For some time now I've been thinking about having a time and space where some of my artist friends could get together and make art and talk and eat and all those fun things that happen once in a blue moon. So today, on the day of the full moon and the Jewish holiday of Purim (not sure how this figures in yet) I'm opened up my studio to a number of artist friends.
In order to get ready, I took a look around the studio. Oh my. Everything must go. Not really. I spent some time arranging mediums & materials so that all of the supplies in view were usable. I wanted it to be inviting, with a sense that you could explore the shelves as if you were in a Moroccan souk or market, peering into this basket or that, taking a shiny piece of paper here, a thick colored pencil there, or perhaps sampling a brightly patterned fabric.
I added one table for tea, coffee, and things to munch on including some chocolate covered cacao beans, roasted almonds and purple grapes. I also laid out several books with good art work by collage artists. Food for the eyes.
What actually took place after the invitations were sent out and the studio readied was beyond my imagination. As people arrived, they carried in bags of brilliantly printed fabrics, hampers stuffed with choice images, baskets of pencils and tiny bags filled with delicacies such as small printed cards of botanicals and birds. Two of the women had made a trip to Chinatown in Sacramento and appeared with joss papers, incense holders (crinkly pieces of tan paper with slits for incense) and delicately cut tissue paper doilies. One woman brought a bag of fresh grapefruits from her tree. What we had was a feast for the eyes and the soul. Introductions were made over and over and people talked excitedly, catching up, discovering connections between each other, and peering at the collages that were forming under numerous pairs of hands. I found myself trying to listen to all the conversations taking place at once.
At the end, each women left with a collage (or two, or three) and, it seemed, a full heart. And, at the end, my daughter came up the stairs and the topic of Purim came up. Lizzie, my daughter told us the story of Esther. Although the few of us that were left weren't in costume (as is the custom), I felt as if the coming together of all the women and their diverse materials was its own kind of celebration.