Wednesday, May 28, 2014


We have returned from a needed get-away. Two nights away with no phone calls! Yeah! We traveled east to dry land and filled our eyes with the openness hoping it would offset our feelings of being overrun by vegetation.  We appreciated the rolling land with the crisp well-maintained farms where you can see the edges of  "everything."

Before we left town I turned in my donation for Marie Watt's Blanket project:

My blanket (quilt top) donation came via the Goodwill. I had stopped by the Goodwill (by the pound) this past week for potential art materials. It is unlike any other thrift store. I am not sure why I find the place so jarring. As I watch others paw through the mountains of "stuff"  I go into research mode. I have so many questions, it is like a social experiment in progress. I want to write a book complete with photographs about this unique environment but typically I forget because of the stuff I find. This week I found an antique quilt top thrown into the fray. I snatched it up as you would a child running into traffic. I was surprised by my reaction. It was so immediate and  strong. The quilt top shouldn't have been there! It was out of context. The stars had been lovingly stitched from fabrics worn thin by their previous life. The quilt was soft and muted; so unlike the quilts of today made from new cloth. I looked through the bin for more clues. Often when a person's life is up-ended into the bin the pieces fall there together. Yet there were no more clues. I had no personal need for this quilt top, but I just couldn't let it lay there to be thrown from one bin to another with disregard or worse yet to be bailed up and shipped off to some unknown destination. Surely being bronzed would be a better fate? I am not sure if it will meet with the artist intention or not but on this Memorial Weekend I pay homage to this unknown woman who stitched by hand these pieces worn thin by life. I pay homage too to the women before me who worked so hard to fashion a life out of what they were given. There on the hills of their little communities we found evidence of their lives, buried there with their tiny children. I prefer this to remembering all the wars.

Genesee Valley Lutheran Church and Cemetery
 Saint John's Lutheran Cemetery and Saint Mary's Catholic Cemetery
The signs say a lot, don't they?

The view was grand and the wind constant.

And the best part -
  we weren't caught in any traffic -
well, until we got closer to home.
But after consuming a 44 oz nobody better get between me and the barn door.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Side tracked on 6 acres

No art this past week. The sun came out and I hurt from stem to stern. I've been reminded every May is this way. Scratched, bruised, sun burned and sore. Keeping up with Mother Nature in May is a difficult task. For weeks and weeks it has rained down on us - in great big buckets. It was upsetting because you could hear the grass growing the whole time. So when suddenly it was nice out - holy cow! Get out the machete! My whole life changed - big swaths of time were dedicated to one purpose. To restore order and a path to the house!  One day was spent mowing hill and dale, the next it was  trimming trees (which was suppose to be weed whacking but the shade was preferable - since my skin hadn't seen sunlight in months). I mean, the sun was soooo bright and hot! For two days I picked up limbs and trimmings which I constructed into this lovely above my head brush pile berm on the edge of the pond very artfully arranged I thought. I hope the winter rains will reduce it down eventually turning it into soil (in my lifetime?)  As I dragged the last load to the pile this 'voice' welled up inside me and said "that is enough of that! It is time to play!"

OMG! I play as hard as I work, but this morning when I had my first cup of tea out there - it was pretty wonderful. With my imagination on fire I studied the situation from the inside. I brought with me a cut up milk jug. Thinking it might make a nice outer covering. It would let in the light yet be strong. I do think the covering for my little land bound crannog should be from some sort of recycled product. Although if I don't get to weed whacking soon I could cover it with shocks of grass. But, oh my... it is so lovely to look out in all directions. If only I could have it be transparent. Any ideas out there?

So, that's my story and I am sticking to it!

Under the shade of the old plum orchard...with clippers, long loppers, short loppers, chain saw and weed whacker.

I know it is hard to imagine you can make a pile 15 feet long, 5 feet high from this little spot, but you can.
You have seen those etchings of old women hauling sticks on their back, right?
See me dragging sticks up the hill to my little crannog.

My little crannog is a 'land' crannog surrounded by a wall, rocks dug out of the pasture by hand, thank you very much. I got tired of chipping them down with the mower. Did I mention I needed a new mower? Yeah, that part hurt too. I know the Scottish built their crannogs over water, but if you use your imagination you will see the green as a pond filled with beaver dams in the distance (actually they are more brush piles). There's at least 5 brush piles that are 4 - 8 feet high. The blackberries are trying my spirit and my skin, and trying to take over the pasture as are the nettles, thistles, and thorny prune plums. I ask does everything have to have a thorny needle? No, there's ivy and privet and apparently grass made in hell. Just ask my 7th weed whacker.

But really, when you sit there in the little crannog, tea cup in hand, ignoring the jets flying over and Gorge the goose who apparently has assigned himself the job of waking the neighborhood, it is pretty darn nice. They say it will rain today. Maybe grass would make a nice covering?


Friday, May 2, 2014

Snippets in dry point

In mid April I took a needed break from course work on my linoleum reduction printing. I was getting frustrated.  So, I redirected my studio time to dry point printing. This time I set myself a goal... to make a book with several images. It always starts off so innocently, doesn't it? I limited myself to 1" x 3" disposable scientific slides and one color - Charbonnel Prussian blue (I love that color!)  I stayed with a vertical format for the final project even though I tried doing a couple horizontal designs. Here's what I came up with - 30 prints later. (Some obviously didn't make the cut.) I call the book Snippets.


They are soft and tender looking. I printed the images on Kozo paper, mounted them on Copper Plate (the accordion book part), and the folder is Cason 120lb watercolor paper. It was a nice diversion from the lino love - hate thing.

All calmed down I thought I would attempt the reduction printing again. But it happened again. I just don't know what's going on, but about the 4th color... my mind turns to mush. Is this the positive or the negative? Do I cut this or keep this? I feel lucky to get anything in the end of what is usually a two all day effort. I call it Verite Tea Cup. Verite is a lovely 38 foot Admiral's Gig.

But the good news is my little nest is feathered with prints and paper,
 presses and ink... and I am out there most every day.

See the lovely sheer apron I found at the Goodwill (the store I go to sells stuff by the lb.)
Oh, if only this wispy white cloth could tell me where it has been.