Thursday, November 29, 2007

Hard at work

You can barely move in my studio. I've delivered goods to three shows and packaged up more to mail, so you CAN get through the doorway. But my studio still looks like a whirlwind.

The long list of Coulds now runs smack into the short, unmoving Musts. They sort themselves quickly into the Nows and the Laters. To finish one set of printed bags, I found that even I could slap out 24 labeled pockets without dithering. The large quilts can wait. Tomorrow I mount my two medium art pieces and crank out cards. The rest will keep until the new year.

Here's my "office,"by the way, in a moment of calm. Larry the Lamb lamp came from the trash. "When you bring home this stuff," my husband commented "I think, 'Maybe she *should* see a doctor.' "

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


For today, from Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker's Creek:

"Hasidism has a tradition that one of man's purposes is to assist God in the work of redemption by 'hallowing' the things of creation. By a tremendous heave of his spirit, the devout man frees the divine sparks trapped in the mute things of time; he uplifts the forms and moments of creation, bearing them aloft into the rare air and hallowing fire in which all clays must shatter and burst."

That describes the artist's job to me.

And when the work is going well, "My mind branches and shoots like a tree."

Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 16, 2007

collage in miniature

I have been collaging scraps of fabric into cards.

Little exercises in composition, and a chance to let the bits too small or fragile for real sewing still sing. I love buying artist's cards. I admire all the work, then bring cards home.

Cultural aside: Go see Lars and the Real Girl. It is quirky, surprising, lovely. No guns or car chases, just a good story well-told. The artists who made this movie deserve our support.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


I have so much fun printing I think I should be arrested.

The idea this weekend was to use commercial fabric to feature hand-printed ones. The collages became pockets on large tote bags.


When I brought them to our group crit, the others saw that printing on the bag itself would integrate the two layers.

So I spent the whole day yesterday at the studio. Fabric everywhere. Even on the floor. I worked on a dozen bags plus yards of fabric. Special thanks to the person who recommended using lumiere inks to print on black.
You can find some of the large totes on ETSY. Also collages framed and ready to hang.

Two whole-cloth works are drying in Lowell. O yes. This is what the world looked like this morning, before the rain:

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Fnding the Path

With the morning email came posts from Debra Roby and Rayna Gillman on what Debra calls "energy drains." You know: those little things, too small for the to-do list, but always begging to be done first? They lure, distract, call, beckon, insist, wheedle, whine. So you pick up your junk, paw through a pile, make a phone call or turn on the computer "just for a minute" and before you know it, time for dinner. How do such daily experiences take us be surprise, again and again?

Perhaps the seed of contentment is more zen: to find the good in the necessary, while we turn from (acknowledge but not follow) the distraction. We need to spend time with each other, with our moms, friends, in-laws, even the dog - why be here if not some time together? And we need to pick up, sometimes, after each other or ourselves.

We don't need to follow every link on the computer.

This weekend, stumped and maddened by the clutter in my studio, I rooted out a whole bag of precious stuff I "couldn't" use to give away. Out of that detour came a realization, and from that an idea that worked.

In the documentary "Comedian," Jerry Seinfeld says something like "show me someone who says he knows where his ideas come from and I'll show you a liar. Like you KNOW where an idea comes from. Like you had anything to DO with it." I just know that somehow letting go gave birth to a better idea than the one I was beating my head against. So the point was to stop doing what didn't work, take care of the necessary, and be listening when the next idea arrived.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Alzheimer's Quilt Initiative

News arrived today that my small quilt for the Priority: Alzheimer's Quilts auction sold. All the money raised goes to benefit research into Alzheimer's mysteries. Thank you, Mary Ann Littlejohn, a talented quilter too.

I just read Cormack McCarthy's The Road. A grim vision of the world after its end, written in stunning prose. I am disoriented, as one should be after such a journey.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Show and tell

A successful sale. I know I do these shows for the compliments as much as for the cash. How else to see how your work affects others? I love best the kids that come up, entranced by color and wanting to touch. I really love the parents who get down to their level and admire the work too.

This show ended on a high note. A woman loved my work, wanted to talk about how I made my own fabric, so I held up a length of fabric. It has been covering one of the risers. It was a table runner that had gone through the usual evolution of art fabric: discarded cloth to ugly dyed fabric, through multiple print runs to amazing. She loved it and bought it on the spot, and to *use,* which makes me so happy. The very first impulse I had as an artist was to rescue these precious fabrics - tablerunners, pillow cases, hankies.

I finally figured out how I want to make my small notebooks. The construction is based on a lot of fusible, and, at last, no turned edges. They come out rather like check-book holders, but much nicer to have in your bag.

They have pockets inside for storing business cards, grocery lists etc (the bigger one here blends in because it's the same fabric as the lining). They make me happy. Now I need to haul off and put more time it finishing the large piece up in Lowell.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Cut loose

One gift of deadlines is that I finish things. Often things have sat for a season or more in the to-do pile. This piece started after a class last winter with Gabrielle Swain. The tree is hand-pieced. I found the work soothing, and I could work on it while visiting relatives. (I'll have to get something going for the Long Thanksgiving visit.) But instead of incorporating this into a larger piece, I decided yesterday to let it stand on it's own. I used my usual madness-takes-hold machine stitching, then worked back into it with acrylic paints to remove pointless white and bring more movement to the the ground. I like it a lot, too much, in fact, to put a price on it right now. I need at least a good photo before I let this puppy fly. The best part is it gives me ideas for the next piece, a voice worth listening too.