Once again, WKNO hosted Elmore and me on their Checking on the Arts show ahead of our Holiday Open House this weekend. WKNO is unique in my npr experience (and I listen everywhere I go) in their twice daily interview show featuring the broad spectrum of arts in Memphis. I've heard other stations interview a band or musician in once in a while, but I know of no other radio station that will talk about visual art, dance, theater, etc., on a regular basis. Visual art is especially challenging over the radio, and they do it well.
Darel Snodgrass hosts the morning interview, and (like Kacky Walton in the afternoons) does research ahead of time, has a vivid memory for the work artists were doing the last time they came in, and asks great questions. He always encourages Memphis to buy local art, attend local theater and shows, and appreciate the variety of opportunities we have in our city. I hear about lots of great events on Checking on the Arts, so I'm grateful as a listener, and I'm also grateful as a self-employed artist doing my best to get the word out.
You can hear our morning interview by clicking the "play" button below.
Elmore started out having this show in his unheated garage studio, and I froze my butt off out there the first year I knew him, just hanging and helping. The next year we moved it inside to my front room/gallery, and I added cookies and hot cider to the mix as well as showing my work alongside his. Last year I had acquired the 1909 printing press and did a printmaking demonstration as well. I hope to have the press rolling this year as well, though with the Cape May trip (pictures to come soon, once I get ready for the open house) and my calendar launch party at Burke's Books last night, I'm even more down to the wire than usual. At least it's for a better reason than my usual procrastination.
The show at Burke's was great fun. They have a huge bank of barrister bookcases up front, holding their special books, and Cheryl suggested using the glass fronts as shelves for my artwork. I was completely delighted with how the juxtaposition of art with books looked. Bookstores are among my favorite places, along with public parks and Gothic cathedrals, and I was thrilled to have my work in my favorite store.
Elmore and I had our annual open house this past weekend, and this year it included a letterpress demonstration both days. I got a fair bit of printing done, including an "m" note card for a couple of people I know and a set of "G" note-cards that had been commissioned.
They're both vintage wood type and show their age a bit (with a crack in the G and a bit of uneven printing in the m), but it's my new favorite font, and I'm thrilled to have it. I don't have a lot of it. t's missing the B, and many of the consonants are only present in singles, but the vowels are a bit more plentiful, so there are some things I'll be able to spell out on posters or t-shirts.
The second day of the open house I ran my new block that I'd proofed but not yet had on the press. I tried mixing the ink on the press instead of on a palette ahead of time, and I enjoyed the "rainbow roll" effect that gave me. I think it's a fun alternative to a solid color, and the organic nature of it suits the subject matter.
This is a small block, for note-cards or bookplates. I need to get on the stick and find some gummed paper so I can start doing bookplates in earnest.
It's been cloudy and raining pretty steadily here, so I haven't been able to get out and paint. The rest of the week looks better, which is good because I have a stack of Christmas commissions to do.
In the meantime, I printed the invitation to Elmore's and my open house (it was time to get this done, anyway!). It's the most type-setting I've done, and I'm happy to report that the process is getting easier. I also got to play with several new fonts I haven't printed before. It's a little like Christmas to see how they come out the first time.
Now I've got to get our home gallery hung and the house clean. It's good to have occasional deadlines for things like that.
HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE!
Saturday, December 4th and Sunday, December 5th
12-5 both days
in Midtown Memphis at 1780 Autumn Ave., two blocks due west of the zoo parking lot
Come by, say hello, have some cookies and cider, and see Elmore's bowls and furniture and new prints and paintings from me. We'd love to see you!
Martha Kelly is an artist and illustrator who lives and works in Memphis, Tennessee.
Get studio email updates from Gideon and me.
To subscribe to this blog, by email: