Thursday, November 16, 2017

bitchier botanizing heliolatry

  • “Freedom consists in doing what you can do best, 
  •                            your work, what you have to do.”
  • Ursula Le Guin

This squirrel story was in the Tampa paper yesterday and TY sent it to me because he has an inkling that I have a 'thing' for squirrels.  No, I don't collect them though some of my friends see to it that I have plenty around the house-  toys, NOT real squirrels.  Actually my canine companions kept our yard pretty clear as they made heir feeling obvious on what should happen to them.  So this headline and the baby picture of Brutis are the expected squirrel picture AND the pithy comment all in one.  Ready?  Here goes.

Clearwater Beach man facing eviction over emotional support squirrel

Brutis' baby picture, newly minted condo squirrel and therapy animal.
This drives me crazy-  a squirrel is a wild animal and is no different from calling an opossom a therapy animal, though who would let it into the house?.  Why don't these people who are so attached to their animal that they cannot be without it spend some quality time with a real therapist?  I hate seeing women wheeling their dogs through a mall in baby carriages!  I hate seeing therapy dogs scam airlines-  what about the allergic people around them?  I have no quarrel for those keeping an animal in their travel cage under the seat but my last flight out there was a guy a few rows ahead of me who flaunted his Pomeranian holding him up to see and be seen by the whole plane-  'LOOK AT ME- I HAVE A FRIEND!!'  And making a waving paw like he was taking a stage bow.  His fluffy orange head popped up through the whole flight.
As if.

Now I do know that PTSD is real, I don't quarrel with that.  I do know people love their animals, another no-quarrel from me.  But animals that have the heady responsibility of keeping their owners calm and sane are ridiculous.  Again, therapy is also real, so are drugs.  Get some, and leave the damn animal, whatever it is, at it's real home, safe and sound.  

(Ed.  Holy crap-  TY just called me in to watch Fox News covering the squirrel story.  I guess Trump has been immobilized for the time being, and this is all they could find to yammer about until they let him back out to spread his abundant cheer across 'this land of yours and mine'.)  He has squirrels too but they are imaginary, living under the yellow thatched roof.

But ENUF about squirrels and if they like living in air conditioned splendor in Tampa.  I want to talk about creativity again.  Today I got this TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert in the mail and it's wonderful!  It has opened up a whole new arena of thinking about where it comes from and who it visits.  Watch now:

This talk gives me a whole new perspective on what I do and who I am and completely releases me from thinking ahead in my so-called-career.  OK, so it's not a career, it's a vocation that most certainly does NOT venture into hobby material.  It was once a career and I am happy to rest on the few laurels I did achieve and now I am left to simply paddle my way down the center of the river and see what happens!  I hope this whacks you like it did me.  

Please accept this as my ARTY PART today, I'm too tired to hunt one down!
Along that same vein -of VAIN...- the New England Quilt Museum acquisitions committee contacted me yesterday to request that one of my quilts from the show last spring stay with them!  It joins 'Lotus Eaters' (the one Liza has dubbed 'Tastes Like Chicken' so that's what it's mostly called around here) as part of their permanent collection.It's one that I have always liked and made originally for Pat Pauly's show a few years back called Parallax Patterns  The THING is that it wasn't quite what she expected and I don't think it fit into her vision for the show.  I've always felt bad about that but what can ya do in retrospective?  ANYway, it was a wonderful show and I was proud to have my oddity included.  It's this one:

And the story (you know me well enough to know there is always a story!)  is that I saw an article in the NYTs about a deceased professional photographer in Mali who worked sort of mid-century making his living taking studio portraits of middle class citizens.  Mali at that time was quite prosperous and everybody wanted a portrait.  His pictures all had elaborate fabric backdrops with giant patterns and the people posing all wore their own elaborate patterns which, to my eye was intriguing-  the faces and personalities were completely overshadowed.  I used one of his old photographs as inspiration-  a woman holding her infant twins, just a brief moment from her life.
This is all constructed of vintage red and white quilts and quit tops-  I think I used six or seven plus other patterned fabrics and embroideries I had on hand.  Additionally I wanted to flatten out the perspective and let a different 3 dimensionality happen.  Because I was dealing with those hanging drapes behind the subject, I wanted the quilt to hang in folds so there is a series of large snaps on the hanging rod that allows the whole thing to hang like a drape, and I know that drives a hanging team crazy so I never showed it beyond the Parallax Patterns show and the celebratory 30 Year Anniversary show of my crit group last spring at the NEQM.  I am thrilled it has a new home where a few snaps won't stop them from bringing it out once in awhile!  Thanks, NEQM!  


Monday, November 13, 2017

coupon courage interpret

“There’s a point, around the age of twenty, when you have to choose whether to be like everybody else the rest of your life, or to make a virtue of your peculiarities.” (Ursula K. Le Guin)

Well today is NATIONAL INDIAN PUDDING DAY so I hope you are all out buying ingredients for a pot full!  We simply cannot let that go unnoticed. Actually most of the stuff is already in your footlocker so Here Ya Go, the Yankee Magazine version:
New England Indian PuddingTotal Time: 30Yield: 6 to 8 servings  (ed: or 2 servings)

  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup   (ed: please use the real stuff)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for baking dish
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon  (ed:  use double this)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger   (ed:  use double this)
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg   (ed:  use double this)
InstructionsPreheat the oven to 300° and grease a 1 1/2-quart baking dish.
Bring milk to a simmer in a double boiler over high heat. Slowly add the cornmeal, whisking to combine. Continue to cook, whisking constantly, for 15 minutes.
Slowly add molasses, then remove from heat. Add maple syrup and the rest of the ingredients and stir until smooth.
Pour mixture into the prepared baking dish, and bake until the pudding is set and the top is browned, about 2 hours. Serve hot or cold, topped with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. 

ed:  your spices have been on that shelf for years now, they will barely taste at all, so up the amount, show away the rest and replace next trip to the store!  You will thank me. 
Heading out to waste more time today rather than producing, not a bad idea since today I woke up with vertigo again.  Not awful, maybe a 4 on a 1-10 scale but debilitating doing anything that needs attention beyond looking straight ahead.  I have to be done here quickly so here s the 

The Flying Martha Ornithopter is a mechanical toy that when wound, flaps its wings through the air just like a real bird.|
The simple invention is built entirely from bamboo and Mulberry paper, and released just like a paper airplane. The ornithopter was built by Haptic Lab to honor the very last passenger pigeon, Martha, who died while in captivity at the Cincinnati Zoo in 1914.  

Poor Martha.  Let me know if you make one...

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

bankroller nebulization unpainted

'I usually work in a direction until I know how to do it, then I stop…At that time I am bored or understand – I use those words interchangeably – another appetite has formed. A lot of people try to think up ideas. I’m not one. I’d rather accept the irresistible possibilities of what I can’t ignore…Anything you do will be an abuse of somebody else’s aesthetics. I think you’re born an artist or not. I couldn’t have learned it. And I hope I never do because knowing only encourages your limitations.'  Robert Rauschenberg 
(this is such a great quote-  if I had more energy I would needlepoint it across the back of my couch-  it's too long for just a pillow!)

Because I do SO much whining on this ole blog, wah wah wah about how I'm not working or things are a mess or the computer is not talking to the printer again, I need to show you that I AM doing SOMETHING and not just sitting blowing bubbles in the studio all day. Now, admittedly there are plenty or other things I could be doing-  like making working acquaintances with the Q20 uber fancy machine I bought but am afraid to crank up...  But hopefully this other stuff using up fabrics in vast quantities will get me to the point that i need to be.  We'll see.

And, as promised a post or two ago, here's my new shirts I've made, all slightly different, all using up old fabrics, and all wearable around here in all this hot weather.  I've made a few other tings but they are at the studio wallowing in lethargy-  shouldI or shouldn't I add sleeves, collars, cuffs, button front, pocket here or there-  stuff like that.  I'll post them as I finish.
CAUTION:  Do NOT complain to me about the awful state of my wrinkles!  I know they are there and I keep them to match my face.

Made from a famous designer dress I picked up at the consignment shop, I chopped off the bottom and added circular mantra stitching in variegated rayon shiny threads.  Needs pressing I know.

Nice Merimekko linen I bought from the Crate and Barrel outlet-  this stuff was used for store displays so lots of different sizes and scales of the same pattern.  I ran out of the big grape print and used the coordinating grunge stripe on the back

left-  a heavyweight linen with coordinating plaid covering seams and binding neck  Your basic gas station attendant shirt.  right-  more of the same giant Merimekko grape pattern, also linen.  Also have it in a rust red and green but I think Im done making shirts from it.

left-  what do you wear with silky purple and yellow pants?  Why a yellow and purple print in a different scale, natch!  What do you wear with more blue jens?  Why a silk ikat from Indonesia that was formerly a scarf.  See edge fringes at the bottom?  Very cool color and a bit shimmery.

left, made from pan embroidered linen that was formerly a mini skirt (more original fringe at bottom. The second fabric was exactly the same color and with black mantra stitching so that made up for the missing fabric amount.  Serendipity!  right, a quite fabulous Japanese heavy cotton that looks like a Gerald Richter painting.  This one may be my favorite fabric ever.  Wish I had more.

left, all my yellowish Kaffe stripes, no, I think this is my favorite!  I will make another one in the blue stripes just because, maybe cut irregular chunks of all of them to change it up.  Right, a dotty fabric from Marcy Tilton.  She has been a great source of unusual fabrics over the years but it's not as laden with really unusual stuff as it used to be.  Now the features French digital prints, and LOTS of blacks.  But they are always first quality.  So, that's what I did on my summer vacation.  And I can toss the tatty tee shirts that the dogs jumps on and rip with their scratchy little paw pads.  And no, I am not gonna treat them with Aquaphor and tiny white socks...

Whatcha gonna get me for Christmas?  How about this fab stocking that holds FOUR bottles of wine!  Now that's a gift!  Might need some extra strength on the mantle but that 2x4 look is in vogue, and it's only temporary for 2 months.  This may be an Archie McPhee thing, I'm not sure.  I'll check Google Images when I'm ready to order.  Or you can.

Quick ARTY PARTY today because I'm headed out for sushi!   

California artist Michelle Kingdom explores relationships through her tiny embroideries.  Some are densely stitched, some use more negative space but all are emotionally fraught.  She says, on her website:
My work explores psychological landscapes, illuminating thoughts left unspoken. I create tiny worlds in thread to capture elusive yet persistent inner voices. Literary snippets, memories, personal mythologies, and art historical references inform the imagery; fused together, these influences explore relationships, domesticity and self-perception. Symbolism and allegory lay bare dynamics of aspiration and limitation, expectation and loss, belonging and alienation, truth and illusion.
Check out her interview also on TextileArtist, an amazing site if you aren't already there! 

Now, get yourself back to work and maybe I will too!

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

almagest stronghold churchgoer

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere... Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. 
-- Martin Luther King, Jr.

I sure didn't want to do it but I did-  my pop-up class was last night  in West Palm.  I had to get down there by 6 and heard about the main road down there was closed for train track construction, plus it was drive-time so I left early 'just in case'.  Turned out to be a great class-  we did mono prints and collographs, and there were only 2 of us working plus a great nice guy teaching.  It was the kind of class I like best- one of those where an overview the info is presented and demoed and then we're on our own to mess about.  Of course I turned out 2 of the ugliest prints imaginable, still in the back seat of my car.  The other student was methodical and directed and did it all the 'right' way ending up with practically a portfolio of work.  

But I learned that you can print with water based inks for a few rounds, let it dry or use a hairdryer, and then swing into oil inks on top of it-  HEY, I sez-  Hey, that's just like wall paints-  you can paint with latex paint over oil paint but never the other way around.  That's just like encaustics...'fat over lean'.  Oops, it's OPPOSITE of all the rules I ever followed (circa 1966!)  And then he was showing us a quick mono print technique with oils and used the yukkiesy old metal-tube dried up paints you've ever seen but pulled out a can of PAM as his thinner or medium.  That alone was worth the price of the class.

I also realized that I am not a very good finished printer but I can print a monotype, scan it into my system and print my monotypes on cloth.  SO, as soon as I finish putting stuff away, vacuuming up the bug cemetery, and learning the ins and outs of my new uber-qbilting machine, I'm set for life on new ideas!  Not that it's ever been a  problem.

The ARTY PART today is taken from the TextileArtist blog-  go there and follow it so you get updates of some amazing artist interviews.  Today was California artist Michelle Kingdom who says. 'Decidedly small in scale, the scenes are densely embroidered into compressed compositions. While the work acknowledges the luster and lineage inherent in needlework, I use thread as a sketching tool in order to simultaneously honor and undermine this tradition. Beauty parallels melancholy, as conventional stitches acquiesce to the fragile and expressive.'  I was only able to grab two shots so definitely go to the interview site and see what she says-  her work is amazing!

OK?  See what I mean?  Now GO!

Sunday, November 05, 2017

cosmos sun Americanizes

"I prefer to see with closed eyes." 
— Josef Albers

Isn't this the cutest?  I grabbed it from a whole series  taken at the same time where the bird was hesitant to get too close but eventually gave in.  Everybody likes bread, eh?  

I've gone missing again, sorry.  The trip to Boston got me out of the habit, then a couple of days with my laptop in the shop getting it's guts cleaned out, followed by the big computer getting the same treatment only to find that the HD is almost gone.  I thought it was 'new' since I got it when I opened the studio but they told me its circa 2009 so I feel a bit better about it's life cycle. AND I ordered a replacement version coming next week.  The sick one will go up in the guest space and I'll let the kids have at it and when it's gone it's gone.  

Meanwhile I am working on a big cleanup of the desk in the studio and that took most of the last two days-  seems I will do anything to avoid actual productive work.  Anyway, I ended up throwing out many files, old papers, out of date class plans from when I was teaching all over the place.  Also I am tossing my laser printer and the current printer will join the sick computer up on my second floor.  Hopefully I can send it along to Boston one day because I would love a permanent workspace there at some point.  AND I got the brand new big-ink-cartridges printer up and unpacked so I won't be tripping over the box on the floor that would hold two bodies if parts were dismembered...  Actually I now have to break it down for the dumpster and it's the kind of cardboard that does the work of plywood-  really thick and I need to get the jigsaw out to tackle.  

And to keep my head in, I am working through the huge basket of fabric I bought for making clothing I've accumulated for a couple of years.  I used to make everything for myself but got away from it-  lately it kills me to spend huge amounts of money on blouses shaped like tee shirts so I have taken several of my favorites and made patterns from them.  So far it's working well and I have a bunch of new shirts in the closet.  Wearing short sleeves year round contributed to this, easy to make stuff!  What I am doing is making a rule that I can't do any handwork on these things so I map out how to enclose seams and do facings and hem them all in one sitting.  I then hit them with the iron and take them home.  
Next I will make some jackets by simply adding some sleeves to the patterns I already made.  The one I am working on now was a miniskirt (circa 2000 and still hanging around) with embroidery on it that just happened to match up with scraps of plain brown linen with black lines of Kantha stitching.  I tried it on before leaving the studio last night and it's great but it's the first time I ventured into having to make the cloth for the darn things.  Matter of fact this might be the architectural version of what's happening with my sewing machine these days:

Retrofitting clothes.  Now all I need is a place to wear it all.  

In Other News-  I have been cleaning out old email and have deleted all before June 2010 so far.  In doing that it's amazing to see what has changed in email since then (and of course long before).  All the emails are from friends, names I know-  old friends, quilters, groups I belong to, some lists, etc.  Some thread are 12-15 messages long as we discuss stuff to death.  Looking at my emails now, it's all ads, and very few friends names!  Sure, I got on a lot of sites for building the house but I unsubscribe as I come to them.  I THINK that friends are texting more, not taking time to write more than a few words, and eliminating chatty messages.  And dammit, I miss it!  It was my 'rest' between tasks in the studio and a way to keep in touch.  Sad how I didn't even notice for all this time.


Embroidered plastic shopping bags by  Nicoletta de la Brown. From her website: 
From my series of embroidered corner-store grocery bags. Rescued from the gutter; blowing down the street like city tumbleweed. I reclaim and elevate what once was discarded by creating embellished art objects. Growing up in Brooklyn and Harlem I’d visit my block’s bodega daily, with pennies in hand, and leave with priceless treasures. More than just bags, they reflect a sense of pride for my neighborhood and are a symbol of my cultural identity.

Nicoletta DarĂ­ta de la Brown, part of her El Barrio Bodega series.  Embroidered corner-store grocery bags. Rescued from the gutter; blowing down the street like city tumbleweed. I reclaim and elevate what once was discarded by creating embellished art objects. Growing up in Brooklyn and Harlem I’d visit my block’s bodega daily, with pennies in hand, and leave with priceless treasures. More than just bags, they reflect a sense of pride for my neighborhood and are a symbol of my cultural identity. 

From her website:  Embroidered corner-store grocery bags. Rescued from the gutter; blowing down the street like city tumbleweed. I reclaim and elevate what once was discarded by creating embellished art objects. Growing up in Brooklyn and Harlem I’d visit my block’s bodega daily, with pennies in hand, and leave with priceless treasures. More than just bags, they reflect a sense of pride for my neighborhood and are a symbol of my cultural identity. 

 image   image

                               (Because I can't resist Kantha stitching, see above!)

Josh Blackwell
Thinking about the idea of consumer responsibility led me to begin collecting plastic bags from kitchen cupboards and city streets six years ago. What began as an exercise in environmental conservation evolved into a studio practice combining aspects of painting, sculpture, and installation.
Plastic bags are the second most common form of litter in the world after cigarette butts. Their degraded status and ubiquitous presence are fascinating to me, attempting to balance between convenience and excess. Quickly used and then discarded, their textured surfaces wear the remains of physical activity like dirty laundry left on the floor. The bags attempt to redress their impoverished status with the addition of colorful embroidery in geometric patterns.

OK?  That's all for the day.  Might take some pictures of all my new shirts for next time.   

Saturday, October 28, 2017

digitized mullion pressroom

“Artists are the people among us who realize 
creation didn’t stop on the sixth day.” (Joel Peter Witkin)

Well, I am back from Boston.  Spent time with the Littles family but the Bigs family was out straight with scheduled activities so I only saw my daughter instead of her kids.  Whatever, being there for three full days was chock full of doing stuff.  I tagged along to a pumpkin patch one day with the Littles to pick out pumpkins for the front porch.  It was located at a former farm stand I used to frequent back in our home town but OMG, it was a grown up farm stand now-  a wonderful huge space all paneled in natural wood and chock full of local produce, including 2 greenhouses of pumpkins.  They also had a deli stand and freshly baked wonderful breads.  It was fun watching the kids pick out stuff- very exciting for them so they fell asleep in their seats on the way home.  Because it was only a few minutes, the parents let them sleep a bit longer in the driveway while they ate their dinner in the front seat.  I got out, tied to close the door quietly, and headed home to make my own dinner.  At some point they must have all gone inside- I know for sure the baby doesn't sleep through the night!

Next day I went up to Salem, yeah, the Salem of the witch trials, to see the Peabody Essex because I love that museum.  My daughter met me there and I cannot tell you how long it's been since we have actually been alone together!  There are always kids and problems and meltdowns so we rarely get to just talk and laugh and explore.  Since she lives near the museum, she is there frequently and pulled me around from one room to the next showing me things of interest.  And she sure did!  We got to an exhibit I really didn't care about seeing but we walked in anyway-  it was about the interactions of math and art and this is what we encountered:

The lines are perfectly straight lines of light that start to pool and distort when walked upon-  that's me up above fighting off a major vertigo attack!  I had to get out right away but other people took turns walking, dancing, skipping, and even doing the Stroll together!  The other exhibits, also all of light and interactive didn't do the vertigo thing and all were wonderful to 'play' in.

Maybe by now you've seen the picture I posted on Facebook of my daughter and me in one exhibit that worked like fun-house mirrors making us all wavy and slinky:

How weird is that!

Other days I met my oldest friend for a bit of retail therapy at a new TJMaxx, and my SIL at the mall snack bar, and another trip to the Littles to clean out the goop in their pumpkins (I leave my son to the carving because no way would he think I put enough thought into it!).

And on the fifth day she flew south.  The next day my niece arrived from Tampa where she goes to college.  She loves to come over to play with Molly and is a sweetie to have around.  I've really enjoyed the weekend. In fact one of her friends just picked her up to go to an FAU game tonight.  I'm feeling very parental letting her just hop in a car and go!  Especially in the pouring rain tonight.  But hey, she's 21 and impervious to my urges to 'be careful', 'drive slowly', 'call me if you have any problem' whining.

So, I am back in the saddle.  Another doggie on our street has died, we are headed for a wine tasting tonight, the opening day of the season is this coming week with all the get-togethers and partying that happens.  Fall has fell.

And to do some ArtSpeak, I am finally going to have some studio time.  My first class at the Armory is coming up and I'm looking forward to getting that infusion of creativity for a few hours.  And getting back to work in the studio!  I have another couple of clothing items to finish up, a couple of calls for entry to finish, and a donation of a 12x12 encaustic to polish up and offer to a fundraiser coming along.  Lots to do!  

So, with that all out, it's ARTY PARTY again!  And appropriately enough, a FALL theme.

Using a craft knife and needle, artist Omid Asadi carves delicate and intricate artworks into naturally fallen leaves. On his website, the Manchester-based artist explains
“Art for me is the way of looking differently to this world and around myself. I started to think why nobody paid attention to these beautiful leaves and trod on them, because of their name – if they were called flowers we wouldn’t tread on them at all! I wanted to give the leaves another life and make art from them.”

And away I go to cut leaves up-  hope I can transfer whole scenes to palm fronds...  Or those papers that look like leaves that you use under a wedge of cheese...if you remember.

Friday, October 20, 2017

inside medievalise headway

"I prefer to see with closed eyes." 
— Josef Albers

Rodent Days of the Dead

Got my prescription renewed but only part of it-  Walgreens ran out but gave me enough for the trip, whew.  This is not a life threatening medication, but I sure have a time when I don't take it.  Then I hit the bank, got a bit of cash but then decided I need a bit more so the ATM shut me off and closed the account.  Geesh, ll I wanted was a few 20's instead of 50's.  So when I got home I had 2 messages from my bank about 'fraudulent usage' and that my account will stay locked until they can verify me.  For crying' out loud.  So I got that taken care of in a follow up phone call with a robot.  What a pain.

Headed for the studio and finished the second blouse and cut out another one I will finish when I get back.  I made a pattern that is a basic tee shirt, no buttons, no zippers, no snaps, AND I can make the whole thing on the machine, no handwork!  Finished seams!  And it looks good.  I have an abundance of fabric as you know, so I am going to use some of it for more of these shirts-  add a sleeve, cut one down the center, add a zipper, pockets, cups-  whatever to change it up a bit and still not do any handwork.  This ought to get me going again, at least one would hope.

I managed with brute strength to compact my queen quilt into HALF of my carry-on-  it will take three days in the dryer to puff up again but I did it!  And I can fit an extra pair of jeans and a shirt or two in there too.  I'm a bit scared the whole thing will explode on the conveyer belt and I'll be grounded for life, but I'm saving having to buy another one of something I already have!  

Finally, because I'm going away, I worry about the aged doggie and whether she will get her meals-on-wheels rotisserie chicken served on time. Today I bought two and stripped them clean ready to flop into her dish twice a day.  Seems to be all she will eat lately and especially likes it frozen and pieces snapped off to be hand fed to her.  TY thinks this charming and goes along with it so we'll see what happens when I get back and she expects this to continue.  Ha.

SO, I have a bit of an ARTY PART~

A couple of old turtles.   Indonesian artist Ono Gaf works primarily with metallic junk reclaimed from a trash heap to create his animalistic sculptures. His most recent piece is this giant turtle containing hundreds of individual metal components like car parts, tools, bike parts, instruments, springs, and tractor rotors. You can read a bit more about Gaf over on the Jakarta Post, and see more of this turtle in this set of photos by Gina Sanderson. 

Hope to be in touch from Boston but just taking the iPad so we'll see how much I can do with that.  I haven't had luck before but maybe this time I'll be driven to it!