Thursday, February 28, 2008

In Lancaster,They Take Candy Seriously

One thing I love about Lancaster is its embrace of sugar. Sure, you can find national brands. But walk into Darenkamps supermarket and you find a huge display of locally-made seasonal candy. In late February, that means Easter.

Those are jelly beans (four assortments), robin's eggs (two sizes) and seven colors of crystallized sugar.

But wait! There's more!

Nonpareils, marshmallow-chewy bunnies, mints, candied almonds: a full 20 feet display at least, all before the groceries.

If you keep going, the deli comes next, with all kinds of pickles, deviled eggs, and, my favorite, broccoli-raisin-cheddar cheese salad. Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Cambridge anymore.

Near my mom's home is a candy store that ONLY opens from December through April. This year, at last, we got in. It is filled, floor to roof, wall to wall, with chocolate. Bunnies of course. Bunnies on motorcycles. Bunnies pulling carts. Bunnies holding eggs and coming out of eggs and carrying eggs. Large bunnies. Small bunnies. Huge bunnies.

Then there's every shape besides. Trucks, planes, cell phones, computers, tractors, tools. Frogs, bugs, ballerinas. Footballs, golf balls, full-size soccer balls. Kangaroos, lizards, pigs, cows. Cats, dogs, birds. Flamingos, parrots, pugs and schnauzers. O yes, of course it all comes in white, milk and dark chocolate, plus colors besides.

I had an insatiable sweet tooth as a child. If this place had been in town, I would have thought it heaven. As it was, I was tapping my toes. My daughter, of course, was humiliated that I took pictures, but honestly, chocolate frogs, piggy banks and moving vans? How can one resist?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Women of the Cloth

I am thrilled to learn that two of my pieces were accepted to Women of the Cloth, an upcoming exhibit at Bunker Hill Community College. Three of my colleagues, Merill Comeau, Margot Stage, and Dawn Wilson also have work included. It should be a strong show.

My piece, "Angry Quilt," will be there, along with "One Way." Together they bracket the time from my mother's collapse and my breast cancer diagnosis ( about 2 weeks apart) and their resolution a few years later. Passionate pieces I am glad to have back on the wall where people can respond to them. That's the point of art, after all. What sense to have the work talking to itself in my closet?

Come to the opening March 6 and say hello.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The eye of the beholder

A bit of art through the camera of Candian artist Tracey Falk.

For a lovely mention of Fiber Force: A Futuristic Approach, curated by Lisa Chipetine , check out Susan Knapp 's blog. Just to be warmer, I wish I could be at the show, and see the company my piece is keeping.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Waiting for the weather

This photo is from Christine Marie, a collage artist, but the picture is not a digital collage. It is her cat, behind sheer curtains, dreaming of spring.

My cat sits behind the furniture, and lures the dog close enough to bop on the nose. We are all bored.

My family came back from Lancaster PA in the dead of night Thursday, running ahead of the storm. All Friday it snowed: beautiful, thick, fluffy snow. Today we spent all morning shoveling, and all afternoon reading mysteries.

Our little old ladies are all one year older, shorter, and more frail. My mom, the youngest at 82, is the weakest of the three. Aunt Sis, at 88, is the toughest and most honest. She'd boxed up the last of her crystal for Goodwill, and was delighted when we asked if we could take it. Some day, with luck, my girl will take it to her house. So it goes.

Saturday, February 16, 2008


My lovely friend, Marci, is now the proud owner of "Song." She has raised love birds and cockatiels for years now, and she is also an artist in her own right, so I am very very happy to send this piece to its new home.

Thursday I shipped "After the Rain" to Paduccah for the upcoming Studio Art Quilts Associates exhibit "Art in Stitches". From the postings at the SAQA yahoo board, the piece will be in fine company.

Three more pieces go off the Groton Memorial Library in March, for an April show, "Botanical Inspirations." They range from literal to abstract; I'll be very interested to see them hanging somewhere besides my studio.

Today we set off for Lancaster, the first stop on our annual Little Old Lady tour. We will visit my mom (82) then my god-mother in Maryland (86) and finally my husband's Aunt Sis (ageless). We treasure each of them and wish we could stay longer at each stop. But o I do hate the 7 hour journey there and back again.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


I start my day with Garrison Keillor's Writer's Almanac whenever possible. It broadcasts just before 9AM. I pause while he speaks about other artists' lives, and then listen to a poem. Sometimes they stay with me for days. How's this for imagery?

from "Misgivings," by William Matthews:

[my love] is like a great city to me, or a park that finds new ways to wear each flounce of light and investiture of weather.

or, from "In the Middle," by Barbara Crooker:

One day you look out the window,
green summer, the next, and the leaves have already fallen,
and a grey sky lowers the horizon. Our children almost grown,
our parents gone, it happened so fast. Each day, we must learn
again how to love, between morning's quick coffee
and evening's slow return.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

diary of a collage

People ask where my ideas come from. Often they begin with a photo and a feeling. Here I began with an old photo of two girls - it gave me a feeling of being lost, of searching. So I pulled out fabrics I had printed, and picked out one with text and birds to balance it.
A bit of bright red fell out. I liked that and let it stay. I added more hand-printed fabric.: text, texture, and, blurred, an image of a woman:
The bird piece now felt like too much fuzziness. Something needs to be readable. I swapped it out for a cleaner image. I added a quote, as punctuation:
Now to fill in the blanks. I want the viewer's eye to move around the picture. More warm colors come, and I move the red dash to pull the eye down to and back up from the bottom corner:

I paint a little, stitch, and some old lace and a few transparent bits to smooth transitions. The diagonal in the middle happened when I pressed the piece, but I liked it. I backed the piece Indonesian fabric. The edges, which I meant to cut off, look good. They were just long enough so I brought around as a frame. It is done. It goes to the Cambridge Artist's Coop later this week:

Friday, February 1, 2008

Open Studios

Open studios tomorrow in Lowell, 12-5. Come on by. My group is working on a large quilt together. I'll have the mounted pieces up, as well as smaller work. Valentine's day is coming:

whether you feel retro or floral
Inspired or tired: Come celebrate!