Welcome to MissouriBendStudio!

This is an online journal of my artistic investigations and a way to communicate about my work, ideas, quandries and queries! I welcome comments and conversation and do hope you enjoy these musings. My artwork is available in my shop MissouriBendStudio on Etsy.com or on my website.


Monday, May 31, 2010

The Made By Hand

A little slice of the desk as I left it a few moments ago, with a piece in progress in the foreground.  Alas...I suddenly realized I was quite out of the very thread I was using and not a strand of it to be found in any of those chaotic baskets!  Tomorrow is another day.  But as I sat sewing, I alternated between moments of meditation and impatience.  I almost always feel behind where I feel I need to be and these little pieces, small as they are, often take quite a long time.  But it's when I remind myself that the very act of embroidering by hand is the only way this work will get made, that I slow down and remember exactly what it is I am doing.  It's about making by hand, slowing down time, being in the moment and knowing that no one else is called to make the work that only each one of us can make.  There it is...that's all there is, the traces we leave behind.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


We all have a point of view and a view of the world, of the cosmos, the macro and the micro of the universe.  I'm still reading Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard and am astonished, page after page, by the beauty and poetry of the writing and by the infinite worlds that open up.  It's like having a piece of divine chocolate or some other confection that is so rich and good, you can only take small bites at a time or you will be completely overwhelmed.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, I read this book over twenty years ago and today I came across a passage that I had highlighted as a much younger me...I was astounded all over again, by this bit and by the immensity of all there is to comprehend....here's a snippet of my reading from today...

"If you analyze a molecule of chlorophyll itself, what you get is one hundred thirty six atoms of hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen arranged in an exact and complex relationship around a central ring.  At the ring's center is a single atom of magnesium.  Now: If you remove the atom of magnesium and in its exact place put an atom of iron, you get a molecule of hemoglobin.  The iron combines with all the other atoms to make red blood...."

We're all so interconnected in such a vast and delicate web, fleeting and eternal.

Pictured here is the view from where I sit to embroider on painted paper and make the daily found text poems for my other blog http://www.missouribendpaperworks.blogspot.com.


House Sanctuary

I'm back to sewing on paper for a time.  I suppose I'll continue to juggle these slightly different bodies of work, as they all have a different emphasis and allow me to play with different processes.  The 5x5" mixed work based on the seasons will continue with a couple more for Spring, before moving into Summer.  The watercolor/pen & ink pieces that play with pattern against pattern are fun as they allow for more direct drawing.  But the more I worked on those, the more I missed sewing on that lovely handmade paper that my husband, Johntimothy, makes...I use it for almost all my work, except the watercolors.  So now I've started these new pieces that combine acrylic, embroidery, collage, beads in that house/sanctuary shape that allows for so many possibilities.  If only we had several lifetimes to explore everything life has to offer!  

Pictured above is House Sanctuary, listed yesterday on Etsy.  Below is shot of a section of the embroidery thread in one of the baskets in my studio.  People who saw some snapshots of my studio somehow got the impression that I am quite the neat-nik....so I took a photo of the chaos I keep in my baskets of embroidery thread!  I could keep all the colors separated and in order, but really, isn't this jumble of color and line a delight to behold?  That is, until you need to get at that bit of yellow thread that is ever so tangled up with the blue and the red!

Heading downstairs to the studio for the day, with some time in the garden this afternoon!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Material World of My Studio

We have just had some dear friends visiting from Florida and as I was showing Marilyn around the house and the studio, she kept saying how much like a museum it seemed...everywhere she looked there was something interesting to see.  It reminded me that the studio itself might be a source of curiosity, as I surround myself with a menagerie of objects that create the fabric of my everyday world. Thought I'd share a few close-ups of these tiny witnesses to my unfolding days.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Continuation

Pattern Play no.4 is shown here, one of latest listings in my etsy.com shop.  It's hard to read the feedback on these new works and whether people are responding to them or not.  I'm going to try to juggle making these, along with more of the Season Cycles, so I can play more easily with collage and embroidery in the pieces.  It's always a balancing act, isn't it?   Would love to hear comments--positive or negative about any of the work shown on the blog!  Cheers!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Pattern Play, no. 2

Still making the watercolors in this format, playing with pattern and color--what fun!  Working in the garden, planting perennials, herbs, tomatoes and today, for the first time, potatoes--blue ones! My husband built an above ground bed for them.  Since we came from Florida almost five years ago, we've tried our hand at "crops", as I call them, without much success. But, each year we learn a little more and we don't seem to give up, so we're hoping for a bumper crop this year!  Being in the studio is great fun, but being outside enjoying the birds and having my hands in the dirt is also on the agenda these days!
Baby robins in the nest  resting on the shed next door...delightful!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Pattern Play, no. 1

Well, I finally have a few pieces finished in the new series of work in watercolor and ink.  I like the new format of the house...a shape that has appeared over and over again in my work in the past decades.  It allows me to play various patterns against each other, as well as juxtapose a simple image in the center.  Somehow, as much as I love abstraction and pure pattern, I can't seem to let go of the image...now I can have it all!  New pieces posted at my shop this morning.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Patterns of Nature, no.1

Patterns of Nature, no.1 is a sort of prototype for a new series in watercolor and ink.  I've taken the format of this one a step further and added a contrasting patterned roof and a little circle with an image in the center of the square...they'll resemble birdhouses!  I do love making pattern and this is a way to play endlessly with the combinations.  This piece is posted in my shop on Etsy.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

New Work in Watercolor and Ink

The first work in watercolor has just been posted at MissouriBendStudio on etsy.com!  It's an interesting process, coming back to a medium you haven't work in for decades!  Quite fun, though...to see new possibilities.  Still working out a new format that I'm excited about, so the next work I hope to post will be a bit different.  Less imagery based and more about pattern...but still whimsical and delightful I hope!


Monday, May 10, 2010

Struggle in the Studio

There seems to be a little dance going on in the studio the last few days, as I struggle to come to terms with a new group of work...this time in watercolor, a medium I haven't worked with in a very long time!  I thought I knew what the work wanted to be, but I think I misread or jumped too soon to conclusions.  I'm not resolved, the work is not resolved....I'm sure I'll get there eventually...and soon I hope, but for now, I'm in that dream state, dancing in a room where everything is a dreamy veiled.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Rereading Pilgrim At Tinker Creek

Season Cycles/Spring no. 22 posted this morning in my Etsy shop, MissouriBendStudio.  Am working on a series of new pieces that will happen alongside the Season Series.  I guess you'd say I'm in the research and development phase...testing, testing, working out the details.  Although I have a fair idea by now, it's still a bit nervewracking, but fun, to see exactly what will develop out of this work!

Meanwhile I've started to reread Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard...I read it decades ago, as a much younger person and loved it then.  Now, a bit older, perhaps a tiny bit wiser, or at least with more experience of life, I find the book astonishing.  I loved and cherished my reading of it then, but now...well, every page is a piece of magic.  I want to write some passages down in my commonplace book, but I wouldn't know where to start and where to end...it's seemless and every moment of reading is  perfect.  I can't recommend it highly enough, especially if you are an artist or are interested in seeing and experiencing life beyond the ordinary...or perhaps I should say THROUGH the ordinary and the every day.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Three Of Us At Work

I spent time in the studio this afternoon and realized after a time of struggle, then grateful realization, that there were really at least three of us at work.  I was there, watercolor and brush in hand, making marks, putting down color in a search for meaning and idea.  Clumsy marks and false starts here and there, a new sheet of paper, a different size, another format...and then I realized I was aware of the part of me that listens, also present, occupying my very chair.  The one who knew when it wasn't right, the one who drove the process forward, keeping my hand moving and by all means, keeping me out of my head, because for me, "thinking" of an idea is never the way to go.  Once I understood what it was I really wanted to see, instead of what I thought I should want to see, the part of me who lives deeper still, was aloud to speak. Once there was enough information from all the false starts, I was able to see what it is I am to make.  But I know that I couldn't have gotten there unless I had made all those attempts, because each one was a tiny step closer to the breakthrough.  I think it really takes all of our senses, in a very internal way, to make art.  I was hearing the music coming from the CD player, but it was another kind of hearing and listening that opened the door.  It was a process of keeping my hand moving, listening and seeing, a sniffing out what I was really after and finally a real taste of it, when I connected the dots and really understood the thing itself.  I understood the form the work would take and that its open-ended content is pattern.

I am very interested in pattern--decorative pattern and the patterns that abound in the natural world...the formation of sands in the desert, the structure of plants and flowers, bird wings, insects...and that's just a tiny bit of naming, as pattern governs everything, the seen and the unseen. Any investigation into pattern is enough to keep a person busy for a lifetime! I'm excited about some new work...while still keeping up with the ongoing Seasons Cycles and my daily found poetry blog...and learning to play the banjo!

Season Cycles/Spring no. 21

Season Cycles/Spring no.21 was posted this morning at my shop on Etsy.  Now, I'm excited to get down to the studio to begin some watercolors!  I'll keep up with the Season Cycles, but have been getting excited about branching out and working in a looser way in a medium I haven't touch in decades...should be interesting!  The weather is quite cool lately...rain on the way I'm sure, given this overcast sky.  A great day for working in the studio.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Evening Light on the Missouri River

My husband and I were in the garden this evening taking a few pictures of some of the flowers in bloom...I looked up and suddenly the light had changed and the view over the river took our breath away.  The river is wide, but this shot looks really wide-angle...and the light was spectacular!  What an inspiration!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Beginning of May

Season Cycles/Spring no. 20 was posted the other day at MissouriBendStudio on Etsy.  There are still a couple more in the works in the spring series, but am planning to switch things up a bit and begin some watercolors.  I'm not bored with the Season Cycles, but think that the watercolors might help me be more spontaneous...besides I want to do it all!  Took the weekend off from the studio, working the yard, etc. and today was my husband's birthday, so we had a fun day.  I have two more weeks at my part-time library job and then I will leave to be in the studio full-time...can't wait!  More time to focus and create!
It's May and I am expecting the return of the Baltimore Orioles any day...with great anticipation, as they are great fun to watch!