August 25, 2017

I got so involved in Art Jail, Day Four that I'm just now getting a chance to post about yesterday. I think that's a good sign. :)

Yesterday my dear friend and fellow artist Marissa Lehner Bannister, knowing my week's plans, thought of an "art field trip" that I would enjoy...a drive to historic Clarence Center, east of Buffalo. Founded in the early 19th century, the town is very charming, filled with federal-style brick homes, an Italianate business block, and tons of Civil War-era vernacular structures. An architectural historian's dream! (I met the owner of the house below, and she kindly told me a little of the history of her childhood home, and how she's returned to town to fix it up, bit by bit; meeting fellow old building-lovers is one of the best parts about my work!)

My friend and I...

August 23, 2017

Yesterday was a chance to escape for a day, to a place I'd barely explored.

I arrived in the Clinton-Bailey neighborhood- where I HAVE visited the farmer's market, the wholesalers nearby, but this time I had a different purpose: I snuck into an industrial complex where I wasn't supposed to be! (Though there was no sign barring strange artists drawn to historic buildings). The warren of brick and metal structures at the intersection of Bailey Avenue and Clinton Street had long appealed to me...probably because I'd only seen them from the height of the 190 overpass. From there, the proud buildings, some ramshackle, some in seemingly-perfect condition, beckoned.

In 1889, the Snow Steam Pump Works was built on Buffalo's far east side, close to a mass of railroads and the Buffalo River. You can le...

August 22, 2017

I am a freelance artist, historian and event planner, focusing on emotional connection to place. And I have a problem.

Most of my art commissions and historical research contracts take place in the summer - the precious, short summer. I am grateful- as a freelancer, you take the work when it comes. However, I quickly get burnt out when the horizon appears to contain no free time for my own projects.


So, I have stolen a phrase from my friend Tara Sasiadek, a fellow freelance artist and a philosopher. When her husband notices she has not given herself enough time in the studio, he tells her "You're being put in Art Jail" and send her upstairs with some tea and lunch. He keeps an eye on the dog, or runs an errand for her, to make sure she isn't distracted by daily household stuff. (What a catch...

March 1, 2017

Over the last few years, I've gotten to know my Italian relatives and even visited them in my ancestral hometown (pictured above). What an incredible experience! It has spurred me to learn more about all the other branches of my family. The next person on my list has been, for a while, my great-great-grandmother, Odelie Tremblay.

Odelie is known to me only through a few colorful stories that my older cousin, Stanford, told me...including that she would turn her back to the television at my Aunt Yvonne's house (despite the fact that she was blind) to show her disdain for it. I know that she migrated to Fall River, Massachusetts just before the turn of the century, where a number of Quebecois emigrated for work in knitting and weaving mills. She married her husband "Harry" there in 1896 but un...

May 20, 2016

AUGUST 1897-

"The band took possession of the big reunion tent at the Camp last night, and within a few minutes, 5,000 had gathered inside to listen to its music, while twice as many more gathered outside the canvas...They wept as they sang, some of these battle-scarred veterans, but they were happy to be together again." - Buffalo newspaper coverage of the 1897 Grand Army of the Republic reunion at "Camp Jewett"/Front Park in Buffalo, New York

 

He and Charlotte climbed slowly up the train's steep stairs at the Canton station. It was not easy for a man who'd once been hit with the same typhoid fever that killed two of his brothers, and later caught shrapnel in the Battle of Fort Gilmore. Yet he never complained. He'd left his post at his Pierrepont General Store for a bit of a respite, thoug...

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