Monday, March 27, 2006

Blues Bound

I spent time in the studio all weekend getting those small pieces ready to ship to Maine and packing them and of course grazing through all the fabric that is tossed all around the studio, fondling this and fingering that. This always leads to sorting fabrics into teams that seem to get along together and could lead to works full grown later on. I was gravitating to small pieces of solid hand-dyes (I am supposed to be making a lap throw for my Mom in Easter-ish colors for when they kick her out of the rehab hospital sometime in April) but I had one of the big Bubbles series under the needle for quilting first so there were just little piles of scraps here and there. Then Jim and I got into it as good partners must from time to time. Hot words and spiky emotions quickly flash to tears that are good for me to spill rather than save up because I can say some really horrible things given enough spark. Instead, we wisely parted ways for the day and when I got back from doing errands I gathered up those bright scraps and slashed and sewed myself some calm. You can sure tell that this isn't how Lisa Call goes about her work but there you have it. Now, I have started quilting and pulled the stitching out three time and dreamed it had smaller needle-turned rectangles appliqued inside some of the bars. Which ones? What colors? Stitch in the ditch? Stitch at all? Time will tell but it feels good in my hands and heart.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Lost Sketchbook

Now I know why Karma and Jinx have been lurking under the bedskirts. I woke early to hear tiny chewing sounds. Once it was light, I started pulling out the drawers built into the bedframe. There must be a mouse under there somewhere because in one drawer there was an old paintbrush with all the bristles chewed off. I left all the drawers open to let the girls do their stuff, hopefully while I am not looking. Deep in one of the drawers I found an old sketchbook I used while I was in some kind of technical training at work. Spatulitis is where I keep non-fiber artstuff-photos and the like.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Cash in Hand

"Southeast View" SOLD Well, a check anyway. My face has been hurting from grinning for a month. It's official. Up to now I have been afraid it was all in my imagination but here's a nice slice of reality complete with cream cheese frosting! About three weeks ago, I was approached by the owners of a new shop opening in the booming downtown Arts district of Portland, Maine. They came across my shop on and made me an offer to buy ALL NINE of the small pieces I had listed there. (The things there now are all new listings) "Ladder" SOLD At fist I had a cold panic fearing that the offer was coming from Belarus or Moggadishu when I had clearly indicated on Etsy that I would only ship domestic. I have enough headaches, thanks. Then I studied the Esty listings and wondered where the heck these little pieces actually were. An afternoon of rummaging and unpacking, I found all the pieces in good order. Whew! I had donated several small works to the Art Doing Good project and worried that I had screwed up and was offering stuff for sale that I no longer had in my possession. I have to start keeping better track of the product. Then I had a very pleasant email give & take with the owners of "Edith & Edna, Inc. - a curated shopping experience" and it all looks like a launch. I am spending this weekend sewing on sleeves, perhaps a false back, a little touch up pressing here & there - wrapping and then packing the whole lot to be shipped off to Maine as soon as the owners give the word. "Test Pattern 2" SOLD And here are the Crunchy Sugar Sprinkles on top of this tasty item - they are going to be offering classes starting in the summer and have invited me to consider teaching something. I would be great at teaching "Grinning Idiot 101" right about now!

Thursday, March 23, 2006


Thanks to Lisa Call who reminded me that manipulating images is a great way of wrestling with design problems before you get out the rotary cutter. I am happier now but am considering some color changes/additions.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Passing Through

I stopped machine quilting on this one - did all I intended too. All of the discharged rings are sewn all the way around (if you click on it, you can get pretty close up) - and then put it up on the design wall to just eyeball it. Something is bothering me about it and I don't want to face the music. Step up and have a shot. 36x36, I think I named it "Passing Through" because it's not going to be around very long.

Monday, March 20, 2006

The Owls

This is seriously addicting. Melly told me that Mr.O. had been gone all day. Concerned, I tuned in. Poor Mum is crouched on her egg chanting to herself glumly. I wandered off to read some more complaints about Blogger. Then I tuned back in to the nest just in time to see the Dirty Ole Bastard barge empty-handed through the front door and pounce on Mum's back for some 20 second owl sex. (At least I hope it's DOB and not friendly Uncle Freddy from three trees down). And now he is leaning up against the wall, scratching his belly and snoring. This beats Desperate Housewives hands down.

Testing Blogger

Sure, after days of nonsense (I ask myself how they make any money on giving this aggravation away for free) I upload any old .jpg to test the photo upload tool and look what I find, our resident cross-dressing entertainer, Atlanta's own Baton Bob tweaked to death by my son fooling with Photoshop for the first time. And that is one of my hand dyed velvet scarves he's wearing, btw.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

The Silent Bell

When it tolls inside your head and makes you let out the jib and lean hard on the rudder, you had better pay attention. I heard it sometime late Friday night when I caught up to Melly's post about a new addition to her studio. The photo of the desk in the nook is so compelling and mysterious to me - the two things that hook me deepest when I look at any kind of art and the things that I strive for in my own work. She has kindly given me permission to use this photo and I am planning a very large piece - think California King large. There will be no stalling in the search for the perfect black because that's a fool's errand. I will paint my own. I have a tub of carbon black gesso that is like looking into a hole in the universe. Just thinking about birthing this one is giving me chills. Straight lines, plumb and true! See it here until Blogger recovers it's wits.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Treasure from the Trash

(DIAL-UP WARNING! If you click on the picture, it will take you to a huge version) OKAY all you weavers out there. Just what is this that my son rescued from a trash pile? This is dumpster diving at it's best. The fabric is almost spotless, cut raggedly from the bolt. About 45" wide x 3 yards! I dare to think it might be silk but the experts at HGA will set me straight on Monday.

Friday, March 17, 2006


So this is what goes on in my studio on St. Patrick's Day, who was, my GoodMan hastens to remind us all, Italian. Yes indeed, there is a feline snuggled into a fabulous piece of handdyed cotton. Did I tell you I have stock in the company that makes packing tape? So while my back is turned, sloth reigns supreme. And why are they so exhausted? While we are at work, they invite the Yorkies from next door in through the cat/doggie door and play poker in the kitchen just like you've seen in the tapestry. All I have to do is rig a cam to prove it.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Work in progress

Yes Melly, you are right about the dark spots. I was happier with them after I trimmed the darker edges off. Now the quilting is going well. Oh, and thanks so much for the Owls. Voodoo and I enjoyed the show for about 20 minutes. Beat prime-time TV all to hell last night. While I was working on this one last night, I was wondering about the satisfaction I get from "bounding" poorly defined color areas from one another, in this case with stitching. This piece was on it's way to my mental shredder almost from go, but something in the discharged shapes kept calling me back. Each step along the way, even false ones, has delivered on it's promise of pleasing me. All I had to do was see it through. Thread color choices have never been a big deal but right now I am stalled because I want the right colors of mauve, violet, and navy to continue - and I have to get in gear and go to work today. Hmmpf.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Beyond the Whine

After reading that last post I had to remind myself that, in the midst of all this personal turmoil, I have been getting some Art done almost daily. This one is plaguing me. I took my first shot at using Melody's Escape Hatch Finish and of course, screwed it up. Don't ask. Now I am spending hours re-arranging the spots and have a sneaking suspicion the dark ones are not going to make the cut at all in favor of some other color. I should know by now that this series does Not shine until way, way into the design process and a lot depends on the machine quilting. It's still in the sow's ear stage. Just had to mention that last night "West Wing" and "the Sopranos" were equally breathtaking entertainment. Figure out what that says about yours truly.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Find Me A Beach Somewhere....

Some of you are probably thinking I skipped my meds. I used to have regular nightmares of alligators twisting my legs off after I got hurt in the bombing at the '96 Olympics in Centennial Park, Atlanta and last night the alligators were back and I woke up with a cramp in my calf that took an hour to soothe. My husband and I have a code. If one of us calls the other at work and it's a really bad time, the callee simply says "Alligator" and the caller knows to just hang up and try later. It's actually a contraction of the expression "Up to my ass in Alligators" which is where we have both been for about six months now. Did I mention that my mother is back in the hospital again? this time with pneumonia. She has been in and out of hospitals for about three months and I am afraid she is in the Broken Hip Death Spiral and no one in the family is willing to say anything about it. So do I go up there and stand around in a hospital room and be useless or do I wait and go up there for a funeral? Both? Then there was a really interesting email Friday morning from some nice folks who are starting up a new shop/gallery in Portland, Maine. They made me an offer on eight of the pieces I had up for sale on Just when I was getting ready to take everything off that sight. It just seemed to be getting overcrowded. I will keep you posted as to how and if this deal goes down. The money is almost exactly what I need to go to Arrowmont. Now all I can do is hope it's all legit and the check isn't drawn on a bank in downtown Niarobi. Friday night we went out for the first time since an office Christmas party. An associate of Jim's gave him four all access, VIP passes to see Charlie Daniels perform at a local cowboy bar called Wild Bills. There is a big sign over the door giving a long list of what is unacceptable attire including - no biker gear, no bandanas, no group-affilliated colors, no pants below the waist(?). As I read down the list I fully expected to see "no tie-dye" but I was willing to give it a shot. Jim is a big fan of old fashioned country western music so I promised myself I would do my best to be a good sport and have a good time. Surprise! About three hours into the evening, after two earsplitting local bands, swarms of drunks, bimbos in chaps with fake boobs dancing on the bars, Charlie Daniels started beating us up with His Personal Savior and by the way, you had Better Support the Troops or else. I just got up and walked out the door. Jimmy was pretty good about it. He was grateful, I guess, that I didn't leap up on the stage and choke some hymn singing hypocrite with the microphone. I am getting pretty damned sick and tired of the so-called cultural wars going on inside this country. Being proud to be an Ameican used to be enough. Now, you have to be the right kind of American and that is nothing to be proud of. So, I spent Saturday morning with ringing ears going through my inventory looking for the pieces in question and uploading just about everything else I have for sale to my Etsy shop.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Lisa Call and several other members of this ring have been provoking a serious line of consideration. I've been following this line of thought and am wondering if what people actually mean is a large "cohesive" body of work - I've only been calling myself a fiber artist since 2001 and I have a LOT of work, TOO much work that looks as if it's been created by a squadron of artists, some good, some who should be horsewhipped outta town and several talented chimps. I'm not inclined to try the latest product, gadget or technique. I have given up trying to bead things because I spend more time picking all the beads off. Ask Janet Thompson and she'll tell you how I refuse to learn curved piecing, foiling or using the bleach pen she gave me or how I keep shying away from fusing altogether. I just don't get the personal satisfaction in the results of those techniques that I get from doing the things that make my fingers and eyes happy but I do get the big thrill out of following my nose on any given day and letting the fibers do what they will. The results are more than a little scattered. Right now I am caught up in the middle of "riding the 3D tiger", to quote Susan Else, and working out a series of very large pieces that I hope are going to be the key pieces in my Large Body of Big Deals. But do I really want to do that? Do I want people to be able to look at a piece and say, unequivocally, that's a Lacativa. Maybe only if they are pulling our their checkbook as they are saying it? Hmmmm... And now, after dashing off Autopilot, there is a large, empty canvas that's been sitting on my beautiful, forgotten, dusty easel that keeps hissing to me each time I close the door to the studio as if I have to hide what's on my mind for it. I think the trick is running amok for your own sake but then having your Sunday Suit of Big Deals more accessible to the public - you know, the ones that made you go "Ah-ha! and Yessss!" the moment you stepped back from the design wall and even after you sewed on the sleeve - and maybe letting the chimp's work go cheap or get donated somewhere anonymously.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

More Guts and Voodoo

The Intestines are mostly done but I want to use more of that iridescent sheer stuff but I guess I will have to track some down and actually buy more. And here is a rare photo of Voodoo voicing his opinion.

Not a Quilt least not according to the rules I've seen from time to time. It's a full-on, no nonsense collage. While I was discharging some hand-dyes last night I was bemoaning the fact that stuff always looks more vibrant when it's still wet. What could I do to keep things looking wet? Why, mummify them with acrylic gel of course. I had a jar of goo on hand, some blank canvas and a jug of flibbertygibbets (fabric snips too small and wonderful to throw away) so while the morning news spewed it's lunacy, I got creative. I love the way you can shape the fabric to your will once it's wet with the goo and then nail things in place with a flick of the brush. No pins, no needle, no thread. Something's happening here. What it is ain't exactly clear. Autopilot 10x10 fabric collage

Monday, March 06, 2006

New Work from Old Mistakes

The repeating circles are a theme I don't even try to escape. I can make them with the rhythm of my heartbeat until there is no more room on the page but I will let you in on a little secret...It's not about the circles at all but the spaces they bound and protect. Things are getting back to normal in the studio - as normal as they ever were. Sad pieces of icky hand dyes destined to be backsides are saved from ignominy by a flurry of discharging complete with a spin in my new microwave. And YES! I even bought some antichlor. I cross my fingers and splash it on the finished pieces like holy water hoping that I haven't paid 1.79 for a bottle of ditchwater. These two pieces are cleverly disguising the huge pile of folded and basketed fabric I relocated from the cutting table so I could get a better look at what the lizard was up to. You can see by the things hanging and lurking about my studio that I have been making 3D fiber things for a long time. I have had that clutch of blue nylon snakes for about ten years now. What was I thinking?

Sunday, March 05, 2006

the Whole Cloth

Here's a view from the floor where I am doing my home made physical therapy. I can't get the colors quite right in this room. There's a lot of blue bouncing around in here and my camera doesn't like it. Mandi wanted to know HOW. The top panel is one of my top secret tube dyes and the bottom one was dyed in a mason jar and batched overnight. I sewed the two panels together and then handpainted the circles using metallic acrylic paints. I will heatset this from the backside but, since I don't have any plans of washing it, I won't worry about that too much. There will be a LOT of what I call super-garnet machine stitching and some hand appliqed pieces too.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

After a Bad Start in the Night...

My husband left for work at 4:30 this morning only to come back into the house to let us all know that Nikki's car had been broken into. Although the car was parked on the street right under a streetlight, they broke the trunk lock and stole the expensive stereo system that Jake has been installing one piece at a time. You know, the obnoxious kind everyone loves to hate. I must say that I have never heard them coming down the street - being young and in love, they still have much to say and share with each other. I was only grateful that the thieves didn't take the whole car. Tonight I want to put a folded note on the mailbox with this message "TO THE is a number you can call about the vaccine you will need within two days. We thought you might be coming so we left a little something on the amp and speakers you stole. " and then I will add the number of the local police department. Wonder if I will get arrested for domestic terrorism? So the bad night became a good day. For some reason I woke up with someone else's back - one that didn't moan and groan over every little movement. My house has been neglected since the holidays so I focused on one filthy corner of my kitchen and scrubbed everything I could reach from high up on the cabinets to the floor. That and a few loads of laundry made me feel like a productive human again. Soon the sun was streaming into my studio so I went in there to see what new cobwebs had grown. One of my denim jackets was fresh from the wash so I took a moment to organize something to cover a corporate logo over the breast pocket. Some of that vintage damask that I dyed last summer - Then I started looking around for something else to get into and found two large pieces of hand dyed cotton cavorting on the floor. They were so great looking together I took them to the design wall, turned them this way and that and discovered my next large piece well under way. It was a great day to break out into the outdoor studio and get some painting done.I have been craving to do more like this since I put the sleeve on "Rubric" back in the fall.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Ongoing "inner" meditations

Bet you can't guess what this is going to be. One of the reasons I am building these parts by hand is that my husband and son are working some very peculiar hours so that when I get home from my job, I have to creep around and generally respect the fact that there are two very tired people sleeping in the house. Banging around, playing music and running the sewing machine in my studio are out of the question. I filled my porto-studio basket with a selection of fabric, thread and tools and work in the living room. On a different note, I am thinking about having a SALE on older work to fund my annual fiber education week. When the new Arrowmont catalog came last week I was so excited to find that Emily Richardson was offering a class this summer I started getting hives thinking about ways to come up with the money I need to attend. The first thing that occurred to me was YARD SALE! Then I quickly pared that back to Virtual Yard Sale. Stay tuned.If you have ever craved a Lacativa original, you might be in luck. I need to make room for the new so the old has to GO...I sound like a car dealer.