Monday, March 31, 2008

Blog Worthy (Not)

Well, it has been a week since my last post. I have been a bit busy and have traveled a bit. There is really no excuse for not posting, though. I've just had a bit of difficulty coming up with some blog-worthy topics.

Today is no exception.

I have thoroughly updated myself on those blogs listed on the right. I have updated my ebay listings. I really have nothing to do.

Why not go to my studio? Well, can't get there. I have 4 plastering men in my living room today. They have filled the room with scaffolding and I cannot reach the stairs to climb to my studio. I am stuck downstairs. Can't reach the upstairs bedrooms. Can't reach the upstairs bath. I'm sharing the downstairs bath with the 4 plastering men. They must drink a great deal of coffee. They use the bathroom a lot. And leave the seat up. They also have the front door open. The scaffolding is in front of the door and the door cannot be closed. The scaffolding cannot be moved because it fills the entire room. I am cold. Well, the right side of me is cold. The left side is warm. Thank heaven for space heaters.

I guess I could find some paper and do some sketches. But I find it somewhat difficult to work hearing 4 plastering men discusses selling used car parts, whistling to music, and making loud plastering sounds. Plastering is not as quiet as one would assume.

So, today, I will do computer things. I do apologize that I am not doing exciting computer things. I will save that for another day.

How long does plastering take?

Monday, March 24, 2008

New Series?

Here are two additional pieces that go along with similar pieces in recent postings. They have recently emerged from a mental picture that I have carried around since late last October.

The sidewalks were covered with maple, gingko, oak and other leaves. A scattering of pink petals lay on top. The colors together clashed a bit & that is what made an impression on me. The colors still looked magnificent together & I knew that one day I would create a piece based on that vision.

After piece one was "completed", the remaining scraps begged to be used. I "completed" another piece, 4 inches smaller in each direction and somewhat darker. After piece two, the scraps begged to be used. So I made another piece, 4 inches smaller in each direction and somewhat darker. When piece three was "completed", a forth had to be done, once again 4 inches smaller and somewhat darker.

These pieces desperately need to be named. All of my thoughts so far have seemed quite dull. Autumn Carpet, Indian Fall, etc. I sure would welcome any suggestions.

I will be posting these on my website & will probably be putting a couple on etsy and ebay.

Perhaps one day I will create another Spring piece. But right now, these colors are in my head & I must follow my head, right?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Not Too Cute

I’ve never been a fan of cute. I just can’t produce cute. I don’t dress cute. I don’t act cute.

Cute does have its place. I like puppies, kittens, chicks, piglets, and sometimes the color pink. I like children’s clothing and children’s toys.

If you’re under 10, its ok to be cute. When you’re 40 and cute, well, its just a bit frightening. Unless, say, you are designing for children.

Today I went shopping for my six-year-old daughter. She is cute. She likes cute. I bought her some cute things. I only have a bit of time left to do cute before she gets too old. We finished shopping, and now I am done with cute for a while. My limits have been reached.

My daughters favorites:

Color: pink, purple
Animal: lions, hippos, animal babies of all kinds.
Food: mac’n’cheese
Drink: juice, milk
Outfit: dress/tights/sparkly shoes
Stuffed animal: Webkinz baby duck
Actress/Actor: Simba, Cinderella, Mary Poppins
Movie: The Lion King, Lion King 1 ½, Lion King II
Least Likely Nickname: Quiet Girl, Wallflower

My favorites

Color: black, brown, orange
Animal: Elephant, llama, chipmunk (oh, that one is a bit cute)
Food: Lamb, mushrooms
Drink: Wine
Outfit: jeans/sweater
Stuffed Animal: little pug on my bed (oops, cute again)
Actress/Actor: Any actress that makes it to her 40s and plays the part of a real woman, not a crabby dowdy bit character that is only there for comic relief. A 40+ actress that looks her age and acts her age. One that’s not too cute. William Hurt, Stanley Tucci, Tony Shalhoub.
Movie: So many – see my profile
Least Likely Nickname: Bubbles

Monday, March 17, 2008

TV: Satan or Saint

I have been doing a bit of blog surfing this morning. Of course, I should be in the studio. I just was. I'm just waiting for a bit of paint to dry.

I discovered an interview with Laura Frankstone through the Artful Parent, a blog I will have to read more of.

(Sorry about the crappy links. It is Monday. I did my best. I hate doing links. The artful parent is at The interview was done on March 10. Scroll down on the artful parent blog to find it. If anybody has helpful linking tips for me, send them on.)

The interview concerned raising creative children. Something I most definitely am trying to do now. I think I am doing a fairly good job at this. My daughter has a creativity table available to her at all times. Markers, crayons, paper, scissors, glue, loads of colorful collage paper, etc. We do many projects together and one of our (my) favorites is collage. I love to make quilts out of paper & sometimes my daughter follows along, sometimes she does her own thing. We also attend museums as a family & talk about our visits later. She already draws better than I do. She undoubtedly feels less inhibited about creating art than I am.

The interview mentioned turning off the television. For good. Many of the comments regarding the post mentioned that turning off the television was one of the best things they have ever done for their children.

There is plenty bad about television. I've seen first hand through volunteering at my daughter's kindergarten class how detrimental it is for 5-6 year olds to watch "Cops". There are parents who use the television as a baby sitter. There are children out there who watch whatever and whenever they want. That's bad.

What's good, you ask. My daughter is quite a fan of Mr. Rogers. We have saved some of his shows for future reference. My daughter was thrilled to find Eric Carle, one of my daughter's favorite authors demonstrating how he creates his art work. Through this show she has seen Chinese ballet, learned about musical instruments, visited France, etc etc etc. Then there is "Sesame Street". Nothing but learning there. Has anyone seen "Harold and the Purple Crayon"? It shows children they can imagine anything & draw it also.

I say, give 'em a show a day. Let their tired little bodies sit on the sofa. That brain will still be working. Pick those shows carefully. Watch with them if you can. Talk about the show later if you can't. I often do work on the computer in the next room while my child watches. She thinks it is great when I hear something fascinating and come running in saying, "Wow, I didn't know that!"

Perhaps I should watch more children's television. Are there anymore good shows out there?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

New Orleans is Alive and (getting) Well

We just returned from a fantastic trip to New Orleans. I know what you are probably thinking. Why would anybody want to go to New Orleans? Well, loads of reasons we will get to soon.

I am not going to say that New Orleans has recovered. I'm not here to say it is the cleanest, safest city in the United States. I am here to say that New Orleans is the most incredible city in this country.

Yes, parts of the city are still lying quietly in ruins. There are neighborhoods completely devastated by flooding that are slowly being rebuilt. Some neighborhoods received little water and have recovered rather quickly. Still other neighborhoods (many) were not flooded and you would not be able to tell that anything had ever happened.

One of our favorite places in New Orleans is the Audubon Zoo. Most of the animals fared quite well through the hurricane and its aftermath. The zoo is in great shape and was full of visitors. We were able to take the St. Charles streetcar all the way to the zoo. The majority of the St. Charles streetcar route has been repaired and the cars were full of locals and tourists.

One day was spent in City Park. Most of the park has been restored. Some buildings will have to be torn down and the golf courses have not been repaired, yet the majority of the park is in great shape. We first went to the New Orleans Museum of Art -- a fantastic museum in a beautiful building. Then on to the sculpture garden. While several trees were lost, many of the beautiful live oaks remain. Many trees have already been replaced.

A great deal of wildlife can be found in the park. We even saw pelicans fishing -- although I didn't managed to get a photo of one. I did manage to capture this fellow, though.

Also in City Park is a small amusement park. Aside from the now missing ferris wheel, the park is back to normal. We rode the Ladybug roller coaster 5 times! My daughter was extremely fearless -- I screamed. Each time.

Lily and I rode the recently restored carousel. The indoor carousel had been flooded and the horses and animals almost ruined. They have recently been returned to New Orleans after being restored. Dozens and dozens of brass plaques on the carousel name the donors who helped put this stunning ride back together. I cried a little.

I've cried dozens of times since Katrina. I still do. There is still a long way to go for the residents who still live there and those who want to come back. Yet now I often cry for good reasons. I cried when I read that Commander's Palace had reopened. I cried when I read that the sea lions had been returned to the Zoo. I cried when I stood on a street corner last Sunday and saw the St. Charles streetcar rounding the corner to come and pick me up.

The people that live and work there thanked us several times for coming to visit. I'm glad I went and I am looking forward to my next trip. It looks like it might be a couple of years before I can get back. That is too long. I need to sell some of my work so I can go back sooner.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

And What Do You Do?

How often do you hear that question? Are you quite prepared for it? Do you have an interesting answer? A funny anecdote to go along with your interesting answer?

I try to avoid that question. I am not prepared for it. I do not have an interesting answer (yet). And sewing over one's finger is not a funny anecdote.

I have answered that I am a quilt artist. Do you know how quickly eyes can glaze over. Instant cataracts. The questioner has an immediate vision of blue-haired ladies in a circle sewing and trading recipes and baby pictures. They want no part of that conversation so they go off to freshen their drink.

I have also answered that I am a fiber artist. This time the questioner's vision is one of me chasing a herd of alpacas with shears, spinning wool, and weaving a doormat.

Don't get me wrong. Blue-haired ladies gathering to sew is a great way to spend time and gather and disseminate information. These ladies have for generations gathered scraps, sewing them carefully together, and covered the sleeping bodies of beloved family members. I also have great admiration for those whose raise animals, gather, process and dye wool, and weave this fiber into stunning and often functional works of art. My goal here is not to show disrespect to these artists.

My goal is to find a fascinating way for getting across to others what I do. How can I keep that conversation going? What can I say to stop that person from getting a new drink? How can I make them forget that drink altogether?/div>

I understand that the majority of people will ultimately have little interest in what I do. But I at least have 60 seconds to get my vision out there. It doesn't help that I usually spend the first 30 seconds saying "uh, well, uh, hmmm".

Perhaps I could have one of my quilts tatooed on my chest. Then when asked what I do, I could rip my shirt open.

The piece shown above is as yet unnamed. It is another version of what I saw on the sidewalk last November. The last of the leaves, pine needles scattered, pink petals strewn about. I've really run dry on names lately. Any ideas?

Monday, March 3, 2008

How Did I Get Here? Where am I Going? Part IV

My first two or three years of elementary school are pretty much forgotten. I do remember the cafeteria smelling like steamed spinach. I remember running from boys. I remember frightening teachers in horn-rimmed glasses. I even remember the day in first grade when my mother had to bring clean underwear to school. That day was probably the beginning of my disrespect for authority. I knew the doors to the school were open. The teacher knew I need to use the restroom. Yet I was told I had to wait until the bell rang. I didn't make it & my respect for my teachers dwindled.

I liked the colors in the Dick and Jane readers. Yet I hated the words. They irritated me and so I did not want to read them. I was often reprimanded for not being able to sit and read like the other children. I wanted to color. I wanted to play with crayons and group them together in pleasing arrangements.

In third grade, I loved multiplication tables. I adored the grids we laid out and filled in with those beautiful numbers. What could be more fun than coloring in those grids? Who wants to sit and comprehend stories of the mundane lives of little girls and boys when one could draw grids and fill them in? And then there were the cursive writing lessons. But why? I can already write. I can already get my point across. And frankly, I could already type. My grandmother (see How Did I get here? Where am I going, Part I) had an ancient typewriter that I was obsessed with. I could already make carbon copies and change the ribbon. Who wanted to bother with cursive writing? Big, blocky letters were much more appealing.

I was pulled aside from what the other kids were doing. Those other kids who had taken to cursive writing. Who did not get "needs improvement" marks for failing to grasp cursive writing. I got to sit all alone and trace letters with my fingers on these terrible boards. They felt like sandpaper. I was repulsed by their texture. I stopped tracing. The teacher got irritated. My mother was notified. I was forced to trace more. I still get chills through my body when I recall that feeling in my finger tips. I was already a lover of fabric and its many pleasing textures. I did not want to trace letters on sandpaper. I got another "needs improvement" mark. My mother was notified.

There was a discussion between my mother and some unremembered being (teacher, doctor). There were concerns about my ability to learn. Hey! I was great with those multiplication tables! Remember. I remember my mother saying that I was quite immature. Well . . . . I did still like to play with blocks. My favorite activity. I suppose I should have been using science kits, assembling kites, writing letters to the editor. I liked blocks.

I remember being busted for playing with Tinker Toys when I was 9. I was made to feel that I should be embarrased. And it seemed that I didn't even have the ability to construct with them. I was just laying them out in the floor. What my mother did not notice, was that I was designing a city. There were floor plans for office buildings, restaurants, and stores, I had parking lots and streets. Yes, I knew how I was supposed to use dominoes, but they made good cars & from them I learned about road widths and traffic flow. I used Legos to construct bridges. And when my family traveled, I took a pegboard toy I had as a young child. I used the pegs to layout roads & intersections. I could have been a transportation engineer! But I felt I was a stupid kid to couldn't write or comprehend a Dick and Jane story.

All of that blah, blah, blah, just to get to this point. Looking back, I can see the colorful, graphic, gridded beauty that I was able to appreciate. It is part of who I am now. Perhaps if our school had had a counselor, it could have been pointed out that I was not really an idiot. That I just had a few special needs. The need to create. The need to learn using color and shape. The need to stop tracing over those horrible boards. Brrrrrrrr. I still get the chills.

The photo above is the inside of my daughter's Lego chest. She doesn't play with them much anymore. She is only six. She has at least 70 years of Lego-playing time ahead. I'm gonna dump those things out this afternoon and play with them.