Vagina Monologues & The Tale of Chairs
It was a balmy day in May of 2003. My husband and I had just returned from an art opening where I had won a prize for honorable mention, which in and of itself was exciting as a 4-year artist. I flipped through the mail and there was a very unassuming envelope with the return address of Vagina Monologues. I dismissed it as being a request for money. Boy was I wrong, it was a "WOW". It stated that I had been chosen to be one of 13 artists to do art chairs for props in an upcoming performance of Vagina Monologues starring Jane Fonda, Margo Kidder, Rosie Perez, Holly Near, Lupe Onteveras, and Connie Mae Fowler. The event was to raise funds for two abused women and girls organizations. I called to RSVP the next morning and was given my choice of a directors chair or a high back wooden bar stool. Since I was playing with the Sherrill Kahn painting techniques I went for the canvas directors chair.
I put in a silk order with 7 types of silk including silk velvet. The criteria was it had to be fully functioning and in the reds and magentas color family. So off I went painting and stamping silks via Sherrill Kahn techniques, and creating straw tube beads via Sharilyn Millers article. I decided to title the chair "Goddess Of Storytelling" and used inkjet printable silk sheets which I learned about via Belle Armoire. As you can see, Somerset Studio, Belle Armoire, and all her sister publications have greatly assisted me in blossoming as an artist. A BIG thanks to all of you at these magazines. I planned and worked on the chair two months and loved every minute of it. At that point it did not matter what anyone else thought of it, it had given me such JOY in the process.
All the art chair props were then to be signed by the cast and auctioned off after the show to further benefit the womens groups. The pre-view auction event was lovely. The 13 chairs and stools were postioned throughout a 3-story building, the first being an imported rug shop, the second an antiques shop, and the third was the penthouse and private residence of the interior designer owner. Yummy foods and beverages were beautifully presented on each floor. My chair was positioned on the 3rd floor with 3 others. The kudos and heartfelt strokes I received that night were definitely artist soul food.
Sparks of electricity were flying on opening night. It was a major event for our city of Tallahassee, Florida. As a perk they gave us and our guest (in my case my beloved, supportive husband Jack) front row center seats. The curtain slowly lifted and there to my ecstatic glee was Jane Fonda center stage upon my "Goddess Of Storytelling" chair looking quite regal indeed and coordinating nicely in her bright orange pant suit.
The after performance reception was held in a huge hall at FSU across from the Ruby Diamond theater. As you enter the high arched ceiling room, lovely classical piano music was wafting throughout. The foods were again beautifully displayed and people were buzzing like a swarm of bees. The performance was so outrageous that everyone's excitement level was 12 on a scale of 10. As the stars came into the room I had each one autograph a blown up print of my chair, a treasured keepsake for this lifetime. As if that all were not enough, the stars and head event coordinators were presented with large gorgeous sprays of orchids. When head coordinator, Sharon Maxwell, was given her flowers there was another announcement that monies were secretly funded to purchase my art chair as a surprise performance gift to her. WOW WOW and triple WOW. I was flying so high you could have peeled me off the ceiling.