Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I'm still working on this first paper quilt I started back in Oct (yikes! time does fly doesn't it?)
The pictures are from an old incense package, some of the papers are handmade some are collected.
I'm trying to find a little creative time first thing in the morning, before work or anything else has intruded. Some days it works out sometimes not so much. Getting up early is not my favorite thing but I like the quiet at that time of day. Often I only manage 10 minutes. I admire those who can do so much more every day but right now I have to try to find a balance with other things in my life... Still I really want to try to maintain the habit of creativity even if all I have is 10 minutes, so I'm trying.

Monday, December 28, 2009

We had a really nice holiday weekend here. The Boy is visiting for two weeks from college, and Lar and I had 4 whole days off. Of course the first 3 days were spent on holiday stuff, shopping (yes we went on Christmas eve), Christmas visiting, and finally house cleaning/errands. I felt no impulse to get creative until 3:00 PM on Sunday. Once it kicked in I started another paper quilt. Its interesting to try to mix handmade papers and found objects.
So far I am liking the results.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Happy Holidays

Taking a little time to spend with the family for the next couple of days...

Wishing all of you the happiest of holidays!

Monday, December 21, 2009

In the Making

Some newer ones in process. I usually have to spend some time with them before I really know if they are finished or not. I have had difficulty photographing them. detail and color seem to get lost easily. Its probably time to set up a light box so I can get some illumination that shows them off.
Time to go wrap cookie packages!

Sunday, December 20, 2009


More Snow, I think this qualifies as an official "Pant Load"
Just like everyone else on the eastcoast north of DC we got hit with the snow storm, and spent most of the day digging out. Happily we had gotten all of the errands done yesterday so we could take our time and take breaks when needed. I'm also grateful that it was light and fluffy otherwise I think we would still be digging.
Instead I had the time and energy to make some more cookies!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

All About the Cookies

I haven't gotten into the spirit of Christmas for the past few years. I've been turned off by the sheer expense of money and time that is demanded? expected?

Decorating has seemed to be another thing to clean up come January, extensive gift giving a serious drain on the bank account, and all of it seemed to suck up time I needed to use for other things.

The past year has been about releasing old ideas, thought patterns and stuff. One thing I have been learning to let go of is old dreams whose time has passed. Doing so has let me be alot more relaxed about what to spend my time on.

Imagine my surprise when the holiday season rolled around and I suddenly remembered that I enjoy decorating the tree and I like making cookies.

I still don't want to put myself in debt for a bunch of stuff and god knows I will never be a Martha however today was dedicated to the cookies and it was fun.
Oh and the house smells awesome!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Making Dyes

As promised here are some pictures of the dye batch I made last night
I use electrical zips for the resist, they are a little easier to manipulate than rubber bands and create a nice line

I fold each shirt in half lengthwise and draw a line on it using washout pencil where I want the division between the green and the red dyes

I pleat the fabric along the line and attach the zip

The shirts are laid out in groups with the planned color areas aligned

Dyes are mixed and bottles filled, then the colors are squirted onto the appropriate areas

This is the end result

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The First Day of Christmas

Did a quick production run of Rasta gussets tonight
I took pictures of the process but there is no time to post them tonight
I'm off to start setting up our Christmas tree...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

More New Characters

This is one of the larger ones.
It looks textured because of the speckles
I did some needle weaving with the threads and I'm not sure if it is completed yet
Its very calm and thoughtful. The weight of it sits nicely in the hand. Presence.
White quartz close to a perfect sphere. About the size of a quarter, except round
The roly poly shape makes me think it is a bit jolly but the wrapping is elegant and calm looking
it sees the joke and smiles gently.

More needle weaving. This one is the size of my thumbprint. The speckles glitter and the threads make a more involved pattern. Its showing off just a little in a "look what I can do" way.
Just a little excitable

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

New Personalities

These stone experiments often develop little identities as I work on them.
This one seems to be about balance, finding a center. He fits in the palm of the hand very smooth and dark except for the one rough area, there have been turbulent moments that have left their mark.
These two are twins, but not identical... they do want to stay together. Each is smaller than a dime together their impact is greater, and they know it. They both have finely grained surfaces, one in cool tone one in warm.
Here we have that moment of decision, the hub from which anything is equally possible. Finely speckled the stone is a bit porous and absorbs moisture from my hands easily as I work.

Seeing the commonality in the opposite view, glimpsing our oneness. Smooth, ever so slightly greenish, gray slate
both of the above are about the length of a finger joint on my very average sized hands.

Monday, December 14, 2009

No Clear Direction

This is one of those experiments that sort of whisk you off for a ride then leave you at the side of the road in a completely unfamiliar neighborhood wondering where the hell you are.
It started off with a discharge/burning experiment.
Unsatisfied I over dyed it.
Then I left it for awhile because I wasn't sure what to do next.
After making the screen it seemed a good candidate for the tucking/stitching so off I went on another adventure.
Now don't get me wrong its kinda cool and I like the way the dye work is complimented by the tucking. I just haven't the faintest idea what to do with it now. Its large too, about 42" square.
I think it will lurk in my studio corner kinda smirking at me with a "well? what are you looking at?" attitude for awhile...

It may be at the end of its journey or it may want to go for another ride, I just don't quite know right now.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

New Configurations

I'm looking at new ways to do the wrapping, improving my skills at it. Trying things that are a bit more technical.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


Last weekend we woke up on Sunday to one of those perfect snowfalls.
Every branch was iced with a layer that shone in the bright sunlight

It called me outside for a walk in the woods with my camera.

The paths weren't as clear beneath the layers.

I got a little lost and had to forge some new trails.
It was fun!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Reflections on Fairs

This will be my first fully free weekend in three weeks! (very excited)

I've finished my last two craft fairs of the year and am now ready to start thinking about the Christmas season.

Julia Moore has asked what my thoughts are on craft fairs so here goes...

First let me be clear I am no expert. Its not how I make a living, more of a hobby/sporadic second job. I've been doing it for about 5 years now. In the last year I chose to scale it back to a grand total of 5 fairs. This choice was more about personal ambivilance than the recent economic woes.
There are some terrific articles out there on the web regarding selling strategies at fairs.
From my personal experience the basics are:

Have various priced items
some cheaper items are a good idea, a two dollar sale is still a sale and it establishes a connection with your customer

Connect with your customers
include a business card or flyer with each sale so they can find you again

Find a sales style you are comfortable with
I am deeply uncomfortable with hard sell tactics, like cringe uncomfortable, and it doesn't matter which side of the transaction I'm on, I don't like it.
I choose to say hi to the shoppers and let them know I'm available if there are questions, if they look really interested I might talk about how things are made or what inspired an idea. I've found that many people who buy handmade are intrigued by those things.

Presentation counts
Make it look like candy and people will stop to look, maybe buy. Having products on different levels is nicer to look at than flat on a table. Some vendors are terrific at this, observe and learn.

Know your market
Two factors come into play here. Finding your customers and figuring out your prices.
Finding fairs that have your customers can be tricky, I've learned through trial and error and by quizzing my more experienced vendor neighbors.
Be realistic with your prices and try to find a place where people are comfortable with them. If everywhere you go people are complaining about your prices then your product either doesn't belong at a fair it belongs in a gallery or your prices are too high. Its up to you to figure out which it is.

Thats all the advice I've got.

The best stuff I've gained from doing fairs are the networking opportunities and the way its expanded my confidence (OK money too)
I love meeting other vendors and seeing their work.
Being at a fair behind the table has given me the opportunity to meet people face to face and to learn to talk more easily about my creative process, increasing my confidence in me and my work.

The stuff I don't love: weather woes, giving up big chunks of my free time especially when its slow, Being tied to a table for many hours (I work these things mostly alone) and the occasional "no sales at all" days

Chances are good I will do a few select fairs again next year too. Its a good way to keep busy as I refine and explore new directions

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The problem with losing the blogging thread is that when you start up again there are just too many things to talk about. They get all jammed up in the head and its hard to figure out where to start...
Especially when the end of the day has been reached and you are feeling a bit worn out.
Many things have been going on lately craft fairs, birthdays, the first snowfalls of the year, even some projects have been staggering forward.
The rock wrapping is continueing with new colors being added and new ideas being explored.
In fact I want to use the last dregs of tonights energy to work on a creative project.
So tonight I will leave it at that.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


I have been thinking really hard about what my word of the year is going to be this time around.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the single word approach to New Years Resolutions check out Christine Kane's post on the subject.
Instead of going by the calender New Year I've chosen my birthday (yesterday) as the starting point.
After much consideration I chose the word Awareness.
I like it for a few reasons,
It is neutral there is no judgement in it
It is applicable to all areas of my life (relationships, emotional, intellectual/art, physical, etc)
It is key to working out one of my psychological kinks
I am a person who is very good at finding ways to distract myself from any discomfort I feel especially emotional discomfort.
So good in fact that I lose track of myself and wander off.
Sometimes I can lose myself for weeks at a time. (see last month)
I'm essentially a functioning adult but this tendency to look for the escape hatch is problematic.
There is discomfort in growth, having a default position that avoids it leads to stagnation and eventually to contraction.
The end result is a muted life, one that doesn't reach as far as it could and makes me feel frustrated with myself (more discomfort... guess where that leads?)
But back to my word...
The very first step to correcting this problem is to be aware of it.
Aware of the discomfort
Aware of my reaction to it
Aware of other possibilities

A good place to start

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Not many words tonight, I tried to get some daylit pictures today of the wrapping I did over the weekend. I wanted the colors and detail to show... I like some of the pictures I got but they don't really show the qualities I was hoping for, too sun blasted.
I will try again in different light.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Making Waves

I liked the way the fabric looks as it is being fed into the machine... more tomorrow, I'm still playing catch up after the 3 day craft fair this past weekend.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tucking in

Have started another experiment using the tucking/pleating I used on the screen, but in a more organized way.

I won't be getting too far with it tonight but I marked off intervals on the radiating pleat lines on one of the discharge/burn/overdye experiments from last month...

I will try to get it stitched tomorrow night, too tired tonight, will be tucking myself in soon.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Observations from a craft fair

Yup I'm still wrapping rocks.

It was kind of amusing to bring them with me to a craft fair I did a couple of weekends ago. I find it gives me a sort of instant insight into people.

the first question is "what are you making?" "I'm wrapping rocks with thread"

then the question changes to "why?" "cause it looks neat... see?"

At this point people would either slowly move away from me figuring it was some sort of therapy

(possibly correct)

or they would move closer and take a look at it and engage.

Some wanted to turn it into something more "those could be used as jewelry"

and a very few were interested in the small objects just as they were, discussing the idea of an object being imbued with a spirit of its own.

Honestly I don't know why I am wrapping rocks with thread. I am just playing and it is fun.

good enough for me.

(I am taking them with me to the next couple of craft fairs though!)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Finished Screen

Sewed the panels onto the frame Friday night and put the screen back together on Saturday morning. So happy I was able to get some photos of the finished screen in daylight.

It is now residing in our bedroom.

I'm really interested in the manipulation of the shibori by way of tucking the fabric. I like the solution because it keeps the shibori intact. Usually I'm not too precious about the fabrics I make but in this case I just didn't want to lose any of the flow of the pattern.

(In case you haven't seen the development of it check here, here and here for more)

I have another piece of the discharged fabric that seems to suggest itself for another of this kind of experiment.

I've been having some difficulty getting into the blogging flow lately.

I'm torn between reestablishing my daily blogging schedule and up leveling the quality of the blog itself.

On the one hand I like the discipline that daily blogging reinforces, however the other hand is that many of the daily posts are sort of lame. Ideally I would like all of my posts to have some quality to them.

I am waffling back and forth as I try to sort it out.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Shape of Things

Noticed more of the Japanese maple leaves today as I was walking. They have begun to dry and contract in upon themselves to form complex shapes.
Legs and arms to lift themselves off of the ground and skitter about on.
As the autumn season progresses and the colors fade the shapes and forms of things start to catch the attention. The bones of the world come clearer into view.

Its a different view

Less flamboyant in color

With a drama all its own...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Stuff I've Found

I've been collecting odds and ends my whole life. As an adult I've sort of censored the impulse after all its not very "grown up" to drag home bits and pieces. I've been easing off of that policy lately and so if it is fascinating and vermin free and unlikely to smell bad I collect it and keep it around.
Some recent finds...
Crimson Japanese maple leaves, the last beauties of the season. These will join others that I have been pressing for some special folks in the Southwest who don't get to see quite the same fall colors as we enjoy around these parts.

Paper wasp nest (uninhabited thankfully!)
I Love the quiet rhythm of the cells and the play of light over it reminds me of shibori.

Insect carved twigs
They really look like mysterious runic writing, beetle tales.

One perfect dot
This one is for jude! I have been following her dotted line for months....
and I'm so excited that she will be putting out a book!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Turning the clocks back means that most of my free time is in the dark now, except for weekends. I don't mind too much. I make a habit of getting outside during the day when I'm at work to take the dog for walks (she comes to work with us ever since her illness last Febuary). I think that those little sips of daylight make all the difference in the world to my mood.
I would like to be able to take well lit photos in the daylight but lets face it I don't manage that very well in the summer either...
a little frustrating.
I have begun the refinishing of the folding screen and I'm planning to finish the project this weekend (fingers crossed on that). I caught this little sliver of sun on it in the morning as I was leaving the house.