Tuesday, February 21, 2017

stitching as driving

An experiment this morning.

After spending some time with the manuscript - and running into mental walls and dead ends - I picked up the stitch and decided on the passage, line and colors I wanted.

I wanted the thread to be substantial, but blend, I mixed three strands of machine rayon and one of the 12wt cotton. Experience said they would not play nicely, but I ignored that even as they fought me at the round-eyed needle. I finally had to switch to an embroidery needle even though the rayon is thin as hair.

First pass = a nasty backside nest. "STOP NOW! and go upstairs and get the damn thread magic.

Once the thread was dressed properly, stitching smoothed out.

 There was no TV or background music. My hands were busy with what was now a rote task with little course corrections and design considerations happening in small bursts without interference from cranky thread.

The revelation came when I started thinking about the story again. Missing pieces materialized. Emotions came clean, reactions true. Details sharpened the reality. I put down the cloth and went back to the little wireless keyboard that hooks to my tablet. Wrote for a while and went back to stitching.

And here I thought I was going to have to drive across country to get this book finished.

Charlie Monday

We went trekking yesterday. He has too much energy to confine him to the apartment if it's at all nice out.

There will be trips to the park in the near future. Next time, I'll remember the ball and the picnic lunch. This day we shared and ate "magic". Don't know if I'll ever have pictures of those gestures.

He told his Dad how he pulled Uncle Colin's head down to the X at the bottom and made him disappear from my phone.

Sometimes he makes my hair stand on end!

Friday, February 17, 2017

sun day

I took the basket to the park today. Sunny and warmer than it's been. Somewhere I have some sheers that I want to layer to make value changes.

In the meantime, invisible stitching.

The bright white spots on the piece below kept calling my attention to how it was. Very hot soy wax dribbled onto a very white cloth. Left to cool and harden and then flooded with layers of colors that I hated by themselves, but got along famously, by accident.

There was a large piece of this cloth. This is the last of it.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

down and dirty

Flipping this one to the four points of the wind before I nail it down with a name.

It's good to take part in the conversation about making art again. Jude speaking on design here.

Art you can see and touch.

If I don't spend all my time on one or the other, I may actually make some progress.

Also, there is a way-crossing of stitching and writing in my future. A natural path for me. The fabric of Fiction.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Charlie Monday

and a chunk of yesterday too. Spending time with him takes my mind off everything else (like it or not). Sunday he was dragging me into my kitchen every twenty minutes seeing what else I would come up with for him to eat. Today, at his house, all he would eat was applesauce.

On other fronts,  posts about QN17 have started surfacing. No surprise that I haven't found any pictures of the winners, but splashed across the front page of the QN website was the very interesting announcement that artists are no longer restricted from sharing their ongoing work on the web or social media.

It's almost enough to make one think about goals.

Friday, February 10, 2017

that moonlight through the pines

The moon was just about to set when it blazed through the window and woke me saying,
"Quick! Find that damn camera, the one with the night landscape setting!"

A talking moon the least strange aspect of last night.

A night full of carnival ride dreams, cross-country horse chases under artillery fire and ocean crossings.

Woke up exhausted, but exhilarated.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017


Thread by thread (and there were a lot of them) I snipped this scrap away from the whole once I realized that I was letting stitch dominate the conversation so rigidly. I repositioned it and basted it back into place with a constellation of long, gentle stitches. It's not going to hold up to a lot of handling so I'll attend to it soon.

That done, I moved to another place in the conversation and stitched it secure as invisibly as I could, the object being to let the shapes, colors, textures and overall design speak first. After all, those things pleased my eye first.

The vernacular of stitch will be last and more like song than spoken (printed) word. I hope. I have a tendency to overwork stuff.

there really are stitches all over this.
All the while I worked this blueish piece I was thinking about this call for entry.

A friend pointed out that my "voice" might serve that purpose, but in the big scope of an exhibit like this, imagery is going to be key and I have rarely worked in representational fashion. There are so many who do it so well.

The last time for me was also political. The piece was amateurish, thrown together as it was, to make a deadline. It was something I felt strongly about. The beginnings of something very good. A great time for our nation. Things have changed. Strong, passionate and daring voices are called for.

My textile work leaves it to the viewer and I don't see forcing a change to be fruitful in time or resonance. I remind myself over and over that every OTHER person I pass in the street (well, maybe not that many, based on where I live) feels as I do. There is still..
This piece can be seen hanging over the doorway to the meditation/classroom/gallery at the  Phoenix & Dragon Bookstore in Roswell, GA.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

old habits get in the way

My stitching is too tight, too studied. Formulaic. I need to stitch drunk, maybe..

It's too soon to be this specific, this defined. Here's to the joy of picking out hasty stitching.

On a happier front, a brief raw materials hunt today yielded a couple acres of the most incredible cloth I've come across in a long time. Winter white sheets with a density and hand that comes close to chambray. Can't wait to see how this stuff takes up with the dye. It's going to be my '17 debut cloth.  There was no makers label,  only this:

Monday, February 06, 2017

Charlie Monday 2.6.17

He won't remember this small disappointment.

There was a big boy haircut to contend with this weekend, too. And more more molars coming in.

Saturday, February 04, 2017

first pass

same old stitch.
same old comfort.

boundaries will do that.

plans afoot for change. just shaking off the dust for now.

Friday, February 03, 2017

Thursday, February 02, 2017


I took the river basket (already brimming and mostly untouched from the trip to the mountains) to the park today to get a little vitamin D and a few steps in before I turn into Jabba the Hutt.

I have a little app on my phone that tells me how many steps I take each day. Lately, it's been mocking me as a lame ass. So I lugged everything down to the bocce courts at the park. No bocce players, or anyone else around for that matter.  Took up a whole chess table with my stuff.

For a while, I was a little overwhelmed with too much cloth to choose from. Bit by bit, I found some shapes and a rhythm I liked. Pins everywhere and now for some basting, fudging as I go. It looks like I'm picking up right where I left off, design wise. Not a bad thing. Let the basting begin...I like this part.


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

upcoming madness

I spent an hour fiddling around at Prochem this morning, making lists. Checking them twice. Since I couldn't come to any hard choices, I'll forfeit the coupon that expires at midnight. I'll live.

It's a real struggle for me to NOT choose my perennial favorites and move a few degrees warmer or cooler in each instance and still stay with the pure colors, not the crazy-assed blends, which I do for myself thanks, PC anyway.  I even found that five-pound box of soy wax that I bought over a year ago.

Monday, January 30, 2017

my heartbeat

It's Charlie Monday and this is where family and friends will find us going forward. Social Media has just gotten too ugly. We'll keep our sweetness close.

He wasn't a happy camper today. Croup kept the whole family up last night and he was off his game, but happy I was there today, for the most part. Directives were scorned, blocks were thrown, but only once.

TMI - potty training temporarily suspended. #$it happens, right?

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Just when I thought I might be in....

...they push me out.

 I just gave a close read to the rules for Fantastic Fibers and, sure enough, I'd deluded myself that there was no "age" rule about the work submitted. It's not a new thing and I can't even think of how to challenge rules that devalue and dismiss the entire body of an artist's work. What other medium does that?

"All work submitted must be original, completed in the last three years"

My heart kinda sank because I haven't done any major work since I finished these in late 2013, give or take a few months. I guess looking for shows that don't focus on the freshness of the work is fool's errand. Fuck 'em.
Karma V

vigil cloth

Friday, January 27, 2017

and furthermore

The impulse to hide.

Today was exceptional as compared to the last few. Fuck that nasty shitweasel in the Whitehouse. I will no longer allow him space in my thoughts. May he choke on his vile tongue in his sleep.

Today, I swapped and edited pages with another writer and it was all good.

Today, I shopped for colors at ProChem. Just looking, mind you. But I was looking. And there's cloth to be picked up across town next week. Dyeable cloth. Somewhere around here are several pounds of soy wax. I hope. There are designs in my dreams and stories that have cloth.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

anyway I can

I had forgotten how much I like doing text, but it always has to be words that matter. Nothing matters more these days.


Saturday, January 14, 2017

the bounce

Even as I come to terms with the realization that, for a while, I've been just waiting to die, I can turn on a dime and say "No" because there's still so much to do. (Stitchers know this instinctively which is why we always have a backlog of UFOs.)

There's this! Saving for the convention last year taught me buckets about budgeting for luxuries. Sell the silver? Why not. One way or another I'm gonna sell all these comic books. Jim would approve heartily.

the Liberty Clipper

Next week there will be a much-needed change of pace. A few days in the mountains with a few fellow artists. Art supplies, food, drink, and good company if we all don't wind up in jail.

In addition to unfinished fiber art, I have outlines for three more books clamoring for me to finish the one I've been working on, a house in mid-dilapidation that needs a miracle and a family who needs me. Much worthy shit to attend to. No time for whining.

Friday, January 13, 2017

condition dark

  When all you want to do is talk to someone and you can't so you talk to yourself, but it doesn't help.  You run out of words and tears after a while and go still.

Then you listen. In the stillness, there is music and voices from your heart and you go on.

(this wonderful photo by Lynn McCarthy)

Thursday, January 12, 2017


"a feeling of listlessness and dissatisfaction arising from a lack of occupation or excitement."

I took enough French in high school to know what "le mot juste" means. They usually have a beautiful word for something shitty. "Ennui" is one of them. I'm not usually prone to such nonsense. I guess, at this time of year, it's better than the flu.

I know I've been awol here for some time. Little to nothing to report on the fiber front other than I'm still in the process of repurposing the studio. Not phasing out fiber entirely. Just looking for a clean slate I guess. The
Closet from Hell has been sorted and ordered, mostly. My biggest issue if dealing with the storage of finished work. 

I have made the decision to do any further reporting here, doing everything I can to get away from the depressing quagmire called FB. And I used to think that online scrabble was a time suck! Instead of bitching I'm going to mine it for the good stuff and provide the linkage here, even if it's only for my own amusement. 

So, stand by, things will be picking up around here shortly. What and how remains to be seen but, I'm going back to being my own best audience, regardless of what  

Friday, January 06, 2017

fresh out of kumbaya

Thinking about ways cloth speaks. Banners, uniforms.

If I hang this in my front yard, there would be serious repercussions. The same if I were to hang the confederate flag. Passions run high when people are afraid.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Bonny blue

This color is being confrontational with me lately. "Bonny Blue" was discontinued some years back. It refuses to disappear. Ok.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

the dregs

A cold and rainy day was a great excuse to not start my daily walking routine. Who really wants pneumonia?

There was a long-promised piece of repair work to do. Of course, mending called for the great annual cleanout of the river basket. I found things in there that have been missing for months! My favorite knife. A book of stamps. Lots of unspooled thread in nests. No mice.

So I bagged and sorted and discarded and relocated for a while. Got the mending done.

These bits were floating around under everything else. I'll keep them together and see if they strike up a voice.

That mending? About forty tiny, blind stitches.  white on white. It looks like I was never there.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Choo choo Charlie

An over-busy day interrupted in the sweetest way. There were some early presents to play with.

Charlie's pirate hat is now an Engineer's hat. I'm worried that his fascination with trains is going to turn out like my girlhood fascination with teams of horses pulling stagecoaches and the like.


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Wet and raw Georgia winter

All my houseplants are back inside now, possible residents included. The last warm-up was their last chance to make a break for it. But I am going to find some worms to put into the soil around the plants. If there are hungry frogs or lizards in the foliage, well. worms.

I set up the wandering office in the bedroom this morning so I could listen to the rain as I worked.

 It used to be that there was always a TV on in the house somewhere, droning away. The "clank, clank" opening sounds of "Law and Order" were like the chiming of a grandfather clock. I've cut  the cord with Comcast and the house is very quiet now. Too quiet sometimes.

I'm shopping for a used, old school stereo system - the kind with speakers that could double as end tables. And a turntable!

We have a lot of vinyl going to waste. As long as I still have 50% of my hearing, I'm not letting that go to waste either. Screw the neighbors.

Storyteller keeps me on task as I work.

Sweetie is the best office assistant when this is the office. She knows where and how to be useful.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

DIY or call me.

This is Orion approving of a set of window seat cushions I made for his pleasure.

Tomorrow I'll be taking the featherweight and all other pertinent crap to custom fit some closet drapes at his place. There's no decorating challenge that can't be met with a few yards of store-bought batik.

And you thought I was lolling on a beach somewhere.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

The Annual Crochet fail

Each year, as the chill deepens, I pull out this basket of yarn and start crocheting madly. It's five skeins of Lion brand Homespun. I love the feel of this yarn, working and finished. Soft, cushy and very forgiving of stitch errors. What errors with all that fuzziness going on and a big J hook?

I don't really know how to crochet. It's kind of a spiders-on-acid effect  with more or less "air" depending on my mood.

Over the course of a few hours while watching TV, I cranked out an irregularly shaped piece about a foot square before I had to start work.

By the end of my shift (spent at a keyboard) my right wrist was in fierce pain. Aleve and rest and leave that stuff alone!

Would anyone like some yarn?

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Shop Keeping

Spent the morning ripping and packing. Fat Baggies were shipped today and I made some unassigned to owners so all I'll have to do is slap on an address and postage.

 I keep wondering if and when I'm going to run out of interesting cloth, then I find another tub out of the closet, start picking and stop wondering. I think they are breeding in there the way wire coat hangers used to when you left two in the front closet.  Believe it or not, these six are identical in source fabrics, that way it's very unlikely that you'll get two pieces of fabric alike in one order. New addition - pieces of a rayon velvet scarf in deep red shading to chestnut from my very first adventures in dyeing.