I love living in New Harmony: there is a magical sense of serendipity often at play. Because of our fascinating heritage we have lots of visitors — tourists of the intellectual who come to find out about history or the spiritual nature of the place. So I often meet really interesting folks and sometimes bump into someone I actually know, or who is at least known to me by reputation.
Yesterday afternoon my studio doorbell rang, and at the base of the stairs stood an elegant man who asked if I were the person who made the marvelous textiles he had seen around town. He introduced himself as Glen Kaufman, and I nearly fell over.
Glen Kaufman, of course, is a pre-eminent fiber artist who for many years ran the textile department at the Univerisity of Georgia, training many textile designers and artists whose work we see everywhere. In addition, he had both studied and taught at Cranbrook, where I later took my own MFA. In addition to that, he had taught Pat Campbell, who was my studio teacher when I earned my BFA at Kansas City Art Institute. Pat was fresh out of Georgia when she came to KCAI. I often heard about Glen Kaufman from her and later in my time at Cranbrook, and here he was, coming up the stairs into my studio! In an academic sense he is a grandfather to me.
We spent an hour getting acquainted, and then I invited him to join me & Ben for dinner at our cabin where the stories continued into the evening. We had a lovely time. Only in a tiny town like New Harmony could a chance encounter like this take place. Glen was passing through on a long road trip through the midwest: his recent host had insisted that he must visit New Harmony. He saw my ribbons in the shops, he sought me out, and we met. So much simpler to accomplish than in a big city!
Here is one of Glen Kaufman’s weavings which I have borrowed from the Brown Grotta Gallery website. When looking at my recent Indiana barn tapestries, he remarked that we share a love of place, which he called Topophilia.
silk damask, silver leaf; screenprint, impressed metal leaf
48” x 24” x 1”, 1990