art rug

 Like many people during these economic tough times, our family is "forting up".

The lease on Jake's apartment is up and instead of re-signing it, he's going to be moving home for a while. We have the room and it will be nice to have my favorite mechanic back in residence.

The trick was cramming this 8x11 (well, 7 something by 10 something) rug in a Honda Civic.  I love a rug that is the same color as dirt - so sensible, so real.  It remains to be seen what Voodoo, Karma and Sweetie think of Juicy, who is a Maine Coon cat. He (?) looks like a beagle disguised as a black sheep. Pictures to follow.


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strange days

It's Sunday and Jim had to work today leaving me to my own devices for the first time in ages. I almost forgot what those days were like but you start the day with a hearty belt of Robitussin the rest of the day will get weird.

I spent two hours vacuuming, marveling at the cool tracks the old Hoover made in the carpets before I figured out that I was too stoned for housework. So I switched over to art and kept to the practical side of the street.

There was a great score at Goodwill yesterday - I had a need for retail therapy and almost always come away with great finds from there. It pays to live near the affluent.

The gray fellow inviting me to a dance was a large 100% wool J.Crew sweater that accidentally got felted. Now what?
This is a cotton & ramie sweater that I pitched whole into the dyepot. I love dyeing over embroideries. This one will be hacked up and repurposed in dozens of ways.

There is also a leaf green dashiki that was big enough to drive a MiniCooper into. I just haven't had the energy to iron that acreage today
Probably the best find (for 2$) was a pair of Queen sized flat cotton sateen bed sheets. You can never be sure that "100%" cotton does not include a healthy does of whatever will impede dye but I cut off a strip for a test and after a nominal soak in the soda ash and just a few hours in the dye these impromptu shiboris came out just great.


Needleturning at Sunrise

I wonder if I am right about what I think needleturned applique actually is? I was grubbing about in Gabrielle's website looking for clues and decided I didn't want to find out that what I have been doing with needle and thread all these years is somehow wrong. My little Moleskine notebook has been flopping about in my bag all naked and unprotected since the last cover I made for it was destroyed by a leaking marker so I decided to make a new little appliqued slipcase for it. Getting up at 5:30 am on a Saturday to have coffee with my husband before he goes off to work has an upside beyond remembering why we like each other; I can't go back to sleep, so I pulled my traveling sewing bag into the bed - it was all packed for the trip stuffed to the gills with scraps smaller that your palm, needles, threads, scissors and glue (what more could I need but a bigger bag) and proceeded to ferret out just the right tones for the morning. Pieces fell into place pretty quickly. Some of the fabrics did not take kindly to the prod of the needle, others obeyed and now I have decided that this piece may be too delicate to handle the interior jungle of THE BAG and so it leaps from functional to Art just as yesterday's bad art went straight to glorious Function.



I spent the better part of the day yesterday waiting for a phone call. Many people knit or crochet compulsively when they are in a holding pattern. I rip and sew without a whole lot of focus on good old design principles. This thing is so ugly but it's here now and I am going to finish it and make it work for a living...YES, it's a quilt - the kind you get under and get warm with! I talked to my Dad this morning and he is sounding so much better I know he won't look at this little beauty and say "yuk".

My trip to New York has been postponed until Monday and I just saw that I will be driving into some crappy weather. Oh well, the joys of living in New England will be mine to savor. MaryJo's in Gastonia, SC will be my first "rest" stop. For those who may not know MJ's is one of the biggest commercial fabric outlets going. Since I started dyeing my own fabric I rarely use store bought these days (looking at this picture maybe I should go back to it) but no one could ever accuse me of being a fiber snob. My Mom needs yarn for her endless manufacture of crib quilts so that will be my main reason for stopping.


"West Wing"

I love this show. It's smart in a way people don't even recognize anymore. This is verbatim from the script of the show. Two weeks ago Jimmy Smits character, the Democratic presidential candidate Matt Santos, was being pressed by the media for his views on teaching "intelligent design" alongside of evolution in public school classrooms. In this scene he is speaking to a group of young musicians and there is press and parents behind them:

To be a person of faith is to have the world challenge that faith. Was the universe designed by God? That’s up to everyone in this country to decide for themselves because the framers of our Constitution believed that if the people were to be sovereign and belong to different religions at the same time then our official religion would have to be no religion at all. It was a bold experiment then, as it is now. It wasn’t meant to make us comfortable. It was meant to make us free.

May I ask you if you believe in the theory of evolution?

Well, I think it’d be very difficult to teach geology, anthropology, and zoology without evolution, so yes, I do. I don’t believe it’s contradictory to believe in science and believe in God.

Do you believe that the theory of Intelligent Design and the Theory of Evolution should be taught alongside each other in the public schools?

Absolutely not. One is based on science, the other is based on faith. Intelligent Design is not a scientific theory, it’s a religious belief. And our Constitution does not allow for the teaching of religion in our public schools.

Many of us here would be more comfortable if our children were taught all points of view.

And I’m all for that. Evolution is not perfect. It doesn’t answer every question but it is based on scientific facts; facts that can be predicted, tested, and proven. Intelligent Design asks theological questions. I’m sure that many of us would agree that at the beginning of all that begat-ing, something begun.

The people laugh.

What was that something?

Congressman Santos, many of us want a version of science taught to our kids that’s in accordance with our beliefs.

I understand. But can’t we agree that the inclusion of non-scientific explanations into the science curriculum of our schools misrepresents the nature of science? And therefore compromises a central purpose in our public education which is the preparation of a scientifically literate workforce. If you have a problem with your child’s education, get involved. If you have a problem with what the School Board wants to teach, run for School Board. We can never forget that the best way to preserve our democracy is to take part in it.


Hand Dyes for Sale

The time change has me in a tiz. That and the phone call from my brother early this morning advising me that my Dad was admitted to the hospital last night with stomach pains. He underwent four hours of surgery this morning to repair a hiatal hernia. I just called the hospital and the ICU nurse said "He's sedated so he'll miss the worst of this". All day long I have been on the edge of having one of my unspecific allergic reactions so I took my meds and tackled the project of selecting, ironing, photographing and coding the HTML to get some of my newest hand dyes up for sale on HOTCAKES before I chop into them myself. My brother, Rob, is slated for surgery for a bad rotator cuff this coming Friday so I have to plan a trip to New York to lend a hand. The pumpkins aren't carved yet!


Ghost Picnic

This is a view of our house from the street. We don't get very many trick-or-treaters. Imagine that. That's about forty yards of lace hanging out there. A long time ago I bought an entire bolt for five bucks. Someone cancelled their wedding and made my Halloween.

Looking from the house up to the street.


too much fun

Did you ever get so caught up in the fun of doing the piece-parts that you long ago lost sight or care of the fact that the basic design of a piece is possibly flawed beyond saving and that this piece might become your favorite red-headed stepchild?

a very abbreviated book list

This is a very short list of the books that no one required me to read.
The books that leapt to mind when I went to recall the ones that left me dazzled, wondering, stunned, amazed, broken hearted, laughing, in tears - the ones I really remember and would go back and read again. There are many more.
When I was a kid,I used to spend all my afterschool hours at the Katonah Public Library waiting for my Dad to pick me up on his way home from his job. The librarians got used to me and gave up trying to keep me in the children's library downstairs once I got to fifth grade. Back then, if you were quiet and well behaved, no one called social services on an unsupervised kid. I was reading. What more could they want from me?

King of the Wind, Marguerite Henry
Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
The Good Earth, Pearl Buck
Charlotte's Web, E.B. White
The Autobiography of Henry VIII by Margaret George
Lady Chatterley's Lover, D.H. Lawrence
Exodus, Leon Uris
The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood
Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein
Farnams Freehold - Robert Heinlein
Andersonville - MacKinley Cantor
The Bean Trees - Barbara Kingsolver
Dune - Frank Herbert
Animal Dreams - Barbara Kingsolver
Prodigal Summer - Barabar Kingsolver
Pilgrim at Tinkers Creek - Annie Dillard
The Painted Bird - Jerzy Kosinski
The Left Hand of Darkness - Ursula K. LeGuin
By the Light of My Father's Smile - Alice Walker
The Stand - Stephen King
The Stars My Destination - Alfred Bester
A Canticle for Liebowitz - Walter Miller
Hiroshima - John Hershey
Dune - Frank Herbert
A Separate Peace - John Knowles
Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand
Ragtime - E. L. Doctorow
On the Occasion of My Last Afternoon - Kaye Gibbons
Cold Mountain - Charles Frasier
Fall On Your Knees - Ann-Marie MacDonald
The Bridges of Madison County - Robert James Waller
"Prey" series by John Sandford
"Brother Cadfael" series by Ellis Peters
"Dave Robicheaux" series by James Lee Burke
Bird by Bird - Anne Lamott
Wherever You go, There You Are - J.Kabat-Zinn
Learning the Tarot - Joan Bunning
The Elements of Style - Strunk & White
On Writing - A memoir of the craft - Stephen King


Sneaking Changes

Work, work, work - as if I had trouble making time to play. I have undertaken a long overdue redesign of my main website. The "under rehab" page took me almost two hours this morning - I am so out of practice that I had to look up a couple of HTML tags.

The real hard work is ahead. Thinking hard about which pieces best represent the direction my work is taking now. Then relegating most of the pieces to an "older works" page (which always seems kind of sad to me) and, even more harsh, taking a lot of the pieces off the website altogether and then, what to do with work that is gathering cat hair and taking up space. A big SALE comes to mind but later for that. Some of the older pieces are already earmarked for the Yahoo Quilt Swap and even that feels somehow crummy to me.

When I was getting things together to take to the art festival last month, I kept unpacking older works and wondering "Who did this crap?". It was unsettling to discover how much I had changed in the year or two since I created the pieces that bothered me most.

Has anyone else felt this? What's it all about?
They say change is good. They also say a lot of other useless things. What do you say?


Mowing Zen

I started the day with a headache gnawing away behind my right ear. One of those "I'm not a brain tumor, I'm the MANSTER" headaches that are just enough to keep you from enjoying one of the last days of this Indian summer we have been blessed with. After drugs,lolling about, noodle soup and tea didn't help, I sucked it up and got on with the day.
Our lawn mower died of abuse and neglect almost a month ago and the yard was starting to look like a meadow so I had Colin help me load the poor thing into the trunk of my car and take it up to Ace Hardware for a diagnosis. The mechanic looked it over and pronounced it DOA due to a wanked crankshaft caused by someone using a light-duty lawn mower to cut down small trees. I thought he might call some agency and report us for mower abuse but instead he happily took my 160$ for a new machine and even offered to dispose of the old corpse. Once we got the new one home, I wanted to see if it was easy to start and amazingly it purred to life on my first headache-enfeebled yank on the rope. I wanted to stay outdoors in the fresh air so I took up the chore of cutting the north forty - now about 10 inches deep. With slow, foot-wide swaths I began rousting the wildlife. As I walked along, I realized that no grass was spewing from the side of this new machine, yet the new mown path I was walking on seemed freshly raked! Where was the cut grass going to?? Come to find out this mower was a Mulching mower which double and triple whacks the cuttings into pieces so small they drop down into the lawn - no raking! Progress was slow but satisfactory. I picked up and relocated one ornery toad as large as a baseball who had the nerve to piss on me - out of gratitude no doubt. The rest of the critters had to be thankful that the factory had the blade set up pretty high. Me and the lawn mower ran out of gas at the same time. Overheated and dizzy, I lay on the couch and realized I had traded a headache for mild heat stroke with a little Zen Mowing. Fine deal.

Evening, darkness & cider brought me around to feeling better and I went into the studio to make some bundles.

Not art bundles like Sonji's but potential art bundles. They will go into the mail in the morning so stand by! Maybe I can get on with some sewing tomorrow.

back in the fray

Yesterday was a good day. After doing my "90 minute domestic intensive" I was fed up with house work and decided I needed a good meal at Los Hermanos Taqueria with my buddy Jan K. Did I mention I have three good friends within a short drive who will all answer to "Jan"? This Jan introduced me to a fabulous Mexican restuarant close enough to her house that she knows most of the waiters by name and never looks at the menu. It's all good. After lunch we rounded up her buddy Milo who had to be dropped off at the vet to have the stitches taken out of his ear while we went to the local Goodwill just up the street and made the proverbial killing. It's such a great feeling to score an entire wardrobe for two growing teenagers and only spend 50$ - I drag all my friends to this Goodwill because it seems like all the affluent folks in Gwinnett County (and there are LOTS of those) bring their once or twice worn designer clothes to this shop where savvy shoppers like me wait until Tuesdays where I can now take advantage of 25% off the total because it's Senior Citizen's Day! We missed it by a day this trip but it's always worth going.


Mommy Dearest

It was only a matter of time. I forgot about Jinx and her Beany Baby fetish. At the height of that craze, my mother would periodically send me (and everyone else in her address book) whatever Beany Baby knockoff she might buy. I would unwrap the package, take out the little creatures and, while my back was turned Jinx would snatch one up in her teeth and carry it off. I thought it was cute, that she was trying to mother the little things since we stopped her reproductive capabilities before they even got started (they euthanize "surplus" pets by the ton here in the New South) and never had her own litter. Soon after, I was finding little plastic pellets all over the floor. Then I caught Jinx busily disemboweling one of the little stuffed critters with her hind claws. She would then drag the empty skin off and hide it under the couch cushions. She's older now but I'm keeping my eye on her and hiding the stuffed cuties out of her reach tonight.

"and to think that this should happen to me on my natal anniversary!"

My sister Patty sent these today!

My brother called first -
"Happy birthday, Mrs. Hood.
Happy birthday to you,
To make your birthday come out good,
I give this present to you"
For those of you old enough to have enjoyed the Little Rascals on TV back when there were only five channels of black and white nonsense, you will recognize this little tidbit. What a thing to establish a family tradition over, yet, there it is. We call each other on the phone and sing "Happy birthday Mr. Hood.." or the day is not complete. By noon, I had heard from everyone in the family.
I shut off the AC (don't tell my husband!) and opened up all the window to this glorious weather. There are only about 10 of these days all year in Georgia so I have named this one after myself. I put Idiot's Delight on the MP3 player, got some cider and set about ironing the hand-dyed jewels that I brought home from Elizabeth's studio last night. It's a batch like this that reminds why I go to the trouble to hand-dye my own fabric. The very dark ones are the key colors in the piece I will be working on tomorrow.


Back to Basics - day 1

Guess which one I'm going to go with? I did my homework (coloring) in my sleep.
Went to bed convinced that this was going to be dark greens, olive, and black.
Woke up knowing it had to be blues, navy, purple and black. And don't forget
the little glowing windows...



I love Fall. It's my favorite time of the year. Of course there are no leaves to rake (that you would want to jump into) in my yard. We have a Sweetgum tree that drop little spiked balls all over that hurt if you step on them barefoot. They do start selling gallons of Apple Cider in the grocery stores.
Today I made a discovery - 10 ounces of icy, tart apple cider, 2 ounces of vodka and a wedge of lime. Oh yeah. It's helping me over my sadness. I watched every single minute of all 18 innings of the last game of this season for the Atlanta Braves.
"The heartbreaking 7-6 loss to Houston in Game 4 of the National League Division Series on Sunday at Minute Maid Park was tough for them to take, but it didn't completely overshadow what should be remembered as not only another successful season by the Braves, but one where they exceeded many observers' expectations." Enough! I can't dwell on it a moment longer.

Watching the game did keep me from prematurely hatching out the last outdoor hand-dyes of the season. So I was up at 7 am opening jars and bags and ooohing and ahhing over what looked like some juicy results.I hand rinsed things in small batches in the kitchen sink - I didn't want too much chemical crap going through my washing machine. Most of it is languishing in the dryer at the moment because I pulled a few pieces, ironed them and started knocking together this tasty little item.

I also treated myself to a replacement for my dead Sony Dream machine. It plays MP3s and just about anything else including books on CD from the library. Right now I have
"The Hanged Man's Song" by John Sandford, read by Richard Ferrone.
Doesn't it look like an ugly 50s car?


Studio Restored

So it's still dark green. Gimme a break. Look - folded fabric!

I am in an expansive mood and have a whole book of stamps so if you will email me your snail mail address, I will send you something from the studio. It might just be a postcard, it might be fabric, it might be a book. Give me one clue, a color, in the subject line. First come first served and you know who you are, my companeros.
I have a whole basket of stuff looking to travel.


even though I'm still mostly in the dark.....

This will mean something to the select few...
River Tam - 100%
Inara Serra - 88%
The Operative - 81%
Shepherd Derrial Book - 75%
Jayne Cobb - 69%
Mal Reynolds - 63%
Hoban Washburne - 63%
Simon Tam - 63%
Kaylee Frye - 50%
Zoe Alleyne Washburne -50%

Yoga Help Needed

I have been lying in bed listening to Inhale, a Yoga program on the Oxygen channel at the obscene hour of six in the morning. So far I think I have mastered the Corpse pose. Does doing Yoga count as exercise if you are still in bed? Somehow, I think not. Still, Steve's music calls to me some mornings and I sit up and try to lean forward to put my face on me knees...not. One morning I gave the Child's pose a shot to ease my aggravated lower back. On a pillow top bed it was so restful that I almost fell asleep and smothered myself. My back felt lots better. Several times during the day, I plopped to the floor and assumed the position. Then, late that night I started having pain in my guts and running a fever. Then the running to the bathroom over and over. Somehow all those new positions must have shaken some grime loose from my pipes and the whole housekeeping staff was in an uproar. I need some "Yoga for Human Vegetables" guidance before I do myself further damage.


Flash Backs

Leave it to the marketing people at Volvo to figure that the generation that loved this music are probably the ones buying their cars. Every time I hear the few bars that they play in the TV commercial, I am taken back to 1965 when life was so darkly perfect. I was smarter than anyone else, stronger than any adversity life had so far shown me, and the world was there at my feet waiting for me to dance on it.

Catch the Wind by Donovan

In the chilly hours and minutes of uncertainty
I long to be
In the warm hold of your loving mind
To take your hand along the sand
Would be the sweetest thing
Would make me sing
Ah but I may as well try and catch the wind...

As to the here and now, also sweet, my PFD fabric arrived today from Dye Artist,the Braves beat the Astros and I have a date tomorrow night with my Good Man Jim to finally see "Serenity".
Life is good.


Finally Fall

I noticed today that the hummingbirds have finally packed and flown for Mexico. The pool is green and I can barely keep ahead of the leaves. It's time to drag the cover out of the basement and put it to bed all clean for the season. It was a long sweet season.
Now is the time of year I get melancholy about not being in New York for the holidays. More somberness. I also found out today that my best friend has decided to move home to Memphis to be near her mother. Although I will miss her, I am happy for her because she has wanted this for a long time and now the path is clear for her.

Today I called corporate and found out that my very last day with AT&T is November 18. After that, I will be a Pensioner! Woo-woo. Co-incidentally, I got a notice from AARP begging me to re-up. I'm thinking about it. There has to be something useful about belonging, otherwise so many others wouldn't have bothered.
I'm still taking baby steps back into the studio since I have been picking up the pieces of my day to day stuff since Monday morning. Two weekends in a row away from home and the mayhem is knee deep. Tomorrow, I can finally dig in to the room itself and make some order so I can can get to work instead of working out of my little black bag.
I keep this bag with me for things like sitting in the waiting room at the dentist, and any other time I'm forcibly idle. Scraps and shreds, needles and pins, thread and scissors. All I need to make a little hand music when all I have is time on my hands. This little piece, Handmusic, is about 8x6 inches.

I'm also excited about taking another class with Elizabeth Barton next week, October 12,13,15th "Compose, Color, Construct!" will be held at her home studio in Athens, Ga. The links from her website took me to the work of two of my favorite fiber artists, Jean Hewes and Emily Richardson. Mystical and Magical.


Final Fest and New Focus

JT learning to use her camera
The 2005 Norcross Art Fest was a great success on several levels. Jan and I arrived in the wee hours to find that we had been assigned Spot #1. Very auspicious. Thank goodness for the sweet tempering of reality. A few adjustments had to be made in the space assignments due to some inebriated souls having abandoned their cars on the street the night before. Vendors were pitching their tents around the cars and those whose spaces had been parked on relocated to the right of us and provided blessed shade for my humble side-less tent. This is the second time I have felt like a gypsy cab in the company of Navigator Limos but once again I was able to pack all and go in my tiny car while others were still scratching their heads and waiting their turns for access to the small street.
The patrons were in a buying mood and it was good to "make the rent" before noon on the first day. Blue skies and slight breezes that caused us to leap up and grab the corner poles every 10 minutes or so, lest the whole thing take off for parts unknown ( lesson two - when setting up on concrete, be sure to bring weights to keep your tent secured if it gets breezy). My wind chime early warning system was a blessing. Our spot was right in front of Dominic's Italian Restaurant complete with mouthwatering aromas and the soundtrack from "Moonstruck" and "the Godfather" wafting through the tent all day. Except for the obligatory sugar-encrusted funnel cake on the first morning, we skipped the Fair food and got fabulous food to go from Dom.

There was so-so people watching Norcross being a relatively conservative community but I have never seen so many different and obscure pedigree dogs except when watching the Eukanuba AKC finals on TV. From a German shepherd wearing hi tech sunglasses to two puppy-like creatures no bigger than Guinea pigs, a fabulous black Giant Schnauzer named Brinks and a woman with a baby carrier on front - the kind for very tiny babies - containing a black & white cat whose wide yellow eyes screamed "Kill me NOW, Please". I wonder how long it was before he reached up, slashed her throat and made a break for it...

Now for the personal revelations. On my first stroll to see what the other artists were up to I walked into the booth of a local painter named Robert Griffis and was completely spellbound by his work to the point that, late on Sunday afternoon, I went back and made my first ever purchase of some else's ART. I am still thrilled by the little thing with no shred of buyer's remorse. His work is vibrant and ethereal at the same time and looking at the paintings and paying attention how strongly his art made me feel reminded me that I have not made any Art in a long time. Preparing and anticipating for these opportunities to "vend" has really sidetracked me and it's time to get back to the garden, as the song goes.


Normally I don't get too excited about how stuff looks when it's wet but I have been ironing all afternoon and everything is turning out just as vibrant and lively as this wet mess.


Early results

Collapsed on the couch for a few winks only to be awakened by the sounds of a downpour quickly followed by being trampled by two whining, wet cats begging to be toweled off. The game is this, I use a perfectly good clean bath towel to tussle them dry while they fight and pretend to hate it. Then, as soon as I release them, they go back outside for another soaking. So much for the 35$ worth of flea stuff I put on them yesterday. Then they come right back inside for another luxury treatment. After the deluge let up, I went out on the deck to survey the "clams" and decided to harvest just one of my tube-dyed pieces. A vicious hand wash produced almost no run-off. A good toasting in the dryer to reveal the truth. Ooo LaLa...

Last Dye-Day of the Summer

I now know why dyers insist on letting stuff "batch" which basically means lay around doing nothing. Ostensibly it's for getting the most our of the dyes but in my experience we've gotten some pretty yowza intensities just by waiting until we've finished scarfing up some lunch before the big rinse. Batching is so the exhausted dyer can recuperate. Tomorrow. Today, this stuff is just going to sit there until I can summon up the energy to finish the process.

I was in the dentist chair for three hours yesterday morning suffering the groundwork for two crowns. Dr. B is a fiend for making sure his patients suffer no pain - while they are in his clutches -so I must have had a quart of Novocaine because my eyebrows and hairline were numb and my soft palate didn't know what to do so I was having trouble breathing late into the procedure. They did offer me some over the counter pain killers which I waved aside, plenty at home of that sort.

So Merry numbhead drives herself home with sidetrips to the vet's for cootie medicine, the bank for deposits and DQ for a cappucino frosted. By the time I got home and into the pool (yes, we are still having pool weather) my jaw started pounding. By 4 pm I would have cruised for crack but I couldn't lift my face off the icebag. My Goodman Jim saved the day with something narco he has stashed away for his back troubles. He made me a cup of tea and in 15 minutes I didn't have a care in the world, just remembering how to breathe. I lay in bed and drooled on myself as my Braves went on to coast to a 14th straight Division championship, rookies and all.

Is anyone else in love with the sea monsters from "Surface"? I can't wait to make a seamonster quilt.


Canton Riverfest 2005

Here's my little schizophrenic Gypsy tent along the Etowah River.Can you believe that I get that tent and everything in it into my Honda Civic?
I had to tell several people that I did not give readings. Just kidding. The show was well organized and well run. The only problem was that people were just generally not in a spending mood. The exhibitors were shuttled back and forth to our parked vehicles on spiffy little air conditioned buses where it was very instructive to listen to the veterans speculate about why sales were so flat. For my part, I was counting on selling a lot of those velvet scarves that Jan Thompson and I have been dyeing merry hell out of all summer long. It was 90 degrees and smarmy out. No one wanted to think about velvet much less handle it. I did sell a 12 foot dyed crocheted piece that has been hanging around my studio like a Chinese Parade dragon and a few of the cotton scarves but that was all. It turned out that this venue was much more "Craft" than "Art" and the artists suffered. I saw birdhouses and lawn whirligigs being carried around but not much else. I did make some interesting and potentially lucrative contacts and got so much positive response to "Rubric" which hung at the back of my booth and seemed to draw people in like flies to honey. Very satisfying.


Bad Timing

Why is it that the creative impulse strikes at the most inappropriate moments? While packing for the show this coming weekend I was sorting pieces of hand dyed cotton and came across this one that was just begging to be worked on further. I laid them out on the picnic table and spent some time drawing on them with dishwasher gel from a hair coloring bottle (Where could that have come from?). Fifteen minutes later I snatched them up and popped them into the laundry with my husbands jeans - hot wash and rinse to shrink them the way he likes. Now I have to set them aside until I have the time to design something with them.


My Simple Still Life

I was up early cleaning house on my laptop when I came across this file and had my first DOH! moment of the day. I made several of these for Debra's Simple Still Life Challenge and now I may have qualified for the latest entry. I remember I was more thrilled about installing that pretty little pear button on my blog than I was reading and/or following directions, as usual. Can you see the original in there? It's there, really.


Oldies Older Than Dirt "Que Sera, Sera"

It's not that I am so much older than most of you. It's just that I have been hearing and remembering music for longer, thanks to my Mom, who was always singing something. I found this website that really reaches back through the years for popular music. You can change the year in the URL to find the year you are looking for.I can go down this list and can hear many of the songs playing in my brain just as if I was tuned in. Beyond popular broadcast music, I also have an enormous catalog of complete Broadway musicals stored in my spongy grey matter. Why else would I use "Goodnight Irene","The Tennessee Waltz" and "Bali Ha'i" for lullabies? I was fresh out of the womb in 1950 but already steeped in American Pop music.

My mother must have been an aspiring cabaret singer because I know I heard most of this music as she sang along with the radio. She faithfully bought several comic-book style magazines published weekly with nothing but popular song lyrics - "Your Hit Parade" was one and "Song Hits" another. Required reading along with the Readers Digest.

We did not have a TV until I was seven so I really got the best of the late 40's early 50's radio culture. I wonder if there are cognitive development differences in the brains of children that were never exposed to TV until they saw "Winky Dink" on their grandmother's round screened Philco black&white and drew directly on the glass with crayons without benefit of the protective plastic sheet that you had to send away for.

The One-Armed Paper Hanger Goes Swimming

I spent the shank of the day, that is from noon to 3, lolling about in the pool, reading the Sunday New York Times and listening to the Braves take a beating from the New York Mets. At least my Dad didn't call on the phone to rub it in. I can't believe I am still swimming on September 18th. This is the longest season we have had since we got the pool in '99. Delicious.
My list of things to do before next weekend has many items. Anyone have that list? Today I discovered that I am going to have to make do with the wacky tent that I used last year and the PVC fittings that I had envisioned for my displays don't exist. I must have been thinking ofK'NEX or some other kids building toy. LEGO! I'll use LEGO for the displays. That's the ticket!
Went to see "The Constant Gardener" with my buddy JR. It's a powerful, heartbreaking and important film.


Art is doing me some good too, it seems.

When the call went out for works to be donated, I started rummaging through the ol' inventory and kept coming across work that I had forgotten about. Some pieces I thought "What was I thinking?" and worse "Who made This crap?". Others reminded me of directions that I wanted to go deeper into. Has anyone else done this and been surprised by what they have found in the tubs and closets? Have you picked up trails you had forgotten?

One of those small pieces, "Duo" caught my eye and has inspired a series of more than a dozen notebook-sized works with no end in sight in just the past week.
As the "Gesture" series was partly inspired by images of couples supporting one another during the aftermath of Katrina, I decided to commit two of them to the "Art Doing Good" Red cross relief effort.

I like naming my pieces and didn't want to just number these. After some thought I realized that I know a great many couples who have been together a long, long time so I decided to name these after all my family and friends who have stuck together through all life has thrown their way.

Gesture: Bob & Vera
"Gesture: Bob & Vera" for my Uncle Bob (the Pirate) Murray and his long-suffering wife, Vera. She was short, stout and when I was growing up fat I was always told "You look just like Vera." Well, I got a lot taller and by her example vowed I would not put up with a cad. Bless your heart, Vera, for not killing that ukelele totin' fool all those years, bless him too.

Gesture: Tommy & Barb
"Gesture: Tommy & Barb" is named for my friends the Mazurs who have been married forever & ever.

Thanks again to the organizers of this amazing effort, to the artists who donated, and those who bought the art.


In response to Gabrielle's question "What drives you to create....to make art...to show your inner self or just play?" I offer this.

The manipulation of light and texture until that silent, inner bell tolls
is an act of anticipation that feeds a need for making order of these elements according to the inner eye.

The hope that this personal order will have a degree of universal appeal drives one to hold up the finished work and say "Behold - a piece of what makes me unique".
This hope is a secondary type of anticipation often tinged with fear.

Those lucky, brave or smart enough to skip this second anticipation will reap the best of what a creative drive can give us. Total self-satisfaction.


Another Sale for the Red Cross!

Wow! Someday I hope I find out who these wonderful people are.
Vacation Day 1 sold for $125. Now I feel like I need to dig some other pieces out of hiding. Why not?


The Gestures

OkAY...I think I have this out of my system for a while. Here they are:

My creative view is infested with these little beings who are starting to resemble the Kodamas from the film "Princess Mononoke" by Hayao Miyazaki.
The background fabric some of these pieces comes from one of those upholstery samplers all strung together on a chrome metal ring. When Jim brought them home I put my nose in the air and thought "What would I ever use those nasty things for?" My days as a fabric snob are coming to a end.