Detail of Well-Suited Senator, a portrait of Senator Tammy Baldwin for “In Her Hands,” opening tomorrow night, from 6-8 PM at Robert Mann Gallery. This portrait is part of a suit made of several thousand images relating to the Suffragette movement, women of Wisconsin from this time and the words of the Senator. It is an armor of images, a celebration of those who have passed and wished for women running for office, brought it present through sheer will, and whom Senator Baldwin honors with her present efforts. On view will be portraits of progressive women candidates running for office this summer and fall, by fifteen women artists from across the country. Show runs through August 17th.
I’m in a new book with many fellow Rhode Island writers and artists. Put together by my friend Xander Marro and part of the Demons book series. Available at dmnspress.com/
“Freedom’s just another word for legs with a mind of their own. Fantastic book for travel and plotting escape plans! Sometimes you just have to go, and/or sometimes you look around and realize that you’ve been left behind.
As part three of a book series that presents thematic collections of writing & pictures by visual artists/musicians/performers/people who have some affiliation with a broad and vaguely defined “world of art”, DMNS presents: Leaving. Perfect bound. 184 pages, RISO printed silkscreened cover on flocked paper. Contributors = a stacked deck of mostly Rhode Islanders past/present/future: Paul McCarthy, Sam Lopes, Rick Benjamin, Kevin Hooyman, Jacob Khepler, Ron Rege Jr Jr, Maren Jensen, Jo Dery, Jieun Reiner, Jim Drain, Cybele Collins, Anabel Vázquez, Jed Hancock & Rebecca Noon, Erik Ruin, Rebecca Siemering, S. Hollis Mickey, JR Uretsky, Dailen Williams , Robert Arellano, Jim Frain, Mark Baumer, and Alan Powell.”@ Xander Marro
Here is the original poem about a conversation with my 4-year-old last year:
You see…you see….
Watching TV, with the little person
She turns to me and says, “How do people die?”
Well, I say, people get old you see…and sometimes sick.
“Oh,”she says,”When you get old, will you die?”
I say, when I get old, not wanting to think about it.
Trying not to let me eyes get misty.
She says, “I’ll miss you,” staring at the screen.
The next day
tucked in as tight as a baby
she says, “Mama, you are going to die someday,
but me and Dada ARE NOT.”
Her eyes set on me.
Hard. Daring me to say the contrary.
Well, you see….
Then, “How did Grandpa die? Was he old or did he leave the store?”
Well….that’s a good question….
I do my best to explain the Big C.
Wake up call.
“Mama. I told my teachers at school you are going to die someday.”
You did? I say, half awake.
Peep, peep, peep outside.
“Uh huh. But I told them I will miss you.”
Kiss on the cheek.
“Mama. I want to sleep on your belly.”
She puts her head on my heart.
Her body wrapped around my middle.
My breech baby.
It all comes around again.
Rebecca Siemering 2015
Velma, 2014, mulberry paper, thread, 6″ x 6″ x 10″
Velma Alverta (Crabtree) Siemering was my grandmother, and this light pink paper hand sewn dress is made in honor of her memory. She inspired me to become an artist by her everyday craftsmanship of scrap materials into beautiful things. She was born in the middle of Nebraska at the turn of the last century, and had twelve(?) siblings. Velma was one of the youngest of the ones who lived through the flu epidemic at the time. Her father worked on the railroad, and she, her mother, sisters and one brother figured out how to fix things and re-craft items they needed on their own. She kept copious hand written notebooks about how to make all sorts of things and patterns for toys and cloths. She lived with me for part of my childhood until her death in 1987. I often think if she had been born a little later, and in different circumstances, she would have been a designer or an engineer.
Velma married and had three boys. For someone who loved to sew, her skills were a little lost on them. She made the loveliest quilts and hand sewed Barbie doll clothes for all of the little girl grandchildren that followed, including me. It was a privilege to get to know her. She was very simple in taste, and wore mainly pink and turquoise house coats. A very practical person who tried to imbue some simple elegance into what she wore every day, with a place to put her pencils, scissors and notebooks for things she was thinking about. She hand knitted pillbox hats and kept then like a tower of Pisa in her bedroom.
As I have gone through art school and my career as a fiber artist, I think of her often. I come back to simple solutions to make my work. I recently had surgery on my hand from an old injury and taking care of a rambunctious kiddo. I could not close my hand at one point. For my first art piece after surgery, I went a little off from what I normally make and used tissue like pink paper to make a little house dress to represent her. It is all hand sewn, and I took a cross stitch pattern from one of her books to embellish it. It has helped in my physical therapy even, which I can do at home. My PT therapist thought my life in sewing has made strong, flexible fingers.
My next show is in Providence, at Craftland.
Group Show: Peaked
May 16 – June 15, 2013
Sublime explorations in paper forms.
Matthew Shlian / Eight Emperors; Ann Arbor, MI
Doris Häusler / Dorisse; Ingolstadt, Germany
Esther Ramirez / Essimar; Chicago, IL
Rebecca Siemering; Pawtucket, RI
Opening reception: Thursday, May 16th from 5pm – 8pm