Studio talk

A new studio space!

We’re going to Elkin tomorrow for the day, where I’ll pick up the little Joan Griffin tapestry that I bought this summer from the Foothills Art Center gallery there. Our neighbors bought a small resort home near Stone Mountain State Park and they are up there about half the time these days. We are going to meet them for lunch at Southern on Main and maybe check out their place, depending on how we feel tomorrow. It should be a nice day and I’m looking forward to it.

I briefly considered renting studio space at the Chatham Mill Arts Center up on the floor where the Yadkin Valley Fiber Art Center is, but I quickly came to earth because I knew that whatever the perks, I would not drive a little over an hour to Elkin and back often enough to make the expense worth it.

However, since then, a new opportunity only a mile away in downtown Greensboro presented itself, and I took it. Our 50+ Artists Community group had a small get-together at the Piedmont Print Co-op at the Cultural Arts Center, which I did not even know existed. Jim Weaver talked about his printmaking and demonstrated how he prints a monograph with a rolling press there. I asked him about the co-op and how many people were in it, and it was just him! I guess when the pandemic shut the building down, the other members found other places to go.

So I looked up the information about the co-op, and it is only $40 per month to be a member. Hell, it’s worth $10 a week for me to have access to a big work table by itself, but there are other tables, two presses and a station for rolling out ink, a darkroom space (which is being used for storage right now), sinks, and storage for supplies. I signed up right away, and I have been shuttling over a few supplies every day after work. This wasn’t a great week to begin because I have a lot to do, but I got excited. Hopefully I will be able to use the space mostly on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. One other person has signed up this week as well.

I’m not going to use this studio just for printmaking – it is going to be my book arts and collage space and I might bring over the big upcycled shirt blanket I had almost finished before my last studio space was sold. Having a big table to piece the rest of the panels together will help a lot to get it done. I have no place to do that at home, but I can sew it at home. I’ve considered making another t-shirt quilt also, because that was a lot of fun and we have SO MANY t-shirts! Any fabric or fiber projects like that I will be moving back and forth from home, though – I just need to use that big table and display wall for those.

My woodcut and Speedy-cut blocks and carving tools have been moved over there, and I have ideas for my next steps. That’s really important, because lately my mind has not been able to focus in one direction.

We’ll see how this goes. I won’t move all my supplies over there, although Jim has encouraged me to. He doesn’t realize how much I have! If I use it at least once a week, I’ll keep doing it. If not, it’s on a monthly basis and I can stop. It will be nice to divide my studios and have more space in the weaving studio at home. I just have to make sure that I don’t fill it up with more stuff.

coffee pot posts, Coronavirus Chronicles, depression/anxiety, Studio talk

Slight movement

I spent most of the past 24 hours in bed, and boy am I feeling it. I was really surprised when I slept eleven hours last night, mostly solid. Sandy remarked that it is because of depression, and I suppose that he is right. Another reminder that depression is not sadness, because I don’t particularly feel anything at all. Sandy’s doctor wants him to wait 2-3 weeks before seeing him for his muscle weakness – he wants time for the statins to get out of his system.

My massage therapist is out of business now…so I guess it is up to me to get pain free again, and that won’t happen by laying in bed for hours.

I finished watching The Queen’s Gambit. This is why I don’t binge good shows. It’s so hard when you finish one and can’t decide what to watch next. I happen to be between good books also.

I did get a little bit of house cleaning and purging done. I vacuumed the curtains behind my bed instead of taking them down and washing them, and the molding around the window, and the plaster walls around it. Hopefully that will help with the allergies.

Searching for some particular pages in all my collage stuff proved to be frustrating, and so I purged a bunch of junk that I had at one time thought that I would use in collage. The truth is, it was just junk, junk that is easily replaced at any time, so into the recycling bin it went. A few more things went into the donation box.

I cleaned off and organized my studio table so that it is ready to go this afternoon. Guess I’d better get to it!

Coronavirus Chronicles, Studio talk

Thanksgiving weekend projects

A Take-Out Thanksgiving

I laid awake last night thinking of all the art projects I could finish or begin or work on this holiday weekend. We ordered a large turkey dinner with side dishes, dessert, and a quiche from Deep Roots Market so I don’t have to cook. I just talked with my sister on the phone for an hour, and I deeply miss her.

Then, looking at the mess on my studio table, I decided to open my laptop, at which time I realized that I still have about 6-7 years worth of blogging to finish up. Fortunately I did the big travel posts first, and I slowed down blogging considerably after I got on Facebook. So I may be able to knock this project out and forget about it in time to cancel that expensive Flickr Pro account.

I have a lot of WIPs to finish. The masks I cut out should probably be next. Then the woven cloth blanket that I was making from strips of Sandy’s old shirts and pants. It is awesome and I should finish it.

I have several online workshops that I am in the middle of or have bought and not started yet. I still need to get supplies to do the Leslie Marsh metal cover necklace book, and I am eyeballing Black Friday sales online. (Even though I celebrate Buy Nothing Day on Black Friday.) I bought both of Sharon Payne Bolton’s online workshops. All three of these workshops I have taken in person, but either didn’t have the motivation or the confidence or the information written down to continue working on my own. But all three of them were some of the best workshops I ever took, so it will be good to have the video versions to always go back to for reference.

One project still in my brain is to downsize my massive “old books for collage” collection by offering collage packs for sale. I have many old dictionaries, atlases, encyclopedia, and interesting old books in several languages. I am still working on this idea, but I will probably sell them through this blog and on Etsy. I still have my old store there, but it’s been in vacation mode for so long that it has totally changed and I will have to learn the software again. If you are interested, leave me a comment and I’ll make sure that I let you know when they are ready.

Okay, first things first. Food. Then clean off that studio table. Then transfer a year of Flickr photos to WordPress. Then sew masks. Yes, a plan.

collage, Studio talk

Studio Sunday

I piddled around for a long time yesterday and finally decided that I could at least do some backgrounds that I would collage over. This proves to be a great way to get started.

These started with old book pages, a 1931 newspaper page from the Oroville, Colorado Mercury-Register and hawthorns.

This morning I added some very thin old book cloth to the second one. I learned the hard way why I was advised not to soak the glue off the cloth. When it dried I found that the faint design that I loved on the cover was gone.

The reason I scrubbed most of the glue off the back was so I could incorporate a suggestion from a member of our collage study group – a piece of sparkling silver wrapping paper beneath the black cloth that would show through.

This one might be done after I glue this down.

The other one still needs something…even though I like the subtlety of the colors I want to consider adding contrasting pieces. I’m going to put it aside for a little while.

I got my hair cut yesterday and boy, did that make me feel better. And having this new phone camera that takes decent photos – golden.

Here are some shots of my “new” studio room.

Now I have to see if I can force myself to go over to the UNCG gardens and clean up my plots before I get my massage and grocery shop this afternoon.

Blather, bloggy stuff, Studio talk

Update – I’m still here

January was a busy month and February will be too, so you’re unlikely to see a lot from me. As far as this blog goes, I am, perhaps unduly, concerned about hosting my photos on Flickr. For one thing, they doubled their price since selling it, and for the other, their automation sends me erroneous billing messages which annoys me. I’m a curmudgeon, it’s true, but I am thoroughly sick and tired of software taking the place of human contact. I should become a hermit, I guess. Anyway, it has led me to spend some time transferring some of my most important photos to WordPress. It wouldn’t be a problem but I have to go into EACH POST and change the link to Flickr! OY.

The Italy trip is done now and in 2020 I will concentrate on one big travel series at a time, then the posts in between. Then I will set up some gallery pages for my art. When January 2021 rolls around again I will consider dropping my Flickr Pro account if I have finished up the link changes, but considering that I have been hosting my photos and linking to them on Flickr here since 2006, I wouldn’t be surprised if it takes me two years to accomplish this without wrecking my blog. I feel like I am being held hostage to Flickr.

I finally ordered a refurbished laptop from Dell.com only to find that it came with Windows 10 in Spanish only and could not be changed to English. So I returned that after a lot of phone time and confusing emails and ordered a Lenovo off eBay. I won’t be doing business with Dell again. I just received it, it seems to work fine, and it will be easier for me to post once I finish setting it up. I also have the Tapestry Weavers South website to update, and that will move to the front burner now that I have a laptop at home.

My other tech update will be when I either have my phone repaired or buy a new one. Then I will get back to taking a lot of photos, which will make me quite happy!

We moved my studio space to the room that I suppose should be the dining room and the (parlor/TV room/family room/den/living room ???? what to call this room?) TV, sofa, etc. to the front room where it is dark and cozy. The studio room has much better light. This meant that I purged a lot more stuff in January – looms, yarns, books, knick-knacks – about twelve boxes worth! In return we have some actual space in both rooms, and the cats are delighted with the new racetrack from the front room to the back, complete with throw rugs to slide across on the studio and the kitchen hardwood floors.

I completed the caterpillar four selvedge tapestry, but the top and bottom selvedges bother me and the choice of those little areas of kelly green appall me. What was I thinking? It is still a good piece so I am going to hem it heavily at top and bottom and take care of both of those things.

Oh, and I paid off my last installment on this art retreat on the west coast of Ireland. Ireland, my love. And an increasing interest in collage and book arts.

Studio talk

Sunday in the studio

So here are the two tasks before me today and through the end of 2019.

I am going to complete “Blackbird” and “Caterpillar.”

I am going to clean up the other side of the front room, which is currently piled up with junk. This is what I have been referring to as purgatory, where stuff goes to wait until it is burned or recycled. This is a big project but I am reaaaaaally done with walking in the front door every day to face this. By the end of the year, these piles and boxes shall be gone.

Plus I have a warm studio, and can even cook on top of this, but the trick is to keep it so that the heat doesn’t run me out of the studio. So no stovetop cooking today.

coffee pot posts, critters, depression/anxiety, Studio talk

Saturday morning coffee pot post

It is technically still morning. I couldn’t decide what I wanted to do this morning. The cool breeze on the front porch is delightful and it is so nice to share that space with my cats. Pablocito has taken to sleeping on the swing since Diego has won the battle of territory over the cat tower. I set up a table with a cushion next to the cat tower and Diego has claimed that too. It is odd that Pablocito rules the cat food bowls but Diego is Top Cat in all other things. Anyway, I’ve been re-reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and I made another pot of coffee.


Mr. Wiggleworm wouldn’t hold still.

I managed to make even more room in the studio this week, and several of my plastic containers are heading to Reconsidered Goods or Goodwill, thanks to a gift from ZhaK of several cigar boxes and tins and candy boxes and a basket. I tackled the dreaded top drawer of my mother’s dresser which I have been filling with whatnot on top of her stuff, and as most objects of dread are, it was not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. After four years I think I am coming to some peace about my mother’s passing.

Fringeless, the online class by Rebecca Mezoff and Sarah Swett, begins on July 9. I took apart my copper pipe loom with the idea that I’d use the pipes for dyeing, and then realized that I would need it for this class. This is the pipe loom that I had the problem of it torqueing under tension. I glued the joints back together with super glue, except for the connection with the feet, which I want to be able to remove or adjust, and I hope this will help the torqueing problem, otherwise I will be be looking for someone who will solder it for me.


My mind is calming down. I’ve been able to sleep better. Thinking about aging in place more as I’ve realized how difficult it would be to emigrate somewhere that is not hot and humid. We still plan to visit Portugal and Spain next year. I will try to talk Sandy into limiting it to Portugal. I’ve learned that the temptation to do more often leads to me feeling frustrated and exhausted. Sandy has always “had eyes bigger than his stomach” in most things, and while it is easy for him to convince me to go wider (who doesn’t want more of a good thing?), I am more of the opinion that it is better to go deeper.

The silver maple tree was supposed to be in the process of coming down today, but we had a miscommunication with the arborist, so it has been rescheduled to August 2. That was probably a good thing since a big storm came through yesterday and blew a lot of my tomato cages over. I will need to go out and stake them today. The high is only supposed to get up to 77 degrees today! So nice after days of 90 plus and humid, and we get to give our AC and fan motors a break.

I can’t decide what to do next in the studio. My hands are hurting from too much mouse use at work and game playing and book holding so I think that I might get the sewing machine out, see if it forgives me after the accordion book project. If not, maybe it’s time to open up my mother’s Singer cabinet. I will head down to Lake Waccamaw for a spell later and that will be a great place to hand stitch and dye, if I am good to my hands now.

Okay, that’s enough. The church bells are playing hymns (ARGHHHHHHHHHH) and so I know that it is noon. I also know that the name of the song is “The Church’s One Foundation” and I see and hear the inside of Bear Swamp Baptist Church, my mother and father next to me in the pew. This might seem comforting to others. I hope that one day it might be that way for me, because I do not foresee us moving from here nor do I foresee the church stopping its twice daily hymn playing.

But the day is beautiful, the flowers in the hugelkultur bed are beginning to bloom, and the garden is calling. This is a good place. I am lucky to live here.

Studio talk, Tapestry Diary 2018, weaving

MLK Jr. Day

A little progress. At least all the plastic bags are gone and the coned yarn is with the other cones. Will bring back a couple more boxes of fabric stash today from the other studio. That’s the main thing I have hoarded, and to think that I’ve already given so much away boggles my mind. I might wind some warp for the double weave rag rug project I began 3-4 years ago and abandoned. I’d like to get something going on the Macomber loom this year.

Very cold again today. Snow predicted tomorrow night. Hopefully light – we have stuff to do at work that can’t be rescheduled. I walk to work so it’s no big deal for me, but the schools around here shut down on just a prediction of snow and it affects other people’s ability to show up. Our office often has school-aged kids hanging out! They are very well-behaved, much more than I would have been at that age.

Studio talk, Tapestry Diary 2018

Tapestry diary progress

The gray area was a rainy Thursday. On Friday, a stormfront moved through, bringing more intense cold on its winds. On Saturday and Sunday, I moved boxes, purged, and shelved in the home studio.

I feel good about the organizing I’ve done in this studio so far. Trying not to do so much that I hurt myself. Installed a clip-on shop light in a dark corner and it makes a huge difference.

When I thought hard about what bothered me the most about working/playing in this studio, the first three things were dim light, too many plastic bags and cardboard boxes, and disorganization. I have a lot of clear plastic shoeboxes that I’ve dumped a lot of the plastic bags into. I want to be able to find what I need without opening every box and drawer, so I need more labels for the boxes that aren’t transparent. I also want it to be less cluttered.

I need to remember that there is more that needs to be moved over here. Tomorrow I’ll move a little more, and play on the sewing machine at the other studio.

Studio talk

The Studio

Yesterday I had a stroke of luck. After going to PetSmart to buy Frontline for the cats ($110 for 6 doses, OW), I went to the studio on Wharton St. to fill up the Chevy with what I could get into it. Had to take advantage of my high energy level! Susanne had hired a guy to clean up the yard and I was able to pay him $20 to deliver my shelf units to my house afterwards. Less than it would have been to rent a truck, and much more convenient!

So instead of weaving on Cathedral, I spent the rest of the day shifting stuff around. We have a long room at the front of our Craftsman house. It’s a little too narrow to work with very well. At one time we tried to make it our living room, but eventually we moved the sofa, TV, etc. in what was supposed to be our dining room. We never sat at the table anyway – it was a junk collector like our countertops are now. I moved my studio from the back building to half of the front room, and of course it is a mess just like every other place in the house!

We decided to put one of the shelf units in the middle of the room like a room divider. Now that I have more storage in here, I am looking at what you see when you first walk into the space. I’m going to move the more attractive stuff like cones of yarn and books to those areas, and try to keep my bookbinding/painting supplies in one area, my weaving and sewing to another. We’ll see how it goes. This may just be a subconscious effort to avoid weaving on Cathedral today, but I’m excited. It’s almost like getting a new studio. What I’d really love to do one day is to get a carpenter to put in wall to ceiling shelves on most of the wall space. I also need much better lighting.

Here are some before shots. Keep in mind that some of the junk is boxes to be donated to Reconsidered Goods or recycled. I’m planning to sell the Schacht Baby Wolf loom, but I think I’ll keep the Dorothy loom up high on the shelves so I’ll have a portable one if I ever buy a camper.

Here’s what it looks like when you look in the studio when you come in the front door. The basket was made by a dear former friend of mine.

This is looking back at the “new” room divider, my Macomber loom and the other half of the room where the woodstove is.

In case you wonder how I keep my tapestry from being destroyed by my cats (and they have damaged the ones I hung on the wall, so they are not on the wall any more), I have found that they hate foil. Anything I want them to stay away from, I cover with foil.

This is the area I want to make prettier.


And here is the view from where I am sitting.

I’ll post my tapestry updates later. I need to eat. I forget about that sometimes.