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, December 3, 2012

Back to the Practice or, Some Things Are Not For Sale

Greetings friends....hope you are enjoying the start of December. Here in South Dakota, where one might expect winter to be in full swing, we are enjoying a sunny day with 59 degree temperatures...what gives? I am NOT complaining about this and am hoping that the winter weather holds off for us until after Christmas travel....so far, it's working!

So....I've been thinking....and coming to some realizations. Maybe many of you who have read past posts on this blog are clued into the ambivalence I feel about making art "for" the marketplace or making art which entails marketing it afterward. I started the daily drawing practice in early January of this year, which became a new Etsy shop, MissouriBendMusings and I kept that up pretty well until October of this year when a number of events coincided, including a case of burnout. I stopped making the "dailies" for many reasons and nothing new has been posted in that shop in quite some time. While I took the time to regroup, I began making other work and have felt less and less inclined to add them to the Etsy shop and have just put most of these latest new pieces on my website. I did find that I missed that daily practice and what I began to understand was that I had heaped the marketing and selling on top of a practice that was based in all things opposite, one that was more spiritual in nature. For me, a daily practice is about quiet moments, about the joy of making and about leaving a trace of having been. The joy was/is indeed in the making and in the ritual, while the photographing, the posting, the marketing became a chore. There are nuances here that are important, because it's easy to fall in step with that constant drumbeat to brand, brand, brand and market the work on all possible sites. Lots of people enjoy that process and I applaud them, but it's not so much a part of me, it seems. What I do enjoy is the sharing and the conversation and that's what I'm doing here on this blog....yes, there's always been a bit of marketing, but this blog is about sharing the work and enjoying the friendships I've made with people across the globe.

There's a new daily practice taking shape and I'm happy to share them with you, but they aren't going into a shop or on a website....they are quietly making a stack on the table in my studio, the date of their making written in pencil on the back.....here is a week's worth of 3x3" daily collage pieces.

I'm just quietly gluing bits of paper, most of which are Japanese paper of various kinds. There is a tiny leap of joy to see what happens when one piece of paper covers another, creating a layering and a muting of color....sometimes the brightly colored bits are on top, but sometimes there is more beauty in the layering that creates subtlety. The pieces are tiny and fit just so perfectly in the palm of your hand....I'm happy to make them and not have to market them. I'll share them with you here from time to time, but not on a regular basis....this is about the practice.

But, I do have a few other new items to share and these can be found either in the MissouriBendStudio shop or on my website. If there is a link underneath the image, it will take you to the Etsy shop, otherwise if you would like a better look, please feel free to visit my website: www.robertspizzuto.com

Meditation no.5

Meditation no.6

The pieces above are the latest in the Meditation series, where I am again making use of the layering. The tiny bits of text from books are glued to the sheet of Japanese paper underneath the beeswaxed sheet. The red fragment of paste paper is stitched to the top. I think no. 5 measures approximately 15"x 9" and no.6 is about 8"x8". Somehow my ruler has taken a walk and I can't measure them at the moment!

I found a couple of pieces bristol board with the teabags adhered to them, so this piece came about from some fragments of earlier pieces that didn't get finished. Actually those little cups were initially part of a side panel on the latest Ancestors piece, which I'll show you next, but in the end, that piece became much more spare and the cups found a home here! Almost forgot that newest Notes from the Ancestors piece, no.13, which can be found on my website.

Notes From The Ancestors no.13

I'm trying to simplify life a bit, so I can spend more time in the studio, reading books, and getting back to reading other blogs. So many interests to pursue! Always glad to hear from you with questions and comments. Wishing you a happy, safe holiday season....I'll be back before too long.....until then, enjoy!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Quiet Meditations

Hello everyone....Thanksgiving is behind us and that means that the Holiday Season is upon us in earnest! There is no snow here yet and the temperatures are fluctuating between rather cold and positively mild, but that's just fine, as I'm sure that when winter really arrives, it will be here quite long enough.

Those quiet, little Navigations pieces I showed you last time are continuing...thank you so much for the positive feedback! But, the name "Navigations" didn't seem quite right and I realized that they are more meditative....so the series is renamed Meditations. Here a couple more of them....but again, very hard to see, unfortunately. The very qualities that I love about them....the quiet lack of contrast and the delicate marks and stitching....make them most difficult to photograph. Let's see how these latest two show up, along with their details for a better view. I will get them onto my website soon, but in the meantime, if you would like to see better views and/or more details, don't hesitate to ask.

Meditation no.3

Meditation no.3 (detail)

Meditation no.4

Meditation  no.4 (detail)

We had a trip to St. Paul, MN to be with some of my husband's family for Thanksgiving....way too much good food, of course! Good to be back home now, getting caught up on laundry, etc. and settling back into a routine. Something about this cold weather makes me want to cozy up with a book and a taste of scotch (my latest interest!) to warm the bones! Hope you are enjoying a fine day!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Craving Simplicity

Hello! It's good to be back after quite a long absence. Thank you all so much for the kind words and warm wishes after the death of my father-in-law. Life becomes very complicated after such a transition....negotiating transitions, trusts, estates, aging parents, etc.  Somehow all this will settle down again, but it's been somewhat overwhelming lately. I'm sure many of you can relate. With life so complicated, I've been craving moments of quiet and the simplicity of open space.

Navigations no.1

Navigations no.1 (detail)

Navigations no.2

Navigations no.2 (detail)

I have some long, narrow pieces of Japanese paper that have been lightly coated with beeswax and I made these two pieces in a time of quiet this morning. They are intentionally quite subtle, which unfortunately makes them very difficult to photograph. The first piece has two vintage buttons in either top corner and a fragment of a book page (also beeswaxed) that captures a bit of text and a blank margin....this little piece is stitched with multiple lines of off-white thread in the margin. That's all....quiet and simplicity. The second piece has a cut bit of old book page attached with horizontal rows of stitching. The shape is somewhat architectural....above it is a free-form shape of random stitches, something like a cloud. It is offset by a tiny pearl to the left. In the left corner another tiny text fragment is stitched....helping to hold it to a backing sheet.  Navigations is a working title for what may become a series. I'll be showing them on my website in the next day or so...

I like these simple, quiet explorations....at a time when I can't seem to feel in control of my life (always an illusion anyway, isn't it?) making these pieces helps me to create the quiet I crave. 

It's good to be back....I have missed the conversation and so value the friendship I've found here! Hope you all have a fine weekend. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

A Question of Balance

So sorry for the long absence! For those of you who know me through this blog, the title of this post and this new little piece in the MissouriBendStudio shop will come as no surprise. Always a quest for balance in life. We've had some turmoil and sadness in our lives of late, as we've lost my husband's father rather suddenly, only a very short time after a cancer diagnosis. Besides dealing with the loss, there are any number of practical issues that must be taken care of in these situations. And for me, the death of a loved one, inevitably brings up the larger issues that we like to keep rather hidden away. It's a time of reflection....about how one lives out a life, the interconnections of family and friends, as well as coming to terms with the inevitable passing of the elder  generation. I don't know about you, but I still find it disconcerting that, in my own family, I am now part of the elder generation. Our time is fleeting and this dance we call life is so precious....it's a call to live life fully, to care and to be present in the here and now.  I've missed the conversation here....how is everyone?!

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Muses....

The Muses have me on a need-to-know basis these days....which is actually just fine, as I now realize that it's the way I work best. It means the internal conversation is flowing and that I'm listening more than thinking, which in my case, is a very good thing. I'm working on a pretty large piece (24"x24" is quite large for me!) on a cradled clayboard, which is being created as part of fundraiser for the Design Center in Sioux Falls. I LOVE the coated surface of this panel and also that it doesn't need to be framed....anyway, I'm quite getting away from my original point. Between feeling my way on this project and my work on the continuing Notes From The Ancestors series, I "know" just enough to take the next step on each piece. There is some kind of magical "knowing" that emerges, just at the right time, as if I am being told exactly what step to take and why. Beyond that, I don't know where the piece is going and I certainly don't see it ahead of time in its final outcome....but at each new stage, when the time is right, I am given the next bit and so I move forward on the work, inch by inch. It is a slow way of working and if I don't sense the next step forward, I just step back and walk away from the piece, until the magic envelope is slipped under the door of my psyche by those dear invisible Muses. Where would I be without them?!

Notes From The Ancestors no.12



Lately, I've been starting to acknowledge some of the slow realizations that have been lurking beneath the surface for awhile. I know many of you (dear and faithful readers) are artists as well, working through your own creative process, struggling to find the time to make the work that you are called to make. The internet has obviously transformed our lives in so many magnificent ways....I am amazed by all the wonderful connections and friends I've made across the world....and yet, there are some aspects that I fear I'm going to have to let drop. This blog is not one of them....the exchange that happens here has meaning for me and I hope for you, as well. I'm talking about all the social media networking that we are told is a must in order to be successful, especially with an online shop (or 2). With the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, there are just way too many ways of following and being followed. Everything has to be some sort of tool for exposure. Huge amounts of time that can be spent on Etsy creating and making treasuries to get your work seen by those who might be interested in making a purchase. The image that comes to mind in trying to keep up with all of it is that poor, tired mouse on that endlessly spinning wheel in his cage.  

Not only is it all time consuming, taking me away from the studio, but there doesn't seem to be any payoff. Either I am mismanaging this social media thing, or it is just a bottomless pit. Being in the studio has meaning for me, as it allows me to explore an evolving understanding of humanity and my place in the larger cosmos. This blog has meaning for me, as it provides the possibility for meaningful dialogue (something more than sound bites) with people I will never have a chance to meet face to face. Spending time with books, engaged in reading means a great deal to me, as language and ideas are a major source of nourishment. Slowing down enough to enjoy the process of cooking and savoring the deliciousness of food....that too is important. And there must be time to enjoy the company of my husband, who is way over too committed himself....but I think we both seek a simpler life.

I'd love to hear your thoughts about how you navigate the world of social media....actually, the real question is whether anyone else is wondering if all these tantalizing ways to spend time on the computer are not just creating a smoky haze that threatens to stifle our ability to breathe. 

The dailies for the last few days are here....and listed in my shop (15% off with coupon code: AUTUMNSALE)

October 10, 2012

October 11 2012

October 12, 2012

Thanks for reading....always do love to hear from you, so feel free to drop a line. Once I get my own time realigned I'll get back to reading the blogs that I've followed....another part of life that seems to have dropped away! Hope you have a fine weekend!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Playing Catch Up

It was a busy week last week! We had the visiting artist that my husband was hosting at the University staying with us. This was all fine and good, since we already knew him as one of Johntimothy's colleagues and friends in the printmaking world....but the many late nights filled with good food, laughter and talking took it's toll. This week I am gathering up loose ends and trying to get myself back on track, but the house is strangely quiet somehow.

I forgot to mention in my last post that I was honored to be interviewed on Ms. Jeannie Ology's delightful blog, which you can find here. She asked me a number of intriguing questions, designed to draw out responses that would give insight into the how and why of the daily practice that feeds the work in the MissouriBendMusings shop. Pop on over, if you like. I'm quite impressed with the extra effort she puts into the blog on a wide variety of topics....worth investigating!

In the meantime, how about a few highlights of the recent dailies? You know that you can always find more of them at MissouriBendMusings. Did I mention that I was having an ongoing sale in that shop....yes, all the dailies are available for 15% off the price listed....just use the coupon code: AUTUMNSALE at checkout. I'll keep this sale going for awhile, but take a look around to see if there is something that catches your eye!

It's an autumn of fluctuating temperatures, but still glorious as the leaves and the grasses change their hues. The lawn is littered with a blanket of golden yellow leaves from the cottonwood trees. We pulled in the few pumpkins from the garden, along with the last of the tomatoes before the freeze the other night. I do wonder what kind of winter we'll have this year...hoping for cold, but not too much and snow, but not too much. Maybe this is the year we'll be able to break in the snowshoes we bought a few years ago! Hope your week has started off in a fine way and I'll see you at the end of the week.

Monday, October 1, 2012


Now that we're into October, the autumn season is really in full swing....colors are changing daily in the most beautiful and often subtle ways. There are moments of bright, warm yellow set against deep, rich red, but as I drive along the back roads, I am also quite taken by the subtle shifts of color in the fields and the grasses on the side of the road...colors that shift from a pale gray-green to the color of straw and then to a soft peach and onto deep red and then crimson. I do love each season for it's own beauty, but there is something about autumn that makes me more aware of color than the other seasons. I know that spring and summer are full of the rich, bright colors of gardens in bloom, but I am more deeply drawn to subtle palettes and the colors of autumn make me swoon. Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera when these thoughts came to me today in the car, but I did snap a few shots in the backyard just a bit ago. The river is beautiful no matter what the season!

Still keeping up the daily drawing practice and with the recent big deadlines looming over us now past, I find that I am able to post them more often. I'll start off October with today's drawing, but do have a peek at the others in my shop here. I do have sale going on in the shop, so if you are interested in any of the daily drawings, now is the time to have a more serious look around...there is 15% off everything in the shop, but be sure to use the coupon code at checkout: AUTUMNSALE

There's a newly finished drawing in the Notes From The Ancestors series, now posted on my website
I'm still loving the interior space I can roam through as I make these pieces...an open-ended conversation with time and memory.

Notes From The Ancestors no.11

Hope you have a great week....savor the day and the subtle details so easily overlooked! See you soon!

Monday, September 24, 2012


Greetings and welcome to Autumn, one of my favorite seasons. Oh, forget that....I love them all, actually. It seems that each one rolls around just as you are ready to move on and be rid of the last season. I am welcoming Fall with open arms....crisp nights, slowing changing leaves, earthy autumn scents in the air.

Johntimothy and I have moved beyond the first phase of our change of diet lifestyle and have moved beyond the part where you cut out a lot of things, one of which was dairy. I missed cheese, but more than anything I missed the half and half in my morning tea. The first morning I added the cream back into my tea, I was on top of the world and sat quietly, enjoying every moment of that rich flavor. Of course, I realized even at the time what I was doing was savoring that tea after the absence of the thing that made it special for me. I'd been having tea all along the last few weeks, but tea with cream is quite a different thing altogether from tea without and while I sat there with that warm mug in my hand, I contemplated the notion of slowing down, of pondering the large and the small things in life, appreciating the quiet moments, along with my tea. I don't think we open ourselves up to savoring quite enough....it can't be done in a hurry, after all. I know that I need more of it in my life and am trying to cultivate it on a daily basis.

There is another week full of daily drawings over at MissouriBendMusings....I'll just post one of them here as a little incentive to check out the others, if you are so inclined. You'll notice the teabag fragments slipping back in. I missed the warmth of that mottled tea stained paper. Here's a favorite from this past week....

I'm in the final stages on a couple more pieces from the Notes From The Ancestors series. In the meantime, I realized I never showed you no.7, which is posted over at robertspizzuto.com.

I'm headed back down to the studio....I'm planning to savor the last couple of hours of quiet working time, letting the inner conversation reveal some fresh new insights. Have a wonderful week! Thanks so much for reading these words and supporting my work!!!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Any Given Moment

Greetings at the tail end of another week...hope all is well in your world! If you are crazy busy, as I seem to be, remind yourself that it's all good and the challenge is in finding the balance in life. Lots going on and new opportunities presenting themselves that must get added in to the mix. I intend every week to do a post each Monday in addition to Friday, but I never seem to make it. 

Last Monday, I was forwarded a short video by another artist (and follower of this blog) Karen Anne Glick, that I must share with my readers as well. Karen Anne makes a beautiful small quilt each day in her daily studio practice. Here's a short video of another such artist with a daily practice....it captures in so many ways what I am trying to reach in my own search through these daily drawings. Click on the link HERE to watch the video.

September 8, 2012

September 9, 2012

September 10, 2012

September 11, 2012

September 12, 2012

September 13, 2012

September 14, 2012

Another new group of small drawings is emerging....these are quite small, about 5 1/2" x 5 1/2". Below is the first in the series whose title has announced itself as Any Given Moment.

Sometimes I am overwhelmed by the enormity of it all...the immensity of all that exists and the infinitely large and minutely small scale of activity that never ceases. From the movement inside our cells or the colonies of ants going about their business to the hum of people passing on the streets in any large city, the movement of clouds, of the earth....you can't begin to capture it all. But think of it....at any given moment....how can we even speak of it? I cannot find words, so I make something...and I'll make another something....and something after that. These pieces will find their way to the MissouriBendStudio shop and, of course, the dailies continue to mount into quite a number as the days go by over at MissouriBendMusings. Thank you so much for sharing the conversation....always wonderful to hear from you! 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Where Did That Week Go?

Hello! I have had a very busy week, which began with an extraordinary opportunity to see President Barack Obama when he was in Sioux City, IA last Saturday. Through one of my co-workers, we were able to get VIP tickets and were very close when he was there to give a short speech....very exciting! I happen to think he's a wonderful President and of course, his speech was an inspiration. Lots of evening activities lately, which is kind of unusual for us....out three evenings in a row this week. No wonder I'm feeling off kilter and behind in everything.

Johntimothy and I have begun a new way of eating based on The Abascal Way, which works to quiet inflammation in the body. It's a most interesting read and we are learning things about how the body actual works, how food is processed and the immune system functions. There is a three week phase where many foods that our western (especially American) diet has come to rely upon are eliminated so you can get the body realigned. Mostly we are eating whole foods, including vast amounts of fruits, vegetables and nuts, with some selective meat and fish. We were both already way too busy, but now we've added this turnaround in our eating habits, which necessitates actually spending more time in the kitchen preparing food and planning our meals to take to work so they are proportionally balanced. Wow....it's a lot. There are times when I am ready to give it all up so I can just go out on the deck with a glass of wine and forget it all....but alas, not for a while.

So, there is one thing in my life that remains on course and it is these little dailies that keep me balanced on days when I am overwhelmed. It's a good thing to get up early and go downstairs to the studio when it's still dark and all is quiet, inside and out. Sometimes I can tell you what was going on in my head when I made them, but sometimes I'm not sure at all and they just are what they are....it's a conversation in which the moment of making is given over to the history of everything that came before. Then the rest of the day unfolds and before I know it, the morning has come around again and I am at my table, stamping a new page with the date and beginning to let my hand move across the page.

Thanks for all the kind words about the Somerset Studio magazine....still awaiting my copy, so I haven't actually taken a close look. I do so appreciate hearing from you and apologize for the sometimes long lapses in my response time. It is hard to keep up! I haven't read the blogs I follow in ages and am way behind on that front. There seems to be no way to stay on top of everything....does anyone have any secrets? I don't want to give one thing up, but am also a bit weary of feeling behind....time to set some new priorities! Okay, that's quite enough rambling from me....here are the week's dailies! Do stop over at MissouriBendMusings to see more views and get more information.

September 1, 2012

September 2, 2012

September 3, 2012

September 4, 2012

September 5, 2012

September 6, 2012

September 7, 2012