Favorite Frames #7 of ‘Out’ Michelle Gillett at PRESS and Hester Velmans at BFWW

My head is spinning from this week of the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers. When I first contemplated the events I wanted to attend back in February when I got hold of the booklet, I did not imagine the amount of inspiration I would take in every week. I have been on a diet of elevated inspiration delivered by the Festival and all the women participating for this entire month.

It is a blur.
My writing journal is full of quotes.

In an effort to share this week of wonderment with you, I will offer you a few photos with accompanying thoughts. And, a preview of the week ahead.

Sunday, March 18. Saw 2 Movies. Sarabah and Granito: How To Nail a Dictator.
I met Pamela Yates, director of Granito. She said, “When the hand of destiny touches you, you have to act.” and Ricky Bernstein of the Berkshire Human Rights Speaker Series said of the Festival and these two movies, “we begin to see the immense scope of contribution women make every day”.

Tuesday March 20 I was at IWOWWOW (in words, out words, women’s own words) an evening of live spoken words at Deb Koffman’s studio in Housatonic. 20 women shared for five minutes each- poems, songs, stories and one report from a naturalist. It was an evening of high energy; the full house applauded all 20 women warmly. I read a segment of Laundry Line Divine: A Wild Soul Book for Mothers. The evening was full of lush descriptions of love, loss and living, rich with phrases like Pooja Karina’s “ love is something that must be spent, a currency that is liquid in your hands” and Caroline Forsman’s “an intimate intense purpose” (describing a trip to her dentist).

I took off Wednesday and Thursday. Life at home beckoned. Then Friday, JNB and I attended “A Woman’s Work” at the Unicorn Theatre. It was an evening of women’s stories and excerpts from 3 plays. We were completely taken by Lisa and Fran Mandeville’s music. Listen to them sing ‘Little Bird’ here.

Then Saturday, I trekked up to North Adams for a day of ‘exploratory letterpress’ with Melanie Mowinski. I have worked with Melanie before and had a vision to create a piece of art to commemorate ‘Out of the Mouths of Babes’ to use as a give-away for this week’s drawing. (which you can register for my subscribing to this website) Here is Melanie.
I had a blast. Letterpress is an antique art being revived by printer makers and mixed media artists. PRESS is a public art installation, which offers workshops, classes and exhibitions of area letterpress artwork and visiting shows.

Plus, while I was in North Adams, I visited Gallery 51 to see The Mother Tree by Helen Heiburt. The show was curated by Melanie and features the artwork of three paper artists. Follow the link if you would like to learn more. Let it rest here with these words, there are an abundance of ways for women to describe their journeys as mothers and I am thrilled every time I witness one. Absolutely thrilled.

Which brings me to this week.

You can see my dear Michelle Gillett’s poem set in letterpress type at PRESS’ new show that opens this Thursday. Two of the pieces I created will be in the show too.
Michelle, who graced our March 2 event with her words and perspective as the mother of 2 adult daughters, is a poet who inspires readers of all ages. One of my favorite frames of ‘Out of the Mouths of Babes: An Evening of Mothers Reading to Others’ was Michelle’s thoughtful responses to audience questions. She is a great listener. Michelle and I were guests on Radio2Women earlier that week and I loved talking on the air with Michelle who beamed the whole time like a lighthouse of joy.
And, I also love working out with Michelle, but that is another story.

Michelle Gillett and Gina Hyams by Christina Rahr Lane

Also this week, Hester Velmans is appearing in a talk about self-publishing. Hester is a Berkshire author whose experience as an author, mother and daughter of an author are captured perfectly in this interview with Serene Mastriani and Susie Weekes on Radio2Women. Hester’s blog post is here as part of the ‘Out of the Mouths of Babes’ series.

Is your head spinning now too?
The only thing I can offer you is to snuggle up with a copy of Alana’s cookbook and dream about making your own potato chips. You can register to win a signed copy of this beautiful new book by subscribing to the Laundry Line. Other gifts to be won are two limited edition letterpress prints of my commemorative art created at PRESS. Or five of you could win the brownie recipe by Janet Reich Elsbach and a souvenir program from our March 2 event.

Okay. I am going to get a cool compress and lay down for a while. All this inspiration is making me dizzy.

Thanks for being here.
If you like please:
Read Hester.
Listen to Lisa.
Visit Melanie.
Register for the drawing, which will take place next Saturday, March 31.


PS This week you can expect guest blog posts from this outstanding line-up of mother/authors.

Kathy Drue
Susan Hajec
Leah Strimbeck
Linda Wisneiwski
Sharon Pywell
Ali Smith

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Showing 8 comments
  • Barbara Newman

    love this. all of it. that’s all.

  • Melanie Mowinski

    Great review Suzi, thank you! Can’t wait to have you back at PRESS for some more fun work, and dear readers of Suzi–do come visit–and like us on FB to keep updated on what we will be doing this summer!!!

  • Karen Arp-Sandel

    Great Review of all-to-do in the berkshires this month. Where do you get your energy?? Sounds like you are on location for everything!! Ahh, the richness of Life.

    Your day at Press sounds sublime, as always under the guidence of our magnificent mealanie Mowinski! Congrats on exhibiting there. sooo coool. Looking forward to seeing the poetry prints.

    I love your limited edition print, depicted here and cannot wait to see it in person.

    I hope I win it!

    AND so glad you also made it into Branching Together. I loved all the pieces in that show, they lifted me up and took me soaring!

    Let’s here it for Suzi- the Rock Star!
    you inspire us all, karen

  • It has indeed been an embarrassment of riches this month with all the Festival events!

    I find myself energized and inspired by the outpouring of talent from all corners of the Berkshires, and so happy that the Festival is providing a platform for us to come together and appreciate one another. Thanks to one and all for making our 2012 Festival such a rousing success!

    And don’t miss this week’s incredible events, from the Women, Power, Sex and Money talk on 3/27 to Loving our Girls on 3/28 to self-publishing on Friday and everything in between! Check it all out at http://berkshirewomenwriters.org/

  • Jenn

    makes me want to move to the Berkshires! I haven’t been to Kripalu in a while but the photos of collages from that event look amazing too. My first book of poems was about mothering, and birthing and breastfeeding and the rest. I always felt pigeon-holed as a writer writing about mothering at first, and only invited to read if the event was about or for women. When I read all the activities listed on your blogpost, it makes me feel so encouraged and grateful to be a woman writer, working with women who write, leading creative journaling classes and retreats. There is so much more I can learn and do. Would love to have an interview with you featured on my Musemother blog..

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