Black Elk Inaugural Exhibit, January 2017

By | Exhibitions

Black Elk, Lakota Warrior, Mighty Visionary” is the inaugural exhibition at the new Canyon Crossroads Museum at Celebration Park. I am exhibiting my tarpage “Great Circle of Life” depicting the vision Black Elk had when he was a 9 year-old.

Mike is also featured in this exhibition. Here he is with his painting, “Black Elk and the Morning Star.”

For a full picture of my tarpage, “Great Circle of Life” and my statement regarding its content, click here.

2nd Series of Social Justice Tarpage

By | Tarpage

The series of Social Justice tarps created for the Boise Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (BUUF) Plate Partners began a second season in November 2016 with the tarpage for C.A.T.C.H. (Charitable Assistance for The Community’s Homeless), above.

Family Medical Center – Refugee Clinic, December 2016

BUUF Partner Church in Meszko, Romania, January 2017

Learning Lab – Literacy Skills for Refugees, February 2017

“Great Circle of Life” – Black Elk Tarpage

By | Exhibitions, Tarpage

 

“Great Circle of Life” — Tarpage, 60″ X 60″

This tarpage, “Great Circle of Life,” was inspired by the fevered vision Black Elk had as a 9 year old boy. He saw spirit horses galloping from the four sacred directions — from the west snorting lighting, from the north swirling in snow, from the east glowing like morning at dawn with starry eyes, and from the south with manes flowing like prairie grasses. As the horses vanished a firey rainbow arced above him and he saw six ancient grandfathers who gave him gifts of power — a wooden cup of water with the power to give life, a bow and arrow with the power to destroy, a red stick which sprouted four green leaves representing the tree of life — which would flower if all people shared the vision. Black Elk was just a little boy when he had this vision and it took a long time for him to have the courage to share it with his people. When he finally was able to share it, a ceremonial tipi was set up and images from his vision were painted on it.

Imagine this tarpage is like the material that tipi was made from, and the images on it are like those which were painted on that tipi. And the eyes? Black Elk’s. Mine. Yours. May we all share the vision.

Dissolve, Resolve, Evolve

By | Everything Else

My previous post was dated August 11, 2016, almost four months ago. For those of you who know me personally this wasn’t unexpected — you probably knew I was going through a crisis of artwork/blogging paralysis — not knowing what I could say or do, about or with the art I was making using polyvinyl tarp, duck tape, and sharpies. Artwork I had been calling “Tarpestry.” Artwork which I had been vigorously promoting using SEO (Search Engine Optimization, an approach that brings attention to websites). Happily I was getting plenty of attention. I even bought two new domains featuring the word “tarpestry.”

Unhappily, I also attracted attention which completely shut me down — at least in my ability to communicate about my tarp artwork. Turns out there is a commercial venture which produces blankets made of fabric with hippy-dippy designs backed by canvas tarp which are sold at music festivals and, you guessed it, they are called TARPESTRY. Actually they aren’t just called that, they are Trademarked that, and they considered my work a threat.

I’m won’t rehash the ridiculousness of their claims, but I will say that despite the myriad differences between my artwork and their commercial product the law is on their side. Because they own the trademark with the identical portmanteau word I had chosen — they win, and my SEO has rendered me SOL.

So where does that leave me? Well, I can’t call any of the artwork I create using polyvinyl tarp, duck tape, and sharpies “tarpestry” going forward. I can’t use that word in any of my domains, or promote it using SEO. I can still make the artwork, exhibit it, donate it, sell it, create books about it, catalog it on my website — but I have to call it something else.

I’m going to call it “TARPAGE.”

Tarpage — sounds like yardage, or on a bad day, garbage, and it feels appropriate as an umbrella covering the very first “tarps picadas” as well as “tarpestry.”

2016 was a brutal year for many people, and I understand that in comparison, my tarpage story is just a hitch in my git’along, so I’m not telling you this for your sympathy. I’m telling you this by way of explanation — for why you haven’t heard from me, and for why I’m going to change the way I share my “stuff” from now on.

For starters, this will be my last blog post on this website. All I’ve written previously will still be available to go back and read, I’m just not going to write anything new on this site.

My Portfolio pages will continue to be updated — some of which I often get a little chatty on — and I’ll keep my Resume up to date, have my books available, and will still be able to be contacted through my Contact Me page.

Meanwhile, I’m also closing down my (Melissa “Sasi” Chambers) Artists Page on FaceBook, but will continue my personal (Melissa Chambers) page, mostly as a link to my Instagram (sasiwasi).

I have three “resolutions” for 2017 — “Think Very Hard Before Saying Yes,” and “Streamline and Upgrade (anything and everything).” 2016 was a year of u-turns, dead-ends, and many mind-changes for me. I’ve realized I no longer feel the need to always say “yes,” and I’m not sorry about that. I don’t have to “do everything,” and it’s OK not to feel guilty about that.

Keeping up with the social media mouse race, pushing myself with SEO, agreeing to do things I don’t really want to do but have somehow managed to “own” far past the point of being a sincere and willing contributor…. I’m done with all that. And, I know you know what I’m talking about.

So here’s my third Resolution for 2017 — Respect the “No’s” without resentment or shaming, and make sure the “Yes’s” know how grateful I am for their gifts.

Thank you for all your support, and love, and good wishes. And for all of us, may 2017 be truly a Happy New Year!

Summertime Slump

By | Tarpage

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