Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Lastly, it never ends

Creating piece(work) has been a very physical and mentally challenging task. If you look below, you will see the journey of the project through my (mostly) weekly posts about each swatch, and its meaning. The transformation will continue when it gets back into the studio on December 2, 2009, and I will put dated updates on the original posts.

I started out to physically sew in the window every week, with several objectives in mind: utilize only materials that were found or already in the studio; be very Providence-centric to make it site-specific; keep a rigorous weekly schedule to not over analyze each piece. Respond to the questions of the week or the day only. In a way, the individual pieces have become drawings and plans for future sculptural projects. From being in the window, and just being Downtown, I learned more about the community in the last few months than I have in years, and made some new friends. I have also learned some physical limits and how to plan a project of this size better next time. Learning never ends.

Thank you to everyone who has stopped by, Magnificent Meg, and to Mr. And Mrs. Park for putting up with me moving all of the wigs in the store to get in the door.

Wrap up

For my last swatch I am ahead of myself, as the store is closed for Thanksgiving. Being a season of giving, there is a wonderful exchange that happens Downtown on the State House lawn the day after Thanksgiving. Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is either "Black Friday" to some (those who want good deals for Christmas and care to shop), or the antithesis "Buy Nothing Day " ( for those who would rather stay away from the crowds or be charitable to the community in some way). This year, with the hard economic downturn, it may be hard to choose for some, if one has the option that is. Buy local or at least buy at a business to keep the economy healthy, or save money, downsize, an hopefully give to others. I think many are conflicted.

Well, for the latter, who want to reach out, the 13th Annual Buy Nothing Day Winter Coat Exchange is held this Friday, November 28, from 10 am to 2 pm, State House lawn (rain/snow site: St. Patrick’s School, 244 Smith St, Providence). Exchange a coat or leave a coat for someone in need. If you do go out and get some Christmas shopping done early, buy local if you can, and that is another way of giving back to the Rhode Island economy

Buy Art!

Did you know that for every dollar an artist receives, at least 3 times that amount goes back into the community? Providence has more artists per capita than any other US city according to some studies. The Providence Art Windows project can personally vouch for the % above, as I had past artists take a survey this Spring. For the $100 given to an Art Windows selectee, at least $200 went out for supplies, $20 for coffee and lunch, $50 if the artist needed a babysitter for the hours of installation. For out-of-state participants, the % was much higher, at least $700, which included air fare or car rental, and hotel stays. With the high unemployment rate, let charity begin at home. Buy local art, or locally funded projects, and you will let the wealth spread back into the community.

Can all you Can, Can, Can!

This October, I had a visit from some unwanted new friends-mice.

We had never had any in our house, but we knew our neighbor Charles did, and he was battling them all of the time. Charles decided to move this Fall after becoming seriously ill with pneumonia. He was in assisted living for awhile, and I would take him flowers from his beloved garden and straighten up the house while he was still away. He thought he would return within a few months, but all of the food went bad in the fridge, which I threw out,too. I missed him, as we would always chat on the porch when I took a break from working at home or passed him coming back from the studio. His relatives came and cleaned out the house in September, and right after he moved to Virginia, Charles passed away in his sleep. The neighbors and I still morn the man whom we called, "The Mayor of Pawtucket Avenue," always on the proch with a smile, a good word, and advice for the garden.

The new visitors came once the food was gone next door. I also think it was my prolific garden of sunflowers, dropping seeds throughout the yard, and me collecting them within the house for next year. I grabbed a few though Have-A-Heart traps and let the mice go in the woods, and got several plug-ins that emit a sound only mice can hear to drive them away. I started to think about how many people are being good little mice these days, canning and freezing food from the garden. I put up blackberry jam, tomatoes from the yard, pickles and peaches from local produce, and froze blueberries and peas, dried some beans. There is a shortage of food in the country, and more and more people are having a hard time providing food for their families. I hope many learn lessons from the dreams of mice, and put away for the future.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Back in the Window next week

If anyone is dropping by the window to see something new this week, I had to take a break due to back strain the studio. I wish I could say it was something heroic, but long hours of sewing, and not stretching enough, can take a toll! I am about done with a bunch of swatches, the quilt will be at a point of finished. I will be updating the site with these swatches as I complete them this weekend. Sorry to miss you if you drop by!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


This week's piece is about the residents many love to hate; we trip over them Downtown, they congregate in the plaza and fly in hordes near where we eat-pigeons. Pigeons have a long and intimate history with humanity, following humans into cities. These "Rock Doves" have survived on our garbage, and are often called "flying rats," but they are from the same family as doves.They are actually one and the same, just a different species. It is all semantics as to which is the better bird.

With the weather still holding it's warmth, I have passed by many children at the bus stop running through packs of these birds, enjoying their company. Seeing the lift off from the child's play reminded me of the exploration of Eadweard Muybridge's photos, and how simple and curious investigation can lead to something profound. The city is a place of work, but is it a place of play outdoors enough for families? I grew up in Omaha, NE, and in the very heart of Downtown are built in slides. Big, bright, and large enough to sit in your mother's lap if you got scared. Located in the Gene Leahy Mall, an outdoor park in the middle of the city, the park edges a massive library, fountains and shops, what you want in the heart of a city. Burnside Park in Providence has had a lovely transformation in the last few years, and it has become a place to congregate and celebrate during the warmer months, and through the winter months at the skating rink.

When I first came to Providence, I would walk Downtown on weekends and it would be me and a few pigeons. I would maybe run into a few people. The city echoed. Pigeons have historically followed humanity and its ephemera. The flocks are so numerous now that they have attracted predators like hawks and owls. It is only because of Providence's success at attracting more people to live and work Downtown that they have been able to multiply.

Included on this section are quick sketches of rock doves I have seen while waiting at the bus stop. Many of these were done while seeing children running through large gatherings of them. The pigeons are not only on this swatch, but they fly and eat elsewhere on the quilt, scattered like in real life, and everywhere!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Art New England reviewer Doug Norris recently called to interview me in my capacity as Providence Art Windows Director and the current show, which I am a part of. He also writes his own independent blog, the independentsartsblog, where he had this to say about my work:

Lot of Art
"A Providence artist has found a way to make something of value from all of those shredded hopes and confetti dreams. Rebecca Siemering’s “A Fine Suit,” made from more than 1,000 discarded scratch tickets and representing over $3,500 in gambling losses, was presented as one of the Providence Art Windows in 2007 and now stands in the offices of its new owners, Fidelity Investments in Smithfield.

Siemering, now the director of Providence Art Windows, began creating additional objects out of lottery cards, while developing installations for other projects that represent some of the most intriguing art being made in Rhode Island. Among them: Her latest art window, “piece(work),” a time-based installation on Eddy Street, and “The Bells Ring for Thee,” still decaying in the North Burial Ground as part of the Cryptic Providence group installation. For her window, which she visits and works on weekly, she designed a “crazy quilt” that reflects the news of the world and the buzz of conversation around Providence. For the graveyard, she created a landscape of sound in an adjacent field, “planting” rows of metal flowers that played a vibraphone’s range of tones in the breezes, gusts and rainfalls that filled the seasons."

Thanks Doug!

When it is a good thing not to be first.

"Unemployment will reach 13.8%" is the prediction that Rhode Island will reach this number by 2010. At least we are still not the highest. Our little state has been hit very hard.

Providence just hosted the National Arts Marketing conference this weekend. I was privileged to participate in the Artist Boot Camp, among the many offerings and volunteer at the tourism table to let the attendees from across the country know what great things there are to do around town. Everyone was impressed by the small size, excellent offerings of art and food, how easy it was to walk from one thing to another. It was nice to be reminded we are doing things right in a lot of ways, and if we pay attention, our "Creative Capital" can help everyone benefit and make the % go down.