Monday, April 28, 2008


This just back from the photographer's: detail from "Notes for My Daughter." Nice composition. Makes me think I should think more simply.

I put my daughter on the bus this morning for the long anticipated class trip to DC. The house will be so quiet for the next five days. Hopefully, I can stay awake. No joke: I've been asleep every afternoon for 3 weeks now. This is getting tedious. I did manage to sew over the weekend, briefly. As long as there are instructions, and I take breaks, progress happens. But then it's nap time again. Actually, I'm finally well enough to go to the doctor's, where perhaps they'll have better voodoo than what I've used on my own.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Snail-like, I am moving again. I have been asleep for four days. Even Red Sox athletes have been knocked down by this flu. Here's a picture of what happens to the studio table while one's mind is off-line.

In the chair you see my familiar, the slightly crazed Butterscotch. She enjoyed my illness tremendously, taking languorous naps across my midriff. She is not pleased I'm better. Tough.

Monday, April 21, 2008


Cambridge Art Association refused my application for membership this week. This is one of the three pieces I brought them. Too small? Too "quilty"? Should I have not presented this alongside the "representational" Tree? Who knows? These and other questions I am left to ponder while I nurse the second week of a miserable cold.

Long debate about self-definition, quilts and art, men and women, on one of my lists. I went back and reread Linda Nochlin's Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists? from 1988. It makes more sense to me now. For myself, a lot of work never gets done because of dinner. The mother lives in two time zones: now and one-meal-from-now. While I have been sick, food's rotted in the fridge. I read one artist who said, to be serious, one must go to one's studio and accept no interruptions, not even phone calls, for 6-8 hours. Well, who takes the 10AM phone call from the Nurse's office (your child's temperature is 101...). Whose peels the vegetables? Who gets the economical meat into edible form?

Sorry for the rant. I'm so sick I haven't even been able to make decent chicken soup. The only upside is I'm sleeping in my studio (aka the spare room), so I wake up to those lovely racks of thread in all the colors of the rainbow, along with the dawn coming through the trees.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Back from the Photographer

Just brought a slew of work home from my photographer, and left two more pieces with her. It's like leaving your children at camp. Here's a detail from a small piece --- somehow cropping and lighting make it seem huge. Maybe it is a call to work huge.

Now I have to go balance my checkbook and figure out how to pay her. I've gotten wonderful work done, not doing production for shows, but the bank account is squeaking as a result.

Spring is finally sneaking up out of the ground: green buds unfurling. I am determined to bike around town this summer and paint. Trees, roots, vines are calling me.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Buy Local. Buy Art.

Here's a little self promotion: The artists of Western Avenue Studios in Lowell, where I work, will hold a SPRING FLING and arts extravaganza Saturday May 3 and Sunday May 4, 12-5. I'll be there with my studio mates, in Lowell Fiber Studio, on the fifth floor (yes! there's an elevator!). Though the building is, indeed, on the "wrong" side of the tracks, inside its industrial exterior are over 150 working artists. It is a wonderful, energizing place to visit, and then you can go have tea and wonderful salads at LiveAlive in down-town Lowell.

To do my part for the economy, I took the plunge and brought photos of my dad, who died with Alzheimer's almost ten years ago, to Ashlee Welz Smith last weekend. She will paint a small portrait of him for me, and I will give her my tax refund. Very very exciting, to commission a piece about someone I love, from someone who's work I admire. You should try it, too.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Botanical Inspirations

If you're in Boston, and want to take a pleasant drive west, you might set your compass for the Groton Public Library to see their exhibit, Botanical Inspirations. The multi-media show will be up through June 14, with the reception on Saturday, May 10, 12:30-2:30 PM. I have three pieces in the show, including Tree, shown here.

"Integration" by Merril Commeau, a colleague of mine at Lowell Fiber Studio,will be there too. This image just hints at its beauty. Come see it for yourself.

Friday, April 4, 2008

To the Sea

Today the camera and the computer are talking again (go figure) so here is another piece, finished. Well, except for that pesky sleeve and rod.

Since I am working all weekend - open studios tomorrow and class assistant to Velda Newman on Sunday - I took yesterday off to just think. I wound up wrestling with my little studio, throwing out unwanted stuff, storing more in the itsy-bitsy closet, and hauling in the spare mattress because, at mid-life, I want at least the semblance of a guest bed. Now the studio looks better, but the hall is a mess! Look for vintage aprons and yards of retro fabric on ebay soon...

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

New work

I am a woman possessed. I have gone to the Big Studio almost every morning for two weeks, trying to finish work. The more I do, the more appears begging to get done, and the more momentum drives me back the next day.

This piece is off the wall now, more complex than when I took this photo, and being stitched. I love it more every day. Right now I call it "Notes to my daughter."

Flight (shown below in its mock-up stage) is finished. It's even being photographed, along with Reach (finished) and Grasp (still needs to be edged and mounted).

To the Sea just needs its sleeve. I'd post it here but the computer refuses to speak to the camera this afternoon. Another piece is brewing on the design wall. (Well, technically it's rolled up in my storage area, since I share the design wall with seven other people.)

How do you go from idea to product? Do you sketch out a design? Do you let the material draw you? Do you come to the piece with an image in mind?

Usually, I have been moved by a group of fabrics I've printed: they seem to come together, to form a critical mass, and create energy together. Of course, that is just a starting point. Then it's push, shove, edit, redo, until the balance of image, color, contrast and movement feels right.