Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy Kuumba Birthday New Year's Ramblings

Last night I was feeling a tad bit sad at the prospects of growing a year older...really came on as a result of thinking about grief I've experienced over decisions made by my children and wondering what we could have done differently.  Two years ago I tried to pour all that grief into a quilt which I named Prayers of The Mother.  I found myself marking time by my hopes and prayers for them.  I appliqued ankhs on it to represent life giving and sustaining faith, hash marks to measure time, the eyes of my 3 children to convey vision and 3 Ethiopian crosses to mark an ancient faith and prayers by millions of mothers from the beginning of civilization. 

This morning, yeah, this morning hope and fun arrived to greet me and life is what it is and I'm thrilled to be here and apart of it!  Can I get an amen?!  It has always tickled me that my birthday falls on the day of Kuumba, the day to reflect on Creativity:

Kuumba (Creativity)
To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.

The first half of '09 saw me exercising this principle in my small way in The Basement Workshop. My process of making art was alive and even through the detours I could see myself moving closer to the expression of my head and heart and becoming more soulful.  The flood did refocus my energies away from actually making quilts but out of it I gained a 2nd studio space and have fallen in love with machine needle felting.  All good, all good...but its time.  In spite of this season showing up my physical limitatons, I'm not willing to just sit and wait it out til spring. 

This is my plan. starting Monday...I'm going to re-introduce discipline to my approach.  A return to treating some of my time as if I'm taking college courses.  I've selected 5 books, each representing a class, and I'm going to work through them by assigning them a day or days of the week.  I've selected:

1. Finding Your Own Visual Language (Dunnewold, Benn, Morgan) M,W

2. Freetyle Machine Embroidery (Shinn) Tu

3. Image Transfer Workhop (McElroy, Wilson) W

4. Mindful Meandering (Fritz) Th

5. I'd Rather Be in the Studio (Stansfield) (gonna give it another go) W, F

I will create a new journal to track samples and studies and will also write accountability into Seamless Skin as I go.  My semester, of sorts, begins this coming Monday.  Not all my time on the assigned days will be devoted to the books, but approximately 1-2 hours and then another 1-2 hours of on at least 3 of the days while its cold to whatever I'm drawn to do.

The other topic I've found myself thinking about is John James Audubon, yes, that Audubon.  I've been invited to create a quilt commemorating him/his work.  Two trains of thought...the first one after reading about him, I became intrigued about his mother...Audubon was born in what is now Haiti to a properous plantation owner.  His birth mother gave birth to 2 children fathered by the plantation owner...John James  was the oldest and a girl who is also not given much mention. 

His birth mother died or was killed (depending on which article you read) after an African slave revolt.  His mother's name was Jeanne Rabine. (Jean was also John James' first name prior to being baptised and taken in by the wife of his father).  She is referred to as a French servant, Creole servant, French Creole servant...racially mixed. mulatto, etc.  One article I read speculated that she more than likely came from Louisiana (prior to the territory becoming part of the U.S.A) and was a French-African Creole.  Very few of the articles even mention her by name but give a respectable documentation of his father.  Audubon ended up in the U.S. and a land owner by way of his father's direction in keeping him out of Napolean's military even in spite of his status as an officer. 

Wondering more about his mother, Jeanne Rabine, I thought this would make a beautiful piece of fiction...not beautiful as in sanguine, okay?!  But in a way to give a voice to the voiceless, beautiful in a way to write this particular woman back in history, into the dialogue. 

A few months ago when I was at Penny Sisto's playing with the way she creates images, a headless female figure came to me (you can see it a few post down...its the one I lost and never that a riff on invisibility?!)  I wondered if it was Audubon's mother coming through.

The other train of thought I had for the upcoming exhibit was to do something with Crows.  I hope to neve forget the NPR story some months ago about Crow research finding out that Crows can recognize human faces and can communicate to other Crows about their pissivity with a person who affronts them, and will continue to harrass that person, and are not easily fooled if that said person tries to disguise themselves.  LOVE IT!!!! 

This is my Happy Kuumba Birthday New Year's always Peace,




Sunday, December 27, 2009

Digging The View...

The View from the Studio Door by Ted Orland 

Maybe its a stretch to call what i do a review since I mostly like to write about how a book impacts me but so be it.  This book spoke much more to me than Art & Fear which I didn't relate to much. The View goes a long way in helping me keep grounded and I predict it will be one that I'll return to quite often.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

What I did during the mid-40 degree F heatwave

Ade and Peter are on vacation and I've been more home bound and hanging out with them eating ginger snaps and watching movies and lounging and running about.  Peter takes the whole month  or most of December off and this vacation has been sweet and low key just the way I love them. 

Yesterday I did take advantage of warmer temperatures (mid-40F) and head to my Mellwood Studio.  I worked on felting the scarf and Peter hung my curtains there before he and Ade went on their merry way and left me to my own devices. 

The scarf has a long way to go as I want to kick back the way the colour is laid out all wild-like with a little bit of order with the next layer of wool or yarns or cheesecloth or organza or...


The colours are more grayed in this image then they appear off camera.  A hot magentas and rich violets are the actual colours.

The Mellwood Studio is coming along and by spring it should be more work ready.  Peter hung the curtains for me yesterday and it makes it a tad bit more homey since there are windows all the way around except for my direct neighbor who has peg board up on his side.  I'm trying to come up with low labor way to cover up the peg board...I'm leaning toward decorative paper on those windows. 


Three of my quilts and framed poetry by Estella soften the pegboard but I'm thinking a light coloured decorative paper would bring some light into the space and not distract from what ever is displayed in front of the window.  The back corner is my "working" and storage area.



Estella has more framed poetry and her books in the window.  I like to watch the people who stop to actually read the poems. 

The African panels belong to her also and came back with her from various central African countries a few years back.  You can see one on the back window in the photo above and the other 3 in the photo below.  The panels are for sale but I'm not sure how much.  If you're interested, just email me and I'll find out.  On the shelves below  the window is an exhibit of Memory Boxes by Henrietta Box Brown (email me if you get this one ;) )  and they juxtapose an historical memory with one contemporary. 



And this quilt, lord, this quilt was started some 14 years ago and it still is unfinished...its a quotation quilt.  I released it from its unfinished project bag and hung it over my quilt frame for inspiration.  It was started for a birthday gift and the intended receiver has seen many birthdays come and go and its still not complete.  I want to hand quilt it. 

My muscles and joints have not let up in pain since mid November.  In addition to reading to keep my mind off of the pain (I really need to review here The View from the Studio Door by Ted Orland, digging this! and Screen Printing by Claire Benn and Leslie Morgan...outstanding!) I'm perpetually giving praise for the blessing of being able to create art in my life as a triumph over the pain...keep on keeping on and have a wonderful Kwanzaa and Holidays!


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Hello out thereeeeeee (echoing from the frozen tundra)

okay, a bit of an exagerration but its been in the teens and 20s here until today...a rise in the thermostat showing in the upper 40s.  I'm thawing out here!

I've been machine felting and enjoying myself with it!  Do you think this can be my way of reconciling with the season that shall not be mentioned?  Afterall, I am working with wool.  I haven't tried wet felting but folks are informing me that it is physically taxing.  I'm sure I'm gonna give it a try at least once though since I'm having so much fun with machine felting. 

To keep a focus I'm only making scarves and shawls (thats the plan) and some small framable pieces.  This is the first scarf and I've started another one with a wool batt and curly wool locks embedded into it. another one.  Below the scarf is the start of a small framable piece that will receive some embroidery stitches.



I haven't been able to do much since its turned bitter cold...physically I'm just not able to push myself...I do a little and am down for the next 3-4 days.  I've been spending the time thinking about my goals for next year and what I could do to get into the "submission" habit and looking at a major workshop for next year.

Clair Benn and Leslie Morgan will be returning to the Crow Barn for 2 weeks in April and another 2 weeks in 2011.  I know for sure that I will do 1 week with them this year, (possibly 2).  If I do not do  2 weeks this year then I'm going to do 1 this year and the other next year.  I just couldn't stand knowing they are that close to me and me not take advantage of their collective minds! 


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Waded in the water

Water can be a destructive force.  Water can be a cleansing, life sustaining force.  The traits of water makes it the perfect metaphor for discussing change. 


The flood gave me the opportunity to redo my sewing space.  In spite of the frustrations and added gray hairs and fits of emotion during the restoration, the new space is more open and better.  I had moments that I doubted it would ever come together before spring of next year and at times contemplated becoming solely a hand stitcher.  During this time I thought a lot about 3 hand stitchers whose blogs I read and work I find beautiful, Gerdiary, Jude Hill, and Judy Martin.  I tried to imagine their processes.  I know that I love the pace of hand quilting and find it deeply prayerful.  But I imagined there must be a different mindset when one's primary processes are in a slow hand method.  For one, it is portable which eliminates the requirement of one single location to sew. Second it doesn't depend on electricity (unless one uses a treadle) which gives the option to be outside when the weather permits.  Third, one wouldn't need as many tools which again adds to portability. And possibly, over time, one's knowledge base of how cloth handles and how certain types of needles handle are more keen.  It produces a distinctive "hand" it the outcome of the art.  Although I admire it greatly, the processes, the knowledge, and the outcome, for me it is an additional process and not central to what I want to create. I wouldn't be happy...thus I have to have a "spot" to root to do what I do.


In late September, in the midst of all my artist angst (can't you hear Regina Carter playing the musical score to my blues?), without any heavy pre-planning and human designed intent, I and another artist signed a lease at Mellwood Arts and Entertainment Complex.  A complex I've watched develop since its inception and visit when I want to have an "artist date".  Its full of artist studios, galleries, and retail spaces but maintains the unpolished and raw vibe that attracts me and makes me comfortable.


   It happened like this:  I had been there a few months prior and saw a sign for a sub-lease and on a whim I called it.  After that phone call, I called Estella after and we kicked the idea around...since the summer, on occassions, the topic of "space" would arise in our conversations but nothing with any "intent"....just casually speaking.  It was on that one day late in September when she and another sister-friend, Mary, was able to make it back there with me.  The space was gone but there was another space, an even better space (keep in mind we had no plans that day other than to browse).  We called over to the office and the manager came and told us the scoop...after listening we both looked at one another with Mary's approving glance (you know how when you know people well and a long time you can communicate telepathically?) and said "we'll take it".  Now the funny part is that neither one of us had any money but told Scooter, the manager, that we would return the next morning and be there when she arrived.  It just took us a few hours to rob our own stashes and we returned pronto the next morning.


It is 275 sq. feet.  It offers a break from The Basement Workshop which I sometimes need since the dynamics of my parent's household has changed, not necessarily for the worst, but to the extent my heart sometimes  aches too much to be there as much.  The new space is called The Beauty of Holiness Studio and Gallery.  It will serve as a space to machine needle felt, hand quilt, display my finished quilts, and put small things to sell.  The other artist will use it for displaying items and selling her small pieces and books.  I've known her for close to 30 years and consider her my sister of the heart.  She is recovering from cancer and her recent hand crafts is one of the ways she is helping herself heal.


I have this train of thought running through my head, less than 2 years ago I was sewing on my kitchen table and did that for 4 years, trying to make sure I didn't drop needles in the carpet, not get food stains on my cloth, find corners here in the apartment to store my things, the time it took me to repack and sew for a few hours before I had to repack again, and on and on...and NOW, WOW!  We can never know what lays ahead, bad and good, we just never know what is ahead, but the process remains the same and that is to trust the process.  It is easier said when things are working in my favor and harder to remember when they are not and the grief appears all encompassing (like how children use always and never to refer to a singular circumstance not going their way). 

I hope someone finds encouragement and hope in this post.  Not necessarily about artist spaces or studios, but whatever it is that one feels "if something doesn't change I'm going to loose my mind" over.


But as with life, it is always bitter can't have one without the other.  For 2 weeks now, we're a 1 car family.  It seems the computer on my car is giving my transmission error messages and totally unrelated to that, my catalytic converter is going out.  The dealer wants a massive amount of money to repair with a base starting in the neighborhood of 2800.  I picked it up from the dealer and its sitting for the moment and I'm only mildly annoyed by it.  I just kinda feel sorry for Peter.  His 91 Camry he purchased new has barely 100,000 miles on it...he does very little driving and me, well, I'm afraid if I calculate how much time I spend in my car it would far outpass how much time I spend any other place.  He works close to the new studio space and that has been convenient and I'm being considerate of his practicality and striking a balance with the amount of running around I do...the real plus side is that we're in the car so much together now that it feels llike when we were "dating".  Now if he comes around and opens my car door like he USED to do, I might take him to a secluded section at UofL's library like we did back in the day ;) (smooch smooch)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Small joys; Great happiness...

Most of my handiness goes into the making of art that when it comes time to get it properly photographed, hung, and even submitted to exhibits, I find I'm left deft and confused and tired.  Multi-tasking has never been my strong suit and in fact I find it over-rated.  The ability to focus and concentrate deeply on several closely related tasks is my gift (although in the last few years this has been challenged).  I'm a slow takes my brain a while to shift when its time to move on to another topic, task  especially when it is a shift from generating creativity to pragmatic matters at hand.  Thats the way I'm wired but I keep trying to learn to re-wire some parts that will allow me to complete the cycle of productivity.  I don't know why I'm talking about this here other than to say I've spent most of the day thinking about how to display 4 small pieces.  I want them matted and framed but without glass covering them.  From there I think "I should learn to mat and frame my own pieces".  From here I jump to "but damn, thats just another thing to learn and there is only one of me".   I know, I know, I make myself crazy this way...but it always comes back to the thrill of the process of making the art and this is where I want to use my time and resources and all else let come what may and I'll deal with the consequences. Its is especially sweet and its own reward when I create pieces I love such as the pieces below.  I forgot I had a 12"x6" series going back in the gave me joy to uncover them.

Img007 Crossroads

Img008 Sunset (how cliche a title?)

Copper Sun



Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Laid Back Sewing and Design

After clearing off my paint/cutting table, which didn't take me that long, there was no need to wait until Monday to start sewing.  I meditated first and then selected some blocks that I've had for some time and dibbled and dabbled with for a few years.  I purchased these hand-dyed 2 inch squares from Wendy Richardson at AQS in Paducah.  I loved them so much I came home and ordered another box of them.  I used some of them to make placemats for a girlfriend who was having a show of her hand-made dinner works in clay,...but that was at least 3 years ago if not longer.  So these gems have been around at least that long.  Over the past summer when I hung out for a day with some quilt buds I sewed them together in a 4-patch just to have something to sew.

What was important to me today was just to work calmly and steadily and sewing the squares together provided me this.  Once I started arranging them, it became about colour and value...nothing more.  Then after I was satisfied with the arrangement I wanted to introduce another fabric which was a soft entry for me to start thinking about design.  Here is where I left it:


b/w filter applied to check for value placement

I'm not going to make any plans for it before I return on Monday but will design in the moment as I go and see what occurs.


Monday, November 16, 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Enough is Enough!

Thats what I said to myself...all the impatience, all the lamenting, all the what if I will not be able to pick up the groove where I left off in July, stop complaining about how dry the well is when all I have to do is turn around and I'm facing a river...

Finally! I'm using my machine needle felting and for this moment in time it is enough.  I even laughed when I broke 3 needles in the first 15 minutes of use...(what movie is this from: "I laugh in the face of danger"...I can't recall).

My first attempt was using silk fusion as a base and dmc embroidery floss that was already stitched into the silk.  After the needles broke I switched over to china silk with wool roving and it glides like hot buttered soul...can you dig it? 


This is my practice piece...I have water-soluble stablizer underneath the silk and I am not using a hoop.  The next one I'll use a hoop and not the stabilizer and the 3rd piece I'll use them both together to see if there is any difference.  Without anything (wool into silk, no stabilizer) there is more bunching of the silk foundation...maybe there is a point where it will equalize out the same as using the stabilizer but I didn't want to use my time to discover this as it does consume time just to complete a small area. 

Monday, November 2, 2009

And she danced off into the aether!

I'm having fun..trying to squeeze as much out of the days as I can before the season who will not be mentioned sets in.  The last five or so days I've been marinating in the memory of spending time with artist Penny Sisto in her home and studio up in the knobs over in Indiana.  Its gorgeous there this time of year and her home is a meditation all to itself...and when you add in her fun and beautiful spirit it was a retreat and vacation from the concrete and wires and metal of a city steeped in commerce that I call home.

While there Penny showed me how she paints on fabric with wild abandonment and then looks into the fabric to see what emerges...very similiar to what Mystele calls "Gut Art".  The piece below is what came for me and I fell in love with it and trying to discover just who this was going to be.  I had a general idea but it wasn't quite affirmed.  On the ride home I kept looking at it but then decided to fold it up in the weathered "teepee" fabric she had given me for a possible background.  Well, beloveds, when I arrived hom and unfolded the fabric, she was gone.  I've looked all throughout my car and around it...she is gone!  I'll employ the Saint Anthony prayer (been using it for nearly 25 years and I know it works...if its not found after I employ Saint Anthony...IT AIN"T TO BE FOUND!  I have about a dozen small bags to riffle through and I'm hoping she will be in one of them...but as it stands now she has danced off into the aether!


Another big girl fun time was attending the grand-opening of Earthworks at the Carnegie in New Albany, Inidia...Congratulations to Valerie White,Pat DaRif, and Joanne Weiss (doesn't have an online presence) on a well put together exhibit that also heightens awareness to our MotherEarth and her struggles which are really our struggles.  November 7 and December 3 the artists will give a Gallery Talk.  This opening drew some of the art heavy weights out too, sculptorEd Hamilton, scuptor William Duffy, and scholar/artist Bob Douglass.  You have until December 30th to see Earthworks...get there!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

If you've been reading Seamless Skin at least through one season of winter then you might recall how I feel about the season as I do my very best to express my indelible opinion.  However, in light of the blue sky I enjoyed yesterday and what looks like another break in the seasonal reminder that winter is a'comin', I'll hold back sharing so early how I feel about winter until the bitter cold sets in.

This past weekend I took a 2-day workshop with the lovely Lisa Engelbrecht and enjoyed myself with the Kentuckiana Calligraphy and Paper Arts Guild.  The week prior I was nearing exhaustion and almost decided to lose the workshop fee and stay home to rest but I forged ahead and this week I've been taking it easy.  Lisa is a very generous and beautiful spirit and the group is very warm, funny, and creative lot.



The piece with the yellow background, top center, is mine.

I've missed deadlines upon deadlines and meetings but between finding balance in self-care and addressing The Basement (new photos added under Beginning Again album) I have some super-fantastic news forthcoming that I can hardly wait to share...but patience is a virtue and the vision needs more shaping until I can share...but its a good thing, a very good thing!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Scene: i'm singing and skipping down candy lane where the flowers are loppy-pops and the trees are cotton candy

"my brother has a blog my brother has a blog my brother has a blog my brother has a blog"

(smiley face sun shines brighter and brighter as it sings along with me and dances over my head)


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Beginning Again...

photo album updated.  I was there today with my oldest son and his friend.  I sat and pointed. They moved. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

One step forward, two steps backward, one and half steps forward, and hold...

I really wanted to start this post by reciting Langston Hughes' poem, Mother to Son.  You know the one...Well, Son, I'll tell you, life for me ain't been no crystal stair...or his The Negro Speaks of Rivers...I've known rivers. I've known rivers ancient as the world...but, that would have been overly dramatic really...but the emotion in them could capture the holding patterns with the basement as well as provide some comic release. 

Did you play red light/green light as a child?  You run to get ahead only to be caught in motion and have to return to the starting line.  The Beginning Again photo album has been updated and as of today this is the progress we've made.

I did get to bask in the sunshine of Crystal Wilkinson, (Mud Man's partner) who received this year's Sallie Bingham Award from KFW.  The award recognizes a feminist artist's contributions to social change in Kentucky.  Its pretty damn awesome and the state is fortunate to have Kentucky Foundation for Women and unbelievably, since its inception, its sad to note that feminist philanthropy of this statute has not developed in other states.

Here is Crystal giving her words of acceptance followed by other photos from the event.


There were 4 quilts hanging in this room...please note the one in the next photo.  The first name of the artist is Terry (or Terrie) and the last name, if I'm recalling right begins with a D, but I don't remember it.  The man on the couch is Muddy, my brother.  Sallie Bingham is at the other end of the couch.


Crystal and her beautiful twin daughters.


Crystal conversing with the Wild Woman and long standing feminist artist Mary Craik.






This is not the house were the celebration was held...but this house is sooooooo out of place with the landscape and the older homes and land reminiscent of once prosperous farms.  Even the pockets of new subdivisions do not infringe on the landscape the way this home does.  On the few occasions I've been out this way this house always catches me off guard.  I'm driving along and the city begins to give way to acres and acres of prairie (or what feels like prairie to me) and I'm mellowing out and my imagination begins to soothe down and zen out and bam! this house rises out of nowhere and throws me for a loop!  It would be a beautiful home if surrounded by other homes of this kind of opulence, but as it stands now, its just a blight in the hood.


Oh, did I happen to mention my niece in the postcard contest here?  I think I did...anyways she did very very well receiving the most postcards and the furthest or is it farthest away and won a 20 dollar gift certificate to spend at the book fair.  She was on cloud 9 so I heard.  Unfortunately her whole class didn't do well enough to win the pizza party.  But 84,000 thanks to you if you mailed her a card.

It seems like there was something else I wanted to share but its not coming to me.  If I remember, I'll be back.


Oh, yeah, Sonji Hunt is blogging again!  Yea! I've missed her chatterings.  And I've signed up for GUT ART, an online class taught by Mystele...I'm in need of a diversion but with some focus so I thought GUT ART sounded like it would be the prescription I need.  Mystele's art makes me think of favorite songs and stories and 2 other favorite artists, Jonathan Green and Brian Andreas. 

Friday, September 4, 2009

Moving right along....

The basement redo has been in a temporary stall pattern but will pick back up tomorrow.  My youngest son will get in on the act by painting the basement floor and my mother and I will make another big box store run.  My father is kinda eager to reclaim his garage space for his man-cave activities but not half as eager as I am to reclaim my basement space for my woman-underground art making!

I backed myself into a corner meeting a deadline for today but with the cooperation of friends it will be met.  Saving the information for what I hope to be a winter annoucement.

A gallery in Yellow Springs, Ohio will be hanging some of my pieces in October and Bev and I will be going up sometime that month to do a demonstrations (of something, I'm not sure what yet).  Although, I came late to knowing who David Chappell was, maybe we'll bump into him while in Yellow Springs and we can have coffee and he'll purchase one of my pieces.  Now wouldn't that be off the wall, on the hook, off the chain, over the speed bump, under the tree, fly the sky fantastic! 

Three things made my day yesterday!!! E. called to say she had takent her last radiation treatment and together we shouted and went ahead and claimed the victory over cancer.  This propelled me out of bed and I went out to mail the Iraqi Bundle of Love feeling good from my head to my toes.  I was imagining what the impressions of an Iraqi woman would have to the fabric selections...where they hip enough, too dull, too bright...would she be an urban woman, rural woman, young, old, etc.  I closed my day out with an email from the woman who will become my youngest son's piano teacher.  He has expressed an interest so we're going to let him get on the bus and see how far he rides. 


 gelatin plate printing

Friday, August 28, 2009

It goes...

which is better than it not going.

Just a summary update on the basement restoration which I'm calling "Beginning Again".  Basement framed, drywall installed, shower is in, sink too wide, toilet works, washer, dryer, hot water heater delivered, electrician called, electrician needs to come back, progress made, FEMA added to the pot...more to come.

I've added a new photo album in my sidebar to document the restoration but so far it only has 3 photos in it. 

I have creative outlets that I've put in place in order to keep my hands, mind, and ideas flowing but so far I've not been inclined to do any of them.  Just been feeling a little flat, ya know what I mean? 

The books and magazines that I had to throw out have been replaced and receiving them has been a source of joy and perks in what sometimes has seemed like endless days.  I greatly appreciate the assistance and kind comments. 



Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Saving Graces and Other Reasons to Shout!

We're going to duct tape Mrs. Helen, my mama, to a chair today! She doesn't know how not to be involved or sit still.  She use to tell me all the time as a teen, a hard head makes for a soft behind.  Me thinks she needs to follow her own advice. 

Last week when my sister and bil came to tear out the panelling and bathroom, my mother was still trying to help out.  She had already washed down the basement floor to rinse away the gunk left behind by the sewage water all by herself a few nights before.  She puts all of her children and grandchildren to shame and nor are we as healthy as she is.  God is good, eh?!


Here is my BIL who worked his tail off...and he is not a young man despite what he says ;)


Prior to all this, I spent a day at a sewing retreat with some wonderful friends and I meant to share some photos-


This is Sherita's sister who visited from nothern of her projects was this adorably cute dress she was making for child in her family.  And below is Rhonda, working on a pillow case with a golf theme for her husband...and below is what I worked on as well as the goodies I picked up at the 50% sale at a quilt store that is closing.




Here is the piece I have at hand that will be finished with hand stitching. 



Another saving grace has been the kindness and thoughtfulness expressed by my sisteren bloggers and friends.  In addition to the books being replaced the greater benefit is the inspiration I've received which motivates me to aspire to be a stronger, better person.  For this I'm most grateful!


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Ironing Party and Margueritas

at my place!  I really wish it so!  Humour gets me through a lot of stuff beyond my control and just for the fun I wish I could make pitchers of Margeritas for everyone as a gesture of kindness for your offers and kinder words.  As I glance over  at the pile of fabrics that need ironing...its as least 4 Marguerita pitchers high and I couldn't very well drink 4 pitchers all by myself!

In all seriousness though, my love and appreciation to each of you.  And since I'm not alone I just wanted to update the progress...the adjustor came this morning and it went smoothly...she estimated the damage at 15,000 but the alloted limit is 1/3 of that...since we are using the DIY plan, after my parents finish with the home essentials if there is enough to cover the books I lost, I'll get them from that, if not, I will definitely let Gerrie isn't that many but they are core books to my processes.

The HVAC person was there today and cleaned out the furnace and replaced a small piece and said that my parents where lucky that the motor didn't sit low.  My sons and friends will start on removal of the paneling and the bathroom tomorrow while my mother and I pick up supplies.  Ya know, some people take atrip of a lifetime, climb mountains, go scuba-diving, or get a personal makeover...instead of sporadic posting like I had thought, I'll just treat this as one big long adventure :) 

In the comments of the previous post, Dee mentioned the UofL library flooding, not only did the UofL library flood as much of the campus did, but the Main branch of our City's library loosing all their books stored for the annual sale, their new books that come in for all the branches, and their bookmobile trucks, and the mainframe for the computer the tune of 5 million in property damage.  Libraries are such vital focal points and common ground for each and every citizen it serves...I lean heavily toward the belief that without museums (art) and libraries everyone would succumb to the uglier sides of humanity.

Again, I appreciate the kind words and offers incredibly!  Peace!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Well, the creek did rise...but the sun will shine again in my back door someday ;)

This is not the entry I'm thrilled to write...but until I can find my feet again I'm going to park my butt whereever I can until I'm back in stride...thats Karoda speak for my workshop was dismantled today due to sewage back up caused by the storm we had last Tuesday...7-8 inches of rain fell in 1 hour and 15 minutes.  The gunky water receded immediately after the rain stopped but there is damage (not as bad as most who where affected, but significant) that requires the bathroom to be removed as well as most of the panelling and my mother lost her dryer.  Their insurance coverage will not be we went into plan B today...the DIY plan and calling somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody...for clean-up and repairs.  I'm also hoping that my renter's insurance will cover my personal property that I definitely want replaced (about 7 or so of my new art quilt books)

Thanks to my oldest son, Adrian and his friend Al, for coming to the rescue on the clean-up part!  The good news is most of my stuff survived...I had to grieve the lost of sketch journals created over the last 5-6 years and some fairly new art quilt books I had stacked in a basket next to my comfy chair...Fabric wise, I'm washing as I type, I'm okay...I think the fabrics helped absorb a lot quickly and prevented the water from spreading on my side of the basement.  I might have lost my computer, but for me that is no big deal.  My large rugs are lost and not worth the physical effort to clean them and I'm okay with that also.  The pat on the back I gave myself is the wisdom to put the electrical outlets for my machines/iron half way up the wall! 

On a much happier note, I had an absolute inspiring time in Elizabethtown last Thursday evening...sitting in a circle with about 20 woment artists from Central Kentucky and Louisville discussing our art and feminism, personal identities and experiences and social change!  It was an extension of the wonderful time I had in Athens with my sister-friends 2 weeks ago!!!!  I'm going to be leaning on the memories of these two events to get me through the down time.

My posts will be sporadic until I can celebrate the restoration of my workshop space.  Hangeth in!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Friends and Family

Acey asked to see the beads I purchased in is my lot along with head shots of the fantastic women I shared the trip with.  We've kicked around art collaborative ideas for years and one of these days despite the hundreds of miles that seperate each of us, we'll pull something off and it will be first and foremost FUN as well as a unique project that reflects each of us and our shared friendship going on about ten years. 

Athens Ohio 

While in Athens I purchased af book written by Zakes Mda, a South African and a professor at Ohio University.  The title, Cion, a novel, involves a South African who relocates to Ohio, USA and travels history by way of learning about quilts.  Ron and Crystal heard him speak at the Antioch Writer's Conference and knew I would be intrigued.  After seeing the cover of the book I realized I had this book in my 45 page Amazon wish list simply because the art that adorns his books is strongly appealing.  Rudy gutierrez is the illustrator for what appears to be all of Mda's novels which I haven't started on yet.  My current fiction read is A'mercy by Toni Morrison and I'm not sure which I'll dive into next. 

We (Peter and Ade) did an impromptu drive today to Utica, Indiana along the river to go to Hidden Hill Farm and Nursery.  It was our first time there and it is a great place to hang out and chill.  It is owned by retired journalist from our local paper, Bob HIll...he was kind enough to dig up and give me flowers that have mystified me for about a year or more...they are called "naked ladies" and are in the amaryllis family.  I'm going to plant them in my mother's yard. (ssshhhh, she doesn't know it yet).  When ever I see these flowers they always get my attention and make me smile.  I'll get a photo after I plant them.  I also picked up a new mug for tea (I use smaller mugs for demands a heftier mug).  I think we'll return, there was so much to take in and absorb.

Hidden Hill Nursery and Farm

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Groovy People

Recall Lou Rawls singing that song, Groovy People?  It describes my time spent in Athens, Ohio and an impromptu visit into Yellow Springs with 3 good friends.  My brother and his partner, Crystal, have been telling me about Yellow Springs for a few years.  I left here on Thursday for Athens thinking that Yellow Springs was on the opposite side of Cincy and out of the way.  I picked my friend Bev up and the first thing out of her mouth was "would you be interested in going to Yellow Springs?"  A quick flash of Thelma and Louise in my head and the answer was yes.  Yellow Springs was too short but we did make a couple of gallery connections thanks to Bev come what may marketing style.  Bev is not a fiber/textile/quilter but she is a highly imaginative artist who works in several mediums.

We arrived in Athens Thursday night and just chilled out.  On Friday, Kel, clay artist who is currently working in precious metal clay, and Dee, masterful story teller and poet joined us on Friday.  Whenever we're together there is always plenty of gab and laughter.  Family, art, health, politics, movies, tv, work, books, the usual.

Friday's highlight was the bead shop Kel took us too and it was a pretty damn awesome shop with wonderful customer service (the shops here leave me cold when it comes to customer service) and the diversity of items this bead shop has is lacking in Louisville shops.  I'd have to run around 3 shops locally to find half of what this shop had in inventory. 

Saturday morning we spent hours at The Diary Barn oohing and ahhhing...After the first round of viewing Bev had us go back around and pick our favorites for 4 catergories...of course I took notes but since then, they are lost...but from what I'm recalling, I had selected these 3 for the 3 of the 4 categories (can't remember them either):  Tunicates 1 by Andree Fredette, Nothing to Fear by Susan Else, and Architectural Squares by Christine Tedesco.  As a group we spent a considerable time in discussion on Africa Scarified IV by Sue Ackerman, Ruffled by Jessica Jones, Communicating with the Past by Aaron McIntosh, Little Fish in a Big City by Kathy York, Nothing to Fear by Susan Else, Quilt Drawing #9 by Daphne Taylor, When Nature and Industry Collide by Christine Milton, and one that I thought was entitled Eating Roses that made a direct feminist statement but I do not see it on the QN page.

Bev most frequent question was "what makes this a quilt?" and pushed the question about what materials she could use to push the definition further from the center and toward the edge.  Sunday morning Bev posed the question to us about which quilt was still the most memorable and for me it was Nothing to Fear by Susan Else (at the base of my memory lies humour), for Kel it was Ontario Quest Triptych, for Dee it was Ruffled by Jessica Jones, and for Bev it was Quilt Drawing #9 by Daphne Taylor.  

I did not buy the book but I'm trying to recall 3 was done in shades of gray and had a pyramid and a cross as motifs and the other was a close-up portrait (small size) of a friend who passed away from cancer and another portrait (large size) done in yo-yos that had been painted over...if anyone can tell me the names of these 3 pieces it would be appreciated.

The bead shop is in a house in a residential looking neighborhood off the path of downtown Athens but close by a church turned art center.  Another must stop gallery is Passion Works Studio which is a studio/gallery of works by disabled and non-disabled artists.  Having been intimately involved with the start-up of a similiar group in New Albany, Indiana, I'm always most interested in artists who are disabled as well as how arts programs reach out to non-traditional audiences.  The highlight of dining was The Star of India which was right across from a Mexican restaurant that we ate at the day before.  This is the only photo that immediately struck me for a blog post since photos are not permitted of QN. 


This is turning out to be a season of opportunity...I'm considering an invitation to do some demo'ing at a gallery in Yellow Springs along with showing some of my work during gallery hop night...just have to weigh the initial investment cost over exposure and potential sales.  Also, Lisa Engelbrecht, author of Modern Mark Making will be here in October leading a 2 day workshop, and I'm going to be a resource artist for Kentucky Foundation for Women August 6 in Elizabethtown, Kentucky...for more info, go to their website at

As far as taking time to rent studio space to dye fabric for a month, I'm now undecided...just have to repriortize.  Is this the time to place my resources in process and materials, education, or exposure???  I'm giving myself 10 days to weigh it and will then make my decision.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Working out the knots


First attempt at bullion knots...I'm so glad there isn't an embroidery jail for those who offend the discipline...but these look like french knots on steroids. 

Below is my third set and I finally got the sequence correct.


Again, as with the calligraphy, I'm not trying to become an embroiderer...I think in surface applications which explains why I selected the piece of silk paper as a base, (a material I love), instead of the Aida cloth recommended for beginners.  My initial thought was "this red and muddy grays look great together".

I joined the Take A Stitch Tuesdays at Stitchin Fingers (see side bar).  I might make a sampler, I might not.  I'm thinking I'll make postcards, atcs, or just small cutesy framable pieces...just think if I do this for all the 52 weeks...that would be 52 small pieces. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Muddied Mind Needs a Good Cleaning.

Monday at my workshop I did a lot of piddlin'.  I couldn't open up a clear path of thinking on what to do.  I had cut stencils over the weekend but wasn't focused enough to work with them...I used up the rest of dye paint that was left in a screen from last year but no pizzazz...the colours ended up as muddied as my mind.  I did remember to get the gelatin mold out and was really surprised at how solid it formed.  I thought it would be slightly mushy but it felt rubbery.  My reference books for the gelatin printing were Rayna Gillman's book, Create Your Own Hand-Printed Cloth, and one from the library, Making Monotypes Using a Gelatin Plate by Nancy Marculewicz.  I managed to ignite enough brain cells to do these fabrics but afterwards my brain went to sleep so I followed suit.  I used Jacquard's screen printing inks and regular block printing ink and extender with the screening and gelatin mold.  The glue resist worked very well, so I'll be investing in more blue glue and gelatin powder...does anyone know if Costco or GFS (restaurant supplier) carries gelatin powder?  


top-bottom: gel print, gel print, screen print


both fabrics gel prints

When I return I'm going to be about damage control on the red and green graffiti panels shown in the previous post.  I wasn't thinking and what I did to them on Monday showed it.  I've invested too much time in them to just chalk it up...hopefully the super hero within will come to the rescue.

I rested all day concentration was still poor and this morning feels the same...but neverless, I'm going to venture to my workshop for a little while and see what I can do...hangeth in people!