What Was Art Laundry?

Carolyn took the last load out of the dryer yesterday…

last load

and we packed up, taking only a little bit of time to reflect on what happened here after we walked into a cavernous unlit space on August 24…


We brought art supplies, ironing boards, sewing machines, mannequins, tables and chairs and “set up shop”.  We worked in the space 8:30 to 6 most days, we did not do the work we thought we’d do and we did do and think about things that hadn’t occurred to us before we started.

The lasting thoughts we take away are that shared narratives are a strong thread between friends and strangers, that the smallest tasks carry big memories and relate in many ways to other things we do, that visual art is pretty inclusive and not exclusive, and that community, place, making art and gathering together adds a dimension to one’s work.  We made much less art work than we thought we would, and had a lot more interesting dialogs with each other and with our visitors than we had imagined.  211 Commercial was a pretty hard place to transform, but we had fun trying and our visitors had fun too.  Image-based people prefer images, so here are a few from our Art Laundry run…

sewing machinesewing machine 2

sign in

Peggy ironingIMG_5983

Peggy and Bob


Art Laundry

Carolyn and Q

Mom shrine

how to iron a shirt


crow girl


Laura as a crow

ironing 1

dressing the white girl

coffee girl

We had an opening…


Sidney came…

Sidney mask

Krista became a collaborator…getting into the spirit of things by switching out her table and bringing her own ironing board…

KristaKristaKrista leaves

and by Friday we tidied up..

art laundry 1-4



and said goodbye…

IMG_5630crow selfieCarolyn departs





  1. What a fun experience. I had a wonderful time. So interesting how people can transform an empty, non descript space into a warm and creative environment (did I mean to insert “iron” into that spelling?). One of my favorite Project Spaces. Thank you.

  2. Peggy’s method was the way i was taught to iron shirts and blouses. It looked like such a fun way to spend a week of one’s time.

  3. I’m 2000 miles away but I felt as if I were right there. I have never liked to iron–I hated getting the ironing board out and getting everything set up. When I saw the ironing board built into the wall in the utility room–I was sold. My grandmother, your great grandmother tatted chrocheted and darned. Our socks were always beautifully darned. I have a lace tablecloth that she made that is like a cobweb. Thanks for sharing your art experience. Mary Bowes Marshall

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