Friday, May 25, 2018

New Work

My latest piece, titled Enigma, is done!

Another in my appreciating uncertainty series, it draws inspiration from the endless paths and nonpaths traceable in tree bark. The black silk is a commercial fabric but all the other cottons and silks are my own hand-dyes.

This is also another in my heavily textured series that is handstitched with perle cotton. It is 22 x 24".

Linked with Off the Wall Fridays!

Sunday, April 29, 2018

A Day

I awoke yesterday morning feeling punky in the stomach and punkier in the spirit. I have felt that the days are slipping through my fingers with little of substance getting done. This day looked to be another scattered collection of moments, betraying the scattered aspects of my mind. And so I began to record:

Brief strength training
Rinsed silk that I had dyed yesterday and put it in wash
Grabbed breakfast as I read the local paper
Rinsed silk final time and hung out to dry
Printed out a few Clarks Pond Watershed Association flyers to hang from doorknobs of new home                owners
Went to Newburyport Literary Festival: lecture by Stephen Greenblatt on newest book on the           
              Adam/Eve story
Watched Tom take part in Tai chi saber demonstration on waterfront
Ate less than spectacular lunch ( not good for the punky stomach) and spectacular scones from  
              bakery in Tannery
Listened to Ramie Targoff talk at Newburyport Art Association about her new biography of Vittoria                Colonna, an unknown to us but influential Renaissance woman, and saw Lit, a beautiful 
               exhibit by Sue Charles
Took silk off line and evaluated color
Discovered hostas coming up
Checked on peach tree with its first year of blossoms
Walked to town to sale at health food store
On way home met new owners of house around corner that we had been wanting to invite to join our                pond association
Talked to another neighbor who is going through a tough time
Helped Tom carry kayak down to pond
Walked Terra and met and talked for a while with owner of house around another corner who is
              usually walking unfriendly dogs so we don’t talk
Put out hummingbird feeder
Wished daughter and son-in-law a happy anniversary
Stitched on monster project while spaghetti cooked
Ate dinner
Answered emails while Tom did dishes
Stitched while watching The Post
Typed this list up
And the plan is to meditate, shower, read more of Ordinary Grace and then to sleep. . .  .

The list does not mention all the meaningful/meaningless exchanges that Tom and I shared nor does it mention the Great Heron on the pond that distracted me as I set up to do strength training and sent me searching for my camera so there are many unrecorded moments woven into this list. But perspective counts and laying out a day like this, observing this day changes perspective. Even though many things I planned to do did not happen, like raking the leaves off the bed in the side yard or clearing part of the pile of papers on my desk, the scattered aspects began to take on the look of a Christmas tree not filled with matching ornaments but full of a multiplicity of different ornaments each with its own story that made up a glittering, colorful whole. It was a day I lived not a day I wasted. My stomach and my spirit were much less punky at the end of it. And now let's see what this day brings.


Friday, April 13, 2018

Works of Art

One of the highlights of the past couple of years for me was my joining a new fiber arts critique group. There are seven of us (Betsy Abbott, Tarja Cockell, Sue Colozzi, Janis Doucette, Anne Kimball, Alanna Nelson, and me), who all live north of Boston about a half hour at most from each other, allowing us to meet once a month to talk about work we have brought and generally cheer each other on in our endeavors.

This month we took our very different styles and techniques and put them into a group exhibit, Art of the Stitch, at the Memorial Hall Library in Andover,  a beautiful old building that poses its own set of challenges for hanging artwork. Usually the artwork they hang is framed paintings by one artist, but after bringing in stacks of quilts and spending an afternoon trying to get the right balance and color flow we thought we had something that would work weaving between computer screens and exit signs--on a strong green wall. And after the library staff got the work up on the walls we were pleased. We had created another work of art from all our disparate pieces!

The photos I include require some imaginative connecting on the part of the viewer since there were few good vantage points to shoot from.

We also were able to fill a glass cabinet with smaller works and were surprised again with how well the works fit together:

On Tuesday we celebrate our work and our compatibility with an Artists Meet and Greet at the library. Seeing this exhibit in person (like seeing fiber art) is definitely preferable to seeing it in photos:


Linking with Off the Wall Friday!

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Of Photos and Life

I found myself in the midst of a number of art-filled events this week but, since I forgot to take pictures, did they really happen? I have never been good at recording memorable events with a camera and this seems to have carried over into my art life, where artists are expected to record (and post) details of their work and accomplishments. And I too often fail at this.

On Thursday the fiber art critique group I belong to got together to lay out a show we will be having in April at the Memorial Hall Library in Andover, MA. Trying to coordinate the work of seven very different artists and fit it the space we had was a challenge but we managed to come up with what looks like a great show in less than three hours. It won't actually be hung until Mar. 3 so we'll see how our vision transfers into real life. But I took no photos so you will just have to imagine the many, many quilted pieces that ranged from the quiet tones of eco prints to the bright purples and oranges on an octopus laid out at various points in the library as we shifted pieces and suggested changes and gradually reached consensus.

Thursday evening I saw many of the same people at the artists reception at a new gallery in Malden, MA, called appropriately The Gallery. The show, curated by Janice Doucette, was an invitational called Land & Nature Scapes that brought together the work of 12 fiber artists in a beautiful new space. I, of course, took no pictures. But here is a photo of the piece I entered in the show, Forest Geometry.

I did get some support for my lack of photo-taking from an article published recently that suggests that we do not remember the events we take photos of as well as unphotographed events. So I can tell myself I was immersed in the experience  and photos would have changed that. And I did indeed enjoy catching up with fellow artists I had not seen in many months, meeting some new people, and looking at the inspiring work on the gallery walls. And, since good art attracts more good art, we were treated to a surprise concert by Northbound, an a capella group who sing Scandinavian music in amazingly tight harmonies. Top that off with a memorable meal at a local Ethiopian restaurant and that was one good day!

Hope your week has been good whether you photograph it or not!

I am linking (a bit late) with Off the Wall Fridays.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Tree Love

Yesterday morning I woke up to this scene outside my studio window:

After four years of living in New England, I now know what many of the varied weather events are that the term nor'easter covers. This one involved lots of very wet snow that broke tree branches and pulled down power lines. The branches of that elm tree in the middle of this picture are dangerously drooping but the fates were with us. We lost a good-sized magnolia in the front yard but no major limbs from our big trees and our power didn't even flicker. 

All this tree focus is a good introduction to my annual Valentine project. This year Tom received a little 10 x 9" quilt from me, inspired by the crossing limbs of a Norway maple and a slippery elm in our backyard. 

I have learned from experience that I need to plan these out so that they are small enough that I can get them done in a brief slice of time borrowed from the other projects I am working on but they have to be in a semi-finished state by Feb. 14.  This one still does not have the facing sewed down in the back and needs a sleeve and label but I was pleased with myself for getting it as far along as it is this year.

If you are still reading, thanks for the company and I hope winter is dealing kindly with you.

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Friday, February 9, 2018

Bugs Again

As soon as I made a definite decision to put my insect project (see this post for details) on hold for a while, this critter walked across my windowsill.

It's a Western Conifer Seed Bug and has become a common sight in our houses in the wintertime. As its name implies, its home should be in the western US but since the nineties it has been making itself at home in the eastern states, where I live. It is just looking for a warm place to be, as we all are doing, but this is a bug (and he is a true bug) I find very hard to like. Its revenge on anyone trying to crush it--or even move it outside--is an unforgettable smell. And it makes little difference that it didn't make it into the Stink Bug family but is classed with the Coreidae or leaf-footed bugs.   

Because insects are few in number in February, I carefully moved this guy into a magnifying jar without setting off a stink bomb and for the first time really looked at it. And there on its back was a beautiful glyph-like marking on its brown wing covers. So I took some time out from my bigger project to capture it in fabric, a simple reminder of the value of looking closely. 

And now back to this--

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Friday, January 26, 2018


I could blame it on the several snowfalls that changed the view outside my studio window into a world I have seen so many times before but yet always looks new, always brings out that little breath stop of surprise. Just as no two snowflakes are identical, no two snowfalls are ever quite the same.

Or I could blame it on the ice that followed as I walked the dog with cleats on my boots and horror stories of falls friends or friends of friends have taken echoing in my mind.

But more of the blame for not writing a post rests on the nature of the series I am working on right now. I am well into three pieces using my heavily textured, hand-stitched technique.  I am making progress but I do slow art and I'm not sure anyone wants to read: "Finished ten rows of stitching and added three gradations of gray and a medium turquoise to the piece," even though I thought the week a magnificent success.

In lieu of writing about what I am actually doing as I focus on getting something done for a deadline,
I will include a photo of something that I'm putting on hold for a while--one of my insect blocks (see here if you don't remember this project). This five-inch square, patterned on the compound eye of a butterfly, which is made up of 12,000 to 17,000 photoreceptors or "eyes," was one I began last spring. But I did add the final few French knots this week.

So welcome to 2018, and, if you are still reading, thanks for the company!

Linked with Off the Wall Fridays