Welcome back to our continued series, ONLINE → IN HOME. This week, we feature East Nashville, TN based Artist, Pam Marlene Taylor. We asked Pam some questions to learn more about her and how the current state of the world is affecting her life. We are thrilled to have Pam join our Red Arrow Family this past year. Pam is an artist, curator, director, and overall gladiator for the Nashville art scene.
Red Arrow: We just started working together late last year, and are thrilled to have you a part of the Red Arrow Family! Since we are still getting to know each other, please give our audience some background on your schooling, some previous exhibition history, and your work as a curator.
PAM: I'm THRILLED to be working with Red Arrow. I love every artist you represent and feel so proud to be among them. So! I grew up in Florida and moved to East Tennessee when I was 16. I went to Tusculum University for art where I concentrated in sculptural welding, which is basically the opposite of what I do now! Years after graduating I found my way, in a big way through the curation of other artists, to the medium I work in now which is fiber art and tapestry weaving. Last year, I curated an all women fiber artist exhibition at The Rymer Gallery which won a Best of Nashville Award and a few months later curated one of my favorite exhibitions I've worked on titled Dinner's Ready at a local house gallery, Gallery Bang Bang. I am now the Director of Stay Home Gallery & Residency which I run with Kaylan Buteyn, who I met when we were curated into a two-woman show at the beginning of this year titled "Ready or (K)not" at Ground Floor Gallery.
Red Arrow: You live right near Five Points in EN. How did the tornado affect your area and folks you know/love? How has quarantine, mixed with natural disaster, played out for you?
PAM: The night of the tornado was terrifying, we hid in my neighbor's basement and could hear it tearing things apart really close to us, I thought we weren't going to make it and I've become really obsessed with checking the weather as soon as I wake up and before I fall asleep. Some of our friends and family were inside buildings where roofs were torn off and saw their friends injured, and some not make it. It's hard to comprehend that it was only 3 months ago, in some ways it seems like just yesterday and other ways it seems like years ago. This Sunday will be my 100th day in quarantine, I'm immunocompromised so we've taken every precaution in the book. I've taken some drives around the neighborhood to at least feel like I'm going out sometimes, and it's heartbreaking how many buildings are still torn down and how many blue tarps are still on roofs.
Red Arrow: Please explain the materials you use and process of beginning and completing a piece.
PAM: I use two main materials in my tapestries: Roving and Raffia. The roving I use is soft and fragile and made from raw sheep's wool- it's the material used to needle felt or spin yarn but I really love it in its transitional phase of roving, not quite sheep, not quite yarn, in the middle of a transformation. Especially with so much of my work dealing with the idea of change, I like that my materials reflect that. The other fiber I use frequently is Raffia, a palm tree material not usually used in the fine art world. It's what baskets and rugs and sometimes gift wrapping is made of, but it's raw and natural and sturdy, really utilitarian and I often use it in my work to represent women. I build my own nail looms to the size I'm wanting to work in, and warp the looms which I always compare to a painter gessoing their canvas. When I complete a piece I spend a lot of time tying up the back to make sure the piece is really sturdy, and the backs end up looking very clean and interesting to look at- which is becoming a problem because I recently asked a handful of collectors to send me photos of my work in their homes, and about half of them were hanging backwards!
Red Arrow: What is the first thing you want to do or place you want to go when things level out a bit more?
PAM: Wow. I haven't even thought about this because it makes me so sad to imagine how much longer it might be... but, what I miss more than anything is hugging my friends. I love hugging! I love being in a big pile on a couch watching a movie. And then of course, I miss my art community! In 2019 I must have went to 100 art show openings and I can't wait to see everyone again and to see new artwork in person again.
Red Arrow: What do you listen to in the studio?
PAM: I connect with a lot of my friends over a video app called Marco Polo so I love to catch up on those videos during studio time. I also have a habit of having the TV on in the background and listening to shows I've seen a million times because it's comforting. I also love listening to audiobooks and recently finished "Nothing to See Here" which I highly recommend, and I have also been super into Lauren Hill lately.
Red Arrow: What does a typical day for you look like these days?
PAM: I haven't been working my day job since March, but days still start the same: a couple cups of coffee to wake up. Then I spend a few hours responding to emails for Stay Home Gallery & Residency, applying for jobs and then working on art. I sometimes try a new recipe, usually some variation on meatballs or a casserole. Then, usually end the day with a movie, a lot of the time virtually with friends over a group text where we all start the movie at the same time and text during to comment on it. There's been a lot of bad things in quarantine, but my new daily routine is not one of them.
Red Arrow: 2020 has been a year so far. What do you do or reflect on to find peace and positivity, that you could share with us?
PAM: My main reflection and mantra throughout 2020 has been "Anything can change.'' - Which... is terrifying. But, it's also great. I've always tried to hold on to control in my life, I've always had a detailed 5, 10, and 20-year plan- but 2020 has broken me and I've found the freedom of accepting that anything can change at any time. This makes me cherish what I have- knowing I may not always have it, and have hope that things could get better at any moment. One day we'll wake up and the news will say there's a vaccine. Or, one day we could wake up and something wonderful happened. Or, one day we could wake up and something terrible happened. I don't know if this is really helpful at all, but I'm living in the moment for what I think is the first time in my life.
Red Arrow: This week we decided to collectively donate 20% of any sales, to two charities of Pam's choice. In the current climate of our world, we are happy to lend a hand with your help.