Thursday, August 30, 2007

New on the Wall

I spent nine innings with this one last night - building a back from scraps and hacking into a King-sized W&N batt. Please don't let me buy those pre-bagged things anymore. Even if I do have a 50% off coupon. There's something wrong with it...thin and nasty compared with the kind you buy off the roll. No wonder it was on sale. This is 43x55. Now that's it's up where I have to look at it, it's just as disturbing as it was when I first painted it. Yep, blood & bullets.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Ding Dong - the Queen of Mean is dead

What a miserable wretch she must have been. I'm only surprised that she didn't have her dog killed now so she wouldn't have to wait to be buried with it. When Leona Helmsley was sentenced to the Bedford Hills Women's Correctional Facility in 1989 for tax evasion she, and other celebrity prisoners, were at my mercy. Bedford, NY is right in the heart of celebrity ridden Westchester County. Martha Stewart could deliver hot pies to the prison. Hilary & Bill could drive 10 minutes up the Saw Mill Parkway to help eat them and probably do. If you are lucky, you could get run down (and not killed) by a celebrity in any number of small towns. James Coburn almost got me with a Jeep as I crossed (With the light!) in front of the Reed Library in my hometown, Carmel. But I digress. I was back working at my first full time job since my kids were born - a telephone operator for AT&T. The Carmel office handled a huge volume of collect calls from the inmates of the dozens of state and federal prisons that dot the landscape in the largely agrarian communities in the counties that lie north of the richer bedroom communities serving Manhattan. Unlike of old-fashioned switchboards (which I also operated back in '71) we had no control over what calls we received. The collect call from prisoners flowed into our headsets endlessly but were always interesting to me. Prisoners would often try to engage us in conversation outside of the scope of our handling the call - frowned on by management of course. There were perverts galore and no shortage of cranky bastards looking to verbally abuse whoever they could find - telephone operators were always handy. Dealing with miscreants appropriately was always a challenge. Many operators suffered from job-related stress. I thrived on it but it always saddened me when requests to accept charges were denied. Leona was another matter. She never seemed to get the hang of what was required of her and being a prisoner bound by the rules of the facility must have been extremely difficult for her. All she had to do was pick up the phone and say "collect call" at a minimum. Invariably, she had to be prompted to make this request like she was mentally deficient. Some operators took it as an act of defiance on her part and would hang up on her after the required prompt and 15 seconds wait. I was intrigued. If a call came in, and there was silence on the line I would intone "What is it you wish, Madam?"in my best Masterpiece Theater butler's voice, and she would mutter "Collect call." in a venomous hiss. My next obligation was to ask the identity of the caller even though I knew who it was. "May I have your name, please?" Her response was always eerie. As if she was announcing the Second Coming and I was a pagan idiot, she gave one imperious response "HELMsley". Of course, they always accepted the charges.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Archeological Dig

Part of the fun (?) of renovating is going through the storage to see just what was stowed away. Now the question is why some things were kept. I made myself a little gallery of things on the design wall and find that only one or two of these still speak to me at all. I foresee a useful life for a lot of this stuff. Art Potholders for everyone this Christmas! This little thing goes back to one of my first adventures in discharging (02/05) and it's lines and shapes are still with me. This fired clay mask watches over the studio. Jake made it while he was still in school. I think I'm going to buy him a big box of clay and see what happens.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Beastie in the Works

Ack! I ran out of the YLI machine quilting thread that I picked for much of the machine quilting in the foreground of this piece and rather than make a poor substitute, I've put on the brakes and gone shopping. I bought several spools when I was up in NY in February. Do you think I could find anyone on the internet willing to sell me only one 500 yard spool of "Foliage"? NO! but the nice folks at Country Quilter in Somers, NY (a total Eye Candy emporium!) were willing to pluck one off their shelves and send it to me posthaste. Until then, I have made the possibly insane commitment of freckling this beasts hide with French knots. LOTS of French knots.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Pool Face

It was a beautiful day. Cranky pants Debra Roby has inspired me to show you what poaching for four hours in the pool under the Georgia sun will do for you. Oh, I stay in the shade once the cleaning is done. Why encourage wrinkles at my age? A full day of R&R, dinner prepared by Chef James. His new specialty is sauteed spinach, garlic and pasta. There's a game on now and I'll watch it from the studio. Life is good.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Rain Dance in the Studio

That's us in Lawrenceville right over the weatherman's shoulder and he's saying "Y'all putcher heads between yer knees and kiss yo asses goodbye. Y'all". I don't think we have had any sustained rainfall in over six weeks. Eh. It wasn't as bad as it looked on the screen. Besides I was busy going through the stash. This is my flibbertygibbets container. Handy when postcard fever strikes. This is the part of restocking the studio that I have been dreading. All the folding and sorting. At first I was going to put everything out on open shelves so I could see it. Now I realize that I get sensory overload from that kind of visual over-stimulation. It's all going into the closet as soon as I can get some of those hanging compartment thingys from JoAnns. I had no idea how much fabric I had in those tubs and boxes and baskets. It's beyond ridiculous and I have to decide just how to convert this excess to something useful. This stack is just whole cloth dye-painted pieces and NOT the five I have lined up to work on . One of the cool side effects of this kind of in-depth inventory is finding things that have been lost. And then doing a little decorating.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Check out the polymer clay beads that I made at Jan Thompson's studio last week. I was fascinated with the bits and pieces that were in her scrap bucket and rolled bits of this and that into this strange little grouping. Great garbage, Jan. I'm afraid my Magpie brain went quite over the edge when I got a look at all the Shiny things there are to play with and all I could come up with was a little "pill rolling" activity like they do in mental wards. They make me smile though.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Peace at Home

I love getting good news from home while I am at the office. Jim just sent me this picture. Now, if I could only teach them free motion quilting.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Is it Thursday yet?

It's been a helluva weekend. I spent too much time at the computer getting entries ready for two different shows and I'm starting to feel a real need for keeping track of what gets entered or promised where and when. Friday night at Fiber on a Whim listening to Pamela Allen talk about her career as an artist and the evolution of her work was fun and turned out to be revelatory. The last piece she showed us was a subject matter and technique departure for her and I was quite captivated. I've been so far out in whole cloth, dye-painted country that I was beginning to think I might fall off the fiber sphere altogether and just go back to paint on canvas. Pamela reminded me of some of possibilities of working with fiber that I had forgotten about. This "Horned Newt" is hot from the design wall in just the last two innings.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Celebrate! Celebrate! Dance around the studio.....

My friends are helping me celebrate! Yesterday I got a letter from the Woodstock Byrdcliff Guild in Woodstock, NY, notifying me that "Cellular Seizure" has been juried into their first Biennial mixed media exhibit. Juried by Nohra Haime, my piece was one of 46 chosen from over 290 entries. "Thrilled" comes close. My first reaction was "that one?" and I dragged out the bundle of quilts that I had submitted and remembered why I like it so much. It had an unhappy start, languished with the "somedays" for a long time and then suffered a LOT of manipulation and changes before I called it done and still I had second thoughts about it probably because it's more subtle than a lot of what I am working on right now.I rummaged around in my files and found a picture of the whole cloth that CS was based on. The best part about this piece was that it was so difficult to photograph and it looks so much better in the "flesh" the juror will be glad she took a chance on fiber art. My next thought was "phew!". I wasn't expecting notification until the 30th and there were two other shows that I wanted to enter with some of the pieces that I entered in the Woodstock. Now I have to hustle and juggle and make decisions about what goes where and when.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Acres of Fun

You thought the last one was big, Hah! How do you like my new device for indicating scale? It's actually 40 something by 70 something. It's a good thing I'm going to Fiber on a Whim in Roswell on Friday night - I need thread, LOTS of thread. Some 20 wt sail repair rope please. Something that will make a real impact on this riot.

Pamela Allen will be there to give a yak for Fiber Art Fusion and I am looking forward to hiking over there for the evening and opening my ears. I have had my hair-hat aired and a designated driver lined up.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Frosting on the Cake

For anyone who has been following my studio renovation, todays' work is the piece d'resistance that I have been waiting for. What was once a blank wall now has a new window that faces north and the room is now flooded with light. I'll spare you the process pictures because I HATE the construction process. Although it's Jim's line of work, when it's happening in my own house, it makes me nervous and anxious. It's two stories down to the driveway outside this window and the whole time he was on the ladder I stalked around the house pretending to clean. And he wonders why I have heartburn. I refuse to attribute it to the fabulous batch of chili he made yesterday - it's strictly renovation heartburn but I am so pleased with the results. Thank you Sweetie. Of course I asked for the wide window ledge to accommodate cat asses but Jinx insisted on ignoring the new view and interjecting herself into my art.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Braves Pound Mets

Braves 7, Mets 3 and it was a beautiful thing to see. Besides a roster full of 300+ bats, I think the Braves were in their element weather wise. It's been Atlanta hot and steamy in the Poached Apple and our boys are used to it. Of course I have a new appreciation for "Buddy ball" too. My team's momentum drove me on at the machine and I got 75% of this piece quilted in nine innings last night. The stitching motifs are more complex than the others in this series although it was my intention to be less restrained but the colors took over and led my hands and eyes. Who am I to be in charge? Somewhere, someone broke some kind of record. I remain oblivious.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Busy week half over

I started out the week being bored before lunch on Saturday. My solution to boredom is always the Dye Solution and as my favorite old Land's End carryall had gotten pretty dingy, it became my logical victim. The next morning I was fiddling out widgets from beads and wire before I even got out of bed for coffee and the little tag on the bag is all I can say about what the workweek has in store for me. I'll go on about it at length when it's over. Then......... Remember those cute shoes I ordered from Sketchers last week? We were on our way out to see the"Simpsons" as the package landed on the doorstep so I just had to snatch them out of the box and jam on my sweaty feet. Cuter than the pictures and beautifully made BUT (and it's a BIG BUTT) by the time we walked from the car to the theater I felt like I was walking on cheese graters and several of my grotesque toes were being ground down to the bone. I laughed until I cried at the movie - (I've been loving the Simpsons since Homer was really mean and Marge was a 2D doormat) - and then I wanted to cry some more as I hobbled back out to the car. It's not Sketchers fault! The trouble is, I go around barefooted or barely shod most of the time with my giant, prehensile toes flapping in the breeze and clutching at things like a giant sloth so when it comes time to stuff my feet back into respectable shoes, they HATE IT! Does anyone have any foolproof methods for breaking in new shoes that don't involve ancient Chinese foot-binding techniques or spending hours karate kicking sacks of dry rice?

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Other Artist at work

My friend Jan Thompson has gone completely nuts for polymer clay. She's so deep into this stuff sometimes I don't know what she's talking about anymore - the technical lingo is way different than dyers or quilters. She brings her California color and design sensibility to everything and is coming up with ever more fun and entertaining pieces. These are two of my favorites. Makes me wish I was a jewelry gal. These make me think of sugar cookies at Christmas.

Friday, August 03, 2007

The tough job

As summer deepens, water mishaps are on the rise as lifeguards become bored at their posts.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

more Mob stuff in the works

<-This one is finished and ready for a sleeve and a good going over with packing tape for cat cooties. No name yet but I'm thinking it over. I left the images big so if you click through on them you can see the stitching. This one below is next under the needle. I have a moments fancy of doing some hand stitching but then I remember what a mess I got the last time I tried dragging six strands of DMC through cotton batting. It's all pinned tight. Now I just have to decide how I want the stitching to look which is becoming the hardest part of the process.

the Tasty Filler

It's not that Art is not getting done. Well...lots of F'arting" around still trying to stow and sort all the stuff but I keep interrupting the flow of work with more postcards. I'm down to five or six pieces of Pellon which I thoughtfully pre-cut to 4"x6" some time ago. Enough of that. You Shoe-Is-tas ought to know that Sketchers is having a 50% off + free shipping sale for a few more days. These are on their way to me right now. I just hope these Biker Blooms are this cute in size 10!