This pop-up exhibition is the result of my participation in the Prairie Ronde Artist Residency series here in Vicksburg, MI. The programme was established as part of the Papermill renovation project. The drawings were carried out both onsite at the mill, and in the Hills Pharmacy as the idea for the show was developed.
It was fascinating to finally visit a papermill building, I had already seen many in the area. In Parchment, Kalamazoo there is a huge abandoned factory that I was very curious about when I first saw it, but was warned it was difficult to get into and dangerous. Having been such an important industry in the region I was sure there must be an opportunity somewhere. So, on reading about this residency programme I could hardly contain my enthusiasm, and it was very rewarding to be admitted.
My initial reaction on visiting the mill was admiration for the early industrial architecture, as in the specialised designs for the work spaces required at the beginning of the last century, with so many windows to make the most of natural light. The beautiful wooden beam structure of the top floor of the East wing, which allows overhead light in through the roof with north facing windows, would make the perfect studio for any artist. And it goes to show the attention to detail for producing a high quality product, since it was here that the cotton rags were first sorted before washing and beating into pulp. Continue reading “Papermill DNA”
This week I was so happy to begin drawing at an old paper mill in Vicksburg, a thirty minute drive from Kalamazoo. This is part of the Prairie Ronde residency programme which has been ongoing while the renovation of the mill is in the planning stages. Paper mills are dotted along the rivers all around these towns, it was a big part of Michigan history at the beginning of the last century. Getting to find out more about that history through the buildings themselves and the communities that grew up around them has been fascinating.
I can’t keep my eyes off these wonderful hats from the 40’s at JBird Vintage, so what else to do but….start painting them! Apparently it was the one thing that people were still creative with during the wartime since clothes were kept very simple and functional. Also a couple more houses from the historic Stuart district and Michigan Avenue downtown.
Some more Vintage Kalamazoo. Now the summer is over work has moved indoors and downsized to desktop painting! I was told once I was a ‘size queen’ and large formats have always been important to me, so finally accepting the challenge of this experiment has been interesting.
Continue reading “Vintage Kalamazoo 2”
On arriving I was lucky enough to take over a vegetable plot in the Wall St Community Garden. At two blocks from where I’m living it’s near enough to feel like a back garden to get out to when you’ve been at the screen all day and I inherited sage, kale and raspberries. Starting in July was a bit late to do much planting, but it feels like I just got to do the nice bit which was the picking and eating.
Continue reading “And back to Kalamazoo: Wall St”