My Meditation Journaling Satchel

Well instead of thinking I had to make a special container, I found these. They are a set of small travel bags that I bought at a Kathmandu store in Salamanca in Hobart Tasmania. They fitted inside one another and were easy to purchase and pack in my suitcase. The only other thing I bought at that store was a shirt. The clothes at a Kathmandu store are for hikers and trekkers. The sizes range from a weak Asian woman size to one who might have seen the inside of gym. The useless shirt is still in the bottom of a drawer.


These travel bags were used for many years to hold the bits I needed to process soils into pigments for watercolors. They were filled with the evidence of that. But when I saw them I wondered if when cleaned up and filled with the varying parts needed for sewing small meditations, they would become one single carry bag that could go anywhere with me around the house.

So what you see above is the smallest one on the left with the needle pin case, pen, pencil, scissors and threads. It sits on top of the open lid to the middle bag with different fabrics rolled up. Some are scraps of old clothes, some of silks, some botanically dyed, some rough scrim that has been rusted and plain linens. Each bundle is rolled tightly and nestles in the pouch. That bag is sitting on top of the open lid of the largest one that holds a journal to write in and pieces of cloth folded in half.

The linen covered journal I bought in Japan in 1998 and over the years only made marks on the pages so I wasn’t facing a blank journal when I wanted to use it. The beige cloth is some woven silk I bought about twenty-five years ago because I loved it. Other cloth is from not so successful dyeing techniques. (The repairman might have right when he suggested I need to look up the meaning of “hoarding”.)

So rather than make up another object to do the job of something I already have, I am using this little bundle. Here it is closed.

It is less than 9″ by 6″ and only 2.5″ when zipped closed. How handy is that!

So I sat and stitched while sitting with Lee in the den. All I had to do was cut some bits of cloth, thread a needle, make that pesky knot on one end and hold all the pieces together where I pinned them.

After two days I have this folio completed.

They are meant to be folded in half like a book folio and the slightly larger beige silk will also be stitched on to then become the back side of the folio. Then if I make a book some day with all the pieces I won’t have to look at the backs.

So these are the scraps saved for someday. These are the threads that I collected in every town in Australia that had a thread store for the sole purpose of keeping a record of all the colors I saw on the way there. These are the tiny scraps of silks dug out of bins at Beautiful Silks in Warnabool, VIC. These are the markings of my day in cloth and threads. And I will use the book to write a bit of a feeling, observation. I may not do this every day but it is so nice to know I have this small place to go and still be here.

The only thing I added just this morning was a small container of beads that my threaded needle will pass through. Sometimes you just need a bead or two.

As soon as the cleaning lady finishes cleaning around Lee in the den, I will head up there and pick up the little satchel, put on my glasses to thread the needle and maybe start the page that will back this one. Or maybe I will sit in the studio and look at all the things that I should be doing in there….all the books that need sorted….all the things I want to give away….packing my suitcase for Australia….

I did promise Robyn Gordon that I would send her a picture of my satchel, so I will put that on her page before I do anything else.

Til later.


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… 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!