Running Away from Home

Did you ever have one of those days? The kind where you just have too much around you and you need to get away… But you can’t.

I was buried by the “ou” words – should, could, would, ought. They make me crazy! So I ran away from home. I didn’t go far because I still had to cook dinner.

I closed myself off in my studio and had a little one-day vacation. I shut the door and by some weird chance no one bothered me till I had this piece finished. I escaped from my usual decoupage and fabric art.  That made it a kind of vacation from my own studio too. 

I love mobiles. They combine precision and free form floating.

No one else will ever see this because it can’t be moved. It will live in this spot till someone else takes it down.

 

I call it “Tempus Fugit“. What is more fragile and moves more quickly than time or thistledown?

Chinese Porcelain

You’ve seen blue and white china around all of your life, at restaurants, grandma’s house, where ever. It’s often called “Willow Pattern”.   I’ve always loved the blue color.  But I
never knew there was so much more to the story.  This is the kind of thing your Grandmother had in a glass-fronted cabinet or on the mantel. Aishin Romance 1

Welcome to the 21st century.

Never Apart   After I saw some of the contemporary look of Chinese Porcelain my curiosity was sparked.
How did it get from “there” to “here”.
So here’s a very brief history.

I’ve always wanted to know Why Blue? Sure, I love the color and Cobalt Blue is a wonderful color to use as a decorating accent (or all over for that matter), but where did “Willow pattern” and all the rest come from? And why is Jingdezhen called the porcelain capital of China?

It seemed logical that the manufacturing of anything would begin with the raw materials. So…

They start with Kaolinite, a fine white clay, and the name is derived from Kao-ling or Gaoling, a village near Jingdezhen. (This is the same stuff they once used in Kaopectate. Is that weird!?) Jingdezhen’s porcelain has been famous not only in China but also internationally for being “as thin as paper, as white as jade, as bright as a mirror, and as sound as a bell”.

The development of Cobalt blue decorations was due to the combination of Chinese techniques and Islamic trade. Cobalt blue pigments were excavated from local mines in central Persia from the 9th century, and then were exported as a raw material to China. The blue and white designs on what we call ‘china’ were made possible by the Cobalt from Persia (called Huihui qing, “Islamic blue”), combined with the translucent white quality of Chinese porcelain. In the early 14th century mass-production of fine, translucent, blue and white porcelain started at Jingdezhen.

(My apologies to the original authors. Most of this was lifted from Wikipedia and slightly modified for use here.) 

Porcelain production in Jingdezhen today.

So that’s your brief history. But there’s more to this story.

Medicine Bags in the Studio

Here’s an idea I’ve been working on since January. These things take time and this one had to simmer awhile.

I’m creating a line of Medicine Bags. The size is about 4″ x 6″.  They’re good for little things like toiletries, essential oil collections, handmade soaps… This idea is going to let me work with some interesting variations, using different fabrics and different surface designs. So here’s the first one.  This design came up when I bought a new deck of Tarot cards that needed a home. They’re made from collage blocks. I layered small pieces of really cool fabrics like silk, chiffon, gauze and panne velvet and sewed them all together with something sheer on top. It’s a nice analogue for Tarot where there are layers of meaning to consider. Then I bordered and lined the bags with a fabric that blends silk and cotton. And Voilá, the best of silks and cottons to surround and protect my cards. The pictures show the same bags, but the two sides are different. 

 

I’m already working on two more designs, one with eco-dyed muslin and another with a different selection of hand dyed fabrics. Each group is going to be really different. I’ll keep you posted.

Power of the People

I’m non-political. I was disenfranchised a long time ago. But I’ve had this kind of New Age idea and I’d like to hear your thoughts on it. Or be silent and join me.

There was research some time ago about how the power of prayer could affect social behavior on a broad scale. The study I’m thinking of showed reduced violence coinciding with a time when a large group of people focused on making it happen. Now I don’t believe in “prayer”.  I call it focused consciousness, but it’s the same thing if you call it meditation or just directed thought.

The problem I’m looking at is the upcoming election. The candidates that are presenting themselves all seem to have very limited perspectives. I don’t want to be governed by a President who has extremely focused religious, moral or economic views. Call me an idealist but I think a President should have the interests of the entire country as his/her main focus.

Voting is the process but without the best candidates, it just won’t help. And whatever you may think about the current candidates, there’s no denying that we need some very inspired leadership to raise us out of the economic and social problems we’re experiencing.

So what I’m thinking is this. If you agree about this, just a little, join together with me and all the other anonymous “you” out there. For five minutes a day focus on bringing to this country leaders from the next election who can provide the basis for a recovery from this state we find ourselves in. 2:00 pm New York is 1:00 pm Chicago, noon in Denver and 11:00 am in L.A. Climb to the rooftop. Retreat to the cellar. Retire to the restroom or join together in the conference room. Focus for just 5 minutes on wanting the very best for this country.

It is said that we get the government we deserve. Now obviously no one person makes up the government. And you may not agree with me on who is best for what role in government. But if you agree with me that the power of the people is in unity. And if you agree that unified thought and desire can generate change. Then join with me to focus on bringing to this nation the leaders we need. And maybe, with a unified focus, we can create something even better than we deserve.

Send a link to this blog to everyone you know. Or put the idea into your own words. But believe with me that if enough people join in, then we can make something wonderful happen.

Be Yourself

More of my TextTiles.

I’m a quiet person, not given to expressing opinions in public. These pieces really let me voice my thoughts.

The next step for these designs is to turn all of the TextTiles into notecards.  They’ll end up in the catalogue on my web site.

I like this one.  It’s a quote from Oscar Wilde.  This starts when you’re a teenager and it takes courage to outgrow it.  We’re all under pressure to live up to something or be someone else.  But it’s the same thing as lying.  When you be yourself you don’t have to keep track of what you’re pretending and who the real you really is.

This one follows logically.  It’s takes a lot of work to stretch your thinking to allow yourself to be yourself.  Just like any exercise, it’s worth it in the long run.

FYI about the process. The silhouette on Be Yourself is mine. It’s the first experiment for a series that finally became Faces. Techniques are a combination of reverse appliqué and embroidery.

The butterfly is another experiment in a technique of slashing the fabric and including pieces when it’s sewn back together.  The chiffon on the butterfly is all on the surface, attached only in the seams.   I finally got it all figured out and refined in the Fairy series. There were three that I finished but I only have one of those left.

I hope you like these.  Maybe they speak to something in you too.

Be Bold

Dream and Be Bold.

This one hangs over my desk. It’s a quote from Goethe. 

I’m not a bold person, but a lot of it comes out in my art. It feels good.

The center block is crazy quilt, a collage of satin, brocade, silk, chiffon with sparkly stuff. Purple and yellow. It doesn’t get much bolder! 

This is a quote from Gandhi. I guess it’s like boldness. You have to be it to make it happen.


 

They’re good thoughts. I hope you can use them.

Live Large

I’ve got something to say.

My focus these days is on sharing ideas. Things I want you to think about… If you’re not already.

Sing, Dance, Love, Live. You’ve seen this one around but have you really thought about living as if today was your last day? Last chance to get it right? To say what you need to have heard? It’s a really big concept! 

And the concept of letting go, what an idea! All the things you can’t do, can’t fix, can’t change, absolutely can’t control. Think about how much energy you’d have left over if you let go of all of those! 

Just some stuff to think about.

FYI about the process.  I’ve gone back into my stash and started pulling out UFOs.  Unfinished objects, samples, experiments, proof of design concepts, all kinds of things that were too cool to part with but haven’t had a home till now.  I’m looking at them to underscore some of the philosophical things and interesting quotes that have been accumulating in my mind.  It’s like archeology in the studio.

And I’m looking at these unfinished things as a canvas to try some of the really new concepts I’ve been working on too.  It’s like basic research in any field.  It brings out really unexpected synergy.

Blue Batiks

It’s been a really productive month in the studio. First the Ribbonettes right after Christmas. Then this collection. 

I received a collection of batiks as a gift.

 

I’ve adopted the local coffee shop as my own personal, local beautification project.

 

It’s a warm, brown room with lots of windows.

 

Table rounders and runners and square table toppers.

The blues just glow.

 

I almost didn’t give up the table runner.

The spirals are an original design.

It’s good to beautify other people’s lives.

New in the Studio

Curls and twists and beads and sculptural objects out of ribbon. 

 

  

Freeform sculpture with stiffened ribbon and beads, sparkly and shiney.  Ornaments for an office cubicle, a Christmas tree, anyplace something little and pretty can hang. 

The earrings from this technique are going to be awesome! 

It’s all about doing what you need to do.

This new collection doesn’t fit in any of my shops so it’s in the catalogue on MY NEW WEB SITE (WooHoo!!)

Introduction to Tarot

A Zen Approach.

I spend a lot of my time seeking. I think most people do but they don’t have the time to be aware of it. Anyhow, I’ve been feeling like “Hey! Can’t somebody just give me a hint about which way to go!”. I’m not looking for the answer to life-the Universe-and everything. Just a little hint in the chaos. 

I met someone on the Internet who reads Tarot. She seems to be an intelligent lady. So I’ve been thinking maybe a reading could give me the hint I’ve been looking for. Naturally I put it off because “that’s weird woo-woo”. I’m a skeptic about a lot of New Age things. But the idea kept calling to me. And in the way of these things, the Universe sent an answer. A friend who I respect happened to say she reads for herself and gave me the address to a site, Osho Zen Tarot

These readings are not about the past or the future. They’re more like a hint or inspiration to think about as it might apply to the present, what’s happening today, right now. I believe in reality; that the only place creative energy exists is in the present. It’s where you actually build your life.  

My only objection to the readings I’ve gotten is how unnervingly accurate they are. I can see how easy it would be to become a disciple. But I’m not looking for a new path. As I said, just a hint. Sure I want to believe. I want to think that there’s some Universal benign force guiding me. Maybe it’s all in my head. But this seems to be truth, at least for me.