Thursday, August 1, 2013

Made It: State Pride

Growing up in Kansas means you get the full gamut of state history from day one.  Kansas Day, January 29th, is a big deal--dressing up in prairie garb, making your own soap, taking a bite out of the upper right corner of a Graham cracker (the inventor is a native Kansan) and smearing honey (made by the Kansas state insect!) on the Kansas-shaped treat.  The older you get, the more you delve into the rich and sometimes bloody history of the Sunflower State.  John Brown! Bison! The Wizard of Oz! Brown v. Board of Education!

One of the most important things we learned was the state motto:
Ad Astra Per Aspera -- To the Stars Through Difficulty

As it turns out, only Kansans understand this, and it is quite perplexing to outsiders why we even care.  I'm not sure why it's so precious to us, but it is, SO LAY OFF.

 Vinyl on reproduced found fabric.
So...if Kansans love their state, Missourians probably do, too?  Well, most other states don't require intense state history in their public school curriculum, but natives still get the warms and the fuzzies when they see their state elevated to art!  (Not everyone's motto is as awesome as ours.)
Vinyl on reproduced apron fabric. 
 Often, I have sold these pieces as gifts for people who have relocated.  An artist friend told me once that everyone wants to be homesick, and there might be something to that.
Hey, there, Iowa!

Iowans don't just live in the state that has MIMAL's* nose, but they also love a good, super long party that involves biking across the whole damn stateRagbrai just ended in Iowa and the addition of cycling to state pride is not only a great thing to learn about, but it lends itself to some fun visuals as well.
I'm not hardcore enough to be an Iowa cyclist.
Tomorrow I travel to Minnesota for the first time ever (!), and I took the opportunity to make some Minn-centric frameables.  This uff da business will be fun to hear from a native, unless my northern friends have all lied to me and this is a big joke. 
Vinyl on reproduced found upholstery fabric.
Today is the first day for marriage equality in Minnesota, and I'm pretty happy about it.  (Shout out to Rhode Island, too!)  At first I didn't know if making some celebratory pieces was pandering, or if it would be appreciated.  Survey says: do it.  So I did it.
Hand cut vinyl scraps on a book page, 4 x 5 inches.
Minnesota in all its rainbow glory!
I love being able to learn about the new places I visit and pass on knowledge to my browsers about other states in their region (I've had to explain Ad Astra Per Aspera a dozen times at least).  I'm looking forward to hitting the road for The Star of the North (Minnesota) and learning even more!

Just incase you were wondering, see me at Booth 71 in Loring Park, across the from the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Saturday and Sunday.

*MIMAL: Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Lousiana
Our social studies teacher gave us this trick for learning the states bordering the west side of the Mississippi River...he's the dude who helps us learn!

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