Archive for November, 2010

Searching for Inspiration

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

I have really lost my way. I think a few things have conspired to make me lose my confidence. I have gotten too many rejections. I am looking at my work and wondering if I took off in the wrong direction with the aspen pieces. Should I go back to doing more abstract work? Then, I get hung up when I attempt to start a new piece. To make a long story short, I have just felt lost in my studio for some time. Except for my little fiber sketches, I have been catatonic. I probably should take a look at some of those for inspiration.

Anyway, I decided that I needed a fiber project that was non-threatening. Jane LaFazio posted about coasters that Alisa Burke made from some scraps that Jane gave her. You can see her tutorial on her blog. I made mine slightly differently than Alisa.

I knew there was a reason for hanging on to these denim pieces I cut off my Mom Jeans this summer.

I made 4 pieces of denim background from the two cut-off legs. I then covered a piece with fused scraps and ironed them down.

I then revved up the Janome and free motion quilted the whole piece.

At this point, you could cut the coasters and finish the edges, but Alicia had the great idea of covering them with tulle and stitching again – in a straight line grid. I did this, too and very much like the effect. I used red tulle and black to white gradated thread.

I will zigzag the edges to finish them. I think it would be nice to leave some of the denim showing, as Alicia did. This would work very nicely with a felt base. Lots of options.

Yesterday, Robert Genn, in his letter, had 3 solutions to fighting the blues for a Scottish artist:

The sherbet cure. Like sherbet after the main course, take a couple of days of de-briefing. Intense influence has scrambled your cerebral neurons. You need to re-boot. I’d take a long walk in the heather and top it off with a few single malts. Near Inverness, I know just the places.

The solitary confinement cure. While any sort of intensity and learning is great, an artist also needs a private vacuum in which to gather thoughts and re-unite with personal processes. In the words of the writer Annie Dillard, “You need a room with no view so memory can meet imagination in the dark.” Leaving your intense experience and exciting environment behind, your work must now come out of you. Too many lambs spoil the haggis.

The forced beginning cure. This is where you puff yourself up, squeeze paint and dig in. Awkward at first, the processes that sustained you before, augmented by what you have recently learned, will gradually take over and you’ll be your old self again. You must know that people have risen again in their studios after a bout of major trauma. It’s been done before.

So, I tried the forced beginning cure tonight. However, I kind of like the first one that involves some single malt.

I had a full day today of getting some things checked off my to do list. And then an evening in the studio. It was a good day.

Where Was I?

Monday, November 29th, 2010

Finally, today, I had a fairly normal day. The crappy crud just did not want to leave my aging body.

The only fiber work I had done, up until today, was some stitching on the Alternate Universe piece.

On Saturday, we had a nice visit with my niece, Stacy, and her husband Jim and my great niece, Melina, who is 18 months old. I had not gotten to meet her until now. Stacy and Jim live in Providence, RI. He has a fellowship in drama at Brown and teaches part time as he works on his PhD. Stacy, an architect, teaches at RISD a couple of days a week. I got out my box of toddler toys, but Melina liked the box better.

Then, yesterday, back with the fever and aches and pains. By last night, I felt that I might be over what ever it was. I awoke this morning, feeling strong and happy to get out of bed.

I got some clerical stuff done this morning and then took a half hour walk with Scooter and Mr C. It felt soooo good to be out in the fresh air, again.

This afternoon, I made it to the studio and created my last fiber sketch. I used some lovely silks in happy colors to reflect my mood today. Tonight, I went through the sketch book and glued down some stray element and enjoyed looking at what I had accomplished.  There is a part of me that does not want to send this in to the sketch book project, but I think viewers will enjoy seeing what I have done.

Before I send it in, I want to create some fiber art for the cover. Here it is, all plump and lovely.

Finally,  I guess I must embrace the coming holiday season. Mia delivered these to me today. I bought them from her for a school fund raiser. They are really beautiful. I also bought an amaryllis which I will start photographing as it grows and hopefully blossoms.

Giving Thanks

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

We had a lovely family dinner tonight. I am so grateful to have family close so that we can share our love of good food and enjoy hearty laughs when we play silly games.

Here is my plate of turkey, gravy, wild rice dressing, roasted squash, roasted brussels sprouts and cranberry chutney accompanied by a Benzinger Pinot Noir. I made a salad with roasted pears – that was really yummy.

You may have noticed that I have not blogged for some time. I have had a bout of bronchitis and have not been able to do much of anything — have not made it down to my studio at all.

Yesterday, I felt enough better to start some preparations for today’s repast. I made pumpkin pies from a pumpkin that came in my organic farm produce this week.

I microwaved the pumpkin and the shell just slipped off leaving the lovely pulp.

I roasted the pumpkin seeds for snacking.

I had enough filling for two small pies and some on the side.

The pies were enjoyed by everyone.

I am rather exhausted tonight, but thought I should check in.

If it was on your agenda, I hope you had a wonderful day with family and/or friends.

A Busy Saturday

Saturday, November 20th, 2010

Despite my scratchy throat, I went to a lecture on the designer/builder who built our home, today. His name was Ken Birkemeier. He started building homes in the mid 1930s and eventually built mid-century modern homes in the 50s, one of which we own. We learned that listing your home as one built by him adds to its value. We also discovered that some of the quirky things in our house show up in others. I plan to take some photos and blog about this later.

Later in the day, we went to the Wild Arts Festival. Terry and I had both donated 6 X 6 inch bird art for the Audubon Society fundraiser. They had both been sold by the time we got there, but they had a nice poster with all of the art. My crow is circled on the detail shot. The whole poster shows Terry’s bird. You can click it to see it larger.

I always enjoy listening to this woman talk about the live birds. This is a raven. We were warned not to cluck at it because it gets aroused – as that is a mating sound. LOL

We wandered around the show for a bit. My photos are not very good because I only had my iPhone. I loved this pottery.

One of our Columbia FiberArts members, Heidi, was there with her felted balls, stones and ornaments.

This woman is always there with these gorgeous handwoven towels. She had some gorgeous handdyed bamboo yarn for weaving.

In one room, they have lots of books for sale on local flora and fauna, hiking, cooking, etc. I bought a couple of Christmas presents.

Today is Miles’ 9th birthday. He had a bowling and pizza party with a few friends today. Tomorrow, we will take the family out and have our own celebration. It is good to stretch out birthdays!!

All Washed Up

Friday, November 19th, 2010

or out.  This is after I waited a day for the scarves to dry and cure. Here is the before I did the washout.

This was a big disappointment to me. I think the black and the blue deColourant are a bust. I think I will just try to do an overdye of them now and try to rescue them that way.

I have not had a good day. I have a cold that is moving to my lungs so I have to be careful. I found out that the daughter of my good friend, Suzy, died from an apparent heart attack on Wednesday. She was only 45. The heartache for people I care about continues. My intrepid BIL, with leukemia, loves hunting and so he is going out with his buddies today and tomorrow. I hope he has a great time.

Now, to watch a movie with Mr C and attempt to felt some ornaments.