Thursday, August 30, 2012

Cyberspace Connects My Past to My Present . . .

Or How A Facebook Friend Becomes More Than A Daily Click.

The Quad Cities

When an event occurs which somehow presses you into viewing the arc of your life, it’s a gift. I’ve had many of these “gifts” over the years, but the latest is perhaps the most surprising. And the most gratifying.

I joined Facebook a couple of years ago and honestly, can’t remember just how some of those FB friends actually became my FB friends. Were they “friends of friends” who asked to “friend” me or did they find me through my blog or my Twitter account? Confession: I’m rarely on Twitter these days. Any of you who know me or follow me here or on FB can imagine just how difficult it is for me to limit my thoughts to 140 characters! Much too frustrating.

Here’s how this cyberspace connection has connected my past to my present. In May, I got an email from Dawn Wohlford-Metallo, Director of Quad City Arts in Rock Island, IL, a gallery whose normal mission is to represent local and regional artists and help them get established in the art market.

“Quad City Arts has received a nomination for your inclusion in a special exhibition titled “Welcome Home Quad Cities.” This exhibit provides an opportunity for visual artists living outside of a 250 mile radius of the Quad Cities, who have Quad City connections to come back home and share their art with the community. “Welcome Home Quad Cities” will run from August 31-October 26, 2012.”

This would be a juried show and the email went on to say I should send three jpegs of work I could possibly send or hand deliver if it were to be accepted. And please include a couple of lines explaining my connection to the Quad Cities.

So I did. I sent three jpegs of my 2 dimensional mixed media pieces and three of my most recent clay vessels. And I wrote:

I was 10 years old when my family moved to the Quad Cities in the winter of 1956 from Pittsburgh, PA where I was born. We came because my dad's sister originally lived in Rock Island and we still had cousins there. My dad practiced ophthalmology in the old Jenkins Arcade Building in Davenport until he retired in 1973. We lived in a lovely house on Riverside Drive in Bettendorf where I went to Jr. High and High School. To this day, when people ask me, "Where are you from?” I always say, ‘Iowa’.

That was at the end of May. June and July passed without notice, and since I didn’t hear anything, I thought, “Well, never mind. It was nice to be nominated.”

Finally, the beginning of August I got an email from Dawn saying my clay work had been chosen. And not only did they want those three pieces but could I send three to five more? I was thrilled at the prospect of having my work displayed in my old hometown area, the Quad Cities. As soon as I could, I photographed, packed and FedEx-ed seven of my newest pieces to Quad City Arts.

A part of me was going home.

But the mystery of who exactly nominated me still remained. I had asked Dawn sometime in the beginning of the flurry of emails we exchanged but never got an answer. I couldn’t imagine who might have done this since almost every close friend and all of my relatives have moved away from the area. But then it came to me.

It was through Facebook that I met and came to know Elizabeth Shriver, a very talented ceramic artist who lives in Iowa City, Iowa. We have a lot in common besides working in the same medium and coming from or having lived in Iowa. We found out we both have aging canaries (hers – Warpy, mine – Caruso) that seem to go into their molting season at the same time. We both are tending home gardens which are producing way more tomatoes than we could ever eat. And we have similar views on politics, women’s issues, with similar senses of humor and indignation. Since our finding each other on FB, I look forward to checking in daily and seeing how life is going for Elizabeth, always delighted to see photos of her exquisite new work or that of other ceramicists’ pictures she shares.

It must have been Elizabeth.

Of course, I FB messaged her the question. And at the same time I got her answer, “Yes, it was me,” Dawn ended one of her emails, “I keep forgetting to tell you that Elizabeth Shriver nominated you.”

Mystery solved.

And so through the wonder of cyberspace, my past and my present are connected.

All I can do is shake my graying head and smile at the gift.

1 comment:

Elizabeth Shriver said...

Somehow I missed your blog -- until today! Thank you so much for your kindness, Bobbie! Your QCA show is off to a good start, and I know you already have one of those coveted red dots. :) Keep up the good work, have many more sales, and don't stay away from Iowa for too long! I'm so glad we've connected on Facebook, but someday we'll have to meet in person. Maybe you'll even get to meet Warpy!