The “Art” of Teamwork

“Faith” ~ Fluid Art by Shirley Slemc

I’m an artist, among other things…

In September of 2015, Judy Kean pulled together a group of local artists, and hosted It’s Cleveland! Art Gallery Show in her gorgeous new Avon studio, Creative Space Art & More. I was honored to meet Judy, to be asked to be one of those artists. Shirley Slemc, owner of Shirley’s Loft, was also part of that show.

Turned out Shirley lives and has a working studio nearly in my backyard. We traveled nearly an hour and half away from home to meet each other?

Teamwork…

Shirley is currently out of the country at CHIPSA Hospital where her sister is being treated for cancer.

When a piece of Shirley’s art sold online, she called me to see if I could get “Conflicted Desire” to its new owner. No problem. I picked up the art, packaging supplies, marketing materials, a prepaid shipping label, and a Certificate of Authenticity from Shirley’s house last Sunday.

On Monday, I bustled off to work thinking I’d hit the local post office after work. Then Tuesday, we had pot luck at work. I couldn’t possibly carry a crock pot and the Box.

Wednesday was The Day.  Had to be the day I sent “Conflicted Desire” off to California.

It was pouring rain at 6:30 a.m. I gathered everything up into a large black garbage bag and headed to work. (There is a post office in my building.)

At 7:15 a.m.,  I lugged my garbage bag through the parking garage, up a few flights of steps, down East 9th Street, and into my building. My Box, bubble, and art went through the security scanner and I endured some teasing from security. Anything for my Shirley.

Did I mention I work in the Federal Building?

At “break” time, I sat on the office floor, in professional attire. Little bits of tape stuck to my trousers and the copy machine nearby. And I was breaking a sweat getting the series of four canvases that made up one stunning piece of art all bubble wrapped and packaged.

A while later, it was time to take my Box to the post office. The box  was 25” x 16” x 7.5” which I know because I measured it.  The size of a rectangular laundry basket, but only about 8” deep—and no handles.

I hauled my Box (awkwardly) into the elevator, then down to USPS on the first floor.

USPS Lady: Isn’t ours.

Me: Huh?

USPS Lady: It’s NOT ours.

I wasn’t getting it…

USPS Lady: IT’S FEDEX!!

And I was back to security… the information desk in the first floor lobby.  Apparently, there’s a FexEx in the building. In the basement?

I tromped down another flight of stairs. And it turned out there was a basement AND sub-basement.  I’m still NOT sure which one the FedEx box was on, but there were more hallways, and elevator rides, more people giving me directions, until I finally reached FedEx, and it was a little white box for small items. I could not leave my Box there.

By now, it was going on 11:30—and I was hungry. Executive decision;  I was NOT escorting my Box on another elevator ride up to my office, only to ride back down the elevator to the Cafeteria that is below the first floor. I set off with my new “friend” to the cafeteria where I grabbed chicken tenders–and people stared.

“There ain’t no bomb in there, is there?” somebody mumbled, eyebrows raised.

And me, my chicken tenders, and my Box were back in the elevator. Headed back to work.

By the time I finished eating, I’d had it. Figured I’d just pay for USPS, even though my Box had a prepaid FedEx label on it. It would have been $50-60 to buy a new shipping label with USPS.

And I was on the computer, looking for a Kinko’s.

As luck would have it, there was a Kinko’s (with FedEx Shipping Center) a few blocks down East 9th Street. My Box and I were back in the elevator, this time with an umbrella because it was raining again.

On the first floor, I stomped out of the elevator, past a woman I’d seen earlier either in the basement? Or was it the sub-basement?

“You STILL got that thing?” she commented as I lumbered by with my Box.

Back through the lobby, out the front doors, down more steps…I marched down East 9th Street carefully keeping my Box dry under the umbrella. I almost wept with gratitude, as the FedEx Fella took the Box.

Back in the office, a co-worker noticed my Box was finally gone and assured me I’d taken VERY good care of it, “rocked it just like a baby.”

Workplace

Shirley and I…

We’re artists, we don’t complete sentences. We “see” things on a canvas that aren’t actually there yet. And if I had a sister, she might be it. We think alike. We create with similar processes, and so we understand each other in a unique way.

Often, I tell her she’s the best “teammate” I’ve ever had. I’ve played on sports teams, worked as part of teams, been grouped with teams of friends and family, etc. But until now, I’ve never had an “artist teammate” to collaborate with on website building, branding/design, planning for new art pieces, and to help pick up my slack. And it’s like a whole new world.  So when my teammate needed art shipped to California, that art was GOING to California.

It’s probably hanging happily in its new home right now. Looking gorgeous! No idea of how I bumbled about getting it there.

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