Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Lacking focus: make a list

I haven't posted since I returned from Louisville and gave you a glimpse of the doings at the Carnegie during the opening reception for Form Not Function. Since then, I have had many many days of going from one thing to another "I CAN NOT FOCUS" At least not for long on any one thing. IT MUST BE THE WINTER BLAHS.
The winter blahs are legit. This is what I see when I look out the windows every day. First there is the remains of the 2-3 inches of ice that fell and the 4-6 inches of snow that followed.

I am all over the place of late maybe I should make a sign for my studio space that says "FOCUS" in red letters to keep me on track, but am not sure if that will help. Maybe a list in order of priority would be better. Maybe if I see in writing everything I need and what to accomplish in the next few months I would get back on task PRONTO.

I really do have a lot of stuff for the list. However, the following (make decoration for chair backs) is not one of them.
River City Fiber Artist, the group I belong to is in the mist of a project titled Dinner Works. My part was to make the decoration for the chair backs. DONE
FYI: Dinner Works at The Water Tower is an annual juried exhibition of art dinnerware and the Water Tower is the main gallery for the Louisville Visual Arts Association. Dinner Works is a fund raising event that pairs Potters and Ceramicists with Interior designers and Fiber artist who create tables scapes that highlight the dinnerware. I think there were 12 potters and ceramicists juries into this year's national exhibit. The 12 or so tables for eight are on display for several months in the gallery which is open to the public. The dishes and table linen are for sale and in some cases so is the glass and dinnerware. In our case it isn't since the glassware and dinnerware are on loan from two members of the group. Also as part of this exhibit there is a formal dinner and an afternoon Tea, that cost BIG BUCK to attend. Needless to say I have not purchased a ticket.

I've started a new quilt with flower, not that I have sandwiched or begun to quilt any one of the many tops that I have finished since last November. Right now I feel I really need the joy I find in making flowers, so I have begun one. I also need to dye several yards of fabric from some of the many ideas for other quilts I have running rampant in my brain. When I moved I left my supply of dye and stash of PFD at my friend Marti's house. I knew I would return to Louisville for our annual week long dying spree. (It more fun to dye with a friend) But last month I realized I need to dye some fabric for one of the quilts I have in my head. So while I was in Louisville I found time to measure out some dyes, gather some fabric and put them in the car to bring home, but so far I have not dyed one inch of fabric yet. The containers of dye made it into the house but the bolts of fabric I brought home are still in the car.

I cut up one of my completed tops while in Louisville with plans to add additional fabric and resewed it into a different configuration when I got home, which I did. But resewing did not improve it in my opinion AND MY opinion is all that matters so I stuffed it in the scrap basket for now.

For now? Who am I fooling, it will never see the light of day as one of my completed pieces.

I've wanted something to read or something read to me for a while so last Saturday I visited the library and found not one book that suited my state of mind. So I went to Barnes and Nobles where I sat for nearly two hours leafing through books, people watched and enjoyed a cup of coffee. I would have stayed there longer but it began to snow, with almost a inch on the ground in short order, I got home just in time to pull the hill on the main road to our subdivision before it became impassable.

Lyn my daughter started for home 30 minutes later and had a 40 minute wait in line on the narrow two lane (no shoulder) road as drivers ahead of her without four wheel or rear wheel drive attempted to negotiate the hill. In the Jeep she had no trouble. However, I must compliment the city of Columbia and their efforts to keep us connected to the outside world. Our hill is one of the first to be plowed, salted and cindered when the white stuff falls. It is just the first few travelers that have the problems before the road crew arrive.

Tuesday evening I went off to the second meeting I have attended of the local art quilt group here in Columbia and signed up to take a 2 day workshop with a local retired art professor/fiber-artist in March. Her work has been feature in Fiberarts magazine. True to form, I forgot her name but visit her website. Not entirely sure if I am as interested in the class as I am looking forward to meeting other art quilters in this area. Those who know me well know I tend not to WORK in workshops. I learn best by listening and observing rather than doing, which can be a little disconcerting to instructors at times.

Don't remember if I told you the art group meets in a local quilt shop that is very well supplied with a great selection of fabrics, books, threads and must have supplies including needles. The shop sells Husqvarna/Viking sewing machines. I was glad to hear from someone looking out the shop window that had begun to snow just as the meeting was breaking up, because I was being tempted by all the colors of the fabrics surrounding me. The first meeting I attended there was held in the class room, but last night there was a sewing machine education class going on in that room and so the art group met at tables set up in the shop proper.

I am still all over the place, but today I did this blog. Picked up and put down my yarn and needles several times. Went to the studio to make some more fractured squares for the quilt on the wall. Made the FOCUS sign and placed it on the wall and looked out the window at the remaining snow several time. I am thinking now of what to have with the defrosted steak that is in the refrigerator, not that eating has been on my mind much at all today.

The lack of the desire to eat tells me what I am going through now is not my usual and annual SAD symptoms that befall me at this time of the year. With SAD all I want to do is sleep and stuff carbohydrates into my mouth and the more refined the sugar the better. For SAD I know the cure is lots and lots of light. Not so with this winter blah thing. More light isn't helping. For that matter yesterday I had to leave the studio because there was too much light or glare because of the snow ground cover. The sun light reflecting from the snow was bouncing off the house wall perpendicular to my studio window, blinding me. Ouch!!!

Maybe I should go make that list now.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A good time was had by all

The opening was well attended. There was food, drink, live music being played from the balcony overlooking the exhibit floor by a local jazz combo. The attendance gets larger every year and this year was wonderful. Here are some candid shots of the reception and the presentation of the awards. For the second time in four years our best of show winner was in attendance. She and her husband drove in from Maryland. Marti Sally and Pat. Pat and Marti are members of River City Fiber Artist and Sally is a member of the Carnegie Board of Directors and a good friend.

Maude Alexander and her daughter Virginia, both Louisville fiber artist.

Kathleen from Cincinnati and Valarie (a River City Fiber Artist member. Kathleen had a piece of hers juried into the exhibit.

Form Not Function

Here are some candid shots of the exhibit being hung and the judging by Penny Sisto. Yes I helped do more than document what was going on.

What is one more

I left home to sunshine two Sunday's ago. Got to within 25 miles of St Louis and was greeted by rain that followed me all but the last 20 miles to Louisville.
I arrived in Louisville and was greeted at my friend Kathy's house by all of these darling little faces. Who doesn't love Ragged Ann Dolls? Kathy loves them far, far far more than most I learned when I met her almost 10 years ago. My, has it been that long? Her home is as easy to stay in as the casusalness of the doll who have taken up residence there. If she has this many faces looking at her everyday, I felt like what was one more (me.
Her condo looks out on a park but there was litte time for me to enjoy the view. This stand of trees caught my attention on the evening before I was to leave.
I returned to 2 inches of ice in the drive way although the roads all the way were dry. We are expecting snow this evening. Now that I am home, who cares.

Saturday, January 06, 2007


That's what I can label my life of late. I dabbed with some quilt ideas, but produced nothing. I've started the same silk yarn shawl 5 times only to get about 12 inches of it completed before I look back two or three rows to find a mistake that is so annoying that I have ripped it back to the beginning. Finally gave up on the lace pattern that I was doing. Not because it is difficult to do, but it is difficult for ME to figure out how to correct the mistake once I am beyond the row.

I don't knit to impress anyone or myself for that matter. I knit to calm, to keep my hands busy when my eyes and brains are engaged on and in the boob tube. I am taking the shawl and yarn with me to Louisville to help fill the time after I return to my hotel room at night and when sleep comes.

I will be in Louisville all next week. Seeing friends,"the Kathies" for sure. I will stay through Saturday so I can help hang Form Not Function, be present for the judging and attend the opening. I need to weight some dye powders that I left with Marti to bring back to Columbia. I am out of my favorite reds, red-oranges and one grey value step set that I don't want to wait until Marti and I do our annual one week long BIG DYE in the summer session.

I am taking all of the completed top I've done with me to Louisville for evaluation and welcomed comments from my critique group (dear friends, all) Maybe hearing their comments will give me a better sense of direction for me.

If I can figure out how to post from there I will.

Monday, January 01, 2007

This IS next year.

How many times have you said to yourself, next year I will.....

I decided when I woke up this morning that I was no longer going to look to next year or next month or next week and hopefully not beyond tomorrow to do the things I want to do. Mind you I am not talking about buying some extravagant thing-a-ma-bob or do-dad. I'm not talking about flying off to Paris or anywhere for that matter for the time being. Rest assured, no fairy came in the night and left large sums of money in any of my accounts. I like most of the world still have to budget.

What I AM talking about doing is living in the moment and being in the here and now. What I am talking about is rowing my own boat and not feeling obligated to row the boat someone else choose for me. What I am talking about is doing something that makes me happy each and every day. Even if that something is something as simple as soaking in a tub filled with bubbles up to my nose until I have prune skin at three in the afternoon if the mood strikes me and not talking myself out of doing so because... IT IS THREE IN THE AFTERNOON.

From today forth I will do what makes me smile and what makes me want to get up in the morning, no matter how bad my body feels or how loudly it says, "Oh please, can we just lay here a little longer?" And when sleeping in makes me happy I will do so without guilt.

The last few months or so I have done a lot of reading, and sketching and looking at all types of visual arts and practicing. Today as I look through the pile of tops in my studio I realized that there are none that made me smile while constructing them and only two or three that have me anticipating the quilting of them on this first day of 2007.

Today, more than ever I recognize that constructing and creating are two different things. Lately, I wasn't creating. What I did was a lot of constructing and making tops that did not make me happy. Construction is work. Creating is fun, playful, happiness.

I know this because more often than not as I was piecing all of those tops together I was frowning and saying to myself.

"What are you doing?... This isn't you... It looks to much like the work of too many other's.... It looks like stuff that has already been done before. Why can't you think of something new to do with these square, these stripes. This looks to much like----, and too much like so-n-so."

Get my drift.

My thought were not the result of me not liking the work that others have done or are doing. Not at all. I truly marvel at how their minds work. But as of today I an honoring the fact that my mind twirls in a different orbit than theirs. And that's a GOOD thing.

I will admit that my time spent practicing wasn't a total waste. Acquiring knowledge is never a bad thing. Because I spent time practicing I can sew stripes that are straight. Because of the time spent,I am more conscious of how fabric behaves and will use this knowledge to my advantage in the future
Because I practiced I can sew precise 1/4" seams and 1/4" wide stripes. I can sew very fine 1/8 inch wide or less stripes if I care to, which is what the fine white stripe next to the pink in the black square is, less than 1/8 inch wide.

But with time spent exploring I also realize that compositions designed with stripes, and squares alone are not enough for me no matter how much I keep saying that my art is about my love of color. Today I determined I have explored the square and answered the call of the stripe without acquiring a burning desire to do more with them than I've done already.

So as of today I resolve to make work that makes me smile. As of today I will design and create with the elements I love. As of today I will explore the themes that excite me the most. I will work in the size and scale I love. As of today I will use only the colors in combinations that sing to me. I will use black and white in my compositions if black and white are called for, ot because I told myself that I must.

As of today I am more aware of and celebrate the me in my art because today I finally get what isn't.

As of today without apology, no matter what, I will be who I am. My only resolution for the New Year is: I will try every day to not forget this.