Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Bon Voyage

Tomorrow I leave for Italy for three weeks. We're flying into Venice, taking a train to Certaldo, then Florence, the beach and finally ending up in Rome, spending a few days in each place.

I have everything packed in a carry on sized bag and my messenger bag. My liquids do not exceed 3 ounces. I found the perfect sketchbook/journal to record everything. I will not be taking my computer, so, sadly, no blogging for three weeks. But expect a full report when I get back.

See you in three weeks!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Quote of the Week

I found an index card on which I wrote the following (among other things):

"a swarm of mostly tiny earthquakes"

I like the sound of that.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


I feel like I could write poetry with the things I find on my evening walks.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

NC Love

Another reason why I love this state:

The Creative Industry in North Carolina accounts for nearly 300,000 jobs, more than 5.5% of the state's workforce!

AND that workforce of 300,000 contributes $41 BILLION to the state's economy!!!

according to Pitt County Arts at Emerge Gallery.

Also, magnolia flowers as big as your face!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Etsy Updates

Made a few updates to the paper shop today. More tomorrow.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Fantastic Find

$16 at a local antique store.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sunday Sewing

This week I treated myself to the book Alabama Studio Style. I've loved the work of Alabama Chanin ever since I saw their first book, the Alabama Stitch Book, which sadly, I don't own yet. As I was looking at all the beautiful projects in Alabama Studio Style, I realized something about myself. I am afraid of jersey. Specifically sewing jersey. Jersey for all intensive purposes is tee shirt material. It's a knit, and stretches and I find the idea of making a garment from it highly intimidating, since I'm just now getting comfortable with sewing straight lines through woven cotton with my machine.

But, these pieces are just so beautiful, I decided to face my fear. So I bought the book, and a set of cotton jersey sheets (sheets, yardage, same difference, right?). As I started reading the book, I realized that everything in it is sewn by hand! Ok, this I can maybe do.

What makes Alabama Chanin's pieces so appealing are their patterns, which are executed though a variety of elaborate stenciling and stitching, also all done by hand. I decided to get my feet wet a little bit at a time by just doing some sample pieces of their techniques. I'm glad I did, because I learned a lot and came up with some effects I really like. I got 100% cotton, cream colored sheets, so that I could dye them any color I wanted.

I've spent the past few days stenciling, stitching and beading and am getting ready to make an actual project. I'm in the process of dying the entire top sheet dark blue. I've yet to make a successful garment, so wish me luck!

Friday, May 14, 2010


Laura Deakin
Polyester filler, silk, plastic mother-of-pearl

Over on Facebook, the graduate students from SUNY New Paltz have started "A Dialogue Regarding Beauty and Jewelry", and have asked a great many people from the field to participate. They ask that you respond to these two questions:

Identify a piece of jewelry made in the last two decades that you found to be profoundly beautiful. Explain why, and/or relate the experience.

Is it your intent that skillfulness is clearly demonstrated in your work? Why or why not?

I knew almost immediatly which piece I wanted to use to answer the first question, these "pearl" necklaces by Laura Deakin. Out of all the wonderful pieces in "The Fat Booty of Madness", these are the ones that have stuck with me.

I knew the answer to the second question too, but crafting something that so many top players in the field were going to see was a bit nerve wracking. It's been a bit of a stuggle for me, because I'm not a super personal person, but I've chosen to make this super personal and private work, while I'm still in the position where I have to talk about it. How do you share, without sharing too much?

Anyways, I think I managed to come up with something that was short, to the point and doesn't make me sound like a complete idiot:

The pieces in this series strike me because of their minimalism, use of unconventional materials and, most importantly for me, their subtly.

Demonstrating skill used to be part of my intent when I was making a very different type of work. This is no longer my desire, partially because I don’t feel like it takes a whole lot of technical skill to make my work. My work is about myself and my spiritual journey and my love of these things. My intent has shifted to let this voice, my voice be heard over any overt show of skill.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Quote of the Week

Ever have the past come back to haunt you? Specifically your art past? It's unsettling, isn't it? Like the Universe knew something well before you did.

It seems like lately I've been coming across all these realizations about how my making past has shaped my making present. I was cleaning out some stuff today and found all kinds of crazy crap. Post cards from my undergrad show (why the hell did I order so many?). Some bad sketches, which I threw out. A manifesto I wrote my first semester of grad school. This still holds up, so maybe I'll post it another time. And some very interesting index cards.

I tend to make my notes on index cards. By the time I die, I'll probably have a mountain of them. I'm not sure when, where, or how I picked up this habit, but apparently it was sometime early on or before my grad career. I found some index cards from either my first or second semester at Towson. On one, I wrote this quote:

"From the earliest times humans stung stones, wood, feathers, and bone on strings of hide around their necks. The neck is where mind and body, head and heart come together. It is a transitional point from the celestial to the terrestrial, and as such it is a fitting point to place an object of adornment or magic."

~ Robly Glover

I feel like I just saw a ghost.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Dirt: The Movie

I just finished watching "Dirt!: The Movie". It wasn't quite what I was expecting or maybe it wasn't what I was hoping for. The first 20 minutes or so were about the very basic science of dirt, which was kinda cool, despite the cheesy humor. It made me wish I could remember all the crazy soil nomenclature I learned at one point in my life, and it covered some of the biological aspects of dirt I'm less familiar with, so that was interesting.

But then the cheesy animations got worse and whole thing developed into a piece about sustainable agriculture. Now, I'm all for sustainable agriculture, but this movie didn't really tell me anything I didn't already know. (It was pretty basic.) Also, every time I watch or read about this subject and get angry and depressed. If we know the system isn't working, then why don't we change it? But people are, and then I get a tiny bit hopeful, which quickly turns into frustration that I can't do more, because I live in an apartment, and am too cheap and lazy to start a worm culture compost, and then the self loathing sets in. But I digress. . .

This movie had some great moments, but more importantly, reinforced, for me, the difference between sediment and soil. And although I love soil, in terms of my work, I'm more drawn to sediment. Soil is busy and life and growth and the future. Sediment is the quiet poetry of the past.

Maybe someday I'll make work about soil, but for now I think I'll stick to sediment.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Coveting. . .

I love shopping sites with favorite or wish list options. It's like window shopping from your couch. And even though I don't have the money to purchase these wonderful things, there's something satisfying about being able to click a button and have it added to my list of favorites. Here are some things I'm currently coveting on Etsy.

Embroidered Moleskin by papermodeHome

Pin cushion by namolio

The Black Rabbit and Sand Flower Plate by oneblackbird

Waste Not Remnant Stash by maramiki

Coral Brooch by elinart

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Sunday Sewing

Well, I've made 70 squares and I've decided that that's enough. I'm going to space out the squares with about 2 inches of muslin between each one. I'm pretty excited with how this project is coming together so far. I used mostly fabrics I had on hand, but did dye some to incorporate with the commercial prints.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Quote of the Week

This week's quote is more like a whole passage. Ok, well, it is a whole passage. We had our final for our Readings class today, where everyone shared the book they had been reading on their own. I read For the Time Being, by Anne Dillard. This book is a wonderful blend of geology and theology, so it was perfect for me, but not so much for anyone else I know. But I do want to post this passage from the book, which I shared with my Readings class and would like to share with you.

"Chert, flint, agate, and glassy rock can flake to a cutting edge only a few atoms thick. Prehistoric people made long oval knives of this surpassing sharpness, and made them wittingly too fragile to use. Some people-Homo sapiens-lived in a subfreezing open air camp in central France about eighteen thousand years ago. We call their ambitious culture Solutrean; it lasted only about three thousand years. They invented the bow and arrow, the spear thrower, and the needle- which made clothes such a welcome improvement over draped pelts. . .

Solutrean artisans knapped astonishing yellow blades in the shape of long, narrow, pointed leaves. The longest Solutrean blade is fourteen inches long, four inches at it's beam, and only one quarter inch thick. Most of these blades are the size and thickness of a fillet of sole. Their intricate technique is overshot flaking; it is, according to Douglas Preston, "primarily and intellectual process." A modern surgeon at Michigan Medical School used such a blade to open a patent's abdomen; it was smoother, he said than his best steel scalpels. Another scientist estimated a Solutrean chert blade was one hundred times sharper than a steel scalpel. Its edge split few cells, and left scant scar. Recently, according to the ever fine writer John Pfeiffer, an Arizona rancher skinned a bear with an obsidian knife in two hours instead of the usual three and a half; he said he never needed to press down.

Hold one of these chert knives to the sky. It passes light. It shines dull, waxy gold- brown in the center, and yellow towards the edge as it clears. At each concoidal fractured edge all the way around the double-ogive form, at each cove in the continental stone, the blade thins from translucency to transparency. You see your skin, and the sky. At its very edge the blade dissolves into the universe at large. It ends imperceptibly at an atom.

Each of these delicate, absurd objects takes hundreds of separate blows to fashion. At each stroke and at each pressure flake, the brittle chert might-and by the record, very often did- snap. The maker knew he was likely to lose many hours' breath holding work at a tap. The maker worked in extreme cold. He knew no one would ever use these virtuoso blades. He protected them, and his descendants saved them intact for their prefection. To any human on earth, the sight of one of them means: someone thought of making, and made this difficult, impossible, beautiful thing."

~Anne Dillard

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


So I went back to these.

I have 75 that I've made in the past few weeks. They kinda feel like cheating, because they work up fairly quick and it's something I can sit and do while I watch a movie, as opposed to actually being in the studio. At least that's what I've been telling people when I tell them how many I plan on making.

But looking at them all spread out and thinking about what went into making the forms, manipulating the forms, enameling the forms, collecting the rocks, sorting though all the componants, deciding what goes with what, coloring the string with pigments (in some cases), then wrapping and tying the elements together so that they stay together, it actually begins to feel like a lot! Looking at all 75 spread out on my floor, they almost feel like an accomplishment.

Looking at all 75 spread out on my floor makes me want at least twice this many for my thesis show.