Sunday, November 16, 2008
About six months ago, on a Tuesday, I left the office where I spend my weekdays carrying my little old book case filled with 5 copies of This is Savannah Vol. I and walked down the street to shopSCAD. If I were a visitor to Savannah or a loyal local, I would love a special handmade souvenir reflective of its unique architecture. I would love a small accordion book of drawings, unfolding block by block. I would surely look in Savannah's special emporium of unique art and craft treasures, shopSCAD. It is a wonderland of creative compositions in all manner of materials. I walked inside at opening time and a little bird was perched on the door, content to ride as it swung open, before flying away after we marvelled at its tameness. Amy and Kyle kindly took my books into their collection. A wonderful temporary home until they are discovered by some such souvenir hunter and taken home. I hope they make someone happy as they have me, in the years of making. Now, a few of my note cards and postcards live there, too, happy as note cards can be I am sure.
I wondered what it's like to show these things to an interested visitor or Savannahian and see their reaction. I wished I could be there, to pop out of the book and say....Hi. I'm trying to draw the historic district, block by block and these are my first fourteen blocks. It's an accordion book, so if you untie the ribbons at the spine, the pages unfold to a really long streetscape. Just in case you ever wnat to do that. Ha ha. It took about two years to draw these, but I am working on Volume 2 now and....etc. etc.
Over the past two months, I've had the experience of standing behind my work and engaging with some of the nicest, most interesting people in Savannah at the DeSoto Row gallery shows and a Savannah Market Bazaar. Friday night, I set up under ominous grey skies in 99.99% humidity. My postcards began to curl a bit and I was prepared to make a dash for the car with my cards if the skies let loose. The rain held until 11 pm, just after the show wrapped up.
It takes a lot to set up. It's always exhausting - but exhilarating. Thanks to all the people who come by and make it worth it. It's great fun to see friends and make new friends as you realize there are really only two degrees of separation among residents of Savannah. You never know who you might meet from out of town, too. For me, meeting Don Alexander Hawkins, a city planner and "dean among Washington DC's residential architects" at my booth seemed like serendipity. We talked about historic maps and cities and his 1987 Jaguar which he'd driven with his family to Savannah for the weekend after picking it up for the shop with a new motor. That's confidence in your mechanic. Frida of Frida Flair Interior Design invested in two books and told me about her pedigree of Fridas, including her young neice, Frida, who smiled shyly. I love to hear suggestions like...You should draw a 1963 Chevy Impala SS, red or a 1970 Cadillac Sedan de Ville with the floor mats. Or which Savannah blocks or buildings are favorites. I take notes, and I'll get around to it. It's also wonderful to see the creative works of other artists and craftspeople and talk to them about their work. What talent in this town!
The whole exhausting process restores my faith in human kindness and motivates me to make more and do better.