I just got involved in a really funny roundabout story. You know how that happens to me???
And it involves a piece of art deco artwork....
AND a loom that I re-tied, restrung, and set up for weaving at the Iron County Museum in Caspian Michigan, years ago when we were there doing our Loomatic Demos during the Ferrous Frolics.....
How do the two connect?
Well that is a story:
Last night on the Facebook Group for Growing up in Iron County Michigan, someone posted this art deco picture and said it was a piece of artwork they had gotten from a friend, and they're wondering if anybody knew the artist. It had been hanging in the Cloverland Hotel and Bar in Iron River, Michigan before it got torn down in 2008. I recognized it immediately because I'm the one who put the paint on it!
There were originally four art deco pieces with layers of like plywood or masonite board to give them a 3 dimensional look. They were made by some other artist years ago, and the hotel bar had four of them mounted on the walls.
But they were all muted tones of tans, beiges and sandy tones and very dim and dull. When Willie Beckman, a friend of my dad's, bought the bar and hotel in the 1970s, he wanted them brightened up to show up better in the darkness of the bar. So he hired my mom and I to get a bunch of acrylic paints and paint over what was there; adding details and brightening them up. Yes, in garish bright 1970s "modern" colors.
So that's what we did.
Now... almost 50 years later, here is the post from Facebook that this lady ended up with one of them and wanted to know more. She grew up in the area but moved away and lives now down in North Carolina.
I posted last night that I'M THE ONE that added the colorful painting onto it, over the top surfaces of what was already there. My mom and I were in the bar for 3 or 4 days set up with the lights and paints and brushes and we added color and details to all four of them, while they were still of course mounted to the walls. Willie let us drink all of the soda we wanted from behind the bar while we were painting. I think one day he brought us lunch from a local restaurant nearby.
My mom and I always got into a bunch of crazy things didn't we? We were paid to do it and it was a fun job, besides it was creative and artsy. I think we got $20 per piece, and there were four in total. Easy money back in the 70's.
The owner of the artwork then responded to me privately, on Faecbook Messenger, and we started writing back and forth. She was talking about being an artist herself and doing painting. She wanted to know if I continued on being an artist because I had sent her some other things I had done as a teen in the area.
I had painted a Mexican man leaning back on a cactus taking a seista and a donkey with big baskets on his sides on two big 4x8 wall panels at The Dinner Bell Restaurant in the next block over from the hotel. They had Mexican food there and wanted motifs resembling Mexico painted on the sides of their building each side of the doorway. I wish I had a pic of them after I did those. We went past them every day and never thought to take a picture.
But Willie, the hotel owner, saw them.... and that is how we got the job to paint the ones in the hotel bar.
Another teen artistry thing I did was a contest--- I would paint on local business windows for the big U.P Championship Rodeo every year, competing against my mom and Fran Everson. Lol We usually won first second or third places.
I also painted three big cartoon horses on the barn out at the Pellizaro riding stables and got 30 free horse rides. That's how I ended up helping being a trail guide at the horse stables because after 30 rides, I knew all of the horses and I would help out with big groups that would come on the trails. I was such a horse nut. I wish I had a pic of the barn I painted, but instead I only got pics of myself with the horses!
Back to the story:
Anyhow, I told her no, I don't paint as much anymore but I am a fiber artist and I do weaving and spinning and quilting. I sent her some pictures of the fiber stuff I do.
It turns out her mother was an old Finlander weaver in the Iron River area, and she still has rugs from her mother, including a 15 ft long traditional Finlander one. And she said how her mom was a 100% Finlander and she had learned from her grandmother.
Then----- she said after her mom passed away, her mom's old loom got donated to the Iron County Historical Museum in Caspian, Michigan!
Guess what? That's the loom that my sister and I helped to restore, restring, and thread up and get it ready to weave for demonstration of a display loom inside of the museum!!!
Now, these photos are from the days before I owned a digital camera, in the early 2000's. I would video tape with a HUGE VHS camcorder, and then plug it in and play it back on my computer, taking screen shots. So they are blurry. But it was the best we could do back then 20 years ago.
Here is the loom we restored that had belonged to the person I was corresponding with.
What a small world!!!!
While I was digging around in my files, I came across more photos of our days doing our Loomatic Demos at the Iron County Historical Museum. The yearly festival was called "The Ferrous Frolics" with Ferrous meaning Iron... because the museum was located on an old Iron Mine. Many historic local buildings and even the church were moved to the museum grounds.