New Way to Work

 

Art Group met yesterday. They each had accomplished so much with exhibitions coming up to results from in depth studies to a simple compulsion to make stuff. I had more words than work. But they inspired me to try to forget the soaked ceiling, worrying so much about what Lee might be up to, what more I can stuff into a suitcase for Australia……..and make an honest attempt to not be quite so scattered and pick up a sensible practice that I could address each day.

 

Submit to a daily practice.
Your loyalty to that
is a ring on the door.
Keep knocking, and the joy inside
will eventually open a window
and look out to see who’s there.
– Rumi

This appeared the other day in a post by Robyn Gordon…..collector and presenter of words and images on facebook.

Here are the images that went with that quote by Rumi.

Work by Roxanne Evans Stout

Artist Anne Grete Laenkholm

And Ellie Beck

These were the ones that really caught my eye from Robyn’s post. It was the colors, the size and the look of quiet meditation about them.

Here was my response to her.

Sandy Webster Thank you for this group of images and words Robyn, there is a reparation of clutteredness that appeals and demands no excuses for not threading a needle, with the tiniest bit of random threads, to make the beginning marks of a healing narrative. I will send you a picture of the small satchel with bits of cloth, paper, and threads and needle that will stay close at hand ready to hold the marks of respite.

It is the “reparation of clutteredness” that will be the function of the satchel that will hold the necessary pieces. I want it to be mobile, easy to handle. I want it to be writings one day and stitching the next….or a combination of both. I don’t want the small worked on pieces to be any more than places to rest and work out a feeling, a grievance, whatever that will make me feel that I am doing something for just me in the moment.

And when I looked at these pieces in Robyn’s post they were so familiar to me.

 

 

It seems that I always put odd bits together. The problem was that each part was to be a contributing factor to a much larger whole. I am going to work smaller. Just busy work in my hands.

So now I am off to the studio to find small amounts of the necessary pieces…short pieces of threads, no spools!, two needles, two pins, small scissors, scraps of cloth preferably from my old clothing, a small blank book for the days I just need to write it down, a pencil, a pen, and patience. Lots of patience to take my time and make sure that what I hold in my hand at the end is a visual interpretation of what was on my mind and in my heart. And all of it must keep me company and be ready to cooperate….it is going to be the perfect container for all my hopes in finding a new way to work.

Soon I will show you what the container looks like. For now I am going to forage for parts.

Til later.

Inner Navigations

Okay the studio is now drying out. It will take until I return from Australia to dry out enough to do the ceiling repairs. In the meantime I am ignoring the mess to complete some sewing. When I first turned on my machine there was an “Er” notice on the stitch width screen. Before I burst into tears I changed to another outlet in the extension cord. Magic! It worked. Nothing like having almost everything you have in electronic parts being made in China. Here are pictures of what I will deal with later this afternoon when all sewing is put away.

And our fixit man searching for the sources of the leaks.

When I finish cleaning up my studio will look like this….hopefully.

But for this to happen I need to have a major purge of things in the studio and storage room of supplies. I need someone to give a bunch of things to. I have a private student coming next week and maybe she can use some of it. The Art Group returns this Sunday and there is a chance I can pawn off some to them.

There are still way too many books that are going unused….to much paper that I will never use up….just way too many bits and pieces that at one time showed some promise. They have not kept their word and I am tired of forcing them into service. It serves no purpose to pile up finished work any more than it does to keep all the parts of that work.

My fixit man suggested ever so slightly that I might have a “hoarding” problem. No, I have the problem of most artists working in mixed media…..everything looks usable!

The funniest bit about this mess is that I stored so many “necessary” rocks and soils in cardboard cartons on the floor. I think my soil experiments for pigments are over and all those lumps will be deposited into a low spot in the yard as soon as I can heft them out of here.

Why I did not want to spend my life as an artist painting small botanicals is beyond me. It would have been a much better choice, easier to store, more marketable in a world where thinking about the message of art is passe and matching up to couches or filling a space across from the toilet seem much more likely to find a home.

When I clean it all up I hope to be left with just my two small presses, watercolors, brushes, pencils, etching plates and wood blocks, inks and the tools necessary. Anything and I mean ANYTHING not related to that is going away. And only a few books will remain on mostly empty shelves. There will be no more “see a space,  fill it” around here.

My journals will of course be on those shelves for, like I told my students,

“Make marks, write words because when you are old and in one of those beds that lifts you up while you are hooked up, your children will come in and ask, ‘What can I do for you, mom?’ and you can say, ‘Bring me my journals.’ Then and only then, because of those marks and words, you can relive all those times that seemed worthwhile.”

Yesterday was such a bright sunny day, Lee and I had our first drink on the porch. Thoughts of Spring are with us this week as temperatures stay pleasant before that snowflake shows up on my Iphone weather later this week.

So this was just an update…..next time it will be back to some pretty pictures and some order.

Til then.

Good Grief!

This is an old collage I made about how the black bird brings bad news. Here I am in my safe house and the bugger arrives.

I should have been paying better attention to the crazy crow slamming himself into his reflection in the window downstairs. Who ever said that crows are smart. He has now covered his rival with excrement…..good grief!

But the bad news is this. Flooded studio.

It pours through the floor and wall corner under loads of stacked shelves and filling every carton of saved soils for pigments that are stored under the shelves.

But that water that does not make it down the outside wall to flood that storage floor fills the ceiling and runs through selected pockets by the drip….continuous drip.

And then goes down another outside wall to flood the floor in the corner near the work table in the corner.

And of course dripping through ceiling lights along the way.

And dripping continually onto my work table in the center of the studio.

But here is the good news…..So far only the ceiling will need replaced.

So in the last few days all I have done is use every towel except for Lee and my bath towels to drop along the small lakes on the floor, pull up the soaked ones to put only two in a garbage bag to take upstairs a few steps at a time because they are so heavy. Lee is not much help here as his leg seems to be crook.

The sound of the haul upstairs is like this: SPLAT (tossing the bag up 2 steps) and then Clomp, Clomp as I follow along. That takes whatever seventeen divided by two is….my brain is useless right now.

Then a haul out to the laundry room, lift with everything it takes to get the bag of soaked towels onto the dryer so they can be manhandled out into the washer for a good spin and then toss them into the dryer. This is repeated every two hours except when we stop and head to bed only to see the large lakes in the morning.

So far I am seeing little let up. Our fixit guy came over on Friday when I noticed the lakes and said that I had neglected to shut the valve to a cracked outside spigot to the “off” position after filling the fish pond and with the very cold weather, it froze. He will eventually get around to replacing the pipe that he has now taped securely to the “off” position. Likely he will do it all when he has to come back to replace the ceiling.

In the meantime I am looking at this as the crow telling me to get rid of everything in the studio that is not essential.

I am reduced to taking direction from an angry, stupid crow.

Be back when it dries out here and that crow kills itself!

Oh, and one more bit of good news. Our daughter has ordered an automatic deer feeder that is solar powered and can be timed as to when it sprays corn for forty feet. This is because she does appreciate the brace of cool air at dawn with buckets of feed in each hand while navigating the slope down and up.

It is one of those generational things….different ideas of what gives us joy!

 

Dreary Days Make Me Think Too Much

Just a bit of snow the other day. If those grey clouds are going to hang around and block out the sun then they might as well do something besides rain, rain, rain.

The grayness gets to me. It gets in my head and I have enough in there already.

My hands continue and I am now on the third one. Lee stopped driving to the dump/garbage/recycle place here in the area. And I think with his increasing leg pain every time he feeds the deer and birds at dawn that the chore will fall to me as well. Recently I just had to remind him but now I will load the pails and head out and climb the hill myself. I can do it. They count on feed being there and it gives us such pleasure to watch them.

Second hand filled in and the start of a new one….garbage bags and reading menus.

And I finished the long scroll of the bits of things around the studio to put in a wine bottle.

Here is what I wrote at the end of the scroll.

 

These are the things that

lay around my artist studio.

 

I am older and do not

rely on them so much anymore

to inspire,

assist,

and fill my hands with desires

to give them a place

in my work.

 

So I leave them for you

in the only way I can.

 

Listen to what

they can tell you.

S. Webster 2019

 

It was a fun thing to do and now the scroll is rolled very tightly to fit into the perfect bottle neck. I am thinking a single malt or chardonnay….and then of course, an ocean.

Yesterday I ordered some new clothes. It is the only way I can shop now. Order online and then send back if they are not what I had hoped for. I will spend some time at the sewing machine as well, altering and changing up some of my own clothes. It won’t take much to fill a small suitcase for March’s trip to Australia.

I would like to take a cab to Havana Blue while in Melbourne. Something about all those drapey linens and stunning neck pieces might just warrant a closer look. I will pass on the hats that make all their mannequins look like mushrooms. Also I need to get to Melbourne Etching as a trip to that town is not complete without picking up the latest Imprint magazine and more small vinyl etching plates. And they might just have a tool that I will think necessary.

Today is a good day to prepare the next scroll for a bottle. Maybe a short story this time. A friend posted a picture for me on facebook and before I could stop myself, a whole story about who lived in the cabin set out in the middle of a paddock starting fermenting. Maybe I will put that bearded red-haired man and his loneliness in a bottle for someone else to figure what to do with him.

I am finding it hard to shut my mind off at times. Funny that my brain muscle does not wear down with age like the rest of the parts I rely on.

Here’s another picture of the snow from the front door.

We are so looking forward to tiny green buds on those trees.

I was going to wait to post this one….but why bother. Here it is.

Til next time.