Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Little Suzy Creamcheese

I wasn't going to write anything today because I really didn't have too much to talk about today artistically. Then I read Chapter 64 in Eat, Pray, Love(the fabulous book brought on by my visit to Art of the Spirit where I saw a lecture by the author).

The author calls herself a Little Suzy Creamcheese which means she is social, bubbly and smiling. People who know me in real life would probably call me a Little Suzy Creamcheese. If a garden gnome came to life I would be standing there talking to it after everyone else left. I like to say I'd talk to a wall if it would talk back to me but a talking garden gnome sounds more interesting don't you think? I also thought of Mr. Ed the talking horse but everybody would want to talk to a talking horse wouldn't they?

The real point of this chapter is to accept yourself the way you are, like the author sometimes I wish there was an off button to stop me from saying that one extra sentence or having my words come out in a way that I did not mean them because to me I talk too much. Some people in my life have actually helped this opinion of myself along so not so hard to feel badly about being a person with no filter. No off button(not exactly accurate when I am embroidering I am mysteriously silent and peaceful). But for the most part being talkative is a blessing and a curse and logically I know I am this way because God wants me this way or he would have made me silent and quiet.

Like the author who just the chapter earlier said I want to be the silent person for a change I've also gone through my periods of lifetime where I too wanted to be the silent one. She wanted dark wavy hair, I've always wanted sleek blond hair. But what can I say the big mouth is mine and the hair is mine and everything else is mine. It is my blessing and my cross to bear.

The point is when you are a little suzy creamcheese it is hard to be a shrinking violet viola. No matter how hard we try to be something we are not the more we fail miserably. When I'm going through a rough patch emotionally I always wonder if my life would have been different if I were different but then it wouldn't be my life. Life is a journey of peaks and valleys and I'm of the opinion that the only perfect person ever was Jesus(or whoever your universal being might be). We are human we are not supposed to be perfect.

Read the book, it's fabulous and Keep on stitching(the long cane just came out from behind the curtain). Enjoy your evening and love yourself even with your idiosynchrocies. I spelled that wrong but after the third time decided to leave it.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Almost There!



When I was a kid(and even as an adult) I was a very impatient person. Always asking are we there yet every five minutes. Now that I am a traveling embroiderer I am very patient and never get antsy even when something takes twice as long as it's supposed to. So I am almost there with this lovely piece of fabric. My project is almost finished and is coming along in such a way that I think I will wait till it is finished to share it. A day or two or maybe an hour or two? Almost a finished piece of embroidery. My brain is a flutter with ideas of what to do next and I'm getting just a wee bit antsy. Can't wait to finish this piece. I am wonderfully surprised with the contrasting colors I have chosen to supplement my mostly blue piece.

I was reading on Turning, Turning(which is a wonderful blog by an art therapist at http://turningturning.com/ ) writing about transportable embroidery. She puts hers in tupperware mine is just all tangled up in a ziploc bag but the idea that I can bring my embroidery just about anywhere(I haven't flown in an airplane lately so don't quote me)floats my boat and I think it floats hers too. (She also has a wonderful illustrated blog entry with french knots). Even the day waiting for my car when someone saw Lucinda and asked if she was a tea cup(her ear looked like a handle, and yes it does). But for the most part it is nice to take my projects out in the open and work on them. First off I'm more patient, very important. Secondly it sets up a little barrier in physician's waiting rooms and other places where it is important to at least have a small barrier(mostly to keep me from talking to any poor soul who passes my way). Thirdly because when people say something it is usually about my embroidery and there are usually nice compliments involved. I love to travel with my embroidery. I love to do everything with my embroidery. Oh well I've gone off message here.

I am thinking up new ideas, maybe some new purses, maybe sculptures, maybe just more framed pieces or little knickknacky things. But I'm thinking of new ideas and trying to think of new ways to market them(maybe change my display or leave certain things out or leave certain things in). Point is I'm trying to think of newness which is a good thing. Off the pity party and onto the next step. Thanks again to all those who offered me solace after my last craft show. It is a universal feeling we all have at one time or another(unless of course we sell chocolate sprinkles and call them reindeer poop, those people clean up on the craft show circuit, looking for sprinkles tomorrow only kidding). Thanks again for all your kind words and support and soon, very soon you will see my new very patient embroidery project.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Changes



Today in my local newspaper there were a series of people making their living doing what they love because they lost their former jobs. It was inspirational and made me think that although I haven't lost a job I can still try to make my life doing something I love. I just have to change the way I do it.

I spent much of the last two weeks falling back on the past for the craft shows and working on an art piece which I consider my future. Notice the present wasn't really in there anywhere. The present is here when I am working on my future. Doing art pieces that express myself instead of the same old, same old. It's kind of easy to remake the past and just do the same thing that sells over and over again but setting up my table made me realize I have to make a choice. The old and the new are two completely different things and I have to choose which one speaks for me at this moment. If I'm not selling old or new at the craft shows it makes it easy to make the choice and choose one. I've had some interest in the new, I'm not selling the old so there is the choice. I'm going to grab my inner artist and go for it. Try new things, new ways of using my embroidery. New ways to express myself.

I have a couple of shows coming up and a little interest from galleries(it will be nice if it turns to a bit more interest) and time to totally remake my work, well maybe not totally. And then by the end of it I will know whether my new ideas will work out better then the old.

My friend Judy once mentioned that if you can do the extraordinary why do the ordinary and I heard her and thought about what she said and still carried my old work and new recycled old work everywhere. My friend Judy knows what she speaks of because she takes the most extraordinary photographs of the ordinary. So I'm going to give it my all, experiment, embroider, knit every last piece of fiber, yarn and thread and see if I can make embroider myself a life out of it all.

Thanks to my wonderful bloggy friends I adore all of you and all of your blogs and I'll keep you abreast of how my life of embroidery is going. Your words yesterday meant the world to me. Only those who have experienced it themselves can understand how much pressure we put on ourselves to be relevant and successful.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Craft Show Blues

I don't know if it's the economy or what but the craft show scene is just not cooking anymore. I am kind of at a loss as to what path my journey should take at the moment. I had a lovely afternoon with some like minded people and my friend Cheryl was there with her family and her new grandbaby. It was wonderful to be there but not so wonderful to come home and tell my hubby that yet again I didn't have a very good show.

My son's going off to college in a few months, so will I be able to validate my work without the stay at home moniker? I have my work in a store. I've had it in galleries that closed their doors and all that businesses going out of business brings with it and I've done the craft show circuit. I know I'm a little tired of the whole craft show thing so besides the Albany Shaker Museum which I love to pieces(lots of wonderful spiritual artistic types)I don't think I want to do them anymore. So now what?

Etsy? Look for new galleries? Use my wares myself and see if a walking billboard works or look realistically at the situation and get a real job? The last option is my least favorite especially now that I am always in a fog because of the big M. I'm not sure anybody would hire me anyway since I haven't worked in 7 or 8 years and people who were gainfully employed and experienced can't find a job.

I always feel like this on craft show nights, I've just never really put it into words before. Now that I've shared them I really don't feel much better about them but if you have any suggestions or ideas please share them(and please don't tell me to get a job at Walmart). My husband has a great job and even if things stay the same we will be ok but it would be so much nicer to be a meaningful addition to society's workings. Oh well this too shall pass and I will be back very soon with more pictures and less self pity.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Blogging Hearts



This is a piece I've had for a little while(before Valentines Day) but hadn't taken a photo of. I was a little embarrassed to share it so close after Valentines Day so here it is. It kind of ties in with my topic for today. Blogging Hearts. I love to blog because it lets me express myself in words, but mostly I love to blog because of the hearts I've met along the way. So many good people with creative and open hearts. I've read about their successes and their work, their blockages and their sorrows. The blog is a wonderful way to express things that you sometimes can't say face to face to another human being and that is what makes it the lovely medium it is. You blog from the heart.

I remember when I took a bit of a break to opine anonymously about politics and when I returned I had friends who had lost loved ones, some who had given up their blogs, some who had complete life changes in the time I was busy opining politics and leaving real life behind. Reading about their lives and your lives makes me realize how connected we are and how similar people at their heart level and at their core are. Sometimes I think it's because so many of my blogging friends are artists and being an artist is a solitary occupation. This is our outlet to the world.

I've been thinking about this topic for a while because some of my bloggy friends have been taking a break and I am just hoping it is for a wonderful happy reason and not a heartbroken one. I can't wait till they come back and I can delight in their work and their words again.

In the meantime I am greatful to all the blogging hearts I've met and all the journeys they've taken me on. So take a bow and keep on blogging(and stitching too).

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Dragonflies Revisited


I know this is a lousy picture but it is the second lousy picture of dragonflies and didn't have enough memory to take a third so here it is. It actually came out much nicer then I had anticipated and it was much easier on my fingers and thumb today. I took it to breakfast with Emily and asked her opinion and she said it was beautiful and she told me I probably used too much batting and probably used the wrong needle. She liked it though. I told her the whole rigamarole that I complained about yesterday and she like the wonderful friend she is actually listened so she inspired me to finish it. Emily makes beautiful quilts and gives them away to charity. She's very very talented so her expert opinion meant a lot to me. She also told me most quilt artists use their sewing machines.

All that being said a few weeks ago I told one of my artist friends to find her own style and put her own stamp on it and I think in the future I will probably stick to my own style which brings me joy and doesn't prick my fingers every two minutes. But it was a fun experiment and it did turn out lovely so it was a worthy experiment. It's funny how soon we forget all the angst of a project once it is completed. The pin pricks and thumb pain don't seem to bother us as much. I came I conquered and now I can go back to my own thing with a little bit of knowledge and experience I didn't have before. I know I can do it and I know it's not something I want to do all the time. I can appreciate the hours and the beautiful work that others who love to do it have endured and know that artistry is always to be cherished.

As they say if every bird in the forest sang the same song how sad would that be. Go out and sing your own song and enjoy the songs of the other birds too. (or the beauty of a dragonfly). If I can somehow take another picture that seems to show off the dragonflies a bit better I will share it. Keep stitching.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Frustration and the Dragonflies!

No new pictures. I am on strike with the pictures for today because I have been working on my first miniquilt(not sure I like it and it isn't even finished YET). I have been admiring everybody's beautiful miniquilts on my journey and decided to undertake one of my own. I am still adding tiny little hand stitched running stitches to my beautiful beaded dragonflies project. The dragonflies are beautiful. I like to embroider dragonflies. I hand embroidered the word dragonflies (just in case someone couldn't tell they were dragonflies) and then I found this lovely greenish blue darker contrast fabric that went perfectly with my small piece of green watercolored fabric and then the fun began. My fingers hurt from pushing the needle in and out and in and out. The little running stitches haven't really rocked my socks off. Neither has the beading and it takes so long(yes my regular pieces take a long time but I expect them to) I am almost finished and will share it when it is but may not ever do the miniquilt thing again(although I sort of enjoyed it in the beginning, maybe something a little smaller).

Now I know you are surprised to see me complain about embroidery. I can complain about just about everything else in my life but never my embroidery(except of course for juggling which is still juggling in my kitchen and I still don't like it). But making a mini quilt has kind of turned me off the idea of making a real quilt(yes foolishly thought of that as a new avenue for hand embroidery). Hopefully by tomorrow my headeache and my aching fingers will be healed and I will be finished and I can go back to the work I love and leave the beautiful hand embroidered quilts to those who can do it the right way like Spirit Cloth(look at the link on the side) and return to the peace I usually find in my embroidery! Keep stitchin. Stay tuned for dragonflies the miniquilt coming to my blog tomorrow(hopefully).

Saturday, March 21, 2009

French Knots


Wisteria on Silk
Originally uploaded by DebraAnn813
I am still in the midst of finishing projects, there are dozens in various stages of unfinishedness. So I decided to resurrect one of my favorite pieces with my favorite stitch ever. It's Wisteria on Silk. It has thousands of purple french knots and green stem stitch vines. It has beaded handles which I beaded myself. The beads are purple, green and clear.

The french knot. My favorite stitch. Of course a knot would be my favorite stitch. Knot is a great metaphor for me too. Always a little knotted or tangled. Except of course when I am making french knots or embroidering. When my grandmother taught me embroidery when I was very little(I'm menopausal now) I hated them. Would avoid them like the plague and my oh so sweet grandmother would say just practice some day you will love them(I guess maybe my grandmother was a little knotted too now looking back in retrospect). They do require practice but the french knot is the most wonderful stitch to make when it comes out right(and even some times when it's a little off). I guess because it's one of those stitches that require the most attention. Everything has to be just right or you end up with a disaster(which you can very easily just cut off because the whole thing is knotted). You litterally can't just go off to the races like you can with other stitches.

French knots take time, effort and focus and for that reason they are the most meditative stitch too. I've been using them in everything lately even the projects that don't have twigs and berries. And enjoying them immensely.

Finally I would like to thank the embroidery gods for Fiber/Mixed Media and Stitchin Fingers. They are so motivational and inspirational and make me wade just a wee bit into the deeper water. Have a great weekend. Keep stitchin.

Friday, March 20, 2009

I am/Inspire Me Thursday



I am a tangled stitch. I am a hand embroidery artist. I am a wife. I am a mother. I am a daughter. I am on a journey that I don't know the destination of. I am a believer most days. I am happy to be alive most days too.

A few more words then one but I guess if I had to pick one it would be a Tangled Stitch. The piece I've chosen is called Lucinda. She is a lovely lady I do not know in any way except inspiration and tangled threads and stitches.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Blues Dancin


Dancin
Originally uploaded by DebraAnn813
A couple of my bloggy friends wanted my take on the color blue, as I am at a bit of loss for a topic I thought I would at least attempt to answer them. I love the color blue usually when I use it, I am thinking peaceful happy thoughts. When I think of blue I think of a beautiful blue sky with white fluffy clouds. A beautiful blue jay and it's song. A beautiful beach with clear blue water. My sons eye color till he was about 7. My dad's eyes were blue, and my husband's eyes are a greenish blue.

I've done a couple of pieces that have the color blue, my favorite is this piece Dancin. It belongs to my friend Cheryl. The current piece I am working on is blue. It is prematurely called, From the Chaos comes Peace. You'll have to wait a little while to see it though.

I don't know why people call themselves blue when blue is such a lovely peaceful color but I do it too. But at least for this moment in my own mind blue means peace and beauty. May your day be peaceful and beautiful and I hope you see the color blue everywhere you look today!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Blogging In Misty Colored Blue



My real life has intercepted with the color blue again so for a change I'm going to talk about blogging and how much I love to blog. I love to blog about my own work but what I really love is to be inspired by others. I live to be inspired and I am on a daily basis by the most beautiful posts about thread, yarn, quilts, art, spirituality, photography and so on, and so on.

Counting Backwards is a photography blog by my friend Judy Olsen. She has an artists eye and I have one piece of her's which is a turtle that looks like she laid down in the sand to take it. I absolutely adore it and cannot for the life of me figure out how she took it. But that my friends is why I love, love, love Judy's work. It inspires me every day on her blog. She has a friend named Carol and my favorite thing is to look at the photographs they create when they are together, both beautiful and unique.

Lynda Lehman and Peripheral Visions is another photography blog. She has the most beautiful photos of Italy and photos of Long Island that look so very familiar and lovely. Somehow she manages to take pictures of Long Island without any people in them which is a feat all by itself in such a hectic people filled place. But that is not all, she has beautiful photography to feast your eyes on.

Painter of Blue(Art of Spirit) is a beautiful spiritual sight with beautiful thought provoking words and works of art. I enjoy it so much because it captures two of my loves, spirituality and art. Her blog has links galore and very interesting thought provoking commentary. Circle the Divine is very similar and lovely and thought provoking. I love them both because they make me think about the universe and my place in it and more importantly my work's place in it.

Blue Owl Designs is written by Valaine. She is an illustrator and photographer who has the most delicate lovely art work and the most wonderful commentary about her family.

Catskill Paper is by Patti. She is a collage artist and I love her work and she has several blogs all of them are interesting and inspiring. Papiers Collier is also a wonderful beyond words collage artist. Very interesting and her blog posts are very interesting also.

Princess Matilda is a mixed media artist and a great gal. We email sometimes and I love to see what she is up to. Defining Me is written by Lee and she is a wonderful painter. I became interested in her work when she provided a new painting for every day of the Advent calendar two years ago. Every single day there was a beautiful piece of work to look at. She's got a great blog about her dog somewhere in the last couple of days that is a wonderful cheerful read.

Diane Clancy is a wonderful artist and usually has helpful hints for the rest of us. She uses the most beautiful colors in her work and they are quite unique, lovely and interesting.

Inspire Me Thursday is a website that provides a different topic every thursday in which to show your creativity. I have missed a few even I cannot be inspired by soup but perhaps in my next life.

Spirit of Cloth, is a wonderful quilt artist who uses embroidery(my first love) in her blog and has a wonderful way of describing her work and her process. I found her in Quilting Arts Magazine and am thrilled to pieces to have found her work.

Girls gone Thread Wild is a wonderful stitcher with a great way of posting and always has a wonderful cause to be involved in. I love her work and I love her heart(even though I don't really know her only her blog).

Freedom of Stitch is just fabulous for our stitchers you can spend hours on her blog admiring her work and linking to all these other wonderful stitching sites.

Now I'm tired for today and hopefully tomorrow I will have more work of my own to share. Also if it pertains to you, please go to fiber/mixed media and stitchin fingers filled with the most extraordinary stitching you will ever see. I will highlight some of their lovely blogs the next time I don't have anything positive to share about myself, although if you go to fiber/mixed media and stitchin fingers you can find them yourself. So got to the links and I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. Keep Stitchin.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A Little Joy



Today was a joyful day. I started my next embroidery project on blue watercolored fabric(which I will share a photo of tomorrow), went car window shopping with the husband, started reading Eat, Pray, Love(thanks to Painter of Blue for if I had not seen the lecture of the author on her blog I would have never took the book out of the library), and while I was trying to organize my very messy studio I found a very unorganized clump of embroidery thread in the most beautiful spring colors. All the while I was listening to the beautiful new age relaxation cd Spring and Joy just overtook me.

Joy is embroidered in green outline stitching, with pink, blue, lavender and orange lazy daisies and french knots. All of my favorite stitches. The back of the Joy pillow is this lovely light green fabric. It was a spur of the moment collection of Joy. I enjoyed making it a lot and I sat down with no intention of doing it. Kismet.

I started the blue watercolored piece too but am only doing the outlining at the moment so a little monotony before my needles find freedom. I painted the top and bottom of my water colored fabric at two different times of the day so there is a noticeable difference between top and bottom but since it is blue and it is for a specific project I am going with the flow.

I am really enjoying the book Eat, Pray, Love. I would have never read the book had I not seen a lecture by the author on Painter of Blue's blog(see the link). She has a very humorous way of describing her broken heart and her journey. I think this will end up being a favorite and it is a much lighter look at the soul's journey then Dark Night of the Soul.

My hubby and I are still looking for a car we have it narrowed down to 3/4 cars. I favor the Nissan Versa, the Fit and the Yaris Hatchback. Hubby favors the Civic. I think I favor hatchbacks because my favorite car of all time was a baby blue Volkswagon hatchback with the gas cap in the front. The car always smelled like gas but you could get very far on $5.00 worth of gas and their was a gorgeous gas station attendent that made my visits to the gas station a treat. I loved to tool around in my little car with the windows wide open in the spring with the heat on. Alas the car caught fire on the NJ turnpike and that was the end of my fabulous car.

My studio is still messy but maybe, just maybe I will be inspired by the madness tomorrow. Keep stitching.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Mediocrity

Ok so I finally finished Dark Night of the Soul and all the way at the very end of the book it talked about so many people who live their lives in mediocrity never reaching their true potential. That is the whole idea of the book I think. Knitpicking little things so we don't have to think about the big ones, keeping ourselves little at the same time. So onward and upward, it's time to live life more fully and worry about now instead of yesterday or tomorrow(that is easier said then done so don't be surprised if I fall back off the wagon).

He also said the idea of life is to embrace the shadow and make it work for you with the light. That was an interpretation I needed to read so I'm glad I did and as some of the chapters got a little too close to my personal truth I am thrilled to pieces that I finally finished it.

My next book is Eat, Pray, Love which was inspired by a lecture by the book's author on Painter of Blue's blog. I can't wait to read it so I'll comment on it soon.

Today I knit a little more on my bag, watercolored some muslin and sketched my next project. My friend over at Close Knit Friends blog gave me some great advice for color changing knitwear and if you have a chance she makes glorious felted bags. The link is Becky on the Cross blog posting.

Just a quick footnote to my stitchy friends I have found this fabulous website chock full of wonderful stitching resources to keep us busy for hours. Click on Freedom of Stitch.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Swirl/Inspire Me Thursday



I love the topic of swirl. I love the swirl of the embroidery thread being used by big strands of thread, little strands of thread all swirled together into a solid piece of embroidery. Some broken, some whole, some tangled, some loose, all together in a swirl. A meditation using thread from the skein or piece by piece. A mosaic of thread. A mosaic that brings my life together in a constant use of metaphor. Starting, finishing, knotted together each little stitch every single day.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Lotus Heart



This is my latest piece and it made it into the frame less then 24 hours after completion. I'm really happy with it. It is a hand embroidered pink lotus surrounded by turquoise french knots and a red heart on blue watercolored muslin. I really love the watercolor fabric treatment, it just adds contrast and color and makes my work pop a little bit more.

Thank you to all of my blog friends who have offered such wonderful support about my black hole post. I have had pretty bad menopausal side affects for almost a year and many days had to completely immerse myself in my work and keeping my mind busy frittering my life away. I recently started eating better and exercising and after just a couple of days off the wagon know I have to go back.

I am sure there are books out there for us perimenopausal and menopausal ladies but who wants to read them? I guess it's a combination of feeling awful and starting another phase in our lives. It's time to discuss it out in the open and be a little more honest about this phase of my life. And maybe take a book out of the library too.

Back to work, I've started a knit bag with checkerboards with 6 different colors, quite a reentry into knitting again. Probably should have started out with a solid color and some embellishments but I am enjoying all those bobbins(not enjoying untangling them, but that is probably something metaphorical) and the challenge.

Off to read my friendly blogs, you have no idea how inspiring all you are in both your work and your words. Thanks again for the support. Keep stitching.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Cross



I'd like to call it a celtic cross but I'm not sure it's Celtic. It is a couple of years old but it has mostly sat on my wall and not elsewhere. I love to hand embroider crosses because they make me feel more connected to God then anything else does. I have a few of them embroidered but not quite finished or framed. Pperhaps the joy is just making them. One of my earlier crosses became Dancing and the two waiting to be framed are also variations of a cross. One is called Crossing and one is called Golden Crossing. I will share them soon.

I finished a hand embroidered lotus today but did not like the one mat that I had for that size so that one will be upcoming too. As much as the darkness of the last few days dragged me down, hand embroidered spirituality has brought me back to my center.

That is what I love the most about hand embroidery. The idea that it is a meditation. I have to concentrate on the stitch one little stitch at a time. Needlework is a very spiritual practice as it requires such concentration that you can't really be worrying about the woes of the world when you are doing it. You have to concentrate. As some of my real life friends would tell you I have a very short attention span and a very intense energy. The only time my energy level is at peace(of course except when I am asleep) is when I am working. I keep forgetting that and don't give myself the time I need to find my center. So I'm limiting my computer time and embroidering myself a peaceful cocoon.

So find time for your center with whatever medium you prefer. And keep stitching. I certainly will!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Dark Night of the Soul



As some of you know I have been reading Thomas Moore's book Dark Nights of the Soul for the last few weeks. Usually I breeze through Moore's books but this one has been an exceptionally hard read and one I must continue. There are a lot of changes going on in my life, my son is a senior and will soon be off to college and driving everywhere on his own. I seem to be at a crossroads with my work(thank you for all the thoughtful comments regarding Juggling). And I'm going through menopause which makes all of these things worse. It is like having one long bout of permanent PMS. And I've been trying to keep it all together especially on the blog which I try to keep sweetness and light(except of course when I am in a particularly dark night of the soul). Well I am up to the chapter on Temporary Insanities and I think this is the chapter that best describes me at this time in my life. I have to decide whether I am willing to accept the eccentricities of myself or whether I am going to hide them. This one sentence made me cry" Without the zany persona, you might be condemned to darkness, and that would be a tragedy". End quote first paragraph Page 259.

I've been doing a lot of blog reading lately and am constantly surprised at how universal all these feelings are. It seems we are either up(most of us) or down(most of us). That those things we try to deny we can't really deny and myself I love to read a blog where someone opens up their heart and says whatever is happening to them whether it is pleasant or not. It gives me the bravery to come and spill my guts to the masses(or at least the people reading my blog). I think all of us as artists have been given a gift and with that gift and the sensitivity it takes to open ourselves to the world we sometimes have to give up a little bit of our personal peace. Artists are complicated people(as I'm sure even "normal" people are). For some reason we would rather be "normal" and just like anybody else then our rather eccentric self. So from now on. Sweetness and light might not be what you see when you come here. I'm usually very clever and zany when things are not going well(I got myself through the whole Bush presidency with humor and irony). So hopefully at the very least it will amuse you.

Ok so now a brief description of my "black hole". It was my first artistic piece and the name of it is HOPE. It is a black hole with a hand coming out of the middle of it with a gold star and gold lines radiating out. In my life there have been a lot of times when the only thing I had to rely on was hope and that one hand out of a black hole. I don't even feel very black holish now but I'm tending to look at the message of hope in the piece that if I embrace my zaniness and idiosynchrocies I will be a happier and more peaceful person.

I am working on another piece and have a photo of a cross for tomorrow so I'm gonna hit the road and read your inspiring blogs.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Juggling




This is Juggling. I have to be honest and tell you I'm not quite sure that I like how it turned out. I embroidered it for a call for artists at a gallery my friend belongs to. Didn't like it unframed, don't necessarily like it framed. So it's not going to the gallery. Probably wouldn't have shared it at this moment except I seem to be juggling myself at the moment. Too many balls up in the air and not enough rest to keep them all spinning.

I think that is the story of my life. Juggling my life as a mother, as a wife, as a housewife and as an artist. Never seem to satisfy anyone else or myself much of the time. I'm reading Thomas Moore's Dark Night of the Soul and it mentions how we have to accept ourselves warts and all and appreciate the beauty in life. So here I am warts and all, making a piece I don't really like that seems a great metaphor for my life. Except in real life there would be more balls on the floor, less in the air. And in artist life it would be a piece that I love. But juggling, juggling, juggling.

Always juggling. I think that is probably a great metaphor for many working women especially those that share the moniker of housewife along with their calling. Always trying to find the right balance between creativity and taking care of reality. It is usually so much more fun to be creative then it is to be realistic, but sometimes the roles are reversed and it isn't so much fun when one of your creations doesn't seem to look as good as an end product as it did in your head before you sketched it. And then you notice all the reality you didn't really notice.

So I guess that is the lesson of this blog post, to make life a little more balanced so that you can juggle all your persona's and still make art that you love or that you even like.

I think my juggling may come out of the frame and be refinished at a later date, but for now I'm going to keep it on my wall and see if it grows on me. And see if I can do a better job of juggling the rest of my persona's too and refinish them too. Blessings to all. Keep stitching.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Transformation


Transformation
Originally uploaded by DebraAnn813
I know everyone has seen this one a million times but it's my favorite and today is a day for my favorite. I have been fixing up errors today just about everywhere including my work. I recycled some work either changing it all together or just adding a little something. I have a few pieces that I've had for quite a while and even though it is quite lovely, I just needed a change.

I also found a couple of old journals while cleaning out my craft closet. Same thing year after year, usually around the same time of year. So decided no more introspection for a while just work. Embroidery helps me to keep my mind busy and brings me back to my center so embroidery it is. I seem to have misplaced my knitting project (that is how I found the journals, aghhhh!) so that makes it easier to stitch. Put on a YoYo Ma CD and it made the day and the errors easier to correct.

Blessings to all of you. Thanks for reading. Keep stitching.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Bamboo/ Inspire Me Thursday


deb 005
Originally uploaded by DebraAnn813
This is a lovely green bag that I knit with a pair of bamboo knitting needles. I love to work with bamboo as the yarn just slips off the wood so easily but not too easily. It makes knitting easier for me because I am a flinger. I am always in awe of people who can knit with both hands on the needles the whole time, my needles are always falling and sometimes losing stitches. Just like real life, out there without a safety net. Not too much else to add about the pleasure of bamboo but it does make a knitter's life easier(and happier).

Friday, March 6, 2009

Ocean Hand Tagging


Ocean Hand
Originally uploaded by DebraAnn813
I've been tagged by the wonderful Lee from Defining Me. I'm doing this from Flickr so I hope it works with the photo which is a blast from the past. 10 Things you don't know about me.
1. I grew up in New Jersey
2. I love NJ and think it is very underrated(we did bring the world Sinatra, Springsteen and Bon Jovi)
3. I don't like Long Island(love the place not all the people too many people).
4. This one is easy I don't like crowds.
5. My real hair is mousy brown.
6. My first dogs name was Suzette.
7. I love to read
8. I love to dance
9. I love to cry at movies(and television shows and sometimes even commercials).
10. I love politics.


I'd like to tag,
Judy from Counting Backwards
Patti at Catskill Paper and
Valaine from Blue Owl Designs.

Sorry I'm still kind of confused about how the hyperlink works and with the photo coming from Flickr I'm all confused so profusely apologizing the three lovely ladies and their beautiful work can be found on the link list.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Called by the Needles



Today I realized that I have not picked up my knitting needles yet this year. I love to knit. I love the fibers and the textures and the colors and the speed(although crochet is a wee bit faster). I knit for fun. Embroidery gets me to my center, knitting helps me run away from responsibility. I've been so good at trying to embroider each and every day this year, but I seem to be avoiding the current project I am working on so I think I'm going to answer the call of the knitting needles and take a break. Perhaps I will even take a road trip next week to my favorite yarn shop a couple of towns away.

This purse is in my favorite color green. It uses mohair and cascade and a few other special yarns that I just adore. On our gallery visit last week I somehow got into a conversation at a gallery about felting and although I love the way it looks and it is so very popular, I prefer to knit with texture and color and patterns(or not). So off to the yarn store and perhaps by next week I will have even framed some more embroidery(and moved forward on my current project). Off to the links to see what my friends are doing.

By the way just a word about blogging and my blogging habits. If some of your blogger friends are surprised by the comments of an unknown blogger(me) it is because my favorite blogging trick is to go to your links and find the most interesting titles(titles are so kismet and syncronistic) and then go to them, admire them and then comment on them. Of course I never remember where I saw that beautiful embroidery or fiber art or an occasional sheep(or in Judy's case birds, I do remember Judy's birds and love to see them daily along with everything else she photographs). So please feel free to go visit my friends links and you will be mesmerized as I am by your link friends! Keep stitching.

Just a quick ps. I have added Girl Gone Thread Wild to my link list. Somehow I deleted her and have been searching the world over to find her again. She is a fabulous fiber artist who does wonderful things with her art and her heart.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Embroidering at a Pace

Sorry there are no photos to share today. I have been embroidering at a pace. Caught up in the act of doing not the act of finishing I suppose. The fun part in other words. Very rarely do I embroider a piece and frame it right away. Maybe 3 or 4 pieces(blue moon being one of them)have made it from my hands into a frame. Otherwise they sit nicely folded in a plastic bin until I am inspired to frame them. Some day I will do the non fun part and you will have several days of eye feasting(or famine) but for the moment the process is calling me, not a finished project.

That is how I ended up in the coop believe it or not. I had enough pieces stocked away in my closet in an unfinished state that I could just whip up a body of work. Not so easy to do when you are a hand embroider or needleworker. Everything we do is labor intensive. I love it and couldn't live without it but it is easy to lose yourself for days(and sometimes weeks or months) on one project. I think that is why it is sometimes so hard to frame it and try to put a value on it. I like to do small projects(haven't done too many of them lately either) for the instant gratification part of me. But even those cannot be knocked off at a fast pace.

Sometimes when I see quilters who quilt by hand(such as Spirit Cloth) I am in awe of every tiny stitch and how labor intensive it is. How many hours go into a quilt. I know there are some that use machines in an extraordinary way but something about the hand stitcher. Stitching is very meditative and not something that can be rushed. And I'm pretty sure all of us hand stitchers in whatever category from the young girl with her first kit to the makers of those beautiful art quilts would have it any other way. Happy Stitchin.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Inspiration

I know this is my second posting of the evening. I wanted to scrap my first one but decided what the heck it's a nice turtle. I was just going down my list of links because I wanted to be inspired(or perhaps I needed to be inspired) and came across a lecture given by Elizabeth Gilbert on Painter of Blues' blog. And there it was. Inspiration. The thought that our creativity is a gift from god and that if that is all our work is then that is a gift all by itself(at least that is what I got out of the lecture). Instead of wondering whether our work is good enough or will ever reach the heights(in some cases) that it reached before, if we just grab the inspiration from the universe(or God as in Elizabeth's speech) then it has already given us a gift and it doesn't matter whether others like it or appreciate it or not. Those are words that I needed to hear about my work and about myself(she also goes into the psyche of an artist).

Most of my work comes from just popping into my head. I am rather impulsive in my non artist life(very impulsive) and trepiditious at the same time. So even my own psyche can either push me forward into a new adventure or step on the breaks when an unbelievable opportunity comes along. I have to stop worrying about both of those feelings and just create and then when the work and the opportunity collide I will be ready. Just the idea that my work comes from just popping into my head is reason enough to just continue on my path. But if I get out of my own way and don't act too rashly on ideas that are clearly not the better option it will all work out. That I have already received the gift and it is just not ready to be shared by the masses. So onward and upward.

Another inspiration was going gallery looking with my friend Cheryl. I guess you could call it an artist date out of Julia Cameron's book if you wish. What a day it was. We went to several galleries in Saratoga. None of them appropriate for my work(and a couple not appropriate for anyone's work). But among those galleries was a beautiful glass gallery called Symmetry. What lovely beautiful bowls and figures in extraordinary colors and shapes! Blues, greens, oranges. Frogs, vases, even a fiber artist that I could not figure out how she made her beautiful creations. It was extraordinary. It was beautifully displayed and my friend Cheryl who is a wonderful glass artist herself knew everything about the artists that were displayed. It was a joy and a wonderful experience to see things you could never imagine creating with someone who could imagine(and create) such beauty. I didn't share it earlier because I had a rough weekend as I am still battling perimenopause and rather miserable. But between the video and the experience I am going to look at a few more inspirational blogs that I have taken a liking to and then I am going back to work.

If you need to be inspired go to Painter of Blues blog(her link is on the side) and watch the video(it is 20 minutes long) and see her inspirational work and be inspired.

Turtley Afternoon



Today was a snowy, cold afternoon. Only a couple of inches but enough to make me wish I was a turtle who could fold myself up in a hard shell and keep myself warm. About the turtle, this is a project I did over a year ago. I didn't like the way it showed this way so then I added spirals around it. Still didn't like it so now it is the basis for my first art quilt. I started working on it in between other projects and will share a photo of the finished project.

Not much else is new with me. Feeling a tad under the weather. So tomorrow hopefully I will motivate myself to frame a project, finish a project or be utterly inspired to start a new one.Keep stitchin.