Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Good things.........

You know what they say about good things, 'they come in small boxes!'
In this case, the 'good thing' is the box! These are a small assortment of new ring boxes we finished yesterday. Each box is 3" x 3" and almost 3" tall. These will be headed to shows soon. Some may get posted to my site. Stay tuned, there's more to come!


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Nature's Bounty Supplies Us

The last couple of weeks we've had incredible weather! Cool clear days with luminous clouds reminiscent of New Mexico gracing the sky, followed by crisp fall-like nights. We've taken advantage of this unseasonable respite by working in our gardens and burning piñon in our chimenea. This pungent scent wafts through the evening air like nothing else. I recall the first time I smelled this evocative scent. It was in Flagstaff Arizona on a cool night many years ago. It has remained me forever and the fragrance is like nothing else. It feels 'holy' and 'whole', as if we are anointing the earth and all she gives us.
I guess because we are.

Rural life is offering up its bounty as gardens surrender the goodness of seeds planted and cared for in early spring. Our neighbors have shared with us some of this goodness in the form of heads of cabbage, peppers, tomatoes, green beans and cucumbers. All have been enjoyed and the cukes are slowly turning into pickles as they ferment in their seasoned brine.

The farmer cut the hay in the field across from us and has baled his crop into square bales. A bucolic sight I love seeing. Yes it becomes feed for animals, but I see them as the building blocks for straw bale construction projects. Walls of depth and natural insulation. Habitat for Humanity built a straw bale home here in Bloomington some years ago and my husband Jon helped in its construction. A coming together of hands and hearts to help a homeless man have shelter.

The view from our living room screen door encompasses our purple cone flowers and a few sculptures as well as the newly mown field. We've watched thumb sized bumble bees gather pollen bobbing from flower to flower. They are in the process of making honey! It also reminds me that the honey combs these bees carfully construct of wax may also be the underpinning of my new work. I'm delving into a new medium, that of encaustics. Evenings not in the studio are spent reading books on the subject. I'm beyond fascinated with the concept of mixing pigment into wax and creating layers with this golden earthy medium. Winter will provide the time needed to reconfigure the studio to prepare for this transition. Soon the smell of oil paint and beeswax will fill my studio as the memories of bees doing their thing in summer while I do mine in winter move further along. This while snowflakes fall and our woodstove crackles in the corner. A season at a time. I still have much to do this summer, but this new way of viewing the process of bees, art and the interconnectedness of nature to my new body of work makes me smile while cumulous clouds dance overhead.

Have a most abundant day!


Sunday, July 12, 2009

My Fascination with the Mundane

There. I said it. I'm fascinated by things many people take for granted. Mundane objects, preferably small fucntional ones. I've known this for some time. Not spoken about it much. Thought it might make good 'blog-fodder'. Now my secret is out. My recent recognition of this anomaly was witnessed last night in the studio. I nearly drove my husband Jon crazy. I was removing from 2 bags 200 wooden sewing thread spools I scored on Craigslist for $5.00. In all fairness, I found the listing and Jon picked them up in town.

I opened the bags with great enthusiasm. I'd saved this moment till later in the day after getting some work done. A 'treat' if you will. My overhead task light provided warm illumination of my tactile find. A myriad of assorted shapes and sizes of spools tumbled onto my paint encrusted work table. I carefully examined each spool and my mind began reeling.
How old were they?
Who owned them?
What did they sew with them?
Were they a quilter, a mom, a seamstress?
About half of them had worn paper labels affixed to each end. These were the kind I remember from childhood. The paper on these so brittle, it crumbled beneath my fingers. I set them gently aside.
The remaining ones were much older and had the product information colorfully embossed into each end. Many once held silk thread. Many costing 15 cents. Each had a factory name, location, color number and price designated. Emblazoned into the wood, these were not likely to be changed often. The mere fact they committed the price to this process, was interesting. Not much can be bought for 15 cents these days.
Am I showing my age?

I was mesmerized by the careful skill it took to align the spools to make sure however these spools were embossed, it aligned correctly.
Was this process mechanized?
Done by hand?
Two of the spools had advertisements on the core that would only be seen after all the thread was used. Ads saying that for 2 cents you could be mailed a catalog of the additional products the company sold. Two cents. What could that buy now? Back then, it covered the cost of the stamp and the printing of the literature. Two cents. I remember 5 cent stamps.
Am I showing my age?

My pre-occupation continued as my mind ran faster. There were no needle holes through the labels. My Mom would use the label as a way to hold her needle sticking it carefully through with a tail of thread attached to see it better. I still do this. Some sewers use a pin cushion. Whoever owned these used a pin cushion. After wood, styrofoam was used for spool thread. Pins could stick into this. Now hard plastic is the material of choice. So now sewers use the labels or a pin cushion for their needle.

Spools of thread have been a part of my life for as long as I recall. I had a Grandmother and a Mom who fixed rips in clothes, hemmed dresses and did alterations. A sewing box was as much a part of growing up in my house as were a picnic thermos, a heating pad and tv trays that nested in a corner of our living room. Reserved for eating tv dinners on the couch only on occasion. My Mom was not formal, but set tight parameters over what was 'acceptable'.
She sewed too! My brother routinly skid through the knees of his Catholic school navy blue uniform pants. The tedious art of knee patching was my Mothers weekly chore. She perfected it making patches out of fabric from pants too far gone to fix. My other Grandmother was blind, but my Grandfather would sew by hand despite his very thick eyeglasses, often spattered with paint from a fix up project he'd undertaken or from juicing oranges and tangelos from his yard.

These were people from the depression. I learned so much from them. Their voices and spirit are a part of me. I treasure their wisdom despite my love of things current. They called hand sewing back then - 'darning'. You darned a sock to fix a worn spot using what looked like a small moracca to reach inside. A tool just for that job. Today, little 'fixing' is done, instead the item is tossed.
I fix.
It's in my nature to get additional life out of objects rather than frivolously replace them.
I can't afford to do this and wouldn't if I had the money. The depression stories are imbedded too deep within and my appreciation for these stories and the people that took the time to gift them to me, mean too much to me to be frivolous. Some call this being "Dutch".
I'm Irish- it's all the same.
Am I showing my age?

'Not having the time' is not an option to me.
Making the time is.

So my fascination with the utilitarian mundane continues. I will appreciate these small spools that came my way. Some will get new life born into them being used on my TattooDream projects and others will get used in my sewing room. Their overlooked appeal will be cherished as will the process of how they were made, who used them and the circle of their usefulness continues.
If I'm showing my age, that's okay!
I'm proud of all that I am and who I've become. It didn't happen overnight. It's taken 49 years of laughter and tears and trials and tribulations to become me. I value the wisdom of the people who have helped craft my appreciations of the past and look with optimism to what lies ahead.

I am grateful for time and the small things in life.


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Embracing Change

After weeks preparing for two back to back weekend shows, we're home! We're regrouping for the next run of shows and we've learned a lot. New items I want to create, new ways to show the I feel the need to reinvent myself and it feels so good!
Lots of new work on the horizon.
Is it that I'm at 'that age'?
The current economic climate?
Needing a new challenge?
All of the above.

I'm embracing the feeling of 'newness' and it feels so good! I feel focused.
Life can become a process of going through the motions effortlessly rote or you can create an aura of taking a highlighter and scrawling wildly with passion, circling your days with florescent energy, growth and excitement.

I'm choosing the later.

Make it a great day, I am!


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

TattooDreams Booth Shot

Art fair artists set up their mobile galleries in a 10' x10' footprint. Some opt for larger booths. Extra costs are double booths and corner access. All these criteria affect the layout and flow of traffic ones work will generate. This is my new booth!
Jon built the panels and, for the time being, the walls are raw wood. He did a magnificent job! Plans include wrapping each panel in carpet. As funds allow, this will transpire.

Selling a body of craft differs greatly from selling art for the wall. How I interact with the collector is different, and I'm learning so much by watching them interact with my work. Also I'm learning who gravitates to this body of work, in essence, 'who is my target market'? It's all good. I needed a new challenge and the psychology of sales has long fascinated me and understanding it directs how I market my work.

My TattooDreams are inspired by the images that resonate deep within our minds at rest. Oftentimes these dreams are awoken later the following day when some visual, scent or memory of a dream is recalled. The mind is a fascinating place to sketch our ideas, transform our thoughts and create inspired artistry. Dreaming is 'billable time' since my ideas come to me in my dreams! Being asleep and unconscious at the same time is awesome!
Thanks for your continued encouragement as I explore part of myself and this new body of work takes shape!