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.


Saturday, April 30, 2011

Notes From The Ancestors

I seem to have lost my regular posting days of Monday and Friday. I'm sure you're not watching the calendar or your clocks to see if I post to my blog "on time" or not...maybe this is a good sign that I'm going a little easier on myself!  The weather is ever so slowly inching toward the lovely stage, but it's quite a tedious process that includes a fair amount of cold, wind and rain.  Still in the 50s this morning, but should be warmer this afternoon and I can't wait to get back outside and continue the weed pulling and communing with the fresh growth in the garden.  I've been here nearly six years now, but having come from decades spent in Florida, it still astonishes me each spring to see plants coming back from "the dead"...that's what it feels like!

So, I have begun working again on the full size sheets of my husband's delicious handmade paper, as I mentioned at the beginning of the week.  Here's that piece I showed in an incomplete state earlier...now listed in my shop here.
Notes From The Ancestors

Lots of layers of drawing underneath the photos and the organza "envelope" that holds snippets of text and image from vintage family photographs.  I have a few more pieces in the works...a fragment below of one on a background of beautiful soft pink....a color I discovered comes easily when adding white to burnt sienna!

Actually, this photo doesn't capture the color quite right...it almost looks lavender here...I'll make sure to have it properly photographed for you when it's finished....this is just a small teaser!

I've stitched a few more rows of blue on the river piece and have spent my own time doing a little "repair"work on Violett (my new sewing machine for those of you who are recent readers of this blog)...the thread kept getting caught from below in the bobbin and I spent many a frustrating attempt trying to sew, with the same bunched up chunk of thread each time.  I'm happy to say that I was able to clean out the little bobbin case nicely with the brush, provide a few drops of much needed oil exactly where the booklet said to place it and sure enough, I practically heard Violett breathe a sigh of relief before she headed off sewing that line of blue like a dream!  Such a victory for me who is so very unmechanically inclined!!

Well, hope you are having a great weekend.  I will continue to mull over the large and small questions...what defines success, how can I keep myself moving forward, how to make sales without sacrificing my artistic integrity, how to find balance in life, etc. etc.  Oh, and still working on building my new website!  Keep your hands moving, that's my mantra!

See you at the first of the week!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Palimpsest or The Trace, History Revealed

I know I usually post on Monday, but well, yesterday snuck out the back door pretty quickly and now here we are on Tuesday...better late than never, that's what I say!  I'm in a better frame of mind this week, probably because I have some concrete goals in front of me, which always helps.  Besides the complicated process of cancelling a website and redesigning a new one, I've found that I've been revisiting some themes in my new pieces that were once the mainstay of my work.  I'm sure this is because of the seed planted by a fellow artist/blogger from Australia whose blog and work I dearly love, as the ideas and themes that play out in his pieces have such a close affinity to my own history of artmaking.  I'm referring to Glen Skien of Silent Parrot Press...you can find his blog here.  He's been working with ideas related to the notion of the "trace" and a week or so ago extended the offer to his readers to send in their definition or idea of the meaning of "trace" for them.  Well, Glen, you got me thinking and since the word "trace" and ideas related to the trace are the very bedrock of my need to make art, I'll use this blogpost as my response to the call out to your followers....I've begun to revisit the trace, which has never been far my heart, but has kind of disappeared as an idea in my work lately.

Let me just start with an example of a piece from a decade ago, when I began working with the idea of palimpsest, which for me is synonymous with "the trace". Palimpsest refers to a manuscript page, vellum or some other surface, in which the text has been erased allowing for new writing....but the trace is left behind.  When I first heard this word and its meaning, there was a kind of instant recognition, because, as a metaphor, it described exactly all my ideas related to personal and collective history, the land, our place in the cosmos.  Palimpsest...the trace revealed.

The Soul of One Man

The land itself is a palimpest. Think of it...traces of whole civilizations lie buried beneath the ground on which we walk and doutless, below those remants, lie even older ruins.  Sometimes the land formations reveal this trace, but often times not and it is only discovered in the process of digging, perhaps to build another future artiface, that this history is revealed.  I'm currently reading (alternating with Proust!) Oracle Bones by Peter Hessler, a book that not only looks at contemporary China, but also it's long history....often revealed through the artifacts found buried in the earth.  This reading, along with Glen Skien's Silent Parrot Press, are both reminders of the trace and got me revisiting this notion of the palimpsest.  The piece above is an example of a series of work I was making that began about a decade ago, using Johntimothy's handmade paper....the handmade paper I still use today. I would paint, draw, paint over, draw, paint over in successive layers, always revealing something of the layers underneath....a subtle building of history and information, just as civilizations build on top of one another, leaving a trail of their own.  The pieces are subtle, with drawing in pencil on top of muted shades of white and not quite white, finished with beeswax and sometimes embroidery.  Look...there's the idea of writing and pattern,  both of which continue to be present in my work and the pages always started out folded in two...the idea of the book was very much a part of the work, although at the beginning when this piece was made, I wasn't yet aware that I was thinking in terms of the book page....now it seems so obvious!

I realize the object in this photo is a bit fuzzy, but I wanted you to see what my brushes look like! They are all a frayed mess, because when I paint, I use them to scumble....an almost dry brush with very little paint, using a kind of scrubbing action to conceal and yet reveal the drawing underneath.  When the paint dries...more drawing on top. Those poor brushes...so abused, but so loved!

All of this is to say that one of the things revealed in all of my thinking during my downswing last week was that I missed making work that dealt with these big issues...still so much a part of my psyche and how I continually find my balance and my place in the world.  I don't think one can ever fully find the answers, but the exploration of time and place, history, the object.....in short, the "trace" is, in itself, the task that gives meaning...at least for me.  Do even a little digging, exploring the world, look, touch, feel, listen....the traces are everywhere...the connections to the past and to the future....that's how we find our balance and way in the universe. 

I'm beginning to revisit these ideas again...here are a couple of detail shots of a work in progress...

The piece has a row at the bottom of photocopied fragments of photos of my own family history.  I think this piece is about the messages given to us by the ancestors....I'm still working and as many of you know by now, I think through my hands....so the meaning of the content hasn't fully revealed itself, but it will.

And lastly, I'll leave you with one other thought that comes from another relevant book in my reading history. What I remember most about it from the first reading is this notion of the earth swallowing us....a very powerful image....here's a short passage about her experience in a cave that I stumbled on last night, so beautifully written.

Dwellings by Linda Hogan

"...I walk down the passageway to inner earth.  It is almost dark inside this world's silent chambers, the dank air warm and musty. Inside is a secret place, one of the land's quiet temples where hot water journeys upward after years of travel through the deep earth.  The ceiling drips water, the slow sound of rain falling, rhythmic, as if from the leaves of forests. In places, the constant warm dripping of water has layered mineral down over rock, layer upon layer, until it is smooth to the touch.

Barefoot, naked, I go down the stone pathway and lower myself into the hot water.  Surrounded by stone, this body of mine is seen in the dim light for what it is, fragile and brief. The water closes, seamless, around me.  My foot with its blue-green veins is vulnerable beside the rock hard world that wants someday to take me in.  Can we love what will swallow us when we are gone? I do. I love what will consume us all, the place where the tunneling worms and roots of plants dwell, where the slow deep centuries of earth are undoing and remaking themselves."

Thanks so much, Glen Skien, for bringing me back to my own grounding place!  I encourage all of you to visit Glen's blog, Silent Parrot Press....always a source of inspiration for me!  Have a great week!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Thinking, Rethinking and Thinking About Thinking

Thinking seems to be the main activity of my week, as I try to discern the next move forward.  I feel like things are at some sort of stand still or impasse and I need to make a move in some other direction, but still don't quite know what that is.  For those of you who've been reading for some time, it will come as no surprise that I'm still reading the first volume of Marcel Proust long epic and I continue to be fascinated by the writing that describes so accurately the workings of the human heart...motivations, desires, actions. I wish I could decipher my own thoughts, my own fears, actions and inactions so precisely.  I'm constantly asking myself the same questions...what do I need, what's the next step, am I bored...do I need to learn a new skill, do I need to shake things up with a workshop, do I need to pare down my Etsy shop, is it now too full with 145 items, do I separate the found text pieces and have a second shop....do I just need to find a better way to advertise and promote...is there something I'm missing?  Constant questions, constant looking left, right, up and down, listening, listening inside, listening outside....waiting for answers that will come from the place I least expect, I'm sure.

There is one step I'm taking...Johntimothy and I have some pretty nice websites designed by a graphic student who was here at USD a few years ago....a pretty creative fellow who has long since moved on.  John's was the first site he designed and by the time he got to doing mine, he had a more experience and got pretty ambitious.  It's a wonderful website, but so complex that I can't update it, even though he left lengthy instructions. So we're taking them down and rethinking our websites.  I'm telling you this so you can have a quick look before they disappear soon...very soon!  The work on them and all the information is pretty outdated now, but everyone who sees this site loves it....totally charming...but alas, not what I need these days! Have a look here for my "about to disappear" website and here for the website of my husband, Johntimothy Pizzuto.  If you read this post a few days from now it may be too late...my apologies.  New websites will be on the horizon!

Meanwhile, the river continues to build, slowly but surely.  I continue to break threads and use that as a clue that it's time to give Violett a rest.  Still lots of river left to build, but I think it might be interesting...sort of like that last hand stitched piece, where I questioned it up until I was halfway through and then knew it would work.  I guess this will work....I know this is a good first test of playing with the sewing machine to realize an idea and it may end up in a closet, but at the very least I'll have learned a lot and spent a lot of money on thread!

a section of the river


Have a wonderful weekend!  We seem to have blue skies, at least for a day or so! Cheers!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Made By Hand: Jennifer Atkins Lisa/Quench Metalworks

"I'm truly myself when I sit at my bench.  Confident, inspired, calm, challenged.  Metalsmithing is my language.  The familiar tools, the worn bench pin, flecks and spirals of sterling shavings, my favorite hammer all greet me in the morning and bid me farewell in the evening.  This is my happy place like no other." -- Jen

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

So Many Stitched Lines...Is Finished!

Mid-week greetings!  Thought I'd have a quick post to show you the finished piece I posted on Monday in it's slightly beyond mid-point state.  I've listed So Many Stitched Lines in my shop here, where you'll see a number of details views and a description.  I did enjoy the process after all and was happy to discover kantha stitching from Chris Gray's comment. I'd seen this work before, but hadn't known its name....I'm sure there will be more tiny hand stitches in my future.  But for now, Violett and the river piece are patiently waiting.

I'd also like to take this opportunity to extend a warm welcome to all the new followers that have been steadily building of late.  I'm so happy to not only have reached the 100 follower mark, but now surpassed it with 101 dear followers!  Your support means so much and I do love hearing from you with comments, stories and questions.  Look forward to getting to know all of you.  

I'll be back tomorrow with a Made By Hand feature...a nice surprise for you!

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Slowness of a Hand-Stitched Line

I sure wish the weather would turn spring-like...might help me get some momentum going! Cold, gray days and rain or threatening rain are a constant companion of late, it seems.

I've been working on a little piece that is taking a long time...all hand-stitched on a piece of blue handmade paper dipped in beeswax.  This is a slow process, as you might imagine, and as I make tiny stitch after tiny stitch in row after row, I recall how I used to talk about my work (it was larger then and much more involved) in terms of the very fact that it took a long time to make by hand.  That was, in part, the content. It was about the time it takes to slowly stitch, a meditation on making, impossible to create any other way.  There are many things a machine will do, that really are better done that way, but hand stitched lines are uneven, full of wavering, momentary indecision and then decision....they carry the trace of the hand, of the process, of the hours.

But now, I realize, after nearly a year of making, making, making at a much different pace, in order to add pieces to my etsy shop, I have grown impatient with making tiny stitches.  I questioned the process all the way through the first half of this little piece...wondering what it's point was...these interesecting lines in different pastel colors that I wasn't even sure would work together...so what....one more piece in the virtual shop known as MissouriBendStudio.  But at the same time, the dialogue ran the other way in my mind, as I remembered I used to thrive on this work, watching the piece build stitch by stitch, happy with the slowness, allowing my mind to wander, to discover and watch my own thoughts emerge and fall away, often coming to great insights about my own life and my place in the long, complex chain of the living, the having lived, and the yet to live. And yet, by lunchtime today, I'd made it halfway through the stitching and I realized that it was worth doing....those colors accrued on the surface and interacted in an interesting way (at least to me) and I could begin to envision the rest of it and knew I would continue to the end, trying to be patient and enjoy the process as I once did and as I would still be the first to advise anyone else.

Don't worry, Violett is happy to wait for me to finish this little piece before we continue making the river.  She knows that in order to make a six-foot long river, she is a most essential friend and accomplice....that is not something I would do by hand!  Look at the angst I go through over sewing a piece of paper 5 x 7 inches!  So....here it is, in it's unfinished state....just a pattern of vertical and horizontal parallel lines....it's about more than that, but I can't say just yet, what it might be!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Sidewalk Sale at MissouriBendStudio

Hi...thought I'd surprise everyone, including myself, with having a virtual sidewalk sale for my etsy shop!  Time for some spring cleaning and sending the work to good homes...so, check out the 24 hour sale here (noon CST Sunday April 17th to noon CST Monday April 18th) and use the coupon code (hope this works, I've never done it before!) NOON2NOON at checkout!  Just posted the latest found text poem there this afternoon...have a peek right here:

the text reads:
this, this
more or less,
was what it was from the beginning.
still partial and incomplete,
rich in hope
a wax existence
a pale 
even slightly expression
it was said,
one can see
the passionate quivering
of the almost painful

I'll see you tomorrow right here, unless I meet up with you over at my shop, where you can pretend the sun is shining, the air is warm with a very gentle breeze and you can browse to your heart's content...sipping your favorite beverage!  Look forward to seeing you...cheers!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Violett's First Mishap, The River Run Through It

Well, I had kind of an unexpected week and not very much got done down in the studio.  I was working away on the new sewn piece when Violett and I ran into a couple snafus, the last of which necessitated a quick visit to the service desk at Heirloom Creations where I bought her.  However, when you have to travel an hour to get there, it's not a quick visit!  The first mishap was one they warned me about in the class and it was rather hilarious once I saw what was happening....the key is not to have a spool of thread just hanging out on the top on the second spool holder because it's easy for the thread to find it's way over to the turning wheel handle on the side (my names of the machine parts are incorrect, I'm sure) and wrap itself around there a million times over....sure enough....I looked at one point and there was a half and inch of thread wound around there.  I realized immediately what was happening...it was just like the woman said...one of those lessons you learn really well once you have had the experience!  Well, that got taken care of and another few minutes later I found I was stitching away, petal to the metal, with no thread in the bobbin....lots of nicely punched holes...not quite what I had in mind for this piece.  But then, the last mishap was serious...the thread broke and was caught somehow in the innards of the machine and for the life of me, I couldn't get it out, not through coaxing, bribing or by any other means.  After a trip to the service desk, I now know how to take the side cover off and retrieve a caught thread, should it happen again, but I lost time and momentum in the process.  That happened Tuesday afternoon and I couldn't take the machine in until Thursday and hey, one doesn't waste a trip to Sioux Falls....why not take care of getting that 90,000 mile service on the car while I'm at it!  Sure, that'll be 4-5 hours sitting in the Panera across the street, having lunch, drinking coffee, reading, waiting endlessly for the car.  There went Thursday.  Today, well I have no good excuses...I think the fact that the dreary rain turned to snow took away my will and I got very little accomplished. So, while I wanted to have a piece pretty far along to show you, I have barely started, but I'll show you anyway.  It's a river...I've sewn 4 six-inch wide strips of Johntimothy's yummy handmade paper together to create what will be a long scroll....with lots of wavy stitches in various blues...that I hope will look something that calls to mind a river when there are enough layers of overlapping stitches.  At this point, it looks rather pathetic, but we just need more time.  I now have varigated thread to add to the mix, so that should be fun!  Here is a long shot of the river laid out on the floor and another detail...not a lot to show for myself, except I now know that Violett likes to sew fast and it's pretty much fun!

There are a couple other little pieces in the works and a beaded piece on handmade paper dipped in beeswax below. It's really quite simple, but I do like the combination of silver against the creamy white paper and the buttons.  

I've got to find my motivation again...I'm quite sure I have a slow leak...probably good that it's the weekend...time for a break.  Hope you are going to doing something special or make time to enjoy the ordinary in a special way over the next couple days.  We've been given tickets to the Sioux City Symphony, which means we'll go out for a really nice dinner and make an evening of it...looking forward to that! See you on Monday...hopefully energized with the sun shining brightly and this last snow a distant memory!


Monday, April 11, 2011

Living on the Missouri River

I believe it's finally spring for real, not just on the calendar.  The reason I know is that Johntimothy and I actually sat outside on the deck when he got home and had a glass of wine and read our books in the warm late afternoon sunshine under a sky that couldn't have been any bluer.  Not only that, we realized we could just go ahead and eat dinner out there too...which is exactly what we did...wow, it felt like such a long time since we'd been able to do such things!  After dinner, the temperatures were beginning to drop as the sun was setting, but thought I'd get a couple of shot of the quiet river in the early spring.  There is just the barest hint of a green aura to the trees across the river, although in the sunset light, you can't tell.  Another couple of week and this view will look quite a bit different!

looking southwest across the Missouri River to Nebraska

looking down the river, a bit more south than southwest

The Missouri River is pretty gorgeous in all seasons, but it's so nice to finally be able to be outside to really enjoy it!  

Meanwhile, the river has been something of an inspiration and Violett and I are busy on a new piece, which I hope to be able to show you on Friday....we think it's a bit early to reveal it in this beginning state.  But, it's quite fun, and the stitches are flying...Violett is quite the mover and shaker!

A couple of new small pieces on handmade paper that I believe was made by my own two hands when I was at Penland some years ago.  I found quite a few sheets in various colors in a pile the other day...

Flower Blossoms
Line Work

The color is unbelievably richer once it's dipped in beeswax.  I had drawn those three sets of parallel lines in blue ink before I dipped it, not quite knowing what I'd do next.  I just played with a broken line in colored embroidery thread to create a new pattern, which I found delightful.  I've alwasy loved line and as I continue to contemplate the essence of what I do and the marks I make...I believe it always come down to line.  Some people see and think in tone and shape, but for me, the magic is in line.  I have another piece like this started...perhaps it's becoming a series.  

Night is falling, but the sliding glass doors are still open and the Canadian geese are flying by, their familiar honking echoing over the airwaves.  The big migration has already come through...these must have been the geese that were late making their reservations.

See you Friday, if not before. Have a great week!

Friday, April 8, 2011

I Don't Have Answers, I Just Have Questions

Greetings everyone!  So, the end of another week and I'm here with some reflections as I struggle to find my way forward.  I talked about this in another post some months ago....there has been so much looking outward that it's time to slow down and look inward to find my path.  I'm excited about having a sewing machine to add to my repertoire of mark-making and art making tools and I have had lots of ideas over the past year since I first decided that I needed one...but now that I have one....I'm floundering.  So, clearly, I'm trying too hard and I'm looking in all the wrong places for the answers.  There's only so much help you can find by looking at all the art being made out there....as much as it inspires and makes my heart leap in many cases, it also serves to blind me to my own way, because I'll tend to try to make something derivative...and there is certainly enough of that happening out there, as it is.  I think it is very important that we be true to ourselves in the work that we make...to honor the voices that is ours and to honor the need for meaningful pieces made by hand to give to the world.

Today, to get myself "off the treadmill", so to speak, I took the afternoon and went to Barnes and Noble in Sioux City to look at magazines and to see what's happening out there, beyond Etsy, where my main focus seems to have been.  Now, I know that sounds like a bit of a contradiction to what I've just said at the beginning of this post, but looking at all the current magazines really got me thinking about these things.  I have thoughts swimming in my head about trends and fashion, about making "stuff", as well as the history and long tradition of art and craft in the world, that is different than" arts & crafts." There has been such a proliferation in the last decade in the possibilities available across the world in terms of access to materials, resources, people, markets...rather mind boggling.  We're just inundated with images and as someone with an etsy shop, my struggle is to make meaningful work, yet pieces that will be affordable for buyers who want one-of-a-kind original art. It's easy to get lost in thousands of people who have these same desires and goals.  I don't have answers...I just have questions.

After looking at a stack of magazines over a warm blueberry scone and a cup of hot tea, I decided to buy the new issue of Selvedge, which is a beautiful British publication, that I've long admired.  It so well designed and has a broad focus in the craft tradition that includes good writing about history and place.  I'm going to subscribe, even though it's expensive, because I want to have it each issue myself and I think it's the kind of publication that deserves support.  If you haven't seen it, check it out at your local newstand, but better be sitting down so you don't drop when you see the cover price.  Subscribing makes it quite a bit more affordable.

Violett and I have spent some time together...playing with various stitches on cloth, which I'm still trying to get used to working with....I'm so much more comfortable with paper.  I decided to set aside the near wince of the woman at the store where I bought the machine when I told her I wanted to stitch on paper. She didn't gasp and she didn't quite wince, but she let me know that it's hard on the machine and you have to take extra care to keep the insides free of debris that can cause problems.  Violett allowed as how she'd like to try paper and well, that was pretty much fun stitching various sheets of paper together...but that's as far as we got.  I'm told I should try using stabilizer with the fabric and that will make it feel more like paper.  I'm open to anyone who has knowledge of this kind of thing....how to make fabric pretend to be paper.

Here are a couple of new pieces....not so different from what I've been doing.  I realize these evolutions take a long time and are really quite gradual....I mean look at the evolution of any of the life forms on earth...these things happen slowly and over time.  I just have to be patient with myself!

Spring Meditation no.11
Mementos no.4

Mementos no. 4 (detail)

I can't remember if I mentioned it here lately or not, so forgive me if I have, but I'm doing a found text post once a week on Wednesday on my other blog MissouriBendPaperWorks...the last couple have been done as scrolls.  Here's a detail of the one from this past Wednesday.  Head on over to the blog or you can see more views and the full description and text for "Scout For The Rare Ones" in my shop here.

Scout For The Rare Ones (detail)

So, there you go....I'm going to try to relax about it all and try to get the long view and some perspective on the future.  I hope you have a wonderful weekend...enjoy!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Proper Introduction

Greetings....sorry, I'm a day late with this post!  Yesterday got away from me and before I knew it, I had to be on the road to Sioux Falls for my long awaited Sewing class, which was really a Get-Acquainted-With-Your-Brand-New-Sewing-Machine class!  It was really good and I learned again about threading and winding a bobbin properly, why you use different needles for different materials and which ones are good for what, why it is important to use good quality thread, how to take it apart enough to clean and oil certain areas, etc. etc. Of course, I was the only one there who was brand new to sewing, but I managed to get along okay...just the usual blunders!  On the way home, I was trying to figure out the name for the sewing machine...I thought it should be something Scandinavian, since it's a Husqvarna/Viking....but no, along about exit 63, it was quietly announced in my head that her name is Violet.  That's it....there it was...plain as day, just the way I know at some unforseen moment, exactly the title of a piece I'm working on.  Where do these things come from?  Oh, by way of a proper introduction, now that she has a name, I'd like you to meet Violet...

Feels like I was away from the studio most of last week, although I did show you some new pieces on Friday.  Here's the third from the series I started last week...

Mementos no.3

I'm going to spend most of the day in the studio, with a little time carved out to head outside and peruse the garden beds to see what's happening there.  We need to do a little planning, as we're going to move things around this year and expand our "crop" planting....it's just the usual things, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and some other edibles, but I like to call them crops.  

I'm curious to see what will evolve in the studio from here on out.  I bought some burlap, duck canvas and organza to begin playing with...but I'm trying not to put pressure on myself and just let the new work evolve as it will...paper, cloth or any combination thereof!

Cheers...see you Friday...enjoy the rest of your week!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Moving Forward Inch By Inch

End of the week greetings!  I do have some new things to share and want to report that I am slowly inching myself toward working with cloth and I think I see it in this new work...maybe you will too.  I haven't actually made anything yet with the sewing machine, but I do have ideas and am getting closer to the actual creating stage.  My friend Joni, who makes beautiful quilts, is coming over Sunday to help me get more comfortable with the sewing machine...we'll do some playing around to make sure I'm ready to get the most of out of my class on Monday evening at the Heirloom Creations in Sioux Falls where I bought my sewing machine.  A free four hour class....Sewing 101, I imagine!  Fun!

So, now for a bit of show and tell.  I imagine most of you know that I make found text poems and post them on my other blog, Missouri Bend Paperworks once a week.  Since the beginning of the year, I've also been making them so they are actual works that can be for sale in shop, rather than just cut words laying on the desk that are photographed for the blog, which is what I did daily for the first year of the blog.  So, this week, the poem became a scroll....

The poem reads:

To investigate is to
run frantically
saunter backward
scamper walk run climb
To wallow means to
Calico is
a kind of mirror

The scroll is posted in my shop here with a further description and a couple of other views.  It's fun to turn the poems into scrolls....I'm sure there's more to come!

As I was feeling a little muddled this week in the in-between worlds of paper/hand sewing and paper/cloth/machine sewing, I just started to doodle on tiny squares cut from a teabag.  I have had this vision of the spareness and power of one tiny image in the middle of a vast field of nothing else, except surface texture....sort of a way to echo the fragility and the delicacy of life itself...small floating moments.  I didn't think I was ready to make that happen, but it turns out that's what I was doing as I drew with my ArtPen on these tiny teabag bits.  I had a few surprises along the way, once I thought to adhere them onto larger sheets of blank Japanese paper and then dip them in beeswax.  I knew the ink was water soluble, but I thought perhaps it could be fooled into thinking that acrylic gel medium wasn't water....which it's not, but the ink bled and ran anyway....however, turns out it was one of those happy accidents and it changed the feeling entirely...for the better!  They look fuzzy and aged and almost "found".  Oh, better show you what I'm talking about instead of rambling on incessantly!

After I had some distance from these, I realized what was happening....not only was I actully making the things I was thinking about (which doesn't usually work out for me), but I was beginning to think "cloth"....even though these are still paper, I feel as if I'm moving toward cloth.  Exciting!

Hope you have a great weekend and have a few happy surprises along the way!  See you Monday...