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Spring Showing Itself

It is uplifting to see how quickly leaves and blossoms pop out with some sun after days and days of grey skies and rain. It has been depressing with the greyness, corona virus, incompetent people in charge, missing friends far away, wondering if our son will be able to get away to visit……But here it is spring finally.

Help is still arriving three days a week to sit with Lee. I get into the studio but once there wonder what to do. I have brought my gym routine home where there is a bike and weights. Funny how we simply can’t let go of routines. The security in that when everything else seems so uncertain.

I even went to the brewery where we always meet a friend for lunch every Thursday and got a take out lunch and dinner. Even had Lee’s growler filled with porter beer. Just so we could bring it home and eat their good food today. I wonder if they can sustain their business doing it this way. A bar needs people sitting in there having one beer after another and meeting others for lunch and dinner to watch a sports game on their television. Will take out meals from a limited menu and filling growlers keep them in business? We will just do our part and see. I also noticed that our bank has closed the interior space and only uses the drive through windows…and even that is done with gloves on. My jolly man at the feed store seems more subdued today. This is going to take its toll on everyone but especially the more social among us with small businesses in rural areas such as ours. I worry about the older population who bag groceries and work the registers at the grocery stores to supplement their retirement. They seem so at risk even without coming in contact with so many of us who could very easily be carrying the virus and not know it.

I had better get used to it. And it is hard answering Lee’s questions. The good thing there is that I can make things up and move on…….sometimes.

Anyway the drawings have ended in one series of books and now are starting in the new one.

There are two of these.

They were made for scooping up

salad greens and not dust!

 

This lacquered box is

more of a coffin now for

those unused chopsticks.

 

A stocking stuffer –

some kind of magnet, ribbon

and others attached.

 

It was so much fun

designing and hanging these

on our own honey!

 

I heard Lee come in upstairs so had better get this posted.

More later.

Corona Virus Means Staying Home Now

As of this morning we are staying in way more than going out. It was odd not to be in the gym this morning but I dressed for it and came down to the office/gym here and did my workout. Still need to work out the details of fixing breakfast for Lee beforehand and getting it through to him that I am here and not there….but everything takes time.

Thank you to my Australian friends and students who have kept me in the loop even though I am not there. They even sent pictures of them all waving from their workshop desks. It will be great to see their projects and hopefully skype with them over the weekend from the house we have shared together after the workshop. Big hugs to them.

I don’t think I would want to be traveling outside of the country right now. Some people are stuck in foreign countries and may not get home for weeks and many others have had to change plans and are stuck at home. Tough times we are in right now with very pathetic leadership here in the United States. But we don’t need to talk about that.

I took the silk shirt scraps and gave the last pieces another go in the pot.

I rolled the pieces up on PVC pipes instead of folding between tiles. Cooked for two hours and then taken out to rest for three days before unbundling.

And as usual the wrap strings make the best marks.

Here they are rinsed and ironed.

I think they came out a bit better on this second processing. Here is a detail.

The weave of the silk pattern is quite a distraction to the prints. Now, as always, what do I do with these pieces that smell so wonderful….

I am tempted to cut them all into smaller pieces just to stitch them together again if only for the feel and smell. A wonderful friend in Australia gave me a whole spool of fine silk thread, a tiny, tiny eyed needle and a silk hand-sewn Eucalyptus leaf to keep it in. Maybe I will get a very large magnifying glass and thread that needle with the silk and give it a go just following along the woven pattern in the silk…..maybe.

Another great picture sent this week from where the conference is in the Grampians, came from a friend who has a solo show at the Kookaburra Restaurant where I shared so many meals. Besides lots of pictures of her work hanging, she showed me the guest’s comment book. It was one of my small hand done sketchbooks that I gave her last year for always making me feel so good from her kind words when I need them the most. She told me that I am now with her work in the Kookaburra until the show closes late next month. I can already taste the lovely red wines with their superb spinach crepes. Wasn’t  that a thoughtful thing to do?

And I am keeping up with the drawings a day…..

I think we gave up

the use of fondue forks for

dipping directly.

 

This is a muddler,

meant to crush small leaves and fruit

in your next bar drink.

 

My most favorite

chopsticks ever are waiting

for a Chinese meal.

 

We bought these chopstick

holders made from carved bamboo

on our Japan trip.

 

This haiku is making me a bit dumbed down I think. Seems I am just writing in syllables and not words…and I find myself counting only to seven.

But after the next two days the books made from my old grey pants will have been all filled up and it will be onto the the next four books made to hopefully take me to the end of the year.

Til later. Wash your hands. Stay home. Drink Australian wine.

Staying Home – Thinking of Australia

Lee and I went out to gather anything that would make a spring bouquet today. Then I added in the last of the Eucalyptus from doing some additional contact printing. I took the two long concertina folded sheets, removed two pages after folding to make it two sided. Then used a taupe colored thread to tie off in two places where the valley folds are on each side. So the book is two sided with two sections tied back to back. I will figure out a cover later when I figure out what to draw into the contact prints. And here is my latest attempt at a Mountain Laurel stem for the six way wildflower book. I might have to come up with another name for it because I will tire of wildflowers long before I finish this one sixth of the book.

Also keeping up with drawing a day.

A little spreader

that’s made from birds eye maple.

Hardly ever used.

 

Laser cut designed

little spreader that came with

a small matching board.

 

Interesting grain

patterns on this cheese spreader

of lovely maple.

 

Another paddle –

this one is a dark walnut,

not used for some time.

 

And the latest double page of wildflowers before the mountain laurel page.

Just when I think I am getting better, the paintings look pitiful again. But I am keeping at it.

And because friends are now taking workshops in Australia, I am surrounding myself with things to stay in touch vicariously.

Used Eucalyptus leaves because they still smell divine along with the dyed strings. And of course, Yellow Tail Chardonnay for old times sake. And just this morning, my malted cookies that I will savor as they gather together later to munch on the Very Best Malted Cookies I Ever Ate.

Have a great time, girls, and send pictures when you can.

Til later.

Thank You – Bit Better Today

When Lee was first diagnosed with dementia I knew that my life had suddenly changed. I sat and folded folios like this one and gessoed them, drew images of how that felt and then stitched around the edges to keep myself centered and contained.

I colored them with the earth pigments from my home and tried to draw how things were going with my emotions and the sudden knowledge that my foundations of home, fifty year relationship, artwork, all of it had shifted.

I made several of these and then folded them up and put them into a wooden box with many more that never were gessoed or drawn on or stitched.

I need to get them back out and pay attention to the marks that could inspire words. I can still write. Words on a page will be something I can do on those legal pads I keep down in the studio to write poetry, or a story. The pads will be moved upstairs with smooth, fast writing ballpoint pens that can keep up with me.

In the past two days I have picked myself up and got on with it. Friends have sent nice emails and messages. And almost everyone of them made no assumptions or judgments on how I am floundering about at times. I am in pretty deep waters here. Lee and I will be fine. It’s my job and three times a week I get some help. Like right now a very young blue-eyed blonde girl has shown up to be with him, and I am not sure he has stopped smiling.

And tomorrow is our day for lunch at the brewery.

Today he helped me unwrap a second bundling of Eucalyptus leaves and seeds from more of the silk shirt and good paper.

The colors are not as rich as before but fine to work with. Not sure what I will do with them but for now they are so soothing in their wonderful smells of down under. In not too many hours my friends there will be unpacking workshop essentials at their accommodations at Halls Gap in the Grampians. Then heading off to dinner and loads of hugs. I send them bunches of mine.

Besides being emotionally all over the place this week, I finished this piece of lino carving.

My plan is to ink this up with a very soft light grey and then overprint it in a black stark image.

Now that caregivers come it is safe to spread out the inks and stick with the process for hours at a time. I will post pictures of how that goes. First thing is to make up several of these “backgrounds”, hang them to dry while I carve the bold images that go on top.

Another friend will arrive soon to manage her partner’s property here. She asked to buy a copy of my poetry book, Distance Matters, for someone who liked hers. This is the poem that helped her deal with her loss and I am going to read it more often myself.

Inner Navigations

We do not plan 

the journey of our interiors,

but hold steady, go slow,

and ride the tide

into harbors of memory.

 

More later.