One of my tapestries, Emergence II, was bought in 2011 by Northwestern Colorado Community College in Craig, Colorado for their new campus. Craig is way up in the northwest corner of Colorado and until this weekend, I hadn't had an opportunity to see it installed.
On Saturday we were driving from Steamboat Springs to Dinosaur National Monument. The route took us right through Craig and the car just pulled right when it saw the "Northwestern Colorado Community College" sign.
The building was beautiful.
There was a sedan parked on the sidewalk next to the main building, and we did a little not-so-subtle peering through windows in the hopes of getting inside.
Luck was on our side. A very helpful professor of ceramics was working on a Saturday and she allowed us to come in and view the art collection, which is quite extensive.
Emergence II was sold to NCCC through Weaving Southwest, my gallery at the time. I made a critical error with that piece. I brought it to the gallery before I had a professional photograph taken of it. When I asked if I could borrow it to get it photographed, I found out it had sold. I had a fair snapshot of it, but I was rather shocked to see it on Saturday. The piece seemed so different from my memory. I think this is probably true of all of my work that has left my life in a physical way.
Here are the two photographs.
The photo I took at the college this weekend is the one on the left. This photograph is fairly true to life. The lights in the building were not on and I didn't have a tripod, but the gallery was flooded with natural light and I think this is a fair representation of the true colors of the piece.
When I first came up the stairs and saw the piece, I thought perhaps it was faded. I flipped it over and no, it hasn't faded in the least. The colors that have lived in my imagination for the last five years are just not accurate.
I frequently start the color workshops I teach with an exercise that shows people just how bad our memories for color actually are. This was yet another reminder to me of that fact. Unlike people with perfect pitch who can always identify the exact frequency of a note, most of us are unable to accurately recall a color.
I spent some time looking at the rest of their collection. They have some magnificent ceramic and glass pieces, but I always enjoy the textiles the best. I knew that there were also pieces by Teresa Loveless and Karen Benjamin there and I was pleased to see both of them. There was also a massive Navajo reproduction rug which made me want to weave at this scale. It must have been at least 15 feet high.
I hadn't seen this piece of Karen Benjamin's in many years. The photographs I have of it from years ago don't do justice to the incredible use of color. I was happy to be able to study it again and take new details. I love how she moved color throughout the piece as well as in structured blocks within each larger color area. It is a fascinating work that really must be seen in person.
I had so much fun with this little adventure. If you happen to be in the vicinity, I recommend knocking on the door of the new Craig campus to take a look at that art collection.
Dinosaur National Monument was also worth a visit. I hope to spend many more days there before too long.