I had the delight a few weeks ago to spend a long overdue day with my mom, without my kids! We had planned for her birthday to take a trip into the city and visit a museum. My mom lives in Easton, PA, so getting her to my place then into the city is not an easy endeavor. We were determined to do it.
Sadly, the day we picked ended up correlating with my car in need of a new set of tires. This in and of itself shouldn't be a problem. After looking at our schedules, my husband offered to take my car, plus the kids, the morning of my day with my mom, to Costco to have them replaced. Great, I thought! It was one of the only days that we thought we might fit it in, and I can still spend the day with my mom in NYC.
As my mom arrived to our house, my husband texted me: the wait at Costco was 3 hours long! Can you imagine trying to sit there with a toddler and 6-year old? That was the end of my trip to the city. I drove out to Costco to free my husband. Upon my return and the realization that it was almost lunchtime, my mom and I decided to stay instead in NJ.
I was bummed at first, but it turned out to be a perfect day. We ended up in Summit because of a potter that my mom had seen at the Maplewood Art Walk. Her wares were available at MONDO and she couldn't get a particular berry bowl by Laura Hanley out of her head. So we made that our destination and ended up having a delicious lunch down the street at FOOD. We shared a fresh salad and a savory grilled brie and fig sandwich, with a side of sweet potato fries. Loved the food at FOOD, the atmosphere, and delighted that we were given time to enjoy.
After our lunch we stumbled into the Papery, not a short visit for two artistic types. We walked out with papers and gifts, after exploring every nook and cranny.
We were about out of steam, but I really wanted to fit in some art before the day ended. So we drove over to the Visual Arts Center of NJ. I love that place! My work has been included in two of their past International Juried Shows, I've demonstrated materials there on behalf of Jerry's Artist Outlet and Pebeo, and I've attended some of their panel discussions. Sadly, I don't get there very often, but this trip was well-worth it.
So many exhibits and works to take in! These are gems! First, we encountered the stacked concentric rings of marble, stone, topped with brass horn-like fittings of artist, Don Porcaro's "Talisman Series" in the Sculpture Park. Then we walked through the ceramics studio to see the main exhibit titled, Adhere, which explores works by artists using glues, tapes, and other "sticky" media in unconventional ways to create. After walking down the hallway by the tape installation of grocery store shoppers by Tirtzah Bassel, we encountered the intricate cut-paper collages by Casey Ruble which upon further exploration are more than what meets the eye as they document former "Underground Railroad safe houses, and places where race riots have broken out" around NJ. Lastly, we stopped by the 2nd floor exhibit, featuring the works by VACNJ teaching artist, Anne Kullaf. While we weren't there long, each of the exhibits have left a significant impression on me, whether it be as inspiration for future lessons or how to explore my own work in a different way.
As an artist, I know it is important to get out and see art that is not your own. As a mother of young kids, who is also trying to maintain a studio, getting out is not always easy. This day was important both for the time with my mom, and for the time in front of other artists' art.
If you'd like to visit the Visual Arts Center of NJ, the exhibits I viewed are up through January 17th. It's well-worth the trip, as are the food and ephemera.
Jennie Traill Schaeffer
Sometimes called the Kitchen God's Artist, I'm balancing mothering two energetic sons, a big mutt Ringo, making and teaching art. TraillWorks is the apron under which I create and teach. My own art develops mostly in my West Orange home studio, but is sometimes spurred through my teaching.
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