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  • Writer's pictureApril Gavin

Where the (Human) Race Began + Open Studios

Greetings, The weekend of November 6th and 7th from 11-5, I will be participating in East Bay Open Studios. You can search on the home page by artist name, city, or medium. I will be selling original gelatin prints and drawings, handmade journals, and other fun gifts for the holiday gift giving season. I will move part of my studio outside due to COVID so you can browse for sale items. If you want to see where I primarily work, I will give you the tour and hopefully I will have cleaned it first. :) You'll see the sign at the sidewalk and then down the long driveway. Parking happens in my neighborhood, but I'm also three blocks from North Berkeley BART. Oh wait, if you don't know my address, you can find it on East Bay Open Studios artist directory or contact me privately.

Out of the primordial slime, the human race begins outpacing all other species. But first, a friendly game of tag with a gastropod. This piece isn't done. There is some color coming and maybe some more fiddling with the ink plate. I'm taking my time.

Lately, I've been on two tracks - one these ultra fun drawings playing with evolution and why it's a big deal for human animals to feel so special. The other track is how we comply as a society to brutal things like slavery, genocide, outright destruction of the planet and each other ... Oh wait, the two are connected. I'm not on two different tracks. There are one in the same thing. Hmm, glad that I figured this out now.

Another piece in the works is this one. This is the preliminary drawing and it comes from a power dream that I had many years ago. Right now, it's working title is Fortune Teller, but who alas is having their fortune told. The possibilities are open at this stage which is both exciting and frightening.

The stories of the return of the remains of native children back to their homes from boarding schools is staying with me and not leaving my thoughts and dreams. To clarify, it's the known remains that are being returned - the ones who school officials deigned to keep track of. How the U.S. Army plans to send home the unknowns is a story that hasn't been released yet. This initial drawing continues the thought. It's working title is Her First Day of School.

My plan is to execute this as a large textile piece, but there's a few things I remain unsure on. One of those things is using hair. I want the hair to be real something you would be tempted to reach out and touch. Often, native people today complain of random white folks touching their hair. I want the garment to be a coarse cloth and not one the child would be accustomed to wearing. As the poet Joy Harjo said, "the how and why are the questions of life."

Okay, one more drawing...

I started this drawing this week and it's still in process. A response to the blessed, falling rain - maybe. I have some things to resolve like the right paw and what appear to be rocks before I move on. This wolf could find her way into a larger piece, but for right now I'm loving her the way she is.

Shout outs:

Dreamy Goat Design Studio is owned by friends Mary Finley and Roger Salter. I met them at the 2012 CNCH conference at the Oakland Marriott. I recognized the line from the Rumi poem and that was all it took for me to want to establish connection. For those of you who don't spin your own yarn, it will be hard to describe in words what Mary does. Basically, she dyes the un-spun fibers into glorious colors using natural dyes. Her work is quite beautiful in and of itself even if you don't spin. Enjoy!

Berkeley Art Museum currently has an exhibition of drawings from the Richard Gray collection. These are gorgeous works on paper and make me realize that learning to draw well is a marathon. I need to keep at it. The exhibition covers six centuries of drawing. The oldest work in the collection (and one of the most beautiful) is from the late 1400s and and unusual for its time. I had a few favorites especially the Van Gogh and the Georges Seurat. If you're in the bay area, this exhibition is worth checking out and open until November 28th. I might go back.

A big storm is blowing through right now and we're so thankful for the rain. Be well, be happy, be loved


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