Tuesday, September 29, 2020

the Bruised Heart

I wasn't going to start a new piece so soon. But I just needed something to hold. Something else to focus on. Think about. Something to have a little control over. 

Hours rummaging through the River basket and boxes in the closet yielded a half dozen false starts that are now rolled up and pinned shut, back in the closet. 

This one made the cut. Grabbed my attention like nothing else has for a while.
The base is a little tea towel. A very thin, light damask that came out a bit blah. While I was so focused on composing the elements on one side I didn't notice that there were gorgeous patches of colors on the backside that looked like storm clouds or oil on water. 

I saved them for another time.


The stitching has been effortless. It's as if the thread and cloth don't dare challenge me.

Lines, shapes, and masses telling the story.
I don't know the language or what the story is yet, but it will come.

All the elements, the characters are present. Waiting.

Sunday, September 27, 2020



One moment we are here, the next we are where? Snipped from this life, I like to think, to the place and in the company of our heart's desires. Refreshing in the recall of the sweetest moments of our time here. Then, in whatever time it takes to be renewed, move on to begin again.

As Jude put it so well, somehow I knew the moment she remarked on Michelle's absence from the internet. 

RBG's passing hit her very hard at a time when her reserves of hope and strength were low and falling.

Michelle and I often chatted via web late into the night, while I worked and she dealt with the kind of sleeplessness that comes of long afternoon naps- one of the few remaining good things on Facebook.

A few years older than myself, we both attended the School of Visual Arts in the mid and late 60s, only blocks from where she lived. We had a cultural commonality few virtual friends can claim. Times and places shared.

It's a comfort to know she'd been to her spiritual font, her Zendo, if only virtually, in the days before she passed. 

Rest, dear one. Renew, then fly on.

Michelle Slater of 
From her last post, however long these things, this stuff of dreams, lasts.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Last, best chance

 To win Blue Wave.   

details here:

I'll have a drawing for the winner tomorrow afternoon. Post the video about 7pm est.

They get under your skin


It was cool enough to wrap up in something but by the time I got to the post office, I was hot and left it in the front seat of the car. The cloth is a viscose scarf.  You all probably have a least one. Impossible soft, a bit on the fragile side, as thin as it is, it heats up when next to the skin. This natural fiber loves MX dyes madly. Large 31x72, it's more shawl than scarf with a sofy, hair fring all the way around. It was the stark whiteness, ivory really, that caught my attention.  
One it proved out, I dashed back online and bought another ten that I will dye and be selling. 
It's supposed to get to 75 degrees today. If the clouds hold off,  I'll use some black plastic bags to amp up the heat and dye a few more of these. I just have to restrain the wild color demon a bit. Maybe

Some catching up: Last Thursday night, in the last rainy throes of Hurricane Sally, cat Baily rushed in on our dinner with a screaming creature in his mouth. He dropped it on the floor, unsure of what came next. It was a baby squirrel. Wet, cold, eyes and ears still shut tight. Miraculously unharmed. 

Colin tucked it in a cloth and shopping bag with the heating pad under it while I did the research. "Warming and rehydration" were critical. Off to the store for Pedialyte and puppy formula. Thus began my week of waking three times a night for warming and giving bottles. 

What else to do but fall in love with a scrap of life that only wants to snuggle, feed, and snuggle some more. But the cruel logic of a three-cat household and further research made it clear that finding a wildlife rehabilitator was crucial. 

After a few "full house" turn-downs, we found an experienced rehabber nearby, one with other baby squirrels. Ours would get that tribal learning essential to survival. "Winnie" joined with her own kind yesterday. 

Meanwhile, I look and cloth and am a loss as to what comes next. I have four or five small projects rolled up and tucked away while I try to get back to the keyboard, the stories.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Grand Rêver

I've moved this to the gallery.

  "Grand Rêver"    29X27       2012       

The biggest and last of the series. Some history here, here, and here.


some details:


Saturday, September 19, 2020

The Style of Dignity

 Human dignity was her compass.

Silly, but I'm fascinated by this garment. There was something so unique about her style. I have a feeling that she made these very personal choices for herself. 

I'm listening to Rachel Maddow interviewing Hilary Clinton about RBG while I live in a state where one of the GOP representatives all but cheered at her passing. It was disgusting and infuriating that his sole concern was overturning Roe V. Wade and taking away a woman's choice over her very life, for it will come to that. 

What am I doing? 100% of any thread, cloth or art purchases from today until the election will be donated equally between the Jon Ossoff and Biden/Harris campaigns.

Her passing gives new meaning to the word "ruthless".  Makes me want to sharpen my machete.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020



This was so beautiful to see this morning. Grace's Hill and the plant people, still standing. Knowing she and the herd are safe.

We are under the cloud shield dancing out ahead of hurricane Sally. Coolish but far from sweater time. For now, just a damp grayness, still for the most part. Every now and then the trees shiver a bit, not quite tossing. It will be like this for a week or more. Remains to be seen how much wind and rain we'll actually get this far inland.

Just cleaned and refilled the hummingbird feeder. I've caught them eyeing the minuscule flowers on the Spanish Flag vines, barely a sip there. 

I want to sit and build a storm flag, but Sweetie has the sewing chair at the moment. In her old age, I refuse to deny her any small comfort. Could be she knows what I'm supposed to be doing.


Sunday, September 13, 2020

Are you in? Are you ALL in?

"Blue Wave 2020"     12x34    

I'm raffling off this piece to benefit the BIDEN/HARRIS presidential campaign. Here are the rules:

 I know the whole world is watching and we appreciate the support, but I'll have to restrict entries to the US only because of shipping, taxes, customs - all that bureaucratic bs.

Email me - deborah at lacativa dot com -  any receipt for your donation to the BIDEN/HARRIS campaign dating from to 9/1 up to the deadline of 9/24. Put BLUEWAVE in the subject line.

 I only want to see your name, the date, and the amount. Black out anything else.

There will be ONE entry for every TEN dollars donated to the BIDEN/HARRIS presidential campaign. I will round up by fives. If you gave 25, you'll get three chances.

There will be a video of the drawing on Thursday, September 24. Good luck!

Are you in?  Questions? Email me.

some detail shots

Saturday, September 12, 2020

The Next to the Last Waltz

 As long as I've been doing this you would think there wouldn't be so much trial and error. It took a refresher course at Paula Burch's venerable website to get my mind right about the importance of optimal temperatures.

It's a little gray out right now, but if the sun breaks through, I'll get these shot and posted. There might be one more batch this year if the heat holds. Stand by if Dirty Thread winds your watch.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

fall feels like a cliff

There's no smell to it here. No leaves burning. No back to school sweaters or shoes. The stench of cinnamon brooms in the foyers of all the grocery stores isn't cutting it. I haven't yet dipped a toe in the pumpkin spice river. Anticipation for the coming holidays seems inappropriate. I even missed smelling the moonflowers blooming on the deck last night. It was the first time I've had a full night's sleep in a week. I'll try again tonight.

I'm making stuff mindlessly. There will be regrets. There will be a lot of dyed thread and cloth too.

I'm supposed to writing. The best I could do is come up with a fresh look at an old short story, A Taste of Justice. Please feel free to comment there.

Justice seems to be so out of reach these days that I spend way too much time entertaining really ugly thoughts about getting it by myself. 

He knew and he didn't act. He lied, his fools bought into his bullshit, and there will be over two hundred thousand dead by the end of the year. 

All I can think about are the thousands of people walking around with the never-ending nightmare of having watched and listened to a loved one die alone in an ICU, a phone or tablet held by a PPE swathed nurse their only connection. I would not have survived that.

My sorrow and fury turn, in a flash, to a wave of anger that I'm sure will lead to cancer if I keep letting it roll. The minutes tick by and I check the news praying that someone close to him will pump his jacket full of lighter fluid and strike a match. Stab a fork deep into his eye. Shove him into a jet engine. The list goes on. 

But the real horror? The people who think he's what our country needs. Those fucking boat paraders,  bikers of Sturgis, and all the shadowy scumbags of Washington frantically checking their net worth. Knowing how many of them there are makes it seem like he's what our country deserves. 

Will they ever have the courage to ask themselves "why" five times and give completely honest answers each time. Can they face their truth? Their fears. Then what? For them, for our country. 

I've taken a few slow drives through my neighborhood. There are no political signs of any color out on the lawns. In this red state, I'm taking some heart that the Blues are keeping their cards close to the vest and some of the Reds might be starting to realize how deeply they've been played by this terrible, self-serving con man and everyone who supports him.

As soon as I can get some decent pictures, Blue Wave will be raffled off. ALL proceeds divided between BIDEN/HARRIS and the BLUE campaigns here in Georgia. Details in a few days when I figure it out.

Sunday, September 06, 2020

Blue Wave wrap-up

Sometimes a piece just takes you over. Makes demands.
You don't fall in love with it. It never charms you. Every moment you handle it there's a risk of it getting tossed into the UFO box or worse.

Back somewhere around Y2K, one of the first pieces I ever sold, Parking Magic, came within minutes of getting fed into an industrial shredder at AT&T where I was working because I was sick of fooling with it.

The ones you fall in love with can become problematic. I've got too many of those and need to adjust my attitude. Clean house. Update the gallery and get things gone.

This one was wise to stop talking to me a while ago. We got along well enough to reach a satisfactory conclusion. I backed it with that lovely vintage silk jacquard and even stitched it with the last of Jude's silk/cotton thread. The few yards that didn't get cat damaged or dyed.

All that's left for Blue Wave is to add my mark, like the one below.  Title, year, etc. I'll wait to attach it until it's sold because I'm going to let the new owner choose which orientation they prefer. I can't decide.

And that new owner business? Stand by for an announcement.



Friday, September 04, 2020

the shift is on


An unexpected week away from daily care, plus a few days of heavy rain, and this is what Fall looks like in Georgia. 

If the sun is strong enough and I have the time, I'll get into the soup and see if I can set things blue one last time. It's mostly manual labor and a little kitchen table chemistry, pH balancing, etc. I'm holding onto summer as long as I can amid a degree of personal chaos.

The reason for the chaos? COVID, of course. Charlie's school resumed in-person sessions last Wednesday and the kids were sent home from school on Monday due to someone they had contact with turning up positive. So, back to virtual school. 

They were all testy the first day back. Charlie gotten a taste of the real thing and had made a friend. Now we are back to square one. Everyone remains well.

That's me with the bat on her head trying to keep the class in line. As if. 

That reference to "One Last Time"? We've started watching "Hamilton" together in bits and pieces. Much of it way beyond him getting.

 He loved King George and the cabinet meeting battle between Jefferson and Hamilton. These kids understand the mic drop! 

He was enjoying the music and the stage work, but he's always interested in the motivations of the characters. "Are they fighting? What was the fight about? What's HIS problem?" and "That's not George Washington!" 

I paused it and set up the scene for him with a brief recap on the American Revolution. No easy task to boil down, I gave explanations about what was happening in this scene. George Washington's farewell.  He was intensely focused on the actors faces and gestures. 

At the end of Christopher Jackson's astonishing performance Charlie was standing within a foot of the giant screen. He zeroed in on the catch in Jackson's voice like a shark to blood. "He's crying!' He turned to me for an explanation and caught me in middle of the same complex set of feelings that can only be expressed through tears. 

"Nana. Why are you all crying? He was anxious, solicitous, clutching my arm, trying to perceive my pain. I could only say, "It's feeling all feelings at the same time. Happiness, sadness and others all at once. I'm okay. Don't worry. Happiness wins this one." 

I lied, sort of. I wonder if he will catch me in that lie someday? I also reminded him that the star of the show, Alexander Hamilton, was a writer.