Monday, November 19, 2012

Open Thanksgiving Weekend

We have no travel plans for the Thanksgiving weekend.  Therefore, I decided to be open on "Black Friday", November 23, from 9:30-5PM and Saturday, November 24 from 10AM-4PM.  All framed mirrors will be at least 10% off with significant discounts on selected mirrors and framed art.  Please come by, shop, and visit.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

New Hours and New Directions

Today is Halloween Day and the head mouse is off to Houston, Texas for the International Quilt Show at the George M. Brown Convention Center from October 31-November 4.   She is proud to have a solo show, sponsored by Quilts Incorporated, of 40 of the 107 Decision Portraits from her series.  The complete Decision Portrait series will be on display as a solo show sponsored by Vision Gallery in Chandler, Arizona from January 10-March, 2013.

During the months of November and December, I plan on extending my Saturday hours from 10AM-4PM.  We will be closed the weekend of November 15-16 but will be open Thanksgiving weekend (November 23-24) with Friday hours from 9:30AM-5PM and 10AM-4PM on Saturday.  There will be specials on framed mirrors and prints and other surprises.  Custom framing orders are gladly accepted as long as you let Susan make all the framing decisions (what we have been doing for the last 10 years).  Christmas deadlines will not be a problem.

Several weeks ago, Susan was juried into and given a merit award for the Philadelphia Fine Craft Buyers Market, February 15-18, 2013.  This is a wholesale-only show for gallery owners and commercial art craft buyers and designers from all over the United Stated and a wonderful exposure opportunity for her fiber art pieces.  She is already busy at creating new work for this show in February.  This is a new, expensive, and scary venture for us, but necessary for Susan to continue her growth and exposure as a national fiber artist.  We have always wanted to sell at fine craft art shows throughout the United States as her considerable talents are too-often ignored and overlooked in Columbia and in South Carolina.  This will be a great opportunity to see if we really like the idea of shows.  Please wish us luck!

Friday, August 10, 2012

A nice bike ride

Susan has been away on an artist residency in Illinois this month, and Mathias returned to SC for a visit.  He is safely back in the UK and he returns to work on the 13TH.  He actually drove Susan to IL and then flew from Peoria to Pittsburgh to visit his grandparents and other Slippery Rock family members.  He spent four days in Slippery Rock and then returned to Charlotte where I picked him up in a rental car (actually a Chevy Transverse which was like driving a bus!).  He spent his last few days in SC painting part of the house, took ballet classes and worked out in a local gym.  He also had dinner with Alex and his girlfriend Erica at their small apartment, and I was actually invited to come up.  This was a nice gesture on his part, but I did not join them.  He needs to make the same offer to Susan first and make an effort to right past wrongs; then maybe we will be back on the road to having him rejoin the family. I drove him back to Charlotte on Wednesday morning where he flew to NYC, spent the day in the city, and then returned to LJ in Scotland. 

I needed to return the rental car to Enterprise at Columbia Airport by Thursday AM.  I knew I could get a ride back home from our good friends Dolly or Stephen, but I decided to pack my bike in the Traverse (could have easily packed 3 bikes in this behemoth of a car) and ride home from the airport Wednesday around 6PM.  I scouted the best way home on Google Maps (about 8.5 miles with Platt Springs Road being the main drag), drove to the airport, locked my bike, got some strange stares from people and employees, and returned the car.  I then road home.

I have never been so pleasantly surprised on a bike ride than this day.  There is a wide and safe bike lane from Lexington Ave. (at the airport) which continued all the way down Platt Springs Road to Cayce where I cut down on D Street to 9TH Street and down Center Street to the Congaree River.  There was virtually no car traffic, and because I was generally going downhill to the river, the ride was pretty easy (although it was 90 degrees outside).  I reached Vista Studios in 35 minutes (which included a detour because I initially went on the wrong street), visited with Chesley for a few minutes, and then rode home (about 1 mile).  When I drove into my driveway, my front tire went completely flat!  Lucky me.

I hope the moped remains operational until Susan returns with the car later this month.  Of course, I will be flying to Peoria on a one-way flight on August 23 (40 miles from Galesburg) and then drive her back to SC so she can stitch all the way home.  By the way, my flight to IL is quite special; I fly Delta from Columbia to Atlanta to Dallas to Minneapolis to Peoria!!  This should be interesting!  I collect lots of frequent flyer miles on this flight.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Open Studios and Elmwood Park Tour of Homes

Mouse House, Inc. will have its doors open for two artistic events during the months of April. Susan has recently transformed one of the downstairs back rooms into her new home studio. She has been creating 3-D mixed-media pieces which will be shown during the Columbia Open Studios event on April 21 and 22. Susan was honored to have her piece, "Time", featured on the cover of the March and April 2012 issue of Jasper Magazine. She will be here on Saturday April 21 from 10AM to 4PM and all day (12PM-6PM) on Sunday. More information about this event will be posted later.

April 21 also corresponds to the annual Elmwood Park Tour of Homes. Since we were already participating in the Open Studios event, we offered our house as an additional venue that people could tour during their event. It is a win-win situation for Susan and The Mouse House because of the additional traffic generated by the Home Tour. We will also encourage anyone specifically coming to see Susan and The Mouse House to visit the other historic homes that will be open to the public during the tour. Additional information will also be posted later.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

March at The Mouse House

Linda, LoraDell,Susan, Wanda, and Erica at Liberty Island, 1965 (digital photograph of a slide, see post below). Click to enlarge.

The head mouse, Susan, is spending the whole month of March at The Studios of Key West as one of their artist-in-residence. Today she is teaching her famously "Hot" class to 12 eager students (a class that had 8-10 people on a waiting list). She is spending this month creating faux stain glass fiber pieces and more InBox pieces for an upcoming show in Fredericksburg, VA in June. Needless to say she is having a great time away from me and the business. I will join her on March 29 and we will return on April 2.

One of my duties ( it is actually my pleasure and honor) in her absence is to record and document the hundreds of photographic slides that Susan's grandfather, Connell Baker, created during the years from 1954-1971. I never had the pleasure to meet him because of his untimely death in 1978. The slides contain photographs of his trips (with the love of his life, LoraDell, still alive and kicking at 93) all over the United States and Europe, family photos of his children, grandchildren, immediate family members and friends, and everything else in between. He even took slides of President Lyndon Johnson's Inauguration in 1965. There are no fewer than 95 boxes of slides with 36 slides per box. Every slide was named and dated, and each one was enclosed in a metal case. The metal slides were placed in a Airequipt automatic slide magazine and viewed using a Argus 300 Slide Projector. This was cutting edge technology before the invention of the Carousel projector that most people of my generation would remember.

The vast majority of the slides are in incredibly good shape with crisp colors and clarity. Many have not been seen in 50 years or more, and many of them have never been seen by Susan's family. Before Susan left for Florida, she set up a tripod with my digital camera and movie screen borrowed from her sister, Sonya, in our living room upstairs. We set up the Argus Projector, and I began taking digital photos of each slide as projected on the movie screen. Each container and slide is named using Connell's descriptions and stored on the computer. Although the quality is not as good as the slide itself, one can get a reasonable idea of which ones may need to be scanned for better reproduction (and believe me, there are many that warrant this!). I have finished the first suitcase of 45 boxes and will begin work on the next 50 later today. I plan on finishing the shooting of the slides before Susan returns from Florida.

Below are a couple of photographic reproductions of slides from the Baker Slide Collection.

Ohio State vs Illinois, halftime, October 14, 1961 with The Ohio State Marching Band and
Block O around the 20 yard line. The score was 21-0 (final score was 44-0). These seats were far better than the Block O section that Susan and I fondly remember!

View of Mount Rushmore, South Dakota, September, 1961.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Chocolate Mice

Although this blog is really "Steve's blog" ... sometimes I have to post on it because some of the pictures I've taken just belong here! Such is this post.

We received two chocolate mice this Christmas. They were made by one of my youngest sister Sonya's talented friends. Steve really, really wanted to eat these Hershey kisses/chocolate-dipped-cherry mice. I saved them from this intended fate. I knew I wanted to find some special, permanent space for them at Mouse House. Today, I took them all over the shop for photo ops ... and to determine exactly where they should stay on display.

Although they look really, really cute on the Mouse House sign on the porch. I decided they'd probably get eaten by some of the homeless people who sometimes stumble through the neighborhood.

I considered gluing them to the sign on the door ... since I already had to glue the almond slivers back onto their heads ... which assures that Steve isn't going to eat them.

They looked really cute in the container of business cards ... but it might make it difficult for clients to get the cards ... or they could get further damaged in the process.

They could bring attention to my matted and shrink-wrapped artwork ... but they'd probably get knocked off when people browse through the images.

I'm sure they would have liked staying with Mickey and helping with the credit card machine ... but there's too much motion in this area ... another source of possible danger.

I know these chocolate mice would gladly assist in showing off some of my other art in the "gallery" ... but they also just might upstage it.

They seemed perfectly happy beside the computer mouse ... but too few people would see them there.

Steve's work room for assembling custom picture framing was out of the question. Steve might be tempted to eat them (glued ears and all) or they might accidentally get hammered.

The mice could help show off moulding samples or sell mirrors ... but, again, a precarious situation.

They'd melt with the heat from the VacuSeal.

Although I'm sure they'd add a touch of joy for the people whose framing bills are stored in the files, this didn't seem to be a good place either.

My new "home studio" was interesting ... and obviously as dangerous as Steve's room ... please note another hammer!

They almost sat on the top of one of my "In Box" series pieces ... but one fell off and now has a crushed ear.

So, in the end, they've found a home on the mantel in the "sales room" where everyone can see them ... along with the photos of Mathias and Alex. I think they look just like Steve and me ... the two Mouse House mice!
Guest blogger!