Summertime Slump

I know I’ve mentioned more than once the difficulty of living your life, and at the same time blogging or Instagraming or Facebooking about it. It’s like you have to be you, and a reporter/photographer who is constantly documenting yourself. It’s a little tricky.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve missed out on documenting something I’ve done because I’ve been too busy doing whatever it was. Of course it’s summer which means I’ve spent a fair amount of time doing this,…

Sunning with Snug

and this….

Clouds over Hillcrest

Which has felt like a bit of a slump. Between episodes of sunning and cloud watching however, I have managed to get a little work done.

Just today I got to install the tarpestry I made for Owyhee Elementary School. They are the “Jets” (I think because the school is so close to the Boise Airport) and their values are Respect, Responsibility, Honesty, Dignity, and Team Work.

Melissa Sasi Chambers and the Owyhee Jets Tarpestry

This tarpestry was the largest I’ve created in my “new” studio, (one of those things I was too busy “doing” to docmument) which I set up as soon as we returned from New Orleans:

Sasi's studio

Sasi's studio view

View of Sasi's studio

It’s really nice not to have to work on the floor anymore. And to have a table big enough to accommodate at least an 8′ X 8′ tarpestry, like the Owyhee Jets’.

Owyhee Jets Tarpestry

As you know, I also managed to complete the last social justice tarpestries for 2015-2016. The one for Idaho Head Start is hanging for the month of August at the Boise Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.

Idaho Head Start tarpestry in BUUF Newsletter

And any day now (she said, eyeing the sun-lit patio), I will begin 9 new social justice tarpestries for 2016-2017. But, the most exciting thing right now, is soon I will have a second book featuring my tarpestries available for purchase. This time with the first 12 social justice tarpestries accompanied by 12 wonderful poems by Dena Duke. It’s called “From You I Recieve, To You I Give” and you’ll be able to buy a copy through this website. I’ll keep you posted.

Meanwhile, the sky is blue, the sun is shining, and I need to soak up all the Vitamin D I can before this summer has flown.

Sasi's handful of sun

Latest Social Justice Tarpestries

As you know if you follow me on Instagram (@sasiwasi) and Facebook, I have been working on a series of tarpestries for the Boise Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (BUUF) which are given to the Social Justice “plate partners” along with the funds which the church raises for each organization during the month they are featured. I wrote about those tarpestries I completed before we left for New Orleans in a previous post.

There were four remaining to be created once we got back to Boise, and this month’s, “Boise Autism Mom’s,” will be on display at BUUF until the end of July.

BUUF Newsletter info on Boise Autism Moms Tarpestry

I wrote about that tarpestry and my emotional connection to that organization in my last post.

Boise Autism Moms social justice Tarpestry

There will be three more to follow, through October, and then we’ll see what happens after that. The tarpestry for August will be “Head Start of Idaho.”

Head Start of Idaho social justice tarpestrybysasi

In September “Suicide Prevention Action Network (SPAN)” will be featured.

Suicide Prevention Action Network social justice tarpestrybysasi

And in October, the last in this series will be the “BUUF Pay it Forward Fund.”

BUUF Pay it Forward Fund social justice tarpestrybysasi

You can see all 12 of the social justice tarpestries on my Portfolio page. I am starting to work on another book like the one I produced for my “Tarpestries” exhibition (Tarpestry The Evolution of an Art Form). This book will be extra special because it will open with a forward by Debra Smith about the BUUF Social Justice ministry, and each of the photos of the tarpestries will be accompanied by a poem penned by Dena Duke. It’ll be awesome, I promise.

Boise Autism Moms’ Tarpestry

The latest in my series of tarpestries for the Boise Unitarian Universalist Fellowhip Social Justice Plate Partners (man is that a mouthful!) will be on view for the fist time at BUUF on July 7th. It’s for the group known as BAM! the Boise Autism Moms!

Boise Autism Moms social justice Tarpestry

This tarpestry in particular felt very personal because I too am an Autism Mom, (Woot woot, Logan!! #aspieson). When Logan was growing up there wasn’t anything like this group available as a support system.

Logan, Mike and a photo bomber at Cheesecake Factory
(That’s Logan, his dad, and a cutie photo bomber at Logan’s 26.5 Merry Unbirthday on June 25th.)

There were other Autism Moms out there though, and we would find each other in our pediatrician’s waiting room, or outside the nursery at church, or in the school hallway outside the resource teachers’ classroom, or waiting in the school office to speak to the Principal about our kid’s behavior. And over the years, through our various experiences with Health & Welfare, Katie Beckett, Social Security, various out patient groups with different psychiatrists, and school counsellors, we would share with each other what we knew, or were learning, about negotiating the system, and dealing with meltdowns, discrimination, bullying, separation anxiety, anger management, sensory overload, medications, and behavioral issues.

Our lives and our conversations were filled with acronyms, the understanding of which separated us from the “Neuro-typical” Moms…ASD, ODD, BD, DD, OCD, TSC, SIB-R, IEP, ISP, ADD, ADHD, SSI…OMG…WTF? I’ve got all those, and more written into the background of the Boise Autism Mom’s tarpestry — even the last two, because sometimes you have nothing left but to laugh. LOL.

Detail of Boise Autism Moms Tarpestry

I think BAM is such a great resource for all the mom’s out there who more than anything need to know they aren’t going it alone. Keep it up! You’re helping your kids, you’re helping each other, and you’re helping yourselves. Everybody wins.

And by the way, I know there are a ton of awesome Dads out there too who need to know they are not alone either. Maybe one of them will start a group. They could call themselves BAD-ASD or Bad-Ass Dads for short! I’m already designing their Tarpestry in my mind!

Logan laughing

It takes a World Village

I’m still making my way on this artistic path I’ve chosen, a path which like so many other paths in our lives, comes without a handbook, or a map. There are signs though. Unfortunately, not the billboard variety. More like “the veil is thin,” and “did that really just happen?!” variety.

Wisdom says when you’re on the right track the wind will be at your back. Moving ahead won’t be a constant struggle. “The flow” will be going the direction you want to go.

Wisdom also says you can’t go it alone. “It takes a village.”

TARPESTRY admirers at World Village Festival 2016

Just to be clear, this artistic “path” I’m forging is not just evolving the new art form “Tarpestry,” it’s also developing new ways to build my career as an artist who makes tarpestries.

TARPESTRY admirer at World Village Festival 2016

The traditional “gallery model” is almost non-existent in Boise right now, but I could, actually I already have (with my “Tarpestries” exhibition at the Student Union Gallery at BSU) figure out a way to hang and show my work. That model usually implies that the work is being shown in order to be sold. I’m not really sure that that is the path I want to be on. Still, I’m figuring it out as I go along.

Houses of the Rising Sun Tarpestry at World Village Festival

This is what I’ve figured out so far: I know the “what” — Tarpestry. I know the “how” — imagining, cutting, taping, doodling. And now I’m forging ahead figuring out the “who” and “where.” Just imagine the “Who” is a chicken, and the “Where” is an egg, and you’ll see why one of them has to come first, but it’s always a debate as to which!

Fish tarpestries at World Village Festival 2016

This month, thanks to one of those serendipitous meetings I’ve been enjoying lately, I had the opportunity to display several of my tarpestries at the World Village Festival in Capitol Park, in Boise. People especially loved the Elephants Tarpestry and used it as a background for many selfies. Myself included:

Dayo Ayodele and Melissa "Sasi" Chambers

That’s me with Dayo Ayodele, the Executive Director of Global Lounge, the organization which puts on the World Village Festival every year.

That event was a great example of “Where,” but because I used tarpestries from my past inventory which weren’t created especially for the “Who” it made me really want to make tarpestries specifically for the World Village Festival next time.

Donna Kovaleski and Melissa "Sasi" Chambers @ World Village Festival 2016

Well thanks to Dayo, and to Donna Kovaleski, the Communications Director, and Dayo’s partner, I hope to be announcing a big collaboration with Global Lounge for the World Village Festival 2017. Fingers crossed!!

I’m on an artistic path, finding my way with each new step I take, and I am so grateful to be “just doing it” with the help of such a generous Village.

Getting a Jump on the “To-Due” List

You already know I’m a big “To-Due” list keeper, and, because I DO get things done, you would think I could keep those lists pretty short.


Of course the little habit I have of adding things to the existing list after I have accomplished them, just so I can cross them off said list might be one reason for the length of those lists.

But I don’t want to talk about that right now.

Anywho. I’ve got a really long list this week because on Saturday — 2 days from now — we are getting on the road to NEW ORLEANS!

But you don’t want to know what’s on my To-Due list before we hit the road with 3 dogs, all of Mike’s paintings for his exhibition in May, clothing for 3 versions of climate change, and at least a couple of my new tarpestries from this past year, do you?


So instead, here’s a photo album of the Tarpestries I’ve created for the Boise Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (BUUF) Social Justice Partners 2015/2016…

November 2015: Farmer’s Market Mobile Market — Food Justice, food security, income inequality

December 2015: ACLU of Idaho — Criminal Justice Reform, Against the Death Penalty

January 2016: BUUF Partner Church Meszko Sholarship Fund — Supporting UU 6th principle of world community

February 2016: Feed the Gap — Child Hunger, Food insecurity

March 2016: Interfaith Sanctuary — Homelessness

And because we are going to be away, and I didn’t want to leave work undone, I have gone ahead and made the tarpestries for the months we will be in New Orleans….

April 2016: Women’s & Children’s Alliance — Domestic Violence

May 2016: Planned Parenthood — Reproductive Justice and Comprehensive Sexuality Education

June 2016: Habitat for Humanity — Affordable Housing

I have 4 more tarpestries to create to finish the year — which I’ll make when we get back from New Orleans, and, I’m planning on creating another book with the help of my friend Debra Smith who is doing the Social Justice coordination for which I am creating these tarpestries. Team work, baby. Collaboration is the name of the game for me these days, and my tarpestries are my medium.

I’ll update you from the road, and then undoubtedly inundate you from NOLA, because that city knows how to make Action Girl work up a serious head of steam!


One of the best parts in the evolution of my tarpestries has been the freedom to create really BIG pieces. The largest tarp I can find on-line is 120ft. X 120ft. — the mind boggles!

So, when a call for really, really small pieces — 6in. X 6in. — came up I didn’t even consider it.

One of the things I’m discovering about myself, in my evolution as a human being, is that I often start out with an adamant “NO” when faced with a new opportunity. It seems like the more impossible something feels at the outset, and the more sure I am that it is not for me, the more likely it is that I will end up doing it — and being happy that I did.

Yeah. You guessed it…

“Acetunas – A Tapas-try”

“Pinxto – A Tapas-try”

“Gambas – A Tapas-try”

I have to give credit to my brilliant husband for the “Tapas-try” theme and title. I love a good pun almost as much as I love him!

You can see my three tiny tarpestries in the “6 X Six” exhibiton at the Art Source gallery in downtown Boise. The Opening Reception is 6:00 – 9:00pm on March 3rd and the show runs through April 9th.



In addition to making the tarpestries, and hanging them in their eponymous exhibition, I have put together a photo book which tells the story of their evolution.


My friend Peggy Jo, one of my Existential Cheerleaders, got me started doing “documentation” of my process.


As an artist in the middle of creating new work it’s almost impossible to be your own witness. To intellectually understand the “whys” of what you are producing.


So I went back to the beginning — the creation of the Treefort Tarps Picadas.


I wrote about the “hows.” How I answered the question of what to create for the installation, and how I actually got them made.


I wrote about the “wheres” and “how’s” of the installation itself, (which I could never have done without the help of Sue Latta, and Mike).

And then about the crazy windstorm which whipped it all apart.

The evolution of the Tarpestries really began when the Tarps Picadas came down, and with 20/20 hindsight I was able to write about how that unfolded.


I write about what makes something an art form, and touch on the idea that tarpestries are in fact a new art form.


There are lots of photos of the tarpestries in the current exhibition.




And I wind things up with some questions. Things I think about, and things I wonder what other people, like you, think about — all relating to making art, and also specifically to the making of the tarpestries.



I framed screen shots of the book’s pages and have hung them in the current exhibition.



The book itself will also be available for purchase for $25. If you’re interested in buying a copy, just contact me through my website MelissaSasiChambers.com and I’ll hook you up.

Meanwhile, the best way to see the Tarpestries is up close and personal, and so I really hope to see you at the reception tomorrow — 4:30 to 6:30. Y’all come!

You Can’t Miss These Elephants in the Room!

The, shall we call it, Closing Reception for my TARPESTRY exhibition is day after tomorrow, and I am hoping to see many of you there. But for those of you who aren’t even in Boise I thought I’d share a little more about one of my more unusual tarpestries, “The Elephants in the Room.”


This tarpestry is my first foray into the use of a material which lights up. It’s so cool!

My friend Chris is an electrician, and over the past six years he’s done a ton of electrical work for us around our house(s). When he saw the work I was doing with my tarpestries he thought I might be interested in incorporating this material which his company, Lumos Lighting and Design, is using in a variety of ways such as safety clothing and Western tack for horses, into one of my tarps.

Would I?!!!



I think you’ll agree it works great as “Eastern tack for elephants too.”

What makes this tarpestry even cooler though, is that it’s set so the material “blooms” on and off which tends to stop people in their tracks. It’s impossible to ignore these elephants in the room.

Tarpestries: The Exhibition is Up!

Huh? Wha’ happened? Have I been asleep? Under some sort of evil non-blogging spell? Nah.

Just doing a little heavy lifting.


And, thanks to my constant supporters, especially Mike, and the Existential Cheerleaders (you know who you are!), the mountain top is coming into view…

(Thank you Lauryn Medeiros for such a good job on the graphics!)

Yup. I am having a solo exhibition at the BSU Student Union Gallery. It’s up now, and will be through January 15th. You can drop by anytime the SUB is open — it’s right at the top of the stairs on the 2nd floor.


We got it hung this week with able help from Cameron Quade the Student Union Gallery manager.


And even had some early visitors curious about the show…


Like the BSU Prez himself, Bob Kustra.

It’s hard to truly capture the show with a few quick snapshots, but at least here’s a glimpse…






There will be a Reception on Tuesday, January 12th from 4:30 to 6:30. I hope you’ll be able to attend!