Daddy's Christmas Angel

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Don't Hide Away in that Artist or Writer Studio

So often I am tempted to hide out beneath the skylights inside my bright and happy artist studio. Even more often, I want to stay to read and write in my writer's studio that overlooks our woods and West Point Creek.

That's a good thing, but as creatives, we can't hide out forever. It is important, perhaps essential, to get out and mingle with the world.

This past weekend, I visited Fredericksburg, Virginia where I grew up. It was satisfying to recognize Cornell Hill and remember how hard that street was to climb with short little legs en route to Lafayette Elementary School all those many years ago. It was poignant to drive along Sunken Road where I once found tennis balls lost over the fences from the college tennis courts. We lived for several years on the next street below the college, and I made lots of friends with children of the professors. Many tears were shed when we moved away to a little town so very different from that city. Years later, I returned to attend Mary Washington College (now the University of Mary Washington) and felt very much at home on those city streets where I played as a child.

"Alumni Weekend with Lee Hall (UMW)" ©Mary Montague Sikes

I enjoyed driving through the campus and then getting to meet folks I knew mostly through e-mails exchanged over the past few years. The college bookstore carries my novels, so I've gotten to know Margaret Mock because of them. It was good to meet Mark Thaden in person for the first time. Mark is Executive Director of Alumni Relations at UMW, so I've had contact with him from time to time. A book signing was part of the Alumni events, and I was delighted to meet Kristen Green, author of Something Must Be Done About Prince Edward County, a book I had to buy because of parallels in my own area of Virginia.

"Margaret Mock and Kristen Green at book signing" ©Mary Montague Sikes

After the book signing, we drove for over two hours to reach my next destination for the day, the Mathews Bay School in Mathews. That was the location of a fun event by the artist and writer members of Chesapeake Bay Pen Women. These imaginative women chose paintings, sculpture, prose, and poems to serve as "seed" works to which other writers and artists would create response pieces. The result was a gallery devoted to writing and artful beauty.

"Looking at the Pen Women Collaboration Show" ©MMSikes

With my sculpture seed project.

Even though there was extra travel involved, the Saturday events emphasized to me once again the importance of leaving the studio sometimes. Hide out there when you can, but enjoy the company of others occasionally as well.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You got o meet some friends for the first time, and that's always special.

Birgit said...

It must have been nice to go back to your old hometown and remember the past with fond memories...even that hill. You're right, it is good to be out every once in a while.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Monti - the Prince Edward story is such a ghastly fascinating read ... I glimpsed at the blurb ... considering it is as recent as 1986. Love your little table with the sculpture - any chance of seeing your blurb there and I presume that's the talc sculpture mentioned in your previous post? Wonderful worthwhile visits ... cheers Hilary

Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

Alex, you are right, meeting friends for the first time is very special.

Birgit, it's often hard to leave these studios because I think how much more I could accomplish by staying here!

Hilary, thank you! Actually, the framed piece with my talc sculpture is a story written by one of the Pen Women, inspired by the talc. I read part, but not all. Am looking forward to a booklet about the project that will have everything in it!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Thanks Monti - I'd be grateful if you'd send the story on or details ... from the booklet - so I can have a look - many thanks ...

My talc post is scheduled for 3rd July ... cheers Hilary