Monday, October 16, 2006

Cold Snap

by Brenda Roger


Last week the “Working Stiffs” were on the topic of full time volunteer jobs. Well, thanks to my husband’s real job, I got myself a doosie of a volunteer job. Last Spring I was recruited by the Women’s Committee of the Carnegie Museum of Art. The very day that I officially became a member, I took on a large job --decorations for the annual Founder-Patrons Gala.

Now, that sounds simple, right? You meet with the florist a few times and tell him what color the flowers should be. Not so fast. We decided that with our limited budget and lofty expectations, it would be really beautiful to paint mylar sleeves for glass cylinders. These sleeves would be painted to resemble Tiffany glass and thereby coordinate with the exhibit “Louis Comfort Tiffany: Artist for the Ages”, which would open on the night of the gala.

Painting began in August. The painting sessions took place in the CMA. These sessions involved me dragging a very heavy roll of mylar and a rolling suitcase full of supplies through the bowels of the museum, setting up work stations and conducting tutorials on the process. Well, lots of great and interesting ladies showed up and pitched in. The act of painting a lantern was labor intensive and time consuming. However, before the end of September and six weeks before the event, we had twenty-nine lanterns and our goal was only thirty. Whew! Home safe!

Wrong again. No one thought to tell the newbie that the museum continues to take reservations up until the day before the event and over the course of a few weeks, eight tables were added! Every time the table count went up, the newbie in charge of lanterns had to run home from her other museum job (where she had just taken on additional responsibilities) and paint more lanterns! I felt like Michael Corleone, every time I thought I was out, they’d pull me back in.

Well, the event was this past Friday. The lanterns glowed in the center of tables draped with iridescent taffeta, while party goers dined on lobster bisque and filet mignon with truffle sauce. The lanterns were a raging success and much admired by the three hundred and eighty people in attendance. I have an overwhelming sense of relief. I find myself actually enjoying this cold snap because it means that winter is coming and the fall social season will soon be over. The holidays are usually a quiet time for us. My hibernation is set to begin.

The WIP that has been neglected can be resurrected from the bowels of my hard drive. Where did I leave my knitting, anyway? There are two juicy biographies of Thomas Eakins sitting on the workroom table just waiting to be pealed open. Oh, and there’s that husband guy I was so fond of before iridescent glass paint entered our lives.

For a while there, I was wondering who was going to have a cold snap first, me or the weather.

18 comments:

Nancy said...

Gee, wouldn't it be nice to have some lovely centerpieces for our Sisters in Crime Christmas party?

Brenda Roger said...

Nancy,

I just happen to know where you could get your hands on a few of those. Brenda

Tory Butterworth said...

Back in my undergraduate days of being MIT folk dance club president, I formed a rule of thumb about volunteer work: it's either 1)disorganized, or 2) you do all the work yourself.

Part of the struggle is deciding which is worse! :-)

Of course, I can't really say my paid work is faring much better at this point. It's the beginning of my fourth week, and still no phone in my office. I'm trying to appreciate the joy of no phone messages while it lasts, but it does feel a bit lonely back here.

Joyce said...

Tory, you can have my phone! :-)

Judith said...

Brenda,
My heart goes out to you being the newbie on the women's committee. I know a bunch of the ladies and you must be by far the youngest and most energetic! Nice group though. Say hi to Susie Katz next time you see her.
When do you start the Christmas tree decorating?

Brenda Roger said...

Judith, that's a dirty trick, bringing up xmas trees just when i was feeling relieved about the lanterns! most groups have already started. i don't think i am going to work on one this year. i did, however, volunteer to make and pass food at the party, so if you want to see me drop a tray of canapes in the hall of architecture, sign up to attend!

Tory, thank goodness for email! revel in the lack of phone calls! hang in there, babe.

Rebecca Drake said...

Ooh, the lanterns sound lovely, but poor Brenda! How exhausting! You do realize that now that they know the extent of your artistic talent you're going to be asked to do every event?!

As the nuns at prep school used to say, "You'll get your reward in heaven, dear."

Brenda Roger said...

Painting the lanterns was fun until it became the project that wouldn't end. Becky is probably right, I'll get asked to do other wacky things in the future. The painting sessions were actually a good way to get to know some of the ladies. They are all pretty fun and interesting .. and a few are painters. We were able to talk art supplies and the business of making and selling art. That was really rich and rewarding for me. No regrets, but glad it's over. There are some great photos on-line at triblive.com, in case anyone is interested.

Kristine said...

Brenda, your hard work was worth it...the centerpieces are beautiful! I also loved the adorable picture of you and your hubby.

The good news is that the event is over and now you can get back to doing what YOU want to do. Take a much deserved break and enjoy it while it lasts.

Meryl Neiman said...

Sigh. I wish I had artistic talent. And I couldn't find the link!

Kristine said...

Here's the direct web address to the article and photo gallery of Brenda's big event:

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/living/fanfare/s_475179.html

(Just cut and paste into your browser if the link doesn't show up.)
Kristine

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Gorgeous picture of you, Brenda! The lanterns sound VERY cool.

Brenda Roger said...

Thanks for the compliments on my silly pseudo accomplishment ...now for an actual accomplishment....hmm, better get to work! Anyone have any of that bum glue left?

Annette said...

Brenda, you and the lanterns look absolutely marvelous, darling. Do your artistic talents know no bounds???

Judith said...

Brenda: Your centerpiece lights were mentioned in the Post Gazette Seen section!

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