Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Spiraling Out

Spiraling Out, 2007
Recently I read Betsy Fram's blog in which she reviewed a book she found inspiring about a woman who recovered from a serious illness while restoring her practice of making and creating. It (and some other recent events) took me back to my own illness some years ago from which I felt quite impaired and hopeless about a recovery. 

Cognitive impairment was a big and horrible component of that illness (Epstein Barr Virus) for me. I could not read or use a computer, could not exercise, or even make a competent dinner or conversation. But I eventually was able to sit at my work table and play with my watercolors. It felt like I was able to accomplish at least something small some days.

The image of a spiral kept appearing to me, and I imagined spiraling out of that dark place back into the world. I made several small watercolor and pen paintings and eventually the larger piece above.

My climb out of that limited place was very slow and difficult, and certainly it didn't look dramatic to anyone else. It took longer than I had imagined. Even when I had more energy and abilities, I often experienced some of the cognitive impairment. 

The eventual result was a shift into a world of Art. I opened a gallery and studio, worked hard and happily on my art and on teaching art, and reached a place of huge fulfillment and satisfaction.

More importantly, I understood so many things about the difficulties of life for so many others. I learned about compassion. I learned about being less judgmental. I learned some important lessons. I'm grateful for all of it.

Did my art practice "cure" me? Who knows? If you are feeling lost, maybe it can help you find some small piece of yourself.

Monday, March 25, 2019

After Sundown

I'm working on a new Daily Practice habit. This has always been so rewarding and I need it now. I'm in Florida for another lovely week, and I'm bursting with creative ideas, so here goes. Many thanks to Jeannie, new friend and donator of the lovely batik stash.
My greatly cropped photo looking west on my street at that 
peachy-pink sky, with street lights.
My little sketch of the scene on the left; my beginning composition on the right. I'm trying out my newly-learned Improvisational Piecing technique, from Pat Pauly's workshop.
Pretty much done with the piecing, awaiting its machine quilting. 

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Learn Something New!

I recently took a one day workshop with Pat Pauly on "Improvisational Piecing", along with members of the Tampa Bay Surface Design Guild. I have never taken a class on quilting techniques - I learned a lot!
 It began with Pat's directions on whacking fabric apart and putting it back together. Above is my start with my limited fabric supply.
 Part of the "skinny line" lecture.
One of my experiments in progress.
Another with a little botanical contact print.

I'll be putting all of this to good use!

Friday, December 7, 2018

Sparkling at Sparkle Village

Last weekend, I had a booth at our town's annual holiday craft, cutely called "Sparkle Village Craft Show." It was my first year as a vendor and it was loads of fun! And loads of work. I made dozens of new botanical print scarves, along with some other goodies. That stretch of hard and satisfying work got me into a good place - very excited and energized by what I do. Lots of learning and experimenting. And with a head full of what I want to do next, after a period of questioning what I do. I'm over that, at least for now. More work usually seems to fix those problems.
A basket full of pillows
A rack full of scarves
A table full of prints, cards, journals, and scarves

My favorite botanical print ever! Horse chestnut and smokebush leaves with cochineal and logwood dyes on a silk pillow cover.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

What Does Tannin Do?

I've been eco printing on all kinds of fabrics and papers for awhile now. And the more I learn, the more I realize that using mordants can make a huge difference in the results, especially when printing on cotton, linen, and other cellulose fibers.

To that end, I'm doing experiments of my own to see what I can learn. And I want to share them with you.
Set 1 - Six fabrics, three plants species
Iron blanket on left sample, made with paper towels.

All the bundles after simmering for 2 hours.
Two printed samples
I made 3 sets of fabric samples. After drying everything, I'll lay them out and compare my treatments. Stay tuned!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Change: the One Sure Thing

When I moved into the Pink House about two and a half years ago, I had a vision of what I wanted my gallery and studio to be. And I left lots of room for changing it all around.
Maria and her Saranac Lake Middle School Art Club at a collage workshop at the Pink House
Eco print workshop with Karen, Cris, Valerie, and Margaret. Super fun!
And a lot has changed! The studio remains pretty much the same (so I can teach here and host wonderful groups like the ones shown here!). I know now how many students I can accommodate for which classes, I know where my materials are (mostly), and it functions really well. But the gallery has gone through several revisions. For the first two seasons (June through September here),  I was open at least three days a week, as well as many other informal Open days. I had monthly exhibits, with the whole Food and Drink Thing, and lots of publicity. Loads of fun and I had such a great time working with many artist friends who showed their work here!

 But I knew I was missing the dance recitals of my granddaughters, family gatherings, and lots of amazing outdoor adventures with friends, and I decided that I needed to change how the gallery operated. The combination of my gallery's location on a small side street in my small village, the sparse visitors to the gallery, the huge energy and financial expenditures of putting on monthly exhibits, and a wonderful new relationship with a man who lives in another place - well, it didn't make sense anymore to sit in my gallery for days on end with little return. So last year, I was open three days a week from June through December and for studio tours. I was happier, lovely people still came in and we made nice connections, and I still showed my work along with that of friends. Lots of satisfactions but not much financial return.

Summer 2017 I cut back even further and was open mostly weekdays when I worked in my studio. Too much fun paddling, traveling, and learning to do. I have been open Fridays and Saturdays in December for Holiday Gift Gallery. Many thanks to all who have come in to chat, browse, and buy. I am so grateful for each of you!

Now I'm closing the gallery for the foreseeable future, after a Big Sale on January 20th. I'll still work regularly in my wonderful studio and enjoy my cozy home upstairs. And I hope to use that room for the local summer art walks and studio tours and for special short-term exhibits of my own work and that of others. Now I'll have a place for small dinner parties, which I can't manage in my little upstairs living room, and as well as a better office space. I'll miss my sweet little gallery business,  but I'm so looking forward to new projects and options!

So, it comes down to what makes each of us happiest and most satisfied. The next best step comes with clear thinking about what each of us wants to do with this short, beautiful life we are each allotted. I'll continue to post here about a big new project coming up, more classes and workshops at the Pink House, and miscellaneous creative adventures. 

I wish each of you Happiness, Creativity, and Abundant Love in the New Year and always. 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

A Lovely, Quiet Holiday Gift Gallery

The annual Pink House Holiday Gift Gallery is open on Fridays from 11am to 8pm and Saturdays from 11am to 5pm through December 23rd, as well as when the Open signs are out or by appointment. Lots of "doing" for friends in need this year, so call me when you can make it to the Pink House. I'd love to see you. 

And so many wonderful gifts! Many by talented artist friends, some made by me, all carefully selected to help you find the Special Something for your Special Someone! And I am happy to ship to you or your dear ones!

Pilllows and Plant Prints 

The Eco Prints Department
The Gift Solution - a Gift Certificate for a workshop or scarf or tiny birdhouse or .....

Wool Hats by Ann Clarke I

Wool Hats by Ann Clarke II

Crepe de Chine Silk Scarves by Pat Pauly
Colorful Linen Pillows by Pat Pauly

Rustic Pillows by Cris

Fragrant Candles
Little Framed Eco Prints

Zen Rocks by Chad Pattison

Lots more for Heart and Home.  Hope to see you soon!