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melissasasichambers

Latest Social Justice Tarpestries

By | Tarpage

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

By | Tarpage

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

By | Tarpage

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.

Bon Temps Le Boi — My New Perspective

By | Bon Temps Le Boi

One of the nice things about the time we spend in New Orleans is that I never run out of things to write about. Returning home to Boise feels like maybe I have nothing new to say — but that’s not true. It’s just that I lose my perspective wandering in the forest of familiarity.

Since we returned home this time I’ve been thinking of how I might view my life in Boise through NOLA-tinted glasses. Through the “Bon Temps Le Boi” lense, if you see where I’m going.

In New Orleans we focus on the celebration of food, art, music, and the creativity, originality, and humor with which people consistently express themselves. Last I looked, we have all of those things in ample supply right here in little ol’ Boy-see, Idahome.

Mike Chambers at Tomas Montana's exhibition

So, Mike and I are recommitting to celebrating the art-filled life we have available to us right here. We are starting by getting out as much as possible and participating in what Boise has to offer. Like this week: First Thursday in June…

We began our evening at Gallery 518 where we saw the exhibition ‘everything needn’t always be something’ by Tomas Montano. It is something.

Tomas Montano's Boise Weekly Cover
“Rosabel” by Tomas on the Cover of the Boise Weekly

Melissa and Tomas

Then we dropped by the Art Source gallery to see Ann Sorenson’s work,

Ann Sorenson and Melissa Chambers @ Art Source

including her watercolor “Bridge to Boise”….

"Bridge to Boise" by Ann Sorenson

And while there happened to meet an unexpected, and charming character, Randy B. Fowler.

Randy B Fowler and Melissa Chambers@Art Source

On our way to Freak Alley we ran into Colby —

Colby talking to Melissa Chambers

the guy who started the freak ball rolling when he drew all over this door:

image

I’m glad we live in a city that doesn’t just tolerate, but actually celebrates street art.

Freak Alley wall

Mike Chambers in Freak Alley

There was even some live music on the street, like the folk/pop songs of Fiona Luray and her partner Lettie who were playing out in front of Artisan Optics.

Fiona and Lettie playing on First Thursday

Our last art stop of the evening was Evermore Gallery where we met Samuel Paden the featured artist,

Sam Paden and Melissa Chambers at Evermore Gallery

Sam Paden's exhibition postcard

Melissa Chambers and Lawrence Manning at Evermore Gallery

and ran into several friends, including Lawrence Manning, who told me he and Betty Mallorca are renovating another building in Nampa in addition to their current home and gallery space, Track 13. I guess we’ll get to include Nampa in our new perspective.

All that art walking and talking made us hungry so we headed to Old Chicago for a bite afterwards. It might not have been Oysters Rockafeller or Crawfish Ettoufe, but the Jamaican Jerk chicken wings I had hit the spot nonetheless.

Chicken wings at Old Chicago

Art, music, unique characters, and food. I think Boise’s got it all.

Bon Temps Le Boi!!

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

By | New Orleans Sojourn

Our second Sojourn in New Orleans has come to an end, and we are heading back to Boise. One of the things I will miss the most, once we’ve returned to our landlocked home in Idaho, is…the fish.

NOLA Aquarium

New Orleans has the wonderful Audubon Aquarium of the Americas on the River Walk, which runs along the Mississippi right next to where the Algiers Ferry docks.

It features a variety of water environments, ocean, gulf, bayou, and river, as well as a rain forest with a waterfall, and parrots, who have lived there since it opened in 1990. We had taken Lina to visit as a toddler, so it was fun to return with her this trip. And see old friends.

Lina and the parrot at the Audubon Aquarium

And of course lots and lots of fish.

Audubon Aquarium tank

Aquarium tank at Audbon Aquarium

Ocean tank at Audubon Aquarium

Lina at the Audubon Aquarium

You really do see fish everywhere in New Orleans.

Like on the sidewalk,

#koifishart
#koifishart

or at the Hong Kong Market, where you not only get to see them, but eat them too.

#Sorrynotsorry

Tilapia at Hong Kong Market

You can buy your fish fresh there, and take it home to make your own Vietnamese Crispy Fish with Cilantro,

Vietnamese Crispy Fish with Cilantro

or you can have your fish as a poboy,

Catfish poboy

or at Mandina’s, as Gulf Fish Meunière.

Mandina's Fish Meunière

Sigh.

I’m really, really going to miss you, fish.

"Fin" the end

Fish fin