art, book arts, fiber art, tapestry, Tapestry Weavers South, weaving, whining, Wonderfulness

Tapestry Weavers South Show, plus a general update


It’s been a busy time, but after this week I should have more time to devote to this blog as well as my artistic pursuits. I work at a university and graduation is tomorrow.


Since I last wrote, I made a travel journal for a friend who is retiring from the University, I began weaving on “Cathedral” again, and the 20th Anniversary Show of Tapestry Weavers South opened Tuesday night at the Yadkin Cultural Arts Center.

It is incredibly impressive for an unjuried show. Member weavers from Florida to Virginia to Oklahoma participated. I submitted “Labyrinth at Healing Ground” and here are a few other photos – I will upload the rest to my Flickr account. It was hard to choose because there is so much goodness in this show. What an honor it is to share a gallery with the artists of Tapestry Weavers South!

Labyrinth at Healing Ground

TWS 20th Anniversary Show

TWS 20th Anniversary Show

TWS 20th Anniversary Show

TWS 20th Anniversary Show

TWS 20th Anniversary Show

TWS 20th Anniversary Show

Also since I last wrote, the anti-inflammatory meds have started to kick in and I am feeling better and sleeping a little more. One reason I am not happy about the meds is that this is a time of year when there is a lot of celebrating, not to mention STRESS, and I am supposed to limit my alcohol intake. People, I love a beer or two at the end of the day, and I love to try different brews. Yes, I am one of those beer hipsters. Untappd has become one of my favorite apps. Plus, hello, vacation time? It is coming soon! So it is good and bad. It is good that I should be able to walk without pain, not so good that I will have to go to a great craft brewery area and be careful about drinking. I will take lots of Tums, believe me, because I can’t see me having this kind of self-control.

With less than two weeks to go until our big trip out West, I am not actually present in the moment most of the time. Anticipation is coursing through my veins.

The nice thing is that I will have a house-sitter who the cats are used to and they love her. There will be no worry over my critters, except for what the little hellions might do to Susanne. She set up a lot of her studio here last month and has been hosting a few classes here until she gets moved to her new place.

I have a very busy day on Saturday. First the Deep Roots Market annual owners’ meeting (which I feel obligated to attend after the Julia Sugarbaker style rant I delivered to the Board of Directors nearly a year ago), then LEE SMITH, one of my very favorite authors will be at Scuppernong Books in Greensboro, and then I have an appointment with my massage therapist late that afternoon. In between I’ll be getting the kitchen ready for the guy who Sandy hired to paint on Sunday. I have a feeling that I will disappear to my studio space at the church that day.

art, fiber art, tapestry, Uncategorized, weaving, whining, Wonderfulness

Roller Coaster Week

O'Neill, 98 Percent Water

“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” – Anaïs Nin

This past week was some wild ride. After a weekend of pleasant social occasions, including some of the best roasted oysters ever, I braced myself for the first day of classes at work on Monday, constantly reminding myself that I pressed the reset button so that the past was past and I’d do what I could do to detox the tension at work. I even took to wearing a “Hiss Less Purr More” button. The work atmosphere, as far as I could tell, felt much better, which was helpful since I had a ton of things to do that required a lot of attention.

Of course, there was the shocker about David Bowie, which seems to have affected every member of my generation. It seemed like for the past few months every time I turned on the radio I heard “Under Pressure.” Now I have listened to a lot of Bowie that I skipped after the 80s, and I am trying very hard to get “Space Oddity” and “Starman” out of my head.

On Monday night, just before I shut down my computer to go to my class, I received an email from the ATA Biennial committee chairs. I clicked on it to see my rejection, which I 100% expected and I was sure would be kind and encouraging. However, what I saw was absolutely shocking: “Congratulations!”

That’s right, my “98% Water” tapestry was juried into the American Tapestry Alliance Biennial 11. Well, you can imagine that it was very hard to listen to anything in my class after that.

O'Neill, 98 Percent Water, Detail

It will travel to three museums with the exhibition in South Bend, Indiana, Topeka, Kansas, and San Jose, California in 2016 and 2017. This was the first time I have entered my work in a juried competition, and the first time I have entered any show other than a local show. After I sent in the application, I wondered what on earth was I thinking and I was embarrassed that I was trying to run with the big dogs.

It was one of 36 tapestries chosen from 221 entrees from all over the world. Several other acceptances came from my regional tapestry guild, Tapestry Weavers South.

Then I got home from class, picked up the phone to call Pam with the good news, and found a message from my sister that my grand-nephew’s 35 year old father had a massive stroke. This is a major deal because my grand-nephew is like a grandson to me and his life is already very difficult, and my sister and brother-in-law already have a great deal on their plate with a seriously ill parent and their own health issues. I won’t go any more into that except that after two surgeries and a very touch and go situation, this young man is conscious and has a better prognosis. Hopefully he will fully recover, but I request that you hold this family in the light.

On Tuesday, I picked up the keys to my new studio space at the Church of the Covenant and began moving my stuff in that night. This is making me deliriously happy.

On Wednesday, the news about Alan Rickman broke my heart. I don’t have many celebrity crushes, but Alan Rickman was at the top, just above Colin Firth and Aidan Quinn. I didn’t see DieHard, and only the first Harry Potter movie. I guess I understand why all the headlines say Snape or Gruber, but I loved Sense and Sensibility, Galaxy Quest, Love Actually, Dogma, and several other of his lesser known movies. He made a great villain, but he was also a great comedian and a great romantic. Maybe I’ll watch the other Harry Potter movies now. And I definitely plan to see Truly, Madly, Deeply after seeing the clips online.

Then boom, I went to a good friend’s Facebook page to send them a message along with a few other friends proposing to get together for beginning of the semester drinks and found that I had been unfriended. This has rocked my world a bit more than I expected. It was not an accident. I’ve struggled with whether to ask why. To tell you the truth, I’m not sure I want to know. I’m not sure that I can take talking about it without crying. Hopefully later when the hurt subsides a little I will reach out and see what can be mended, if anything. But I don’t take this loss, or any loss of a friend lightly. I am grateful that I have many friends now. At one time I could count the number of good friends I had on one hand, and having so many people rooting for me and genuinely liking me will help me through it.

I decided to drop the library studies class. Since I registered for the class, the studio happened and the Biennial acceptance happened, and my laptop broke. I want to spend my spare time doing art. I need to spend my spare time doing art. In fact, I’d rather spend my spare time working and doing art as my main thing, but you know, that ain’t gonna happen any time soon!

Sandy has been amazing lately. Our relationship continues to get better. We have booked a trip in May that will take us by train from Minneapolis to Glacier National Park and west to Seattle, then south to Portland, where we will meet up with Pam and I’ll see another friend at Pam’s cabin at a tapestry retreat. Then we will spend another week exploring Oregon in a rental car. This is something wonderful to have on the horizon.

Susan and Susanne spent the afternoon with me yesterday in Slow Turn Studio, playing with paint and yarn and glue and paper. Today I’ll take another carload of stuff over and they plan to join me again. I’ll post photos soon. Then it’s back to work on Tuesday.

I wish you all peace on this celebration of the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr. Please read this article by my friend Mark Sandlin, and be sure to watch the video embedded in the article. It will brighten your day. Namaste.

augggghhhh, Back Forty, butterbeans, coffee pot posts, depression/anxiety, fiber art, Marietta, Reading, tapestry, Tapestry Weavers South, weaving, whining

Sunday Morning Coffee Pot Post


First, THIS article is helping me get back on track after a rather hellish month: 12 Little Known Laws of Mindfulness That Will Change Your Life.

20150827_110429I came back from Arrowmont with steadily worsening anxiety and physical problems, which peaked about three days ago. My pain level has gone from about an 8 to a 3 after two visits to my chiropractor and two visits to my massage therapist. I did resort to taking some pain meds left over from my mother’s stash on Thursday, but they were a kind that I’ve taken before and I cut them way down to the smallest level that still helped. Thank God the addict that worked in my house did not steal all of them. Also I made a DIY cervical collar out of a scarf.

Making all this worse was that I spent a week of clearing out my community garden plots and reduced my fall allotment to one 4×8 foot plot. They were so overgrown with cardinal climber vines over tall sunflowers and other monster mystery plants that others in the garden had staked them up and an email went out to all the gardeners (I was not the only offender, but I was one of the worst) and I got embarrassed. Sandy helped me dig up some plants to transplant into pots and the Back Forty at home, and some of the huge plants and roots. I was going to give it all up but I want to harvest my green cotton, and the director of the garden encouraged me to stay on now that I’ve gotten it down to a manageable size and state. I am very prone to being ashamed and none of this helped my mental or physical state!

However, now I feel very good about it and I planted peas and lettuce in the area that we cleared out. I have not tried planting these in late August before and it may be too hot for them to germinate. I guess that I will find out. The black compost that I mulched the bed with looks beautiful against the green plants. I didn’t do anything that strenuous and it did a lot for my soul.

I’ve gotten a great yield of butterbeans and field peas this year, enough to freeze some for this winter and Thanksgiving dinner.



Today I am taking it easy and I’ve been advised not to weave yet. I want to weave! I’m reading All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr on my Kindle through my local library on Overdrive. If you haven’t tried this app and you like to read, I recommend it highly. I made an account with my Greensboro Public Library card number and it is great for travel. I can get new audiobooks too, and a lot of popular audiobooks are available right away. You usually have to get in a hold line for bestsellers. My time on this one runs out today and I’ll have to get in line again to finish it.

I just finished reading Man in Profile, Joseph Mitchell of the New Yorker. I probably have written about this before, but Joseph Mitchell and I share a great-great grandfather, whatever cousin that makes us, and I did not know about his talent and international fame until after his death. None of my family did, as far as I can tell. I was told by my mother that “Cousin Joe” wrote for “some magazine up north” and that my great aunt thought that he hung the moon. When I found out that “some magazine” was the New Yorker, I started investigating and then obsessively tracked down all I could about him. His writing is brilliant and he is a native of Fairmont! Why wasn’t I taught about him in school? Why didn’t he have more publicity in his own home state, or county, or town, or even family? I feel cheated that I never got to meet him. Evidently he made many prolonged visits to Fairmont and he felt caught between the two worlds, such as I do most of the time.

We have signed a purchase contract with a buyer for Mama’s house in Marietta and Sandy and I will rent a UHaul cargo van to go down there and take some furniture to Lisa’s lake house and some back here to Greensboro. I purposely chose one that will be just big enough to hold a double bed and mattresses, a small chest of drawers, and my mother’s sewing machine. My house is too small to bring in more of her stuff, and part of the deal with the buyer is that she will finish dealing with what we leave, whether to use it or give it away or trash it. It needs to be done even though it breaks my heart. My mother spent 70 years in that house. I can’t do my part in helping to maintain it.

Work is pretty good. We have three new administrators in our department, all of whom I think that I can work well with.

I rallied enough to drive to Hickory (about 100 miles away) and back on Friday to attend the Carolinas subgroup of the Tapestry Weavers South meeting and potluck. We went to a tapestry exhibit at the Hickory Art Museum that was a collaboration between American artists and Yoruba weavers. Very, very good.

Pam has mounted my “98% Water” tapestry and I should have it in time to photograph and enter it into the American Tapestry Alliance biennial show. I am nervous about it because I feel like I am jumping into the deep end. If it doesn’t get accepted I will have to get over it and keep working on my technique.

mounted tapestry

Two weeks from now I will be in Colorado, visiting my aunt and cousin and exploring a bit on our own. So there will be another travel blog post coming up after that.

I’ll post a few photos to this post at a later time – need to go rest my neck!

critters, whining

Ick. I hate this. Pbbttt.


Moving forward on getting the new bathroom put in by getting contractors (and such) to give us estimates this week. Praying that the estimates will be reasonable. Praying that the whole process won’t end in the job not being finished and/or me being talked into spending my savings on something else to do with the house. Praying that it will get done this summer. Praying that it will at least get done before I sit on the toilet in the existing bathroom with the cracked floor and fall suddenly into the crawlspace. Praying for patience and wisdom. Praying that all sharp objects are out of reach when my husband decides that he is against doing this after all.

Praying that I can stop thinking about this long enough to get my supplies ready for my week of indigo dyeing at Arrowmont next week.

The critter(s) did a lot of damage to my garden last night, so I also have to put protection back on the snap beans. The sunflower and the little rudbeckias are beyond help. I miss my feral kitties. I knew that I should have piked that rabbit head I found on a tomato stake.

In a effort to feel more positive, I have included kitten photos in this post.

art, book arts, critters, dyeing, Lake Waccamaw, whining

Lake Waccamaw etc., May 2014

Lake Waccamaw

Sandy and I spent a couple of days at Lake Waccamaw at my cousin’s house last week. It was a busy week despite being on vacation. We spent one day reading and playing in the water and the next day we went to Wilmington briefly and I did some eco-printing inside because of the rain and the midges and mayflies. When the workers began cutting back the bushes at the house next door on Friday morning we both decided to split and go to Marietta with Mama.

Lake Waccamaw

The full moon was beautiful the first two nights. The third night there was a tornado warning for a few minutes but most of the weather shifted to our northwest. Thank goodness, since there is no good place to take cover in the lake house.

Lake Waccamaw

I walked around the yard between storms and collected as many different fresh leaves as possible, combined them in a folded accordion book with some metal pieces that I’ve collected, and steamed the book, then immersed it in a dyebath with privet leaves and flowers and bald cypress needles in lake water. I figured that the bald cypress needles and lake water would provide enough tannin to create a mordant.

Lake Waccamaw printing

The problem was that I used too much metal and to me it spoiled a lot of the individual prints. The ones I like the most are simple. Also, part of my goal was to identify which leaves made the best prints, and for the most part, I couldn’t tell you. The Virginia creeper and Rose of Sharon leaves made nice prints:

Lake Waccamaw prints

Lake Waccamaw prints

There were other vines that I liked and the oxalis stems and bald cypress needles made nice lines. The flowers on the shrubbery and privet flowers worked well too, but very subtlely.

Lake Waccamaw prints

Lake Waccamaw prints

Lake Waccamaw prints

Mama transferred from the rehab center to my sister’s house for a week, and then we met my brother-in-law halfway on Friday and took her home. It’s been about a week since she went home and although she is still weakened, a physical therapist is coming to her house three days a week and she has a little more paid help to assist with light housework and yard work. She also has an amazing community around her that supports and loves her. I’ll go back down there this Saturday and stay the night.

I hate all the driving but I’ve found that books on CD makes it much more bearable. I decided to listen to Newberry Medal winners that I never read, because they are a little easier to follow while driving. Anything more complicated causes me to skip back to see what I missed, IF I missed something, when I am distracted by something on the road. Last week Sandy and I listened to Hatchet by Gary Paulsen and this week I will listen to Holes by Louis Sachar.

We came home to a huge pile of hardwood shredded mulch in our driveway. The problem was that I ordered compost. We are using part of the mulch to put on our paths but it was disappointing since I thought that I’d be planting more in raised beds this month. Oh well. Actually, last week really sucked for the most part. A friend died, my sister’s cat was bitten by a poisonous snake and died (I loved that cat and everyone is wrecked over his death), my laptop got a bad virus and didn’t come back intact after wiping the hard drive, and our basement flooded. I’m looking forward to that week in June in Gatlinburg, studying indigo dyeing with Rowland Ricketts at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts.


However, even though the kittens are almost a year old, they are so much fun. We put carpet down in my bedroom and it looks and feels so much better. Still reorganizing and getting rid of stuff and it feels good. We celebrated our 27th wedding anniversary and ate a delicious brunch on Sunday at Sweet Potatoes on Trade St. in Winston Salem. Best shrimp and grits that I’ve ever eaten and I do not made that statement lightly.

Will try to do better with the blog posting but between work and Mama’s illness it was all a little too much.