Saturday, December 29, 2007

A Brief Post

1. I picked up my camera yesterday.

2. Prep for TG and Christmas (even though I keep my participation in the "shopacalypse" to a minimum) took a great deal out of me and I'm not feeling well.

3.  Been in bed watching a lot of tv (mainly fstv), looking at pictures, some reading, some computer time, listening to music and meditation.

4.  I have insominia, its a seasonal thing, with winter being the worst.

5. My daughter got her driving license.

6. I've made up my mine about the workshops...the summer one with Juanita Yeager, and the one in the fall with Benn/Morgan.

7. I'm waiting for warmer weather and the season to change.

8. Its Kwanzaa time! 

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Spring Green (its a Crayola crayon colour)

A big ole fat thank you to those who shared in the joy of my announcement.  I've already began to shuffle around my goals making myself nutso...thinking maybe I should make "this" priority over "that"...frustrating how joy and clarity are so definitive one day and the next day is full of questions.  I just really want to maximize the opportunities to the fullest.  This winter will probably seem like the longest one ever!  I will not get down and dirty until winter is over...the weather has to warm up for me to be in and out daily.  Which means any readers here will go around and around with me as I attempt to nail down what I'm calling level 2 of my goals until winter has ended or nearly ended. 

Level 1 is certain...the studio time and the workshop with Juanita Yeager...but I'm going round and round with deciding on the Claire Benn/Leslie Morgan workshop at the Crow Barn...IF I do not take this workshop then the back-up plan is to take the 2 days with Bob Adams at QSDS OR attend the fall workshop with Caryl Bryer through the state guild.  The Benn/Morgan workshop would require me to come with my own ideas and not enter the workshop as a blank slate which has the highest appeal for me personally...BUT since I'm also great at learning through books coupled with the extended time in a studio space...I know that my own ideas would work themselves out slow but sure. My thinking is to order their book, Breakdown Printing, paired with the resources I already have and just go for it and save money for something else...oh, can anyone tell me the difference between Breakdown Printing and Deconstructed Printing?  Either way I decide, I'll be fine...and I have to say, these are great issues to have if I have to have issues!

Spring Green is laying on my kitchen table from when the grandboys where here weekend before last colouring their little hearts away.  This was one that didn't get put back in the box and has been rolling around on the table for a week and a half.   

Saturday, December 15, 2007

So Much Joy


(above: Holiday postcards)

In  2007 I've learned that I love the processes for surface design and I tend to like expanses of cloth versus cutting it up into small pieces to reconnect.  I have at least one workshop lined up for next year that will cover surface design and one self-driven one, but there are 2-4 more I'd like to take also.  One of them is filled already with a waiting list and I'm number 9 on it.  I'm going to send on the wave of prayer a deposit (non-refundable) for another one.  The 3rd and 4th one I'm taking a wait and see approach. Also lined up for 2008 will be at least 4 months of studio time with 3 of them continuous.   

Here is my agenda for next year:

1. Continue working through Complex Cloth

2. Work through the DVD on Deconstructed Screen Printing by Kerr Grabowski

3. Take a Surface Design workshop with Juanita Yeager

4. Rent studio time at MACA

5. Renew SAQA membership, KHQS, LAFTA, Sankofa, & The Quilting Show.

6. Produce 4-5 quilts that I feel super-great over.

Additional Wish LIst:

7. Workshops w/ Bob Adams, Hollis Chatelain, Caryl Bryer Fallert, or Claire Benn/Leslie Morgan (putting it in the hands of God...actually putting it all in the hands of God)

8. Improvisational Printing, Breakdown Printing, Painted Quilts, and Finding Your Own Visual Language are the only textile books I'm going to commit to buy next year.

A few posts down I wrote of waiting on some news. IT IS OFFICIAL! None of this quilt dreaming would be possible without the funding from Kentucky Foundation for Women Artist's Enrichment Grant!  I woke up one morning, a few days before the deadline back in early September, with the knowing that I deserved to ask for the funding to support my work and spent the entire day pulling together my proposal.  It was liberating to feel that strong and dedicated about what I want to acheive, without doubt.  Also, its such a blessing and great honor to become an extension of the vision and mission of the Foundation.  Its vital for an artist to say "I AM" before she can expect anyone to say "THOU ART"...get it, thou ART...okay, so much for my attempt at being clever.  But raise your ice cream bowls (mine is filled with a pomegrante sherbert) in celebration with me!

Monday, December 10, 2007


Gerrie asked me what I was going to do when I ran out of numbers for naming my posts...ummm, not sure.  I've enjoyed the numeric titles though and could always go into negative numbers. Maybe I could create something like the dewey decimal system for my blog titles???? ummmm. The way I use to do it before my count down begin...(called camera repair place today...yada, yada, yada, and yada...Friday is my 3rd newest deadline)...what was I saying?  Ah yea, my way of naming my post was to excerpt a phrase or play off a phrase or idea within the post.  Maybe I could take a part of speech...say use all adverbs, nouns, etc to name my posts.  Maybe I could use the name of coffee beans, or kitchen gadgets, or might take awhile for visitors to my blog to figure out what was going on.  For example, if I named my post, Toaster Oven, and there is no mention whatsoever of anything related to the title....ummm....or how about this for post titles...naming them after a colour.  I could start with Periwinkle, the next one could be Indigo, and so on...That idea I like and maybe I could tie it into the actual content of the post itself.

Well, I'm not sure what I'll do next for titles, but this is (possibly) the last numeric post (I think).

I'm looking forward to next year and the past few days I've turned over the possibilities and what I want to do (God willing and if the creek don't rise, hehehehe).  I've rearranged some of my plans and had to eliminate some (really not a bad problem to have at all!).  I'm going to wait a few weeks to write them out when they are more solid...but one of the goals is to participate in SharonB's Take It Further Challenge.

I've wrapped up my end of the year/beginning of the year anxiety over changes healthcare.  As of the first of December, medicare A&B will provide health coverage.  I've spent the last month weeding through the extended coverage options for prescription drug coverage and its obvious that "simple" is not in the government's lexicon.  But I mangaged and came to a decision 3 hours ago.  It feels good to have put the decision to rest and I don't even feel uptight about it...I've released it and have let it go.  Come what may, it will work itself out to my good!   

Friday, December 7, 2007


Img015 Back in the summer I started another visual journal.  I don't keep them with any regularity, but this one has been the most fun so far after deciding to abandon doing this for any specific purpose.  Images that inspire, doodles, experiments, colour play, just whatever, goes into it.  Of course I guess if I have to reference something thiImg013s would make it difficult to find. Ahhhh, but come what may...I'll just roll right along.

My drawImg016ing skills are close to non-existent but it is one of those things I keep promising myself to take more seriously...I have all these things I want to learn about...wines, coffees, photography, etc.  My wish lists are endless.  How about yours?   Img019

Thursday, December 6, 2007


Tuesday was a very important day for my brother also!  He received noticed that 3 of his pieces have been juried into  The 14th Annual African American Art Exhibit.  The juror was Kevin Cole.  His work is very multi-dimensional and architectural.  When I've tried to work with lots of colours in one piece it overwhelms me and makes me dizzy, but I can look at the work of other artists who do so and feel the vibration...sometimes rhythmic and sometimes jarring.  My brother's work is very rhythmic.  Congratulations Mudman!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


The wait is O-V-A-H! OVAH!

but if you read this post before I changed it then you know what I was waiting for...but it my state of over enthusiasm I posted prematurely before I read the entire letter so I had to delete the news here.

Monday, December 3, 2007


Img011 sigh. I'm playing a waiting game to hear some news coming via a letter.  I've been anticipating this letter since Friday.  It didn't come today so I made a phone call which relieved me of most of the anticipation.  The address was wrong so hopefully I'll receive it tomorrow.  The anticipation has been so intense that not hearing about my camera (a week overdue) is a small matter. I made a promise to myself that I will not jump the mail man tomorrow.

The was some random sewing I did today using scraps only.  It kept my mind occupied and not thinking about anticipated news.  The colours and the prints made it exciting to sew.  Thats my hand writing  and a stanza from one of my older poems on the center fabric which you might recognize from the quiltlets some post below.

Friday, November 30, 2007


Its been a long time since I laughed until I cried...but I checked THIS out from Cherryl's blog.  It is even more hilarious to me because two days ago I purchased Tickle Me Elmo for my grandson for Christmas and plan on getting him Cookie Monster for his birthday.  I know he will not have a clue who they are but the laughter on TME makes me laugh and because his Auntie (my daughter) is a cookie baker I thought me he would find it funny.

Oh and no phone call about my camera today.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


Img010 I'm reading two books on writing, How To Read a Poem and Fall in Love w/ Poetry by  Edward Hirsch and Writing Alone and w/ Others by Pat Schneider.  As I read them I'm not thinking about my own writing but my quilt art...over laying the ideas to how I perceive my work and my process of working on quilts. 

Hirsch spends the first chapter, 30 pages, passionately, almost orgasmic, stressing the intimate relationship between poet, writing, the poem, and reader.  Its the reader that completes the life cycle of the poem.  While reading the various ways HIrsch describes this relationship, I keep thinking that is what I want to achieve with my quilts.  It is the viewer who will breath life back into a quilt long after I've completed it.  In my eyes, I've yet to create a quilt that I think is wholely worthy of inhabiting another's soul but have come close with the the 2 pieces that make up the Liberation Quilts: Cilium 1 & 2.  Also, with the prayer quilt for my children and the 3 small quiltlets that I showed in the recent preceding entries I am proud to release.  Negotiating Territory was one that I was able to apply technical knowledge I'd learned on using value and designing an original block and I loved the concept behind the quilt's message.  These works I am happy to show publicly.  Other works are exercises for various ideas and techniques, such as the one above.

In Schneider's book, so far, I've fallen in love with her definition of discipline as less of a duty and commitment and more of being led by spirit and belief that the work is important.  Schneider writes: To be disciplined as a writer you need a compassionate and welcoming attitude toward your own work, and you need the support of others who value and call forth your writing.  She goes on to say: Failure to be a "disciplined" writer--whatever you may mean by that--does not mean that you are not a "serious" writer...Often the phrase (not a seriuos writer) is used by a critic or a teacher referring to a writer whose work they don't like...Anyone who cares enough to take a course or a workshop is serious.  There is no place for this kind of arrogance.  The desire to write is serious.

Schneider asserts that discipline begins with understanding HOW YOU work...the patterns that we employ to bring a project to completion. Also, that discipline is a matter of love and not duty...when you love a thing you make time for the beloved and the love is the root that drives us.

The other thing I find myself doing while reading these two books is thinking over the parallels of how I developed as a poet and how I'm wanting to develop as a quilter.  I do wish I could employ that certainty and confidence I had when I was younger without over thinking.  Now, I have decades of experience to reflect back on and I tend to not want to loose any lessons that will help me develop my sense of voice or a least a signature body of work. As a result, I could be guilty of over thinking my quilt making.  Maybe (Cherryl) its not up to the creator of the work to identify the voice or signature and time spent worrying about whether one has one or not is wasted. (?????)

Incoming thought:  I have no idea of what to prepare for dinner today...its cold and I don't want to go out and the fridge is pretty close to bare.  Last night we had cranberry tuna salad, cheeses, pears, apples, grapes, crackers, and wine.  It satisfied me and to my surprise Peter enjoyed it.  Ade had burger and fries which he prepared himself.  He will be 16 on Sunday.  He is the youngest and has been so slow to mature.  We keep stressing to him that in two years he will be 18.  Lord help!

AH! I got it! I have 2 cans of lentil soup...that with some rice and baked sweet potatoes!  Push comes to a shove and something will always turn up!


Monday, November 26, 2007


If the river was whiskey I'd jump right in and drink to my sorrow today over my camera not being ready.  I had a message on my phone when I got home today that the person in charge of my repair will return on Friday.    I had called first thing this morning and was told he would have to check and call me back. The call back message was left at their closing time.  Ummmmm.....not sure what to make of this but I'm still gonna hold on believing that my camera will return better than new.

Now this will coincide with another deadline I'm waiting I hope, no pray, this translates into double joy coming next much joy that I'll need another set of arms to hold it all.

Monday, November 19, 2007


Next week at this time I hope to receive a call saying my camera is ready to be picked up. 

Img008_2 I had a touch of bronchitis last week and did this small piece (5"ish by 7"ish) last week to keep my mind engaged.  It says Spring to me. It says, can't I just close me eyes and sleep through winter?  It says wake me when these colours are in season again.

The borders are slightly wonky and not straight.  Its going to hang in my kitchen after I paint a canvas and mount it.  Today I'm going to doodle with thread on my sewing machine.  Its a play piece.  I'm going to time myself in 10 minute intervals and I can't stop the machine until the 10 minutes is over.  I'm only giving myself a minute between each 10 minutes and that is to change thread (my only pre-doodling decision).  The piece of painted fabric is the size of a legal pad.

Monday, November 12, 2007



Last night, I was thinking over poetry and quilts, how to fuse them and how my experiences with creating them are also divergent.  The source of my poetry is memory; the source of my quilts is emotion.  One source is historical; the other current.  My imagination bends them both.   One is audible; the other visual. This is something I need to keep repeating to myself as I attempt to facilitate over this mixed marriage without one imposing over the other.

Quiltlets Three

Img006_2 This is a partial view of quiltlet 3.  I wanted to add some bead work particularly inside the squares and triangles to kick back the horizontal seam which is like a small crook in my neck, but I decided it would throw off the other 2 quiltlets which I didn't want to add bead work, and since I want them hung together, no beading.

The binding works (versus no binding at all) because it allows the activity going on in the surface to rest.

Pay It Forward

The winners of my PIF challenge are Deb, Julaine, and I'm waiting to hear from Nikki.  Thank each of you and everyone who left a comment on my Blogoversary entry.  I always appreciate commentors and its additionally sweeter when I get comments from rare commentors and complete first timers.

Monday, November 5, 2007


Img002 Yesterday was my 3rd year blogo-versary. Three years ago I could count the number of blogs dedicated to art quilting on one hand and three years ago I was mostly talking to myself out loud here.  I still am talking to myself but I'm also aware there is an audience and potential audience out there.  (leave a comment if you've never left a comment before and if you have left a comment, leave another one)  I still see this as a personal space but I also share it with people I meet who express interest in my quilts.  I'm still not quite ready to dive into full fledge marketing but I think I will be in 2009.  Mostly my goals still center around learning and experiementing with techniques and production of pieces that I feel good about submitting to exhibits.

The above picture is the 2nd of the 3 quiltlets I spoke of a few posts below.  The three are spoken for and will be heading to Canada when finished.

The poetry reading last Friday was exceptionally good.  Even though the selection of poems were older works they felt fresh in my mouth and I believe it was one of the best readings I've ever given.  Maybe I was riding the wave of energy that a room full of poets create. 

There was a young flutist that opened and transitioned between myself and another poet who read.  She had recognized a name in one of my pieces based on genealogy, geography, and spirit and it turned out that her aunt is married to a cousin of mine. Talk about the power of the word!

Oh, and since I'm a winner in Nellie's Pay It Forward art share meme(yeah me! I love her stripped landscapes) I'm obligated to do the same for the first 3 commentors on this entry.  You will receive a small piece from me between postcard size and no larger than 12"x12" before June of '08.  If you become a recipient you must, in return, make the same Pay It Forward commitment on your blog (so only bloggers are eligible).



Monday, October 29, 2007


Dscn2578 Four more weeks until I'll have my camera back in my hands! It will be Thanksgiving for sure! 

With threats of frosty nights as a constant reminder that winter is approaching and there isn't a thing I can do about it.  I strongly dislike this season with its bitter cold and high maintenance required for clothing and vehicles.  This is one season I would never ever miss.  I can only hope that its a mild one without knee deep snows and below zero temperatures and ice storms!

My big adventure this past week was hitting Wild Oats with its 50% off everything in the store except for beer which was 20%!!!!! I wonder if this happened anywhere else in the country?  Whole Foods purchased Wild Oats last month and here the 2 stores are less than a quarter mile apart so Wild Oats closed its doors.  It was a mad house...we, my friend Petra and I, arrived 30 minutes after opening and the lines where front to back and the aisles where jammed packed.  We were there for 3 hours with 2.5 hours spent in line...the only thing better than 50% off groceries would have been free gas!  I only took a hundred bucks and stocked up on teas, skin care, condiments, juices, a cd, nothing that I couldn't have lived without, which is prolly why it was so much fun...but there were folks who came to seriously shop. The highest total I overheard was 800 and that was with the 50% off.  It was kinda fun in a crazy sort of way.

My upcoming adventure this week will be me giving a poetry reading at a private gathering of poets.  Its been very close to 3 years since I did a reading and I'm looking forward to it.  In preparing for it, I actually got an idea for a quilt which I placed in my idea book to work on after the first of the year.  I keep turning over ways to incorporate poetry and quilts and specifically my own poetry.  I've been dismissing ideas because they are not bold or dramatic enough but this recent idea is quite simple but it is working for me because it gives equal weight to the textile and the written word. I shall see....

Judy tagged me a while back on the 7 random things about me and I'm going to play this time (I don't like memes and quizzes) because I like Judy's blog and I know she will never tag me again and I can do anything once for a friend. ;)

1. I've had beer with jalepenos in the bottom.

2. I'm a Scrabble fanatic but haven't played in a long while.

3. I really dig the poetry of Naomi Shihab Nye.

4. I love coffee and I'm snobbish about it...will not drink coffee that is artificially flavored...that just messes up the bean.

5. I was a consultant with Mary Kay Cosmetics for 7 years and loved it! I only stopped due to ill health.

6. I never did learn to roller skate inspite of attempting to several times in my teens and in my 20s.  The last time I tried I was in my late 30s and an 80 year old woman who had knee surgery 8 months prior kept passing me up.

7. I cooked buffalo meat for the first time yesterday.  I prepared steaks on a Foreman grill and they were delicious.  I purchased them 2 weeks ago after sampling a bite at a local farmer's market.  We all loved them!

If you read my 7 things, then consider yourself tagged! 


Monday, October 22, 2007


I was really sleeping good having decided last night that today would be a day of rest and then the maintenance guy came in to repair the kitchen faucet and the ceiling fan.  I didn't hear the doorbell and was startled by him calling out rather loud "maintenance".  I had drifted off to sleep while watching a film based on Howard Zinn's autobiography You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train on LinkTV.  Zinn's background was such a ordinary one that I wonder how many "zinn" like people we come across in daily life that get dismissed because they are "too crazy, too radical, too weird, too fill-in-the-blank".  Today I'm feeling that warm and hopeful feeling knowing that there are people devoting their full time pursuits to crafting legal, spiritual, political responses to debaseful events and attacks on our humanity, people such as Senator Keith Ellison, Prof. Charles Olgletree, Rev. George Regas, all of whom I've seen on TV in the last 24 hours.

Here are the last of the fabrics I dyed a few weeks ago: Image6

The colour is eggplant and the fabric is unironed...I seldom iron my fabrics until I'm ready to use them...just not a task I can redeem enough to make me want to be proactive about it.

Here is one of the three 10"x10" quilts.  The image is scanned so the sides are cut off and I've not put a binding on it yet...I think I'll put a dark green binding on it.

Image5 I used the circular attachment to quilt it.   

Monday, October 15, 2007


The last of the fabrics that I dyed weeks ago is soaking.  I thought I had distinguished the fabrics that I had pre-soaked in soda ash from the ones I didn't but the evidence proved I still don't know if adding the soda ash before or after the dye really makes any difference in the amount of dye absorbed...what I really want to understand and apply is colour that vibrates!  What really makes colour vibrate...not jarring but smooth and rhythmic?  And can it be done or how to achieve it using 1, 2, or 3 hues...I know this much, that value is the key.  But how can it just pulsates off the wall???

In an earlier post I mentioned doing postcards for the remainder of the year but that hasn't happened...instead, I'm looking at previous dyed/painted fabrics to see if I can cut them up, what would go together, etc.  I have such a difficult time cutting up my dyed fabrics where 3-4 colours form abstract movement across the length of the piece...I just want to quilt it as cutting.  And its even harder when the pieces are patterned...for example, I love these fabrics below and I'm going to take a leap and combine them in 10"x10" quilts...

Image  Image1_2Image2

The top one on the left I groove with the most and I thought about just quilting it with low contrast thread and love it as is...but since matters of love are never that straight forward, I thought I'd torture myself by trying to put all 3 fabrics in one piece.  That is my mission today.

Monday, October 8, 2007


First, lets talk poetry...there is that saying "you betta tell somebody"...well, I've been told and now I know a little something about the poet Jessica Care Moore and I'm all the more better for it.  I attended a reading by her as the featured poet in the Sonia Sanchez Series as part of the Kentucky Women Writers Conference held annually at UofK in Lexington.  As far as the official introduction went for the reading, it was expected to be complimentary, but what really struck me in addition to her energy and unapologetically political poetry was that she started her own press as a serious literary house for young Black Poets and then she named her son King.  She pays honor to those who have come before her and whose shoulders she stands pisses me off to meet young people who behave in such a way (incoming colloquialism) "like they ain't got no people".  We are not in this world alone and what we do has a rippling effect on those who are connected to you and beyond. Ms Care Moore knows that she has people.

This past Friday I attended a poetry salon to hear a long old soulful friend read, Capri.  He was in great form, poetically speaking, and his lines are full of Motown rhythms and jazz licks.  Unfortunately, I can't link his work...he lamented over having to give up his word processor because he couldn't find anyone to repair it and how his daughter set him up to put his work on a computer program but he sure misses his word processor. The poetry salon is a place where the younger poets will meet the more seasoned ones here in the city.  While listening to Capri read I became transfixed into splashes of colours and decided Capri will be a moon quilt...2 moons of coral/fuchsia. 

I've had 2 days dyeing fabric recently at MACA.  I wish I could show you or at least tell you about the fabulous colours but I just mixed with sheer recklessness and can only guesstimate what the colours are...brazilnut is one that I like and I have 2 blues that make me shake my almost periwinkle...oh and a deep dark aqua made my eyes widen and some great hues of gray...terra cotta was in the mix too.  Much of this year has been spent doing surface design work and dyeing and not much actual quilting.  Not a lament just an observation.  The silk screen will stay, the transfer dyes was tossed...the silk fusion will stay, angelina fibers I'm neutral about...beading will be a keeper but I'm not sure how...hand embroidery definitely will stay...The remainder of the year will be spent making fiber postcards and finishing up 2 quilts previously started.  Can you tell I've already started reviewing my year and am making plans for next year. 

Until I have my camera back in hand (7 weeks) I'll just make a weekly entry here on Mondays.  Oh, and Noreen, Canadian artist who has a spiritual relationship with trees solidly confirmed my tree images as birch. 

Monday, October 1, 2007


Dscn2657 The diagnosis: barrel on the lense out of alignment.

The cost: $138 Whew! Of course, I could buy a bolt of fabric from Dharma for 138, but I'm still relieved that the repair isn't the cost of a new camera! 

Thanks to everyone who assisted with the tree identification.  Some type of birch for sure (or until I know otherwise).  I've printed the 3 images I have onto 8.5"x11" fabric sheets but I have no plans yet for them...just love this tree.

"corporate media...nothing to tell and everything to sell" quote by Amy Goodman overheard this morning on LinkTV in a speech she gave at the SolarLiving Institute Festival.


Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Dscn2658_2 Nine weeks and counting.

I'd like to know what type of tree is this. Can you help?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Did I mention...

I'll be without a camera for 10 weeks?

I'm really not a political junkie...I define myself as a peasant woman who is compelled to make sense of the world and my place in it.  I'm sitting here listening to Amy Goodman interview in depth a citizen of Jena, LA and it is adding to that feeling of warped reality.  This adds to that sense of trauma that came to a head with the re-election of the occupying President. This is also where the cultivation of spirituality and faith enters...a place to land, root and sprout.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Ten Weeks and counting.

My camera is broken. Mo and Ade were the culprits. They are still living and breathing. Miraculously. I was so upset that I couldn't get upset. Their attempts at explaining what happened started to annoy me and I calmly asked that I be left alone and to close the door to my bedroom on the way out. I dialed my partner and calmly explained the situation and asked him to get home to tend to HIS children.

That was 2 days ago. I am still calm about it. Miraculously.  I took it in for repair today.  I will be without it for 10 weeks.  10 weeks. TEN WEEKS.  TEN WEEKS!

When I arrived back home I had 2 more bumper stickers from Gerrie at Crazy For Fiber and a beautiful textile postcard of a sunflower in silk!  The silk feels soooo good.  Thank you Gerrie!   

Monday, September 10, 2007


Dscn2660 Making the trip Saturday was very inspirational.  We only stayed about an hour and wish I could have hung out with them longer but the O2 was getting low. Looking back on the hour now I realize I was too struck with awe to ask him (my own brother?!) questions about the works and spent my time just basking as a speechless fan. 

Now my brother is only 6 years younger than I, so his feathers have been plucked (see how I worked that in Ron?) but he seems to be strutting his stuff and standing taller these days and I admire him for taking a running fast flying leap toward his ambitions. He made the first sale while we were there and I had to contain myself and not be the goofy sister. 

Ron had 13 pieces hanging on the walls and some loose matted works available.  His larger pieces were giclee printed on canvas and wrapped around a frame. Just beautiful.  The one on the postcard ran the length of 65"x24" entitled TheirStory and when I saw it in person I wanted to fall to my knees.  His works at first look humourous and the line drawing child like but there is this deeply soulful presence, a vibration conveyed by the saturation of enveloping colour and then there is the first glance of a deeper meaning that is bittersweet and you know there is something very rooted in the imagery.

Click here to see the 6 images I got before the battery in my camera died.  My intentions (you know how that goes?) was to get more shots of the works individually but the pictures will give you a smidget of his work.

On the health front, Sunday, I began to notice some improvement.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

News Flash! Details at a later date.

This morning we woke and decided to go see Ron's show...Peter was worried I was going to make myself sicker if I didn't see it and have to listen to me call everyone and their mama and cry over it.  I'm tahd (not tired) but happy!

Will report more later and hopefully with photos.

Friday, September 7, 2007

The Ups and Downs

As much as I wanted Dirt's postcard to stay at the top of my blog, I'm moving it down because I just watched a You Tube video of this young man and my spirit went flying even higher.  Here is his website:

Stephen Wiltshire

But if you don't have time to give just due to perusing the website at least, I beg you to at least! go to You Tube and watch a 5 minute video of him working on one his 360 degree city sketches of Tokyo. 

Now, for the really horrible state of affairs...I have bronchitis and can't make it to the reception tonight and I can't even drown my sorrows in a bottle of beer.  If all goes well, my youngest son will get to go but I can't trust him with my camera. 

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Upfromsumdirt @ Gallerie Soleil

Promo_2 This is in Lexington, Kentucky.  This is my brother's first solo show.  Looking at this postcard, my spirit just overflows with love.  He came into the world creative!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Surface Design Techniques: Screen Printing and Transfer Dyes





I wish I had went with a cream or light grey for the beetles but instead I grabbed what was convenient.  I'm considering some very thin tree branches in a metallic green and it'll be finished.

Below are the experiments with transfer dyes.  I'm not so sure about these...they are fun to play with but to really get the full benefit I would need to have more control and intent with my drawing skills which isn't on the near horizon for me.  Plus they are a lot of work with the iron to get full colour out of light weight ironing skills with these but more of a full muscle sweat workout.  I can't say I wasn't warned about the amount of energy it takes to do the transfer for full effect because I was.  The iron has to move quickly while pressing down very hard in order not to burn the fabric and to get a good transfer. The first two pictures are the dyes painted on paper after they have dried.

Dscn2631 Dscn2632

The dried paper is then turned over on fabric that must be at least 60% polyester. These are the images on 100% poly fabric which gives the most vibrant colour with these dyes.  Hard to believe by looking at the paper that the colours would be that different.

Dscn2627 More results on fabric: Dscn2629

Monday, August 6, 2007

Comfort Reading

Dscn2606 Textural Rhythms: Quilts in a Jazz Tradition. WOW WOW AND WOW! I've been hesitant opening this book because handling it feels like unlocking gold at Fort Knox! The book is so exquisitely beautiful and designed that I question whether I should wear gloves while holding it, test the temperature and humidity of the room before lifting the cover!  Additionally, this book introduces Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi's first work from her own publishing company and poses a huge challenge for what will be her 2nd publication from Paper Moon.

There are several essays and a poem in the first half of the book all addressing the interlocking of jazz and quilts.  I can't get through a paragraph without having a near holy ghost or holy ghost moment...I get so excited and provoked in thought that I have to stop and have a dialogue with myself...the ideas from the 3 essays and 1 poem deliver testimony to the power of the word! And then the quilts providing a visual testimony to the power of the quilt to transcend any narrowly defined concepts of African American art.  And together, the essays and quilts, are underscored by their relationship to JAZZ.  My own personal testimony speaks to the effect that this book moves my mind to further ideas...After reading the first 2 essays and turning the pages to the quilts, my mind begins to see snippets of a staged performance with a jazz orchestra, a poetic sermon, the quilts in the back ground and dancers, all being filmed.  Can't you see it?  Wouldn't it be fabulous?  I was introduced to many new-to-me quilters and discovered Carole Harris.  Of course I had to google her to find more.  What I love is expansiveness of black/dark fabric with the abstract, bit wonky, traditional blocks.  Two of Valerie White's quilts are included in this exhibit and I've seen these quilts up close and personal so I know how fabulous they are and I keep waiting for a website.  I find her trademark to be how extremely well she executes on whole cloth to obtain a pieced look! 

Another book that I've been slowly digesting is my own copy of Speak, So You Can Speak Again: The Life and Times of Zora Neale Hurston.  Ms Hurston's niece, Lucy Anne Hurston and controller of her estate put this fabulous book together in the likeness of a scrapbook that include letters that she has sent and family photos as well as replicated copies of her first written works. Even a cd of her singing is included.  In one of her letters to either Booker T. Washington or W.E.B. DuBois she suggest the creation of a National African American Cemetary that would allow visitors to reconnect, comtemplate, and reflect on our struggle...I was so there and high-fived Zora across our planes of existence! HA!

The third item that I've buried my eyes in is Somerset's newest quarterly journal, Artful Blogging! Yes, and entire publication devoted to Bloggers with online journals dedicated to visual art and craft!!!  Among all the bloggers ran the theme of creating connection, community, and friendships through blogging...and it struck me that communicating in this way allows for a more relaxed way of maintaining individuality, whether communicating to oneself or with others.  Even those who had disconnected from writing expressed how blogging either reconnected them to the written word or developed the skill of writing for self-expression.  I hope some of you artful bloggers will check out the journal and consider submitting. 

The next gem on my list to read is Kyra Hicks' Martha Ann's Quilt for Queen Victoria.  And then my time will be devoured by school preparation for my petites...Mo for college and Ade in the 10th grade...both start in 2 weeks. 

I hope to get my screen printing experiment on here soon...I used the drawing fluid/screen filler method which I liked but messed up the designed by improperly applying the screen filler (ran it over the screen too often and scraped off some of the drawing fluid...came from thinking "I got this" when I should have re-read the directions again...lesson learned and duly noted).  I like using the drawing fluid/screen filler, so more exploring with it is in my future.


Sunday, July 29, 2007

Fiber Foiling

Dscn2609_2 Two steps of a four step foiling process...needs sealant, and antique glazing.

Friday, July 27, 2007

mud and Mud

I also wanted to talk about mud...the construction is still going on in my hood and I ride by mounds of dirt...charcoal coloured, yellowish, brown-reddish...and I want some of it!  The street is a busy two lane with no place to pull over which is why I haven't asked the construction crew for permission to get some dirt.  I want to get all 3 colours and see what I can do with them by colouring fabric.  It dawned on me that this maybe akin to what Cheryl tried some time ago with clay dyeing...(remember to email Cheryl about this)...also, I'll consult Kel too.

And more about mud, but this time, Mud as in Mud Man, Upfromsumdirt, Dirty Boy, Somebodygottadoit...two of his works are included in an exhibit at The Loudoun House in the Recycled Matter(s) exhibit.  The opening started 13 minutes ago...congratulations Ron...will definitely be there in September and if your father is up to it, I'll bring him along...he actually expressed an interest in coming tonight so that is his way of being proud of ya! Keep it up! Love ya!

Just because the clock stopped ticking doesn't mean that time stands still.

Where does the time get to?  I want to know and I want it to come back! But there isn't a rewind button I can hit to do the last 5 days over now is there???  One foot down and then the other right in front and I'll keep stepping. 

The rain halted my plans to set up "studio" (a card table on the balcony) for making some silk paper...but realizing the week has marched on in spite of my do-nothing-state-of-being, I decided to pull the rusting fabric from its occupying corner on the balcony and see how it went...Dscn2613

here it is soaking in the bath tub with a drop or two of synthrapol.  I rinsed it first and after the soak I'll toss it into the washing machine.  Maybe I'll over dye, stamp on it, and-or foil on it.  Life is just one big long process anyways, right? 

Yesterday I spent time exploring a flea market type store...its one of my favorite ways to waste time when I'm out between appointments.  I found all type of neat stuff that I don't need, beautiful teacups and plates, a gorgeous buffet that would just be one classy piece of furniture for holding supplies and fabrics, old wooden chairs, old jewelry and linens...naw, I didn't buy a thing since I'm more interested in unloading my own "stuff" but I find these type of stores intriguing and inspiring.  I think it was yesterday that the Antiques Roadshow that was here...there were only 3000 tickets by drawing and I wasn't one of them.  Will be looking forward to the Louisville episode in October.  I wanted to take a clock that has been in my family for over 100 years (where does the time get to?) and a tin type photo and a book that was recently given to me  that I saw online for 450 and 500.  It was published in 1899 and I hope to find some archival way to store it. The author (can't recall her name correctly at the moment) was known for her illustrations on tarot cards and the book was re-issued a few years ago.  What I read about her online made her sound like a wild and entertaining woman trying to make her way in the world as an artist.  She was a biracial woman whose father was from Europe and mother, Jamaican...Patricia Smith Collins, Patricia Collins Smith...ahhh, shoot her name is on the tip of my tongue...but her story makes me imagine layers of her life, thoughts and behaviors, infused with all the race, gender, class issues of her day and I want to know more about her....what is the title of the Black Feminist tome???? The Bridge Called My Back????  Is this author calling my back?  See, how my mine wonders...I need a house of many rooms, each one filled with artifacts and supplies that allow me to practice my callings of interest for the day. It is rumoured that bell hooks has 4 houses in one small town that she is currently residing in and is building another one...depending on what she feels like that day will depend on which one she writes in I guess...I now understand and could easily do the same (with one house), wondering and wandering from room to room filling myself up with curiousities...history, genealogy, writing, quilting...I was going to write that I will be one of those old quirky women that lives at the end of the road and people make up stories and wonder about...but hell, maybe people are doing that now!?

Dscn2624_2 Dscn2623Mo's flowers here...I wanted to see how well the rain drops showed up in my photography...this was shot on close up with the lense about an inch and half away...any suggestions for improving?


Monday, July 23, 2007

Altering Fabric

Dscn2591 I dyed this sometime last month and it has been languishing on the balcony under steel wool pads and vinegar.  I was curious what dyed fabric would look like rusted. Now I'm just too lazy to undo the plastic wrap and fool with what I anticipate will stink and be a mess.  Maybe another 3 weeks...I wonder if I need to pour more vinegar on it to "refreshen" the rusting action.  I used nearly a whole quart.

Dscn2560 This was the dyed, discharged piece that I started exercise #1 with in the back of the book Complex Cloth which now has been overdyed and stamped and looks like the picture below:

Dscn2601 I'm going to screen print beetles on it using drawing fluid and filler fluid to make the screen.  The colour for the beetles will be a very pale green (sage) or a pale yellow. I hope to get to it sometime this weekend.

Other surface altering processes I've tried have been transfer paints on a poly blend and 100% polyester fabric.  I'm also going to dye over a sample piece that I used Shiva sticks on just to see what happens. 

Last Saturday I attended a 4 hour workshop sponsored by a local art supply store.  A Jacquard rep demo'ed and answered questions about their products and then the group of 30 turned loose and played with the products.  It wasn't a bad way to spend a Saturday afternoon.  I was able to score a package of ExtraOrganza which I have trouble finding locally and hopefully now Preston will keep a few packages in stock.  I also picked up more Tee Juice Fine Liner markers in other colours.  By far it is the smoothest fabric marker I've ever used...with the slightest hesitation in my hands there is not any bleeding whatsoever! I'm also going to try an acid dye...I'm so haunted by the richness of colour in the quilt Carol Taylor had in Form, Not Function that I will not rest until I can duplicate that intense colour.  She will be the teacher in this years Design Retreat...I might just have crash the retreat just to find out.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Life is Fine.

Dscn2595 I haven't stuck my head out of the door all day...I wonder what the humidity is like out there...the plants on the balcony tell me its a slight breeze blowing and there is an overcast in the sky.  My body hasn't quite recovered from the intermittent sleep the other night...We kept the tv on C-Span2 watching the debates and anticipating the outcome of the vote on Iraqi withdrawal, time line or no time line.  My interest in politics often goes beyond politics but watching how people behave and the arguements they put forth, for me, becomes an open door to make analysis of gender, class, race, and economic roles for our civilization at large.  Peter concludes that the West is canabilizing upon itself which occurs in all empowered nations that become drunk with their own power.  Quite sad of a conclusion...and it doesn't help that I keep ordering these documentaries from Netflix.  I have one in there now that I need to either watch or send back...its on children born in brothels to prostitutes in India.  Why do I do this to myself?  Because I think the dangers of not being aware are more hurting than being aware.  Plus, art and faith, for me, are my soul food.

This is a poem I hear in my head often when I'm saddened by some event:

Life Is Fine

I went down to the river,
I set down on the bank.
I tried to think but couldn't,
So I jumped in and sank.

I came up once and hollered!
I came up twice and cried!
If that water hadn't a-been so cold
I might've sunk and died.

But it was Cold in that water! It was cold!

I took the elevator
Sixteen floors above the ground.
I thought about my baby
And thought I would jump down.

I stood there and I hollered!
I stood there and I cried!
If it hadn't a-been so high
I might've jumped and died.

But it was High up there! It was high!

So since I'm still here livin',
I guess I will live on.
I could've died for love--
But for livin' I was born

Though you may hear me holler,
And you may see me cry--
I'll be dogged, sweet baby,
If you gonna see me die.

Life is fine! Fine as wine! Life is fine!

Langston Hughes

The Poets always come to the rescue :)

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

365 Days on a Quilt


You know how blog surfing leads to the discovery of new blogs and ideas and people?  A few weeks ago I stumbled upon Leanne's House and the 365 Day Challenge Quilt.  Since I read this post at Black Threads I'm again pondering text on quilts and although this is not my idea, I thought the 365 quilt would be fun to do and hopefully spark some ideas about other ways to combine text/cloth.  The idea of writing/script/messages in quilts is never too far from my thoughts in the first place.  I have a quotation quilt languishing in the closet on a quilt frame that was intended for a friend's 50th birthday...(she's pushing close to 60 now), slow, but sure, is my motto! After trying 5 different pens, Pentel Gel Roller for Fabric and Fineliner Tee Juice Markers are the absolute smoothest!  The ones that I eliminated were Copic Multiliner, Sharpie, and FabricMate.  They bleed at the slightest hesitation in my hand.

Dscn2568I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw this phone booth a week ago!?  They are almost gone and are rare finds.  I joked with Mo if she had ever seen one of goes along with the 17 year old stranger who quipped about my iron without holes which she had never seen one before and in a split second I thought "where has she been" before it dawned on me that I was swimming in the generation gap.

Below is the discharged fabric that I'll overdye sometime this week.  If using discharge paste and you want to skip the ironing, discharge on a hot sunny day.  Once the sun hits the fabric it drys and discharges immediately.


Solo Shows and my Progeny

Dscn2574_copy Marti Plager is one of the most energetic and enthusiastic art quilters I know.  She extended an invitation to do a gallery talk of her solo show for the group of sistahs I quilt with and last weekend several us at met Marti at the Carnegie Museum in New Albany, Indiana. Bridges and Memories was the theme for the series of quilts and in true Marti fashion she answered our questions and talked about her work with her trademark enthusiasm that so describes her.  I love her strong linear designs and colour pairings the most and my favorite quilt was entitled Vertigo that provided a perspective of looking up at the geometric steel overhead of a bridge.  With Louisville being on the river we have 3 bridges and another coming in the very distant future, so the theme was readily identifiable for all familiar with this area. Thanks Marti for you hospitality!

Speaking of solo shows, UpfromSumDirt, aka my brother told me he will be having his first solo show going up in August and another one going up in December!  (I'll need to get a new picture of him to post since he has cut his locks off.)  The news really was a joy to hear!  He has always been a very talented and artistic person but has never given himself enough credit.  He has moved from Louisville which I'm sure has helped him immensely.  Details for the show are forthcoming.  Congratulations Ron, and I hope blessings continue to flow in, out, through, and around you!  Your new work is amazing!

Dscn2573 Ade is working on drawing. This is Andre 3000 (Sometimes we watch the cartoon Class of 3000 together).  He just finished a 6 week drawing workshop and will start a painting workshop on Thursday.  Out of my 3 children he is the one that enjoys going with occasionally on art dates. Mo likes to go but she mainly likes to whiz through and she wants me to look at what she wants to look at.  Adrian, my oldest passes altogether.

Dscn2570 If you're ever visiting the city it is a must that you stop and eat at Lynn's Paradise Cafe!  Meet Ade Fork and Mo Spoon.


Thursday, June 21, 2007

Speaking so I Can Speak Again or (the discharging of the power of divine flowers to decide about painting and birthday gifts)

Thanks to Cindy and Anna, commentors in the previous post, for identifying the flower.  There is even a North American Dianthus Society.  The plant sits in the pot next to my chair on the balcony and I think we're developing a relationship.  Its been talking to me...a couple of days ago I snapped it's picture and today I spoke back.  I'm not a gardener but is this some type of gardening spirituality?  I'm kinda half joking but its my way of expressing how I'm connecting with this flower, whose name translates to "divine flower" and the common name for the one I have is Sweet William.  (see, I know something today that I didn't know when I woke up this morning, pretty darn cool, eh?!)

Dscn2553 This is how I spent my afternoon...discharging with bleach pen and discharge paste oustide with a slight breeze (and low humidity) blowing.  The beach pen didn't bother me outside...the last time I tried it I was inside at MACA and couldn't use it.  The results with the bleach pen didn't wasn't satisfactory for the effort but I loved the discharge paste results last time and this time.  The piece that is waiting to be finished is the piece I'm using to work through exercise #1 in the back of Complex Cloth.

Also, I'm coming close to making a decision between keeping stock of "fabric paints" and using thickened dyes for painting fabric.  I'm keep looking at the sample I started with Hollis Chatlelain and I really prefer the richness of the dye paints.  It also would cut down on shelving supplies that I use with less frequency.  And this is solely an opinion formed by the not-so-deep layer of my brain but it seems cheaper to me to use dyes instead of fabric paints.

Oh my...this post has been interrupted by the content of the package my dd just handed me...I ordered this book for one of my oldest and dearest sistah friend's for her birthday...and I'm gasping...dammit, I think I'm going to have to get me one also! I first saw it at the home of Crystal Wilkinson and nearly caught the holy ghost.  Now that Mary's copy for her birthday is resting in my lap I can feel the spirit rising again...I betta go call her and let her know I have something for her birthday...decreases the chance that I will keep it for myself.

Ummm, all the content in this post is queing me that some Afrophysics is occuring close by...   


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Brazilnut and Ecru

Brazilnut_and_ecruFeaturing Brazilnut and Ecru.  Later after reviewing my notes I used 2 Tablespoons for the dark on the Brazilnut and 2 teaspoons for the Ecru.  I thought I was being consistent...but c'est la vie.

What is the name of this flower? Mos_flowers5

Blog Detour Ahead

Adrian_dale_ii_and_malachi_jonesbro Here are my a result of Adrian, the one in the stroller, I also have his older brother, Malachi, as my adopted grandfriend.  What you can't see is Malachi's arm in a cast.  A kid jumped on his arm at summer daycare during a football game. Malachi keeps a protective eye on Adrian and is very helpful.   Adrian is 18 months and is having a little difficulty at daycare with understanding that he can't take other kids toys away from them.  When Mo and I asked him what happened at school he seemed to have lost his hearing and the ground became very interesting to him with peeks from the corner of his eye to see if we were still looking at him...each time we posed the question he would become very still and look down while peeking up from the corner of his eyes waiting for the moment to pass.  Ha! what goes around comes around is all I have to say to his father, my oldest son.

Fireworks4 Fireworks5

Fireworks12 Fireworks13

My camera has a fireworks setting.  I took these at a neighborhood festival last weekend which is why we had the 2 grand-people.  Tell me, do you like fireworks?  I don't. Never really enjoyed a child I did because I was suppose to.  I don't like the noise.  I try to avoid them but occassionally I can't get away with doing so.  But these lines of motion and energy have a certain appeal.

Mos_ice_cream_sundae Mo has been tempting me with these sundaes...thank goodness, due to subversive tactics by terrorists using ice cream as a weapon of mass destruction, homeland security has banned the sale of ice cream until further notice...uh, wait, I'm being informed that I misheard the news...will need to get the facts straight after...slurp, slurp, ummm, goood...