Sunday, September 30, 2012

the end of an era

I was never a big baseball fan until we moved from NY to Atlanta.

I was working for AT&T in 1996 when the world series matched the defending champs, the Atlanta Braves, against the New York Yankees. As a forced transplant I felt like I was living in a foreign country. More than one of my coworkers referred to me as "the Yankee" so it was assumed that I would be rooting for my hometown team.

In fact, as a family, we were not big sports fans at all. I was amazed at the rabid intensity that the locals fans attached to this rivalry and when the Braves lost, how determined they were to support the team in the coming season.

Little by little we started to follow the team and get to know them as, unlike the teams in New York, the players made them selves available to their fans by participating in various community functions and contributing their time and energy to local charities which was unheard of  with the celebrities of both the NY teams. They were the A listers who didn't have to wait behind any velvet ropes in Manhattan. Not so the Braves. For the most part, the Braves lived here, they played here and were a part of the community. Jim was doing physical therapy when this tall, scruffy looking dude came in to have his arm worked on. Jim asked me "Do you know who that is?" Blank stare from yours truly."It's John Smoltz". I just wouldn't  recognize them in their street clothes.

 Game by game I became a fan. Smoltz, Maddux, Glavine, Galarraga  and the Jones boys, Andruw and Chipper. After an unheard of nineteen years on the same team, Chipper Jones is retiring this year. Even though the Braves have qualified for post season play, today is his last game of regular season play. And the game is here at Turner field again the arch rival NY Dad's team.

 I clearly remember the first time we all went to see the team play. We has seats somewhere in the outfield on the third base side. I had brought binoculars and was seeing what I could see when my son Jake said, loudly enough for several rows of other fans to hear, "Mom, stop looking at Chipper's butt!"

Honest, Jake, it never occurred to me!

I just called Dad to remind him to watch the game but they are all piling in the car to visit Mom's grave for the first continues to be a year of great change. the wheel keeps turning.

thanks for all the thrills Chipper.


After I got home from the cookoff yesterday (and slept a while)  I took this one apart and started over.
I'm  a lot happier with the overall potential now. The left side looks darker because this was taken with ambient light. There's a lot of ways to take it  now and I'm in no hurry to choose a path, in fact, I'm going to take it off the wall today and set it aside for a while. I like the idea of more than one piece in the works with none of them considered to be a UFO.

Word from NY on my "orphan" sale is encouraging. This summer fling has finally found a home! I am so happy that it's out of the closet and will be loved and used that I am going to start a few more just to keep my machine chops up to speed. Kara tells me that Sunday is the big day at the Brooklyn Flea so my mission for today is ready another box of  goods for shipment. 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

chili cookoff 2012

My warriors are home from the chili cookoff.  Apart from the cooking competition, there are live bands, people in strange costumes carrying on , lots of good food and camaraderie, and throngs of appreciative festival goers. A good time was had by all. Still no word about the winners at the time they packed up and came home. You are not imagining the look of love and pride on my husbands face.

 Jake is shaping up as a chef and Colin has the makings of a maitre d'. The logistics of cooking prize winning chili from scratch (and twenty gallons for the masses)  in the field are staggering but Jim has it down to a science. Now if we could only find an efficient and reliable can open for the beans!

thank you #10

Nothing run of the mill about this Friday night.

 Jim, Colin and Jake have set up camp at the site of the annual chili cook off where I'll be joining them tomorrow morning..wait. It's Saturday already, I'll be leaving for Stone Mt. in a couple of hours.  

There was a special tribute on TV for our retiring hometown hero, Chipper Jones, who played his entire illustrious  baseball career here in Atlanta. It would have been nice if the Braves had beaten those nasty NY Mets after all the gushing was over but that's baseball. Round bat, round ball...shit happens. 
I recently heard baseball described as "the game of anticipation" How perfect.

This piece is not doing anything for me so before I take it all apart and start from scratch, I took it up to Karma's grove under the almost full moon for a little change of energy.

Juicy tagged along to guard me from the dark.

My studio  from the grove.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

seasons end

Photos like this that make me think about painting. (click for a very close look)

this one also made me think about reworking some of the darker cloths with paint and discharge tomorrow.

I'm waiting on a big delivery from ProChem including some new transparent paints that I'll be using for the first time.

I'll also rescue this poor teapot from the deck where it's been holding brushes all summer. The mason jars and plastic ware will be washed and boxed up with the rest of the tools of the trade as dye season draws to a close.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

alien innards redux

I rounded up these Alien Innards - a 3D series I did some years back, with the intention of putting them on the next plane for NY...just checking them over to make sure that the time stuffed in a bag at the back of the closet didn't cause any wear or tear. On the contrary..they look ready to rock.  Handling them reminded me what fun the series was to make.

The "bodies" were machine stitched damask which does such very interesting things when it's stuffed with poly fiber and pulled tight. All the embellishments - layered transparent cloth, stitching and beading in some cases - was done by hand of course..when did I have all this time I wonder?  

excuse me

Some days nothing seems to get done easily. 
Are larger minds at work here?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

doors in the universe

I am  sure I am not the only artist (no matter what medium) that has the problem of a backlog of finished pieces and UFOs that are threatening to take over what work/storage space one has.

Worse, they sit with sorrowful or accusatory smirks of "what were you thinking, witch?" or "you didn't try very hard to find a home for us, sniff sniff"..things along that line.

In the past drastic action was taken...midsize pieces that were made with fat battings went on to become fancy dogbeds and kitty hammocks at the animal shelter.

Several of these were in line, like so many jets on the runway, to be hacked up and re-assembled into grocery totes on the first day that sprouted a 25th or 26th hour.

Instead, these and 20 pounds of their like are on their way to new opportunities in Brooklyn and Bedford, NY.  

If the Fedex truck gets there in time, they will be seeing sunshine and strange public places for the first time in their existence!

How exciting for them!

Now they are off my back and I can go back to arguing with the crayons.

Monday, September 24, 2012

turning towards new

"For me it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring."  - Carl Sagan

I have Glennis to thank for posting the above on FB this morning. Normally a fount of useless crap, cute animals and offensive political postures-
 this morning FB brought me the ever-useful "cod-upside-the-head" moment - the cream cheese frosting on a new idea cupcake I've been baking.

In conjunction with Elizabeth's most recent post, a dust-up over donating art on a well known mail list and an amazing GIFT that I recently received, there will be changes afoot with regards to the sale of my work on the main gallery.

More about that in days to come as we examine issues of value, worth and what we are here for. Normally I hate the editorial "we" but I will have questions, make statements and look forward to lively discourse.

and yes, this needs a lot more shuffling.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

sweet sunday

this is where the fun begins. shuffling, pinning, cutting, moving, flipping, switching, unpinning, rooting about, more cutting....keep repeating until it moves from a whisper to a shout. I'm taking this one down from the wall for some preliminary basting and possibly more discharging later on. It's a beautiful day so I think I'll take it and my wet hair to the park for some fresh perspective, air and sunshine.

Yesterday Jim and Colin fixed my dryer which had gone from tepid to stone cold. Now I could toss potatoes in there and make steaming mashed! Hallelujah laundry!  Did I tell you I'm easily amused?
There's a  Braves game on at 1 and my GoodMan is doesn't get any better than that!  Very shortly the house will smell (wonderfully) like a cantina - Jim is warming up for the annual chili cookoff next weekend.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

new B&W

I've been at this one all day. about 40x50, there are about ten separate black and white pieces that I danced around the work table for hours before pinning. It's just basted to a spanse of fleece right now so I can live with it hanging over my shoulder for a few days. It's pretty bossy - and the white spaces are going to get even louder when I fill in with a variety of (very) white cloths. I wasn't devastated when the black bled some of it's warm into the white during the dye process, it happens so it becomes a part of the design.  Next!

Friday, September 21, 2012

some good friday news

It was good to just sit with this one in the morning and get all the "definitely" pieces basted into place..there's a pound of pins in it and with the slinky weight of the damask, taking it back and forth between the design wall and the work table is asking for a slash.

I decided against that mutant tangerine lurking under the tea bowl - it was a little too violent. While searching the (recent) stash for other elements, I put together three additional groups that will be up on the wall working it out soon. There will be lots of trials, with as much patience as I can muster to avoid hasty detours. I don't want to spend one minute working on something that has not completely enchanted me.

note to jerks...get a job

Alas, I've had to disable allowing Anonymous comments.

You would think they would get the picture but I'm sure its all automated. Although I moderate comments first I'm just tired of having my email inbox looking like the Augean stables. But I WILL NOT start the captcha nonsense.. If you don't want to mess about with comments and you have something to say .please send me an email  and I'll post it on your behalf.

 Blogger is not perfect but I know it so well I don't want to jump from the frying pan into the bloody flames!

and for some pleasing eye candy, I'm saving the seeds from this morning glory plant I call "Tough Guy" because it has thrived even though neglected.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

transition days

The nights have turned chill enough to turn off the fans and window AC unit and sleep is deep ...except for last night.  I found a long misplaced toy yesterday afternoon so I dug the old school I-pod that fits it, charged it up and set it down low when I went to bed in hopes of tuning out the white noise I have been living with. the little girls say. I had forgotten that I had stuffed it with about 400 of my most favorite pieces of music and the music box serenaded me until nearly 3am..until the last notes of Gravity faded and I finally pulled it off my head. Who can sleep when the music is fabulous?. One day, I'll make a list...

.Nothing much going on in the studio. Still folding, fondling and daydreaming.  We put up another hummingbird feeder to cut the rioting in half and the poor remaining flowers are constantly being pummeled by those birds not brave enough to belly up to the plastic bars. They have knocked most of the flowers off the tired grape hyacinths that wrapped up the wind chimes on the upper deck.

Monday, September 17, 2012

season's end + new starts

I couldn't bring myself to write about it yesterday but Saturday was the last day for my pool this season. The weather turned cloudy midday yesterday and with the rain a steep temperature drop. As it was, the last week I was only in the water thirty minutes at a time before getting too cold.

I started this small, hand stitched piece last night while I watched (with delight) while the Braves swept the Nats.

It's time to spend the morning light in the stitching chair again...and a series of new, large pieces will be coming up on the design wall. Staying with the notion of combining hand work with the large pieces.

The turn of the seasons leads to much introspection both - forward and backward - new thoughts, new paths. I'm going to be taking on the sketchbook challenge to replace a recently found bad internet habit. Don't go there, you'll hate me for it if you do. Talk about mindless!

Sunday, September 16, 2012


Only pinned to the wall for consideration so far - there's a whole trove of the "bound" pieces all ironed and ready to march. About 4x3 feet, it may just be a unit of a larger piece I have in mind.

Speaking of having work in mind - there's a sketchbook waiting. The latest theme over at the sketchbook challenge has captured my attention.

One can always be assured that hard work, like ironing, will gather spectators only too happy to lounge and observe the proceeding.

happy drudgery

I was in and out of the studio all day yesterday and got a lotta-mucha-nuthin done except to nearly fall into  a coma due to sensory overload.

It looked like a fiber land mine had gone off in here so today is all about really seeing what I have here -sorting, ironing and folding. yuck.

My grandma Nell is whirling in her urn as I've cooked up a little sit-down ironing station because my joints are killing me - I suspect I may have Lyme's..there was a funny looking bite a month ago.

 She spent years as a Professional Laundress - (Dresses a Specialty) and taught me everything even though she never actually let me iron anything but the hankies and napkins. She said that ironing was work that you had to get your back into and so it had to be done standing. Nelly was a tall  and sturdy woman who's genes I am always grateful for and whose quiet dignity and strength always inspired me. She would be tsk-tsking through her false teeth over this weakness of mine but I'd really like to see the bottom of all these baskets sometime today.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Savory Friday

The filename for this image is "drunk on raw". Very appropriate for the way I feel as I start going through all of the raw material that has come from this past dyeing season. These are the gems that I hoard for myself although many of their cousins make it into the store. There will be more there soon too..I need to support my habits like other junkies, I mean artists. 

There is SO much more just waiting to be eyeballed and considered.  It's time to start putting all this cloth to work - seeing if and how they get along, arranging, rearranging, slashing, ironing.. marshaling all this energy to my own ends.

Although I am anxious to get something started - a hand stitched start - I'm not going to run wild just yet.
 I've just put the frosting on what I consider to be three good pieces that I've worked on since the beginning of this year. They weren't plotted out but popped up like the best kind of weed in the garden of all my other doings. Time to get some new seeds started here. There will be lots of show and tell going forward - no more off this secret garden crap!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

chaos...first light

'Scuse me while I take a few days to restore order to my studio, my house, my life. Thanks for putting up with my crabby myopia. Time to reflect, refresh and renew.  I'll be back.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

finished and done

I need a drink but I'll settle for a swim.

blog anniversary

Not mine...Terry Grant from Portland, Oregon has been entertaining and informing for SEVEN years over at "and Sew it Goes" . She's been on my link love list all these years for many good reasons.

 This made me stop, think and dig to find out that it's been almost NINE years of yattering into the wind for me. It started with sharing some good news!  and I didn't even post a picture back then - here it is.
I called it "Blue Oyster Soup with Crackers" ....ah, the days of cotton prints and beads.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

take two

This part of my morning went right....these are snips and pieces from what I thought was the last of my raw materials..the kind of odd scraps that wind up being the heart and soul of a completed work. Later in the day   our friend Tony came by with a bag of damask and huck napkins and small table cloths. I didn't even inspect them but just dumped them into the sauce to poach. Later I'll hang them to dry and take them with me to what's become an annual event..a dye day with Elizabeth Barton.

We get together to use up each other's spring born dyestock, take a look at what ever we have been up to, have lunch and generally enjoy the day. Another annual event is that I get lost driving home from her place..always an adventure on the backroads of Georgia in October.

On the "do-over" side of the slate, I have to reshoot all the entry photos I sweated over yesterday. Why did no one smack me in the head with a cod when I hung a white backdrop to shoot pieces that are 90% white themselves??? I went to bed wracking my brain over where I'd find something appropriately dark and neutral and awoke with the answer. We have a set of sheets that are dark grey..the top sheet almost never used. It's in the dryer right now getting it's wrinkles removed. Back  to the mines....

Sunday, September 09, 2012

September on the burning dyedeck

I got the sleeve stitched on to "Jazz Takes Over" and even found a hanging slat in the closet that was exactly the right size. Two completed and nothing left to do for the third but cut and fit  another sleeve.

Spectacular weather today (although it could have used a few more degrees for dyeing) anything left in the direct sun heated up nicely. I've been commissioned to colorize a set of damask napkins and two tablecloths and hope the grape  I cobbled up stays true after the wash and dry.

More color bound pieces were laid out and all the mason jars stuffed with shreds, sauce and blood of the rainbow. Even the new table padding had fun. I should have used a piece of cloth or even paper with a brayer while this spot was still chemically hot but it's been since hosed away.

A good weekend mostly in the can. The Braves swept the Mets in NY while I spent an hour in the pool, Chef James is making chili and I have the Sunday NY Times to spend the rest of the afternoon with.  I want a cup of coffee.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

an eye comes to light

it's been there all along, just a sketch but I finally decided on a way to bring it around to real.

I stitched until the callous on my right middle finger broke down after one too many jabs...and then found my brass thimble and really got down to business. I'll fit the sleeve on this one tomorrow while I wait for the temperature outside to hit the promised 80s and get in a little more outdoor dyeing this year.

getting it done

Tuned up big J, new needle and all and just  popped in disc one narrated by Will Patton. See you at 4 when the Braves meet the Mets.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

backsides continued

See what I mean?
I have moved her from one quadrant to the next as I work. All the cats have been upset over something lately. Sweetie is within arms length of me where ever I am and will shadow Jimmy if I'm not around. Voodoo has been destructive to get extra attention and Juice is spending more and more time in the kitchen instead of out in the weeds. Earthquake? Tornadoes?

 Oh, that title?  "Jazz Takes Over"

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

curing back trouble

Turns out that damask is a perfect, if exotic, answer for backing large pieces that have irregular edges.

 It has enough give to wrap graciously around the edges and curves but, across the expanse of the piece, there was a limit to how far it would stretch. The edges of both of these pieces curled back after being "hatched" so I had to cut the backing in a cross to relieve the tension and will be hand appliqueing over these cuts .

As it was, I had to piece damask scraps for an expanse large enough for the one on the right and will be using dyed pieces to applique over the openings. The back is getting very interesting .

Still debating the's very rare that I have no title this far into a project. I will dwell on it during the drive over to the gallery this morning - it's take down day - and report back later if a winner comes to mind.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

summer scrambles

I actually got out of the house for a little while today and stopped at the top of the hill to put the numbers back on the mailbox.

 I planted these seeds in the middle of summer once the other flowering thing had given up. It's taken over the place and probably scares the mailman.

Some tougher cousin of the morning glory I think.

Monday, September 03, 2012

my kind of labor day

Colin is back from DragonCon and we are relieved that his car wasn't towed, booted or ticketed.  I'm also happy my Canon Elph made it home with him. I love my Big Canons, but for quick and dirty shots in the studio, this little bugger is my go-to tool.


I spent most of yesterday and all of this morning convincing "Consolation" (stitch by endless stitch) that it would be in it's best interest to lay flat, have no pooches and generally act like art.

That mission accomplished, I took a deep breath and machine pillow-faced it with a damask backing trusting that the soft cloth would wrap nicely around the tattered linen edges of this piece. At first I was worried that it would lose it's "wildness", but now that it's done I can see that those hairy edges were a messy distraction and the facing was a good choice.

There's a sleeve pinned in place that I'll nail that down after dinner. And Medlen just pitched an entire game for the Braves, beating the Rockies 6-1!