Art Laundry and Where Art Comes From

This week of working in the backyard studio with Carolyn Schneider, somebody I’ve known since the 7th grade when we met in an art class, has been fun.  Interesting.  Poignant.  Hilarious.  Sad.  Our own work, our dead mothers and fathers, our family dynamics, aging, our own work…all this talk whirling around while we have worked has brought feelings, ideas and thoughts to our dialog beyond just what the art project of the moment might be.   Depth of feeling and meaning in work have been our topics…



and everything we have talked of and thought of was brought to the fore when we visited the Hallie Ford Museum today to see the wood carvings of Russell Childers.  Beautifully curated by Jonathan Bucci the show “Russell Childers: Oregon Outsider” is up at the museum until October 23rd, giving you LOTS  of time to see it.

A victim of the Eugenics movement (removing the “damaged” from society) the deaf and dumb Childers was placed by a judge in Salem’s state facility “Fairview Training Center for the Feeble Minded” (as it was then called) when he was aged 10, over the objections of his mother…and he spent the next 38 years of his life at Fairview.  He began to carve wooden pieces while there and it was his talent as a carver that eventually gained his release.  This work embodies all that Carolyn and I talked of this week and much more…feelings, memories, the desire to make…it’s all here in this beautiful work.  I’m not going to label each piece but reading the informative labels will deepen your feeling for the show I think, as it did ours.


boys lining up for showers

they took his shoes at night

dog 2

tool chest

Also on view at the museum in another nice show curated by Bucci, are the drawings of sculptor Jan Zach…Zach and a student of his “discovered” Childers and his work, giving him some years of acclaim and inspired working.  The Judith and Jan Zach Archive is part of the Pacific Northwest Artists Archive of the papers of regional artists, and many of the drawings are from the archive.

Zach 1

Zach 3

Zach 2

In the “on-loan” section of the museum just now is a nice Milton Avery painting


…and then I visited my family blanket in the Marie Watt piece…

Marie Watt (1)

before we headed off for a restorative coffee…

coffee for three

Two more days of “Art Laundry” before Carolyn goes home and the Compass Gallery returns to a gallery…laundry no more.  1313 SE Mill Street…11:00-3:00.  Tomorrow Carol Green will be with us sewing bags.  Come on down.

Art Laundry card piece














  1. These carvings are wonderful, they are so sensitive and honest.
    Very nice to see you yesterday and meet Carolyn! Still cannot believe there is someone that loves to iron…
    love the photo of your studio. xoxo

  2. Thank you for sharing information about the carvings of Russell Childers. Chilling to know what happened to him and a miracle he survived it. There is a woman running a project to collect quilt blocks to memorialize the 70,273 physically and mentally challenged men, women, and children put to death by the Nazis. These were the first victims of Hitler’s crusade to remake the world. No coincidence that Childers was institutionalized around the same time? Here’s the link:

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