Saturday, June 30, 2007

Doesn't everybody make their own flip flops?

Here they first homemade flip flops. I could not do the foot picture. My flowers are prettier than my toes anyway. In the detail you can see the fabic inset, which includes a bit of my fave - Anna Maria Bohemian. J.R. had to help with the sole, a slightly wedged cushiony brown rubber. The big belt sander is too scary! The red flowers are the second set I made. The first set I made were too big, according to the two teenagers at my house. I wore them to the grocery last night and they worked fine.

I got all four sides of the art purse attached yesterday and started the straps. The covers for the guest book are done and all the pages are sewn. I need to do some cleaning up and embellishing to finish it. I guess I had a pretty productive week. I always wish I could get more done!

The girls had soccer every day this week and Whit has a match Sunday. Next week is a week off. The high school team starts conditioning on the 9th and official practice starts July 30. Their first match is August 13. The girls are in a 3v3 tournament on the 21st and I leave for Hummingbird Art Camp on the 22nd. I can't believe how much stuff we did in June. It was a great month. I think there are six weeks left of summer vacation. It f there's one thing we haven't done much of it's sleeping in and wasting time. Perhaps this coming week will be a bit slower paced, with the holiday. It's one of J.R.'s few days off for the year.

Artwise, I need to finish the art capris and get crackin' on my hunting and gathering for 1967. I also need to clean the house. But first, I must get rid of this splitting headache.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Goofing Off

Here is the back of the art purse I have been working on. The blue paisley bit is a pocket. Didn't touch it today. I barely worked on anything on my to do list. The guest book is coming along nicely, but I got distracted from it. It was a good reason. As you know, I am working at my husbands leather and shoe store this week. An elderly gentleman came in this morning with his son. He was needing a carrying case of sorts for his wallet, shaving kit, etc. Normally my father in law would make something like this, but I thought I could handle it. So in about an hour's time, I made the case and thought "That was fun. Let's make something else." I decided to make a pair of flip flops. I love flip flops, but the cool ones are a way lot of money for two strips of leather stuck to a rubber sole. And the cheap ones are, in a word, cheap. The first pair I have started have tan suede insoles and straps with a red leather rosette and some other stuff going on to make them "debbified". I'll have J.R. put a cushy sole on the bottom - probably tomorrow. I'll give my toes a fresh coat of paint and post a pic. Consider this fair warning - toe alert. The first pair is going so well that I am planning a second pair - denim straps with a blue suede insole and maybe some rivets.

Here is one end of the art purse. Those are pockets and the heart is just because. Disturbing new development - my husband reads my blog. I know because the other day I was giving him a fuss about working at the shop and he said wait a minute, on your blog you said it was kinda fun to work here. Great. He reads it, remembers what it says and can use it successfully in an argument. Hi Honey. Love you.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

What's new on YOUR ipod?

Last Saturday, Courtney and I were in the car going to my mom's, listening to the radio. Joe Jackson's "Is She Really Going Out with Him?" came on. I thought - wow, that song still sounds so good - so I put it on my ipod. I bought that, Amsterdam and Heavy Metal Drummer by Wilco, Satellite by Guster, See the World by Gomez and Baby I Love Your Way by Peter Frampton. This afternoon, Court was listening to her ipod and she asked me how old the Joe Jackson song was. I told her about 30 years. She, in all of her 13 year old wisdom, said it didn't sound old. I told her that's what makes it so good.

The pic at the top is the front of the art purse. Kinda neutral, don't ya think? Not even close to done with it. This is just a background.
This is the inside of the bag. Remember the blue painted canvas from yesterday? Here it is in action. THe pink and the orange are interior pockets.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Blue Bubbles

On the right we have the beginnings of my daily art for this week. I put a blob of white and a blob of calypso blue in the middle of the page and loaded up my brush and started painting these bubbles. I kept going until the blobs were gone. I am thinking of doing another color on theses pages tonight. On the left we have the Actual Beginnings of My New Supa Cool Art Purse. No the guest book isn't done. I have the covers totally appliqued and quilted. I left them at the shop, with their fronts and backs all pinned together and ready to sew first thing in the morning. So I guess the guest book is my daytime project and the purse is my nighttime project, along with dinner, cleaning, prodding children and feeding animals. Back to the purse...for a long time I struggled with using commercially printed papers and fabric in my work because I hadn't generated them myself. I am not as weird as I seem. I promise. I have kinda gotten over it, or at least I have begun to behave as though I am over it and use commercial papers and fabric. I wanted to use canvas duck as a base for the patchwork outside and have it double as a lining. I don't like a white lining - gets to cruddy. I had some duck I had laundered. I cut the side panels and the body of the bag and painted them with a diluted coat of calypso blue. I stamped the circles and did the doodles with dimensional paint. After the paint dries, I am going to start piecing the outside. I have an idea for the focal point brewing along, but may change my mind. I hope to have a guest book to post tomorrow and perhaps a bit of a purse.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Yes, I still make art every day,

but you wouldn't know it from my blog. Here is last week's daily art. It is an homage to the art of Katie Kendrick. I have never met her, but Cheryl has been raving about her class last weekend at Random Arts. I have admired her work since the Winter 2006 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors (my favorite issue ever) when she had those dolls in there. I call them Kendricks and I have made several. I almost never make anything from a magazine, but I could not resist those dolls. Here are 2 of mine with my journal pages featuring paper dolls of the same style.

Progress Update on this Week's Projects

1. Covers in progress. I need to get them quilted with tons of French Knots for texture. Hope to get them under control tonight and in the morning then attack the pages. Lots of unexpected pop ups today. Grrr.

2. Art purse - only cogitated on how I want it to look, no action

3. Art capris - cut them off, cut them up and laundered.

4. 1967 - mentally winnowing down ideas to get focus

The girls are both exhausted from their British soccer coaches. No wonder David Beckham is so good.

Sunday, June 24, 2007


I make a conscious effort to think about people and things I love more than the stuff I hate, like greed and mean art. There is enough bad in the world without having it swirling around in my head all the time, too. I have been reminded recently of one of the things I love most about living in a small town of stayers.

Both of my girls still know the boys who were in the hospital nursery with them when they were born. I guess they are officially the girls' oldest friends. Courtney has Paul, a tall, skinny redhead with the nicest parents you'd ever want to know. Court and Paul have played on the same soccer teams on and off over the years. Whitley has Jon, quite tall and farmer-tanned. We don't see Jon as often, but every once in a while, he comes into our store with his auntie to buy new work boots. Friday was one such day. As soon as I saw it was Jon, I got Whit up to the counter to see her pal. They really didn't say much more than "hi". I guess it's a little awkward at this age. I talked to his aunt and we were both in disbelief at how grown up these two are. They will turn 15 in August; Whit is older by one day.

I also love a good project. I don't just play so much. I NEED a project. I NEED to feel like I am working towards a goal. I give myself deadlines and make myself meet them. Am I sick? This week the girls will be in soccer camp; Court from 9:00 - 4:00 and Whit from 1:00 - 7:00. My father in law is going on vacay and will not be at the shop, so I am going to work with J.R. and answer the phone and wait on customers. Kinda fun and I will have time to make art between customers. I can drag my stuff downstairs from my studio and have at it. I have decided on four projects that I want to make:

1. This is a must - a wedding guestbook that I am doing as gift. This is the first priority. I want to have this done by noon on Wednesday.

2. An art purse/tote with a flat bottom so it will stand up and lots of pockets. I am using canvas duck as the base and then doing crazy patch and scribble sewing on the top. Focal point/theme undecided. It will be revealed to me when the time comes.

3. A pair of art capris, like the art jeans I made after the quilt show. I am using a pair of khaki pants I got on the clearance at walmart for 3 bucks. I am doing - big shock - concentric circles, hearts and curliques. It's what I like right now.

4. A big, juicy livre d'artiste called 1967 with tie dyed pages, drawings and commentary on the events of the best year ever, MY year, 1967. I want to start hunting and gathering this week so I have all the stuff amassed and the book underway to work on at Hummingbird. I envision it to look like a funkfied history book.

I'll let you know how things are going. The pics are more pages from my the book I made at Arrowmont. This spread has a little slick to it, with the dragonfly being cut an redrawn on the next page.

Friday, June 22, 2007

And now, something a little different

I don't do assemblage, as a general rule, but I often feel as though I should. So here's a stab at it called "Be Still My Beating Heart". I don't know if I am crazy about it.

It is pouring rain. Property taxes are due today for the first half-year. Grrrr. Our county did a reassessment and, somehow, ours went way up!! Hate that.

Courtney's favorite summertime tv viewing is Home Shopping Network. She especially likes Suzanne Sommers.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Yesterday was a BIG day

and I didn't realize it until today. Typical me...too wrapped up in what I am doing in the moment to think about it's context. Yesterday was the fifth anniversary of the day in which I made my first book. I think the latest book, the one from Arrowmont well expresses how far I have come in the last five years as a person and as an artist. Five years ago I felt so impatient with myself. I couldn't make enough or learn enough fast enough. I always thought I should be farther along in my work. But I know now that you just have to go thru what you have to go thru and it takes as long as it takes.

These are my favorite two pages in the new book. I built the whole book around these two pieces. The book is called "Hanging on by a Thread" and represents the most common theme in my work: Dualities. In this instance, how great passion can coexist with great unhappiness. Life isn't all this or all that. It's some of lots of things. This is just the truth. Frida is a good representation of this. I feel connected to her - I feel sorry for her, for the heartbreak of her life, not being able to have children. I was in a terrible accident, too, when I was a young woman. Frida did not lose consciousness when she had her terrible accident and neither did I. She was both complicated and simple, big and small, heartbreaker and heartbroken.
Something has happened to me in the last ten days - something wonderful that I cannot explain. How can one little birthday change your whole brain? Why is 40 so much better than 39? I keep asking my husband what in the world has happened to me. He notices the change, but can't explain it either. It is only good and I have never been happier.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Outside my front door

These are some of my petunias in the half barrels right outside the front door. I did pinks, purples, lime green and accents of red and orange this year. I have a pal who only plants white flowers. I never plant white. It's not a color. Never Been Kissed is on ABCFamily right now. Love that movie. Pretty In Pink is VH1 - Love that one, too. Saved in on oxygen - it's okay. Not in my top ten or even twenty. Got my hair colored and cut Tuesday. Doug cut it a little different this time. It's okay I guess.

Whit has basketball Fri and Sat. Both girls are running a 5K Saturday morning, then Court has soccer training and Whit plays hi school coed soccer Sunday afternoon...and mommy is up to her eyeballs in work. Good.

All my flowers survived my trip to Arrow and I did not even have to ask the girls to water them. I didn't say a

word before I left and did not remind them over the phone. That's just good raisin', people.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Arrowmont continued

If you have been reading Cheryl's blog, you already know most of the details of our printmaking class. In my last post, I posed two questions to myself. The second was whay do all these good things keep happening to me? Somehow, I always wind up meeting people who help me in some way, who point me in the right direction, who show me where to go next. And I always feel most undeserving of their kindness. Now you can tell me to just shut up and be thankful.

I turned 40 while I was away. I had the Frida cake from Cheryl at Arrow and another cake waiting on me at home, some things for the garden and a new pair of lime green and silver Nikes. I got one of those ipod docks before I left for Arrow. In all honesty, I am only happy about turning 40. I feel a sense of freedom, like I can say or do something that might be outrageous and people will shake their heads and say, well, she's in her 40's you know. I don't feel old; I feel just right.

My girls have been at soccer camp since Sunday, so I have had a lot of time to myself this week to get rested up from a week of no sleep and constant inspiration. It is not a requirement that you don't sleep at Arrow. It works out that way for me, though, every year. Most years, I have a hard time turning off my brain. I have so many ideas.

I have two important projects I have to get busy on...starting tomorrow!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

I only have two questions

Considering the complexity of the world in which we live, that's pretty good. One of my favorite movies is Cold Mountain. I adore Rene Zellweiger's character, Ruby, so when you read the numbers, do it like Ruby would.

Number One - Why isn't Kate Borcherding a household name?

Number Two - Why do all these good things keep happening to me?

I got back yesterday from my class at Arrowmont, Kate Borcherding's Printmaking Funhouse. There were 15 in the class, including Cheryl Prater. I have been around the craft school/retreat/workshop world for the last 5 years and I am often tempted to think there is nothing left to learn, but, thankfully, I am wrong about that. I have almost NO printmaking experience and I did not know a paper plate litho from a brown paper bag on Sunday. But thanks to my teacher, I learned a ton of fun and useful stuff that will forever impact my work. forever.
Kate B is smart, wise, thoughtful, patient, the most energetic teacher I have ever had, kind and in general an absolute doll! She ran the class the way I tend to work - at a fast, productive pace, offering lots of techniques and information and allowing us to use and choose the ones we liked. As an art maker, I discovered that she and I approach our art in the same way. We both start with a big pile of stuff, and go through it piece by piece to bring a work together. Kate is so accomplished and confident in her work that it kinda said to me that there is validity in the sorting-thru-the-pile method.
The book above is the end result of my week's work. It was NOT a book class. It was a class about printmaking and collage. I just couldn't resist challenging myself to make a fully realized livre d'artiste using all the printed papers I made. It was a near impossible task, but I did it. I always feel like I have something to prove. What and to whom - don't know. Don't need to. I could not have done it without having Kate to bounce ideas off of - she is also a book artist, so it was refreshing to have a fellow book person to talk to. I felt like we understood each other. What a gift.
I'm tired. Maybe I'll talk about the other questiont omorrow.