have any idea last fall that this would happen? And to my online artist group – who has ONLY heard about this since then. And to Samsun – how would I have made it to DC? And Samsun and Ariella… for the installation – such appreciation. And Stimson gallery – so supportive. Thanks to Will. Thanks to Aliya.
As I left DC, taking a Lyft to the airport and stuck in traffic for the longest stretch, I took in the scene: it was the height of cherry blossom season. Every tree was pink with bloom. Everywhere I turned was brimming over with tulips and daffodils bordering green, green grass. People were out in shirt sleeves, pushing strollers, arm-in-arm, flying kites, packed onto the mall, taking in the warm, beautiful day. Overflowing with color.
Several hours later: the plane landed at the end of the snow storm here. We descended through the haze of grey clouds. Back to Squam: white everywhere.