Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sweet March

Ten days ago a group of 15 women met at a lodge in this forest to honor our friend Liz and the upcoming birth of her first baby - a girl. Friends flew in from both coasts and Canada. Liz is loved by so many good women.

This is the Frog Creek Lodge where we met. It is enormous, full of bedrooms and light, a great big kitchen with modern appliances and on a peninsula near the water in Washington state. There is a labyrinth nearby that I had all to myself one morning. I found a wide peace at this place and a connection to something in myself that is strong and enduring.

Jen Goff is the woman on the left and she organized this event for Liz who is soaking her feet in a warm bath of lavendar water and herbs while being strewn with rose petals. Close your eyes for one moment and take a deep breath and change places with Liz. Go ahead. You deserve it. You are beloved too. Feel the warm foot bath and inhale the mingled fragrances of the flowers. The universe loves you. (some would say God. Either way.)

Here we are. Friends of dear Liz, wishing her safety, joy, blessings and strength for the journey ahead. We will keep you safely in our hearts and help you in any way we can.

Nature will encourage you too, and show you the way. 

This is my new painting from Stephanie Lee. We were scraping a recycled canvas in Katie's studio when she started noodling away with a paint brush and before I knew it this was leaning against a wall. Then she said I could have it. Okay, maybe I did beg a little, not that it was necessary. She is all that and generous too. Wow. It's hanging in my living room now, glowing like a prayer.

We have baby goats.

Fresh eggs from our dear friend Shannon

More baby goat.

Went to my eye doctor yesterday and got the all clear on my previously torn retina. Oh, once again I am a lucky woman, a cat with nine lives, little Miss Smartypants. John and I breathed a sigh of relief and drove around the corner to this taqueria where we felt 18 years old again and celebrated.

Passion Fruit and tacos. Life is good indeed.

Journal page. Some real good recipes there. mmmmm

This is the last face I painted in my face book before I took the book apart to send to the quilt ladies. 

Another journal page.

A week from today is my surgery. (ha ha. I just typed survey. can I do a survey instead?)

I am uplifted by many hands. I am an old gal and have surely had my share but naturally I want more. This may or may not be the last post before next Tuesday. You know me, it's hard to keep quiet for long. I go in Monday for some procedure where they poke something in my vein in the groin and send up some iodine for a look see and then do an embolism to some veins going into the tumor and blah blah blah. It sounds like something I'd rather not be involved in but I am.

Okay, what is, is. Make art and talk back. Love yourself and each other. xo

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Quilt of Many Friendships

When I arrived at Katie's on Sunday afternoon, the other girls there (Misty, Stephanie and Jen) gathered around me with expectant looks on their faces and Katie came forward with a large, puffy gift wrapped in aqua silk. Inside was this amazing quilt, the work of many beloved friends on this continent and Australia, hours of labor, of love, of friendship. I am still trying to take it all in.

This is the bag that Katie made to go with the quilt; inside were beautiful love letters from each contributor. I don't know when Katie had time to do the gathering and construction with all that has been on her plate for the past few months. She backed the quilt with the softest fabric - it makes me purr.

So I will show you the individual squares. This one was Katie's. The lady of the autumn leaves and aqua skies. (thank you Katie. Thank you for being such a wonderful friend.)

Katie made this one too. It is located at the top of the quilt in the center.

Stephanie Lee made this one. Look at all that hand stitching. Stephanie said that there is a prayer in each stitch. I feel safe with so many prayers surrounding me.

Sue Hadden made this one. She joined us on Monday and spent the night at Katie's. I met her over a year ago at the Bandon retreat and have grown more than fond of her. She's one of those quiet on the outside, bigger than life on the inside people. Her art is weird in a wonderful way.

Ro Bruhn's square. I love how she used her hand carved stamps and bright colors on this piece. Ro feels like a very old friend, we met online and created a powerful bond.

I met Pilar in Arizona at Art Unravelled several years ago. She made her square out of a pair of levis that she wore when she was in her 20's - to concerts that she recalled and many other adventures. I love the history of this well worn fabric; of being able to imagine Pilar's splendid college days wearing these levis.

This square is from Misty Mawn, an artist who needs no introduction. I treasure every moment I get to spend with her and always want more.

This is Kelly Kilmer's dyed and stitched heart-in-hand square. Kelly is the red haired teaching dynamo who knows more about journaling and mixed media than just about anyone. I liked her the moment I met her.

Mary Stanley's square. Mary is a gentle & lovely woman who is all things fiber and who inspired me to hook a giant rug a couple of years ago that nearly did me in. When I go to her blog she is usually surrounded by like-minded friends stitching up a storm. I wish we lived closer but then I'd probably start hooking again. (I know, har har.)

Liz Lamoreux is a writer, poet, seamstress and artist who I first met at Artfest 4 years ago. *sigh* Neither of us are at Artfest this year and it is happening right now. She is busy making a baby (more about her Blessingway in a later post) and  I have a candle that I'm going to light when she goes into labor. We are all so excited for her and her John. xo

Leighanna Light, thing-maker, photographer, swimmer and storyteller. Teacher. Laughter inciter. Who loves a belly rub? I am smiling as I write this. That's what you do to me, Leighanna.

Alex Shur made this square. She knows Greece, poetry, art and teaching. Depth and beauty. I'm missing her right now. (hi alex)

Kelly Snelling is another blog friend that I hope to meet in person someday. But i feel like we already have met; she is another woman living out loud, loving to paint and make art, spending time with friends and family. She gives me strength.

Jennifer Frank and I met through Katie at Artfest a year ago. She generously pitched in to help out on this project and so I know my instinct was correct about her. She is kind and trusting. Another lovely artist.

Jen made this square. Some day the world will know her name. She is another brilliant creator and loving friend.

E B sent me a square that was made by her grandmother many years ago; what a wonderful treasure. I finally met my blog friend at Squam last year and she was even better in person than online which is saying a lot. I always look forward to her blog entries and journal pages.

Diane Havnen Smith made this beautiful painted square. She lives here in Portland and has worked in every medium imaginable. Thank you, Diane, for extending every kindness to me all along the way. I've been trying to get over to see you for weeks now. And I love your painted face square.

My excellent friend Bee Shay made the next two squares from monoprinting techniques I believe. We also met at Artfest and struck up an immediate and powerful friendship. Bee is the best - friend, art teacher, confidante, author, writer and organizer.

I miss you Bee. It's making me crazy that you are only 4 hours away and I can't see you this time. xo

Judy Wilkenfeld made this truly astonishing square. I love the loose fibers, the colors, textures and hand work that went into this. Judy's work is going to be treasured for generations; she puts her entire heart into every project. Thank you dear Judy, it is an honor to call you friend.

This is the last square on the quilt and it was made by the wonderful Jill Berry who I met in Arizona and again in Wisconsin where we shared more than one bottle of wine while discussing teaching, book arts, our roles as mothers, and the in's and out's of art retreats. Thank you Jill, for making a charm for good vision. It has worked its magic because my eyes are sparkling and strong again and I will never take them for granted, not even for a moment.

Katie accomplished all of this without resorting to contacting people through her blog which is amazing in itself. It was a complete and wonderful surprise and after decades of isolation as an artist (I once said that if I died no one would even notice; I felt so very alone in my garret) - it is good to feel such a strong connection to so many like-hearted souls.

More stories coming.

(added on March 28th: duh! Turns out I can't count! I missed one from my dear friend Annie Lockhart. I am sooo sorry, Annie! Here is her beautiful square up close and thank you Annie for your contribution. I had the photo ready for posting but somehow missed it.)

Thursday, March 25, 2010


This last week has been huge. In that time I have spent several days at a 15 woman gathering in Washington state and following that a visit to a friend's house where 5 of us collaborated on as many paintings. We completed 5 canvases together until we agreed the canvases were finished (more or less. they are probably still evolving).

To see the video I made of the painting process just follow this link. And thank you Katie, Misty, Stephanie and Jen. A nice round of applause.

There is so much more to share but one thing at a time. I am frankly swamped under email and personal stuff. It seems like life is coming at me faster and faster.

BTW, this is my first edited video. You guys are awesomely patient with my learning. I feel so proud every time I try something new like this. xo

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Whole Buncha Things

I've had the best couple of days in weeks. Yesterday a friend invited me and a half dozen other artists to her garage party; a space she's organized with tables and art supplies and heat guns and all sorts of inspiring eye candy. For several hours we each played in whatever media suited our fancy while we visited and nibbled and laughed together. It was what women have done for ages; cloistered together in friendship and fun. Incredibly good medicine. I made the journal page background above.

I had a couple of bags of vintage wallpaper scraps with me so I made another background page with those (isn't glueing fun?) and then loved the pages so much that I'm not sure I can paint over them. That old paper is just so gorgeous.

So a couple more journal layouts here.

I always thought of St. Paddy's Day as my personal holiday since it falls so close to my Birthday. I have a special connection with four leaf clovers and made a rubber stamp many years ago that I like to use around "my" holiday. Lucky me and my four leaf clovers.

I promised you photographs of my journal creation and I did take a few shots but they are still in my camera and I'm packing for a weekend trip so this is all I'll post for now. This is the back cover of the journal that I printed on fabric (ironed sheeting onto freezer paper and run through the inkjet printer then coated with acrylic gel and matte medium). The colors are very soft when you do it this way. I've also printed onto decal paper that you iron onto cotton sheeting as well as glueing a plain lazerprint onto the Davey board and all three methods give different effects. Inkjet is the most subtle.

While I was in a funk I started this experiment. Took a stack of computer paper that was printed on one side (you know, trash) and painted whacked out stuff on the reverse. Just anything to get the paint moving and do something for crying in a bucket. I figured if nothing else I could tear them into strips and use them as journal borders later.

So these are a couple of the pages I dashed off. It is very freeing; you have to go faster than usual to force yourself to work from automatic pilot instead of the left brain. The best part is plugging in the iron and ironing the curled up sheets when they're dry. I love ironing paper. (And I wouldn't dream of ironing clothes!)

This is the beautiful necklace I purchased from Nikki Blackwood. I know a lot of you know her from the art retreats. The art just gushes out of this woman; her home is like a gallery, museum, and cabinet of wonders. When I saw this hanging from a display screen I snatched it right up and now it's mine all mine, whoopee! I'm not even taking it off to sleep. (okay, that might have been an exaggeration.) She has others too that she hasn't listed on etsy so I'm nagging her to get busy.

Lastly, I want to tell you that this book came in the mail 2 days ago and it is a real gem. Bee has included just about every collage technique there is in this book. If you want to get a taste of what she's put together go to this blog and look in on what the women there have created from the chapters. I wish this had been the first book on collage I'd ever purchased as it has about 6 books worth of ideas to inspire you.

Well, tomorrow I throw clothes, art supplies, cameras, myself and lots of diet pop in the car and head up north to be with friends for the coming weekend. We will be honoring a friend as well as painting and catching up on our winter stories. Women talking. What could be warmer or juicier?

BTW, here's what a card said that John gave to me.

     "I just don't like to see you waste your time on silly things" he said
     "Well then," she said, "close your eyes".

hee hee.

"The greatest enemy of creativity is common sense"      --Picasso

Now I'm off to dream of my car trip. xo