Betty's work is in the background, right.
WKP Kennedy Gallery, North Bay
Yesterday, I met the only other shadowbox artist that I know of- Betty Sager. The Curator of the WKP Kennedy Gallery in North Bay, Dermot Wilson, was at the Thames Art Gallery (where I work) about a year ago, installing his own show. We started chatting, as I often do with artists during their installations, and he eventually asked me if I was an artist. Why yes, I said, I am. I just happened to have two shadowboxes in the gallery at the time, and I showed him my work. He turned to me and said, "You need to meet Betty Sager."
I met her yesterday, for the opening of our show, "Sacred and Profane", at the WKP Kennedy Gallery. Of course, we immediately started asking each other questions. Betty is from North Bay. I'm from Chatham. We are a generation apart. We are both artists and mothers. She started her shadowbox art 6 years ago- so did I. She's lived in P.E. I. So have I. Her father's family is from Chatham. Our artwork has similar motifs, but is very different. Neither of us knows of another shadowbox artist (except Joseph Cornell, who died decades ago).
We had so much to talk about! I felt I have known her all my life and, in a way, I have, because she is in so many ways ME. I guess this is what you feel like when you finally meet someone who shares a very similar thought process. She kept looking at my work. I kept looking at hers. We spent 4 hours together, talking to visitors, explaining our work, and feeling like we were part of something important and bigger than ourselves. For the last 6 years, neither of us have been able to completely connect with other artists around us. We don't think 'flat' like painters do. We are obsessed with detail and arrangement and mass. Our materials are found in what people throw away or donate. We don't create works in grand sweeping gestures. It takes us hours and hours to arrange bits and pieces in just the right way. Sometimes we rip it all apart and start again.
Meeting Betty was a life-changing event for me. She will be coming down to the Thames Art Gallery on June 23rd for the Chatham leg of the 'Sacred & Profane' show. All my friends are excited about meeting another shadowbox artist. Dermot was right- my work and Betty's work is different but it compliments each other. And now we are Two shadowbox artists.
Betty and I are going to prepare a box of goodies for each other to exchange before the show in Chatham. Each box will be filled with things like old figurines, stamps, stir sticks, doll shoes, and miniature dishes- lots of discarded, forgotten little things that any shadowbox artist would love to get as a gift.
I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.