Monday, December 05, 2016

Earrings and a little makeup

I thought this was finished and it has been hanging on my design wall for several weeks and every time I would walk past it I would think "it's flat—needs something" but I wasn't sure what. Yesterday morning as I was poking little earrings into my earlobes it hit me that my Mexican lady had no earrings. That just wouldn't happen, I reasoned, so I headed out to the studio to correct that oversight. Earrings actually helped, then I remembered how I put on my own earrings, check the mirror to make sure they look OK (I've been known to wear not-on-purpose mismatched earrings, or get distracted and walk away with only one—) and at that point think I might look even better (!) with a little lipstick or mascara. So I got out my colors and gave the whole piece a little mini color makeover.

Better, I think.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Late Fall

You know I walk most days near a wetland area. And you know I take a lot of photos. I love the fall. I love the cooler temperatures and the changing colors and even the rain. In late November everything softens. The colors are more muted, the sky goes smeary and wet and the edges lose their crispness. We walk in all the weather, until the rain begins to soak in or the wind beats us up and then we retreat to our coffee and hang our wet jackets on the backs of our chairs and watch the storm through steamy windows. Summer seems long gone.

I am spending time in the studio, and watching the creek rise and fall. It gets dark early and I use little flashlight when I make my way back to the house.

I found the Prisma app for my iPad and marvel at what it finds in my photos, like the one I took of the egret.

Or this photo of red berries, that certainly don't have to stay red.

It's a little humbling to see how a smart machine can interpret my images in ways I sometimes hope to achieve by my own efforts. I'm not sure what to make of that...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, November 18, 2016

I'm Still Here...

Flowers grow out of the dark moments
 - Corita Kent

Thank you for the reminder Sister Corita. I needed that.

There are so many things I could say about the election and what I am feeling now, but honestly, I'm really weary with words and everyone's sadness and anger and confusion. I have my own share of all these things and I sit with those feelings and watch the birds out my window and know that while I can't quite get past all that has happened in our country, life must go on. And it will, but with a very unsettling undercurrent that requires vigilance and resolve. Perhaps flowers will grow out of these dark moments. Maybe love is stronger than hate. I want to believe that.

Meanwhile, here in my little world, my patience has been under assault for months with the construction projects out front. The current phase has been the realignment of our road, which has had the road closed for more than a month. My Facebook friends know all about it, but here I won't go into the details of the gas leak, the water, the noise, the mud, my run-in with the Sheriff, my dismal Open Studio and frayed nerves. Our driveway is where the orange barrel is on the left. Old road completely removed. A mess.

View out my studio window about 10 days ago. This week brought paving and a light at the end of this particular tunnel. The road is supposed to open tomorrow.

We took our grandchildren to the Portland Art Museum, to see the Andy Warhol exhibit and Corita Kent exhibit.

Corita Kent is a personal hero, so it was a joy to see her work which seems both very specific to a certain time, and still relevant.

My son-in-law, Carlos, and I were invited to exhibit our work, again, at the Beaverton City hall.

And out in my studio, I am taking my inspiration from Sister Corita and looking for the flowers in the dark moments and focusing on love.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

A new thread scheme

One of my ongoing challenges in my studio is figuring out the best way to store and access my large collection of thread. I have yet to find the perfect system. In my old house the thread was on a rack on the wall.

It was an OK system, but kind of messy and, of course did not accommodate all my thread. In my new studio I opted for shallow drawers which was also OK, but messy, so I went to bigger, better organized drawers.

This has worked pretty well, except that I found that since these drawers are not within reach of my sewing machine I was getting up every time I wanted to change a quilting thread color, and, instead of putting each spool away after using it, I'd leave it out on the table in case I wanted to use it again in the piece I was working on. Pretty soon I'd have a dozen spools rolling around the table, unspooling thread and rolling off onto, and across, the floor. Not so good. So that old hanging rack idea once again held some appeal, but wall space, within reach, was limited. The side of a storage cabinet was handy but too narrow for the hanging racks like I used to use.

I did what any reasonable person now does—I googled "thread racks" and found a lot of possibilities and one that seemed kind of perfect. Here it is. So, off I went to the home store for an 8' length of molding and three 1/4" dowels. In the online article they call the molding "quarter round," but it is actually cove molding, which is easily drilled in such a way that when you insert the dowels, then attach it to a vertical surface, the dowel pegs are at a 45 degree angle—perfect for holding thread spools.

I cut my molding strip into 13" lengths to fit on the cabinet side, then marked to drill holes 2" apart. I had a drill bit that was exactly right for my pegs, which I tapped in with a rubber mallet. They fit tightly enough that I didn't even need to glue them.

Then I measured and marked the side of the studio cabinet and started screwing the individual strips in place.

And there it is! Pretty colors! The rest of my thread is still in drawers, but these are colors I am likely to be using at my sewing machine, and of course I can trade them out at the beginning of a big, multicolored project. I think this will really help in keeping those threads within reach, but out of the action on the table. Only time will tell. I might be looking for yet a better scheme.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Making marks

Yesterday I saw a link on FaceBook to a video about the Nigerian artist, Victor Ekpuk and felt such a joyful feeling of recognition! He has a style of mark-making that reminded me, immediately, of my own mark-making, doodling form. Here is a sample of his work:

Here is a sample of my doodle form:

It feels like something I've done forever and I don't even know where it came from. It is just my doodle. I somehow think most people, or at least most creative people, have their own personal marks, as individual as their handwriting, that has developed organically. Do you? Do you incorporate it into your creative, visual work?

I think I started using my silly doodle in some of my fabric work about 10 years ago, when it just sort of popped up in some background quilting stitches, then began to assert itself more aggressively as a way of expressing my own voice in little ways. And I love seeing those very personal, iconic marks in the work of other artists. Think of Klimt, Mark Tobey, Paul Klee...

Unlike carefully designed and rendered motifs, there is always something happily free and spontaneous about such mark-making—just watch Victor Ekpuk in that video!See it here

Some examples of "the doodle," which is what I call it...

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The week in phone photos

So many things this week. It has been one for the record book.

Sunday: after a wonderful weekend in Moscow, Idaho and Pullman, Washington with old friends, we drove home in the rain, arriving in time to collapse in front of the TV and watch the presidential debate, and I don't need to even talk about that—back to the sordid reality of the campaign.


Monday: Transition meeting for old and new Board of Columbia Fiberarts Guild. I'm the new president. I have a long list...

My essay on crows in my artwork appears in newly published issue of the online magazine, Through our Hands.

Tuesday: walked with Beth. When I returned home I was stopped by a motorcycle Sheriff's Deputy who refused to allow me to drive on our closed road to my own driveway. I had no choice but to park in the neighborhood behind my house, cut through my neighbor's yard and climb through the arborvitae hedge at the back of our property, emerging in my backyard disheveled and, in Ray's words, "hopping mad". I wrote a rant on Facebook, then sent an email complaint to the County Sheriff, which only made me feel a little bit better.

Eye Dr. appointment for that horrible stress-inducing visual field test and pressure test and new prescriptions for more drops. Glaucoma sucks.

Tuesday was not a good day.

Wednesday: beautiful rainy walk and day spent cleaning my studio for the Open Studio Tour. Every time I turn on the radio or look at the internet, the news is uglier than the last time.

Thursday: A big day. Dylan wins Nobel prize for literature—makes me smile all over! Mail arrives with a copy of Farm Girl magazine (not a joke—it's a real magazine) with a photo of my campfire quilt published. Michelle Obama thrills us all with heart-breaking/lifting speech. Tears. Voicemail from Sheriff. He is very apologetic, will look into the road closure problem and talk to his officers and get back to me tomorrow. More studio cleaning. It's still not fit for visitors.

Friday: another rainy walk. Cheerful, sincere Sergeant Tannenbaum, from the Sheriff's office pays a visit. He has brought large local access passes for our cars and talked to the patrol officers. I have his phone number and must call him if I have any further difficulty accessing my driveway. I am a happy camper. Spend rest of the day cleaning the studio.

Saturday: Open Studios! But will anyone come? Not only is our road closed and an intimidating mess of machinery and mud and piles of gravel, but hurricane force winds and heavy rain are predicted. But I am ready and my first visitors are my daughter and granddaughter bearing fancy coffees. A few more neighbors and hardy souls show up, but it's the slowest Open Studio day I've ever had. Mid afternoon I am alone in the studio when, with a loud CRACK and quiet thud, a large ash tree falls across our driveway and front lawn. (coincidentally, right where a studio visitor's car had been parked a couple hours earlier) It seemed the perfectly calamitous end to a fairly calamitous day. Really that thud was kind of the closing punctuation to the whole week, but by then I was just calmly waiting for the next whatever...

The day ended with dinner at the Mongolian Grill with our grandchildren. My fortune cookie fortune said, "you are ready for a new hobby." I don't think so.

And now it is Sunday again. The storm is over. The tree is no longer blocking the driveway. Nice people, fun to talk to people, came to the studio and some even bought things. A new week has begun. I hope it is a little less eventful.

And the good news is my studio is clean.