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Hugo at the Henry: Writing with Visual Art Cloud Language



by Alison Pollack

by Beth Glotsen

by Sue Danielson

PG. 5

PG. 27

PG. 49

Mud Man

Long Sleeves

by Janice Robinette

by Sheryl Westergreen

PG. 17

PG. 39

This winter, students from Richard Hugo House dove deep into the Henry Art Gallery’s permanent collection via the Reed Collection Study Center, explored the

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exhibit Now Here is also Nowhere: Part II, and experienced both Light Reign, James Turrell’s Skyspace, and A la belle étoile, Pipilotti Rist’s dreamy, immersive video projection of bodies, water, and stars. They wrote mythic long poems, prose poem monologues, flash fiction, and sections of a novella, grappling with time, displacement, ephemerality, loss, and living allowed us to follow our obsessions or find new ones, and to nourish our imaginations. We’re grateful to Rachael Faust, Assistant Curator of Collections and Academic Programs, and the Henry Art Gallery for inviting us to come look at art and write, and to Daphne Hsu for designing this beautiful e-booklet. — Anca Szilágyi, Hugo House Instructor



life to its fullest. Writing alongside art at the Henry


Cloud Language

Sometimes the day breaks too soon. Harsh morning light shatters the dark safety of dreams. With sheets damp and twisted from the cold sweat of restless slumber, Adam rises from bed, rubbing his eyes furiously. It hits him like a freight train barreling into his gut.

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by Alison Polla ck

fickle will of fate and mortality. Details from that time are distant and hazy except for the smell of disinfectant, the crinkly sound of hospital gowns, the ding of the elevator, and of course the heavy weight of sadness and loss. There were the doctors, the charts, and of course, the nurse. Nurse Linda with hair the color of sandstone who steadfastly sat across from him at his wife’s hospital bed, like the opposing side of a magnet



She left him a year ago today. Not by choice, but by

the two of them always kept vigil over Heather as she lay dying. Although all other memories from the time reside in a miasma and fog of grief, what he rememAL ISON P OL L ACK

bered best was their conversations together, all three of them blissfully recounting stories and jokes. It felt more like three friends meeting up over coffee rather than over a hospital bed, that is until the final days. Linda was the sister neither of them ever had, the best friend they both needed and a confidante during the time of mourning. The past 365 days since that time were spent regaining some semblance of balance, some illusion of normality, but the grief was impossible to shake. He tried to stay active, do things with his hands and body instead of his mind—gardening, painting, fishing, hiking. Like his late wife, he had trouble staying still even CLOUD L ANGUAGE

during the best of times. Lifetime wanderers. Adam fries up greasy eggs and bacon, makes a pot of coffee and recollects that in her last days his wife (likely filled to the brim with morphine) always had a calm smile and a deliberate touch. She never shed a tear nor furrowed her brow. One particularly golden afternoon only four days before she passed, he and the sandstone-haired nurse sat on either side of Heather as they always did, he stroking her forehead, Linda


holding her hand, both providing the silent comfort of presence to a dying woman. The window framed a vision of clear cloudless sky dotted with scarlets and yellows and oranges burning like fire in tree tops as the wife abruptly turned to him with a wide and beaming smile and said “I want to go out like a leaf when I leave this earth: a graceful letting go.” And she did. It was a

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last lingering survivors shook free and plummeted. His

slow process, but a quiet and delicate one. And here he was again, in the beauty and decay of autumn—a year to the day. With the strong Arizona sun peaking through his kitchen window, he dropped his fork suddenly. He had a promise to keep and it lay just beyond the horizon. With wet eyes and an unfinished breakfast plate, he grabs his car keys and rushes out the The first time the nurse introduced herself, the two women couldn’t stop talking: “You grew up in Daly City too?” “I’d love to see a picture of your dog! German Shepherds are my favorite!” “You know Jim from Woody’s? Oh wow, we probably crossed paths about a hundred times back in the day! My hair looked ridiculous then, it’s probably best you didn’t know me!”



door. It was to be a long drive from Flagstaff to Taos.


Paul Caponigro. Cloud & Tree, New Mexico. 2005.


They giggled like children and glowed with the electricity of two people sharing the spark of a meaningful and lasting friendship. “I like her.” Heather had said when Linda left the glad she’s my nurse.” Adam and the nurse and his wife passed the time between chemo treatments by sharing stories about

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room to check charts. “I like her a lot. Really. I’m really

travels. He told of their honeymoon through the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and how it had inspired them to move from San Francisco to Flagstaff—from the polished and urbane to a more rugged and open wildness. Linda stared wide-eyed and enraptured by their adventure stories as she went about checking vitals and filling tubes with medicine. sly smirk upon her graying face. “He didn’t tell you about the times our jeep broke down or when our tent collapsed and we both woke up with icicles in our hair.” All three broke into a chorus of belly laughs. “That’s not so bad” Linda said after the laughter quieted, dexterously poking an IV into Heather’s veins. “I once got myself into a tough situation on Arches peak in Taos, New Mexico.” “I’ve heard of that hike,” Adam had said with piqued



“It’s not all that great” Heather had said, a weak but

curiosity. “It’s supposed to be absolutely beautiful!” “Well, it most definitely is, I have to agree,” she countered “but I didn’t do it right the first time. I’d AL ISON P OL L ACK

love to go back one day.” Heather and Adam turned to her curiously. “I went on that hike with a couple of good friends once. We started too late in the day and I twisted my ankle about 4 miles in. And that was even before we got lost.” She handed Heather a damp towel for her clammy forehead and continued “It was really dumb of us, but we were basically just kids and we really messed up. Took a wrong turn and ended up off the trail in the wilderness. We could have been trapped out there in the desert for weeks, or worse eaten by a mountain lion. We had barely half a canteen of water between the three of us and no food we could CLOUD L ANGUAGE

have easily dehydrated—totally unprepared for what we would go through. The worst part, besides that I was limping along, was that although my friends were silently moving alongside me, I couldn’t see them at all in the thick darkness. I couldn’t even see my hand in front of my face, It was like I was basically stumbling alone through a horrible black hole of a trail.” “Yikes, how did you finally get out?” Adam asked. “We just kept moving. Kept trekking along. We


moved silently in the dark just like we joked and laughed on the very same trail in the lingering daylight, but all along with the knowledge that we were moving alongside one another. We didn’t know when Occasionally we’d touch each other’s shoulders as if to say there’s hope, there’s love and support. As if to say: ‘hey, this sucks, but I’m here.’ To say we’ll

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or how or even if we’d get out. It was terribly bleak.

get through this. So we stumbled out 10 hours later at dawn, unscratched but exhausted and slightly bruised, and of course I had my twisted ankle.” “That sounds awful,” Heather said weakly. “Are you still friends with them?” “Of course I am. Once you’ve been through something like that with someone, you’re close to them for “Well, technically, my shift is over now, but I’m dying to hear more about that trip you two took to Moab. Tell me more?” Shaken (and shaking) from the daydream of memory, Adam flips through radio stations on the highway as a hot morning sun moves higher in the sky. He quickly glances down at his map, but judging by the topography and lack of music he estimates that he must be near the Hopi reservation. Nothing but static



life.” She added a few more notes to Heather’s chart.

and distant, wavering AM voices. He remembers how she used to laugh about the comical talk radio stations by the Arizona border. It was especially a hoot AL ISON P OL L ACK

right when they first moved from San Francisco, so used to political correctness and liberal outpourings. “It’s so conservative down here, even the rocks are red,” Heather had loved to joke. They used to drive this same road to go on river trips and hiking trips. Now, the road is lined with trees shaking falling leaves, but in the spring and summer, the hillsides are bursting with wildflowers. Heather would hop out of the car on driving breaks to pick the flowers, and to pass the time on long stretches of road she would look up at the clouds and tell him what she saw with a child-like enthusiasm. It was a Rorschach test of the best kind: a cloud could be anything you want it to be. Sometimes CLOUD L ANGUAGE

they’d be big and menacing giants in the sky, sometimes adorable animals, sometimes beautiful and graceful wisps. He glances up at the clouds forming on the horizon and wonders what Heather would have had to say about these clouds. Meanwhile, the dry rattle of the desert continues on all sides of him as he speeds to the destination. One night, when it was painfully clear that the end was near and the morphine drips began, he sobbed


quietly and uncontrollably over Heather’s sleeping presence. His whole body shook like a tree in the wind and little whimpers escaped parted, quaking lips. He pulled his hair and cowered. Planted, nested, Linda, working the night shift (although it wouldn’t have mattered at this point because she spent even her time off with the two of them) walked into the

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rooted in his chair, never wanting to move or accept.

hospital room with a movement that looked like floating. She placed an ivory hand on his shoulder with an affirming and purely loving presence. They made eye contact, but said nothing. Silence filled the room like a dense fog. Heather’s last words to Adam, with gleaming eyes of honesty were: “Be happy. Pursue love. Pursue friendto believe her. Refused to accept anything, anyone could ever fill the immense canyon she left within his life. It took a year of tending and mourning and grieving to allow time for her words to actually percolate and form into true meaning. To rise from the ground where she brought them and to grow them into the true weight of its significance. “Be happy. Pursue love. Pursue friendship. I won’t be jealous.” It had been a year of sorrow and acceptance and immense patience.



ship. I won’t be jealous.” He didn’t believe her. Refused

Finally, he was ready. They agreed to meet in Taos. He knew exactly where. Off the highway on exit three and up the road AL ISON P OL L ACK

to a small state park sign stating “Arches Peak.” He steps out of the car holding a walking stick, a full canteen, snacks, and a trail map. Fully prepared, he walks to the trailhead. He looks up at a striking tree on the hillside which embodies the magnificence of the space and light it takes up, the branches reaching out in every direction with a hopeful exuberance. A large and calming cloud floats opposite the tree and hovers in place, keeping its watchful cover. He thinks he sees a glisten, a flash of color like sandstone off in the distance towards the highway, but can’t quite tell for sure—a reddish beige tinge on the horizon. Maybe it’s the sun hitting cliffs? Or a reflecCLOUD L ANGUAGE

tion from a car? Maybe lightning? But maybe it’s his imagination. There is a stillness to the air, so quiet he can hear his heart beat in his ears, and all burns with an apprehensive electricity. The clouds are practically bursting. Breathing in the sweet smell of sage and autumn heat, he sees that indeed there is a figure moving towards him. Although it is far in the distance, he can make out the distinct color of her hair. A smile erupts on his face, his whole body illuminates, and the sky


explodes with pellets of rain. It is a day, a moment, so seemingly mundane that will be forever etched in his


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memory in golden light, framed by meandering clouds.



Mud Man ( for Diana Robinet te Graham )

As sisters, we played inside a large, clay pit,

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by Janice Robinette

mixing mud with pink-red rose petals, then rolling our dough into small balls, like gingerbread cookies. We spread them across a cardboard tray, pressed each body with a starfish cookie cutter – leaving some joined at the hands, like paper dolls. We gave each one

In the center of our tray we rolled out a large mound of red mud that glowed and changed color, like a chameleon. We called him our Mud Man, and gave him a crown of thorns, and large loops of folded skin – pock marked and hanging like our silver coins – the face of a fetus. We gave him thimbles for ears, and a long tail



pumice pebbles for their eyes and nose.

covered with shale – for his argus eyes. We held him up like Achilles, then punctured his feet with a nail – his venom portals – and signed our names JANICE ROBINE T T E

across his heels. We baked them all beneath the hot, sizzling, summer sun. Dry, Mud Man’s skin had cracked, like the London cobblestones that you crossed, that last time, locked inside your cedar sepulcher, amidst the Cambridge chimes, covered in yellow calla lilies. I dressed Mud Man in a soldier’s blue jacket, and grey trousers. And I made his aegis shield from an old leather remnant. I cut out a circle, sliced the edges Into a long, thin fringe, then drew Medusa’s head with my purple calamus – giving her a long, MUD MEN

warped nose, an orphaned tooth, and pock marked skin, like little craters. I twisted the fringe into braided serpents, weaved in buttons for heads. and diced string for tongues. I wrapped a long, black cord – spun like a spider’s thread –


around one of the serpent’s heads, then hung the shield from Mud Man’s neck, like a medallion. He was my new, imaginary friend, pulling my hand against his two hearts. All summer we practiced spinning our clay men

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inside his muddy torso, pressing my fingers

across the field – tossing them towards the house where the cruel twin boys lived. Rudy, their cocker spaniel, let us groom her silken brown fur, and pet her long, feathered ears. One day, we found Rudy in the twin’s back yard – hanging from a ponderosa pine. Her stiff body her glowing green eyes had turned black, and her soft brown fur was blowing in the breeze. We kept spinning our clay men, and when their limbs broke we dipped them in water, then pressed them back into their bodies. This virus is having fun with me, you said, then whispered, I wish the doctors had given me



was rocking back and forth between the needles;

the treatment they promised treatment. Once, we stared at our distorted bodies inside a carnival mirror. Our necks were joined -JANICE ROBINE T T E

our heads turned upside down. Even our eyes were stretched, like taffy – they looked like giant windows. Now, inside your body’s black forest, your blood cells call out with their coo coo chimes – their golden timbers dimmed against the mutant cell’s black veil – that netted web that darkly echoes – like a shrieking flock of cedar waxwings. Inside your bloody sea, Mud Man’s plated skin is peeling. He has tried to pierce the shells of the killer cells, to pump out their nuclei. Now he’s lost beneath the black abyss of the killer cells – drowned by the echo MUD MEN

of their clanking cymbals, like a kitten tied to a stone. He’s holding up his red hand, and waving good-bye, like the man in the caboose. His last breath rises, spinning up into the air, like the aerial dancers. The dancers twirled -white, spinner dolphins -- their bodies covered in


blue, icicle lights, then lifted hula hoops up over their torsos, like snakes shedding their skin. They kept drifting – their coin bras chiming, They drifted like Ceyx, lost at sea, alone in his still slumber.

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and their heads bent, like wilted calla lilies.

I drift too, amidst the soft scent of jasmine, waiting for you and Rudy – longing once more for our Cinderella dance. As children, we danced together at the park, holding hands, leaning up against the Dizzy Dan that spun us around -- inside a giant tea cup. We danced in figure eights – two bloodstones loosened Sandhill Cranes danced along the river. They’d take a bow, then leap up into the air, their feathered crowns riding the thermals. Their silhouettes drapped the still stream that quietly flowed, like the murmuring Lethe, lulling inside a silent slumber.



from their silver chain – and we watched as the


Kiki Smith. Untitled (Head of Kwan Yin). 2002.



Marsha Burns. standing figures with heads obscured. 1981.




Marsha Burns. two figures one seated behind glass with dots. 1981. OPP OSI T E

Kiki Smith with Universal Limited Art Editions. Puppet. 1993 – 1994.




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She pulled her coat closed against the driving rain and wind as she turned south towards the bus station. At the entrance, she avoided disturbing the blankets of the homeless tenants. Inside, Carla resolutely purchased her ticket and waited on the wooden bench for her fate. The bus doors swished closed behind her. The glass panes reflected her red hair remarkably grey for her



Carla packed her remaining belongings and a few changes of clothes into her ragged rolling suitcase. She left the photos behind. Her toothbrush, Paxil, Ambien and other “must haves� fit into a cloth grocery bag slung over her shoulder. She clutched her worn designer purse, checked her money belt, and left.

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by B e th Gloste n

middle age. “Onward,” she thought as she climbed the bus steps. She found her seat and stowed her suitcase in the overhead compartment. She opened the


cover of the used 1998 edition of “A Visitor’s Guide to Albuquerque” she’d found at Powell’s City Books. It was the first discount travel book she’d found describing a city within bus reach of Portland. She let destiny prevail and settled in for her journey south. The bus pulled into the bus station a little after 3 p.m. Carla limped off the bus, her low back and arthritic foot screamed at the sudden movement. She set out for the hostel. Soon sweat dripped down her back as she walked in the unfamiliar sunshine. Thirst nagged her. A bench offered a brief respite; she massaged her aching foot. “Hey,” said a voice behind her. Carla jumped. She had not noticed the woman sitting on the grass behind T R ANSPL AN T

the bench. “Hey,” she said back. “You got a dollar for a cup of coffee?” “No, I don’t, sorry” “Oh, you’s just like all the rest.” “No,” answered Carla, “I really don’t have a dollar to spare.” She dabbed her brow with her shirtsleeve. “What, you like me?”


“Maybe, what are you like?” The woman was now sitting upright and looking at Carla inquisitively. “I’m Jean,” she said, “Last I checked I’d be 35 years pointed to a thin cat sleeping in the shade of a nearby shrub. “Ah,” said Carla, “I see. I don’t have a cat, but I also

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old and me and my cat Manny live on the streets.” She

don’t have a home. I just got here.” Jean smiled; her tanned, wrinkled face belied her age. “You look tired. You look thirsty,” Jean observed, and offered Carla a swig from the half full pint of whiskey she pulled from her jacket pocket. “I am,” answered Carla, and against better judgment, good and dulled her razor anxiety. The relief was short lived. “Don’t get into that again,” chided a critical voice in her head. “Thank you,” said Carla, and she returned the bottle to Jean. “Where you from?” asked Jean. “Portland.” “Why you here?” “Change of scenery… and the dry weather is better



took a generous swig. The alcohol burned, but tasted

for my bum foot.” “Why Albuquerque?” “Why not?”


“You here by yourself?” “Yeah,” Carla heaved a deep sigh. Her determination, so strong and clear at the bus station, was rapidly waning. Jean looked at her intently. “You’ll be fine, this is a good place. Warm during the day. Can be cold at night in the winter, though. Sometimes we even get snow.” “Yeah, so I’ve read.” Carla smiled at Jean and stood up. “Where you headed?” “Hope to stay in the hostel tonight.” “Suit yourself.” Most days found Carla walking and breathing, trying to sort out the carapace that once had personality. T R ANSPL AN T

She wallowed in solitude. While the hostel provided a cheap bed and a shower, Carla had no privacy, and little security. She found a room to sublet in an apartment complex in return for house keeping. The neighborhood food bank provided sustenance but she was selective of the food she put in her body; usually the rubbish bin outside the organic grocery store offered a better source of vitamins. In return for odd jobs, she



Chris Engman. Transplant. 1980.


occasionally sampled fresh coffee or a spicy taco from the local fast food joint. She appreciated their kindness, but remained faceless.


April rolled around; the spring mornings were precious. On a Saturday, Carla settled in the park across from the Art Center. She faced the sun and began her routine morning sequence of Tai Chi and calisthenics. Her body appreciated her plodding and methodical approach to self-help and rewarded her with less pain. She sat up, and stretched forward, relishing her returning flexibility. Approaching giggles caught her ear. She looked up and saw a mother and daughter cavorting in the park. The daughter was demonstrating her newly learned dance steps. She attempted pliés and pirouettes, arabesques and grand jettés. Her mother smiled and clapped at her youngster’s attempts at grace. Carla T R ANSPL AN T

couldn’t resist. She walked up, smiled at the young girl, and introduced herself with a port de bras, and curtsey. She offered her hands. The young girl smiled shyly at Carla and her eyes twinkled. She looked at her mom who smiled “OK.” Carla danced with the young girl. Though awkward, her body fell into its known sequences. The young girl watched in rapture and tried to follow along with


Carla’s expressive and educated moves. Carla grasped the young girl’s waist and lifted her into the air gently returning her to the ground. Together they bowed to the young girl’s mother who clapped wildly and “I’m Claire,” she said, and extended her hand to Carla. “Carla,” Carla answered breathlessly, her eyes moist

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laughed out loud.

with tears, “and you?” she said looking at the young girl. “Sarah.” “What a fine dancer you are,” Carla said lovingly to Sarah. “What a dancer you are!” exclaimed Claire. “Julliard trained and injured,” answered Carla, as she straightened her sweater, hoping Claire wouldn’t notice its wear. you dance now? You are so good to dance with Sarah. She just loves ballet! You have kids of your own?” Carla’s eyes again welled up and she looked down. “No,” she said, and then looked up, smiled at both of them and said, “Maybe I’ll see you two here again someday!” She walked away. The afternoon summer heat burdened Carla. The dry air gave her headaches. She hated the spiders. Her



Claire answered, “Oh, your experience shows! Do

room lacked air conditioning and at night she tossed and turned, thirsty and sweating. She wore out her welcome at the corner taco stand, and she tired of the


predictable canned vegetables, macaroni and cheese, and saltine crackers available from the food bank. However, her lifestyle reshaped her lumpy belly and hips. Her back and foot rarely punished her with pain. In August, Carla ceremoniously flushed her remaining prescriptions down the toilet. “Are you married? What type of work have you done in the past?” Carla answered honestly, “Divorced, ballet. Useful skill, eh?” The employment officer smiled, “How can I get in touch with you?” Carla roamed the now familiar streets after her appointment. She saw her reflection in the window T R ANSPL AN T

of a pharmacy and thought, “Who’d hire me?” She’d been able to keep herself clean and groomed, but that’s about it. Her hair was a mess, and her clothes were threadbare. Next destination: Value Village. Along the way, she passed a dance studio she had previously purposefully ignored. Did she have the courage to stop in? “After Value Village,” she thought. The upgraded wardrobe lifted Carla’s spirits. The


“New You” salon offered spots for drop-ins; thirty minutes later she emerged feeling even taller. She returned to her dancing park and soaked up the sun, enjoying the heat for a change. small quivering Chihuahua was exploring the historical smells of her right sock. “I’m so sorry,” said a voice behind her, followed by a

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An odd tickle at her ankle started her awake. A

pseudo-brusque “Sid, come!” She turned to see a middle aged man reeling in the leash of the tiny dog. Comical, how this little critter had such power over its handler. “No worries” Carla answered, and turned away with a smile. Ten minutes later the Chihuahua was back, now graphing the sidewalk, had again lost track of its leash. “Sid, come here,” the dog owner called, “I’m really sorry again. My dog certainly has taken an interest in you! “It’s really no problem. He’s sweet,” Carla answered. “You’re a photographer?” “Hah! I wish!” the dog owner answered, “I just tinker around with it. My name is Mike,” and he offered his hand.



licking her shoe. HIs owner, distracted while photo-

“Carla.” “Are you new to this neighborhood?” Mike sat down on the park bench and began ticking through his re-


cent photos. “I’m here with Sid almost everyday and I haven’t seen you before.” “Well, no. I’ve been here since November. I’m not often out at this time, though. These hot days take some getting used to.” “Where are you from?” “Portland, most recently.” “What brought you to Albuquerque?” “A Greyhound bus.” “Right.” “I needed changes. For one, this dry weather is better for my abused joints. What about you?” “I’ve lived in Albuquerque for just a year or so now. Before that I lived in San Diego. My partner Elliott’s T R ANSPL AN T

business moved us here right after we hooked up.” “What is your partner’s name again?” asked Carla. “Elliott.” “Huh,” said Carla, “that is my ex-husband’s name. It’s not a common one.” Carla was silent for a moment. “What do you do when you’re not taking photos?” Carla asked.


“I help Elliott manage retail rental space. We have several clients in this area. You?”


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“Gainfully unemployed, but looking.”



Long Sleeves



I have long sleeves. I mean really long sleeves; a special dress with sleeves that are 6.096 meters long (twenty feet for those of you who don’t do meters). It is basic black, nothing special about it except for the extraordinary length of those sleeves. The neckline is a classic scoop, nothing low or revealing. It molds the figure gently; flattering, flaring out from the hips, with a little bit of a swing to the skirt. Of course it is not a practical garment; the sleeves get caught in all manner of places, doors, they catch on everything, and you can’t really use your hands unless you kind of pinch through the fabric, and

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by Sher yl Westergre e n


Elizabeth Jameson. Long Sleeves. 1998, remade 2002.


it’s a bit stretchy, all in all it is a pretty frustrating exercise. So no, I don’t break out my special long sleeve dress for the business of ordinary daily life. But those sleeves loves, and I feel that they can wrap around the world and take me where I have never been. And that is what is going to happen. I have been planning and schem-

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are my long hopes, my big dreams, my longings, my

ing, and saving for quite some time now, and I plan to launch my adventure next month. My birthday month is August, just as summer is beginning to wind down, and the serious business of fall begins. I have no doubt that this will be an auspicious time to begin, and I am basically ignoring the fact that I am a Virgo. In case you haven’t guessed, I am a fashmaking a dress with 6 meter long sleeves? So this is my plan. One year from now I will have lived one month in each of twelve places that I have never been before. Each place will provide me with the inspiration for my designs. I am not escaping love-gone bad or trying to “find myself,” or any of those tiresome activities. I am letting my sleeves reach out and gather sensations and experiences for me to



ion designer… really, who else would even think about

abstract into my work. The itinerary is as follows; but not necessarily in SHERYL WEST ERGREEN

order at this time: Agra, India Buenos Aires, Argentina Cairo, Egypt Darjeeling, India Dubrovnik, Montenegro Hong Kong Istanbul, Turkey Montreal, Canada Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Santorini, Greece Stockholm, Sweden Tokyo, Japan I collect images of each of my chosen destinations and collage them on my studio wall. It is only fitting LONG SL EE VES

(no pun intended) that my long sleeves shall select my first city. I make a little ceremony of slipping into my dress, and using the right sleeve as a sort of dart, I give it a fling, and the first image it touches is Buenos Aires. My heart sings as I make my travel arrangements. I trust my long sleeves as we begin our adventure. Just before dawn on 26 August I board Delta flight 9024, Seattle to Buenos Aires with stops in LA and


Atlanta. We lift smoothly off the tarmac, and I settle into my window seat watching the early morning light wash over Puget Sound and wake up Mt. Rainier. I am grateful for the time to be alone with my to me isn’t the chatty type. I have one year before I am due home with a deadline of one month to complete my collection; fabrics shipped back to my studio from

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thoughts, and hope that the middle-aged woman next

around the world, designs in my sketchbook, and with my assistant ready for long days of sewing, fitting, and completing the look. The taxi deposits me at the Hotel Puerto Madero, where check in is swift and polite, with assurances that the staff is available to accommodate my needs. My room has a view of the harbor, bed linens of décor, which suits my sensibilities. First a long shower, a nap, and then dinner. Street style is the thing. Quick shots with my iPhone, discreet, so no one suspects that I am collecting a gallery of images, a little theft. Not a huge sin, besides, I don’t believe in sin. Anyway, this is research in the name of art. I learned my lesson about discretion a few years ago when an irate woman in Seattle’s Pike Place Market chased me. At the time, I



Egyptian cotton jacquard, and a modern minimalist

was interested in capturing the gaze of random people in the street, instant portraits of a moment in time. I SHERYL WEST ERGREEN

would return to the dark room and process the images in black and white; a collection of these brief encounters. Usually there would be an instant of connection between the stranger and myself, and I would move on. But this time, the woman was furious and started to run after me shouting obscenities. I am a runner, so I easily escaped, but I had to admit that the incident left me a bit shaken. Now I am collecting street style images, glimpses of fashion inspiration for my collections, so I am swift with my camera finger. Since everyone is always snapping shots with their phones, it is safer to engage in this research. In these times, the right to public privacy is an oxymoron. Buenos Aries is complex, energetic, and seductive, a port that stretches south to north along the Rio de LONG SL EE VES

la Plata. I will have the time to explore the distinct neighborhoods, dive into the restaurants, tango bars, and shops. I plan to move to a new hotel each week to branch out from new locations as I absorb the personality of the city. The best inspiration of the day is a young woman, possibly a student, who had a hairband nestled upon her thick brunette locks. Anchored to the band are


almost a dozen small birds. They are rich, muted reds, oranges, mocha, ochre, sky. She has chosen black leggings, black t-shirt, Doc Marten-type shoes, and a tan sleeveless vest, with a coffee colored leather cross that the girl carries these elegant little birds like a crown is so intriguing to me. The contrast between the formality of the headband, and the casual attire is

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body bag to complete her outfit. The every day way

inventive, and the birds become my inspiration, and the ideas flood my brain. Locating a prime spot at one of the sidewalk cafes, I sketch madly, afraid that if I don’t capture this surge of images, they will vanish. A series of dresses takes shape. Dresses to tango in. Dresses to seduce in. Dresses to slip out of for sex. alive, and I can see models tango-walking the runway, perhaps with one bird each nested in the hair, giving homage to my inspiration. Speaking of seduction, a man at the next table has been observing me, glancing, making eye contact, not rude, but clearly interested. I pause to sip my drink, and meet his gaze as I glance up from my sketchbook. My long sleeved dress inserts itself into the non-Virgo portion of my brain, and I determine in an instant



The rich, muted tones of the birds are now coming

that I will be having morning cafĂŠ with this handsome stranger after an evening of tango and sex. Buenos



Aires is already giving me its gifts.



Elizabeth Jameson. Long Sleeves (detail). 1998, remade 2002.




A large but faded scar runs across the right index finger just below the fingernail. It is a reminder of the time I was chopping vegetables for dinner and threw my head back in laughter as my daughter, Jane, regaled me with another of her crazy tales of a social faux paux. My inattention caused the knife to slip and rather than a carrot I sliced my finger. Blood flowed and still



There in my lap is a pair of hands resting limply. I raise them in front of me and wonder how they could be mine. Silhouetted by the light, they mirror the knurled tree trunks outside. Arthritis makes the fingers almost unbendable. Their deep wrinkles seemingly make up the road map of my life.

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by S ue Danielson


Diane Arbus, printed by Neil Selkirk. Masked Woman in a Wheelchair, Pa. 1970, printed 1973.


we had laughed while Jane ripped a paper towel from the roll and wrapped my finger. As our laughter died away, she cleaned and bandaged my wound with such tenderness that the memory causes a tear to run I turn my hands around with the palms now facing toward me and I think of the things they used to hold. As a pre-schooler I ached for the sensation of flight. In

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down my check.

the swing I would tightly grasp the cold loops of metal against the palms of my hands and swoop back and forth through the cool fall air. That love of flying led to a vagabond life, first as a photojournalist, then with my family as my husband’s job kept us moving around the country every few years. John passed away awhile ago now but still against his, his hand resting in mine. Reaching down I struggle to push the wheels of my chair forward to be closer to the window where bright orange and crimson leaves swirl around the base of the tree trunk. Leaning forward I sigh as I rest my forehead against the cool glass.



I miss the tang of him, the way he held my body

Images PG. 8 Paul Caponigro. Cloud & Tree, New Mexico. 1980. Gelatin silver print. Henry Art Gallery, gift of Burt and Jane Berman, 2001.184. PG. 22 Kiki Smith. Untitled (Head of Kwan Yin). 2002. Chromogenic color print. Henry Art Gallery, purchased with funds from Edie Adams, Cathy and Michael Casteel, Jodi Green and Mike Halprin, Annie Han and Daniel Mihalyo, John Hoedemacher and Carlos Breton, and Kim Richter, in honor of Elizabeth A. Brown, 2012.2. PG. 23 Marsha Burns. standing figures with heads obscured. 1981. Gelatin silver print. Henry Art Gallery, Joseph and Elaine Monsen Photography Collection, gift of Joseph and Elaine Monsen and The Boeing Company, 97.298.7. PG. 24 Marsha Burns. two figures one seated behind glass with dots. 1981. Gelatin silver print. Henry Art Gallery, Joseph and Elaine Monsen Photography Collection, gift of Joseph and Elaine Monsen and The Boeing Company, 97.298.4. PG. 25 Kiki Smith with Universal Limited Art Editions. Puppet. 1993 – 1994. Photogravure, etching, and aquatint on Gampi paper hinged to Kouzi-Kizuki with collage and string additions. Henry Art Gallery, gift of John and Shari Behnke, 2002.68. PG. 31 Chris Engman. Transplant. 2005. Henry Art Gallery, purchased with funds from Joseph and Elaine Monsen, 2006.25. PG. 40 Elizabeth Jameson. Long Sleeves. 1998, remade 2002. Felted fibers. Henry Art Gallery, Henry Contemporaries Acquisition Fund purchase, 2003.5. PG. 50 Diane Arbus, printed by Neil Selkirk. Masked Woman in a Wheelchair, Pa. 1970, printed 1973. Gelatin silver print on Agfa paper. Henry Art Gallery, Monsen Study Collection of Photography, gift of Joseph and Elaine Monsen, 79.33.



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Profile for Henry Art Gallery

Hugo at the Henry: Writing with Visual Art  

Fiction by students of Hugo House's Winter 2013 writing program, inspired by works from the collection of the Henry Art Gallery. hugohouse....

Hugo at the Henry: Writing with Visual Art  

Fiction by students of Hugo House's Winter 2013 writing program, inspired by works from the collection of the Henry Art Gallery. hugohouse....