Back in the Studio

The other morning I got six prints pulled from the wood block. It took lots of ink and hand pressure to get three workable ones. I was a bit out of practice but using tai kozo paper helped me see where it needed more rubbing. Now I can get back to designing and carving the center blocks. After those are printed in place and dried I will figure out where and what type of cloth to patch in. They will need to be fused to a stitchable bonding material.

Back to the dam for an early walk.

This shot of my long shadow was taken as soon as that sun came over the horizon and before it slipped into the morning clouds above.

Then this morning back to the Riverwalk to see how much the flood waters receded.

Beautiful that early in the morning. Even caught a beaver busy at work.

What are these creepy looking stems along this stretch of the river? they look like they could be juicy inside but their suddenly ended tops are wilted dead looking ends. Like they just gave up doing whatever they had in mind when they sprouted. The beaver was in this only section of those strange plants.

While working on my drawings today the cleaning lady’s husband came and took the twin bed away to set up a room for a very cute visiting granddaughter.

Drawing these pale smooth bits of driftwood was not that easy. I will pick harder edges for the next drawings. But I need to sit and stitch more pieces first.

I sometimes catch myself just stuck standing, not knowing where to go next in the house. There are so many choices now my time is my own. Should I go off to Asheville and buy something? Take myself to lunch in a restaurant? Visit an art gallery? Too many choices, too hard to make up my mind. I will stay home until moving between rooms with no purpose in mind gets boring. For now it is a bit thrilling.

And I am reading books again! Now on my last Jane Harper book. A few more assorted ones on the pile to go. I might download a book only available on Kindle…American Hippopotamus…the bizarre story of two men’s idea of bringing hippos to Louisiana for additional meat sources in Teddy Roosevelt’s time. It was a time in our history when ideas were tossed out and then acted on with little thought to consequences. I am not sure we have matured much beyond that but the thought of hippos grazing in Baton Rouge bayous does bear looking into.

It is almost two o’clock…maybe a small red wine on the breezy porch with my book. I am keeping Barbara’s and my bundles out there to cure. We will open them on Tuesday but I do love looking at how seeped with color they are looking now.

I won’t post another blog until they are unwrapped.

Til then….

Catching Up

My return view on the Riverwalk this morning. The early morning sun on the river is so peaceful and clarifying of what all can be done with the day ahead. Along the way more sun and an abundance of geese.

Yesterday my Tuesday lunch friend came early so we could wrap bundles of papers and cloth with Eucalyptus and other plant material. Now we just wait until next Tuesday for the reveal.

Some were steamed, some immersed in an iron bath, some pressed between tiles. Always a surprise.

I have kept up with my stitching and drawing sketchbook.

I have ordered the rest of the frames for the night critters. Now I just need to locate some off white mat board to mount them on and order glass cut. I will add spacers between the glass and the textiles to let them breathe.

The young man I am giving my board shear to came to look it over and agreed to take my very large metal flat file as well. I will give him some papers that I no longer need to use in his classes.

After bringing all the furniture back home from the memory care facility and then taking some to Lee’s new room, I am left with a twin bed to get rid of. This week I will make a call to a charity organization to come take it away.

The cats are hiding from the cleaning lady upstairs and keeping me company down here in the studio. I think today I will ink up the wood block of the male figure. Then continue designing the center woodblocks for his interior space. Three figures should complete the set and when they have thoroughly dried I will back them with something to make them more accepting of needle, thread and scraps of cloth.

Til later….

Birthday – Seventy-Seven and Doing Okay

I trimmed the bolted lettuces, nasturtiums and blooming parsley from the pots on the deck just now. Some shoved in with the ever-present rosemary stems I keep on the counter.

My drawing yesterday had to do with my birthday coming and going and a turned bowl Lee made several years ago. I love that he was such a practical use wood worker who seldom made things just to appreciate their forms.

These bits of stitching added to the book remind me of what it has taken to keep things together. They are small autobiographical patches of who I was and am becoming. It is so soothing to hold the pieces together with stitch. Touch is so important to holding onto ourselves, our memories, our need to record days gone by in a very physical, tactile way. Like my memory of places I long for in Australia stitched into this long panel that hangs over my love seat in the den. It is much longer than this detail…fifty some inches by six.

I was recently advising a friend in Australia that getting through hard times on a daily basis could be helped by stitching into a long scroll. Each day with its good and bad can be marked in some way with scraps of cloth and threads and then rolled up tight and held in the non-stitching hand waiting for the next day to be recorded and hidden. I was not only inspired by my own strip of longing for Australia but also a stitched piece of textile artist, Carolyn Sullivan. I think hers was more about recording a place in her extended travels throughout Australia. I loved how at times it appeared to be an endless documentation lovingly told through stitch and cloth.

After recording and rolling the days up tight they can be stored next to each other in a box. And later pulled out unwrapped and viewed as the beautiful strips of cloth they will end up to be….hopefully the hard times will give way to the beauty of release. In the meantime each is a meditation on the struggles life can toss our way that need tending to.

And about that birthday! The evening dinner from Patrick…more oyster shooters with popovers and a lovely Caesar Salad.

He has gone back home now that all his work here is finished, not least of which was helping to get Lee settled.

And I dug out my night critters pieces wondering how to frame them up. 8 x 10 frames were too tight. So another backing of cloth enlarged them enough to fit nicely into 11 x 14 frames. Now I just need to order some more in that size.

Today I am going to paste in an old etching I did of Australian landscape that has patched cloth added to it and on a facing page I will draw the Eucalyptus leaves someone sent me. I am missing that country today and this will help get me past it. Like rolling the scroll up, I can turn the page tomorrow and think of something else. Maybe these small pieces of driftwood my daughter put in her rock tumbler to make them irresistible to the touch for her father and me.

Til later…


Some Good Days

I saw this sign on our walk this morning at the dam. It seemed appropriate for me now. I can stop watching and waiting for what I need to do next for Lee. It is out of my hands and the care he needs now is not at all what I or even the Memory Care Home can do for him.

It will be a couple of weeks before I can see him and only after I make an appointment and he is brought out to where I will be. I will never see his room but know that his favorite cow picture that I painted in 1984 and his television are in there, And as of this morning his recliner.

In that wing they wander in and out of each other’s rooms and yesterday Lee was seen wearing someone’s hat and carrying his stuffed cat under his arm. He is on another medication to keep him from getting overly agitated but having his cat to hold onto helps. It is the process of dementia and they are equipped there to understand and help him.

Here is his view if he gets near a window.

I took the Ankaret Dean basket that I bought at an exhibition in Canada in 1988 and kept in our living room ever since. It was what I took to his room in Memory Care for his sticks if he continued to collect them. He did not but put all his small rocks in it with feathers and some postcards. When an attempt was made by him or cleaning staff to pick it up, it became unraveled.

I decided to put it on the trail for me to continue to put feathers and rocks inside. I can see it from my studio.

It has been pushed into this old stump by the trail so with the rocks for additional weight it will be hard to knock loose. Come fall I will fill it with the beautiful leaves he and I found last year.

Our son, Patrick will return home this Saturday. He has been so helpful and fun to have around. I will miss our “board” meals.

Speaking of meals, I am going out to dinner tonight for the first time in almost two years. We are meeting friends at a local brewery to eat on the screened porch. I will comb my hair and maybe even try a bit of lipstick. Earrings too. It will feel so strange to be sitting with no mask, eating, having tacos and a beer with other people around. It will give me a chance to practice being sociable.

This morning I did more drawings of daisies and coreopsis growing among the weeds by the shed.  My yard man is woefully overdue.

Til later…