Here I Am, Lord
When the thought of needle felting a religious piece made its unwelcome appearance in my head three years ago, I pushed it as far to the outer limits of my mind as possible. I have respect for all religious beliefs, as well as my own. I did not want to offend anyone, and I did not want the controversy I knew it could cause. Three years passed as I tried to expel the vision from my mind’s eye. Three years of “JUST START WITH THE BABY!” It would fill my entire mind and body, no matter what piece I was working on at the time. It was like an overwhelming scream throughout my body. Every excuse I came up with, and there were many, was met with “JUST START WITH THE BABY!” To make matters more complicated, the vision I had of the Holy Family was life size. My constant answer was, “You’ve got to be kidding."
I did try to mold the piece that was calling me into something I thought would be more manageable. I started a shepherd at about a quarter scale. One evening, while working on the shepherd, the voice/feeling of "JUST START WITH THE BABY" screamed so loudly throughout my mind and body I was physically shaken. After a few minutes, I put down what I was doing and went to get the proper felting needles and wool I needed to start baby Jesus. As I quietly meditated and became calm, I finally answered the call. I said, “Ok, Here I am, Lord.”
A Little About ArtPrize
ArtPrize is recognized as the most-attended public art event on the planet according to The Art Newspaper and was recently highlighted in The New York Times’ 52 Places To Go in 2016. For 19 days in the early fall, around 400,000 attendees descend upon three square miles of downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan where anyone can find a voice in the conversation about what is art and why it matters.
“It’s really high stakes. It’s neat, you can be a part of it. It’s a big deal. It’s called ArtPrize — it’s the pride of Michigan this time of year.”
— Rachel Maddow, MSNBC
The public vote Grand Prize is $200,000.
ArtPrize® is a radically open, independently organized international art competition and a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
ArtPrize is recognized as the most-attended public art event on the planet according to The Art Newspaper and was recently highlighted in The New York Times’ 52 Places To Go in 2016.
For 19 days in the early fall, around 400,000 attendees descend upon three square miles of downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan where anyone can find a voice in the conversation about what is art and why it matters. Art from around the world pops up in every inch of downtown in over 160 venues—museums, galleries, bars, restaurants, theaters, hotels, public parks, lobbies, buildings, walls, bridges, laundromats, and auto body shops—and it’s all free and open to the public.
It’s unorthodox, highly disruptive, and undeniably intriguing to the art world and the public alike.
ArtPrize Nine will take place from September 20 to October 8, 2017.
Year Entries Venues Registered Voters Votes Placed Visitors Prizes
2016 1,453 170 37,433 380,119 TBD $500K
2015 1,550 162 35,481 422,763 438,000+ $500K
*Taken directly from the ArtPrize web-site.
Click here for more details
Well, I think I need to step back. Baby Jesus is just about finished. Final photos will be posted shortly. My talented cousin, Anne Fosnaugh, collaborated with me to draw up this prospectus. Can you believe she could understand what I was trying to get across?!
Baby Jesus is needle felted from Romney and Corriedale wool roving that I hand-dyed with black walnuts. He is not built over a wire armature. He is pure wool inside and out. His hair is natural and dyed black Romney and Merino wool. Even His eyes are made of wool! These pieces will be life size.
Note: Due to a severe back injury, I had to delay my entry for ArtPrize with this piece. I am working on Mary at this time. I appreciate your continued support as I continue working on this piece as often as I can. Working on life-sized pieces takes a lot of strength, so I will continue to update you on this project as it progresses.
Achievements, Intentions, and Goals
I have two years of ArtPrize exhibits under my belt now, Smaug the Needle Felted Dragon in 2015, and the Artie the Needle Felting Dragon in 2016. I wrote a children's book about Artie (self-published, 2016), and I was the main speaker in December of 2016 at the prestigious Mazza Museum in Findlay, Ohio. Smaug, Artie and the gang, and I enjoyed a month-long exhibit right next door at the beautiful Lea Gallery. The Toledo Blade sent a photographer, and I had a feature story in the entertainment section in November 2016. February 1st, 2017, I have a four-page feature article in the spring issue of Art Doll Quarterly Magazine, a Stampington & Company publication, on needle felting with Smaug as the centerpiece. I have been teaching the art of needle felting since 2013, and I started the first felting Guild, The Fiber of Our Being Guild (FOB), in 2014. FOB is located in Toledo, Ohio and draws felters from Northwest Ohio and Southern Michigan. I participated in the semi-annual Artomatic 419! in Toledo, Ohio in 2013 and 2015. I was interviewed for the Toledo Blade and photographed for their online following, and covered by our local news channel along with the exhibit several times.
With Here I am, Lord, I want to show that you can sculpt the human form with wool just as you would with any other medium, such as clay or ceramic. I specialize in using wool, inside and out, to sculpt my pieces. I do not usually use armature of any kind. I feel I can reach a more realistic look, especially with hands, fingers, feet, and toes, shaping the wool with my felting needles.
My goal is to win the ArtPrize People's Choice Grand Prize Award of $200,000. I have had so much support from ArtPrize visitors. They have followed me on social media, and many came back specifically to see me during my second showing. I had a lot of publicity in the local papers and on the news channels both in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Toledo, Ohio for ArtPrize7 and ArtPrize8. I am vying for a venue that is more centrally located in downtown Grand Rapids for ArtPrize10. I believe I will have many followers and supporters coming specifically to see me and this piece, spread the word, and cast their vote for Here I am, Lord.
There is so much to ArtPrize exhibiting. There is a preview week prior to the three-week event, plus the setup time. I spend at least a month in Grand Rapids. I am with my pieces almost every hour that ArtPrize is open. I am here to meet people, demonstrate needle felting, and answer questions about my process and materials used in making my art pieces. This is imperative for interaction with the voting public, media, judges, and critics.
A month-long exhibit away from home is extremely expensive. Many thousands of dollars, literally, are spent on transportation for myself, my artwork, fuel, meals, lodging, and all the things you would associate with an extended stay. There are also thousands of postcards that need to be printed with my voting number, information about myself, my artwork and sponsors. I also need to hire help to physically pull these shows off. I need your assistance. I have a lot to offer my sponsors. Please look at the sponsorship levels and see how your sponsorship can be mutually beneficial.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
-Here I Am, Lord-
Here I Am, Lord
"I would like to share that Margret Miller shared her love and her work with The University of Findlay and the Mazza Museum this past year! What a wonderful resource both she and her work are to all that visit and hear her story! From her beautiful installation of art, her book and her presentation make for a one of a kind resource for any gallery or museum! Thank you for allowing us to be a part!"
Benjamin Sapp, Director of the Mazza Museum.
" With his glow-in-the-dark polymer teeth and claws, amber eyes, and fiery orange felted breath, Smaug towers over children as they stand in awe of the creature."
Roberta Gedert, The Toledo Blade staff writer
“The dragon is such a really unique sight to see when you walk in,” said Mazza spokesman,
Kerry Teeple.“It’s almost so much that you can’t take it all in, it’s so amazing.”