Thursday, March 30, 2023

Getting going again . . . Keeping it Short and Sweet!

This is my current project - in progress.  I want to do a few blog posts now and then to share my journey as an artist and teacher. I will keep them short and to the point.

This piece is "Walking With Cancer - My Journey".   It has been a long year since I finished my treatment and since I started this piece.  I should finish it today, bury threads tomorrow - lots of threads, and do the facing on Saturday.

You can see lots of threads to bury in the closeups below, so watching a good movie will get it done.



It is one of my pieces for our "Journeys" show to open next week at the Zoot Gallery. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Waiting a bit . . .

 Life is what happens on your way to do what you planned. . . . 

I am going to put my focused "book learning" process on hold for a week.  There has been a lot os things happening since last week.  You can go back to last week to see what I had hoped to do.  

Thursday of last week, I met with a group of artists, new to me, Montana Contemporary Arts Collective.  I am honored to join them as we work together to present our art and prepare for a small exhibit in our library in a month.  That is so exciting for me and present lots to do.  

On Friday morning, my son called and said my grandson, Walker, who has been really sick since having Covid in January, was heading back to Denver Children's Hospital for an unplanned scan over the Easter week-end..  Walker is 12 and was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2015.  He has had some tough years with surgery, radiation, chemo and ongoing health concerns.  That unexpected, scary news put our next few days on hold.  We now know that his scan is clear and the best they can tell from the blood work and tests is that he is struggling with the effects of Covid long haul issues.  He will now be working with a medical specialist for a few months to see if he can regain strength and get well again.  

There have been a couple additional family issues that I am not going to go into here but it has been made clear to me that my work with my book selection was put on the back burner for a week.  

So now, I am back to getting more work done, being excited about the coming exhibit and working with dedicated artists to show and strengthen our work.  And I am so thankful that Walker had a clear scan and that his brain cancer has not returned.  

So - wait for a week . . . 

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Looking forward to a new little learning trip . . .

It is almost spring - maybe?

The spring days might be coming although it is hard to tell from the weather here this week.  It is cold and very windy.  There is also a little snow, of course, but the wind here seems to be whipping every ounce of needed moisture from each flake.  

Here is our Scottish Terrier, BaileeB.  She is warming her back side to the fire after the windy, snowy, cold night.  

I am feeling "pretty good" as my dad would have said.  And I am looking forward to all the "renewals" that come with this beautiful season ahead. 

Time to "hit the learning road" . . . 

I am always inspired by books that bring new ideas, beautiful writing, engaging photos and illustrations. I want to commit time to really visit and enjoy each special book in a way that brings me the full experience I know is there for me. But, I rarely succeed. So, I decided to choose a book and try a new method. At least it is new for me.  

I am going to select a book and select specific areas for focused visits. I want to do a small study from each section.  I will commit to doing one small study each week from that section. And then, if my intentions match my actions, I will report back briefly each week here on my blog.  

How hard can that be? Well, for me, it will take some special focus because this is the time of year when there are lots of wonderful things happening - like green grass, planting, new leaves, family celebrations, and maybe even a few road trips.  

Book for this first journey . . . 

Here is the first book I have chosen. I want to spend more time with it.  I want to learn and try new ways of seeing, thinking and creating.

Process . . . 

I have a couple other books from Cas Holmes and I have not done them the justice I had intended. So I hope this new method will match my wants for the content of this one. I have previewed each chapter and I think each chapter will make a good focus for my new journey.

So here are my target dates for reporting back on each section  . . . 

April 19th - Chapter 1 - Drom: The Open Road 
April 26th - Chapter 2 - Nomad at Home
May 3rd  -  Chapter 3 - Windows to the World
May 10th - Chapter 4 - Changes in the Smaller Landscapes
May 17th - Chapter 5 - Threads of Connection
May 24th - Chapter 6 - Displacement/Discovery        
My self challenge is to read each chapter, think about it, and create something that connects me to the learning. This could be a fiber study, a mixed media study, a sketch, a painting or something written. I want it to create a bond between my art and my learning.  

I will report back here next Tuesday, April 19th for the first segment. I hope you will stop by and share your thoughts.  And, I hope I will have something posted here fore you to see.  

See you then . . . 

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

April is here . . .

I love April!  I always have loved April. In Montana it is not "really" spring but I know it is not too far away.  The snow that can still come is so appreciated in this dry country and I know the cold, cold weather won't last for 3 or 4 months.  It is also too early to do any planting but I can get ready.  It is also my birthday month.  As long as I can remember, I have loved April.  

The past week has been dark - inside.  It started a little over a week ago.  It was like a long slow sticky slide into a dark place.  And then, as sticky slides can be, little things appear and the slide gets stickier in places.  So Sunday came along and I knew what I needed to do.  I just started to climb back up that sticky slide by realizing I could clean and organize - re-organize - straighten - revisit projects envisioned - time in my studio without deadlines or shoulds.  I could talk to family and laugh about things having nothing to do with the sticky stuff.  I could move on.  I am not sure why it worked, but the shades slowly went up and the darkness parted. 

And - the sandhill cranes have returned.  

Did I say how much I love April.  

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

More sunlight with each day . . .

 Week 4 - And I continue . . . 

This is my 4th posting since I set my challenge to post once a week for 4 weeks and see how it goes.  I have enjoyed it and just knowing I get to blab once a week has been good.  I will now challenge myself to continue to post once a week through the month of April and then I will see how it is feeling again.  

I have really enjoyed going back through my "old" posts.  There were lots of fun times with the grandkids, the family, good friends and lots of creating.  I am glad I made some kind of record via this blog.

Book Blurbs . . . 

Yesterday I got this book as a special gift to myself for some 3D fiber inspiration.  It is captivating.  Each two-page spread has a brief bio about the artist and examples of their work.  I am loving it!  

I am starting a small "Book Blurbs" group with some other fiber artist friends.  Each month we will share our thoughts on the selected book and how it may or may not relate to our work as artists and makers.  We will read with some common questions and each of us will have a few minutes to share our individual thinking and inspiration.  We will then have open discussion and ideas on how the reading might integrate into our lives - or not.  We can decide to continue with the same book for another month and share more about our learning at the next meeting.  Or, if we decide nothing more is there, we will move on to a new book.  We will all contribute possibilities to select books we might want to delve into for discussion and inspiration.  I will write more about how it goes.  

More moon studies . . . 

Here on my design wall are several of my "moon studies".  Some are in in progress and some are just waiting for a solid idea to land

I am not as prolific with my moon studies as I had planned.  What else is new?  But I am adding more small study possibilities.  I want to do more with hand stitching and machine stitching, but the days are so filled with so many good things, I don't get as much done as I plan.  But I will get there.  

That is why I am glad there is more sunlight each day.  I need bigger days.  

See you next week. . . 

Monday, March 14, 2022

Still working on my weekly challenge . . .

March is filled with fun stuff . . . 

This is the third week of my challenge to myself to publish a weekly blog update through the month of March.  

This young deer has been enjoying our back yard every morning and again in the evening. 

Spring Break . . . 

This week is Spring Break for the public school and the university here. Our older grandson, Weston, is a sophomore and he is working but we have made a date with him for lunch and a good long visit  The younger grandson, Walker, has a full schedule with friends but we are hoping he can squeeze us in for a fun meal and a little shopping.

Good TV watching ahead . . . 

The Montana State University Bobcats basketball teams, men and women, both won their Big Sky Tournaments over the weekend.  We will enjoy watching them in the NCAA Tournament. In addition to our local favorites, we have several college teams we enjoy so Bob will be several games tand I will be getting lots of hand stitching time.  

Quilting with my A1 Quilting Machine and my Intelliquilter . . .

In August this past summer, I had my A1 quilting machine upgraded.  It has always been a wonderful machine and now it is AMAZING with a new motor, new wiring, a new tablet. new technology system, new stitch regulator, new lights and some additional upgraded parts.  Of course that then required that my Intelliquilter (robot) be reinstalled and with the COVID numbers high again through the fall and early winter it was tough to get an installer. In November, Bob and I rolled up our sleeves and with the guidance of the company we were able to do it ourselves.  

I haven't worked on it at all since we completed it.  So this past week I have reacquainted myself - again.  I am practicing and loading a couple donation quilts.  I will enjoy it again.

I haven't done a quilt for a "customer" for several years so I am practicing to select a good pattern and a good size.  This first quilt is queen size and some of my practice is shown in the picture below.

Plans for this coming week . . . 

I want to get this big donation quilt completed - my part anyway.  I want to get it back to the person who created the top so she can do the binding. 

I want to get more done on my "Walk" quilt and more hand stitching on the smaller moon studies.  

See you next week . . . 

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Staying with it . . .

Showing up - again. . . 

This is Tuesday, but my intentions have been good.  

It is such a difficult time in the world that it is easy for me to get side-tracked.  My heart and love are with the innocent people in Ukraine - everyone there - all victims of the greed and need for power at any cost.  

I woke early, early this morning and realized I had not posted my "Monday post" that I committed to doing each week in March. But, I am here doing just that. My studio work has been hard this past week.  I came to my studio each day, but my heart and thoughts were somewhere else.  So I would just "show up" and do a "little something".  

Work from studies this past week . . . 

I keep working on my "moon studies".  I am taking a great class from Rosalie Dace - "Over the Moon".  It is online and offered through The Stitchin' Post in Sisters, Oregon.  I really enjoy her teaching style of kindness, knowledge and inspiration. I am trying to get my chemo brain activated again and this class is a great way to do just that.. 

At first I thought I wanted to make a wall quilt with the phases of the moon.  But I couldn't stay focused on that idea.  So I decided to do "studies" of different approaches to capturing the moon from my heart.  

This one started from just painting across wet white cotton.  After it dried I added a bit more paint, fused on the little moon, and I will do some hand stitching to focus the scene a bit better.

These three are moons on fabrics I painted this past few weeks and I want to try some different ways to accent with thread - maybe hand stitching and maybe machine stitching.  I am not sure yet, but I will share as I do more with these. 

These three studies are moons on backgrounds - one is fused, one is appliqu├ęd and one is painted.  I started with the fused moon below and have added some stitching.  I will work on this one this week to get it finished.  Below are the first few stitches.  I want to finish one each week along with my other work.  The hand stitching is so relaxing for me in the evenings.

And then . . . 

We had a little birthday party for my Bob on March 3rd. It was a fun gathering to help me remember all the good things that bring me endless love and happiness. It was wonderful to gather with family and feel the joy from laughter with shared memories and dreams.  

See you next week . . .