-N- and I met with local art conservationist Celina Contreras de Berenfeld, owner of Art Conservation Laboratory of Michigan yesterday morning. She was absolutely lovely and you could see how much she cared about the works she was preserving and the process itself. Although the market here is not as large as it was in Mexico City (she was head of conservation at a museum there), she didn't waver from her view on scholarship and working on fine art objects. Because of this her business has really thrived over the last year and word of mouth has people coming in from all over Michigan. We talked about the direction of collecting and finding other creative-minded people in the area. She's truly a hidden gem in Ann Arbor.  If you ever need something conserved or cleaned, I highly recommend calling Celina.

Later in the day we attended a talk by textile and fashion designer extraordinaire Zandra Rhodes at Michigan Theater. Part of the Penny W. Stamps Speaker Series, it was a colorful and insightful look into her process and the illustrious career path she took from London to the States over the last forty years. Even if she wasn't popular with everyone, she was true to her vision and continued to be a prolific presence in the fashion world.  I loved her tenacity and grounded presentation. (And I'd rock a dinosaur coat in a heartbeat). I think part of what makes an artist or designer successful is a view that's different or more refined than the next person's. That uniqueness carves a niche in the world that didn't exist before. Zandra offers an aspect which is unabashed and wildly open-hearted, a combination I believe, gravitates people towards her work. The same is true of Celina.

I mean, really. How can you not love this woman? She's got electric charisma and the hair to match.

Meeting new people, learning and keeping the dialogue open is so important in the artworld. But we can't just keep talking about it. We're really excited about producing work so keep checking back. We're just getting started.