Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Right Brain vs Left Brain

writing this book - definitely left brain. so technical! 
sometimes i just have to take a break from that part of my brain. 
still have lots of energy to write, but no left brain power left to process. such a weird experience. 
i have written before. i used to write a weekly art column for my local newspaper.
500 words every week for close to 4 years.
that was different. not as intense.
plus i had the visuals to write about. now i am writing about visuals that aren't there yet.
a dichotomy for sure. but i'm loving it!

yesterday, sat down at the dinning room table to contemplate my life as an artist.
and found the flowers my step-mom gave me because my son turned 18.
so sweet! 
and a beautiful visual when i needed one

i may just have to pick off these long waxy leaves to print with

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Hot and steamy in Western MA

 the tractor's been down,
so everything is wonderfully wild and overgrown
 the woods are encroaching,
green and lush 
 summer at long last 
where's the ice cream??

Monday, May 23, 2011

Spring Rain

Another Rainy Day

after weeks of rain, and grey mist

cold and damp.
And yet, somehow
through the downpour, miraculously
all the leaves have emerged.
And the maples
my favorite in another season, now canopy over the deck
leaves heavy with rain,
bright green against
soft and somber grey, that
could almost be pink, if you squint your eyes.

The horse in the  meadow this morning, caught my eye
But was gone
when I climbed the fence with my camera.
In his wake,
he left me breathless.
He gave me 
the gift of the land
the view of the barn, deep red before the mist
and the familiar hills,
almost lost to the gentle, low lying clouds. 
One last time
before I headed off to the car
I searched for him.
Such gratitude, I can’t express
for his gift, 
of inspiration. And because, 
if I squint me eyes...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Two Gifts

Last week my son Brook and I had 2 gifts from the universe in one day. Both came to us on our own road. On the way to school we were treated to the sighting of a baby red fox. He crossed the road just yards in front of our car. On the way home from school we found this little guy happily eating leaves by the side of the road.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

On personal style

Working on the book so consistently, day after day, and consequently not sewing, designing, painting, screening etc. has given me much time for artistic refection. It has been good. 

My collage work, and my distinctive personal style within that work was born over many, many years. In comparison, my textile work is really quite new. The past handful of years have been a whirlwind of growth for me. But I realize now that is has primarily been within the boundaries of technique and new materials.

In the heat of this growth, I am not sure my style has evolved. This time away from creating visual work has caused me to step back. I have a perspective that I didn't have just one month ago. Throughout my youth as an artist, my approach to art making was to just forge ahead. But now, with age on my side, I am not certain that approach has value.

For the first time really, I feel the need to consciously choose my direction - visually. To focus and explore within a certain context. And imagery? Perhaps. Its more visceral than concrete. Somehow more instinctual then discernable. That is not to say that the visual is gone. Its just more fleeting - less defined. And I like that.

The reality is that I am still a painter. A painter who happens to have a passion for textiles and stitching and words. Do I simply just keep forging ahead? Is it the easy way out? Or the truest way out? Or really no way out? 

In a group setting the other day, an artist who was new to drawing complained that her drawings always ended up looking like something. It was as if she wanted to know the secret for how to make something abstract. If only it were that easy.

These are 2 paintings by my friend Tracey Physioc Brockett. They are abstract and they make my heart sing.

I think it might be time again for a visual daily journal. Especially during the next several weeks of writing. The freedom of journaling could bring me some definition.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

New Web SIte for the Studio

After a great deal of work that seemed to go on forever, my son and I have launched a new web site for the studio. We've got a great line up of classes. There are photos of classes and student work to share and people can register for classes through the site! Phew! Please have a look see when you get the chance.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Artist Groups

I really can't say enough about how important these groups are. 

As artists we tend to work alone and isolated. Unfortunately those two words in our society, have a connotation of being negative. But having some time to be alone and isolated is good for all of us, even for those who are not artists. It is a time for reflection and possible serenity or maybe even a time to be angry, if that is what you need.

For artists, that time is when we can best follow our muse. That is when the creative juices flow and most importantly, it is a time when we can safely take creative risks.  It is, for me at least, a bit like going to church. I have my routines and small ceremonial tasks (like making tea and lining up my tools and paint) that will lead up to the act of creation. During that time I will ponder. I will converse (with myself). I will cast judgment (on my work), and I will forgive (myself for failing at the task). I will create and celebrate (my succeses), and I will reach out to share them with my congregation of friends, family and the world through my website, Facebook, my blog, galleries, craft shows and fairs.

With all that said, we also need to come together. An artist group can provide valuable feedback without casting judgment, and can sing our praises, so we can find the courage to venture out into the world with our work. In an artsist group we can share technical information, network and learn the important skills of developing a critical eye.

In my studio there are now 2 such groups. One has been meeting once a month for close to a year now, founded by Marcia Young of Valley Fiber Life. The other

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

An artist whose blog I follow sheintertwines posted this poem today. I am inclined to do the same.

The Invitation
It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain. I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, or if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul, if you can be faithless and therefore be trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see beauty, even when it’s not pretty, every day, and if you can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand on the edge of a lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, ‘Yes!”

It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up, after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what you sustains you, from the inside, when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

- Oriah Mountain Dreamer, Indian Elder

Monday, May 9, 2011

I've been working on the book now pretty consistently all day every day now. It has been an interesting and rewarding process. Doing a demo in person allows for nuance and variation in a serendipitous kind of way. Writing technical information in a step by step process is so very different. You have to find nuance in a totally different way. It isn't like writing poetry or descriptive narratives either. I keep wondering how I can incorporate that into the book. It is so much a part of who I am as an artist. Perhaps they'll let me put bits of poetry and quotes in the margins of the book. That would please me greatly.

With all this writing I still need to visually create as well. So I started this small (at least for now) fiber collage using pieces of fabric I painted with Pebeo Steta Color and Seta Silk.  The darker pieces was just a small scrap of fabric I randomly painted. The larger pieces are scraps from my silk organza jackets. In between writing and pacing I allow myself to wander over to this piece. It has been a long time since I worked this way and I am loving it! Sometimes all I do is move a few pieces around, then write again before I head back to the collage to see how it is looking.

This is the jigsaw puzzel I tell buyers about. The kind of puzzel that doesn't come with a picture of the finished piece. All I know is when the pieces fit perfectly together. Although I do have vision now of where I think it may go.

On Sunday a small group of fiber artists met in the studio to show and tell, discuss work and process and progress. They are members of SAQA. 

Lovely artists and wonderful conversation that has fueled me and inspired me. Thank you.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Quote of the day

Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.  ~Henry Ward Beecher

Monday, May 2, 2011


It has been over a month since Craft Boston and I am still trying to catch up. I am working on the book and I am about to launch the new web site for the studio. So stay tuned for that.

I also managed to give the blog a facelift, and spend quality time thinking about this blog and who I am as an artist. I was thinking that I would like to be posting more often and what that would mean. It could and would I think, mean shorter posts, posts that include snippets of conversations, poetry, process and the work of artists that I admire. 

During Craft Boston I reconnected with Ann Brauer, a quilt artist who is from my neck of the woods. This is an artist I wrote about when I had my weekly art column at the Greenfield Recorder. I took these photos of her booth at the show and would like to share them now with you.  It is a bad shot of Ann (sorry Ann!) but a good shot of her incredible quilts. Enjoy.

This is Ann's web site and her blog.