New Leaf News
I hope you are having a wonderful summer. I have decided to send out the second official New Leaf Newsletter because so much has happened with New Leaf since the beginning of the year that I have not had any time to update the web page OR correspond with loved ones and interested parties. I hope to get to the web page soon but wanted to touch base with everyone first -
Currently I am focussing on the Millennium project, and am spending this summer preparing 2,000 panels for the paintings. This is a nice way to be outdoors and make art at the same time. So far I have the initial sanding done of 2130 leaf panels. David Dillon (see below) has offered to assist with the sealing. Apparently Brian the Faithful has not told him what he is in for.....
In case you missed it on the web page, I am celebrating the Millennium by sending out 2,000 Leafs to be dropped in various domestic and international locations on January 1, 2001. I need between 100-200 planters/locations. I'm going to start a planter database this summer. (Current organizational efforts consist of Post-it Notes in the kitchen on the tile wainscoting)
Many of you expressed interest in the Millennium Project last year. I haven't forgotten you!! (some of you wanted to be Leaf of the Month Planters, I haven't forgotten you either!) Individual Millennium Planters will place anywhere from 5-20 Leafs, depending on how much time they want to commit. If you want to bring in the true Millennium with New Leaf, hit respond and send me your name and address. If you know anyone in exotic locales who might be a potential Planter, please share the web address with them: http://members.aol.com/leafnews (and of course tell them how much fun they are going to have) Planters come in all sizes and shapes. All you need is a sense of fun and a desire to experience the joy of giving an unconditional gift to an unknown recipient.
New Leaf started off the New year with a bang - I got my very first passport and flew to Cairo to attend a Caroline Myss seminar at Mena House, which is at the foot of the Giza Plateau. Caroline talked about symbolic living and personal archetypes, which dovetails nicely with New Leaf. I had planned on planting 10 Leafs during the week, however my luggage was lost for 5 days, so I only had the 2 Leafs in my carryon. These went at the base of the Great Pyramid and the pyramid at Dashur (I have a photo of the Dashur Leaf insitu, which I hope to make into a T-shirt). When the rest showed up I gave them to an intrepid New Zealander named Karen who was going to cross the continent following the seminar, then continue her travels in Europe over a 6 month period. These Leafs are somewhere between the Congo and Paris..... The Cairo trip was amazing on so many levels (I could do a whole newsletter about THAT), I am dying to go back. The tour was put on by Power Places Tours. If you are considering a trip, I would encourage you to check them out on the web. They did a wonderful job.
March brought the 2nd Good Goddess Festival, a month long event in the Tennessee, Virginia and North Carolina tri-state area in honor of Women's History Month. This was the longest New Leaf event to date, lasting the entire month. It also covered the largest area, with 200 Leaf plantings from Asheville, NC to Abington, VA; Bristol, VA and TN; Johnson City, TN and points in between. The festival was organized by Susan Lachman and Karen Schaffer. I will say these ladies know how to run an event. They even set up a complimentary massage (thank you, Bunny Madieros) which was just the thing after an 8 hour bus ride. The Good Goddess Festival is awesome, not only because it packs so many high caliber arts events, but because it is a grass roots effort that has no formal funding. Susan and Karen blew me away with their ability to involve the community directly in making a month long festival happen with no budget. That in of itself is heroic enough. The REAL story is that Karen was involved in a car accident a year ago which resulted in major spinal injury. This event was organized while dealing with a life-changing crisis and intensive rehabilitation. (Ladies, I want to be just like you when I grow up!) New Leaf was invited to this inspiring happening because Susan works with Pat Minor, who found a leaf in Charleston last year.
I have fond memories of riding around, planting Leafs with Karen and her husband, Charlie Vess. I thought after 1500 Leaf plantings I had seen everything, but Charlie utilized his creative whimsy (being a fabulous and renown fantasy artist he has LOADS of creative whimsy) and decided that not only should Leafs be in trees (which is not unusual) but that they should be cocked between branches "just so" they appeared to be growing out of the tree limb. We had a lovely Virginia snow just before I left. I woke up Monday morning to a scene straight out of a Grandma Moses painting.
Only down side to the trip was that the Sharon McCrumb reading was rescheduled due to snow, so I missed meeting her (and the event) . I have been consoling myself by listening to her books on tape while sanding Leaf panels for the Millennium Project. Since I need 2,000 total Leafs, I imagine I will not only get through the collected works of Sharon Mc Crumb but also the collected works of all OTHER authors whose last name begins with Mc before all leafs are sanded, sealed and sanded again... It is a good thing I discovered Sharon. I tried Ann Rice tapes but they have been relegated for the quieter hand sanding phase of operations since the soft, moody narration could not compete with my Delta bench sander.
***Oh, and let me not forget Rob Weisfeld - publisher, editor, primary journalist and chief dish and bottle washer (and owner) of the Abingdon Virginian. Rob was Good Goddesses' Head Cheerleader. While in Abingdon, I got the full tour, not only of the storefront press which has been in his family for several generations, but also of his private collection of movie star memorabilia - personal items from Garbo to Monroe, too much to talk about here - but I will say that it beat the last Elvis museum I visited all to heck.
Following Good Goddess, New Leaf "did" Saint Charles, IL (west of Chicago) Greg Chapman teaches sculpture at Saint Charles High School and found a Leaf in the studio last year. Subsequent e-mail conversations grew from "Lets get 10 kids together and plant some Leafs" to a series of visiting artist workshops involving over 200 kids in a 2 day period; and enough Leafs for everyone, including teachers, to plant. Usually I wind up planting anywhere from 50 - 200 Leafs myself during an event. In Saint Charles I only planted ONE. I talked a lot (sometimes making sense) and everyone else did the rest. Falling again into the "I thought I'd seen everything" category, Greg's 3 year old daughter took the concept of planting literally and buried one in her mother's garden....
This summer Suzanne Fisher (Suzanne was the Art on the Square Projects Coordinator involved with "Finder's Keepers", the first Leaf project) has taken on the role of "New Leaf International Planter Coordinator" and has arranged single Leaf plantings in 9 Asian and European locations to date; with South American plantings pending. This year New Leaf has "hit" Greece, Italy, Germany, Japan, Canada, France, Brussels, China, Cypress, Manilla, San Juan, Cambridge, Oak Ridge, San Francisco, and Hamilton, OH. (whew!!!) European and Asian plantings courtesy of Gary Wright* and Louise Nahas (Suzanne's mother). New Leaf recently visited "down under" with a planting on Tasmania, courtesy Warren Wright, husband of my undergrad cohort, Marylou. Warren has also taken New Leaf to Thailand with other exotic destinations in the offing...
*Gary sent wonderful narrative descriptions of his New Leaf plantings that will be posted on the web page when I get it updated. Be sure to check these out under "Leaf of the Month"
In April I hunted up web pages about Antarctica. I e-mailed Rob Holmes of theice.org, and he will take New Leaf THERE this winter. So by 1/1/2000, New Leaf will have appeared on all 7 continents!! (I used to say New Leaf was like a cross between Johnny Appleseed and the Easter Bunny - lately it is looking more like RISK)
In January I started talking to Dave Dillon, driving force behind Semantics (in Cincinnati). Dave is very enthusiastic about having an exhibition of the Millennium Project at Semantics (prior to distribution of course) I have been dying to see what floor to ceiling Leafs would be like so this is it! This is not the first time Dave has offered a home to a Newsome project... Back in 1986, we threw a post-thesis-exhibiton-opening party at his house. Either he has forgiven me or he has forgotten about it. However since that was the most memorable party I have ever attended east of the Mississippi, I think it bodes well for New Leaf. (David, I promise to leave the pop bottle rockets at home this time...)
Yours in Foliage,