Monday, October 26, 2009


Kentuck Festival of the Arts has come and gone.

It was cold. It was muddy. Windy and long. Some things you just don't have any control over.
Yeah, like the weather.

Puddles and puddles of water. Thick mud that you usually won't find anywhere but across the state line in Mississippi. Trucks and trailers unable to move . . . forward or backwards. Port-o-potty's. Lord, I hate those things. Waiting in line for two hours to register and then being told that you'll have to wait another two hours. And let's not mention the fact that it was homecoming weekend for Alabama.

But . . . I still love the venue in spite of the misery each of us had to endure. It was worth it. Saw old friends; made new friends.

Kentuck is not Kentuck without Amos Kennedy. He was in rare form despite the cold weather. I was assigned to the same space as last year (B-34) which, believe me, is a BIG deal. UA Book Arts to my left and Peter Rose, Kathy Fetters and the one and only Glenn House, Sr., on my right. Couldn't have asked for better row mates.

I was introduced to Birney Imes, editor and publisher for The Commercial Dispatch (Columbus, MS). Birney is the author of JUKE JOINT. A book of color photographs taken of the black juke joints of the Mississippi Delta. Beautiful images.

Also, I had a chance to chat with Craig Patterson. THE HONORABLE Craig Patterson, Mayor of Gordo. Last time I saw him, he and I were dancing to the beat of a local blues band in the middle of Main Street. Fun! Always happy to see fellow artist Julian H. I love that he always travels with an entourage! Julian makes me smile. Kudos to the SLOSS crew. I have a lot of respect for them.

One of my most interesting conversations was with C. Morgan the grandson of Charles Morgan, Jr., a civil rights lawyer who passed away in January of this year. Mr. Morgan was an individual who first came to public attention because of a speech that got him run out of his hometown of Birmingham, Alabama. He spoke against the politicians who catered to racism. Charles Morgan, Jr. published a book: A TIME TO SPEAK. I haven't read it, but I will.

Let's face it folks. The times, they are a changing.

To my patrons and to all who stopped by to say "hello" thank you for your support! And, as always, a special thanks to Tom for all that you do, so patiently.

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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Time to Unwind

I've finally completed my obligation to the Cultural Alliance of Greater Birmingham. September 30th ended the one year contract. Whew! My final report and the images which I created for my narrative: Walk, in the Direction You' Goin' In were turned in and reviewed. I feel relieved that it's done and behind me. It was quite a challenge going to work everyday from 9 to 5 and then having to come home and rev up for another 3 to 5 hours of carving linoleum blocks and/or drawing. I realized early during the grant year that the best part of my day, when I'm most alert and creative, was spent working for an employer. I would have preferred spending the bulk of my time engaged in a project that I felt passionate about . . . and working for myself. But that was not the case. I was constantly juggling my time, energy and attention. I believe that I presented a lot of great prints to show for my efforts. I have a few more commitments this month and then I plan to take a break from everything! I WILL NOT make any promises that will tie me to a schedule. . . other than what I want to do; when I want to do it. Once I regroup and catch my breath, I'll upload my DVD to YouTube. The DVD was created to highlight my year long process of working on my narrative and linoleum relief prints for CAGB.

Two weeks ago, I drove to the University of Montevallo to an event sponsored by Multicultural Affairs. My friend (and relative?) W. Ralph Eubanks lectured and read from his second book, released in May 2009: The House at the End of the Road: The Story of Three Generations of an Interracial Family in the American South. Ralph is Director of Publishing at the Library of Congress. He presented me with an autographed copy of his book. Love it!

Last week, I presented an art talk to Birmingham Needlearts, The Embroiderers' Guild of America, Inc. It went well and I'm planning to give more of these talks and lino block demonstrations. I have a lot to say about my art and what it represents.

The first Saturday of October I participated in the 46th Annual Bluff Park Art Show . It's always a wonderful venue. I can't believe that this is my 4th year exhibiting there. Ginger of Deep Fried Kudzu stop by to introduce herself. I've been following her blog for a while. It was great putting a face with the name and meeting her husband and two sons. Her blog is about life, art, travel, cooking and Southern culture in the Deep South. Also, Penny Arnold, a very talented glass artist from Leeds dropped in. Penny was the instructor of a stained glass class that I took, this past January, at the Birmingham Museum of Art. I was in good company with my friend and fellow artist, John Sims. He and his wife were set up next to me. John is the individual who first encouraged me to apply for Bluff Park. When I was admitted on my first application it sealed the deal. I haven't looked back. Other friends and patrons stopped to say hello. And last but not least, kudos for my friend Tom who was available to lend a hand. Couldn't have done it without him.

Needless to say, I was in my element. The weather was great! Let's hope that we'll have lots of sunshine this weekend at The KENTUCK Festival in Northport, AL on October 17 & 18th. See you there!

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