Monday, June 30, 2008

Happy Birthday Colin

Twenty-eight years ago today a nurse handed us this fierce little bundle. I told Jimmy "Go ahead and stick your finger in his mouth". Instantly Colin latched on like a snapping turtle. I was fortunate to have my finger on the right button to capture the moment. I may have posted this before but it's one of my favorites.


It's so good to be home. That's my basket in the picture. I made the gentlemen from Africa un-bury almost all of the baskets they were offering so I could eyeball each color scheme until I found just the right one. Here we have the day and the night, the moon and the sun all worked in seagrass and leather. Jinx christened it as soon as I walked in and put it down and now I have put my first work in progress inside it - the eventual recipient will recognize it, I think. Many raveled threads to catch up and set right here at home but one by one each will be dealt with. I have a few pictures from Convergence that won't get me sued (un accustomed as we are to Happy Hour) but I'll clear them with the rest of the crew before any are published. Until then here's this from last evening. After the storm passed I watched the sky go from bright gold through pink and here before I made myself get up and try for a shot. Not doctored, this is really what the sky looked like!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

signing off from Tampa.

More of this through the night and on and off throughout the day while I was mummified inside the bowels of the Convention center diddling bits and bytes and shuffling paperwork. I'm handing this laptop off to someone else on the staff tomorrow so I won't be posting until after I get home next week. While the impressions are fresh in my mind I have to thank all the wonderful people I have met and been working with here in Tampa. Folks have been so kind and thoughtful and gracious it makes one guilty to have a cross moment or thought no matter how long and difficult the days might have been. for now, sleep. ->>NOTE --all these photos from Tampa are not my work. All borrowed from public sites and will be replaced by my own photos once I get home where I left my transfer ability. But - the view (of the sky) from my hotel room window was just like this.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

sulllen skies

I really like this tropical weather. Each day is bronze and bright and sticky then the breeze picks up and clouds come ganging, lead colored with golden edges. As the sun is busy setting somewhere behind those banks of clouds, fat bolts of lightning split the skies far and wide but they all seem far because it's 22 one thousand before thunder rolls weakly. Sometimes it rains, sometimes it doesn't. Tonight it's just falling. I have seen it rain so hard it seems like there is no spaces between the drops. It was another long day at Convergence gathering up the loose threads of folks' paperwork into some kind of net with few enough holes so that they can go about the business of enjoying the workshop or studio they have signed up for. I try to make each issue matter as much to me as it must matter to them but I confess to a diminished capacity for suffering fools. I want to post a sign on the door "YOUR DRAMA IS NOT MY DRAMA" but I won't. The vendor hall opened this evening and I made a bee line for the people here from Africa selling sea grass baskets. Mine is shaped just like the one in the picture but has different colors - wide bands of midnight blue and sun gold. It smells like life and it's the perfect size for any kind of hand work plus one cat. The sky is purple now and the lightning gold but the thunder has gone to bed.

working working

Even if I had remembered to bring the transfer cord for my camera, chances are I haven't had time to take any decent pictures. The egrets roost across the river from my hotel hoping for someone or something to fall in and float by. The gulls at the convention center are not as shy and very much enjoyed the slice of cold pizza I rescued from the trash for them. They are still talking about me. So far the conference seems a huge success if listening to the attendees is any measure. My job consists of working at the computer making sure that everyone gets everything they want or need. Except me. But I remind myself that I am here working an assignment. For pay. Stop whining. I did get to peek in to a couple of workshops yesterday. Got to see actual looms with weaving happening. One room thrummed with a group of women working spinning wheels. A surface design class was busy dyeing fabric with disperse dyes yielding beautiful and unpredictable results. Felting classes creating what looked like rows of sea creatures. Yes, yes, pictures of everything next week some time. It's 6 am. Time to go back to work.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Tampa, Florida

Tampa is a "foot friendly" town. There is a system of trolley cars that get you all over the downtown area and points beyond. The line I need to get from my hotel to the Convention center is 25 cents! I wonder how something like this would work in Atlanta. We had dinner at the Columbia last night. On the way there the trolley was delayed by an accident on the line (cars challenge trolley cars and the trolleys bellow back and win) so my party all got off and hot footed it through the heat and humidity to make the 7pm reservation. My hip was aching so I opted to "wait & see" and possibly be there in time for dessert. After a few minutes the motorman got a signal to proceed a few blocks to the next station where an air-conditioned SUV was waiting to drive me directly to the restaurant. Friendly town! I had forgotten how much I like Sangria. After the wonderful fresh bread and appetizers I didn't really have room for dinner.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Tomorrow I leave early for Tampa Bay, Florida to spend a week working in the temporary HGA office that we will set up at the Tampa Convention Center serving all the people who are coming to Convergence '08 Tampa Bay - Textures in the Tropics I have not packed, not even done laundry and what is on my mind? What hand work to bring, as if I will have any time to work on anything. Then I fondly remember dragging this one around with me at the last Convergence in Grand Rapids and working on it mostly in the evenings when I could not fall asleep despite being exhausted. You know what exhausts me most? Being polite and diplomatic when the real me wants to grab someone, shake the crap out of them and lecture them at length on their incredible stupidity, disgusting self-involvement and low rate their mamas for good measure. Self restraint is tiring but it's integral to my job. I think my next job will be taking care of pigs or chickens. No emotional politics involved at all. Feed 'em, clean 'em, kill 'em, eat 'em. So here are some snippets of a piece that I will miss working on - it's right at that place where the free motion quilting becomes fleshing out the details of the places I want the eye to rest and absorb. Laying out the secret codes and signage. The jungle shot is looking out past the pool.It's been steamy here in Georgia. I killed the ivy on the tree looming closest to the pool on the advice of an arborist who was consulting for my next door neighbor. Now I spend my time dipping crisp brown leaves out of the pool instead of the steady rain of bugs.

Friday, June 13, 2008

what's afoot

This is the third in the Environmental Apocalypse series. No titles yet but lots about forgotten highways. America's love affair with the open road is in for rude awakening. Finally, the Three Blind Owlets can see! This one is a companion piece to "Freida Brings Home the Bacon" I've been following this Barn Owl family on a web cam from CA , not quite obsessively this year. Still, last night I dreamed this crew was experimenting with cigar smoking.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Clown College Graduation Day

(addendum up frontum - wiser birds that I have advised that I keep this one under my hat for a while. Since I don't plan on finishing it until some sanity returns, that's fairly easy to accomplish.) At least this one has a name. This has to come first under the "What the HELL was I Thinking" chapter.It's so big I can't even get a proper picture of it unless I stand on the picnic table and that's not likely to happen. All this because I liked the way two pieces of fabric looked snuggles together. Sheesh. I have to calm myself and remember that I had the same frustration and trepidations while I was making this piece which turned out well enough although I still wonder which me made it. They were both started with the same technique of making a discharged monoprint followed by lots of raw edge applique and hours and hours of painting to bring some sort of cohesion to the design. Talk about being seduced by details (and being blinded to the very messy whole!) -> I had better put this one away before it gets made into a doggie blanket.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

blankets in Hell?

I must be nuts to be working on this one right now. It's so big I have to nearly wear it to machine stitch it and I keep having to move away from sweaty patches. Our air conditioning system is old and inadequate for this early heat wave so by 5 in the afternoon we just turn it off and open the house up to fans. With the rising costs of utilities, living without AC will be something we just have to get used to .

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Highway Series

It feels good to have come to a conclusion about whether or not to enter Quilt National '09. The idea of taking three recent pieces out of existence (for all intents and purposes) for an extended period of time on the slim chance of getting accepted just grated on my last nerve. Simply deciding which three was giving me fits. Now that bit of anxiety is behind me and it feels good. There's plenty more in the pipe. I love working with these vintage damasks - bringing them from pale storage into blazing color with the dyes and then using them in ways the makers never imagined. Even though I'm not hand stitching these pieces I still feel like I'm working in the slow cloth lane by re-purposing the old cloth. These are both 40+ inches wide and ?? long. I suppose I'll finish #2 tomorrow and put a tape measure to them and get some decent photos while I think through what I want to name them. (I wonder if anyone noticed that I flipped this one on it's head since it was first posted? When I finished the stitching today I plodded over to the design wall and accidentally hung it upside down. What a happy mistake.)

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


Today is my 31st wedding anniversary and while I was rummaging around for a different wedding photo I came across this gem. Jake turned 23 on Monday so you get the idea of how long it's been since my first heady sip of success. That blue ribbon was from the first night of judging at the Putnam County Fair - by the last night I had two more blues and the Gold Overall in the Adult Needlework Division. There were some pretty pissed off ladies in the local guild, to which I did not belong. This was my second and last traditional quilt.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

a frenzy of productivity

I've had an epiphany of sorts recently having much to do with the little profile description to the left. No quite one of those "what I want to be when I grow up" moments but truly a meditation on what is important to me, why and what to do about it. More as things ripen. I was rooting around in the stash for inspiration and came across two large pieces that somehow escaped my attention in the middle of Mobscene series. No matter where I set up shop the union inspector finds me and has something to say about my process. The piece Jinx is 'inspecting" is the fifth in the latest series, environmental apocolypse. My deck garden is getting lush. The second pot from the left is a gardenia bush that's all covered in buds about to bloom. Off camera to the left are two larger pots with pepper and tomato plants all in bloom. Store bought dirt in all the pots, of course. I have basil, catnip and lavender - all of life's essentials. This was another piece made back to mid '06. I'm sure I put it away because I had no idea where to find a 44"x80" piece of fabric to back it up. Imagine my amazement when a piece literally fell off the shelf this morning. All three pieces are backed, batted, pinned to death and waiting for stitching.