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But then...

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This afternoon was like a long game of bad news/good news.

First I went to my light keelboat lesson (yay!), but then I slipped and put my foot down wrong my second step onto the boat, hurting my ankle (boo!). After the initial pain died down, it really wasn't hurting at all (yay!)) unless I tried to put my whole weight on the foot (boo!). Being able to put my weight on either foot as needed was pretty vital to being useful on a keelboat, so I went left the lesson within a half hour of the start (boo!). Fortunately, I was able to pedal my bike without putting the wrong kind of weight on my foot, so getting home wouldn't be a problem (yay!).

I was slowly coming up the home stretch, on the hill into my neighborhood when I spotted a quarter at the side of the road (yay!). I stopped to pick it up, but when I started pedaling again, my chain wouldn't move and I couldn't turn the pedals (boo!). Just at the moment, I looked up and saw a friend of mine biking up the hill. He stopped to say hello and lent me a hand with the bike (yay!). After a bit of looking, I discovered that the one of the screws that holds the bike rack to the bottom of the frame had come out and the support post and fallen down into the gears, jamming up the whole thing (boo!). But I was only about two blocks past a bike shop, so I could easily go get that fixed (yay!).

At this point, my hands were black with grease from my chain (boo!), but I remembered that I had two hand sanitizer wipes in my purse, which took off the worst of it. A gent at the bike shop was able to fix it for with right away, and didn't charge me anything for it (yay!).

When I got home, I found that my ankle was felling much better (yay!) unless I out pressure on it at a specific angel, at which point it *really* freaking hurts (boo!). I do think it will be fine with a bit of rest, though. So I made pizza and chilled out, and a friend linked me to a video from a really enjoyable vocal group, which I will share with you below.

So yeah, it has just been that kind of a night.

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As is always the case, there was way more to see on Gallery Night than I could reasonably fit in the 5-9 time span. It's like a buffet banquet: you try to get in tiny samples of as many items as you can, but you'll still be stuffed before you can try it all.

This year most of my stops were also in/near studio spaces, which make me happy. Two of the stops involved glass blowing demos, which are always a treat for me.

I started out the night at Studio Paran on Winnebago, which included glass blowing demos by Richard Jones, and "Tables for Two" in the gallery space, a collaboration by Jones and furniture-maker Christopher Ueland. The artistic cafe tables they had built and set up throughout the room really did invite visitors to linger and talk, while examining the work close-up.

Next stop was across the street at the Winnebago Studios. It was still early in the night, and I know that some of the artists were also taking part in shows elsewhere, so some my usual studios were closed. But it was still wonderful to be surrounded not just by the art of art, but by the mess and material of art-making. Even a tidy studio has an energy to it that thrills me.

I have a quick stop at Tandem Press on Dickinson and then across the street to my old digs, Evolution Arts Collective. There was some great new work in the show, and the space was really alive. I you are looking for inexpensive, shared studio space in the Madison area, I high recommend contacting them at evolutionartscollective@gmail.com.

Radiant Glass and rene├ęglass factory in the Madison Enterprise Center on Baldwin St was next on the list, where there was more wonderful glass blowing demonstrations, and some stunning works of glass on display by all the artists.

Just upstairs in the Common Wealth Gallery, artist Michele Kraft had a series of gorgeous and intriguing oil paintings, based on the tarot. Sadly, I did not get any photos at this stop, but there was one particular installation based on the Lovers that made me stop, look twice, and then smile.

We were running short on time at this point, and decided that looking for parking downtown would eat up too much of what was left, so we had to skip the likes of the UW, Overture, and MMoCA. Instead we hightailed it up Monroe street to the always delightful Macha Tea House and Gallery, for some wonderfully weird paintings on velvet.

The last stop of the night was the most traditional, as we spend the last 10 minutes before nine in the Grace Chosy Gallery. There was some nice work on display, but nothing that knocked my socks off. It was aesthetically and technically sound, but it was also pretty safe. Not a bad thing, but far less memorable than some of the things we'd seen earlier that night.

After 9 bells tolled, we headed up to jacs for a light meal (all that we really needed after a night of gallery reception snacks). I can recommend the spinach salad, and will note that the small is quite substantial.

So, here's to Fall Gallery Night 2010. Now, on to Spring 2011!

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Gearing up for Gallery Night

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Wee! Tonight is Fall Gallery Night in Madison, and I am certainly excited for it.

I have well over a dozen venues that I'd like to visit, and only few hours in which to do so, which means I need to plan carefully. Fortunately, many of them are in clusters. Unfortunately, they are spread out from the near east side to the near west. Travel time is going to be a thing, as is parking.

Still, I know it is going to be a good time. I plan to bring my camera, and post some photos if I get some good ones.

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Local Artist Highlight

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Blackbird Marmalade Creations is the work of C. Jane Washington, a Madison artist who makes the most wonderfully creepy art dolls.

I first came across her work at last spring's Odyssey Con art show, and my first thought was, "I know these creatures!" They were very much like the little beings, good and bad, that scampered around my imagination as a child. (See also.)

I picked up one of her cards for future reference, at which point it did that thing that business cards like to do to me: it went into hiding for a while. I rediscovered it last night, and was reminded to check the website, and hence, this blog entry.

Coincidentally, she is also on the WisCon 34 Art Show committee. (Or perhaps she *is* the art show committee, as these things sometimes go.)

Anyway, her work is delightfully creepy, scarily cute, and terrifyingly toothy. Go check it out.

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CREATE Studio Lounge

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CREATE blackboard

Yesterday I stopped in at CREATE StudioLounge in Sun Prairie, which is co-located with The Fabric Fairy. I'd been wanting to visit for several months now, but had been unable to make it in during their open hours, which are 2 PM-3 PM Monday through Friday and12 PM-5 PM Saturday.

The store is at 5353 Maly Rd. in Sun Prairie, which is actually a rather undeveloped area (take a look at the Google Street View) and might have put me off if I hadn't double-checked the address and directions first. Its neighbors are industrial warehouses and trees, rather than retail. I imagine this helps keep the rent overhead low, but it may also be an obstacle for customer traffic. (I don't know, but I could imagine so.)

CREATE room view CREATE room view

The space itself is very cheerful and open. It invites you to sit right down and get to work at a sewing machine or table, or on one of the comfy couches. Natural light streams through the plentiful, wide windows around the room.

CREATE room view CREATE room view

When I arrived, the woman working was the only other person there. This made it really easy to get good photos of the place, but I hope that it is not usually like that. They do offer quite a few classes, so I can see those being a draw. The space is so lovely and the layout is excellent, it would be a shame to see it not being used. I love the idea of it regularly being filled with crafters, working on their own projects, but doing so in the company of other like-minded folk, rather than in isolation. (That was the best thing about art school, for me, and also the highlight of my time in as a member of the Evolution Arts Collective.)

As I mentioned at the start, I can see the hours and location being obstacles that need to be overcome, but I really want to see CREATE StudioLounge success. I like the idea, I like the space.

"The Fabric Fairy's CREATE StudioLounge is a drop-in lounge, designed to nurture the creative spirit, provide a space for sewers and crafters to work in a social and inviting atmosphere, and be a community center for the diy and handmaking artists in the Madison area."

Check it out if you get a chance.

CREATE room view

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