Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The vampire syndrone

About 8:20 PM last night while watching Heroes I got this idea in my head that wouldn't go away. Mind you, there was a piece on the wall that needed to be finished that wasn't calling to me and I have a dozen sketches and scale drawing in my planner to do, so I was at no loss for something to work on if I truly wanted to. I could have started quilting on some of the completed tops. Most of the sketches will be apart of my solo exhibit in 2008 that I have tentatively titled "Back to Square One" the other in the sketch book will be included in a group exhibit of River City Fiber Artist where the theme will be ( The River's Edge) and then this is the joint exhibit with my friend Valarie White in 2007 which is non -thematic. The idea that was in my head was in no way going to work with the ideas for my solo exhibit or either one of other two. I tried to ignore the idea, continued knitting a sock and watching TV.

But when the idea was still insistingly in my head at 9:15PM when I'd, had no plans to work late, I gave up put down my yarn and needles and I went to my space.. began to select and cut fabric.

Mind you I had to remove the rather large piece that was on the wall, labeling each part carefully to make room for the idea in my head to develop. Even that task before me didn't stop me. Then I began to cut, sew and arrange and cut more and sew more and arrange more.

BLAH BLAH BLAH. NOT NOT NOT. NO NO NO OH NO At 3:10 AM I decided I hated it. It was so awful. And nothing was going to make it better. I didn't need anyone to tell me what was in my head was not what was appearing on the design wall.
I'd been flying by the seat of my pants so to speak and I was crashing and there was no parachute handy.

"When will I accept that improv designing and compositions is NOT ME."
I need Structure. I need Limits. I need Plans. I need Order.

Despite my disappointment I was charged up and wide awake. So I decided to get back to another project that was in the works and that was my signature piece for Form Not Function. The small work isn't due until January , but hey, time flies. Thanksgiving came and went in a flash. (Three days after the holiday and there isn't enough turkey left in our house to make a decent sandwich.)

Christmas isn't far off. Before you know it, it will be January.

Well last night just as fast as I could snatched every pieces of fabric from the design wall, toss all in my scrap basket I just as quickly put away my disappointed. I began working on my signature piece with gusto. Before I knew it my signature piece which measures only 12" by 20" was completely pieced and quilted and it was 5:45 AM.

There is still more to be done with the piece before I can call it done and show it to you.

My thoughts on my signature pieces is while I call it that when I have made them they are not truly representative of what my current work is about. In retrospect they have given hints of where I wanted to go. I also think they are more like a journal page for those of you who are familiar with these small works which wasn't a term for small personal works until after 9/11. They document where you are at one moment in time with your art. Maybe where your head is.

When looked at seriously as the artist they can tell you if you are in an experimental mood. Or if you are hanging on to some sense of familiarity not trusting that the net would appear if you had made the leap. In my case I think mine tend to be a little guarded and tentative.

I have several ideas for future work that pushes me beyond what is comfortable and familiar to me but am reluctant to try them at this time because I keep telling myself I don't have time to play around. I have too many commitments Besides. I have always worked in a large scale and am comfortable working large. But then I dislike start something exploratory in a large size just in case it does not work. On the other hand, I don't make samples either to play with a technique or idea because I often ask myself if it turns out great what do I do with this "Small work".

Maybe I should tell myself in the case of wanting to see how some idea turns out or technique works that I need to do a personal exhibit of signature pieces for a wall in my bedroom. That way if the Signature piece turns out great it will have a place to live and if it doesn't it will add only a little bit of stuff to the trash can or the scrap basket.

I think I have struck on something here.

I have a feeling that vampire-itis will infect me again later on this evening and for many after mid-nights to come and I will be up late enough to almost see the sunrise again and again.

No crosses or stakes through the heart please.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Happy feet

I used to have several pairs of hand dyed socks that when worn always lighten my spirit and set the tone for my day. The colors mostly very yellow to orange red with a little green were ssssooooooo cheerful. When your feet are happy the rest of your body has to follow suit.

I no longer have anymore of these socks because I wore them out. Now I am knitting sock but for some reason, they don't possess that same feeling of HAPPINESS. Pride yes, because I knitted them. But not fun. I decided that I must dye myself some more sock. And very soon.

On Friday I took Olivia my 51/2 y/o granddaughter wo came for Thanksgiving to see the movie Happy Feet at the theater. I enjoyed the movie but thought the message was a little above the head of children under 10 years old and I also did not approve of the sterotyping of some races of people that the penquins were characterizing. But all of the children, and for some reason, mostly little girls were smiling when they left the movie. The parents didn't seem as happy. HUMMMM.

I am still working steady. My latest design is on the wall. Still in many parts. All of the units have been sewn and I am now in the process of arranging them and trying to decide if I want to add some additional units or other colors.

Two of the ladies in the art quilt group called on Friday to see if they could stop by on Saturday to see some of my work so I am looking forward to having them over.

My little girl friend Sonja from up the street came by today and she played Go Fish with Olivia for a while until it was time for Olivia to leave for her plane ride home. After Olivia left Sonja got back to me teaching her how to use the sewing machine by making another little quilt.
Today she made a 6" x 8" one that was pieced with raw edge applique. A sand, sea and sky scene with a sun and a palm tree. It really is fun to instruct a young person who has not been influence by someone who has told them what they can or can not do when making a piece of art.

Sonja thought orange sand would look really cool with a blue sky. It does.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

As I sit here working I had forgotten that tomorrow is turkey day even though I had absentmindedly taken the turkey out of the freezer to thaw first thing this morning.
Lyn has the task of doing the shopping for the side dishes ingredients and she said she wanted to prepare the meal for all on Thursday. I said I would help.

I have never fixed an entire holiday meal by myself in all of my wife and mother years. It was the tradition in our family to split the holidays between my Mom and my Mother-n-Laws.
Thanksgiving and Mother's Day was at my Mom's house to which my contribution on Thanksgiving was the sweet potatoes. I got really good at making sweet potatoes. My dad did the entire Mom-day dinner.
Easter and Christmas was at my In-laws. What I contributed to the dinner varied from home made rolls to Lemon Pie which was a favorite of my dear Dad-n-Law. The dinners with the N-laws changed as the kid got older, and went out on their own. At which time Easter dinner and Christmas dinner at our house just became another meal. Nothing special was prepared for just the two of us. We and the kids continued to go to my mothers for Thanksgiving. This will be the first year in over 40 years that I will not make the sweet potatoes for her Thanksgiving meal.

Lyn and I will be making dinner for eight tomorrow. My daughter Rene', my middle grandson, Justin and my grand-daughter Olivia will arrive at the St Louis airport at noon and be here by 2:PM and Lyn invited a friend of her's to join us.

How fast time is flying. Which means I am working, staying busy, and having fun.

Although the stores are all decked out for the season. Red, green, holly, bells, candy canes and lights. And more houses each day have signs of Christmas coming although , it hasn't felt much like the season here, NOT YET, because the temperature are in the mid to upper 60's with sunshine. I will not complain about the sunshine. I love it.

The sun is shining today and I have been working very steadily since I completed my last top. This one is larger than the rest, so I have broken one of my rules to stay within the 45 to 55 inch range. Not sure how large this one will finish simply because I am building it with pieced blocks as I go.

It is not as improvasationable as it sounds. I really do have to have an end-sight in sight as I work. I am just going to allow myself to be a little more open to altering the plan tis time.

I am also working on a small signature 12" x 20" vertical piece at the same time. That one I will show you when it is completed in a few days. It will be the piece that hangs in the Juror's exhibit during Form Not Function at the Carnegie with the other 5 members of the River City Fiber Artist, the art critique and support group I belong to.

Here's to you getting the long side of the wish-bone.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

A quilt show in a small town

John and I spent more time getting ready to go to the quilt show then it took us to see the entire show. I've done quilt shows from start to finish with the help of very good friends in past years so if any one on earth can understand the amount of work and organization that goes into getting a show up and then down IT IS ME.

On Thursday I volunteered Josh, John and the Jeep to Sally and Patti (memebers of the local guild). All quilt shows need strong young backs and muscled arms and the grandboys have youth, and muscles A PLENTY. I know it wasn't how they might have wanted to spend three hours but they did it for me . Love makes you do a lot of things. And love me they do they said when they got back. Come to find out John knew Patti's daughter. No surprise here, this really is a small town.
John agreed to go to the quilt show with me even before I told him he could do the driving. It's been a while since I've been in the car with him while he was driving. I think he went hoping hoping to see something that was more creative then what was there. He was very disappointed when, what he saw was a lot of very traditional bed quilts. Even the smaller wall quilts were more traditional than innovative, with the exception of one or two pieces that were more fiber art than what I would classify as small original quilt art. They were very well crafted.
Heads were in the way of the ones I wanted to get images of. Sorry.

I was surprised to find my piece was facing the front entry door and it was the first thing I saw when I got there after being greeted by Patti and Sally (these two ladies I met at the first art quilt group I attended). When they asked if I was interested in joining the Traditional guild and getting involved with the quilt show I said. BEEN THERE DONE THAT AND AM NOT ABOUT TO GO THERE AGAIN (PERIOD!!!!) Here are some images of the show. As you can see each little nook and cranny was decorated with antiques

The blue quilt is the one John voted for as best of show. I selected the Carolina Lily one, mainly because I have always loved this traditional pattern and the workmanship was wonderful. dispite the whimpy colors.
Not sure what draws me to these little Singer machines. I had one and didn't use it so I sold it. I've never regretted doing that but I always get .... I don't know something, when I see them.

I didn't buy anything at the vendors. There was nothing I needed and all of the fabrics were of Autumn colors and repro of the Civil War era. I wish I'd known there was going to be a scissor sharpner person there, would have given him a considerable amount of business. I really need to get about 5 pairs of my Ginghers sharpened. I'm down to one pair that I can use. I did pick up his business card for future reference.

From there John drove me downtown to search-out a second hand book store and I found a wonderful one. I was looking for a specific out of print book that he did not have instore but was willing to order for me. MBS is located in Columbia, they are the country's largest text book distributor; they also handle second hand books which the public does not have access to but the store owner does. I think on-line they are known as textbooks.com. He located the book I wanted on the MBS used books site and will have it for me on Tuesday, maybe Monday he said.

If I hadn't left John sitting in the car with the motor running in a yellow line zone I could have spent hours in the store. He and his wife were the friendliest two people I've have met so far outside of the quilt-art community and I have met many, many friendly people here. We got on the topic of geneology. I think he said his wife had written three books on the subject of geneology. In coonversation he learned I was from Louisville and his wife from a small town between , Bardstown and Taylorsville, KY that I'd never heard of. He said he knew why I hadn't, "The population " he said, "was propbly even now no more than six cows and two chickens."

Friday, November 17, 2006

Simply Color

I was asked to show an image of the piece I sent to the local quilt show. I made the top back in the Spring when I was visiting Lyn and working at the foot of the bed she had set up for me in what was her dining room and my design wall was a flannel backed table cloth taped to the wall. Simply Color the first piece I quilted once I’d settled into my new space in our home here in Columbia. It measures 46" by 47"
This image is as it was un-quilted I do not have an image of it once I finished it. The sleeves and label weren’t applied until the day before Lyn delivered for me.

Ask me what I dislike most about making a quilt…. It is the sleeves and the label, both necessary but not very artistically gratifying.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Inspiration and some degree of understanding

I don't think it is possible to entirely understand another person or another artist and what makes them who they are or their work what it is. But I do think sitting down with them and really listening without interrupting and injecting yourself as they explaining their inspirations and the reason why they make THEIR ART goes a long way toward that goal. Reading Nancy Crow’s latest book was as good as sitting down with her and listening to her explain herself to me. Nancy and I have had conversations in the past, but none that were entirely one on one and without interruptions and interjections from me and others. The book “Nancy Crow” helped me understand her better as an artist/person and come to some degree of understanding her work, and what influences her.
She recites her inspirations and her understanding of herself as an artist, I thought very well in this book. It was reassuring to know that she to struggled with her work. Just because we see the finished product and marvel at her genius, doesn't mean the journey for her was a smooth one. Quite the contrary. The same discoveries can be made about ones self too by having introspective talks with yourself and really listening to what is going on in your head.

Interrupting yourself with excuses is not allowed.

To learn that she to has struggled and had moments, even days of doubt cames with her creativity and the process of making her art. To learn that being snippy, down right bitchy at times, bored and out of sorts happens to someone else beside you was reassuring too. And that not getting to your work space/studio/room/area, as often and for as long as you NEED to is the prime root and cause of the snippiness, bitchiness and the boredom you feel and the reason you make others a party to it.
Creating, working, and doing is a MUST, not simply a want. And that often times even the most supportive of our family and friend don't really understand this NEED to work that also includes isolation, solitude and ALONE TIME.
Lightening, really listening. Taking note. Making notes. Keeping idea journals which I have done almost from the beginning of my quilt making is a good thing to do. Occasionally going back through them is a good thing too, which I haven't been doing enough of. Mainly because I think if an idea is not acted upon within a short time, the time for it passes.

Rather, of late I have been having introspective conversations with my self during quiet times. Those minutes just before sleep closes my eyes and those first thing in the morning before my day begins as I sit waiting for the coffee to brew or my bowl of oatmeal to cook in the microwave or for the computer to come on line so I can check my e-mail and read my favorite blog-sites.
Some times I am not totally aware of the decisions I've made as a result of these insights until I step away and look back or read, heard or see something that makes me recall those inner conversations.

Nancy's book did that last night.

I know I have been talking a lot of late about my inner voices and the conversations they have with the conscious me. Rest assured I am not LOSING IT, rather I am pleasingly surprised that I am FINDING IT. GETTING IT.

I am RE-FINDING what I love most about making quilts and that is COLOR. My quilt making has always been about the color and it was never about the tactile feel of the fabric. I discoved quilts in the early 80". I loved the geometry of traditional quilts but, the lack of the right colors available during that period made me look to and want to duplicate the colors in Amish quilts and the colors in the quilts of the 1930's.

Since my move to Columbia I find I need to go back to what originally drew me to making quilts and that was color and the geometry. Straight lines rather than curves or circles. I loved the big, the graphic and the bold and the simplicity of the antique Amish quilts
Making quilts also was having the sense that I could do what I wanted, there were so many blocks and possibilities. There was no one ABSOLUTE RIGHT, therefore what I did could not be WRONG.

I seem to have lost that sense freedom somewhere along the way. I know in the early days there were those who insisted that intersections meet perfectly and that you had to make perfectly even quilting stitches that went all the way through all the layers uniformly. I mastered the piecing and chose not to obsess about the quilting stitches. Letting myself accept my pretty good stitches was good enough. Machines make perfect, humans make good. There was no further joy to be gained beyond the pretty good.

My only goal in the early day of my quilt making was: having enough finished GOOD work that I could stand on stage and present a body of my work to an audience. I have done that many many times. Then AQS acceptance became a goal. One that also has been realized many times as well. I still love sharing my work with others. But as I matured in my art it my gaol was no longer my goal to get the approval or acceptance of others.

Then it became all about ME. No mattered what piece of my work I am showing. If the piece was truly made because my heart was in it, it pleases ME and if it doesn't please anyone else I didn't care and I realize now that I still DON'T CARE. And for a time I felt guilty about my feelings. Arragant, bigheaded, self absorbed.

Yesterday I delivered a quilt to a committee member of the Boone County Quilters for their bi-annual show that will be held this week-end. My daughter Lyn dropped it off. Lyn said of the quilt, it was one of her least favorites. At first I was a little hurt. She is very-very supportive and champions what I do. I asked her what she would have chosen instead for me to exhibit and she said, "any one but that one."
"Why?", I asked.
"It doesn't SHOW what you can really do." she said.
Wide eyed stunned I was.
I really like that quilt. I was in a good place when I made it. It is composed of my favorite colors. It sang to me while I was making it. It sings to me still. Now mind you it is not one of my more complex pieces in terms that it was designed in a full size complex drawing that had to be pieced back together precisely as so many of my well recieved works have been
“Simply Colors” is truly a study in color art piece that lets the color of the fabric, my own hand dyed colors with little slices of a complimentary commercial print speaks without the addition of inks or colored pencils to help it along as so many of my from flowers quilts require.

"Simply Colors", began as an idea; a little sketch, a motif. Then there was color selection. Experimentation. Understanding of the process for construction. Real engagement in the design as I was constructing the piece.

FUN. It was COLOR(S) and it was GEOMETRY.

I have often said to my friend Marti that I seem to be making work that is not me when it is not designed with circles or curves or flowers; all of which I love. But with all the internal dialog that been going on inside me lately I have concluded that I make flowers when I need to create but I am pinched for time. I create this way because I know I can make quilts with floral themes easily and without too much thought not unlike making my favorite traditional pound cake from scratch without thought.

The recipe is like a reflex; a pound each of flour, sugar, eggs and butter. A little salt, vanilla and nutmeg to taste. Cream the butter with the sugar until no grains remain. Add eggs and flour alternately until all the flour is incorporated. Pour into a buttered and floured bundt pan, cook at 325 for an hour or so or until the top cracks and a tooth pick inserted into one of the cracked areas comes out dry and the house smells like love coming from the over.

The work I tend to do when my time is unrestrained, limited only by my lack of dedication to the task at hand, is straight lines and geometric shapes.

Marti’s response to me has always been. “If you made it, it is you.“

I finished my latest piece last night. Again, the geometry and the colors beckon.
Today I will be making another ME.

Monday, November 13, 2006

I am so PUMPED

I am REALLY ENJOYING working on this series. With the exception of the design I just discarded all the other pieces have progress from paper to fabric without a hitch. So we won't mention the discarded one again. The boys in the house have come by my space and commented approvingly on what I am doing. Both have a good measure of artist in them. Josh unschooled draws well in a very graphic way. To bad I can't seem to talk him into doing something commercial with his talent. Of course he would benefit greatly from some formal education in graphic art before money could be made. But the word SCHOOL isn't the word he wants to hear now. Maybe later.

John on the other hand, having been raised in his more formative years by me seems to be more in tune with my medium and with my color preferences. He's taken every art class offered in his schools since his elementary school years.

I am happy to report that the design I started on two days ago is done and I was up late planning for my next three. The scale drawings are done for all three are done and one has the values worked out. I am going to select the colors for it just as soon as I sign off.

I want to show you what I am doing in the worst way but feel that the body of work will look more cohesive when I get more pieces done. Be patient with me.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

You can not ride a dead horse,

no matter how hard you try to prop it up, say getti-up-go; it won’t.

I came to the same conclusion about my last design. I was astride a dying horse and didn't want to admit it. Remember: It’s the design my voices decided to weigh in on. As you recall I listened to the third voice and retired to my room to knit.

I am happy to report I had a stress free evening and I finished one sock as a result of listening.

I am not that speedy at knitting. I can not finish a sock in one evening. I am far faster at completing a quilt top once I know I am on the right track than knitting a sock with size 2 needles and fine yarn. On the other hand I am not that slow a knitter either. In three days of non stop knitting I can finish more than one sock with a size 5 needle and worsed weight yarn which was what i was using . I didn't this time because I was sleeping almost non-stop 3 days and 3 nights, due to medication.

I'm still not sure why my last design didn't work. I loved it as a line drawing. I loved the colors I had chosen to work with. I certainly gave it enough time inititally. It had additional time to jell---- 3 days----in fact it was on the design wall for all that time without me doing anything to it but contemplating what I could do to make it work. In those three day I was knitting, sleeping and contemplating I really could not come up with a good solution.

THE DIZZIES. I get them sometimes when my allergies act up as they did in a big way on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. The slightest movement of my head in any direction without me first holding onto something my brain associate with as up and down, the room spins and I feel like I am falling out of the bed despite the fact that I know my bed can not possibly flip over under any circumstances short of me being Dorothy, as in the Wizard of OZ. Believe me, I am not the ruby slippers with socks and pigtail type. Nor the lover of little dogs like Toto.

On Sunday, Monday and Tuesdays on my brief trips to the kitchen, for something to drink I would glance at the design wall to see if my opinion of the design was changing. Once I was on my feet again on Wednesday and my dizzies had progressed to lightheadiness I contemplated every idea I came up with to fix the design. On Thursday I changed colors. On Friday I changed values. On Saturday morning, I changed the size of some units and I fiddled with the design as a line drawing making changes to it.

All to no avail.

Finally about one in the afternoon, shortly after episode I of the Star Wars marathon began, I took all the parts and pieces off the wall and began to dismantle it. Because I am working with squares I kept all the pieces along with the line drawing.

Marti will like that I didn’t simply ball it all up and stuff it in the scrap bin as she knows I am prone to do.

Why didn’t I this time?

I kept thinking of the many pieces that my artist friend Kathy L has made from some of my discarded beginnings and a lot of my scraps.

By the end of episode III, I was more than half way through another design that is working as I had visualized.

My medication so far has kept the dizzies away.

And the voices are silent. I suppose they are all in agreement.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Inner Voice(s)

Insightfulness, intuition, call it what you want, but I believe all of us has at least one voice within our heads that talks to us. I have three. One told me last week that I should buy new tires for the Jeep. The front ones were looking worn and winter was coming. Not that I had plans to go driving in the snow, 4 wheel drive or not. What I have learned about myself and where I reside is, I am more likely to drive on wet roads as a result of rain rather than snow and I have never been truly comfortable with the way the jeep stopped when braking on a wet surface. While those large tires with white lettering look cool on the jeep, at my age cool is not the determining factor for me when I look for a car. Safety and usefulness ranks way, way up there, in relation to cute and cool.
The other two voices remained mute on the subject of tires.

On Saturday, I got up wanting to work in my studio. I've been going great guns and have three tops ready to quilt, but once I sat down in my chair at the sewing machine I realized that it was too glummy in my work space and my creative brain was not going to be happy nor want to work without a struggle. The day was over cast and the lighting wasn't bright enough for me. My SAD was kicking in and I knew if I was brain drained this early in the season I was really, really going to have problems working in my space without more light. Winter was looming and the next three months were setting up to be a bugger.

I looked up at the ceiling praying for a source of light that wasn't there. I was missing the wonderful lighting I had in my condo studio that I had wired for 3 fixtures that held 4- 4 foot Ott bulbs each. On any day and at amy time when the light were on it was like high noon on the best cloud free day.

One voice in my head said. "Even if you called an electrician today it will be days, maybe weeks before they will get to the job." I sighted. Waiting and wishing for what I didn't have wasn't the answer.

"Buy some more lamps. You only have too many lamps if you blow a fuse."

Weighting the issue I knew it was the winter blues or a blown fuse.

"Right, the other voice said, "But where can you get more lamps that will help the situation?"

"Big Lots." , the first voice answered quickly.

" That's right", responded voice two.

Big Lots was the answer to the immediate situation of poor lighting and a solution that would be easy to impliment. When I taught a class in Bowling Green, KY last month one of the participants had a table top lamp that was far superior in light out put than any Ott lamp I've seen.

But where is a Big Lots I wondered. Not in Columbia I found out when I looked in the telephone directory. My Big Lots' internet search found four stores within 150 miles of Columbia. There was one 147 miles away in Springfield, MO, which was where my daughter Lyn had gone that morning for a business meeting. The other was 79 miles away in Sedalia, MO. The remaining two, Kansas City and St. Louis, about 130 miles away, each.

Sedalia it was and off I went after calling to varify that they had the Ott type lamps, that I was interested in.

Sedalia is a small town, not unlike Columbia without the benefit of 2 colleges and a major University with all that entails. The trip to Sedalia was uneventful. I listened to the last disc of a book I had started the day before as I drove. On the way back. I blew a tire.
The front driver's side tire. With smoke and the smell of burning rubber, I safely steered myself to the side of the road and immediately a pick-up truck towing an trailer, pulled in behind me. I remembered passing it just before the blow-out.

I haven't changed a tire by myself since 1973 and that was on the front end of my VW bug while it sat in our driveway. I wasn't looking forward to changing this one by my self or waiting until a service truck could be disbatched. So you know how relieved I was to see two concerned faces walking toward me as I was getting out of the Jeep to survey the situation.

"I saw that your tire was really low when you came up behind us and started to pass me" the drive said. "I tried to signal you and catch up with you...."
"Thanks, but I know, I was flying." I said grinning in a sheephish, flirty way. The driver looked almost as old as me and was rather nice looking in a working man, not afraid to get his hands dirty kind of way. He was also doing justice to the pair of jeans he was wearing too.
"Yep and then I saw the smoke and knew it was too late." he went on. "Where is your jack."

With the kindness of two strangers, the shaking of hands all around, I was back on the road in 20 minutes. When I got back to Columbia, I immediately went to the tire store and made an appointment to replace all the tires on Monday morning.

Now for the irony and the blessing. When Lyn got home on Saturday evening, I told her about my adventure and my appointment on Monday for new tires. "Why, she said, didn't you call me to let me know what you were planning to do today. My meeting was held next door to a Big Lots in Springfield." " You know," she went on to say, "I had planned to take the Jeep and leave you the Jetta this morning until I woke up and heard how hard it was raining. I took the Jetta instead, it handles the rain better the the Jeep. Now I'm glad I did."

So was I. A Mother is a Mother no matter how old her children get and if the blow out was destiny waiting to happen, I'm glad it happened to me instead of her.

Josh assembled my lamps. The added light was just what I needed, I worked until mid-night on Saturday. Put in many hours in the studio on Sunday.

And now we are to Monday after the tires were installed and I was back in the studio stopping for dinner and then returning for a few hours before bedtime.

One or both of my inner voices talk to me when I am creating my art and last night they were talking non stop. Bantering back and forth without offering any real insight.
"No that doesn't look right." one said
"Are you sure you want to go in that direction?" said the other
" I know you have already selected the colors you want to use, but.... "
" I know you are working with squares, but maybe you should add some rectangles."
"Try adding some red voilet to that color scheme."
"Not that value."
"No, not that hue."
"Maybe you should just scrap this design"
"Better to just scrape the color scheme"
"But all the shapes are cut already"
"Since when has disording fabric that isn't workig a concern."
"SHUT-UP said a third voice to the first two with finality.
"Go knit." The voice told me and I listened.

I turned off all the lamps, the ceiling light, my sewing machine, retired to my room and picked up my knitting needles.
Art I have always said is about seeing. It is also about listening too.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Knee deep in pots and pans...

and up to my elbow in soapy sink water I came to realized why I've always hated kitchen duty until recently. I can cook in a kitchen by myself. In truth I prefer it. I move to my own pace and would rather not have to say excuse me when someone is standing in front of the cabinet I need to get into. I've never throught cooking was a partnership. My parents didn't prepare meals that way. My Mother cooked the everyday meals and my Father the special ones. However he did leave the cakes, pies, cookies and candies to my Mom on those holidays that called for them. After all of us left home, one would cook. The other one cleaned. Maybe my Father figured out that it is easier to clean up after an ordinary meal then a celebratory one.
In my marriage after all of my kiddies left home. I always cooked. He always cleaned. I've said of Phil that he couldn't boil water without scarching the pan, athough he could cook a mean pit roast that our kid preferred over mine. Even when he did that he still cleaned the kitchen afterwards.

In this house cooking has become a joint venture and it has proved to be FUN. What Lyn and I will do after the boys are gone is another story. The kitchen clean up is also shared with me getting what I would have bemoaned in the past the pots, pans and the stove cleaning. But now I don't think it is so bad. WHY. Because I no longer feels as if I have been sentenced to Outer Mongolia. I'm no longer shut away in a little room by myself. Facing a wall as if I am in time out. Our kitchen is in the center of the house and you can see something.
The meal prep area is not a small space and as you work others while not in you space or in you way are around you talking and carrying on as only young people can do with foolishness and humor.

I have only lived in one house that had a window over the sink so I could look out and let my eyes wonder. And when my eyes wonder my mind follows and that is much more pleasant than simply standing at a sink full of pots and pans facing a wall no matter how well it is decorated with knicky-knacks or tile. Even the trick of putting as mirror on the wall over the sink never helped. Looking at a face pinched in anguish is not pleasant. Doing the dishes under these circumstance was like being punished for something you didn't do. After all, all you did was make a meal that everyone ate, enjoyed to some degree, burped politely, on some occassions not so politely then left you with the mess. Yes I did have my kids do the dishes when they were old enough. But there are all those years before they are and all those years after they have left the nest.

There are dishwashers...... yes and I've had one almost from the time they started making portable ones for homes built before the built-in ones were commonplace. But I've never put my pots and pans in one to clean them.
BUT NOW... I can see. I can see look across the eating area and out a large expanse of glass to the back yard. I can see the fireplace and out the windows on that wall. I can see the stuff that sits on the ledge of the half wall that only partically separates the kitchen from the rest of the living space.

WOW ....All this insight before I had my first cup of coffee.

So I can keep this quilt related. I took myself out of the house yesterday to the library which is becoming one of my favorite places to visit to get some more books on CD since I have listened to all those I had. I also visited the art section and brought home several books for inspiration including one on Mondrian and one on Klee, one on mixed media art, another on weaving and one about a weaver named Anni Anders. No I am not going to start weaving I am just broading my base of knowledge.

I am progressing on the second piece in my Back to Square One series. I had originally sketched it to be larger, but after seeing it on the wall in fabric I think it will be at least two rows shorter than originally drawn. I am sooooo excited.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Back to Square One: a study in color

is what I have decided to name the quilts I will be designing and working on for the next few months. I know most of you who know my work, would not associate me with geometric shapes. Neither had I once I stopped making traditional quilts.

Lots of ideas have run through my head since the beginning of summer. Some quite complex utilizing different mediums including paints and other stuff in a really big way. Work that was going to be more multi-media than "quilt". But knowing myself and with the coming of winter and my annual "dumps" better known as SAD or Seasonal Affect Syndrome which is caused by a lack of sunlight Any thing that was going to require a lot of thought and planning during a time when all I really want to do is find a comfy chair, a warm throw, a cup of tea with lemon and a good book or knitting project to get lost in was no time to begin a journey into the unknown.

So I have decided to make it easy for myself and go back to square one. I have created some different for me work during the late autumn and winter months and they all seem in retrospect to have the square with an occasional rectangle in common. These works were never begun with the square as a conscious part of my thinking when I was designing, it just happened.

This time I am giving some serious thought to the subject because a solo exhibit is in my 2008 future. I know, I know, 2008 is two years away. But let me tell you two years can ZOOM by and before you know it you are in a panic. I know I wanted all new work with a different look that was, not so predictably me for this exhibit. What I define as predictably me is flowers and my bright clear color pallete.

Here is the game plan or rules I will follow until at least March 15th.
1. Use the square as the main element in all designs
2. Divided the square into horizontal or vertical sections, only.
3. Incorporate both hand dyes and commercials leaning more toward the handdyes.
4. Focas on color gradations and different color schemes.
5. Compose with colors not typical of my color pallete
6. Add greys, black and or white to at least 90% of the completed pieces without using
commercial black and white prints.
7. Keep all work less than 55 inches wide
8. After 5-6 completed tops look for some unifying elements that can be exspanded upon for a series.

Progress to date.
I have one top completed and have started on another.

Until I know if this game plan will work or not I am hesitant to show you what I have done so far. Give me a few weeks and I will let you see.

Birthday with the Kathie(y)s

Here are Kathy and Kathie and Kathie and my birthday cake that neither one of us ate.
We did blow out our candles and packed the slices in two to-go boxes which Kathy took home to her grandsons for their birthdays. Willy shares my birthday (Oct. 29) and A. J.'s birthday is Nov. 4 their mother always does a joint thing because they are so close in age and actually the youngest one is taller than the older. Both really cute young teens.

Second day in Durham

These are pictures of the second days class, Round Flowers. This really is a two day class because in one day most students can only complete the leaf and one section of a flower and the bottom portion of the background. It is a class in color usage as well as percision piecing. With a few advanced piecing techniques thrown in.

Color class-Durham, NC

Here are some candid shots of the color workshop and the participants. This was a wonderful place to hold the class. Large, great light and everyone had their own table. The power supply was fantastic. It allowed all the machines plus 5-6 irons going at the same time without a power failure. With a great group of ladies that pot luck both days lunches, what more could a teacher want.