Monday, September 27, 2010
My Summer Vacation
Two words easily make me light up...Road Trip. When school was out in June, I was ready to play. My husband and I packed the car grabbed our photo gear and went looking for sun and fun in Northern California in late June. Our destination was a small cottage in Berkeley that belonged to our friend Matt. It was just large enough for one piece of luggage if you put it under the bed and one person to stand up at a time. We were happy to be there however after several days in the car and went off to explore in the city. I have to be honest, the primary reason I wanted to visit SF at that time, was to see Maira Kalman, artist, author, illustrator, designer and person-whom-I-would-most-like-to-meet, at her exhibition opening on the first of July at the SF Contemporary Jewish Museum. And she was delightful and so approachable and to see her original work was the highlight of my Summer.
To early attendees, Maira hosted a Milton, her reference for a conceptual space for whimsy and exchange as she explains. In a nutshell, it was her personal store of miscellaneous stuff she sold out of an old suitcase. Balls of string, an old book, cans of sweet peas, envelopes of ephemera–all stuff she sold with proceeds donated to the SF Food Bank. I bought the ephemera and our host, Matt bought me a can of Ralph's Peas, which she signed (and which we later ate with dinner and is now my favorite pencil cup). Maira also beautifully inscribed our several books before we all attended the exhibit. Upon first meeting her, I expressed my disappointment about leaving behind the bag of fresh moss from Mt. Rainier which I intended to give her, Maira was absolutely charming and gave me her personal address to mail it later. I have since accumulated more little bags of moss to send her from the Olympic Rainforest, central Oregon, North Andover, MA and my roof. Did I mention that she also collects moss?
If you haven't had an opportunity to discover Maira's work, begin here. And here. And here. Her exhibit at the CJM ends October 26th and will then move to the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles on November 16th to February 13th. Following this it will be at the Jewish Museum in New York next Spring. For more Maira, you can watch her TED Talk here.