Bagstories, fiber art, Slow cloth, tapestry, Tapestry Diary 2018, weaving

A Seven! Lucky or crapped out?

Birthdays with sevens are weird for me. Today marks my 57th orbit around the sun. The solar astrophysicist that owned the AirBNB we stayed at in Boulder told me to think of birthdays that way. I love it.

I’ll choose lucky, Alex, for $3000!

^^^She knows that you parked there, and she is judging you.

Okay, it’s good to start a birthday being silly. The man in the house is still sleeping, but I’m going to make him get up and take me to Raleigh in about an hour. We’re going to visit the Triangle Book Arts exhibit “Re(f)use” at Artspace, then go to the North Carolina Museum of History where I’ll meet a new fiber artist friend who is doing a millinery demonstration there today.

Right now I’m listening to a YouTube feed of beach music. That means something different for those of us who grew up in the Carolinas. It’s really R&B with an easy beat to “shag” to, which is not a sex act in our world but a dance that is like a slow jitterbug. The best beach music is from the 50s and 60s. This is my favorite beach music song: Sixty Minute Man by the Dominoes, from 1951. My voice is really low and I can sing right along with Dan and hit all those deep notes.

The big stress-reliever of the week was stitching together the WandeRBeuteL bag that I’m creating in India Flint’s Bagstories online group. I still need to add a long strap because I like to wear my bags across my body. Easier on the shoulders and back, since I tend to fill them with lunch, books, and a project or two. I will keep embellishing it with scraps from the original pants. The patchwork squares are five inches square.

Of course, Pablocito had to check it out and I couldn’t resist posting this photo with him in it. You can still get the gist of it.

Flipping it inside out, there is a pocket for my cell phone and I will probably add other pockets.

I have been wandering about the bag stitching paths, dreaming of Cornish coasts, Irish walls, and forest deer trails.

The tapestry diary from earlier this week is below. My first string of beads for Mardi Gras weren’t very round, so I added a second string. They look square. Size and fiber makes a difference, as well as practice, with woven circles. I’ll finish the week tomorrow.

art, fiber art, Slow cloth, tapestry, Tapestry Diary 2018, weaving

Sunday morning bag story

First, the tapestry diary for the week. The knots are showing on purpose, by the way. We had some problems to figure out this week at work. Fortunately, they were resolved and next week’s path forward should be clearer.

I wove a little bit on Cathedral, but my main focus was stitching this Japanese tsunobukuro style bag along with many others all over the “whirled” (India Flint’s phrase) in India’s Bagstories Facebook group. She set it up as a companion online group for those who bought any form of her wee booklet “Bagstories” on Blurb. I bought the PDF, since I am not buying stuff that takes up space in the house this year, unless necessary. Like a new vacuum cleaner.

Anyway, I’ve been obsessed with stitching this bag. I love hand sewing but I have to give it up frequently due to chronic tendinitis problems. Right now I’m on a roll.

This fabric is upcycled from two favorite pairs of pants I wore back in the late 80s/early 90s. They are special to me because they were the first “arty” kind of clothes I ever bought, and when I wore them, I felt beautiful and fabulous. They were my go-to clothes for art openings until I quit smoking and gained a lot of weight. They felt like friends, so I could never get rid of them.

I redesigned it after I began because the brown and gray/orange rayon batik fabric was a little too stretchy so I decided to line it with the brown fabric.

I can’t wait to get this bag put together and use it, and start on the one that is actually in India’s booklet.

This is the closest that India has come to doing an online class, and normally I am enthusiastic about an online or video class for two weeks, then I abandon it. However, I love this group intensely, and I’m glad that she cut off enrollment at a manageable size. It is still over 200 people but most people don’t post. So many times I join a group and unfollow because the number of posts become overwhelming as it gets popular.

India seems to be enjoying this immensely so it may be something that she continues. Personally, I don’t see how many of these artists maintain online classes and social media and get so much wonderful work done. I fall down rabbit holes way too quickly on the Internet.

As far as the vow to not buy stuff this year, I’ve broken it twice so far. At the Women’s March in Raleigh I bought this pin from a street vendor. I mean, seriously, how could I not? I’m not made of stone.

The other item was this 4 bottle set of chalk paints from the shop that hosted Seth Apter’s workshop this week. I always feel like I should buy something to support the venue, and I’ve wanted to try chalk acrylics.

Yesterday we drove around disposing of several boxes I had filled with purged stuff from the studio. It was not nearly enough. A box of books went to the used bookstore for credit. I came very close to getting a couple of book arts books that I had not seen before, but I remembered the point is not spending money…the point is making space. A box and a bag went to Reconsidered Goods. A box of denim jeans that were too good to cut up went to the Salvation Army. Normally I avoid the Salvation Army because of their anti-gay stance, but the Interactive Resource Center doesn’t accept clothing donations and they told me that they give vouchers to homeless people for clothing at the Salvation Army store.

Some of the paper ephemera went into the recycling can and into the kindling box. I mean, honestly, why do I save every little piece of paper?

Now I need to fill up 3-4 more boxes this week.

book arts, Mixed media art, Reading, tapestry, Tapestry Diary 2018, weaving

Saturday morning coffee pot post

This was a busy week. First, here’s the tapestry diary as of last Sunday. I haven’t worked on it so far this week so it will be a simple narrow entry for the entire week and I’ll weave it as soon as I am done here.

On Tuesday, I went to Seth Apter’s 52 Card Pickup class at Betty’s Creative Studio here in Greensboro, NC. I had not known about Betty’s before I saw Seth’s announcement on his “The Altered Page” Facebook page, and that was a welcome surprise since I was trying to figure out how to go to Lexington, Kentucky to take a joint workshop with him and my favorite book arts teacher, Dan Essig. As usual, there are way too many things that I want to do and sometimes the knowledge of this is overwhelming, since of course I can’t afford it all or take the time off for it all, especially between January and April. And yes, he is as nice as you have heard.

This was a nice break from work, since it was fairly mindless and relaxing. We learned his process for making textured painted backgrounds on a deck of cards that had been painted back and front with black gesso, plus two slightly larger bookboard pieces to use for covers. Messy fun!

The idea was that you would collage one side of the card and journal on the other side. The cards are not bound so you’d pull out a collaged card to suit your journaling mood or subject for the week. We didn’t get around to much collage. I got a little overwhelmed with the free stuff that was being passed around to choose from, since I’m trying to use or purge this kind of thing from my studio. There are still so many boxes of random papers in there!

This is a method that I will reuse, although I think that the next batch of papers or cards will be less busy so they will be easier to write on.

I started out the gate with some serious sinus problems and so I stayed home from work on Monday. I’m pretty sure that cleaning out and trying to repair the vacuum cleaner was the main cause, because I am getting over it too fast for it to be a cold. All that diatomaceous earth from the carpet flea treatment sandpapered the inside of my head. I made it known publicly that I would not be offended by the gift of a new vacuum cleaner for Valentine’s Day. Sandy, however, is Mr. Fix-It in his imagination and sometimes he does actually accomplish some of these repairs that he says that he can do, so I’m giving it until I get my year-end kickback check from Costco and then if it is not fixed I am buying a new one. I can’t keep up by using the attachments on the hose!

The rest of week I had my head down catching up on work, dealing with a lot of grids and spreadsheets, so that will show up in the tapestry diary entry for the week.

Sandy ended up going to the City Council meeting without me and speaking, among others, in opposition to the way the city is treating Cafe Europa. Sadly, I don’t think that much will come of it, but there are some passionate people on Jakub’s side so I hope that my pessimism turns out to be wrong.

Last night I finished watching “Godless” on Netflix, which I highly recommend if you can take violence that serves a purpose in a very well-written story. I have been a big fan of Merritt Wever since watching her play Zoe on “Nurse Jackie” so it was great to see her play a badass on this one season Western series. I thought that it was a touching story of redemption, with the twist of a town full of very strong self-reliant women. Sandy found it very sad, but he liked it enough that he watched it again with me.

I finished “Run” by Ann Patchett and am now reading “Straight Man” by Richard Russo, which is pretty hysterical, especially if you have had the experience of working in a small college or a dysfunctional academic liberal arts department. Not that ours is that bad, but much of it rings true.

I was planning to cut back the fig tree hard, like by half, and set up my little greenhouse this weekend, but it appears that it is going to rain for four days. Oh well. As long as it is not flooding, I will not complain about rain. It is time to start seeds and I’m going to give that another try this year. We’ll see how the tomcats in the house behave. If I can get a few weeks of good behavior from them then I can set up the greenhouse and move some seedlings out there.

Tomorrow I hope to write about the project that I’m doing in India Flint’s Bagstories group. It has been such a joy.

art, fiber art, Greensboro North Carolina, Mixed media art, Slow cloth, tapestry, Tapestry Diary 2018

Whoa Nelly, two posts in a day

WHOA IF TRUE! I’m so bad. Wonkette is the main source of my news these days. I can’t take much of anything else. Sheer burn out.

Which is partly why these coal carts evolved their way into my tapestry diary early this week for the end of January. There is more of a story here, but it began as a train in the night and was supposed to end with the blood moon. Sometimes what needs to come up comes up.

I’ll work on the rest of the week’s entry this weekend.

My other project this weekend, other than probably a token pick or two on “Cathedral,” is this lovely “Bagstories” project led by India Flint on Facebook this month for those who bought her book on Blurb last month. Much of my fabric is buried in boxes and I’ve yet to find the “eco-printed” samples I made in her class and elsewhere, but I’m not in a hurry and am happy to upcycle some of my favorite batik pants from the late 80s/early 90s that I outgrew but couldn’t let go of all these years.

I’ve got nine squares yet to cut and hem and then I get to sew them into a lovely bag with “horns.” I think that I will line the three larger bag pieces first to make the fabric stronger though. This is pretty lightweight and a bit on the stretchy side.

One of the pieces will look like this:

Once I finish measuring the warp for the future rag rug project and cutting and ironing the pieces for this bag project, I’ll be bringing the rest of the Wharton St. studio home. I’ve cleared out and boxed up more stuff, cleaned off the top of Mama’s sewing machine table, and feel much more comfortable with the extra lighting and changes we’ve made to the front room/studio. Now I just need to take these boxes of stuff around to the appropriate places to drop them off.

On Tuesday, I have a special treat for myself. I’m taking a day workshop from Seth Apter right here in Greensboro! I didn’t even know about this place when I saw his announcement about it on his Facebook page. It’s called 52 Card Pickup, and nyah nyah it is full, but I will post about it and take photos if I am not so completely enthralled in what I am doing to think about it. A workshop where I can take my new bag full of little bits to make collages with! YAY

It’s funny, because I was seriously considering driving to Kentucky to take a workshop from him when I discovered this one right here in my town.

Right after the workshop on Tuesday, I’ll be joining my husband and many others at the City Council meeting to demand to know why the control of Cafe Europa’s lease oversight was magically transferred from the city by one city staff member to the park’s board, a private corporation, and demand that our friend Jakub is fairly treated and the city take back management of the space.

If I’m gonna do all this, I better get cracking.

book arts, coffee pot posts, tapestry, Tapestry Diary 2018, Upcycling, weaving

Sunday morning coffee pot post

This time, with a full pot of coffee! Who knows where this might go?

Yesterday I made a sudden decision to get my hair cut. Nothing drastic, just what Mr. Robert at Leon’s Beauty School describes as “my annual shearing.” I love Mr. Robert. Anyway, it looks healthier and bouncier and it will probably get curlier again because the weight is off. However, when I looked in the mirror this morning my first thought was of Snape looking back at me.

Since I adore Alan Rickman, I suppose that is not altogether bad. I won’t dye it black, though. Maybe this summer I’ll do a wild color rinse. I’ve wanted to do that for a while.

I need to lay off the electronics late at night. This is an addiction that has to be addressed immediately. Even melatonin is not working for me. Last night around 1 a.m. I gave up and finished “The Loving Cup” by Winston Graham, the tenth in the Poldark series. Then I went to my bookshelf with the intention of choosing something less fluffy, and picked up “Tropic of Cancer” by Henry Miller. I bought it because I knew it had been banned for decades and it was the number one bestseller the year I was born. But after the first dozen pages, I realized that I am not wasting time on it. I hated it. I flipped through it for another thirty minutes, reading excerpts here and there. It will go into the stack to sell to the used book store.

The antidote to this is that I am also reading “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert, but small bits at a time. All right, I’ll confess – it is my bathroom book. I want to keep a novel in the currently reading list, so taking a cue from “Big Magic” I’m going to read Ann Patchett’s “Run” next. As I finish novels, they are going to the used book store or the Little Free Library down the street. There are a few that I will always hang on to, like my Lee Smith, Joseph Mitchell, and Wendell Berry books. And any autographed books. But the book purge is going to happen and happen big. I already donated eight books on book and paper arts to the Triangle Book Arts member library.

I caught up on my tapestry diary for the week, weaving most of it yesterday. I thought that the rough brown yarn in the middle would be interesting to weave with, but it ended up falling apart as I wove. I think it may have been jute. So the rest of that will go in the paper bits bin for the next papermaking session. I hope that I’ll get to a little of that this year.

I have work in two shows right now – a first for me! “98% Water” is currently in “A Strand, A Shape, A Story,” the Tapestry Weavers South exhibit at the Folk Arts Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville, North Carolina. I have two books, “First, the Seed” and “Flow” in the Triangle Book Arts show “Re(f)use” in Artspace in Raleigh, North Carolina. “Flow” is hanging as part of a collaborative work led by Barbara Livingston, and it is definitely my favorite of the two books I submitted. I will photograph it when I visit the show. Both shows are incredible, and the book arts show will twist your head about what a book can be. Opening reception for Re(f)use is on Friday, Feb. 2. I don’t know if I’m going yet. Feeling a bit shy and a lot agoraphobic about it.

Okay, time to get to work in the studio.

art, North Carolina, political activism, tapestry, Tapestry Diary 2018

Women’s Rally on Raleigh, etc.

Yesterday’s protest rally was a family affair: husband Sandy, sister Lisa, me, brother-in-law Tim.

My favorite sign was the Black Mirror sign, although I like that the sign on the left covers most of the bases:

I also delivered my book to Artspace where the Triangle Book Arts exhibition will be installed. Opening reception is Friday, Feb. 2 evening. I haven’t decided if I am going or not. I would like to. I didn’t have much time to spend there, but I loved the mixed media show by Megan Bostic and Davis Choun currently in the front gallery.

WATER IS LIFE! And so are seeds and worms…

Birds cluster around the areas where the snow has melted.

Tapestry diary completed for the week. (My weeks begin on Monday in this diary.)

Now going for a massage to get my poor back and hips in shape, then a bit of grocery shopping and studio time at the “other” studio.

Greensboro North Carolina, tapestry, Tapestry Diary 2018, weaving

Snow days

There is one thing that is true in the South about snowstorms. You can tell who is a Northern transplant by the state of their driveway and sidewalks. Southerners wait for the snow to melt. Northerners shovel.

Once the snow stopped, we got about eight inches here in my town, and a foot an hour east in the Triangle area. Which means I was off yesterday and today, and I got some weaving done. Not a whole lot, because I unwove some parts and rewove them with a color combination I liked better. That’s the way it goes sometimes.

It is so nice to get moving in the morning when I’m ready and not on someone else’s schedule. As state employees, we have to take personal leave days when the university is closed, though. Not really fair since they give us no choice to work, but we can make it up, and we’re doing what we can over email anyway. I’d whine more about it, but I’ve been in full-time jobs where I got no leave at all except a week of vacation once a year, and plenty where I had to go in regardless of the road conditions.

Sandy worked from home yesterday, which he does not like to do. This morning he managed to get the car out to the main road and drive to work. I get a chance to hear what he does for a living when he works from home, and I’m always impressed by his communication skills and patience with customers. It really is a talent. With me it is forced, pretty much. I hate to hear the phone ring.

After he got off work at 5 yesterday, we shuffled down the street to the corner bar where we seldom go anymore. It filled up with 20-somethings after I took this shot. I love bar dogs. We used to take Janet Planet to bars with us.

On Monday, I went to the other studio and ironed interfacing on the rest of my t shirt fabric for the t shirt quilt, then I resumed measuring warp for the rag rug project I started about 3-4 years ago. Why did I decide to make this warp so long? I must have been crazy. Well, once I get it on the loom I can either weave a really long doubleweave or double-width rug or weave several projects. I brought a few more boxes home and found places for the contents, so I’m happy about that.

Since I’m home another day, I have no excuse to avoid housework so I’ll do a little, but I’m going to turn up some music and concentrate on weaving Cathedral.

However, I am in India Flint’s Bagstories Facebook group, so I could dig through my box of dyed and printed fabrics and cut squares for that. If you are interested, it is available for those who buy her little book in any form from Blurb. India doesn’t teach online, she is not planning to do any U.S. classes any time soon, and her classes fill fast wherever she goes, so this is a good opportunity to work with her remotely for the low price of her book. If you are interested, here’s the link:

What I don’t want to do is waste any more of this time on the computer, so the next post you’ll probably see will be about the Women’s Rally in Raleigh, NC on Saturday morning.

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.

coffee pot posts, depression/anxiety, Tapestry Diary 2018

Saturday morning coffee pot post

I’m finding myself walking around the house talking to myself and Pablocito (he does talk back, at least) so I guess it’s time to write a blog post.

The overriding theme of the tapestry diary will be weather. It’s obvious to me now. It can be external or internal weather, but climate and weather has always been fascinating to me. It probably comes from being a farmer’s daughter.

My father didn’t make his girls work on the farm like most of my friends had to, so by God we better be able to tell him the weather report from TV when he got home. This was pre-cable, pre-Internet, pre-satellite dish, and the weather came on two TV stations at 6 p.m. when he was probably still on a tractor. He had a full-time job managing a little air filter factory in our community for several years while we were growing up, and a TV repair shop before that, when people still had things repaired instead of dumping them and buying new. He also had a marina near Calabash that serviced shrimp and fishing boats. Anyway, he was a busy man.

Our job was to help grow and pick and preserve and freeze vegetables for the year. Daddy mostly grew tobacco, but he planted a lot of Silver Queen corn because we ate it every day throughout the year. The shock I felt when I first ate corn out of a can after I left home was a real eye-opener as how good our family had it when it came to homegrown food. Daddy also grew several varieties of blueberries as a hobby, so many that our family’s friends came to pick for themselves, we started a pick-your-own side business, and I picked them to pack and sell for my own money. They had a long growing season because they didn’t get ripe all at once. My favorite ones were Tifblues and I had to climb a stepladder to pick the biggest ones, sometimes as big as a quarter.

Well, I didn’t intend to write about that, but that’s what these coffee pot posts are for – writing whatever pops out. I dreamed about my parents last night. In one dream I was waiting for my mother to pick me up and I was very worried about her. Where was she? Did she know where I was?

And Theo came back to me in my dream, poor Theo, covered in fleas, looking at me with the “pity me” Puss-in-Boots expression that he had. So I am definitely going to PetSmart and buying Frontline for Diego and Pablocito and applying it today. The flea comb and diatomaceous earth has kept them down but it hasn’t been enough.

Now, for what I was putting off writing about: I had a meltdown this week. I always need to write about this when it happens because one of the main missions for this blog is to write about my experience with depression, anxiety, panic disorder, and agoraphobia, and my recovery. I don’t always do it because, well, it’s not easy.

For the most part, I have recovered well. I seldom have a panic attack any more. This one and the last one I had on Thanksgiving weekend were different. There was no chest pain. It was more that I was completely overwhelmed and couldn’t move forward. The other difference was they both lasted longer than usual. So maybe they could be classified as intense anxiety attacks.

Over the long term, I seem to need a lot more solitude and quiet than I used to. It is fortunate that my office has been moved to a quieter place where I feel like I can shut the door without seeming rude. That was due to my supervisor being a really great manager and seeking a solution to reduce stress for the staff. However, I still crave it.

It’s not that I don’t ever want the company of others. The parties that I went to this past weekend, and the New Year’s Eve steampunk ball were great. Sometimes I really need to go out to a bar and have beers with friends. But anxiety started creeping up on me last Sunday afternoon. At first I thought I was pre-migraine, because I was getting some visual weirdness, and that may have been so. At any rate, Sandy and I left a lovely party early and I sort of went downhill from there, holing up under the bed covers and dreading work the next morning. Feeling like I can’t possibly submit this book to the Triangle Book Arts show as is, but not being able to make myself work on it.

The next two days I made it to work, which was intensely busy with the first day of classes and a TA who left the program over the weekend that we had to find a replacement for. That worked out well, and it was probably for the best that the TA in question left, but it was last minute. And the next day, another replacement for a last-minute departure from our faculty just before Christmas, informed me that she hadn’t done the Homeland Security required paperwork, and didn’t seem to have thoroughly read my emails about what she had to do before her first day at work. That, with all the stuff that I need to get done in the next two weeks, with the anxiety over Sandy’s skin biopsy, sent me right over the edge. I didn’t have my Xanax with me. I put a sign on my door, locked it, and curled up under my desk with my back pillow and a coat over me, crying and telling myself to get over it.

Two hours later I was up and recovering. I apologized for overreacting on email about the “crisis” (it got resolved that day), and I left early to get an scheduled estimate on replacing our aging water heater. After that I got in bed, pulled the covers over my head, and slept on and off until about 10 a.m. the next day. When I got up, I felt so relieved, like all this pressure had built up for days and a dam had burst. I went back to work and did what I needed to do.

So I wove this for my tapestry that night. The pink shape is my little boat going over the dam. I’m pleased with this because I really did come up with it as I started to weave, searching for the image that could represent my distress and relief in tapestry.

Anyway, I have a three-day weekend ahead of me and I am continuing my diary in the theme of weather, but I am going to make sure that I spend much more time weaving on Cathedral. As for the book, I’m sending it “as is.” I’m going to cook if I feel like it, but other than getting a little cleaning done in the yard and around the house, not much housework. If I can clear out some more space in my home studio, I’m going to bring home another carload of stuff from the studio at my friend’s place that I am moving out of, since she is house-shopping and doesn’t plan to rent it much longer. I’ve planted some perennials in the back yard there so I’ll take some buckets and dig those up before she leaves. Mostly pineberries and asparagus, and I hope that the roots of the blueberry bush I transferred over there might have some life left in them, so I’ll dig them up too. Where I’ll plant them here, who knows? Gotta figure that out before I transplant the asparagus, but the others can stay in pots until spring.

By the way, Sandy couldn’t tell me what kind of skin cancer he has, but it is not melanoma and I think it is squamous cell from what he told me. This is why I need to go with him to doctor appointments. He doesn’t remember the details. He’s having it removed under local anesthesia in the doctor’s office in a couple of weeks. I’m glad he had it checked by a dermatologist. His doctor gave him some cream to put on it.

Okay, time for another cup of coffee and a shower, then I need to get on with my weekend.