Sunday, September 18, 2016

Lost and found

While gazing out the window the other day, I thought I saw a cow fly by. On closer inspection, I realized it was only my imagination…and it was hovering right in front of me beckoning me to play. I blinked and smiled, thinking how nice it would be.

Next thing I knew, we were leapfrogging the tree tops, using spider webs as trampolines and playing hopscotch with clouds.

We lunched on fruit and cheese with the man in the moon and sipped Earl Grey tea with the queen of hearts while the fiddle serenaded us with Mary Had a Little Lamb and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.

The mouse taught us how clocks work and the three little pigs discussed the best building materials while over in the corner little Jack Horner was slapping his knee laughing at a story that Alice was telling about falling down a hole.

I blinked again and was amazed to find myself still gazing out the window and wondering why so many of the fairy tales of my childhood were about little things.

I wrote this sometime between October 1997 and December 1999. It was in old notebook tucked away in the studio cabinets and was unearthed during a search for blank notebook pages to re-purpose.  I wonder just what it was that set my mind to pondering littles and fairy tales?

Lotta's most recent blog post, making time, held me spellbound and has me yearning for a time keeper such as hers, which is how the contents of the studio cabinets came to be searched.

I hope she doesn't mind that I almost immediately purchased the download-able calendar pages from MaylemMade (the printable planner bundle actually) and set to considering what I really want in a yearly planner

as well as what type of paper it should be printed on. A long time collector of blank journals...that rarely ever were marked in...I knew that the studio held enough papers to fill numerous planners.

The basic pages are printed and, once again, I'm pondering just what it is I want/need in a planner - how many blank pages vs how many lined pages? Are lined pages even needed? Pockets are a must for holding found things. Is one per month too many or not enough? They will requiring a bit of stitching to add a tad of texture.

And then there's the cover to consider. Sandra Brownlee would tell me to make the cover one that I would want to touch and hold and so it will be. But...rusted or discharged cotton...or indigo via old blue jeans collaged and stitched together? Only time will tell.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Friday, September 9, 2016

In the studio

Lots of this going on the studio this week.

How was your week?

(best to watch full screen)

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Picking up of the thread of the story

Have you ever begun working on a substantial piece only to find it necessary to set aside at some point? 

When you were finally able to return,

had you left it sufficiently organized 

to be able to just step in and pick up the thread of the story? 

The second of my red boat series was begun in June while my not-so-little urchins were in summer camp for two weeks. All the resizing, cropping, editing - and then doing it all again - were accomplished then as well as the ironing of at least 540 tea bags to freezer paper which produced 45 pages (11 inches x 17 inches) to be run through my faithful inkjet printer. And then the machine stitching began, starting with the text layer. 

Fast forward to this past Wednesday when the school bus pulled up at the end of our drive to take the urchins to school. Time for mom to get back in the studio. The text layer was easy to pick right up. It was the photo that gave me fits for about an hour. Thankfully, I had left the photo pages in the correct order...even though my eyes kept saying they weren't. Think the studio was having a bit of fun with me. 

The photo above is my current view from my desk. What was planned a single piece seems to want to be a diptych...or does it? Is it merely trying out the idea of being two rather than one? And what about that third, yet to be started, layer? The back of the text layer is beautiful - all patched in places where I didn't quite get the tea bags joined just so.

We've a three day weekend here in the states, so, thankfully, there's plenty of time to mull it all over.

Saturday, August 27, 2016


100 is a new series of posts spurred by a conversation that Pam and I had yesterday. We were discussing which workshop to take together next year - one asks students bring 100 of an item. Intrigued, we were imagining how the items would be used and what we could take. Just what did we have 100 of?
My brain kicked into gear and I spewed out a string of household items that could be interesting art making tools - 100 grains of rice, 100 sheets of toilet paper, 100 beans, 100 tea bags (empty or full) get the idea. The whole exercise had me looking around and viewing items differently.

100 tea bag tags from used tea bags gifted me by Pam and Ellen as well as a few of my own. All laid out on a grid first and then thrown into a small mason jar. Yes, they really are all in there...for safe keeping.

And that act alone had me pondering the various ways to present 100 of an item. The grid shows them all, yet it's the close up in the jar that I prefer. Perhaps both ways...or perhaps not. How would you show 100 of an item?

Friday, August 26, 2016


I've been in a contemplative mood recently. No doubt in part because school begins next week and my not-so-little urchins (only 2 and 3 inches shorter than me now) will be entering 4th grade. Much merriment will be happening at my house as soon as they board the bus...or I'll completely be a couch potato for a day or two in order to adjust.

Back to my contemplative state...

 foremost in my thoughts is

what to do next?

What story to tell with my art?

The red boat has a sister piece that is languishing in the sun,

begun weeks ago and waiting for me to pick up the thread of the story and continue.

And then there are the water reflections from a myriad of places,

most recently the Currituck Sound in North Carolina and

the bridges on the Three Rivers of Pittsburgh that continually call to me.

Should I use cloth or paper?

Should the story be told subtly yet in your face on the wall or more quietly in book?

Can one have multiple series of work in progress at the same time and not be thought totally mad?

Such has been the fodder for my ponderings this week. What have you been mulling over lately?

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The silence in between

Last week was my family's annual beach week in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

 Most days you could find me sitting in that very chair, reveling in the surroundings
 and luxuriating in the nightly fireworks. 

 The younger ones threw out and checked the crab pots

 so many times each day that it's a bit surprising anything had a chance 
to wander in and be captured. 



 Mornings were spent playing games

 or enjoying Mother Nature's wet work on the windows.

 There were mermaid sightings,

 beach type go-go dancers

 and even a ghostly sort of image that somehow managed to be captured. 
Now...if only I knew how I did it...

 We checked this not-so-little fellow's progress each day on our stroll to the beach.

 The play of light and shadow

 was just too good

 not to photograph.

  And then there were the reflections down by the dock,

during what Christine called The Silvery Hour that caught my eye. 

Weaving its way through the week was lots of laughter, treasured stories told and retold, much giggling from the three female urchins, precious grins and hugs from my tallest-in-the-family nephew and the restorative and grounding qualities that come from a week spent with loved ones.
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