Saturday, December 16, 2006

Sacred Paths and Slippery Dreams

Dscn2254 Can I bear to cover this up by adding embellishments?  I don't think so.  On this one I learned the difference between using a palette knife and a brush.  Palette knife leaves a very smooth surface.  And the green colour are the dyed paper towels. 

Dscn2245 Remember to click any image to enlarge.  The background for the pages on the right is an idea for a quilt design but not with these colours.  This one is sorta my ceiling of the chapel moment.

Dscn2256 oooo, a dream sequence here...the medium is still wet but I'll prolly tone down the white in the lower left corner. 

And someone in the Artful Quilter's blog ring is feeding my book altering addiction :)  More about that tomorrow! 

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Contentment and the Blues

Dscn2242 Dscn2244_1

i know the page on the left is complete.  it gives me a contented vibrations when i look at it and touch it.  the same with the one on the right but i might just find something to add on to the left side of that page. since working with "roundness" is not something my own sensibilities gravitate toward when doing my own work, i wanted to call this page "the birth of the round" lol.   

i'm really am not going to start another blog for altering books but more than likely, altering book posts will become a regular feature at Seamless Skin.

Quilt Design Blues

speaking of blues, did anyone see the Eric Clapton's Guitar Blues Festival  last night on Great Performances on PBS?  fabulous!  eased the day's stress right out of me!  any day hearing and seeing B.B. King sing and play is a good day! and Robert Randolph and The Family Band  acted a fool on stage with that 12 string! i saw this band one other time on Austin City Limits i believe, and I thought my tv was going to dance itself out the door! 

my blues, the quilt design blues, showed up last night.  i came up with another design idea for a themed quilt challenge i'm doing with my quilt circle.  it has to be completed by end of march and while everyone is stitching right along, i've used 2 months to change my mind every week, sometimes every other day, over design and idea.  i've not commited one thread to needle, needle to cloth.  i've questioned my commitment to doing this quilt and thats not it, i do want to do it.  i do know what is the underlying trouble but i will not belabor my lament here since there is a possibility of a resolution soon, plus i don't have a guitar for the blues full effect.

Blogging and Books

blogs with Typepad can have their blogs published into a book.  40 pages for about 20 bucks. more pages, more bucks.  i might consider this for Seamless Skin...poetry, recipes, photos, random writings...consider the possiblities!

Coloring Pages 3

Dscn2241 i knew those dried paper towels would come in handy!  this is a paper towel used to mop up dye spills from dyeing cloth back in June.  i seperated the towel in two for a single sheet which means there is an identical sheet like this one.  then laid it down with regular gloss medium...the parts where the print shows through i'm thinking of filling in with seed beads.

Coloring Pages 2

Dscn2240 stamped first with Staz-On brand ink pads... allowed ink to dry then did a much diluted color wash.  reminds me of kitchen wall paper, 1950ish.  puts me in the mind of wearing an apron and baking a cake.

Coloring pages

Dscn2236_1 (always click to enlarge photo image)  oil pastel crayons, cured for 2 days (not sure curing was necessary though) and then brushed on a thin coat of regular gloss medium.   i like the shadow effect on the left as a result of phototograpy.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


Last night I emailed my Artist Statement for Negotiating Territory which will be hung in the Form, Not Function Exhibit next month.  Somewhere I came across an artist's website and his statement read: I make stuff. If you like it, its art; if you don't, its not.  How wonderful to leave it fully up to the viewer to decide!  It neither hinders or interferes with my own self definition as artist and yet leaves room for the viewer to also be fully engaged or not.  I've found myself saying "life is as it is" as a way to release myself from overthinking and overanalysis of situations.  Is the common trait of being human is that we really live out our lives based on "belief and perception" and truth, in an ultimate sense of it, is false?????  If truth and justice where women, they'd be living in domestic violence shelters.  The statement:


I have the soul of a poet who is re-emerging as an art quilter. My first quilt began some 20 years ago…a traditional pattern in a blend of commercial solids and African fabrics...99% hand pieced and quilted which took over 10 years to complete. That quilt was homage to my great grandmother, Willie Pearl Usher, who responded to my request to teach me to quilt after I graduated, that the monies paid for my college education went wasted if “that college did not teach me to quilt”. She could not phantom it.
This re-emergence as an art quilter started in March , 2003. Through a series of local workshops, symposiums, classes, and mentored study up through the present, I have evolved to this point. Negotiating Territory was created during a 2 month retreat of rented studio time at Mary Anderson Center for the Arts in Floyds Knob, Indiana and represents a culmination of knowledge and focus to achieve my original design.
Like Baby Suggs, a character in Morrison’s Beloved, I am fascinated with color, followed by shape and line. Negotiating Territory is a range of calm and cool blues and greens (mostly hand-dyed) vying for space, with the negotiations yielding breakthroughs of light in unexpected spaces and glimmers of hope. Beyond this, the viewer is welcome to infer their own take on this particular negotiation.

Altering Books

This morning I put some crackle medium on 2 pages and it has to cure from 3-5 days.  So it will be awhile before I'm able to get back into this one.  I'm back to glueing pages together in the other one.  Its cold and wet today (not like the prediction of warmer temps the weatherman had thought).  I might suit up to go out for more cheap books at the thrift store but I'm leaning toward staying in until its time to pick A. up this evening.

African DNA

Every since I read about the project at Howard University as a result of learning about the African Burial Project which they received the bones and artifacts, I've wanted to have my DNA analized.  The oldest living relative I've found on my mother's side, Katherine Robey, came to Kentucky at the age of 12 with the White Robeys from North Carolina sometime in the early to mid 1800s.  Peter was saying this morning that he wouldn't mind having donating his DNA also given his history and how the slave trade affected his family in Sierra Leone and Nigeria.

A couple of days ago I came across this blog of Mr. Grant who not only was linked to his African ethnicty but actually, by nothing less than divine fate, found his distant relatives!!!!!!  Any African in the Diaspora who has ever attempted genealogy research knows that this is HUGE! I mean REALLY REALLY HUGE!!!!! AND TO A GROUP WHO STILL USES GRIOTS TO KEEP HISTORY!!!!  I hold the impression that the importance and status of griots are on the decline (for reasons that will always remain debatable and multiple).   

Monday, December 11, 2006

Now just how much can I put on a page?

Dscn2230 The page on the left has acrylic paint, gel medium, oil pastel, angelina fibers, aluminum foil, and fabric paints on it. Its the angelina that makes that floating white light towards the center of the 2 pages.

I have 2 books going right now and I just fiddle faddle here and there throughout the day on various pages.  I can't wait to return to the thrift store for more old hard cover books.  Its really all about the colour shape and form for me and its the same with my quilts.  I keep thinking I need to portray something in realistic form or make a clear cut statement about something...but (and it has been this way for a long while) I'm just not in that space with the visual thing for myself right now.  The cognitive (literary/thinking) and the expressive Dscn2234_2(visual/emotional) are residing in two seperate huts.


Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Nothing can beat a good book

to get through winter.  Dscn2227

Altering books is a great diversion.  Its nothing but pure fun as I can pull from any technique and it is never frustration if it doesn't turn out the way I intended because I have no intentions.  Just keep right on rolling along with ideas.

Mostly I've been playing with various ways to colour backgrounds and my favorite thus far is with layers and layers of acryllic paint and soft gel medium.  I like the pages stiff with a soft crackle sound when the pages are turned. 

The first image is The Sojourner Truth Page.  Unfinished. All these pages an ongoing.  Me and my girlfriend use to have Truth's Ain't I A Woman Speech committed to was often a way to alleviate stress and bring some relief after handling some personal injustice or another...we laughed and cried many'a times ab-libbing on this famous speech.  Water colours, ETAL, photo copy, stamped ink, marker, and pen have been used so far...I think it needs some grommets around the frame which is cut from the ETAL.  I ordered this last winter and never found a use for it but I see it will have many appearances here.

Dscn2226 This is tissue paper and acrylics.  Most of the pages are gessoed first with 2 coats minimum.  This one below I think will receive some foil if I find my foil sheets. Dscn2229  Friday I hope I can announce some good news but right now I've got to start an artist statement...this will be only my 2nd one for the public eye and as much as I like to write, I feel a little intimidated.  Just another ledge to fly off of, eh?!                                                                                                                                                               

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Bears No Resemblance

Yesterday I returned to school.  The 9th grade specifically.  I sat in my son's classes except for PE which is the only class he is passing...that and art and even art with a C because he isn't doing well on the tests and written work.  Was he humiliated? Yeap! Hopefully enough to stop this crazy yo-yoing (hey, is that a pun for a quilt?)!  I will be doing this at least once a week.  You should have seen him walking very fast ahead of me...said he didn't want to be seen as a "mama's boy"...Well I told him to get his act together and I'd stop coming to class.  If this doesn't do it, then I'm going to volunteer as a teacher's aid a couple of days a week.  I really don't want to do that but if I must, I will.  You see he isn't a behavior problem one bit.  Actually he is very quiet (accept for at home) and a constant daydreamer.  Teachers and mentors who have worked with him all say when he has his feet and mind on earth he is rather "profound and intuitive".  All this is wonderful and it "keeps hope alive" but it will not graduate him from high school.  He has recently made the basketball team (barely) but I'm hoping he makes the connection between being able to play in games and his grades.  He is discovering that being on the team is no different from the amount of time and committment and team playing and communication that being in the Boy's Choir undertook.  He is one that seems to have to "go there to know where"  A hard head will make a soft behind, eh?!

Here are the first 2 completed pages in my altered book.  The significance of this is I kept drawing and didn't abandon the page or opt to cover it over.  Now I wonder where these faces have come from...she looks mean and he looks like he is up to something.  No resemblance to the real us though, at least not physically (wink).

Dscn2194_1 Dscn2219 

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Bits and Pieces

Last Friday Mo and I took a brief trip to Mellwood Arts and Entertainment Center...I keep debating an outside studio and since I discovered they are the cheapest game in town versus the most expensive which I had thought, moving into a space there is so tempting.   I've given myself to the end of January to make a final decision one way or the other.  Its indecisiveness that adds to the frustration.  At 132 per month it would mean that my budget for supplies would diminish...but what good are the supplies if I can't spread out and use them???????? 

The space I was shown a few weeks ago has already been taken.  Also the other part of the dilemna is knowing that the space I can afford will not allow me to do both wet work/surface design AND quilt design and construction, has to be one or the other.  I'm leaning toward sewing moving my fabrics and machine and cutting table into a space and continue to use MACA a few times a year for the wet work/and surface design exploration.  While I was at Mellwood, I spoke with an embroidery artist who is interested in sharing space.  I spoke with another artist earlier in the week who is looking for a group of 10 to rent out another space that is fairly large with a full basement and also on the trolley art hops route.  Both conversations felt like affirmations to take the leap...what is that philosophy about jumping and the net will appear or jump and I'll grown wings on the way down????   

There was a lot of activity there at Mellwood...people were setting of for the Good Folk Festival, which highlights "raw, outsider, folk art, etc" which I truly love.  I saw several pieces that I wanted...One of them was a wooden painted door that had a woman and a story on it about "grandmother's buttons"...the woman's dress was formed by buttons.  The artist had a 2 other doors with different themes and I could envision all 3 of them in a  house against one wall. I had intentions of returning Sunday morning but that didn't happen. 

Last Thursday I shared 2 pieces at LAFTA (Louisville Area Fiber and Textile Artists) during show and tell for the first time after 6 months or so of being a member and attending almost every meeting since I joined.  I really love this is very comfortable and laid back.  A few weeks ago one of the members sponsored a surface design play date at her house and in addition to stamp carving, I fell head over heels in love with the thermofax.  Here is a screen of my brother Dscn2198 ...I used a charcoal pencil to make the image to run through the machine. 

Also, a couple of Saturdays ago, Deb, Jackie, and Ron, my siblings, made our first "together" road trip to Indianapolis to see the Gee's Bends Quilts at the Indianapolis Musuem of Art.  FABULOUS!!!!!!!!!!!  The graphic quality and the emotional connotations that vibrate off the work was deeply moving and we spent a great part of the day in that section.  There was also an exhibit of wedding fashions from around the world that was very interesting and their African Art Gallery that mixes contemporary and tradional was very impressive.  The Contemporary exhibit stirred quite a bit of conversation among us which was fun. 

We also attended a family birthday celebration for a cousin who turned 50.  Mo quipped how young she looked to which I replied...she only was married once and it was short lived and she doesn't have children...well I thought it was funny inspite of Mo's 17 year old smirk.

Mo and I along with my mama, 2 sisters, 2 of my nieces, and a niece-in-law, made a trek to Nashville to see the Lion King.  It was very enjoyable and Deb was in tears within the first 5 minutes to the curtain going up.  She also caught the resemblance between one of the costumes and one of the African wedding attire that we saw at the Indy Museum.  It was pretty moving and a blessing to have enjoyed seeing the play with them.  This was also the weekend that kinda did me in physically but I tell ya, every bit of it was worth it.  I made a conscious decision a few years ago to enjoy myself as much as possible, at every opportunity I can...besides it kept my mind off of not sewing although I've been playing with paint as inspired by Melody at Fibermania.  However, since I don't have a clue as to what I'm doing, this is what the canvas has morphed into Dscn2196 ...this is about it's 5th and close to final incarnation.  I should have taken pictures of each of the short lived lives this canvas has had, one would have to see it to believe it.  I finally decided that a solid black was the best improvement I could make then I started looking at the books on collage and blogs on mixed media and thus this is where I'm heading with it.  Here are some beginnings of altered books...this is my first time with this also and in my mind I can see Memphis Pam, who I shared an art retreat last year at MACA, working on her book that she did while there. Dscn2197

Winter has never been my season and I'm not big on celebrating the holidays, preferring to focus on time with family around the dinner table, recounting family myths and making new myths for the younger ones coming up, and of course the Scrabble marathons and talking smack.  This is what holidays mean to me. 

Tomorrow will be at my mother's and I'm looking forward to seeing all the babies.  We've had an influx this year, I have a new great niece, Zaria, and new great nephew, Chase, and of course my grandson Adrian II, and my adorable 4 year old nephew, Issac who now lives in North Carolina and I miss him so much!  He is a really old soul and says some of the funniest things for his age.   

I've decided to fill this season with reading and since I've been reading at a steady pace, I've rejuvenated a book blog to track my reading and my response to what I read. (See my side bar near the top for the link to the book blog if interested). Plus it helps to keep the gray matter from feeling so muddled and foggy.   Afterall, blogging allows me to keep all the bits and pieces together. :)

Monday, November 13, 2006

I'm Still Here

With lines from a Langston Hughes poem walking through my head, I'm still here, laughing, loving, living, and crying!

First let me just issue a big ol' cyber group hug to all those who left comments or emailed me over the previous post.  Since then I've had a 2nd piece accepted into a local show that will go up on the 19th of this month at Actor's Theatre.  I'll provide details later when I have more time and am feeling better. 

I'm recovering from a touch of bronchitis but no hospital stay has been needed.  I've been doing too much in this "sometimey" weather as my great grandmother would call it.  Winter is not my friend and I hate the weight of the need to bundle up...I feel like a walking sumo wrestler.

Here are some links I wanted to share which motivated me to post:  Quilt Show with Ricky Tims and 2006 Season or Individual Episodes of Simply Quilts for downloading

Hangeth In, I'll be back ;)

Friday, October 20, 2006

Did you hear a loud verberating

echo and wondered where the sound was coming from?  That would have been me followed by gasping, then more screaming, with my hand spread over my heart and the other hand waving in the air with a slight 2-step going on!  Ladies and gents, sistahs and brothas, I have been accepted into my first juried exhibit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  The quilt is entitled Negotiating Territory and was a design I created  out of the symposium I attended which is coordinated by the loving and lovely Juanita.  This quilt attempted to apply everything I learned from the symposium.  The concept is about finding and declaring one's space/territory...whether between indiviuals or countries and governments and corporations.  Making this quilt and the time I took in Studio 3 was a balm for an emotional disappointment of the house hunting ending back in August and was most therapuetic for me.  Acceptance into the exhibit is a mended circle.  This is MY Quilt National :)  I plan to make 3 more of them before next summer.  I'm not sure of the rules about showing the quilt so I'm not even going to do it...I'll probably wait until the show goes up in January before I show it here.  (Plus, LP (life partner) has been cleaning up the computer today and now just about all my photos are missing.  He has reassured me that they are somewhere inside this box and in time they will be restored. my eyes cut to the side with a smirk)

I'm actually preparing to submit to 2 other shows...for one I'm going out on a limb and will have 2 pieces professionally framed but without glass (???? on the glass, but I'm leaning toward no glass).  They just seemed to need a frame versus hanging out loose.  If I get accepted they will be for sale as part of the requirements for entering.  I think I'll sprinkle Holy Water on them before I send them out. 

Peace, oh, and you can take out your ear plugs, I'm much more settled now.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Its So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday

Dscn2073_1 I began the break down of my temporary studio yesterday.  Most of everything is back home sitting in the middle of my bedroom waiting to be sorted and put up.  The days I have remaining I thought I'd read, do hand stitching, photography of older quilts, and some silk fusion.  The fabric selections for the quilt I am refering to as "725" all got packed up.  It was much too ambitious of a quilt to start in the time I have left.

Yesterday and today the weather was peaceful.  I opened the windows of the studio and while hand stitching, listened to the variety of bird chirps and the rustle of leaves and grasses.  It was incredibly relaxing.  I'm not an up close with nature woman but enjoy it from a mid-way point of view which seems to be enough to widen my experiences from the daily to and fro' of, as Stevie Wonder sings, living in the city.

I sat and watched clouds slide across the sky and became almost Dscn2063_3 hypnotized by the changes in colour and the movement and organic shapes.  I read poems from Halala Madiba and even attempted to memorize one...its been so long since I've been able to do that.  I journaled the making of the quilts in the 2 months I've been there...nothing too extensive, just enough to document the work and my emotions to help me remember the time spent.  If I was organized as I'd like to be, I would make a journal for each quilt I make.  Wouldn't that be a great thing to do and read 20-40 years later!

Tomorrow I'm off to the library to pick up some book selections for researching "water".  One is by a Japanese (I believe) writer who submits that water cells hold memory, or at least that is what was explained to me by the person who recommended it.  The writer's surname is Emoto...if you've read any of his work, please leave a comment and tell me what you think.



Monday, October 9, 2006

The Blues Man and The Robey Clock

Dscn2077 Dscn2083 Thursday and Friday of last week I had a visitor.  Adrian II, my grandson entertained us.  He is very social...his father, my son, was just the opposite when he was this age...he was quiet and observant.  Its been a very long time (14 years) since I've cared for an infant and having him around really takes me back.  He is so easy to care for and loves music.  I played blues for him this time because he reminded me of an old bluesman (we do nick names in my family) so I called him Blues Man and we rocked and clapped and rocked some more. 

I was at the studio for about 5 hours today but felt dull and lack lustered.  I've been so crazy about this piece but today I put it up and nothing, felt nothing...I think its more me than the actual piece because it looked just like I pictured it would and wanted it to and have been very excited about it until today.  I tried working on the 3rd in the series but felt so uncertain about what I was doing that I placed it aside and took the red silk fabric (can be seen on the design wall a few posts down)and did some hand sewing on it with perle size 8 thread.  The idea for what I want to do with this piece was inspired by 3 pieces by the artist Sam Gilliam that I saw over the summer.  Its examining whether a monotone colour can hold its own with just using texture.

This is The Robey Clock, the 2nd in the Poetics Series.  Dscn2120 Dscn2122I used Jacquard Silk ExtraOrganza which printed better than the organza I pruchased from Dharma which I cut down to size and ironed on freezer paper to run through my printer.  What works for me is the clock (printed on Jacquard silk) behind the sheer, the bone shell African beads in different sizes, the eyes, the stamp work on the background (another symbol for Sankofa), the close stitching lines and that brick red colour and the yellow.  I think a mat and frame would improve it and I may do that later on.  It has a raw edge with a zig-zag finish which suits the piece well.  I'll return tomorrow to the studio space and hopefully will be able to make progress on the 3rd one which is a remake of Lena Bell.

What in the world is this?

Yesterday a friend and I managed to make it to Saint James Art Fair for a few hours (which is no way nearly enough time).  We browsed the vendors on Saint James Court and Belgravia Court and that was it.  I was enthralled with so many of the artists' works as it was a feast for the eyes! 

To get to the Fair which borders on a small urban park called Central Park we walked through the park and Donna spotted these green things on the ground which neither of us had ever seen.  She kicked one and it was hard like a ball.  I asked someone who was passing through if he knew what these strange things where called and he identified it as some type of "orange" but not in the edible way.  He said he places them in his basement to keep crickets away.  He said they are filled with black seeds.  They grow on a few trees in the park.  I was just fit to be tied at these strange and new to me fruit.  I was telling a girlfriend about them today and she said they use to grow abundantly in her area in Pennsylvania and they played with them as kids and called them Monkey Balls and added they "green" stink when cut open.  But I was so fascinated with them that I brought one home.  My new neighbor downstairs wanted me to cut it open to see the inside but I'm not ready to do that yet.  Not until I know what they are called and what the tree is called.  Here it is: Dscn2131 

Its the size of a grapefruit.  What in the world is this mystery fruit called?   Even beyond the art works, this thing, whatever it is, was the true find for the day.

Addendum: Thank you Amy for identifying this fruit for me.  For those who are just as curious as I am- Osage Orange, i.e. Hedge Apple.

Wednesday, October 4, 2006


Dscn2056_1 In just a little over a week it will be time for me to pack up my stuff and bring it back home.  Its not that I've created so much but rather what I've accomplished in 2 months equates to about 6 months here at home.  How does that law of science go?  Once a thing expands it will never be able to go back to its original size.  Its going to rough but I know winter is approaching and it would not serve me well to have a space away from home as extreme cold is very hard on my lungs so I tend to become a hermit.  But what ever shall I do?  Sewing the way I've been has made me come to justify having multiple machines...not that I do, but if I had a dedicated space, I surely could see having multiple, well maybe 2 pieces going simultaneously, especially in a series.  But some may call me a dreamer, but I know I'm not the only one :). 

Here is what the design wall looked like when I arrived this afternoon: Dscn2049 This is derived from the Poetics Series and the words and numbers and fertility doll photo are for a piece based on several poems about my great grandmother.  The red and bright gold are silk pieces that I dyed which will become a part a piece hanging in threes.  The piece at the very bottom is called The Robey Clock and the piece above it is a back drop for the 3rd in the Poetics series.  Dscn2053 I took Lena Bell and wrapped it around a frame and it really improved the overall appearance of the piece.  It now measures 20"x16".  The other 3 will not go around a frame and I'm going to make Lena Bell again.   I'm not sure if all these will be complete when its time for me to pack up but even if they are not, I am pleased.  When I left today, here is what the design wall looked like: Dscn2052 Auditioning fabrics for 725 with some of my favorite commercial fabrics...but I think the words may get lost among the prints for the design I'm kinda working with. 

I'll return tomorrow and will take Friday off to rest and enjoy my children (out of school) and my grandson who will be here. 

Saturday, September 30, 2006

It went down in the idea journal

Dscn2032 I appreciate the comments on yesterday's post.  Just so I wouldn't be tormented by trying to clarify if I would or wouldn't make the quilt, I put it in a notebook that I log ideas in only. That helped me relax somewhat about the quilt itself even though the issues are forever ongoing.

I have 14 days left in Studio 3 and I was stressing the approaching deadline for Form Not Function.  I just ordered slides for the first time...I paid for a 2 day turn around so I'm assuming that is what I'll get.  Between now and Tuesday afternoon I'm going to work on relaxing and focusing on the next piece for Weaving Poetics entitled The Robey Clock.  I figured out what was bothering me about Lena Bell (the quilt, not the woman herself) and have used this info to help me with the 2nd one.  I don't like the white area around the photo...should either be less of it or painted.  Also, the colour of the background itself leaves me feeling cold, possibly if I had painted the white area a colour that complemented the background colour it would have been more interesting to look at. 

So far, I'm loving everything about The Robey Clock but will add beads and 2 or 3 more photos and maybe the weave symbol.  They both are pinned to the carpet being blocked. Surprising to me, but I like rolling around on the floor with the spray bottle and iron to do this process.

Friday, September 29, 2006

I am that I am


It is 6am, I woke up an hour ago, bothered.  A vivid image for a quilt came to me right after I opened my eyes. An image that reflects the weight of race and gender issues.  I'm thankful that my sensitivity causes me to be aware and seek understanding, but when I can feel something in my skin, when the emotions vibrate through my body its too weighty and commanding.  Since my teen years through most of my adult life it was the calling of poetry to work it out.  Five or six years ago, I couldn't hear the calling, (I suspect it was related to culminated trauma caused by decades of pulmonary illnesses). It was during 2 consecutive stays in the hospital when  I begin to dream the visual.  Mostly what came and comes are lines and various shapes of colours and textures...but this morning the image was pictorial and vivid and I don't want to address these issues this way but I'm feeling called to make this quilt.  History is what it is, all I got is what I got, I am who I am, now what am I going to do with it?

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Start of Weaving Poetics

Dscn2013 Dscn2011_1 This is 1 of 3 in the Weaving Poetics.  Its entitled Lena Bell.  I'm using hand-dyes by Helene Davis as a back drop for the scrapbook style quilts.   Dscn2012The backdrop is sparsely quilted which I'll change for the next one.  I thought about stretching it around a canvas frame which was an idea I picked up over the summer from Joanne Weiss, but decided against that one,...then I thought about sewing all 3 together like a book and making it interactive so the viewer would have to turn the pages.  They will measure around 18"x24".  I hope to have all 3 completed by mid-October to hang in a local theatre's lobby.  I really want a simple layout but its been difficult for me to find the best of simple.  The 3 pieces will be united by backround fabric, photos, poetry, and a woven embellishment.  Here is the first one nearly completed except for my binding choice. I used red-iron on crystals to signify blood dropping from the tree branch (you can click on the photo to enlarge).  This one is bascially a mock up for the other 2 (possibly 3) Lena Bell was my great aunt who lived to be 100. She died in 1998.  Also,the start of the second one under the needle.  I get such a zing from power sewing at the sewing machine. Dscn2024


Friday, September 22, 2006

Studio 3 update

Dscn2028  This second month in the studio isn't as productive as the first.  Yesterday I returned after 6 days of not making it there. I stayed for 5 hours and accomplished attaching most of the embellishments to Faith of A Mother (working title) and worked on 2 of the Weaving Poetics Series which have a simple layout but I spent most of the time trying to get the best of simple.  I left there and went to the LAFTA meeting but didn't stay as the day just proved to long for me and I had to come home.  The shorten daylight doesn't help and as much as I try to push it out of my mind, the change of seasons seems to be a vulnerable time for me physically.  But the one thing that I'm most proud of in regards to the studio time is that it took me 3 weeks to finish a quilt from start to finish.  If I had did this at home it would have been closer to 3 months. Its just not the same.  I've put it out in the universe and to God that I would love a studio outside of home for at least a full year or two.

Two posts ago I wrote about the circular attachment and a few had inquiries about it.  It is a specific attachment for my sewing machine, Janome 6500.  I first saw it on the Janome website as an option and called the dealer back in January who sold me one that didn't was a Janome attachment but for another J machine...even after I mentioned it was on the website the owner dismissed the info and still insisted there wasn't one for the 6500.  It wasn't until I was in Nashville at the AQS show that I purchased the correct one and for 15 bucks cheaper than the local dealer would have sold it IF she had had the correct one!  But I almost lost the one I purchased in Nashville if not for some angels who blessed me by retrieving it.   

My goal today is to attend a lecture by bell hooks.  I count her writings among the select women writers who have had the most profound influence in my intellectual development.  I heard her speak for the first time about 2 years ago and she was such a delightful surprise.  I had always pictured a towering commanding woman and she is a small, tranquil commanding woman who exudes a neighborly friendliness which made me love her writing even more.  I wish I had been better prepared, I would have presented her with one of my quilts.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

If only

Mo took me seriously on her becoming articulate in Spanish and developing her career in Venezuela so that she can move me, poor ole' mother, in my old age.  Currently she is planning to take a minor in Spainish and was upset that her school cancelled 4th year Spainish.  But I'm listening to the press conference and have read "the" speech.  I fall more in love with the man the more I read or hear his words.  There is something to be said for intelligence, wit, vision, and compassion in a man. 

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Woman's plans

didn't happen as she expected them to...but a new week is starting and I've gotten antsy about the Weaving Poetics series. My plan was to have one of them completed by now but my printer, which I need has a busted printhead and it had to be ordered online.  So the 2 days I made it to Studio 3 where not as productive as I unless something happens tomorrow where I can hunt down a printer to run fabric through, I'll have to come up with something else.  I could always make postcards but I think I'm over them.  I could have made some yesterday while I was there, but didn't, even with knowing I have a gallery that wants to carry them.  I was stuck trying to switch gears just to make the time productive while I was there.  In my mind the Weaving Poetics was firmly designed and made and when the printer didn't cooperate, I became scattered.  I can only pray that the printhead will arrive Monday and next week will run smoothly. 

Yesterday a new artist arrived and will be in Studio 1. He is a young man who recently graduated from The Savannah Institute of Art and Design (or is it Design and Art?) and it taking some time to regroup before worrying about his next step.  Also, a composer will be coming for a few days next week and will be in Studio 4.  I hope his/her music will be as melodious as the other composer who was there in June.

Friday a week ago, my friend Cari joined me in the studio to work on her handmade holiday cards which she has always done for years but then it wasn't moving her after 2-3 hours and only 4 or 5 were finished, so she pulled out some mola that she had started years ago in a workshop.  Dscn1968 Cari and I first met where we worked together years ago.  I first noticed her laughter that seemed deep and genuine (a rarity in that environment) and it was so refreshing that I was compelled to get to know her better.  She has an ecletic and creative spirit.

Yesterday as I piddled around I managed to take what I think are quality photos of the "top secret" quilt and then I played with my circular attachment.  This is the back of the sample which shows up better because the fabric on top Dscn2008was very busy. I must remember to use a stablizer if I'm going to use this in an actual quilt.  Dscn2007

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Took a unexpected break

from studio 3.  I haven't returned since my last post.  Some resting was in order and tomorrow I'm getting back on the good foot (throw back to a James Brown lyric) and doing my thang!

Saturday, September 9, 2006

If you see a woman

carrying around a quilt and asking total strangers if they "wanna see my quilt?", that would be me!  Yeap, I'm quit pleased and punch drunk with love for it!  I need to add the sleeve and label it and get it photographed.  I wish I could show it here but I just can't.

On Monday I'll begin the Weaving Poetics series and I'll be able to show them.


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Brain Storm Idea

While reading Beverly's blog, Fiberhart, about sorting her stash, I thought why not sort by value instead of colour?!  I think I'll try this...and just number the boxes 1-10 for value!  A while ago I had thought about sorting colours in shades, tones, etc. but thought that would be too many darn bins for a colour family...but values, I'm thinking it'll work!

To my family, friends, and sistah bloggers

thank you for sharing in my joy on the republication of my poem!  Its a full circle feeling to have a poem published now in light of not having written a poem in almost 5 years.  While waiting for an echocardiagram today and browsing through the Gallery Issue of Surface Design magazine it hit me to create a series called Weaving Poetics.  My hands begin to tingle as I visualized designs in my head and I re-thought the idea of not going to Studio 3 today.  But I'm holding to my plans to block the This Far By Faith (working title of the blue and green piece in 2 posts below) today at home and I'm going to start the beginnings of Weaving Poetics which I can do at home also.  I think if I had dedicated permanent space to work in, I'd be the type of quilter who had multiple projects going on and I can now see the benefit of having more than one sewing machine set up to accomodate multiple works in progress.  Back in June when I was in Studio 3, I observed Kim (the long term artist in residence) and another artist from Los Angeles working around their studios on mulitple canvases and I wondered about this for my own work...if I would work on multiple projects or focus on one from beginning to completion. 

Last night, leaving Studio 3, I stepped out into pitch black darkness.  Quite a jolt to this city girl of just how dark night can get.  I was only parked a few feet from the door but stepped by in to turn the hall light on so that I could see my way to the car.  If I had given myself enough time I'm sure my eyes would have adjusted. I was intimidated by it and wanted the comfort of a light.  When I go tomorrow I'm taking a flash light.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

In Honour of Poetry Thursday

Dscn1865 Dscn1867 On Tuesday I received this anthology which included a poem I wrote in 1988 for a previous, smaller anthology of international poets to honour a birthday for Nelson Mandela.  Last year the editor with Aflame Books tracked me down via the poet, Amelia Blossom House, who edited the first anthology, Nelson Mandelamandla which was published by Three Continents Press in 1989, to ask my permission to re-publish in this current anthology.  I had forgotten about it until last week when Richard Barlett, the editor, contacted me to say he was placing the book in the mail to me. 

Halala Madiba (link is to a BBC article) is a much larger anthology of Mr. Mandela in poetry. The poems are placed in chronological order beginning in 1963 through 2005.  Nadine Gordimer wrote the foreward.  Other poets whose names are familiar to me and who are included are Dennis Brutus, Abena Busia, Seamus Heaney, Haki Madhubuti, Kalamu ya Salaam, Tupac Shakur (Yes, the Tupac!), Ntozake Shange, and Wole Soyinka!  Good Lord! I'm awed, filled with joy, and humbled all in the short spanse of seconds.  It has been recently released in the U.K. but will not have a U.S. release until next Spring. 

My short poem barely made it into the first anthology...I was at the post office with 15 minutes to go until the post-mark deadline would have ended.  For months I wrestled with writing a poem about Mandela, thinking it must be lengthy, heavy in content, and my best work.  After months of discards and whittling down, this short poem expressed what I had to say about apartheid and the struggle for freedom...completed a day before the deadline.  Self-doubt almost stopped me from sending it knowing that it had to be reviewed before being accepted for the book.

Having received this book in the same week that I began this retreat in Studio 3, is a divine validation of the highest order for me...I describe myself as one with the soul of a poet who is now quilting.  It feels miraculous.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Day 2 in Studio 3

Some doodles from my sketch book...a combination of pastels, coloured pencils, and water colours-

Dscn1863_2 Dscn1859_2 Dscn1861_3

Dscn1862 Doodling these right before I leave to head home marks the transition.  When I arrive I spend about an hour practicing free motion quilting before working on specific projects.  Today I quilted this...this is its original orientation but I think it works hung in other directions too.  This came out of the symposium I attended in July.  My intent with the quilt design was to mimick the slanted kinda turned out and it kinda didn't...i.e. I like the design but in some spots it doesn't compliment the top design.  I'm going back over the red lines to make them stand out more...I should have used a heavier weight in red thread but I can't spend another cent so I had to make do.

Design_3 Dscn1851 Dscn1852_1

Dscn1857_1 I was going to stay home tomorrow but then I remembered I wanted to take this to the LAFTA (Louisville Area Fiber & Textile Artists) meeting tomorrow night, so I will go back up in the afternoon and either put a facing on it or an escape hatch finish to complete it in time for show and tell.