Stocking up on ideas for what to do in art

Sunday Snapshots

Gale Jamieson...

March 17, 1996|By Carl Schoettler

Stocking up on ideas for what to do in art; Gale Jamieson: 0) Sculptor finds both inspiration and materials in women's nylons.

Sculptor Gale Jamieson took a walk in the woods near her home in southern York County, Pa., about a year and a half ago, stumbled on a crumbling box full of women's stockings and found a new direction for her art.

"I was intrigued with the image," she says. "How did the box get there? Who was this woman? Had she died and and her collection been thrown out?"

Ms. Jamieson, a native of Brooklyn Park who has an art degree from Towson State University, had been a meticulous craftswoman who took great care in the finish of her carved and woven works. Now, she says, her work has opened up: "The marks of the tools show."

"It's not a material I normally would have chosen," she says. "The material chose me."

The 3-foot-square box was full of hundreds of 1950s-style nylon stockings definitely not pantyhose.

"They retain a memory," she says. "They're very fragile yet very strong. And they're an intimate piece of clothing. They're suggestive of skin to me. They're like a second skin."

She's called one of her stocking works "Memory." She filled two stockings with sand to make wax molds. Side by side on a sheet of white paper stretched between two uprights like a cot, they can recall wounded Civil War soldiers, ancient muskets, the women who wore them.

"The stocking has a form it wants to take," she says. "It's like an old pair of jeans you've worn and worn and worn. They've shaped themselves to your body."

Ms. Jamieson works in an unheated barn at her home, which is about two miles west of Fawn Grove, just over the Maryland line in Pennsylvania. She's done about two dozen stocking pieces so far and still has some of her initial find left. She's exhibited recently at School 33 and the Halcyon Gallery in Baltimore, and this month her works are at the Chesapeake Gallery of the Harford Community College.

She's very, very serious about her work. But, she insists, don't forget there's a humorous side to be perceived. The run in the stocking, perhaps.

@ A clinical psychologist by profession, Betsy Zaborowski has a private practice and teaches part-time at Johns Hopkins University. Although she has some residual vision, Dr. Zaborowski has been legally blind since birth. She also works part-time for the National Federation of the Blind as a consultant, primarily working on program development and some fund-raising for the NFB's Newsline Baltimore project.

People in Baltimore who can't read the newspaper can listen to stories from several daily newspapers, thanks to the project.

Newsline Baltimore is part of a network of adapted computers that convert electronic newspaper text into computer-generated speech available over phone lines to thousands of blind individuals throughout the country, 24 hours a day and at no cost to the listener.

Dr. Zaborowski said that for the first time in her life she is able to read newspapers on a daily basis at the same time as the general public.

Dr. Zaborowski, 46, first became involved with the NFB in 1979.

"I met some very successful, confident blind people that helped me make lots of transitions," explained Dr. Zaborowski, "like the first time that I had to pick up the white cane and use it publicly. That's often a very difficult time for people, and my blind friends at the NFB really helped me through that."

The NFB, with its national headquarters here in Baltimore, is the largest consumer organization of people who are blind and visually impaired in this country.

"I really needed to deal with my blindness [and] to get more comfortable with it," said Dr. Zaborowski.

"I got introduced to the NFB at that time, and it was a real life-saver for me."

Christie Santiago

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