Wednesday, July 31, 2013


It's very strange seeing two years worth of your work in one place all at once.

If the arrangement of all these pieces were up to me, I'd still be sitting on the floor chewing a pencil.

Candace stalked around the room eyeballing everything at once, moved this one here, those two there and in less than an hour, grouped pieces in ways I never would have imagined.

I won't be able to actually get stuff up on the walls until Friday morning.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

doing the sleeve city slog

The peskiest part is over - fitting, pinning and test flying a sleeve. These are the last two and I'll try to get them done this evening.

I left them hanging up outside after a good spritz and happily all the storage wrinkles just evaporated. Both of these were conceived and constructed as utility quilts but never used.

Everything is marshalled, packed and ready to go tomorrow morning. There will be lots of good pictures,

It was pointed out to me that "Ocean Homes" has a strong grail feature..I thought it was a swimming pool when I was making it. But a grail shaped swimming pool? Why not.


Monday, July 29, 2013

showtime round 2

This is a detail from "Beaches"  a piece that you've never seen a full image of  because I never put a sleeve on it - just finished it, took a few quick and dirties and put it away.
That was in 2010.

Tomorrow I'll be fitting a sleeve onto it because it will (hopefully) be included in a solo show that I'm hanging on Wednesday morning.

I have been offered the gallery for the whole month of August back at Phoenix & Dragon,  here in Atlanta.  The owner curated the show last year from nearly thirty pieces that I brought her and I was so pleased with her choices.

 I have twenty four new pieces to bring her and the room is large enough for more than three fourths of them.

Stay tuned...

Sunday, July 28, 2013

dyefest july 2013

I got about half of Aunt Jo's vintage linens into the dye today. I held back a monogrammed pillowcase for myself. It's labeled Thomaston Page and the kind  of delicious cotton that is always cool a little longer when you flip your pillow.

I remixed a few colors and used them quite strong as I'm afraid the stock may have suffered since it's not been refrigerated since first mixed. For a change of pace I made a point of scrubbing the color deep into the cloth so the coverage would be as even as possible rather than my usual splotchorama serendipity. But it's hot and I'm tired so the reveal will have to wait.

I'm going to have to find a way for this Lantana to winter indoors with us this year since it's pot-mates are not winter hardy, even in Georgia.

Saturday, July 27, 2013


cotton table cloth
My cousin sent a package with a bundle of vintage linens that came from our aunt's home. Josie was my mother's oldest sister, an adult when my mother was born and her surrogate mother. That is the only provenance I have for these things, which means some of them could be as old as the turn of the century. They traveled a lot so the decorative things may have come from anywhere. At first I though this one was a holiday kind of thing but on closer inspection of the elements, it's just plain quirky. I dimly recall Aunt Jo doing some kind of needlework. This just might be from her head and hand.  I will consult the older cousins...

Friday, July 26, 2013

passing time

Nothing new or creative here from me right now, but I used to be...

from 2005, if you have some time on your hands this weekend

Here's the end result and here is what passes for instruction....

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Night visitor

(photos by Colin Lacativa)
We had a late night visitor . It's remarkable how this Luna's eyes look like satin stitching. He/she hung around on the screen door and was gone this morning.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Sunday, July 21, 2013

project backlog

Too many irons in the fire?

Nobody said you had to pick them up.

Does anyone have any experience with image licensing?  All wisdom, pros and cons are welcome. Comment wildly below or email me privately...thanks!

I got lost glyphing with scribbler last evening. I think I know what they mean.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Was that thunder?

Yes, it was. Again.

Time to climb off this pile of lovely hand dyed cloth where I was grooming my nethers and find a place to hide until the storm passes.

(Dear cloth customers - that's my cloth under Sweetie's butt. Your cloth is all ironed and folded behind her.)

Friday, July 19, 2013

big doings

I have been scrounging about trying to find an appropriate setting to photograph all the new work.

Nothing was better than the space where I had my solo  show last year so, on a whim, I called the owner at Phoenix & Dragon  and asked if it would be  possible to squeeze in a couple of hours of wall time for a photo shoot when they were between exhibits. Turns out she did have some time, like AUGUST and would be pleased to have me back.  Two weeks to put together a solo betcha I will. More to come.

In the same morning I made a commitment to advertising my work for rent or sale in the Georgia Film & Television Sourcebook, both online and in print. I don't know about you but sometimes the art I see on the walls in a movie or on TV is more interesting than what may be happening between the actors . I'm always googling "who painted that painting in the scene...." with little success.  "Meet Joe Black" is a great example of Art being a star, if you can focus on a scene that does not have Brad Pitt in it.

You may have read about Atlanta becoming the Hollywood of the South.  What with Screen Gems already here and London's Pinewood Studios coming soon, there will be lots of opportunities for all manner of craft and support vendors and I plan on getting my darlings up onto the silver screen. If any Georgia based artists want to know more, send me an email and I'll hook you up.

Now I really, really have to update my website!!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

blessed hump day off

I love my day off.
The morning was given over to studio business - no art making but two Big Deals that I will write about as soon as there is more information.

I met my future daughter-in-law for lunch and handed over my contact list for the wedding. We only had a scant hour so I came prepared with a list of questions..check, check and check.
Missy is super organized which has to help minimize the stress. I've been tasked with making a set of garters in teal and black! I think I can handle it.

Home in time to enjoy the pool before the skies clouded over in preparation for the afternoon/evening weather event.

We beat it out the door for the trivia joint just ahead of a wicked thunderstorm. Pulled a few answers out of our hats (what the heck is a pollux) and came in second.

While I was looking for something else, this image popped into my brain. Dyepainted at my last session at EB's studio, I took a picture but forgot to set the colors with soda ash. When it came out of the washing machine, it was gone.  I may take a shot or two at recreating it when I have the next dyefest.


Monday, July 15, 2013

taking drastic measures, gleefully

The weather will drive you crazy if you let it. The sun is blazing down one minute and the next thunder rolls and smart people get out of the pool. 

Yesterday I tackled a mountain of hand dyes that had been heaped on the ironing table and after everything was folded and sorted I found an excess of INSIPID so  I took  a bunch of the worst offenders out to the dyedeck, doused them with vibrance and forgot about it all until this morning when I hatched these out. 

I've also been thinking about how to go about deepening the background of the Firmament now that it's scattered with stars and other heavenly bodies. Paint? Not. What I may wind up doing is treating each of the embroidered stars with hot soy wax and the submerge the entire piece in a deeper blue/violet dye bath.

That drastic step got me thinking about taking a similar approach  with one or two of my oldest pieces back when I was doing whole cloth screaming; treating a finished piece as if it was only half way there.

Bold? Blasphemous?  Time will tell...

It's not that I don't love you baby.
Let's just say you got a lot of untapped potential...


Sunday, July 14, 2013

peer into the past

My scanner is back in service and I've tackled the job of scanning a small clutch of family photos from the late 30's and early 40's.

My mother left them with me on her last visit about ten years ago. The thing is, I have no clue as to who most of the people are. I suspect, by descriptions, the woman on the right is my maternal grandmother, Antonina Catalano Mercurio.  I never met her. No clue about the other two folks. I met the grandpa once when I was about 8 and do not remember his face.

Any RI or MA cousins who may have a clue (and they are legion) get in touch and I will link you to the archive of photos.

Some of the pictures are lovely

and a few will provoke nightmares!

Friday, July 12, 2013

unwelcome guest

baby copperhead
After a week of daily thunderstorms the sun broke through midday and I was able to get in a swim which was mostly pool cleaning.

Just as I reached up onto  the deck for my float I noticed this little bugger hunkered down under it.

I knew him for the dangerous character he was immediately but, at only a foot long, no great threat if respected.

 With Colin's help I caught him in the pool net and we let him go over the fence into the woods where he should conduct his snakely business down by the creek.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

on the fiber front

Isn't this just wonderful? It makes me want to put up Christmas lights in the crape myrtles.
Now that I have passed out of  yesterdays  aggravation, I've gone back to hanging stars on my firmament again. That Chandelier tree has me thinking some fireflies would work here too.  My Goddess complex is full blown. Writing fiction will do that for you too.

I'm not long on exotic or task-specific tools; I've rolled a perfectly good pie crust with the bottle of Canadian Club I had just poured from for the filling -why dirty up my maple rolling pin?

But a friend recently thought of me while she was at a tag sale and snagged a set of Gingher shears and snips with the guards and gifted them to me -what a treat! We are rife with deadly weapons!

 I have the same attitude with computer software. Free is good and if it does what I need it to do, why shop around or upgrade, but today I bit the bullet and downloaded Scrivener  for my writing projects. I kept reading good things about it and I don't even have a fully functional copy of Word anymore, not that there is any comparison. The best tools are the ones that get out of the way and just let you do the work.

Thanks again, Kara!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

just because you can doesn't mean you should

Out of the corner of my eye and lurking on the pile just under the main design wall is this. Sixty-five square inches of "WTF was she thinking?"

Well, she wasn't thinking anything beyond how satisfying it is to needleturn and appliqué chunks of hastily hacked out  hand dyed damask to an equally delicious vintage damage tablecloth. It's a good thing I don't take this attitude with raw cookie dough.

How many hours evaporated and what was learned? Too many and nothing.
Not only are these pieces invisibly stitched ever 3/8th inch or less but each element was revisited with a tiny hem stitch just inside the border to forestall any fraying. I must have been in some kind of mental lockdown. I don't even want to revisit the time. My task for the evening, flip it over, clip all the stitches and get back to reality...I need another personal blankie like I need my own fleas.

Monday, July 08, 2013

flood water finished

I'm going to make a few prints from this tomorrow and then put it away.

The story is still looking for legs and this piece is not helping.
Turns out that visual art (at least my visual art) is not  a great prompter of murder and mayhem. Settings and atmosphere, maybe, but not action.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

new practice

7.6.13 rising waters

I think I've found a way to integrate the stitching and the writing. Like a lot of people, I used to stitch while something else was going on - TV, music, anything else that occupied the other available sensory input modes. Working this way was a good way to not think, a meditation and a comfort.

Now I've turned off the distractions and while working on these small pieces, find myself thinking my way through the writing; settings, atmosphere, history, characters, even action.

Here I was thinking about what it would be like when a community is deliberately flooded and the long time land holders and residents are forced to leave.  Some don't leave. Some can't.

I'm not going to focus on finishing (overworking?) these- they are rough drafts too. - Just stopping when the thought spins out, dating them and giving them a name appropriate to the storyline and then boarding the next train of thought.

Meanwhile life spins on through the summer. Sweetie is pissed with me cause I just dosed the back of her neck with a stinky herbal concoction  to help repel the fleas that seem to find tiger cats tastier than any other. She's also been literally under my feet due to her constant anxiety over thunder and fireworks. Is there Xanax for cats?
A sketch created with this online tool

Thursday, July 04, 2013

the day at hand

The thing about writing is - there's not a whole lot that you want to blog about.
A book or short story in progress is a whole lot less interesting than a piece of visual art. Reading my own rough drafts gives me agita. Since last Saturday, I've kept my self promise of returning to my writing practice and have put in about two hours a day with most of yesterday spent transcribing my execrable handwriting into the computer .

Working longhand keeps me from all the distractions possible here on the laptop but  when I'm in the zone my handwriting deteriorates quickly from cramped script to shorthand alien hieroglyphs so it's important to get stuff typed up before the mystery really deepens. Then I found this (which probably only works with the Chrome browser)  and thoroughly enjoy using it with the "manual typewriter" sounds turned on; after a very short time the sound tricks me into thinking it's a real typewriter and email and Facebook are someplace inaccessible.

 I was supposed to be writing an outline but I kept getting sidetracked with actual writing. I tell myself that this in not procrastination since (hopefully) and I'll be able to use these bits and pieces along the way. The outline is more like a very vague map. There is a gang of characters waiting for meat to be put on their bones and  their marching orders, and a timeline, sort of.

Anyway, the habit of writing daily is re-established and I'm good with it. I keep telling myself it's a writer's job to lie convincingly. Consider this scene from one of my all time favorites, "Tootsie"

I needed a break from the keyboard late yesterday and neither of the current UFO rescues was moving me, so I started scouting pieces from the scrap basket and basted up this this small summer cloth.

The  little bundle in the foreground is a handful of sheers that I want to incorporate, maybe. There have been some very inspiring uses of sheer fabric around lately.

Up top is one of the prints, a detail from Karma I. I need to find some frames for a few of these before I put them into the shop.

We are under the weather gun again today here in the metro ATL area. Many Fourth of July festivities have been postponed - I'll be working the whine line this  afternoon and evening anyway if the power holds. Happy Fourth of July!

Monday, July 01, 2013


Today feels like an extension of the really busy day I had yesterday.These new threads got washed, sun-dried and re-wound during the game.

For no other reason than my arm got tired at thirteen, each one has thirteen+ yards of hand dyed Red Heart #10 crochet thread, mercerized cotton. I think it's the "mercerized" part that makes the dye take so easily. I learned not to poke or move these around too much one the dye was applied or colors got muddy but even the muddy ones are beauties.

I also pulled two UFOs from the hand basket and started in on them. My gator head symbol is starting to look distinctly wolfish.

I jumped off the cliff with getting my main website reorganized for a major project coming up. There's nothing more annoying than a website that is under construction, but this will have to do for a minute.

I also joined a local writing group. Push has come to shove so I had better get busy. Part of the agenda is getting up in front of a group of total strangers (with knives) and reading four pages of your work. My heart is in my throat just writing those words.