My muse was waiting for me in the mountains. The collage with the stick and feather was started at Lake Waccamaw. The one with the creek stones is in progress, and the rocks have a bit of mica/pyrite/gold glitter in them. That one and the blue green collage are based on lyrics from Stairway to Heaven.
I have managed to get started in the studio again – there’s nothing that I am over excited about happening BUT I have actually started weaving on Cathedral again and glued some stuff down for collage and doodled a pretty good page during a long Zoom meeting.
As far as Cathedral goes, I finally worked out why I couldn’t weave it for so long. The tension is terrible…so uneven and I tried warping and rewarping this sucker for a solid month before I finally said fuck it and started weaving it anyway. So, after all this time and work I became terrified because it is definitely going to have puckers and and crazy tension problems when it comes off the loom, and I just couldn’t bear to think about it. I was already suffering from severe depression and that just added to the pain.
But all that work and time is wasted if I DON’T finish weaving it, and once I get it off the loom I can warp it with a much shorter warp (at the time I was warping for multiple tapestries – big mistake) and begin another weaving. Now the plan is to be less persnickety about the details and get it to a place that is even on the top and finish it as a smaller tapestry.
^Lighting makes a big difference in how we perceive color. I chose the cool lighting on the left.
Today we are getting some remnants of Hurricane Laura moving through but it’s not bad at all. Sandy and I have decided to go to Haw River State Park tomorrow for our adventure since the weather report is a bit better and I don’t want to stop the studio energy.
I do need to remember to take frequent breaks for my back and neck and shoulders. Yesterday my massage therapy studio emailed to say that they will be re-opening soon for existing customers and I hope that my therapist will continue to work there. I have been seeing her for about four years almost every month until after January. I canceled my February appointment due to bad allergies and at the time we didn’t know that they would be shut down so long.
The good thing about working from home most of the time is that my physical problems are much much better, which leads me to believe that I don’t get up and move enough when I am in my office. Here I can take my laptop to the porch, or to the sofa, or to the bedroom, or answer email on my phone. I get up and play with the cats, take breaks lying down if my back or neck hurts. Teleworking has been good for me.
Not doing too well mentally, though. I brood a lot in my bedroom, play games to numb my brain. Read a little. I can’t watch TV or videos for long – I wish I knew why. It would help to have that distraction and to be able to focus on online workshops.
Okay, break over. Back to Cathedral. I am accepting that it won’t be getting into any shows for technical skill, but it is worth finishing, puckers and all. Who knows, maybe I will be surprised.
Although I am sunk pretty badly, I am not in the hole so I’ve been able to laugh from time to time and do a little bit of art-making. Between Crystal Neubauer and Roxanne Stout’s online classes, I’ve been encouraged to doodle and follow my intuition. I would like to do more but I have almost accepted that my brain is gonna do what it’s gonna do, or not do anything at all. The main thing I’ve been able to do is work on this Tunisian crocheted weather scarf while we watch Doc Martin. Combining Tunisian knit and purl stitches has kept it from rolling up, but the edges are pretty awful. Practice makes perfect, I guess, and I’ll go around the whole thing with a slip stitch or something to firm up those edges.
For Roxanne’s “Notebook Journeys” class, I needed a spiral bound watercolor paper book, but all my watercolor paper is in pads. I do have quite a few spiral bound sketch books, so I am using a 9×12 landscape book and folding and pasting the pages to make them heavier and convert it to a 9×6 portrait oriented book. I’m trying very hard to use up what I have before buying more supplies. This studio space is still bursting at the seams.
It’s been fun to doodle in, especially with ink washes and Pitt brush pens. I’m going to do some sewing and writing, maybe a little more collage. Cutting some pages and seeing how they interact with the pages before and after is an interesting exercise.
As for the collage – well – my plan to make one 4×4 collage per day fell apart 3 days in. I love collage but I don’t love glue. I mixed up some Yes paste and Golden acrylic satin glaze according to Crystal’s method and I hope that will help with the papers curling so badly. The consistency is very thick and I might have to mess around with it some more.
When I am awake at 3 a.m. I keep thinking about cloth. So eventually I will be playing with that again. I could not explain to you why I am not doing it right this minute.
I am spending a few minutes at a time tying on a new warp. Maybe I will get these curtains finished before the end of the year!
Looking back to yesterday. I did garden clean up, threw down some fertilizer, and put in a small area to plant peas with metal hoops and the screen fabric I saved from when we took down the gazebo roof and screening. Inside I planted Zephyr squash, tromboncino squash, and some kind of cucumber seed that I got at a seed swap and no longer know what it is. One luffa gourd seed. Gosh, maybe I should be crazy and plant two, ya think? They might come in handier than I expect one day.
One thing about being a papermaker is that I can always make my own damn toilet paper, thank you very much.
Since I will be doing a lot of collage, I inventoried and found that the only thing I am short on is PVA glue so I ordered that from Amazon. As long as I was doing that I ordered some Equal Exchange hot cocoa mix and coffee beans.
My main goal today is to get some more yard/garden work done, and prepare for some online classes. I need some easy projects to pick up between phone calls and emails and breaks from work that don’t require a lot of brain power too, so I’ll put together some stitching projects.
I have a Coronavirus Chronicles art journal going, from a book I made in a class with Traci Bunkers eleven years ago. I have a bunch of postcard sized junk mail and I’m going to sand and gesso them for a junk mail journal and collage.
I got out the Nature Journal I did in Roxanne Stout’s Mixed Media Nature Journaling class from Art-is-You Petaluma 2014 and found that it is mostly done as a photo and sketch album of the trip, with many photos from Cornerstone Gardens in Sonoma, California. I can do backgrounds for these pages since many of the photos are barely attached and sew in the photos. Fun!
Roxanne is offering this workshop free online (without the trip to Cornerstone Gardens, of course) on her website under workshops. Check out all her workshops. I love her style.
Other free art stuff: as always, Jude Hill’s web site is a treasure box. Please send her a donation.
Karen Abend is offering a free workshop called Sketchbook Revival that begins on Wednesday.
Many art communities are revving up on Facebook. Seth Apter and Crystal Neubauer are two that I love for collage and mixed media. Oh gosh, I cannot possibly name all the inspiring artists on the web and Facebook.
Of course there are literally thousands of online classes available for a fee. Support your artist teacher community at a time when they are reeling from their workshops being canceled. Personally, I don’t like learning through video for some reason. I don’t even like watching movies and TV that much for very long. I much prefer books. But I have taken quite a few classes online and I’ve learned a lot and had some fun. I just take a whole lot longer to finish them.
My next-door neighbors got home last night from Thailand. Whew! I was worried about them, and I still am considering that they just flew halfway across the world in airplanes. It’s good to have a child growing up on the street again.
Here is Pablocito to say that every little thing is gonna be all right.
I do not have many photos from this workshop, a sign of excellence for me. It means that I was so much in the present moment that I forgot to take photos. It is generally hard to get into one of Leslie’s workshops because they fill quickly, but someone canceled and I took their place. Leslie Marsh has a beautiful home and studio on one of North Carolina’s barrier islands at Topsail Beach.
A trademark of Leslie’s book workshops is natural dyeing. She studied with India Flint and developed her own techniques of eco-printing. I particularly like Leslie’s method because she skips the mordanting step and puts everything in the dye pot. When we wrap our papers and fabrics with leaves around copper pipes, all we need to do is wet them and bind them tightly to the pipes. Then she pops them into her potion and they come out transformed. I have found that I do not like the mess of natural dyeing and so this is like heaven for me – the magic without the prep and clean-up. I am not fussy and precise. I enjoy the surprise.
This particular workshop was special because it definitely took me out of my comfort zone. We learned Leslie’s method for her metal book covers, which involves liquidified solder! Leslie is a wonderful, patient teacher and gave each of us individual help as we used these tools and methods for the first time.
We spent a cold Saturday preparing the dyed and leaf printed papers and wool felt, and metal covers for our books. Then we spent Sunday binding the books with coptic stitch, which I do so seldom anymore that I always need a refresher. The second photo of the finished book was taken by Leslie.
I took a little while during the lunch break on Sunday to visit the beach and collect some shells. I love the old worn out ones with holes in them. Sandy mostly stayed in our room at the Jolly Roger because he was sick on Saturday, but he revived on Sunday and drove around exploring while I finished my book. Our room was oceanfront, and I was really impressed with these surf fishers who were out there even late at night. Because he was sick we didn’t eat out Saturday night but we had appetizers and dessert at the Beach Shop Grill on Friday night. Their crab balls are exquisite. Expensive restaurant though. We couldn’t afford to eat there often if we lived nearby.
Anyway, I would take every workshop from Leslie Marsh that she offered if I could.
Suddenly I feel like Miss Piggy today. Couldn’t tell you why.
A lot of things have happened since I last posted. I stopped paying to have my blog ad-free and the ads are pretty disgusting, so I may break down and upgrade to a paid account. I hate to do it, because between that and paying for my photos to be hosted on Flickr, that adds up to over $100 per year. I can’t really let the Flickr account go because I have linked most of my photos to that account. That would be an enormous amount of work to correct that. Plus, I really am attached to my domain name. I’ve had it since 2005. The thought of letting it go has become more intolerable to me.
I am going to convert this over to more of an artist website, and my postings to Facebook and Instagram should appear on the sidebar. But that will take a while. Maybe over the winter break. I’ll have made a decision about whether the cost is worth it by October.
^^^Pablocito, studio assistant, and the reason why there is aluminum foil everywhere. (He doesn’t like it.)
I took a week’s vacation at home in late July because it was slow at work and I have a lot of vacation time built up. It was marvelous. Really, I almost preferred it to traveling.
The first thing on my agenda was to warp up this “new” Beka rigid heddle loom for a sakiori workshop later that week. It was not anywhere near as simple as I thought it would be, and by the time I rewarped it and got the tension right, it took three days and some help from a friend! However, now I know some things I should and shouldn’t do with this type of loom. For one thing, I doubt that I will put three yards of warp on it again.
This patchwork from Jude Hill’s online class (see below) really scratches an itch for me. I love that it is portable. The only problem is my hands can’t take as much hand sewing as I would like to do. My sewing machines (plural) are a constant pain in my ass to keep running and maintained, but I did abuse them pretty badly when I was doing the denim and t-shirt quilt projects. It still amazes me that you can buy a new cheap machine for as much as it is to repair one.
Anyway, bitching aside, I LOVE making these little “puzzle pieces” and putting them together in different ways. It reminds me of my favorite toy growing up, which I think was sold by Tupperware. It was like Legos, but with tiny little pegged pieces in different shapes that could be pushed into a plastic grid. I constantly played with it sitting on the den floor, and I still have a box with the pieces somewhere. It drove my father nuts because he was always stepping on them.
Later that week when I felt like dealing with warping a loom again I caught up on the Rebecca Mezoff/Sarah Swett “Fringeless” online class that I began LAST SUMMER, and by the end of the week, I had this Mirrix loom warped and ready to go. The warping method produces a four selvedge tapestry that is ready when it comes off the loom, no sewing in ends or hemming edges required. To be honest, it was pretty easy once I got the hang of it.
Then on Saturday, I went to the sakiori class that was taught by Dawn Hummer of Saori Song Weaving in Chapel Hill, and sponsored by the Triangle Weavers Guild in a great space that they rent on an ongoing basis in an old school near Durham. I didn’t really learn that much, and I don’t need any encouragement to cut loose and play, but it is always good to hear how and why other artists do what they do. I got to see Saori looms and how they work, and that was really cool. It was fun and that was the whole point. I decided to make some pieces to use as book covers. Here is the first one. There is room on the warp for many more.
In other news, I’ve had to learn how to live without air conditioning for a few days. I hope it won’t be much longer. It is good for me to be reminded not to take this for granted. Work is revving back up with the fall semester classes beginning in only two weeks. The Tapestry Weavers South retreat is in nearby Elkin, NC on Labor Day weekend, so I have that to look forward to. After that, I doubt I will be able to afford any other art retreats or workshops because I am going to have to dip into my savings to pay for the Ireland trip before January, and to be responsible I will pay my savings back. It will be totally worth it to go back to Ireland, where I belong.
In Truchas, we stopped at Josefina Gordh’s studio and saw her dyed, printed, and painted silks and velvets. We went to Bill Loyd’s amazing studio and gallery where his sculptures graced the property and bells hung everywhere. I really wish that I could afford one of his big bells. They have such lovely low tones.
We ended up having a great conversation with Donna and Ramon Cortina at their home/gallery and walked away with two plates that we are going to hang on our wall. (Photo later, hopefully when I find the other missing photos.)
Another photo from Truchas: I’d love to buy this gallery space!
That evening we drove to Dixon to have dinner at Zuly’s where I had the shrimp tacos on the advice of a regular who was there. Good choice! Then we had to find a gas station, which are not abundant in that country, so we drove down highway 68 along the Rio Grande River to find one. I did not take photos because there was just no way to capture it, but it is a gorgeous drive. We came back up through Chimayo and drove around a bit more to watch the sun going down over the mountains, then relaxed in our beautiful getaway for the night.
On Saturday morning we headed back to Chimayo. I wanted to visit Centinela Traditional Arts, the home gallery and studio of the tapestry artists Lisa and Irvin Trujillo. I had seen Irvin’s work at the Denver Art Museum and while we were there, Lisa was weaving on a floor loom and her daughter spoke to a Road Scholars group about the history of tapestry and blanket weaving in the area. The heavenly scent of freshly washed and dyed wool wafted through the building. I miss that. I bought a couple of small purses.
We had lunch at Rancho de Chimayo again, mainly because Sandy had left his credit card there, but also because we really liked it the first time! Those sopaipillas with honey, mmmm.
Then we went to the famous Sanctuario de Chimayo down the road. This church is known for being built on ground that has healing powers. The chapel has a small pit that pilgrims take dirt from and rub it on their afflicted areas and pray. There is a room with a rack of crutches that people left behind just outside the room with the pit. I’m not a Christian, but I figured since I was there it wouldn’t hurt to give it a try. So I followed the lead of the person in front of me and rubbed the dirt on my hands, but I had to decide what to pray for. I decided that while I have several physical problems, if I could heal my depression, I could deal with the other stuff. So I asked the Holy Spirit to heal my spirit. So far it seems to have worked!
We stopped by Ortega’s Weaving shop on the way back to Truchas but it was nice but a bit too commercial for me. There were plenty of galleries open on the High Road on Saturday, so we headed back to Truchas.
Wednesday was Meow Wolf day!
It is difficult to describe this experience. Art, mystery, fun, music – an interactive experience for adults and children. Twisted in many ways. A blurb on the brochure wrapped it up pretty well, but not quite: “Like Pee Wee’s Playhouse on steroids.”
Basically you wander through this Victorian house structure within another building, where a family has disappeared. Throughout the house you find clues to what might be happening. Every door, cabinet, and drawer might open up a portal or a surprise. Once in a portal, there may be fantastical art, music making devices, retro video games, or films.
I found that if you scooted into a portal through a small opening, say, through the washing machine door or the fireplace, there was an adult sized door somewhere inside. WordPress won’t let me upload the videos, so click on this next photo to take you to the video.
Here’s another video link to click on below. Turn on the audio:
And one more video link to click on.
After Meow Wolf, we went shopping at the Palace of the Governors on the Plaza where the Indian artisans sell their work on blankets. I chose some nice earrings and Sandy bought a sand painting on a tile. We wandered in and out of shops. Sandy tried an oxygen infusion at an oxygen bar to see if it would help his altitude adjustment. It didn’t. I bought a book about Navajo weavers at a used book store.
Dinner was on the balcony patio of Blue Corn Cafe where I ate tamales and their associated brewery’s stout. YUM.
One of the very best galleries we went into was the Antieau Gallery, with the fiber art of Chris Roberts Antieau. As much as I wanted to take photos, I just took one of the poster outside. I may have to buy the book. The manager of the gallery was so informative and friendly, even though we were clear that we were just looking!
On Tuesday morning, we decided to tour a few of the bazillion art galleries in Santa Fe. Turns out that many places are closed on Monday and Tuesday, in case you are making plans, but there were plenty enough open. We headed over to Canyon Road and wandered in and out of several galleries there, and of course Sandy and I had to pose with statues. One of the galleries represented Donald Roller Wilson, who I fell in love with in the late 80s but had forgotten about. I was so surprised to see his work and the gallery owner was gracious enough to let me take a photo. Seriously, click on the link and open whatever it tells you to do. You won’t regret it if you love fun and weirdness and bizarre storytelling.
Then we drove up Old Santa Fe Trail to Museum Hill, where we spent an hour or so in the Museum of International Folk Art. That was a really overwhelming museum exhibition – so many fascinating and small objects on display. Photography was forbidden in the exhibition hall and that was a good thing, really. It took away my tendency to look at everything through a camera lens. Below is a puppet theater box from the hallway.
We ate salads and fish tacos at Boxcar in the Santa Fe Railyard District, then walked into the gallery Fritz, which to my surprise was listed on the Northern New Mexico Fiber Art Crawl and was having a terrific fiber art exhibit, “Photographic Evidence in Textiles” featuring the work of Gary Goldberg and Karen Hampton. There were large felted pieces and fabric works that were pieced and stitched and woven.
There was a lighted piece in a smaller gallery where the work was interactive. We all took some great selfies in there.
That night we met Cherie’s friends for dinner at the Plaza Cafe downtown on the Plaza. Cherie recommended that we try Indian tacos while we were there, preferably from a roadside stand in the reservations but we didn’t see any on that day. The Plaza Cafe had them and they were delicious. The description from the menu: “Fry bread topped with your choice of calabacitas, chicken, camitas, or came asada, beans, cheese, chile, lettuce, tomatoes, guacamole, and sour cream.” I had been curious about them after reading about them in the novel “There, There” by Tommy Orange.
Next post: Meow Wolf!