Well, it is hot as Hades here, just like you would expect, except hotter. The church is concerned about me leaving the air conditioner on in the studio when I’m not there, although when I told the secretary that it was too hot to hang around up there if I don’t turn on the AC, leave, and come back, she understood and asked me not to leave it on if I won’t be there for 24 hours. But I’ve found that if I don’t leave the little window unit on low it just can’t catch up to the effect of the sun pounding on my windows all day combined with empty hot rooms around my studio on the third floor, so I’m bringing home some stuff for a while, at least until it gets out of the 90s every day.
Another reason I want to make my escape direction northwest!
I’m doing some kind of mindless stuff up there anyway. Sorting colors of scrap paper for collage, ironing and rolling up fabric scraps, organizing. This weekend I started painting shiny junk papers with gesso to give them a ground with some texture for printing. I collected a lot of book catalogs and calendars from work that have fairly sturdy cover papers and some interesting backgrounds, and I think that they would make a good collection of collage papers. Maybe for a journal.
Since I get drawn into so many directions of what I’d like to do next, I’ve had to give this subject of “what do I want to do” some deep thought since obviously I don’t have the time and energy to do it all. Tapestry is my first love, but I need to do something else sometimes. When I think about the tasks and techniques and art forms I do that give me the most satisfaction, they mostly have one thing in common. They use materials that would probably go to waste or languish in somebody’s closet or attic somewhere.
So, junk mail and fabric scrap collage and cloth strip weaving and fabric piecework it is for a while. Just playing and loving it.
Many thanks to Jude Hill for her training and inspiration in this area.
One thing the heat IS good for – drying these papers quickly
I’ve been participating in Jane Dunnewold’s Creative Strength Training Facebook group this summer. This is from last week’s prompt, which was to take a photo of yourself full-length and turn yourself into a tree. This photo is from my trip when I am high up in the central Oregon hills identifying the mountains on the horizons from the guide at my feet.
“The Hot Seat” – This is an unfinished project from the Abstractalicious workshop I took from Lyric Kinard several years ago. I am a beginning quilter so I have many mistakes ahead of me to learn from. I was upset and angry last week and adding some spiky stuff to this design seemed to help.
The butterflies don’t seem to mind the heat. I planted Joe Pye weed with the idea of making paper from the stalks, but the main purpose served has been food for the bees and butterflies
This time, from the studio that I rent at a nearby church!
I have this floor to myself these days, at least on the weekends and evenings when I can get here. I guess it is just too hot for most people. Turning on my little AC unit the night before and covering my east-facing windows with fabric panels is the only way to get it bearable. I’d leave it on all the time but this church struggles for money and I want to be good to them. I absolutely love this studio space.
Now I have an old laptop and printer here so that I can blog and print off designs and photos for my artwork. Life is good.
Back Forty update: I haven’t done a lot of gardening this year, due to physical problems this spring, and nowadays the heat and the mosquitoes are too much for this post-menopausal body to deal with.
The herb garden is full of black-eyed susans. Apparently the woodchuck moved on this year because last year it ate the heads off all of them. However, I did see a raccoon run across the yard yesterday, with birds shrieking behind it. The cat from across the street, Penny, has been hanging out in the Back Forty lately. I am a great admirer of Penny because she just doesn’t give a fuck about anybody but Penny, plus she looks almost exactly like Miss Jazz. I like that in a cat.
The tomatoes are in the whiskey barrel planters and under chicken wire cages, but most of them are dying. Guess I need to change out the soil or plant them elsewhere. In this small area it is hard to rotate crops! My butterbeans are not producing yet. I got a late start planting them and they will not flower when it is this hot. Guess that they will be a fall crop. However, I am beginning to harvest some field peas. A couple of ground cherry volunteers came up and are producing.
Even though I still am not in the mood for cooking these days, there is no excuse not to this time of year. Yesterday I went to the Greensboro Farmer’s Curb Market and bought milk, eggs, lettuce, soap, Sungold tomatoes, okra, corn and green peppers. The milk from Homeland Creamery was in the cow on Friday morning. How often do you hear that? The eggs were from pasture-raised chickens, the lettuce was hydroponically grown, the soap locally handmade, the tomatoes organic, and the corn, ohhh, that corn. I grew up on a farm where we never ever ate corn out of a can. My father grew enough Silver Queen corn so that July was a time when pickup truckloads of corn were shucked in the shade of the pecan tree in our back yard, then blanched, cut off the cob (Daddy had false teeth) and frozen for eating all year round. So when I tell you that the bicolor corn that Rudd Farm grows is the best corn I ever tasted, I do so with the voice of experience.
I shucked the corn, cooked it up, and it was delicious without any butter or salt. That’s how good it is. I was going to buy enough to freeze some for this winter, but the folks at Rudd Farm said that they will have it until frost, so there’s no rush. I then cut up the corn shucks into pieces about an inch long to freeze for papermaking later.
Physically, other than another annoying cold, I am doing much better since a visit to my chiropractor. I am taking naproxen sodium once a day and doing stretches for my hip, and I’ve been able to get to sleep fairly quickly most nights. Now I am trying Slo-Niacin for my high cholesterol. So far the flushing has been minimal, since I am following the directions to start out with 250 mg, take at bedtime, and to eat a little something and take an aspirin about 30 minutes before. I found out something very interesting when I researched niacin and cholesterol. I have been taking no-flush niacin for quite some time with no real improvement in my cholesterol. HOWEVER, I discovered that no-flush niacin is NOT the kind that helps cholesterol. I wasn’t told this by the salesperson in supplements or the doctor’s office! You need nicotinic acid for that. Here’s an article about niacin and cholesterol.
All in all, I feel happier and freer than I have in a long time, if I don’t pay attention to the news. If I do that, then I crash. I feel helpless.
So, time to sew!
I finished the painted weft weaving today. Part of the charm was not knowing exactly how it would turn out. I find that the strong horizontal line in the almost exact center bothers me. I think that I’m going to hem back one edge to push it more toward the rule of thirds, then mount and frame it.
The strong browns and blues on the “back” of the weaving pleased me but they overwhelmed the original idea, which was a tidal pool on a Pacific beach.
One of my co-workers suggested that if I flipped it, the “sky” becomes ocean and waves, and the “beach” becomes sky at sunset.
I like that. It has taken a life of its own. Now I have to figure out what to name it.
This has been fun and I believe I need to play with this technique some more, since I’m learning what works for me as I go. Time to order some white bombyx silk again, unless I can find what I’m sure I already have somewhere.
The back of the weaving is fun too. The little loops are how I adjusted the weft to place the colors where I wanted them.
Thanks, Pam Patrie, for teaching me. This was dyed at one of her workshops.
Oh, and I’m trying to get back into sketching, collage, and book art too. I love to draw when I make myself take the time to do it. This is a quick sketch of one of my mother’s cacti which now live in my office. It has been blooming for a couple of months. Ordinarily I’d call it a Christmas cactus but it doesn’t bloom at Christmas.
Collage is on my mind too. I bought several books on collage at Powell’s when I was in Portland, and I’m looking forward to a Paper Painting workshop with Elizabeth St. Hilaire at Art Makers Denver in September, as well as a book workshop with Leighanna Light, where I’m sure to pick up some skills with working with metal and found objects in book making. I’m combining these workshops with a visit to my aunt and cousin.
I love Colorado. It is still high on our list of where we may end up if we are ever able to retire.
Sandy and I can be incredibly lazy most of the time, but this past weekend we both got a lot done. A lot of grocery shopping and house cleaning. I spent most of Sunday in the studio at the Church of the Covenant. Turning on the air conditioner on Friday night was the key to having it comfortable all weekend. I sewed another large denim panel, then concentrated on cleaning and organizing the studio. I had a huge pile of fabric scraps and old shirts on the table. By the end of Sunday I had ironed them all and sorted them into different bins. I rolled the fabric pieces so that they wouldn’t get wrinkled again.
Also working on this sweet little woven piece with the dyed silk weft I painted when I was at Pam Patrie’s workshop in May. I had to fiddle with it to get the right width, but it’s working! I think that the key was to make the width shorter so that I have room to put the weft where I want it on the front, make the back side of the card a contrasting color, and paint the edges so that you can see where the sides should be. Also, really saturate the weft with the dye. The second and third photos are of the card I painted it on.
It’s kind of mindless fun, and easy to haul around for a project for the road. It will be interesting to see how it looks when I get to the blue area on the back.
I’ve written about cooking lambsquarters before. They are easily foraged if you can find a place that isn’t sprayed with herbicides or other pollutants. This article from Mother Earth News is informative about other uses for this “weed.” I have some growing among my black-eyed susans right now and I’ll pick them for some nutritious tasty greens and beans tonight.
Here’s a post from back when I was food blogging and participating in an international Eat Local Challenge, back when almost everybody, including the Greensboro restaurateurs, didn’t understand the local food movement: https://slowlysheturned.net/2006/05/08/elc-day-seven-lambs-quarters/. I cooked them with white beans and garlic and a little liquid smoke to get that hamhock flavor. Of course you can cook them with bacon or pork…at the time, I couldn’t get local or humanely raised pork.
Also, I should point out from my article that I no longer support Gann and Faucette Farms, who are no longer at the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market after a prolonged public battle about enforcing market rules that required vendors to grow what they sold. It is likely that the beans and mushrooms I referenced in the article were not actually local. And sadly, Deep Roots Market, while still a good source for organic foods and supplements, has changed their business model to the point where I consider it to be a different business using the DRM name. I’m still an owner, but I’m unhappy with the changes. I have some hope that the new board members and owners voting with their buying decisions may bring it back to its former mission.
My, how things have changed after ten years. Pretty amazing.