Saturday, January 31, 2009

Old stuff

This piece of mine is one of my favorites. I like how the random and illegible text frames the handwork - embroidery, tatting - which frames the formal photo. Perhas this year I begin here - with this piece, with the materials I'm drawn to, and the inspiration of another artist.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Nancy Youdelman

Sometimes the internet leads you just where you want to be.
I was wandering links (I know, I promised to do that less. But at least I was surfing art links instead of trying to come up to speed on Battle Star Galactica.) Somehow I wound up here looking at the work of Nancy Youdelman. So much work and so moving. I'm the kind of person who enters an altered state around old stuff. Aprons, buttons, jewjaws, empty jars: they chant, they murmur, they whisper about lives lived, loves past, patterns known but forgotten. I want my work to sing that song.

I have to go make dinner, but my head will be full of possibilities.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

In the Land of Craft

This week started with Craft Production: I made a half-dozen pincushions for resale. The pieces are whimsical interludes. They let me get out my collection of beads, flowers, and bits of trim-too-small to use. The tallest looks rather like an ice cream sundae:My favorite is peaceful, nestled in a pink coffee cup that could have come from my childhood:
They are, of course, based on ideas surfacing all over the web. To see how a real artist uses the form, check out Mimi Kirchner's Small Worlds. Her pieces are like snow globes made with felt. They take my breath away.

So I'm working on a more original idea that uses my own fabrics. Still, I do love this excuse to handle old china and embroidery floss. I'll post the next pieces soon.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


First, let me show you (Hurray! I did get a photo!): the completed pillow I made for the Artist's Valentine sale in Groton next week.

Next: applause: My studio is in order. You have no idea how huge this is. Or maybe you do.
I decided I didn't need more storage, I needed less stuff. So I gave away four bags of fabric through FreeCycle. They went to a Dad who was taking his girl and her friends to a Day of Service making quilts, so blessings on it all. The shelves now hold projects in various stages, from mere ideas to near completion. Now the list isn't lost in my head, it's on the shelves where I can see and choose.

To celebrate, I made a purse I had promised for a friend, my mother's best friend from before I was born:
Quite cheery. This style, very small, never sold well, but I like to travel light and so always loved it. I'm glad it has a new fan. Now, on to new inventory, and getting finished work mounted so that I can photograph it for shows.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Next generation

My daughter and her friend AnnaLee came to open studio this month. The building, with its rambling halls and multiple stairwells, is just the place to explore with a good friend. But at the end of the day they were thrilled to curl up with a box of scraps and make their own artist Valentines. I made two pillows for the Groton Artist's Valentine sale. Here is my favorite, in progress. I wanted something sophisticated, unexpected. The black is a cool net-like synthetic from a high-end fashion designer's castoffs. The bird is one of my prints, on linen from a discarded kitchen curtain. After I stitched these down, I found some beautiful varigated silk ribbon in browns and greens. I added it as a frame. The results (no photo alas!) is beautiful and will be on sale at the Kalliroscope Gallery Februuary 1 from 2-5.

You can see Jeanne Williamson's contributions here, and Virigina Fitzgerald's here. Wow. There will be some fine work. Come and browse!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Living the life

I spent the morning doing my taxes for the last quarter. When added up, the numbers smiled encouragingly. I can afford my recent Ebay indulgence, a collection of vintage recipe books. How could I resist?I have boxes on the brain: have been simultaneously researching Japanese bento and Joseph Cornell. Perhaps this is an off-shoot of trying to reorganize the larger box that is my home studio. Or the dark and messy box that is my brain.

Monday, January 12, 2009


Last summer, a colleague at Western Avenue sent out a call for artists willing to be photographed while working. To my surprise, only three volunteered, and one was me. So Steve Erat came by one summer day with his amazing cameras, and shot photos all around the studio while I printed.This month he got the photos to me -- over 300! - and yesterday I finally uploaded them into my computer. Some of my favorites are still-life shots he found while I worked. They evoke the beauty and focus of the studio.Others isolate a moment of creation.Some embrace the whole studio:
I'm so pleased to have this record of a place, a process, a hot summer day.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Onward and upward with the arts

It is hard to convey the mess my wee studio has become.Every December this happens. Every January I need days to gather the nerve to reenter. Meanwhile, more stuff gets herded up there, and added to the piles. I so envy folks with big studios, tho' I suspect I could trash several hundred square feet just as effectively.

I brought back sticks this morning, because I've had recurring visions of a sculpture mounted on twigs. The dog thought I brought them in for her. I decided the chewed ends may add to the mood of the piece.
I must wrestle with the computer and get images non-compatible disk onto mine. Must deposit those last checks from December. Get out while the sun in shining, and smile back at the world.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Out with the Old

Other people have chosen words like "trust, " "renew," and "believe" to inspire their new year. Perhaps the word for me will be "organize." Or just "behave." I came perilously close to missing several key appointments last month: some improvement was required. Here's what I'm trying this week:
  • Settle down: Tea and calendar time replace morning coffee. Before I walk the dog I want to know today's date and what I hope to do.
  • Plan ahead. Like a fisherman, I want to keep a light hand on the line. Maybe I can look back and get a handle on what's coming. For the first time, I will, I swear, stockpile inventory so the holidays don't hurl me out the window.
  • Follow through. Keep projects separated. Stick to one thing. Finish what I start. Put stuff back when I'm done. Good grief, they teach this in kindergarten, but I still need to learn.
  • Listen more. If the VNA project last year taught me anything, it was that the answers don't exist, they grow. We are all part of the process. The more carefully I listen the richer I will be.
  • Reach out. Join up, sign up, show up. (I can already feel myself caving in.) Okay, so this one is optimistic. I am so shy I need someone to accompany me to my own reception. But I promise to try.
  • Remain hopeful. The unknown and the unexpected rule. Let go of the failures. Keep my mental knees flexed, and roll with what life sends me.
Of course, already I'm amazed at how slowly anything gets done. One job sprouts tendrils like mold and pretty soon a simple to-do item is sprawled all over my husband's desk. The sun has ducked down over the houses across the street; it's time to start dinner. But one more thing is checked off today's list, and the last item on the list prevails.