Thursday, February 28, 2008

It's Good to Be Green

Finally, some art! It's Good to Be Green is an invitational exhibit at the Latimer Quilt and Textile Center, in Tillamook, Oregon, curated by artist Larkin Van Horn. This innovative show runs from March 4 - May 4, with opening night on March 9th. I'd love to be at the opening but it's not going to happen. My piece, Define Green, has a large image transfer created from a 2x3" 19th century tintype*. The quilt measures 18 x 45", so the image is about 18" high. I love this piece. It is for sale, but I'd really hate to see it go.

You can see wonderful detail shots and an excellent quality overall image on the show CD, which includes 47 pieces total, 28 art quilts, 19 pieces of other fiber art, 39 artists from 18 states and 1 province. It's only $15 (including shipping) with a portion going to Habitat for Humanity. This is one of the best quality and visually interesting CDs I have seen. The detail shots are better than seeing the quilts in person.

On a funny side note: Larkin asked me to be in this show way back in 2006. The deadline was in the Christmas/New Years range. Because I usually get a few months notice from anyone needing work from me, I assumed it was due December 2006. So when December rolled around, I emailed her to tell her it was almost done. Turns out she said December 2007. I was a year early! Good thing too, the way my 2007 turned out.

*See more of my tintype collection and artwork in Lynne Perrella's new book.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Longing

Hop on over here to see some kangaroos in their unnatural habitat - on a golf course as photographed by Aussie student Sue Smith. Sue sent me a blog comment and a "You Make My Day" blog award. Thanks, Sue. It made my day!

I did not see one kangaroo the whole time I was in Australia - a year and a lifetime ago. I was in awe the whole time I was there and am now in awe that I was even there and that it was only a year ago. So many of my dreams have come true, so many goals achieved, it's no wonder that I sit here today and wonder where to go from here. There are so many things I want to do, so many I need to do and then so many things than I end up doing each day instead of the wants and needs. Or does that mean that what I am doing is what I really want. Here's my week so far:

Monday - Lunch and visit with Dad, Sam & Riley
Tuesday - 2 week check-up with Sam & Riley, babysit Emma, Annie & Kathryn 6-8 pm
Wednesday - Lunch with my 4 daughters/DIL and 5 granddaughters (1/2 day school)

The big studio clean has been on hold while I prepare for the Quilting Arts Festival taping, arrange for product testing for my new transfer technique (more on that later), and galavant around with my family. And the art? where is the art?

Fortunately for me, whle I was teaching in St Charles last October at the Foundry Art Center I signed up for a class with Laurie Doctor. A dear and lovely student, Peggy Wade, offerred me a place to stay and I booked my flight when I got home. A "no backing out" plan. I leave March 12th and will spend a glorious 4 days immersed in art, back in the saddle again, abstract painting and marrying of landscape and lettering. I have been looking forward to this for months. It's out of my comfort zone and a return to paint. I so miss it. Have I ever shown you any of my paintings? Perhaps next time. I was really into it until Kelly started getting into it as well, as an active and inquisitive 2 year old. But that was 11 years and another lifetime ago.

But back to how I spend my days (and I'm thinking out loud here): Ars longa, vita brevis. Art will always be here for me, but family will grow up, maybe move away, dad will move on and babies will one day choose lunch with friends over grandma. So I know this is the right thing to be doing right now. Yet I long to be creating, to pour out the love I feel and the life lessons I learn into something visible for all to see. It's almost as if I am back where I started so many years ago, with a house full of children, soccer, hockey and homework, and a longing so strong, so deep that it ached, a desire to create, to find and make meaning in my life other than though family. The beauty of the moment is that I am not back at the beginning, that I am mid-stride, mid-journey. I have walked the creative life, traveled the world sharing my passion and realized so many dreams and goals. It's a good thing that the longing is still there, that the fire still burns. But I also feel like the kid on the bleachers with my family watching everyone else in the game. I want to play...but it's not my turn. Am I even on the team right now?

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Week in Review

This was one of the high points of my week - literally, about as high as you can get. The lunar eclipse was right outside my front door. The night was frigid, but the cloudless sky and unobstructed view beckoned. I set up my tripod and made calls to all my kids to make sure they were witnessing it. Events like this are magical to me. Think about it - something as huge as our planet casting an ordinary shadow on an object as far away as the moon. It puts everything into perspective. It also astounds me that the whole hemisphere was watching it - everyone coming together for one purpose, to marvel at the sky. We may understand the science behind it now, but I believe it still holds the power and magic that it did so long ago.


Scaling back down from the largest of wonders to the smallest magic, these tiny hands hold a similar fascination for me. I have been under the spell of Riley's hands for days now...12 to be exact. Look how she has laced each and every finger together into a complete hand fold. Think about it - we fold our hands so very easily, without even thinking about it. But a newborn? Does folding one's hands come naturally? This child has the most expressive hands. They remind me of my daughter Kerry's hands. Long, slender fingers that look beautiful, even in repose. To me, hands are the most beautiful and expressive part of a person. People are conscious of their faces and will often hide or control their expression, but no one really pays attention to their hands. There's no masking or censoring there.

Remember Alfred Stieglitz's photographs of Georgia O'Keeffe's hands. Staring at Riley's hands is nothing new for me. I'll often sit and stare at my own hands. Pose them elegantly, envision photographs, paintings, drawings I want to do. But that's one thing I do not think I will ever be able to accomplish - translating my vision of the beauty of the hand into something tangible. So instead, I use my hands to create what I can, what I feel is beautiful. Use the beautiful to create the beautiful.

For the upcoming special issue Studios from Cloth Paper Scissors, they asked us what our favorite tool was. Yes, my answer was "My hands." I can't wait to see everyone else's favorite tool. Did anyone else say hands? I also cannot wait to see how my little congested bedroom studio plays out against all those other spacious, bright, dedicated studio spaces. Fortunately for me, and for many of you, I am sure, you don't need a grand studio to make grand work. What is important is that you create. Space or place is no excuse for not creating.

And that brings me to my other news for this week in review. I have been working on my classes for the upcoming online Quilting Arts Festival. It's a radically new format for taking classes. Several teachers have filmed one hour classes that will be presented online. I missed the first filming because of Riley, but I will soon be heading to Massachusetts to film my two classes. So yes, I will be teaching this year, right in your home, at your convenience. They're still working on the website and classes should be announced next week. Go there and sign up now so you'll be notified the minute they start taking registration. And better yet, if you like "home-study", order the Quilting Arts TV DVDs. I have small segments on 3 different shows. 13 shows in all, LOTS of gorgeous quilts and mixed media ideas.

So, please, go create something today. Choose the place, find the space. Let your hands be your inspiration. Mark-making, handprints, finger-painting. The power lies within your hands. Start and the art will follow. More than any other part of the body, our hands reveal our inner state. ~ Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

It's a Start

threadartThe problem with cleaning your studio is that it is comprised of a lot of small organizational tasks - little steps that, for the most part, don't amount to much until the whole studio is clean, everything has a place and everything is in its place. For me, I'm not so sure that everything will have a place. In the process of unearthing stuff, I found this empty box that I must have purchased for threads. So I took the time to fill it. In an artful way of course, colors matching, a pleasant composition (line, symmetry, repetition, balance). Making art while making order. I wish all of the tasks were as colorful and artistic.

This cleaning is step one of my return to the studio. I honestly have to say, that after 2+ years of neglect and piles/piles/piles, I can no longer function in there. And did I mention that it is in my bedroom? I can see the light at the end of the tunnel - the soon-to-be empty bedroom that will become my studio, but for now, it's still my bedroom.

last nite's skyI live in a 1930s east coast colonial but marvel of marvels, I have 2 walk-in closets in my bedroom. At least they were built as walk-ins. Until this month, I have not been able to walk into them. So far I can walk into one of them. It had 2 sets of stacking drawers and and 2 old cardboard boxes of papers. One was 99% kids school papers/letters/drawings, the other was a box of things I'd saved - you know the kind...magazine pages, ideas jotted down, snippets of poems, quotes, articles printed out from the Internet - all those things you think it's important to save because you might someday need them. I widdled that box down to a small stack and it was a lovely walk down memory lane.

Then I tackled the drawers. I bought these drawers probably 10 years ago when I first discovered rubber stamping. When we ALL discovered, or more properly, rediscovered it. I have quite a large stamp collection, many never used. I acquired and acquired before I learned something about myself. I don't like to use ready-made stuff. Other than alphabet stamps, I just never got into stamping. I love the designs, but they just never fit in to what I was doing. So here's the deal, dear readers...

As I clean, I am setting aside everything that I have accumulated other the years that I now know I will never use. It's all good stuff, primo, much of it. But over the last 10 years one of the (many) things I have discovered is myself - my artist self, my style. I now know what I like and what I will use. I need to clean out my space to make space, both physical and mental for new ideas, new paths, new art. Once I have gone through the majority of my stash I am going to create Treasure Boxes - whatever will fit into a Priority Mail flat rate box becomes a Treasure Box. There will be several, of that I am certain. I will try to theme them - dolls, angels, grunge, fabric, lace, vintage and new. Whatever, wherever the flotsom and jetsom leads. And there will be books. I have lots of books too. Perhaps a book in each box. We'll see. I'll be listing them on Ebay in the coming weeks and also having a blog giveaway (or two or three) so stay tuned. Things take a bit longer these days because I spend a lot of time staring at Riley.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Wishing you a Happy Valentines Day

My Little Valentine

How many times can one fall in love? I am happy to say that my heart is bottomless beyond belief, wide beyond imagination and yet filled to overflowing. This grandmother thing is the best deal in town. Two days ago I stopped by to see my trio of granddaughters who have been sick with a variety of February bugs and was greeted by 3 princesses. My camera was at home! Yesterday Julia came by to visit her new cousin and filled the house with smiles and laughter. And then there's Riley. She hasn't said a word, donned her princess duds or even acknowledged my presence, but at 4 days old she has charmed everyone she meets. That's what I love about babies. They put a smile on everyone's face and tear open even the firmest heart.

Sam has always been my fearful child. Heck - everybody is afraid at one time or another, but few are willing to admit it. Having a baby is a pretty scary proposition too. We all know the stories that abound about epidurals not working, 18-24 hr. labors, etc. With all the worried looks and the "I can't do this!" exclamations during her very routine and relatively brief labor, when it was all over and done Sam said, "That wasn't so bad."

I had the priviledge (again) of being in the delivery room, to see the creation of a new family. There is no greater gift or bond created than sharing this moment with your daughter. To watch her passage from daughter to mother. To see the fear fall from her eyes and heart as she becomes the mother, the protector, the one who makes everything allright. And allright it is. Sam's a natural. Riley is thriving, calm, a mellow baby with a rosy complexion and inquisitive stare. People say she looks just like her mother, but when she opens her eyes, hey, there's her father. Marc has what I call see-thru blue eyes, Carribean ocean turquoise. Of course Riley's aren't that color now, but the nursery nurse said she thinks they will sat blue because right now they are clear blue without a hint of grey - and we all know nursery nurses are quite the authority.

OK, enough grandmother stuff. As life slowly eases back to normal I will slowly ease back into the studio. I have some creating to do as well. My next post will bring you up to date on the other side of my life. I can't promise I won't slip in some grandmother photos or blurbs, but for the most part, I'll get back to the art. When I subtitled this blog over 2 years ago The intersection of art & life I didn't know there would be such a traffic jam. Thank you for coming along for the ride.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Riley Ann Crawford

I've been too busy to blog but Riley's two aunts, Kelly and Kerry, said I really need to post an entry, so here's a preview ~

Riley Ann Crawford - 2/10/08, 8 lbs, 4 oz. 21" of beauty. I definately think she has an artist's hands, such long fingers (& toes too!). Sam had an easy delivery. Marc was an excellent coach. Grandma got soem great photos. More tomorrow~

Friday, February 08, 2008

Still Waiting

Due day came and went. Yesterday the DR said, "No change." Sam went home a very disappointed Mom-to-Be. I remember those final days before the big one. I went past my due date with every single pregnancy. Back in "the day" they just waitied it out, didn't induce. I went 16, 17 days with 2 of them. Now they seem to want to induce anyone a week past due date. They checked her on the fetal monitor to make sure Riley was happy in there (the DRs medical term). She was, so Sam's induction is scheduled for next Wednesday, February 13th. That is also my son's birthday and my sister's is Valentine's Day. I'm secretely hoping the labor runs into the 14th, so I get another funny little Valentine.

We've spent the week renewing her drivers license, getting pedicures, shopping for all the February birthdays and enjoying the weekly MDDL (Mother/Daughter/Daughter Lunch. We started that lunch once my teaching/travelling days were over last year. It's a weekly thing now and we are "regulars" at Fuddruckers. It's kid-friendly, not too crowded and we can hunker down in a corner booth and relax. As Kathryn nears the terrible-twos and Julia begins to sit-up and reach for everything in sight, it's getting to be less than relaxing, but still fun. When Kathryn says, "Get down?" we know it's time to say our goodbyes.

I have a lot of art news and announcements to make but I don't want to start something I can't finish right now, so stay tuned. I know it's been a long, long time since I've showed any art, talked about art, made any art and I'm beginning to miss it. I feel like a volcano preparing to erupt. It's all in there and needs to come out. Those of you who stop by hoping to see some art, sorry to disapoint. I'm refilling the well and the spirit. I remarked to my friend that my life reminds me of the Byrds song, Turn, Turn Turn. Listening to it now takes me back. It was #1 in 1965 - 8th grade for me. What were you doing in 1965?

Sunday, February 03, 2008

No News Yet

I find it hard to focus on anything else right now, so I am spending my waiting time cleaning. Cleaning my room, my closets, my stacks of papers and boxes where things were tossed after hurried homecomings from far and near. Things that I have put off sorting through for the last 2 years (or is it 3?). I feel that I now have the luxury of time to devote to some organization. A cleaning out of the old and making room for the new. Creating not only space in my house, but in my head.

And I must share with you this new book I just started today. It's the book I think I've always wanted to write. I say "I think" because I've just read the introduction so I can't guarantee that everything in it will resonate with me, but so far, so good.

The title is The Red Book. I don't remember where I read about it - someones blog I'm sure. But it's just the thing for me right now. And small and lightweight enough to carry in my purse, so I'll have it with me at a moment's notice....if you know what I mean. All the Amazon reviews say, it's written for a younger crowd but appeals to the more "mature" woman as well. Hey - Gertrude Stein said we are always the same age inside. I'm young. How about you?