Saturday, January 26, 2008

Damn Disney!

Damn him! I just got off the phone with my Dad who called early this morning to let me know that my Mom has had a heart attack and is in the hospital. She has been living in a nursing home for more than a year now and has been in failing health for a long time. She's in the hospital and responding to excellent care. Both my sisters and brother are either with her or nearby. I sat down on the couch to absorb all this information and take in a little electronic anesthesia and what do I see? The scene from Dumbo where his mother is locked up in elephant jail and can only reach through the bars to hold her baby while the choir sings "Baby Mine", a very sweet and tender lullaby that I would have loved to sing to my own babies long ago except that I would be bawling my eyes out and scaring the kid.Thanks Walt. So I did some of that and came here to talk about it to myself. Here's my Mom, Rosalie, on the left and Jim's Mom, Eleanor who passed away just a few weeks ago. This was taken at our wedding in 1977. Jim and I both have a keen appreciation for strong women and their accomplishments.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

In the Middle of the Night almost

I got just enough done on the new piece yesterday to call it a good day's work. I have to look at it awhile to decide how next to proceed. Hand stitching to replace the basting? Paint to work/rework value issues? Build the sandwich using that new wool batting that I got from OHCO? It's kind of heavy but has the depth that this piece will be happy with. The damask has a love of weavy give. Throw in a dentist appointment (where I finally got my teeth into "Art & Fear") , two loads of laundry, a really good meatloaf, and updated my Work In Progress page for the first time in a year and I felt no guilt about creeping into the sack at 7:30. Of course, that gets me up at 3:45 and there's a long day ahead but that will fly by too.Registrations for HGA's Convergence 2008 are coming in and we are working hard to get everyone's class assignments into the database and paperwork mailed out. June is bearing down on us like a freight train. So here in the wee hours I did a little Follow The Links game and, thanks to a long overdue (and deeply inspiring) post by Danny Gregory, found the work of his mum, Hazel Kahan filled with some of the most exquisite images of leaves, a theme I've felt has been done to death in fiber art lately but newly inspires me find them, make them into my art. And, if you don't already know her, come by and see Anne's work. The next time y'all start whining about not having the studio space to do the things you want to do, think of Anne and get on with it! Here she is in her "wet" studio. That Green piece just knocks me out!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

New WIP on the Wall

I've been casting about for ideas on how to re-arrange the furniture at my main website. It was a busy and productive year and it's time to bring the new work into the big room. To help me think about it all, I grubbed about this blog and found images of almost all the major pieces that were completed last year grouped together here in approximately the order in which they were made. Getting things to relative scale was more headache than I wanted to fool with so I put in the sizes if not the titles. The one that kept catching my eye and bothering me to come back and be friends was this one, "Up on Wheels" much of it done with the antique cotton damasks that I dyed and discharged. It's confounding to work with, slithering around and full of life as a bag of snakes but so rich and full of surprises. I still have quite a selection of those re-purposed table linens so the new piece will be number two in a new series. In my files and folders I found this statement that I wrote for my free listing over at The Painter's Keys Art Directory: "I combine my love of color and abstract painting with a continuing exploration of the possibilities of fiber art. Although the viewers are discouraged from handling the art, I want them to ache to touch it. Everything I make is about exciting the eye and engaging the viewer with the tactile draw of cloth and the drama of the colors and shapes that hint at mystery, magic and sometimes the sly grin." The "slow fiber/art" notion must be sinking in because I spent a lot of time with "Up on Wheels" and plan on approaching this new WIP with the same mindset. Hand work, painting, more discharging and appliqué - all to be considered.

Friday, January 18, 2008

more slow cloth

Remember this Beastie? my little head cold and the impending snowstorm has inspired me to more slow needling. Of course, I'm about to run out of the colors I need. As ever, the alarmist news blabbers overkilt the weather and it's merely wet out. If there was any snow at all it didn't fall in this county. As soon as it opens, I'm off to JoAnns for more floss...wait, I'd better check with Jan first, she said she's got tons languishing.... Nope - no outings for nonsense. The snow finally started falling along with the temperature. For a day or so we will get some real winter.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


It snowed a little bit last night. Just enough to send the native Georgians screaming to the market to buy the last loaves of bread, gallons of milk and 12 packs of beer they could get their hands on. I keep forgetting to set up my roadside stand at the first mention of a few flakes. I could sell all the above for three times the price right out of the trunk of my car out on highway 29. As punishment for my superiority and lack of compassion, I've finally succumbed to the cold that's been thriving in everyone I live and work with. My throat was sore when I went to bed last night and Karma climbed up to sleep next to my head which is a clear signal that you better have your affairs in order. Remember Oscar? Karma only cozies up when you are sick - then she hands you off to Oscar but I'm home from work today making a little kitchen magic (discharging and dyeing - you didn't think I meant cooking did you?) and poking around in the studio just brewing something mentally. Rummaging through the stash, pulling out this and that, casting about through those Left Ouevres trying to catch a Whiff or a Glimmer, just in case you ever wondered about the title of my blog. Alka Seltzer for Colds is my drug of choice. Remember this and this two classic pieces of "What was she thinking?" As both were constructed with high loft poly batting making them near impossible to quilt, I donated both of the to the Gwinnett Humane Society as blankets for the beasts in residence.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

the Flibbertygibbets Bowl

I wandered in and out of the studio today just puttering. This square yard of mayhem came out of my Flibbertygibbets bowl below. My Grandma used that word to mean "little bits and pieces of crap that you've gotten on the rug that I have to sweep up" (Here is someone else's take off on that word. I don't get the connection but she's hilarious.) It was packed pretty tight in there and so time to weed the bowl out. Meanwhile, my buddy Jan Thompson has taken to the torch like a duck to water. You could probably talk her into selling you some of these beauties.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Dogpaddling & SlowCloth

This little duck pillow is finished. I'm not thrilled with the way the velcro closure looks so once I find the right herbal stuffing for it (just fluff inside for now) I'm going to remove the velcro and sew it shut. The way it is, it feels like a hiding place for valuables instead of something small to be cherished for it's own sake. I'm not sure this whole "slow cloth" thing is for me. At this moment in my life, too much contemplation seems to lead to sadness which is probably why I'll spend the day folding laundry and any other mindless tasks I find. Try to be useful. Then again, it's that time of the year to make decisions about what pieces to enter into all the various venues out there that are just warming up. So there is paperwork to be considered and, once it warms up, photos to be taken. Thanks to all the folks who make this information public. Thanks Pam, for this one and Mary Macbride for this one. Sewing sleeves onto interesting backsides is necessary and productive.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Strange sights & freebies

I drive past this doorway each morning on the way to my office. It never fails to give pause. I think about where it came from, what it's life was like, it's death and why. On a lighter note, a recycling one, I was given a huge batch of what appear to be poly carpet samples but (for once) presented in a way that some fiber artist somewhere could possible make use of them. Here's a link to an overview of the whole batch. If you want any, send me an email. All I want is a flat rate prepaid postage envelope. I could probably stuff 20 into one of those. First come, first served and I'll try to accommodate color requests but as you can see, carpet colors are generally on the neutral side. I pulled that strand loose from one of the bundles and it measures 8".

Monday, January 07, 2008

Appliance Demise

How's this for a fresh face. It was taken on the day I interviewed at the School of Visual Arts. The felt hat was screaming yellow and the rayon paisly print dress a riot of turquoise, pink, lime and yellow. Hey, it was 1967! That gets me to the hair. I had not yet given up on fashion and my naturally bushy hair required major taming to be picture ready. I didn't iron my hair like some (terrified of that burning stink) but I did sleep sitting up with it wound around orange juice cans. Tomato paste cans were just too small. One year down the road fashion would find me in a do-rag, torn jeans, theatrical eye makeup and army surplus fatigues. Very early grunge. A few years before this picture was taken my Mom gave me this set of electric curlers for Christmas. I loved the speed of the dramatic change they could bring but if I didn't get them out of my hair at just the right time (more often than not) I wound up with a head full of banana curls that any Victorian doll would kill for, which would stay bouncing around my head until I washed them out. After all these years of faithful service, this great little appliance kicked the bucket on New Years Eve just as I was getting ready to go out. I had left my goat-chewed looking hairdo until last minute, counting on them as usual for a bit of glam, but when I plugged them in this time, instead of the tick-tick-tick of the heat rising, they sat cold and silent. I'm sad. 40+ years of hair doing. Model KF-20 I salute you! I think I'll send the Clairol folks a note....

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Innocent Bystanders

Crap - I missed the best outside light of the day by about two hours. I forgot about them damn trees making shadows. I'll have to try again tomorrow or shoot inside. ::in response::: Gabrielle- "painterly". Exactly! Owing to the theme of this series (the world without us) I no longer have to remind myself why I'm working with fabric instead of paint and canvas. Everything here is recycled or scrounged - antique cotton damasks, lawn, sheeting - all salvage of one sort or another. Even the black industrial polyblend in the background was a dumpster rescue donated by a friend. If it was just the imagery I was after, I'd be taking photographs. I need the texture, the feely-ness of fiber to convey the personal nature of this issue. At the same time I continue to struggle to find expanses of color and texture that meet my need for large scale. This one is 62"x42". Thanks for feeling it Karen. This is the third in a series that started with the two big blue pieces back about two months ago. They are all concerned with global warming. In this one you see the bird above, plant life in the center and a fish below. The first two pieces were a more generalized comment on what the planet is experiencing, feeling if you will, at the hands of human selfishness. This one and subsequent pieces will look more closely at the effects of global warming on the innocent bystanders.

Saturday, January 05, 2008


It's a day for finishing things. I couldn't get any of the usual suspects to pose on this (I think they are waiting for a nice juicy hurk to come on first) to show some scale but it's nearly 4 feet across and has to weigh 15 pounds. (Click on the picture for the full effect) I love this because I can account for each piece of fabric that has gone into it. For instance, that tortoise-shell looking ring halfway from the center used to be a beautiful batik scarf that my sister Kitty gave me years ago. Sorry Kit, it had an unfortunate accident in the laundry - I saved the beaded fringe for another project though! The very dark rings at the outer edges are two pieces that dyed puke-y looking and then over-dyed too fabulous to hack into until now. That hot rose eye? - one of my earliest overdoses of fuschia. I have a show in mind for this one, believe or not! Crocheting this thing has prepared me for a second career as a strangler, but now to rest my weary paws and get busy finishing the Black Duck even though the saintly agenda says I'm supposed to be sewing on sleeves for my "Visions" entries, as yet un-photographed. Yawn. DEADLINE FOR RECEIPT OF ENTRIES - JANUARY 12TH - seems like a lifetime away. At least I've confirmed that I'm still a member.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

New Year's Out!

For the first time in about 30 years (we put our heads together to confirm this) Jim and I went out on New Year's Eve. It wouldn't have happened except for the fact that Jim's most favorite band, Poco, was playing at a local eatery. The cover charge was steep which guaranteed a house full of real fans and music lovers. I told my Dad over the phone that "The Swallow at the Hollow" is the kind of place where it's OK to eat with your hands - they boast the best BBQ anywhere, anytime. Neither of us are huge barbecue fans but we were there for the music and a great time was had by all.