The Phallus Debacle

Today’s title from the girlchild, who was objecting to my using the word penis over and over again. So this is what she’s calling the penis kerfuffle. And there, I used it twice. Sorry kid.

Just a quick summary, for those who don’t want to go back four or five posts…this quilt, I Was Not Wearing a Life Jacket, was pulled from AQS QuiltWeek in Grand Rapids, MI, due to a viewer complaint about a penis that isn’t actually in the quilt.

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It’s supposed to be shipped back to me, and there’s a possibility of it being shown at a quilt store, SPOOL, in Chattanooga, TN, during AQS QuiltWeek if I can coordinate shipping.

My second quilt in People and Portraits, a SAQA exhibition traveling with AQS QuiltWeek, is Fully Medicated. SAQA asked AQS for a guarantee that they wouldn’t pull it if someone complained about it, and AQS is still thinking about that. I’m hoping a bunch of emails and comments from the rest of the world help remind them that they are in the public eye and persuade them to keep it hung.

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Still no penis. But plenty of other stuff, sure. Maybe pill bottles set you off. Hard to say. I personally have issues with red and yellow used together.

I completely appreciate all those who are being supportive of keeping art out there in the public eye, even if it offends a few…or many. I heard that SAQA was showing my quilt on an iPad and telling viewers it was banned. That makes me laugh heartily, and I appreciate that too. It’s been a roller coaster of a week, what with both kids leaving for college (one is here until tomorrow…the other sent 17 homesick texts this morning at 4 AM), starting school myself, trying to deal with all the stress of change at school, and temperatures of over 100 degrees. I have a migraine this morning (not a good thing) and I’m moody as hell. Blame the censorship, blame the kids leaving, blame my stupid hormones.

I am still making. I am just looking at what I’m doing, though, and thinking “What if this never gets shown anywhere?” Because that’s what goes through your mind when you butt heads with the world like this. I’m going to keep making the art, because I don’t know how to stop…but what if I never get into another show because of it? And I know that’s not going to be the case, but that little voice in your head is worried.

So thanks to all of you…

Sigh. So last night, I did manage to sort the Wonder Under for the next quilt…I start with a box for each 100 pieces…

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And then I stood there with the fan on me directly (because it was still 90 in the house)…and I sorted.

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For about an hour? Not so bad. The last one took more like 2 1/2. There’s a lot of big pieces in this quilt. I really did try to simplify. I just suck at it.

Tonight, I’m hoping to come in here and clean up from the last quilt and all the shit I’ve been doing in between (fixing pants…organizing crap) and start picking fabrics for this one. I figure it’ll take about 15 hours to pick…so hopefully by the weekend some time? Maybe? Then trimming those…by the end of next week? Maybe start ironing next weekend? I’m really trying to get this one done on time…so it’ll be a stretch.

I have to be at school today to prep, even though I’m mostly done. I’d rather be here working. But then, that’s a daily thing.

I Like Having a Detachable Penis*

Really I don’t know how I didn’t think of this song earlier. So yesterday was the first day for teachers to be back at school, which basically means a 6-hour-long staff meeting. About halfway through the first long stretch, I get the email from SAQA telling me that AQS has pulled I Was Not Wearing a Life Jacket (or for that matter, not showing a penis) from the last of the two shows it was supposed to be in, Chattanooga and Des Moines. Understand that I’m already tired and stressed from starting school, and I vacillate between angry as hell, really frustrated with reactions to my art, and incredibly depressed about the possibility of even more restrictions on my work. There are venues where I can’t show my work even now, and there’s even issues with the art world accepting quilts as art. “It’s fabric? Then it’s a CRAFT.” Huh. Last I looked, canvas is fabric. But whatever. These are not new issues. This has all happened before, multiple times. There are magazines that won’t show my work as well, which is annoying. And no, I’m not the only one. By far.

But dammit, I want that all to change.

So I was upset. Still am. But not so upset to stop working on the next quilt. In fact, I’m powering through it because of upcoming deadlines. I honestly appreciate all the positive and uplifting comments I get from y’all. One comment yesterday I had to read aloud to the other teachers at lunch because it almost made me cry. Granted, I’m a hormonal menopausal mess, so stupid shit makes me cry. It helps…because then I feel less alone, less like I’m standing at the end of a hallway with all my work piled up around me as the door gets slammed in my face. No! You will NOT show your work!

Life Jacket was drawn around the time of the Gulf oil spill…

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That guy. Yelling at her.

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“You’re doing it wrong!”

Not a penis.

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Sigh. The second part of the email is where SAQA let me know that they asked AQS to commit to not pulling my other piece, Fully Medicated (which has had no complaints lodged against it), for the rest of the circuit. AQS is thinking about that. They Have to THINK About It. I’m really unhappy about that. They accepted the special SAQA exhibit as part of their show. They should stand behind it. Or not accept it in the first place.

Either you show art, or you admit you can’t handle it.

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I’m still waiting to hear back on that level of crazy.

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It’s funny, because years ago, when I was first starting out, I preferred the AQS magazine over Quilters Newsletter Magazine, because they had more arty articles about quilt techniques. QNM seemed to be mostly traditional stuff. But QNM has backed me for years; they have posted pictures of my work, and then backed it up in the Letters section when people freaked out about those pictures. I stopped being a member of AQS years ago, when I grew out of it, but I kept my QNM subscription all this time.

I just want AQS to feel some pressure from the quilt world. I don’t want people to not go to the shows, because that hurts the other artists as well. I want them to go and then complain to the organizers. Or email AQS and let them know they don’t support censorship. I still want them to go and see the shows and buy from the vendors, and maybe, just maybe, go check out the SAQA exhibits and see what tickles their fancy.

They pulled the quilt because one person complained about something that wasn’t there. I want to be more than one person complaining about their actions.

No, AQS has not contacted me. I doubt they will. And I may be blacklisted from their shows from here on out. Someone brought up the fact that the quilt that was at the Mancuso show where a woman not only complained, but called Fox News, who showed up and called me a pornographer…the Mancusos left the work hanging. And left it in the traveling exhibit for the remainder of the shows. I’m sure I caused them some stress, but I probably also got them some tickets sold. And there were no issues at any of the other shows

So yesterday, after being at school all day, tired and stressed, affected by all this shit, I sat down and cut out the rest of the Wonder Under for the new quilt…

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About 9 1/2 hours total. Tonight, I’ll sort them and maybe get my office cleaned up enough to start picking fabrics. I have a really tight schedule on this one…

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I also prepped a science lab for later this month…black boxes. Each box has a piece of cardboard and a marble, and they get taped shut. There are four versions, with different shapes of cardboard and/or locations. The cats did not help.

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What science teachers do at home to get ready for the school year.

Simba is being a sweetheart, sitting on the boychild…who is leaving in two days.

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I miss the girlchild already. OK. Gotta go to work and get my classroom ready for the 150 or so 7th graders who will show up Thursday. Then come home and make art that makes people freak out. Or love it. Or even just go “Huh.” And walk on by.

*King Missile, Detachable Penis

Apparently Balanced

My brain is kind of drained at the moment. All the activities of the day have sucked out any relevant thoughts for now. I had plenty of them before. I’m not sure where they went. Maybe they got bored and wandered off.

It was a really busy day. I have duty before and after school for two weeks, which tends to suck up a lot of time and energy (morning duty at the tables? Makes me want to shoot myself. It’s early, I’m not really awake, it was bloody freezing this morning, and it’s all about picking up trash and their high energy vs my incredibly low energy at that hour and temperature…they win). We had a meeting about students, then I had tutorial after school, which is like herding peeing puppies who are constantly yapping and snapping at each other. I did manage to get work out of them today, though. Miraculous. It restores my faith every time they do that…I guess that’s why I can teach, because I constantly believe they can do it if I just work hard enough to persuade them to do it…and many of them DO. Freaky. We have meetings galore in the next two weeks to deal with kids and grades etc…which sucks up a lot of time too.

After school, I booked it to the girlchild’s soccer game. I’m actually glad I was only there for the last 27 minutes, because I almost froze in that short period of time, even though I remembered boots, two sweatshirts, and gloves (two sweatshirts were not enough). Plus I was trying to sew and had to take the gloves off. Mistake.

Home to make dinner…oh no, no you don’t…back to the ex’s house to retrieve Biology book and practice shorts while girlchild tries to get her head (and nauseous stomach) ready for tons of homework. She literally has tons of homework. Realized today that with ex gone for two weeks, I will have to provide dinner EVERY NIGHT. What the fuck? Shit. Not ready for that. Can barely manage what I’m doing now. Would let the girlchild cook, but she is buried in schoolwork. Need Meals on Wheels for busy working mom.

Made dinner, had argument (discussion? is it ever a discussion with two teenagers or is it always an argument?) about sexist portrayals in fiction. Read some examples. Confirmed sexism. Don’t know if I care…the books are good so far. Did grades for a while, then onto the bike for nightly exercise, followed by meditation aka crying and breathing. At the same time. A feat unknown to man? Well sure, but woman is pretty damn good at it. Then finally…49 minutes of cutting out pieces…

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I’m only 3 1/2 hours in. I’m not getting much time at night at the moment. Sucks. Not home enough. Anyway, I’m doing it. The green? Lungs. Yup. Aren’t your lungs green with pink flowers? I’m sure mine are. There are some bitchy pieces to cut out in that bin. If I’m tired, I just cut out the easy pieces and leave the hard ones for when I’m more awake. I think I’m hoping cutting fairies will come by and do those. I guess that’s unlikely.

Busy. Tired. Telling the brain to fuck off. Half of my brain says one thing, thinking logically, making plans and decisions, seeing the Big Picture. The other half is a fucked-up mess and is just flailing around in emotional crap so deep it can’t get out. It wants to draw. I almost let it tonight, but then I saw how late it was. Need to sleep. Maybe I will have time to draw tomorrow night…I’ll be minus the tutorial, the soccer game, and the grading…or will I? Huh. But I will add the gym. Another time sucker, but definitely a good cause. Trying to just sit in the emotional half of the brain and let it do what it needs to do. Either I’ll understand it more or the emotions will be less of an issue. Or something. Meditation helps. Even when I sit there thinking about 1-2 1/2 hours spent every night meditating and exercising, I wonder if that’s sustainable…it has to be. If it keeps me sane, keeps me moving, keeps me calmer, it’s worth it. So just do it. My priorities have changed. More art, less school. Less work at home. More exercise. Meditate. Fewer people (that might not be a good thing). Apparently cry…that’s a daily thing. I could do without that one. Wonder if I ever will.

This morning, as I was updating some of the website, I was feeling all cranky about only getting into 7 exhibits in 2013, but then I realized that it was 8 exhibits, and I already have pieces in 4 shows in 2014 and 2014 hasn’t even started yet. So shut up, stupid brain. You’re doing fine. Stop being such a mope about stuff. Make the work. The shows will come. And if they don’t? You will still make the work. That’s the logical half talking to the emotional half. They don’t really get along at the moment. The logic is frustrated with the emotion, and the emotion thinks the logic doesn’t listen…because hey, most of the time it doesn’t.

Here’s a video Luana Rubin of eQuilter did of the SAQA exhibits at IQF Houston, including People and Portraits

You can decide if that quilt is truly whimsical, or just plain old disturbing. Funny that it’s about being Fully Medicated, but I keep trying to get away from meds, and I keep having to take more. I should do one called Over Medicated, except I’m not. I have this Tshirt that says USDA Organic…which is ironic, because I’m not organic…I’m full of meds that keep my systems apparently balanced because my body doesn’t know how to, even though for half the ailments I have, I was told if I lost the weight, they would all go back to normal. Fucking liars. Well, the meds are supposed to keep everything balanced, but I don’t think I’m there yet…I’m freezing again. Under Medicated also might be fun to draw.

Apparently balanced: despite all the mindfucks that are going on at the moment, I seem to have found a balance between art and work that is somewhat functional: basically do very little grading at home. Do art every night. If there’s a question about how to use my time? Art wins. That’s sustainable. I hope.