Drawing and Memories

This is the tin of twelve graphite pencils that I bought in Australia. I love the crocodile on the lid and seldom open the box because I am afraid I will use them all up. Silly reasoning because they will last quite a while even after many sharpenings. The mechanical pencils I have been using have limitations when it comes to drawing, and shading in particular. Plus with these I can get darker areas. So here is the Sticks and Stones Book so far with the use of watercolors and these pencils.

And I have put a bit of color into Lorraine’s leaves a few pages ahead.

Anyway, it gives me something that is a constant in my routine. I can pull it out whenever I wonder what to do with myself….and get lost in the drawing and the beauty of Australia on every page.

Rain has been a regular event here so not too many walks. But there is always baking and drawing.

I went back to the Basket Gathering Book.

On the left is a drawing of the boucle technique when making string from natural fibers. The late Judy Gray-Gardner taught me this at a basket conference years ago in Australia. Before  plying the two twisted fibers together, you simply over spin one to the point of it buckling up on itself and then cross it over the other one to ply the two together. Then repeat. You will end up with a lovely “bubbly” string that can be used with another one like it to give an irresistible feel to whatever you are weaving.

I do not have many fronds/leaves/grasses here to process into useable bits but I do have plenty of papers that can be spun and overspun. I might give it a try…

On the right is a drawing of this basket that sits on the shelf in my studio.

One day in the mid eighties my basket instructor, Grace Kabel, asked if I had a favorite book that had an image of a basket in it. Grace was a master at looking at pictures of baskets and figuring out how to duplicate the weaves. She wanted to make it as a gift. So I showed her my most favorite children’s book.

The Castle of Grumpy Grouch. Written by Mary Dickerson Donahey and illustrated by Pilagie Doane in 1948.

When I was little I had white/blond hair like Princess Floria and my grandmother also thought so when she bought this book for me back then.

Anyway Floria has many adventures as she travels to find her lost temper. She is given a magic basket to help her on her way. I think Grace did a wonderful job of working out some suitable weaves from such small pen sketch drawings.

I read this book so many, many times as a child. It is one of two books I managed to keep with me through the moves my family had. It is delightful to know it is on the shelf whenever I want to dip back into it. And to have Grace’s gift of a small replica of the basket is just as special. If you are a basket maker, you might want to ask if someone you care about has a story with a basket as part of the telling. It would be such a gift and bring back many fond memories when the book could be long gone.    Just a thought.

The basket inspired me to add it and its magic capabilities to my Stoat Story book a few years back.

The sun is out today. No clouds. No rain. So I am going to the river and then taking myself out to dinner at a local restaurant where Lee and I spent so much time. I am thinking a few oyster shooters, salmon Caesar salad with a glass of fine white wine.

So next time there will be walk photos and more drawings of sticks and stones. Maybe some stitching…..

Til later….

Getting Sorted

Walks. First the river here….

Where I found a tree that looked like it was yelling something at me.

And walking back…

Then off to the Riverwalk in Murphy.

The tiny leaf buds are appearing with this seventy degree weather. Still rain most days.

The new frames arrived for the little stitched animal drawings. I need to paint them grey this weekend. Then pop them in a box until I think of what to do with them and if I want to add more to the series.

The patchwork of print and cloth is all stitched where I wanted to. But still sits to my left because it seems to want more but is neglecting to tell me what. Could be I am not listening.

So, remember this book of Lorraine’s contact prints that she sent me (with several others)? I used one for this.

And another for the Fairy Book…

Then I received a bunch of pens and thought I would stipple into the next book. I was thinking Sticks and Stones.

I tucked it away and got busy with all the changes in my life going on. The other day I pulled it back out and went to look for the brown ink pens.

Most had dried up. And I did not really like the starkness of the pen marks with Lorraine’s subtle leaf prints. So I got out the gouache and Caran “Dache crayons to smooth out the ink marks.

I added a bit of watercolor on the leaves to brighten them ever so slightly and this weekend will work back into my sticks.  But am wondering what I might draw into the background if anything. There are many pages to this book with pockets, so I could develop a narrative of sorts….maybe what the sticks and stones could make when properly assembled. A series of woodland shelters with stone walls and arches.

I think I am anxious to just sit and draw again on a project that takes lots of time. Maybe a daily meditation until the meadow comes alive again and I can go back to that sketchbook.

Not much more new right now…just feeling like I need to start another daily practice for my own satisfaction.

More later….

Finding It Easier To Get On With It

I made it to the dam the other afternoon. Still no birds on the water. Perhaps because it is so windy.

For two days I worked on the squirrel in an apron roasting nuts. When finished I decided that four of these drawings with stitchery might just be enough…so decided to cut and cover mats for them. The island in the kitchen makes a perfect work place because the height is just right.

I have to cut my own mats because everything is a different size. But making them all 8″ x 10″ on the outside measurements are easier to find frames for. I still have boxes of wooden frames out in the garage, and the charcoal spray paint I like for graphite drawings.  And I still have loads of Lokta papers to cover the mats with……so….

I put a small mouse in the squirrel’s apron pocket. The framing will be done when it warms up in the garage and I locate all the framing materials.

The work table here in the studio now has projects to finish on my left and finished on the right. Sort of like doing dishes. At least it prevents me from getting started on too many new ideas.  But first Burke and Wills would like to see themselves bound into a book.  And there is a bit more hand-stitching to do on the patchwork of print and cloth piece.  After that I hope to get back to carving some wood blocks.

There is still another book to finish reading and more entries for the basket gathering book, but I am determined to get control here with unfinished work.

Too cold and rainy for walks so it was more baking….Pioneer Woman’s Brown Sugar Oatmeal Cookies.

Delicious with the addition of finely chopped pecans.

And the cats just prefer to nap.

Tomorrow is President’s Day so the gym will not be open. I might try the Riverwalk in Murphy followed by a coffee at the Rare Bird.

I look at all the workshops being offered online and wonder if I need to enroll in one. Then I ask myself, “Why?”.

I don’t have a good answer but do know why I don’t.  So many seem to stress experimenting with materials and techniques until you find your own voice.  Well, maybe, if I wanted to spend time (and money) to find a way to express myself. But I think it is pretty obvious that I am already listening to my own voice and working accordingly.

Am I bored? No.

Do I need inspiration? No.

Do I need to amass more tools and materials to “play” with when there is plenty to work with here in my studio?  No.

And at seventy-eight do I really want someone suggesting I “try this” or “try that”? No.

Do I really want the residue of “finding my voice” (which I suspect is code for not copying someone else’s) to pile up in my already tidied and organized studio? Heavens no.

I think not.

Perhaps these workshops being offered are more about having a play time….or the popular expression now is “giving yourself permission” to play. (I never did get that “permission” thing.) Am I supposed to ask myself if it would be okay to draw a squirrel in an apron? What if I said, “NO, no squirrels for you, in or out of aprons.” Really!

I am likely missing something here about these classes being offered. And perhaps it is simply that my own voice is nagging me to get on with it. Reminding me that time is passing and if there is something that I need to do, then get on with it.

So, I am off…getting on with whatever.

Til later….

ReArranging/Finding Things to Get Back To

I am not walking today….the rain is refusing to stop. But I did get to the river a couple of days ago. Looking for Spring but you can see very little of it wants to come out.

Today I decided (since I finished my book) to sort out where I should keep the hand sewing. And what I still need to work on has found a place here in the studio.

I decided to add more stitching to these put-together scraps of print and cloth.

I am thinking that when I finish with the stitching, I will put it on a larger piece of mulberry paper and maybe get it framed.  There is still some wall space here in the studio.

Then I drew more in the book for basket gatherings. I thought it needed some basic drawings on the spun paper page.

I used a graphite pen that sits on the shelf…and within easy reach. I bought it from a man selling turned pens. It came with three large graphite leads and several more of different colors. I loved that he used a corn cob to turn this on his lathe. And the velvet bag and wooden box it came in made it irresistible.

It is fun to hold in the hand because it is quite heavy and feels very sure of itself.

I also found the three graphite drawings of animals with textiles.

Not sure what to do with them. But I did enjoy making them, so will likely do some more. No grandchildren and when I think of it, I don’t even know any little ones I could frame these for. But who knows…I might find one. I think a squirrel in an apron roasting nuts in a pan might be the next one. And once I think of something it seems only fair to make it up. She is sure to have a pocket in her apron. Something or someone peeking over the edge.

And while sorting the drawers designated for sewing things in my work table I found these. Handwoven sachets I did over thirty years ago. A glittery copper thread used with the copper colored mercerized cotton. And a green to make the overshot pattern. Not sure what the green was supposed to be but if it was trees, they are likely upside down. Anyway the price tags are still attached….$6.

I see it now…they are trees with overlapping bottom branches and a small tree stand below. I must have been quite pleased with them to still have these two.

And then these…postcards from two old exhibitions.

The one on the left is from my graduate exhibition of men in community. And on the right was a postcard from a local exhibition in 2005 I think. The piece at the top hangs in my bedroom with others that are similar. The crow on the bottom was the first to sell out of the exhibit. It was fun to find these tucked in with papers from my designated “Sandy” dining room drawer in the old house.

I think if I get the few projects mentioned here wrapped up and write the words for Burke and Wills, then I might start something new. Probably some carved wood blocks. Small ones that would run continuously through a concertina book. Nothing too big….

Just thinking here….

Til later