Sunday, December 11, 2016

Something More

There is life in this blog.  

I'm trying not to overthink matters, but instead, just relax into the rhythms of change.  (and this in no way, shape or form refers to the politics of my country, I can hear the voice of Sofia (played by Oprah Winfrey) from the film The Color Purple, saying "all my life I had to fight")

Naw, I'm talking about the rhythms that occur in my "making" space and in my creative spirit.  I started with a quilt at the beginning of the year and I'm ending the year with another quilt.  One where I'm asking myself "is it enough just to take these bits of color and sit and sew and pray them together?".

A month ago I called another artist which I hadn't spoken to in a few years but a sister spirit all the same I and I was describing the space I'm in and where I am pondering the question.  She started replying and as I so often can forget when two artists begin talking, energy rises....spirit wants to run, leap into explode into the next quilt, quilt as performance art even...

 There was joy in the quickened impulse and the vision...but will my body let me do it?  I mean will it physically sustain enough energy/air to move into a full blown project?  I intentionally started working slow, even when I'm fast, I'm slow.  Although, I've had a few close calls, I've only had one hospital stay this year.  Crocheting fills that space.  I do not think non quilt makers know how physical making a quilt can be.

These hexie are addicting, but not only that, sewing them together by hand places me in that quiet space I live for while simultaneously producing that something more.

Until next time, Peace.

Friday, December 2, 2016

House of Stitches, Episode 4

I know I haven't written much here but trust that I am doing my best to keep it moving ;) Wishing you joy and peace!

Monday, October 31, 2016

What about those Praying Crows...

I'm working up to working on a quilt.  Designs have been rolling around in my head for months.  A few weeks ago I began touching cloth.  I know I want to use this slip which has been in my stash for years.  It was among my oldest Aunts items years after she passed and right before her daughter made the decision to "let it go".  In my eyes it was the last tie we had to rural life.  But none in our family were interested in farming or even renting the land out to other farmers.

Here is the slip with the praying crows I thought I would be using.

I ex-nayed the crows for now but am making hexies as part of the design. And drawing and some writing on the quilt will be involved.  The working title is "Something Beautiful".  It is my emotional response to so much heaviness and injustice.  It will be a take on the phrase #BlackGirlMagic.  

Above is the beginning sketch for the quilt which was preceded by writing about my vision. The writing helps me navigate the competing ideas in my head and arrive at at centered intent.  It also helps me make and understand my decisions to alter things in the process.  The only time I don't journal is when I'm doing a quilt filled with mark making and exploring colour and abstract.  Those quilts have been driven by processes of moving while handling the cloth and paints and tools for marks.  Picture.narrative quilts are driven by the finished quilt and are not my favorite quilts to get out of my head.  I was kinda hoping that this one would turn but that slip (and the crows) have been whispering at me for years.

And this is a quilt with a deadline for an exhibit...maybe I need those praying crows afterall.  Hangeth in. Peace.

Episode 3 is Up.

This is episode #3.  I share a finished hat I made for an Aunt and talk about what is due to be made, including an quilt that has a deadline.  Below is the rough sketch for it and the hexies for the flowers.

The slip will be used in the quilt and it has since been dyed a burnt orange.  The crows, I'm undecided about including in this quilt.  The working title is Simply Beautiful.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Soooo Young Grasshopper....What do you really want>

Okay, something is really wrong with me...I have been aiming to go to bed since around 10 p.m.  It is now 3:41 a.m.  I can't stop knitting!!!!!!  Let me continue.  I'm a newbie knitter depending on YouTube and Craftsy.  Going Continental because I crochet (and do it a heck of a lot better).  I've wanted to cry, scream and throw these needles across the room. At one point I considered putting my small stash of knitting needles in the Goodwill box.

Just when I am about ready to call it quits, I find a new YT video and I say "this one is better, I can do this".  Right now I have 4 rows of 43 stitches and I guess I will make the dreaded boring scarf that is every beginners fate.  I purchased Pure Joy, a beautiful shawl by Joji Locatelli that I wanted to be my first knitted item but that ain't happening no time soon I think.  As for now, this young grasshopper is really quitting for the night while me and this yarn are still on speaking terms. Peace.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Rambling thoughts...

For over a month I've been going to sleep with the thought that tomorrow I'll wake up and get to the garage early and dye or marble on some fabric before the days turn cold.  I have yet to make it.  I haven't dyed, marbled, screen printed, laminated on fabric for 2 years.  All of last year was understandable.  And even some interruptions in this year, but to let the summer completely go by and now Autumn is here, I am not sure if I will or not.  I don't have and haven't had the stamina for it.  The physical stamina hasn't returned.  I have returned to sketching out new quilt ideas but now that I'm faced with wanting to really get going on a new quilt, to really engage the process again, the question of how to get it all completed by hand stitching arises.  What I really want to do is sit and make little hexies and sew them together...little hexies from my own dyed and painted fabrics.  But I have a quilt that needs to be completed by the end of December, so hand work is out of the question.  The part that I'm mostly dragging on is sitting down at the sewing machine.  Also, my mind feels cloudy when I try to approach design on the design board.  Everything feels new like I have never performed any of these tasks before.  So I just keep sitting my happy butt down to crochet or flip through crochet patterns.  I even tried to impose a "learning curriculum" on myself and the one book I keep avoiding is Ruth McDowell's book on piecing because I need to sew.

What is appealing to me about crocheting and making the hexies is not having to tax my soul to create from scratch.  Although deciphering a pattern in crochet and learning to knit has it brain boost challenges, its no where near the same.  It connects back to the stamina.  I am due to start strength training around mid-October.  I can't imagine not hooking and want to add yarn dyeing to what I do.  I already have everything I need to do that so it would be a natural fit. Just need to figure out who I am once again.

If you don't change, life will sure change you.  Peace.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016


Hello.  Finally decided to just go with it instead of waiting until I get it "perfect" which could be the 12th of Neverary.  I'll learn as I go and hopefully improve over time.  The pilot episode for my YouTube podcast about my yarn related (mostly) projects is up.  It is 42 minutes long.  I'm aiming for 30 minutes in future episodes.

Here are the show notes with links of items referenced:

Pacific Rim Shawl
Jojoland Yarns
Malabrigo Yarns

Child's Crew Neck Pullover
Yarn Bee Soft Secret (is a Hobby Lobby Yarn)

Project Bags by Kim the Crafty Nomad (EboniePearl on Etsy)


Lacy Fans and Feathers Wrap
Juniper Moon Farm Yarns

For Viking of Norway Yarns, Google to find inventory at either you local yarn shop or an online retailer.

Lion Brand Yarns

Evening Shimmer Wrap
Cascade Yarns

Clover Armour Crochet Hooks

Nancy's Waves Scarf
Premier Yarns

Creative Strength Training by Jane Dunnewold

Piecing Expanding the Basics by Ruth B. McDowell

Mixed Media Portraits with Pam Carriker

Strathmore Journals

Artist Journals & Sketchbooks by Lynn Perrella

Crocheter's Skill-building Workshop by Dora Ohrenstein

Loops & Threads (is a Michaels Yarn)


MITU Yarns (will need to translate page or check with online retailers)

It is 42 minutes long.  IF you view it in its entirety, then miracles do happen and I deeply thank you. You are encouraged to offer suggestions, comments, evaluations...will be deeply appreciated.  For those who know me, is this me????  It is like listening to one's voice on a tape recorder and being surprised at the sound of your voice.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Throwing Shade and Casting Support

So I've already started my own art school.  I'm going to skip the courses though and just award myself an M.F.A.  My retrospective show is coming up at a major museum.  By museum, I mean inside my garage, buts it will be promoted by a major outlet.  By outlet, I mean my blog, but some major art critics have planned to cover the show.  By major art critics, I mean my grandchildren who will share their thoughts and pass out flyers in the neighborhood and post up notices at Krogers.  The name of my show though is #heisalieandalickandhisdrawersdon'tfit.  I am already planning for my next show around January 20th and it is called #istoodwithher

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Balls! (of yarn)

The yarn winder came Friday, the swift came yesterday.  I'm having a ball!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

This is Whats Up...

I am in my space this morning to start a shawl I had counting difficulty with last night and unfrogged. The softness in the air and the quiet while everyone remains sleep I am hoping will allow me to concentrate more.  I am using a foundation single stitch which is one I haven't used often.  My plan is to also do a little piece work from Piecing by Ruth McDowell.  Once I work through a book as part of my Karoda School of Art I am also deciding if the book will remain a part of my arsenal.  I want to streamline, reel in, what I create over a long swatch of time.  I want to have more command over what my resources are and should be in order to do what I do.  You know  there is that tendency to be a grasshopper, jumping all over the place and trying out every knew tool and trend that comes out.  And that is all cool for awhile, but I'm longing for a more distinct look in all that I select to keep, whether it is encaustics or quilts.

Yesterday I spent some time working on a Mojo.  I usually do these in painted papers stitched and embellished, I do them in down time to relax my mind.  This one is fabric and has been hanging around for two years. I plucked it off the board and began adding hand stitching.  I love everything going on so far with this small piece. Here I am auditioning the porcupine quill.

This study below I did previously last year...I want to revisit it in a larger quilt.  I made a small adapted version of it that was part of a collaboration.  It is about commanding spiritual transformation.

Every Friday Mo and I have lunch.  It is her day off.  Last Friday was our next to last Friday lunch date.  She will be going to a different shift at her job so we will have to come up with another way to connect.  Maybe she can be persuaded to take up a knitting class with me in the evenings.  Here we are at Long John Silver's.  Summer means we are a foursome instead of a twosome.

I hear footsteps upstairs, so I'm going to get this shawl started.  Peace.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Tea, You Are Not Coffee

8:00 o'clock and I'm in the studio with tea in hand.  Although it is a black tea, so far it ain't doing the trick. Might have to make that pot of coffee.

I've started my studio time by watching videos on stencil making particularly katazome.  My mulberry papers has been gone several moves ago.  (one of those if I haven't used it by now, give it away moments).  Katazome uses mulberry paper.  I woke up thinking about turning my face sketches into stencils this morning.  I have used file folders, acetate sheets, and stencil sheets in the past.  I can only recall using one on a small graffiti quilt named "Do Not Fear the Intellectual".  It was a journal size quilt and I have no clue where it got to.  Hopefully it was one I sold from the Mellwood studio as that is the last time I recall seeing it.

Anyways, I'm back to my School of Art activities.  Here is my curriculum: (links will take you to Amazon)
Zentangle A Day, Mixed Media Portraits, Crochet Workshop, Piecing and Creative Strength Training.  I have yet to find a consistent rhythm for days and times so I snatch time daily even if its just 30 minutes.  Mornings seem to be my best time now.  Here is the sketch I'm returning to in just a bit.  I'm also going to start another side sketch.

I'm going to do another side view sketch before I advance to the next chapter in Mixed Media Portraits.

Naw, this tea ain't gonna do it.  Peace.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Trying It On for Size

So we are moved in and progress has been made.  Most of the boxes are unpacked.  The boxes which remain hold decor, books, toys, etc. and are pushed into corners until I decide where things will fit, hang, and so on.

My studio is set up and functional and today I piddled in it for about 5 hours trying to get comfortable with where items are placed and how to move in the space.  The new shared arrangement with Peter is nice.  He was doing some technical stuff with the computer/tv connection.  I didn't know when he was in the room or out unless he said something to me.  With what I was doing today, the only time I couldn't hold conversation was when I was crocheting.  Overall, it was a fair run for trying the space on for size.

I did a zentangle to warm up followed by a face sketch and ending with exercises from the workbook on crochet.  But in full disclosure, a lot of time was spent browsing Facebook on my phone.  Discipline is the word for the rest of the month and must be had to get a groove going.
studio music was Regina Carter's CD, Southern Comfort

A friend asked me about dyeing fabric in ombre and that got me excited.  It has been 2 years since I had my dyes out.  We're working out a Friday that she can come.  This will give me the opportunity to to try out the set-up in the garage.

Trying to describe to myself what I feel like is going on with me as a creative person, I feel like I'm forever waking up from a slumber.  The closing down of my Mellwood studio and the year dealing with breast cancer and 2 moves in 18 months created an alternate reality that I'm trying to shed or bloom out of the pod.  But one thing I know is God is here in and of it and I'm trusting the process!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

KU School of Art 1st month update.

This was suppose to be an update on how I've progressed through the first month of KU School of Art.  Instead, I'm here to say we will be packing up to move house.  We're grieving over it while moving into that knowing space where God's got a plan that our vision is too short to see.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Such Great Vibes Today

I was in the studio today from 7 this morning until 1.  I started out by unmolding my gel plate.  It is damp feeling but seems pretty tough.  I was expecting it to feel more plasticized and not as malleable as it is.  I'll start some mono-printing tomorrow.  I also will try another recipe to compare the "feel".
Do you have a recipe that uses glycerin for a semi-permanent gel plate?

I did a daily zentangle this morning and pulled a ufo (unfinished object) off the design wall and made a decision about quilting.  I will not tell you how long it has been waiting patiently for me to return, but I was surely joyful that I felt on top of my vision to get with it.  I decided to hand stitch it to go with the folk/other worldliness vibe that it gives off.  I will do some light machine quilting solely functional to secure the 3 layers.  I'm only hand stitching through the top and a light-weight stabilizer. Here are some snapshots.

This is the thread I am using for her hair has been a booga bear to work with but it hasn't got the best of me!  

After homework and dinner with the hub-man and the grandkids  I hope to return back to the basement and work on some crochet and do some exercises from the crochet workbook. (see previous post).

Oh, and the studio music today!  Everything from Alberta Hunter to Zydeco....B.B. King, Mahalia Jackson, Fela Kuti, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Art Tatum, John Legend, Gil-Scott Heron, Anita Baker....its been awhile since I flooded my space with such great vibes.  Today, life is good. Peace...or Karoda out (drops the mic)....okay, I'm not as cool as our President...but wasn't he absolutely the best at the WHCD?

fat quarter enhancements

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Karoda University School of Art

Let's see, I have a lot running through my head this morning.  First, let me go make a pot of coffee and I'll be back.

I'm back, but not with coffee but a mug of lemon ginger tea.  This past Sunday I wrote out a curriculum for studio time.  I've done this several times before and although I rarely complete the course, it is due to me jumping off onto my own rhythms.  Having a curriculum brings intent and focus instead of waking up every morning undecided and loosely hodge podging something together for the day that doesn't continue the next day.

On Monday I woke up with a upper respiratory and throat irritation and was in bed most of the day.  Today I'm feeling better and am ready to begin.  Here is what I'm going to focus on:

When I did this before I called it Learning Curves.  I think I'll call it Karoda University School of Art.

I've divided my days into AM and PM segments leaving room for experimenting and deep porch sitting.  For May, I'll do gel plate printing and just as soon as I finish typing this and playing a few rounds of Puzzly Words, I'm going to mix up the ingredients for the plate.  I'm making one that will be plasticized.  It doesn't have to be kept in the fridge and is pretty much permanent.  I've only made the one which has to be kept in the fridge so I'll let you know how it turns out.  

I've also been rolling around the idea of starting a YouTube channel for crochet and with some art quilting thrown in.  Since the Hubster can't stop watching MSNBC, (has this not been the most grueling, painful, and LONGEST campaign season ever?!!!  This is the one that has broken me of calling myself a political junkie; although I've turned my sights to following our evil minion of a governor....the first Pub in 40 years and boy is he all of a mess up one side and down the other)  (that was a pretty long interjection in this sentence) I've taken up watching YouTube videos.  Most of them are yarn head type videos and there are tons of them with knitters.  Not enough crocheters and its been a while since I've had a tech challenge (Mo and Ade would say I'm challenged by using my smart phone, but I beg to differ).  And it seems like another way of putting myself out there for a chance to connect with folks who share the same interests and renew some presentation skills that have languished since I've been out of the world of employment now.  I really have a lot of time on my hands and I have everything I need to create the art I want to create.   It is a miracle after all the years of working 2-3 jobs and 60-70 hour work weeks.  

I'm listening to a pretty cool podcast called Crafty Planner.  I started from episode 1 and am up to 17.  She has focused on diversity within the Modern Quilt movement and I've been introduced to some pretty hip young women and men.  It is good studio listening.  Check it out.  

And in closing...Alonzo Davis sent me an email yesterday saying our collaborative piece received a red dot!!!!!!  That did my heart good!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Health and Creativity.

Last week my son helped me rearranged some in my creative space..  While I was watching him move things, it hit me...I've always used my studio as an indicator of how well my health is holding and watching him do things I did for myself just two years ago, it dawned on me at a little deeper level that my energy post-cancer is not the same as it was pre-cancer.  My expectations were high thinking once it was all behind me I'd soar like a bird and it would be for an extended flight bursting with energy.  How I use to work in my studio, i.e., whether I did dyeing of fabric, screen printing, or hand stitching, beading, or machine quilting was not just an indication of where I was in the process of creating a quilt, but also, an indication of how laborious my breathing was, how fatigued I felt, if my muscles and joints ached, and if my diet was off or way off.  I haven't spent much time creating because I have lower energy and become winded more easily.  For me, I can know something and then I can really know a thing.  I knew it but didn't want to accept it.

For awhile my daughter and I were on a role with healthy smoothies and had started incorporating ginger tea into our diet and eliminating the unhealthy stuff but that too has been sporadic giving way to fast food and convenient eating.  I did feel better.   My weakness is home baked sweets.  Yea, yea, I know about Splenda.  I would rather go without and make it worth my while when I do eat something sweet.  It is really hard to stay consistent but I'm thinking I need to get back to cooking (which I don't do much either anymore) and being a predominant vegetarian...Peter will follow as he isn't "real" picky and is usually very thankful for home cooked meals.  He cooks but it is always the same meal in the 30 years we've been together...a Nigerian stew over rice and fried plaintains.  I on the other hand, love to experiment and try not to cook the same meal too often, except for, as my family would say, my version of ruebens...they will swear we had them every week for a period.  I don't believe them although I do love me a rueben!

The studio rearrangement has opened up more floor space and receiving a cast off chest of drawers that belonged to my granddaughter has opened up space for my growing yarn stash.  I've been vegging out on YouTube vlogs and video channels by other yarn heads.  Among knitters and crocheters it is a "thing" to show your yarn stashes and yarn hauls.  I'm entertained by it!  Here are some channels I enjoy: Kim Cee, MilkshedEssence of Me, B.Hooked Crochet and I discovered Bonnie K. Hunter's Quilt-cam and I seldom watch Bonnie's entire episodes but I find her idea and the concept delightful.

Also, I'm still in need of a woodworker to cut a hole in my sewing table so my sewing machine can be flushed.  I've been looking at studio tours on YouTube and Pinterest...but I don't really think I have storage issues....maybe organizing a bit.  I'm not sure if I want to have an ironing board, or a Big Board or turn a table into an ironing table.  I'm thinking my print table could double as an ironing is still relatively clean since I have not used it but might not be practical once I'm up and rolling.   When I was in my Mellwood studio and had to iron a quilt top or quilt in the past, most of the time it came home with me unless I had a clean cloth on the print table which was rare.

And here is the shawl I made for one of my sisters modeled by my daughter:

I've got the same one going for an Aunt and this is from a YouTube tutorial.  This one is my is very repetitive and I can watch tv and do this one.  I also have another one using lace weight yarn an it is one that says "you better sit up and pay attention".  I like having at least 2 crochet projects that is a challenge and one that is a sleeper.

Monday, March 28, 2016

What's Going On?

I have been neglecting this blog and neglecting my studio.  I have maintained patience with myself but not I think it is time I openly explore why.  It is not as if I'm given up on "making"...oh no!  I have turned into an obsessed crochet (again) but this time it is even more compelling than in 2014.  When I first started buying yarn way back when, it was with the intent of couching it on my quilts because I love me some visual texture and that process.  I also thought I would use it to machine felt which I haven't done much of.  All my yarn fit into an over the door shoe holder and it has been sufficient...until now.  My favorite yarn to use is lace weight and I love making shawls and am ready to dive into making sweaters which calls for tons and tons of yarn per sweater.  My yarn is just beginning to spill over and I'm having to think about "organization".  I want a full blown stash...I can't afford to do it, but I want a wall of yarn...but I'm in the basement (my dining room does remain empty however) and I wonder if my yarn would me a nice warm spot for spiders.

Have I given up on fabric and mixed media quilting?  Heck no!  Other than the collaborative piece (see a few posts down) I have not done much or really enough to say I'm doing anything at all.  I started making a piece I had done a study of and wanted to enlarge and designed it with fussy cut diamonds on the bottom....when I say they are a PAIN IN MY ASS! to sew, I can't get closer to the truth!  I have about nine put together of a nearly 30 something total.  I've consulted other folks, YouTube, just isn't clicking how to sew them right the first time without getting them uneven...I'm sewing on the bias too! Good lord!  The thought of changing the design has entered my mind, but I can't just now as I still feel it is the right design for the overall quilt.  Soooo, I've done nothing.  Nothing.

I was drawing faces...and I just stopped going downstairs to do it.  My 500 coloured pencils where coming off the wall so I took them all down and not sure where to "organize" them so they are all just thrown in box until I can figure something out.  I didn't want to permanently attach the pencil holders in place so I used double sided tape...they held up for a long while before they began to drop off the wall.  It always happened I'd go downstairs the next day and have to find and pick up at least 25 pencils off the floor.  Then my drawer on my drawing desk broke completely off the desk...then looking at the drawer I was getting ideas of how it could be used in an assemblage...that overwhelmed me and I have not been back to the basement since...about 2 weeks ago at least.  And I've already mentioned it was cold even with running space heaters...and the lighting is poor...I have 4 Ott lights, 1 overhead shop light, and 3 spot lights...and the iron doesn't even have to be on to trip the breakers.  I have been thinking I'll do some mono-printing on cloth, but it will be outside.  I wish I could chalk it up to remnant effect of winter leaving me cranky and irritable, and maybe that is some part of my avoidance...who knows....


I always have at least 2 projects going on the hooks.  I'm on a mission.  No, really...I am on a mission and each piece is an intended gift for someone.  I have a list, a fairly long list that I want to tackle so I can go on to make pieces for myself.  I wake up to crochet and before I know it the day has filled itself with hooks and yarns.  If I can't sleep in the middle of the night, I crochet.  I mentally project if I'm going to begin to create my own patterns; sometimes I ask the question of how can crochet and quilting be married; I'm considering getting customized labels for my finished projects; I wonder if I should make enough items to set up booths at local craft shows; and then I tell myself, "lets keep this purely a hobby".   If you're on Ravelry, I'm Karoda2, look me up!

My next several posts will probably involve continued exploration of why I'm avoiding my studio.  Feel free to share your own issues with studio avoidance and how you resolved it.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

2nd Biennial Exhibit of African American Women Artist, 2016

Me at opening night at the 2nd Biennial Exhibit of African American Women Artist.  I"m standing by one of the two pieces I have in the show.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Collaboration and Co-signing

I've read articles about women who began their artistic life past their 40s, 50s, and well into the Crone years.  Although I began way before those decades of my age, I am thinking over how my creative life has changed and wondering if it's post-cancer, over 55, or living with illnesses or some combination of all three.

Unlike some cancer patients, I couldn't engage in my own artistic endeavors and once again found crochet, following patterns created by others, as a way of staying calm and relaxed.  My own art is on-going decisions and questions and physically engages my whole body and being.  I gave myself a pass last year and was alright with that....but kinda imagined myself going gung-ho (I wonder where that term originated from) in my basement studio.  My days creating remain hit and miss as the basement is colder than I anticipated, even with a heater, and the lighting, even with supplements,  is sub-standard.  But I've been getting a little something done and thankful for an opportunity of a collaboration, I completed my first art quilt of 2016.  


This collaboration really highlights the beauty of the internet and social media.  Some years ago I was interested in doing a group art project with a few girlfriends and was looking for short term art retreat spaces and contacted the owner of A.I.R. Studio Paducah.  The retreat didn't pan out but he became a reader of this blog and we became friends on Facebook.  Hi Alonzo Davis!  He was invited to create a piece with The Smith Center for Healing and the Arts...a Center he was familiar with...after we had a phone convo and looking over the call for the exhibit we knew this was something we could create as a team instead of the invited artist interviewing someone and then creating a piece based on the interview.  The medium that all the artists were given to work with was a wooden cigar type box.   Alonzo had the outside and I did the inside.

My process was first to flip through my sketchbooks.  I found this image based on a poem I wrote in the late 90s or early 2000s and the poem was based on an African folktale I read back in the 80s. Getting in my groove, I adapted the sketch several times, played with different ways to transfer the image onto cloth....
and the weather was unseasonably warm during this time too!  

The poem and the drawing illustrate the ability to change, adapt, camouflage if necessary for survival and growth great-grandmother would say "if you don't change, life will sho' change you" and this was always co-signed by my grandmother and my mother.  My very good sistah-friend, Estella Majozo, use to say in reference to writing (and life) "it's all process, all process"  Living with chronic illness and then coming out of cancer has me co-signing with "Lord, yes!" to both of them.

After I mailed my small 8 in square piece to Alonzo and he mailed me back the photos of the finished piece, all I could think to say was I want to buy it now..:)

It was a beautiful experience with a beautiful outcome.

If you live in the D.C area, you should consider attending the opening and acquiring this is the only one that was the collaboration of work by two artists!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Throwback to 2009.

pages from an journal from 2009-10.  I made a slide show which you can see here on YouTube.

Some of these ideas were used to create at least 3 quilts.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Creating with Intent

Last night I cleaned up this image and tweeked it a bit.  This is not the cleaned up copy.

I'm going to attempt to blog the development of this piece and my thought processes around how it will come to fruition.  The notes I made in the margins are as follows:

  • skin tones: raw umber/burnt sienna or paynes grey.
  • consider the decayed urban church screened in the background or as the background
  • bottom 1/3 in diamonds or hexagons-pieced-consider blue/white commercial fabrics, all different
  • consider yellow-orange heart behind them, engulfing them which could give the opportunity to play with highlights, but I liked the flat appearance of the study.
  • heart would have some metallic in it and/or reflective bead embellishment
  • blackbirds/sparrows present one season in the town Sula and Nel lived in
  • figure/male with bell, rope tied around waist connected to bell, if used, subdue image as not to compete.
  • ear smaller, heads larger.
  • could attempt a more complicated background in collage Romare Bearden style to suggest a village of people, if used, images fused in cubism....people combined with birds and masks and houses
  • take a look at the sketch for Milkman's Journey and consider the layout for the background or merge the 2 images into one quilt....really want a quilt for each novel but the 2 sketches work well together, but could be too busy for my personal aesthetics as would the collaged background.
These are thoughts I contemplated as I looked at the outline and asked myself "where do I go next with this?". 

I was going to use a projector but I remembered the glass got broken last Spring.  So, my next step is to take the image to Kinko's and enlarge it.  I know I could do it on my printer but I do not want to tape the pages together.  

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Fruits of My Labor

Yesterday I woke energized which made it easy to get down to the studio.  I spent 4 hours, 3 of which I was dedicated to practicing drawing using the book Mixed Media Portraits by Pam Carricker.  My goal was to work on proportions and shading.  Today I spent 2 more hours.  Here are the process images I snapped.

I reworked the nose/mouth alignment at least five times.  I started out trying to give her a double chin, but couldn't render it.  (note: examine more closely my own chin for help)  The last image I warmed up in Picasa. The ear on the left needs to be darker and the highlights in the eyes do not satisfy me but I am mostly content with the shading.  

I posted this study on my blog before, I think.  It is loosely inspired by the novel Sula by Toni Morrison and the title is We Were Girls Together.  It was painted, quilted and mounted on a wood frame.  The finished size was around 18"x12".  I did another outline for what will be a larger quilt which is what you see above the quilt.  Not sure if I will drawn the image again directly on cloth or clean this outline up and use a projector to get the image on cloth.  I will paint it but the background will be partially pieced like a traditional quilt.

This morning while I was gulping, (sip, me, really??) my coffee and eating an orange I recalled me telling my granddaughter when she was a year younger, (she is 5 now) that an apple tree was going to grow in her stomach because she had swallowed a seed.  She immediately teared up and was building up to hysterics and I had to convince her that I was kiddling....she was uncertain and looked at me like "why would my Nana play about a thing like that".  When I was young and was told the same about swallowing orange seeds I thought it would be fun to have a tree growing in my stomach and kept eating them.  That is the kind of family I come from where Grandparents and Uncles convince a child that it is really possible to grow trees in your stomach by eating the seeds of fruit.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Color Group Therapy

Happy 2016!  We made it!  I am looking forward to a year of self discovery.  How about you?

Today I felt  like some color therapy and headed to the basement only to be joined by my grandchildren some minutes later.  So it was a group color session.

On my birthday I had a glass of first taste of alcohol in over a year.  I turned double nickels, but sadly to report, that one glass made me drowsy and I went to bed shortly after.  I'm working up to a bourbon on the rocks...or at least that is what I'm telling myself.  I feel anew and I'm getting to know myself once again.  Maybe the new me will forego alcohol all together.  But I'm going to try the bourbon sometime soon before I decide.