By Coulter Fussell
In the words of my 7 year old son,”Oh my gosh! I cannot WAIT til Watermelon Fest-i-vuuuuul. Ugh! Mama, what am I supposed to do for the next week? Just sit around an THINK about Watermelon Festival constantly?!”
This is the difference between a native Water Vallian and a non-native. I’m gonna go ahead and admit that while I very much like the Watermelon Festival, I do not quite share my child’s borderline-obsessed passion for it. The love of the watermelon is something you have to be born into, I guess, and I love watching my kids grow up in this town exactly for these particular little quirks and nuances.
This year, Mary Lapides of New York City/Coffee-ville has partnered with Yalo Studio again for another Pinehurst Artist Residency. We are really thrilled that Mary chose to bring Susan Cianciolo down this summer to do a textile installation at Yalo. Susan is a renowned fashion designer who tends to focus on creating work by revitalizing old fabrics and pieces by using caste off scraps from clothing and quilts. She uses grandmother’s scraps and doesn’t hide rough edges, instead choosing to expose seams and thread ends, revealing the process.
She feels that the work doesn’t lose value because it’s old, but only increases in value. The sentimental notion is what counts the most. This train of thought is right in keeping with traditional craft work.
So is Susan’s willingness to work with others on her pieces. She insists that other people sew on her work as the community of craft is important to her, as well. She has arranged for a couple of open sewing circles to take place this week at Yalo Studio. By the time this column is published they would have already happened but I have no doubt that there will be lots of sewing, laughing, and hopefully only a few bloody fingers.
The Susan Cianciolo show will open at Yalo Studio on Friday night, August 1. The opening lasts from 6-8:30 pm and every single solitary person in town is invited. We will have free food, free drinks, and Jared Spears will provide the free music. Susan is also in the process of arranging a live element to the show…meaning there will be a fashion show at some point during the evening.
Also on display will be about 50 fabric samples from the 1880s found in the collection of old Wagner Letters that I have been publishing in this column. They are beautiful and colorful samples from northern tailors, sent to the Wagners, from which they would then order suits and dresses. Each sample has a little handwritten tag attached that says things such as “handsome,” “lovely,” or “just a beauty — for a middle aged lady.”
As always, children are very welcome and encouraged to come to our openings. We are always sure to provide the kids a big jar of chocolate chips cookies and strawberries for each show, which they all promptly demolish, leaving crushed crumbs and strawberry tops all over the gallery. We don’t mind a bit. I grew up leaving cookie crumbs and grape stems all over galleries on opening nights and I’m so thankful that my parents thought enough of me to take me along. It made me feel smart and grown up. It also taught me that not all events are catered specifically to me and part of life is learning to behave, adapt, and still have a real good time in various situations. Kudos to all the parents in Water Valley who bring their kids to our shows.
Bozarts Gallery and Jay Clayton’s will also be open that night so y’all feel free to wander back and forth. We look forward to seeing you all so stop by!