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.


Friday, January 31, 2014

A Week of Dailies

Wow....the last day of January has nearly come and gone! This year is moving quickly and with January under our belt, it seems safe to look longingly, at least with one eye open, for spring within reach. Although it's been cold, this has been a surprisingly non-white winter for us....I know that much of the country has been digging themselves out from under inches and feet of snow for over a month. Here, we've gotten nothing....oh, a snow shower or two, but nothing that amounts to anything. The other morning we got up for yoga and it was 47 degrees with light rain, but by the time we each left for work a little over an hour later, the temperature had dropped to 25 and there was a nice coat of ice on the roads! A roller coaster of a winter, to be sure.

Meanwhile, here in the sanctuary of home and studio, I spend my time away from the library reading and making my daily drawings and found text poems. Thought I'd share this week's daily drawings....these are the small 6x4" drawings on Japanese paper that get dipped in beeswax. These may or may not find their way into the exhibition that Johntimothy and I are working toward with our daily practices, but I think they just might. They will remain single pages and perhaps be kept together in small folded paper holders, like the loose pages of a manuscript. The other daily drawings I am doing, which I'll share eventually are on 10x10" Rives printmaking paper...it is interesting to see them develop as well, usually informed somehow by what happens each morning with these tiny drawings. I just sit down and let my hand lead the pen where it will....the drawing unfolds before me....like in today's daily poem!

Found text poem, Jan. 31, 2014

January 25, 2014

January 26, 2014

January 27, 2014

January 28, 2014

January 29, 2014

January 30, 2014

January 31, 2014

Hope you've had a great start to the year! There are still a couple of hours for the 40% sale in my Etsy shops. The coupon (use coupon code FINDINGAHOME) is set to expire February 1st, which amounts to midnight EST. If you are interested, check out my shops MissouriBendStudio and MissouriBendMusings If you are reading this before next Saturday, February 8th, 2014 and miss that deadline, but want to take advantage of the 40% discount on artwork, I am extending the same 40% to my blog readers, so use the coupon code: BLOGFRIENDS, which will expire February 8th at midnight EST. I am happy to have these works go to loving homes, so look forward to hearing from you!  All the best to you for a happy and productive February....see you soon!

Monday, January 20, 2014

More Notes From The Ancestors

I've been missing the drawings from The Notes to the Ancestors and just finished making another one....these are quiet pieces, my way of making a connection with our collective history. I am keenly aware of all the knowledge that falls away, the memories and the wisdom that is eclipsed over time. What would the many generations of our ancestors say to us, if we only had the means to communicate?
Notes From The Ancestors no.16

Notes from the Ancestors no.16 detail

My husband and I have a major  show together at the Main Gallery at the University that will open in May and we are both creating work based on a daily practice. This is a big experiment for us to work this way. We each have different processes (he is a printmaker), but we are both working in the same format, so that there is some consistency. We are trying to keep the idea of the practice itself, and the daily ritual of it, foremost in our minds, so that we are not trying to make "art" per se. There is a fine line in the intention, but a definite distinction. The pressure is off and we concentrate on our daily process and we'll see what comes of it. Each of us makes two pieces, one in a four inch circle and one on a 4" square, both in the center of a 10x10" piece Rives paper. We just began on January 1st, so we are only a little bit into this practice. I will wait a bit before sharing any of the pieces, but wanted to let you know what I'm up to in the studio these days. It is an interesting process and we both find that the dailiness of it gives us a clear focus. 

In the meantime, our winter here in southeastern South Dakota keeps us guessing, day by day. Yesterday we had a lovely sunny day with the temperature climbing to 63 degrees. Most of the day today was lovely and warm and I began to doubt the forecast of afternoon snow, but sure enough....it's a winter afternoon with intermittent snow coming down. Craziness!

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Daily Practice Unfolding

The year is starting off well and I attribute my more upbeat outlook to the effect of my daily practice. I am someone who thrives on little rituals...they ground me, providing a kind of rhythm to my day. I've maintained a daily drawing practice for a few years, although not always super consistently. In fact, my Missouri Bend Musings Etsy shop was created as a place to share and make available those daily drawings. I fell away from the selling component of the practice and shifted the daily drawing practice to something more private. At its core, I find much of my art making is really a spiritual practice and the efforts required to market the pieces really take away from what the making of them provides me. Although the little drawings I make now on 6x4" Japanese paper do not require a significant amount of time, there is something about letting a simple drawing flow onto the paper from the movement of my hand and a drawing tool, that provides a release. The act of making them acknowledges the creative spirit and leaves a trace, the marks on the page a quiet form of thanks for the day at hand. Below are the drawings from this past week...on 6"x4" Japanese paper, each of which have now been dipped in beeswax. The little row of dots at the top is my way of marking the date: left to right the number of dots corresponds to the month, day and year.

January 7, 2014

January 8, 2014

January 9, 2014

January 10 ,2014

January 11, 2014

January 12, 2014

January 13, 2014

I've also made little found text poems over the years and my first blog MissouriBendPaperWorks was dedicated to that daily practice. Again, it was the effort of photographing and posting that bogged me down. So...I'm back to making those again as well....another daily practice. There is something quite delightful about taking random words and phrases cut from books and arranging them in a new way....somehow the "poem" that comes from each day's exercise is a little revelation. I've posted a few over on my Facebook page and I'll do the same here on occasion. These are the two from yesterday and today. The words of just glued to a sheet of 6"x 4" drawing paper.
January 12th found text poem

In case you can't read it:

live a long journey
slip into the universe
leave a trace
in the sand

January 13th found text poem

Today's was rather humorous....

So, I just wanted to share with you that I'm back to incorporating these daily practices into my life and more fully realizing how much grounding they do provide. Periodically, I will share a few of the things that I make as a part of each day's unfolding and encourage you to find a way to slow down, mark time and leave a trace of another day spent in the dance of life. I'd love to hear from any other artists who include a daily artistic practice....what do you do and how does it enhance your life and the way you move through your days?

Oh, I nearly forgot! Suddenly today I decided that there is a mountain of work sitting on my back table, which comprises the contents of my two Etsy shops, MissouriBendStudio and MissouriBendMusings. Many of those pieces are now older and would love to travel to a good home....it's a BIG 40% off sale in both shops! Use the coupon code: FINDINGAHOME to receive the discount and I'll thank you in advance for giving my pieces a loving home.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Time As A River

My musings this week have led me to some new insights, which may seem fairly to you, which they no doubt are, but which have provided an important subtle shift in the way I move through the day. It sounds almost cliche to say that "time is like a river" and yet, I realized that living through that understanding was not what I had been doing. I spent a very relaxing, nicely paced day on New Year's....it was a lovely balance of work in the studio, reading, reflecting, and simple joy in the good things my husband and I have in our lives. The day flowed....yes, like the river outside my window, without hitting a snag. I felt as if I was moving with time, immersed in it and not struggling or fighting against the current. There was a moment during that day when I understood that the difference in the way I was feeling had to do with the fact that I'd been thinking and behaving as if time was a commodity....a thing to be clutched close to the heart, lest it be frittered away or taken from me without my permission and spent often like a miser. So much effort required to keep time from flowing as it will....somehow on New Year's Day I had gotten into the river and was at one with the flow. Such a relief!

Now that I've posted a couple of the newer pieces shown above, I see that the title of that top piece, Book of Lost Time, which was done at the end of 2013, certainly echoes my earlier view. This piece is about more than that however...buried history, the loss of ancient knowlege and the limits of our collective memory. The second piece is a simple book page reflecting the quiet of a winter landscape.

Any new insights in the first few days of January? I do hope you are having a nice start to the year. While it's colder than I'd like, the winter landscape is beautiful here in South Dakota, and I am plenty warm inside....about to head back into the studio. Best wishes!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Year Greetings


Warm greetings on this first day of the year! For me, this is a day of reflection and hopeful anticipation of a more positive year ahead. We all have resolutions in one way or another and dreams for the future, some yet unacknowledged, still buried deep inside us only half formed and not yet ready to be given a voice. Rather than resolutions, though, I like to think of my hopes for the year as a continuation....as part of the ongoing efforts to balance love and life, work and play. Often we are eager in the new year to set things straight and we make resolutions that drop away one by one, so instead I am acknowledging here on day 1 that I will falter, there will be bad days and many aggravations, but these are all part of working through a mindful life and the efforts to maintain an overall balance. My husband and I share these sentiments and both want to find balance in our lives....maintaining a steadiness that sustains us in good times and bad. We want to balance our days of work with time to be in the studio, read, practice yoga, enjoy healthy food (and drink!) and cultivate positive relationships. I found a great book, Meditations from the Mat,  designed for yoga practitioners. It provides thoughtful daily meditations and reflections to help guide you through day-to-day life. We read the first entry at breakfast....all about balance....a perfect start to the year!!

I do hope to be more focused in the studio and get back to the relationships and friendships I've made online over the last few years. I've let many things get in the way of regular posts here and making new work for my Etsy shops. I have definitely been making new work, but the recent pieces have been posted on my website and not at MissouriBendStudio. But, in the spirit of getting back in balance, here are a couple quiet meditation drawings which are about to be listed on Etsy. 

Stillness no.1

Stillness no.2

These little drawings are made with pencil and a few touches of red earth acrylic ink on Japanese paper that was then dipped in beeswax. Tiny random stitches float across the bottom third on each one....these are quiet drawings, about stillness amid the turmoil of our days.

Hope you are enjoying a fine start to the year....I'll leave you with a chilly view of the icy Missouri River taken late this afternoon, the first day of 2014! Enjoy....