Sunday, June 30, 2013

"Joy doesn't mean being happy all the time, it means being at your center, balance..." Reiki Rick

This week has overflowed with a strong sense of started with some distress that by Friday peaked with a deep wow-ness and laughter!  All involving some aspect of my art practice...meeting Reiki Rick Thursday morning must have transferred some good vibration energies that just showed up and showed out with Lisa, my cousin visiting from KS, hanging with me all day at the studio dyeing fabric and sewing on her quilt top and my very good sister friend, Mary J coming to the gallery during Trolley Hop.  By the end of the day, 2 of my pieces were sold!!!!  There is a delightful story behind how the 2nd piece came to be in the hands of it's new owner that will stay with me til the day I die!!!  I'm not going to tell it here because I'm not a strong enough writer to transmit it without the serendipity and absurdity of the experience from getting lost.

The week came to a gentle close with running into Barbara, another artist at the art center that I hadn't seen in months.  We spent a spell getting caught up and touching base.

So, if you've dropped in here, I wish you your own joy~


Friday, June 21, 2013

Mindless, seeking low stress and rest kinda day.

I've been enjoying getting into the studio by 7:00 am for the last couple of weeks, but as of this morning I declared it old news.  My body and bed was saying "no, don't go" but I had agreed to cover a couple of hours this morning in the gallery, so off I went and Peter dropped me off.  Most mornings there is a boot camp group outside exercising and doing what they do in the name of fitness...this morning I had to roll my eyes and shake my head to look at them so damn early in the morning when all I wanted was a bed and firm pillow.  I did plop down in my comfy chair (not as dreamy as my old comfy chair from the basement studio days) first thing and slept a bit. 

Coffee was second on the agenda after waking and since the coffee pot (thanks Uneena) is inside the gallery, I opened a little early and spent my time doing somewhat low-stress hand work.  Here is a lotus flower that I drew using water-soluble dense charcoal.  I'm thinking about quilting or embroidering this motif down the center panel of the "doorway quilt".

The other thing I did was cut up a previously finished quilt that just wasn't working into 3 smaller sizes (about 5"x5") and began beading on them...solely an exercise in composition and colour.  I made the quilt when I was exploring mono-colour.  Although the quilt didn't work for me any longer, I couldn't waste the beautiful texture.

After a pat on the back for meeting an exhibition deadline yesterday for a local juried show and putting the paper quilts (I've made 6 or 7) on hold, I'm not sure what's next from the Chitlin' Circuit Studio, but next week has RESTING written all over it!  

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day Ponderings

Saturday is my day to gallery sit and in between visitors I started reading Contemporary Quilt Art: An Introduction and Guide by Kate Lenkowsky.  I also worked on more paper quilts. 
I started the one below when I got back into my studio.  The writing is in 3-d paint which I left to completely dry before I fill in with more colour.

The paper I'm using is khadi paper, a rag paper made in India.  I've had it for at least a year and can't recall what intent I had in mind, but really, for me, no intent is needed to buy most art supplies.  I was reading on someone's blog, (can't recall which one), that she could pass up shoe stores without any problem, but an art supply store! well that is on a whole 'nother level.  I could stay in art supply stores for hours with my mind sparking with ideas and can't leave empty-handed even if I just come out with a single pastel crayon.


I'm missing my father...he passed over 3 years ago.  I can still see him and hear his voice.  He was an only child of my grandmother who was the only daughter of three of my great grandparents.  My father was raised my great-grandmother.  When they left Milledgeville, Georgia for Kentucky, my grandmother was 15 and pregnant with my father who was born Middlesboro, Kentucky.  They left Georgia for the lure of working in a blue jean factory that was hiring Black people.  Some of my great-grandfather's brothers came also and one opened up a barbershop.  At some point, they all pulled up roots again and headed to Louisville, Kentucky.

My man and father of two of my three children was born in West Africa, Lagos specifically.  However, his roots are in Sierra Leone but do not go back beyond his great-great grandmother due to the slave trade.  When the exporting of slaves ended in West Africa people who had been captured and taken to the coastal regions where left there.  The land mass of the continent, the distance, the terrain, would make it near impossible to find one's way back home, even if in deed, home was still there and not burned out, or overtaken by another ethnic group.  His great-grandmother had four sets of twins, one of one set of twins made his way to Nigeria from Sierra Leone by the lure of employment for a Dutch company.  He was not yet 18 when he left home.  A very industrious young man.

My children, all three of them, have benefitted greatly from the journeys and hopes and achievements of their ancestors, but they do not understand it, even though it was something discussed in our home often.  The expectations that they would continue, in a conscientious manner, allow their foundation to inform their daily choices and decisions for long range effects, is a point of view that is absent.  Yesterday morning over coffee we discussed whether our children see themselves as part of a whole and understand how the decisions they make effect and connect to the lives that come before them as well as the lives that will come after them.  In tiny ways they seem to but sometimes in large ways they seem not to.  Peter and I, are still nurturing hope.

I am contemplating all of this while my man still sleeps and is snoring in the bed behind me.  When I first met him, we spent hours upon hours talking in the library about our families and our dreams.  I was impressed then with his consciousness, intellect, convictions, and integrity.  I was trying to re-gather myself after a un-wise decision to marry the father of my oldest son whom I had separated from and it was those conversations where I could hear myself out loud that I found courage. 

Here we are some 28 years later.  It is Father's Day and my heart if filled with gratitude for two of the men whose presence has added meaning to my life.

Here is an excerpt from a poem I wrote for him in 1995...


One season in ten years
I witnessed your tears twice.
First, at the beginning of the Harmattan
when the nine where executed.
Mora decay of my people;
It could have been ten
you whispered and swallowed

Second, in the middle of the Harmattan.
Christmas Day. The call went through.
The line clear. Your sister spoke.
Father passed away three hours ago.
Unexpected. Sudden. Distance.

From his bedroom window he was looking for you.
Stand at the gate of the compound he was looking for you.

Rare does death not bring regrets.

You manhood is not murky, your soul does not wane.
What you hold is what he has given you -- intense light.
I have see people unable to look you in the eyes,
who want your smile on your teeth instead of in your hear.
Benin masks of eternity reflects
your piercing gaze and sealed lips.
This of your father in you
needed to be here in Kentucky with me.

Happy Father's Day to the men who visit here.  Peace,

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Passion, Enthusiasm, Coffee & Pie.

I'm sitting here this morning reading blogs on enthusiasm, drinking coffee from a Kimberly Moore design mug, and having a slice of derby-like pie for breakfast.

Thinking over what I'm enthused about as a 52 year old African American woman...and one of the things that makes me lose my sense of self in a good way, in a way that goes straight to "Spirit" is talking about the whats, whys, wherefores, hows of creating my art, your art, their art, our art, standing face to face, eyeball to eyeball with another person or group of people.  Another thing that jazzes me is to sit in wild long brainstorm sessions being creative. (This coffee is soooo good this morning) in a small group.  These are times when my spirit just lets loose and I can feel it instantly and it makes me feel immortal and free.  (does that sound dramatic?   but it is true and I love the feeling!).

I'm passionate about writing here, although my enthusiasm rises and falls.  Sometimes, I think I'll return to writing poetry...I've never left sitting on the edge looking at the poetic pens of others, but I can't figure out, no, maybe that isn't quite correct,...I'm a little unsettled by how absorbed I'd become with my passions and knowing how long my mind, spirit, body takes to travel from one to another and can't imagine a routine that wouldn't shut out family and friends and make me a true recluse or at best an introvert.  Let me explain further...when I'm at my studio, the idea of having a large warehouse live/art space is validated...when I'm looking at genealogy resources, it is an absorbing interest that one looses track of time (but can be made to be social able when doing oral interviews), writing poetry-a day can get lost drafting a line or stanza, etc., down time is spent reading books related to the aforementioned...and then one manages to squeeze in the physically sustaining needs and before I know it, I would be a happy recluse...although as a recluse I could skim on the physically sustaining needs, eh? Oh, and you know how time absorbing it is to learn some new software or technological hype (trying to figure out the rhythms of Google+). 

And in closing, I'll just share a small thing I'm really passionate about...comfortable shoes, shoes that love your feet...and my go to recommendation for the last 10 years or so has been Ecco shoes.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Hanging old and new art...

Yesterday Don, Uneena, and me rearranged the gallery walls.  Two days prior I pulled my art from it's storage (my closet here at home) to take to Brown-Foreman's Diversity Day (this company values creativity highly and it shows!).  So I took advantage of having the work out and breathing to hang it at the Kore along with the new paper quilts upon returning.

We're not finished as we will take it down on Monday to get good photographs. 

Below are the paper quilts coloured with dye.  There will be more of these in my future.  And I think they will be in a shadow box or framed.

Not sure how I feel about the shadow the shadow box casts on the quilt.  I protected these with a fixative, but now I'm thinking UV glass and/or UV protection spray needs to be applied.  And this will go back to being vertical, the original orientation.
Don wanted me to live with the vertical orientation of "Summer".  It hasn't grown on me.
The sunset is thread painted on canvas but not quilted and mounted on a 6"x12" stretched canvas. 
And this is Don's newest which I have fallen in love with.  All that deep aqua with the colour bursts exudes in me a feeling of hope and excitement.