Monday, January 30, 2012

at the washateria

Rather than give my aging washing machine a fatal dose of overwork, I hauled a large load of towels and blankets to the laundromat yesterday. It's not a novelty anymore - I don't sit there and watch things go 'round with one eye and CNN on the tiny screen in the corner with the other.

I trust everything to the largest washer and then sit in my car with an alarm set and read, or sleep or stitch. Although it was cool yesterday the sun was blazing and I brought along the current WIP and put in a good two hours on it between washing and drying.  Below it's spread out on the (grubby) hood of my Honda but I've backed this one with a piece of organza that seems to be bulletproof.

There's more going on in each block with this one. It's almost twice the size of any of the four previous pieces in this series and I've given up any pretense of restraint, block by block the action builds.

In the top picture you can see the variety of fabrics I'm using - the golden speckled is a bit of a vintage woven tea towel, the lavender with clouds is a snip from a cotton lawn scarf from Dharma Trading, feather light and nearly transparent. The rich blue at the bottom a section of a hand dyed vintage damask table napkin, all three from my favorites basket.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

mystery symbol

I was skimming around the web the other day and the symbol above (best as I can reproduce it) appeared in one of those annoying little ads littered everywhere. Although I pointedly ignored the ad, the image stuck in my brain and I'm wondering now what it was. Have you seen it? Any clues?

My lesson for the day...never write before going to sleep. Wait until morning.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

an escape

I love the Whole Foods Market on the other side of town. It's probably a real good thing it's not closer.

There were bunches of freesias in this display that smelled so beautiful. I stood for the longest time trying to think how to describe the smell but it struck me senseless and I was impeding the traffic so moved on.

No bakery indulgences today but a nice steak for the guys and some shrimp for me and  pound of the best sliced provolone cheese in Georgia.I brought home three cans of their store brand cat food and, of course,  Karma and Voodoo ( the gooey, wet feeders) fell on it like I never fed them before I left the house. I bet they would just love caviar.

The clearance tables at Barnes and Noble was insane. Books heaped everywhere..all 2$ each. You would think they were going out of style tomorrow. I still prefer holding the real thing in my hands with pages to turn, take notes on and probably give away when I am finished with it. Among others,  I bought a copy of "Remarkable Creatures" by Tracy Chevalier and sat in the outdoor cafe and soaked up a little sunshine and tea.

PS...I started using this laptops speech recognition program this morning but while I had it open in my lap, Jim called and Sweetie climbed onto the keyboard to "help" with the phone call. She's not a lap kitty normally but the minute I start talking on the phone she tries like hell to intercede.  In the middle of the document I was transcribing there is ten or twelve pages written by cat's ass. Brilliant stuff too.

For a giggle I turned up the TV and let Tony Soprano (badly edited on AE) dictate to the computer for a while. My computer now has some very bad mock swearwords ...motherflapper!

Friday, January 27, 2012

sounds like this

After a very long and tiring day yesterday I finished work around one am and set about shutting some windows. It had cooled off after the rain and damp was creeping in .

 I opened the slider to the deck to make sure none of the cat crew were lurking on possums outside and what do I hear, distant but clear - a few intrepid tree frogs waking up from winter naps to tune up with their wooden combs dragging one tooth at a time over cigar boxes. They sounded tentative but hopeful.

 It made me smile and  I realized that winter's worst was past and there would be long, lazy summer days before we knew it.

and TGIFF!

Thursday, January 26, 2012


Not fun.
I spent the best part of today at the cardiologist office being lit up with isotopes and drugged to extremes so we could all watch my heart tango in 3D on a computer screen.

I told them I could not run (or crawl) on a treadmill because I get nauseous from movement that goes nowhere..some middle ear nonsense - so I got the chemically induced version of a stress test. It leaves you feeling like a day old banana peel on the sidewalk.

All the things  I brought to pass the waiting time..books, journal, stitching.. were mere baggage cause I was too tired, hungry and yukky feeling to do any of it. I was glad I brought my blankie along for warmth, all the places for waiting were over air conditioned and ring ring...the nurse just called to say that all the tests came back normal - a Clydesdale's heart working just as it should. No worries mate!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

fingers drum steering wheel..

  Sheesh..145 or so completely boring looking cars grinding by at about 3 mph. I'm going to lay in a stock of cans of spray paint in the trunk of my car for the next time I get stuck at this crossing.

Idle minds churn weirdness;
"This is a work of fiction. If you recognize yourself and you don't like what you read, you are guilty and should shut up and go away cause I know where the bodies are buried. If you like what you read about yourself, send flowers. Or money."

comment settings

Somehow the settings for allowing comments from All and Sundry got screwed up here (imagine! who could have possibly been tinkering with stuff that wasn't broke??) and some were not able to fling flowers or poo. Please have another whack at it and let me know ....

Thanks for letting me know, Arlee. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

what's afoot

The stars out of place
(It's a scary story, that one)

Some of you have asked what I have been up to. Not a whole lot fiberwise.

I'm still working sporadically on the Grand RĂªver (below) which is coming along nicely, if predictably. The majority of my creative time and energy has been going into writing. It's been a long time since I was swept away by the creative process and it's a compelling feeling. I've been warned by a mentor not to “write myself out” but it's the last thing I dwell on at night and the first thing I'm thinking about in the morning.

The time I used to spend in the fiber studio has been completed taken over by this tale spinning. When I look back on some of my favorite fiber pieces the titles remind me that they were often place holders for untold stories and now I'm finally telling some of them. The only problem I'm having is that I am used to sharing works of visual art in progress. It would be a bad idea to start flinging rough first drafts at friends and family – I would surely be locked up.

I'll still be fiddling with fiber from time to time and will show and tell about that here especially since the new dye season will be on us before you know it and piles of white fabric sitting around just waiting to be reborn in color get my attention just like a blank page of paper.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

a fork in the river

These two pieces of cloth are taking on an unintended significance. Cloth too complex and strong to be cut up and incorporated into a larger whole are like memories too deep and dark to be transcribed. Although I love both pieces I am unmoved to do anything else with them.

I ironed both today. front and back, back and front then spread them out and and looked a good long time and it was like being in the room with two belligerent teenagers. Don't bother to meet theirs eyes if they are not yours. These two seem to have disowned me. I'm almost afraid to go digging through the rest of them.

I'm a stash busting in a big way and will be posting a lot of hand dyed cloth to the store and getting some finished things up  on the Buy Art page. A liquidation of sorts. Drag it on long enough and I could almost call it spring cleaning.

Friday, January 20, 2012


I violated the cardinal Gramma's rule yesterday and went out in the winter chill with wet hair to get about six inches chopped off the ends. Later in the day I came down with an old fashioned sneezing, eye-watering head cold. I really don't buy the connection because it's something I do all the time. More likely I picked up a germ from the swarm at the grocery store. Howard Hughes was right.

Still, here I am,abed  stoned to the gills on Alka Seltzer for colds.  If I can keep my eyes open there are books to read and feathers and works in progress to stitch on before I have to work this afternoon.
One of the bad things about working from home is that there is little excuse for not working as long as you can sit upright in the chair and see the computer.
I started my shift last night well medicated and found myself strangely sanguine and sympathetic to my hapless customers instead of cynical, impatient and superior.  Who knew "nice" came in a fizzy drink? I will have to restrain myself from greeting people with

"Happy Friday! What foolish fresh hell are you reporting today?"

I want to go see "The Artist" in a theater like the Fox downtown but I'll settle for the AMC nearby.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

delightful chaos

Chaos yes, but no trash or garbage. That was part of the mission yesterday afternoon. Two large bags of Garbage to the recycle and a large box of fabric sent off for someone else to "appreciate". I found whole yards of commercial fabric that I could track back to one of my earliest treks to MaryJo's 
maybe six or seven years ago. I know it's going into great hands.

As for the rest of this, little by little I'll dig it out and reorganize along the lines of some new priorities.

Dilemma #1: Can a 10x11 foot room really hold three large comfortable chairs?

and what's with those stupid wire racks taking up air in the closet?

Please don't notify "Hoarders"'s surely not TV worthy.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


It warmed up a bit today and Karma met me in the driveway when I got back from running errands and a stint at the pool. She was stamping her feet and demanding to see what was in the Publix bags. She has taken to climbing into the vehicle if you fart around too long with the door open.

Here she is taking some sunshine out on the dye deck wrapped in an old wool scarf which she did not fuss about. Lately she seems to be studying on some internal truths. Under all that fur, she is so frail I cannot tell her ferocious purr from trembling with cold.

She is becoming more eccentric by the day as her health declines. Sometimes though, I think she is just sitting around thinking up new ways to make us all worry.

I was up half the night checking on her. She decided to make camp in the boy's bathtub but was refusing to drink from the ever dripping tap- not a good sign- but she was all too happy to take water from a syringe, a teaspoonful at a time. I'm sure champagne would have gone over well. Anastasia has nothing on this Queen.  She has figured out that yowling from inside the always open dryer gets instant attention. However much longer she is with us she will be spoiled rotten every minute of that time.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


I have been stalling posting about this gift, partly because I really wanted to photograph it outdoors on a warm sunny day - wishful thinking even here in Georgia. Secondly I want to write eloquently about the artist and her devotion to her family and her art but she does it so much better here.

I was gifted with this exquisite and exuberant crib quilt just by raising my hand and saying "ME" at the right time. She makes traditional,completely hand made quilts because she simply wants to. needs to.  Her reasons are complex and personal but like any artist, she wants her work out in the world, not folded up in the closet. Alhough it came to me untitled, I'm calling it "Serena's Pride".

Monday, January 16, 2012

the missing weekend it Monday already??  What became of my weekend? It was a blur because I spent the whole weekend in the company of cranky cats. Jim and Colin both had to work this weekend making Saturday and Sunday feel like any other week days. The big outing was a trip across town to Whole Foods where a party was going on..samples of everything under the sun around every corner, even wine.
So I got some reading done, cooking, cleaning, and stitching on a few different projects at once - the piece that's becoming the Monster dream and those aforementioned postcards. I decided three was plenty. It's clear to me that on any given day it's either the needle or the pen.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


"Now" by Clara Fialho"
Clara Fialho is a New York artist who makes magic on a grand scale, this one is 48"x60".
Nothing like starting a studio day with a little sunshine. thanks Clara!

I want to finish off those postcards  on the machine, but first, I have to find it under an avalanche of crapola but I'm not going to let housekeeping deter a little creative time. The other day a friend of ours who organizes estate sales gifted me with a large bag of really fine table linens, mosly vintage damask napkins. "Smallish" I sighed as I started going through them but after the wash and dry it occurred to me that lots of small things seamed together could create a grand grid, a starting place for whatever comes next.

I've been spending an hour or more each morning writing and it feels as if  I have been working my way down inside a nautilus shell, almost claustrophobic with the isolation of the activity. Writers  really can't just hang a work in progress on the design wall for all to have a look at; editing and rewriting are essential steps. It looks like you have to be a little bit crazy to be a writer and if you're not when you start, you probably will be once you get into it. Today I will get out of my own head for a while.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

visiting the past

That's my copy of "Art & Fear" acting as backdrop for the first of what promises to be a slew of potato chips, I mean postcards.

There's a stack of books that need reading and re-reading and reams of research material, now that I stumbled across the online archives of the historical society of my first hometown, Armonk, NY.

I spent hours last night trying to find out if the crossing guard had a real heart attack after I threw myself under the oncoming bus (I really did misread her signals) or just a purple fit of fury after she dragged me out from under the front end of the bus, beat my four-year old ass and sent me on my way to school. Such were my days.

I am derailed and under the spell of the past.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


I've been asked to make a fiber art postcard (just one?) and I'm tickled to have a needle and thread task. These are some that I made in past years on the machine.  After working on my series a 4"x6" canvas seems vast.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Well, one out of three ain't to bad for a rainy day. And I lied...this pair was purchased in 2003 after their predecessors (the '96s) finally died.
Once I find a pair of sneakers or shoes that I can actually wear, I'll wear them to death. I am the shame of my shoe shopping friends.
I glued the sole back on one quite successfully yesterday and after cleaning thoroughly decided a footlift was in order. So the Moon goes on my right foot and the Sun on my left.

Monday, January 09, 2012

full moon

I'm not a big fan of the coffee but I love the design of this mug. The white is sort of cut into the black glaze. I added the moon in honor of the day.

And lest ye think that I have abandoned fiber art altogether,  tomorrow will be all about updating the store with new arrivals, shots of the ongoing piece and the astounding overhaul of a pair of sneakers I have been wearing since (drum roll please)  1996.


I just could not get into the book but we went to see the American version in theaters now and it was terrific. Fit "horrific" in there too. I made  point of not knowing ahead of time about the film, something I strive for when a so-called blockbuster makes the scene. I went into Avatar all unknowing and was appropriately delighted.

This time I was gob-smacked by the originality of the story and the intensity of the emotions. I have Daniel Craig molded in my head as the rather fierce version of James Bond but in this outing he was a surprisingly tender Tool...and no pun intended.  Warning...this is an ADULT movie and I daresay some adults might be taken aback by some of the scenes.

After a great lunch at Chili's, we rolled through Neiman Marcus and Saks in a fit of handbag lust and I made several really bad perfume try-out choices.  Books a Million had  replacements for my loaned and lost copies of  "Elements of Style"and "Bird by Bird"

Sunday, January 08, 2012

early early Sunday

For no apparent reason, I've been up since 3ish and gave up getting back to sleep.Could be the horror issue of Granta I picked up at Barnes and Noble yesterday. Got up and made coffee, wrote for an hour as promised, made bacon in the oven, fed the bewildered cat herd and came back here to share a couple of diamond links.

Fair warning; do not have coffee over the keyboard - you may spew some out your nose laughing, and hit the loo first lest ye pee oneself in hilarity. I did both.  Here and you could substitute the word "artist" for "writer" in most of these items but I won't quibble.

I finally got the tree undressed last night too.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Love and anger @ the Painter's Keys

This recent topic in Robert Genn's Painters Keys came at just the right time for me.

"As yet Unbaptized"
I answered one of my own recent questions "why we do what we do" and they published my response to the article. I was tickled at the image the editors elected to use (my header is a detail from it) and mildly mortified at the title they gave the post (not mine I assure you) "What I did for Love". Jeez Bob. Thanks. I guess.

 Before the holidays I treated myself to a subscription to ART IN AMERICA magazine and after reading the first two issues I've been overwhelmed with the general tone of nihilism and anger that so much of the art conveys.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not looking for puppies, poppies and sunsets - I'm just repelled and bored by endless depictions of mutilations, gore, chaos, mayhem and horror. If I want more of that I'll turn to current pop crap-culture now infested with vampires, zombies and similar escapist nonsense.

All of these genres and their spawn illustrate my ongoing complaint with society in general- the abdication of personal responsibility for one's behavior. None of the heinous acts are anyone's fault because they are afflicted somehow and compelled to act the way they do because of the affliction. No one is responsible for their actions.

I'm convinced that none of the problems of our society will change until people own up to the fact that they constantly indulge their own slightest whims or desires without a thought for the consequences to themselves or anyone else. "I was high. I was drunk. I was a vampire. I was a zombie. I was from the Jersey Shore." Give me an effing break!

 It looks to me as if this magazine and the Art Machine in general is simply pandering to this segment of the population, a segment, I might add, that (despite current economic conditions) seems to be able to indulge in those whims to the tune of thousands of dollars for art that I would bury in someone else's back yard in the dark while wearing a string of garlic.

I can only hope my attitude forever keeps me from being "mainstream" because the mainstream is a polluted sewer.

Ahhh. Feel better?       I do.


Thursday, January 05, 2012


I know you'll pardon the sloth. Now that the detritus is getting up to level of my design wall, it's probably time to do some serious housekeeping.

But the purpose of this shot is to show the progression in the series I've been working on.

Some of the elements in this largest one  bother me and will be changed as the work progresses. 

I missed the morning light window in the studio this morning because I was hunkered down in the still dark bedroom working on the beginnings of a story.

Writing is an entirely different creative process from working with cloth - everything is happening behind your eyes instead of in front of them.

A whole 'nother part of the brain must be engaged and being one hundred percent present in that place is most important. 

There's no mindless stitching  (that I can tell so far) in writing although I did delete as much as I finished up with...akin  to ripping out?

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

hardbooting the muse

Acrylic paint sure is more expedient than cloth. Knowing when to put on the brakes at speed is an even bigger challenge. I think I like working with oil pastel on canvas better but then, these are small, 8x10 inches.

There's a thirty-six inch canvas gathering dust in the other room that I'll attend to soon. Jim, I may finally use that easel for something other than a craprack.
Yellow Peril

Monday, January 02, 2012


Out and about doing errands today. Beat feet to whatever brick & mortar bookstores are still in your area! All the calendars and day books were on sale at the local Books A Million. The selection is still good and 50% off is very nice indeed. I got a plain, small lined notebook for work stuff, a wall calender and one of those page-a-day ones..

I usually get the Wysocki Cats but this year they creeped me out.  Sorry Mr.W.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

dreaming on

I spent some time with the big one this morning. I'm starting the construction stitches phase, small mostly invisible stitches with 12wt sulky cotton to anchor and stabilize the many "tender" pieces of cloth that tend to shift, wander and shred even with the rayon basting which gets picked out as I go.

My mother is the "Rose" and this is a bit of one of the many handkerchiefs that she received as gifts from her customers at the little post office she worked at for 23 years. She gave me a big box of them and they have all gone into the dyepots - linen, silk, fancy and plain - they all loved the color.

party time

Yes, it's party time up in the studio. my three constant companions have joined me for an evening of fun, frolic and phone calls from fools.

Karma carries on in her 16th year on the planet. In her dotage, she has lots of demands and her every whim is indulged...I think she putting one over on us and by me, it's okay. Caviar and ice cream..right away madam.

That black void you see here is Voodoo curled up in a ball on my new chair from Ikea. He continues to work on his Thug routine, menacing all who show any signs of believing his posing. King of the couch, Lord of the Lounge gave us all a bad scare this past fall seemingly cashing in 7 of his nine lives but now fully recovered.

Sweetie has taught me to look down at my feet with every step because she is quite likely to be right there where I was planning to move to.
Although always within arms reach, she'd rather not be fussed with or petted much and will let you know with something sharp when enough is enough.

They never question, never criticize, don't care if I swear,  keep any secrets offered and are great company.