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the year is winding down

Monday, December 28th, 2009

December 28. I am already writing “january” and “2010″. This past year has presented many challenges and much heartbreak. There have been roses and bright spots amongs the thorns and clouds – it is all an opportunity for growth, eh? My regular end of year, beginning of the next assessments got shelved in 2008 and 2009 due to all the emotional demands of lives in transition. Essentially the goal was to get through it all.

This year the reassessment process began shortly after Thanksgiving. It is slow going as I try to look at life clearly.

On my list of things to change:

greater studio discipline. This means more time for the studio work and less spent on line. Now that my head is clearing this will be easier. Still to do: create more clear space by sifting, sorting and clearing out things no longer appropo to my work.

more time and energy for self-care: Over the last few years much of my emotional energy has gone toward family in stress, to grieving and to coping with multiple layers of loss. This has depleted my reserves and now it is time to pay attention: improve my diet, walk more, continue with therapies for my back and neck (still damaged from the car wreck in late April), and take more time for play.

Working smarter, not more or harder; Consolidating where it can be done: streamlining the teaching schedule, being more disciplined about the on-line work and doing a better job of keeping up with writing obligations. Letting each aspect of my professional life feed the others.

The word that underlines all of this for me is “mindfulness”. When mindfulness is part of my daily life, inspiration and wonder are ever-present. This informs the creative work, makes me a better teacher and allows me to offer more at every layer of my life.

As always, having a seamless life is important to me. Compartmentalization is handy for lists and schedules but not a good tool for a person who operates in a global rather than linear manner.

There are specific intentions in each of the areas of my life and perhaps there will be a time and place for discussing them. Or maybe the blog will bevccome an arena for keeping on track with moving through the year. We’ll see.

Meanwhile I wish for you a peaceful transition into the new year, good health, and time enough for the parts of your life that are most important to you.

December 1, already?

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

It is snowing and the dogs are happy. They love frolicking in the white wet stuff and don’t care about slippery surfaces, both have nice water proof coats… it’s a good day to be a dog. grin.

As for me, I am staying in, putting together another edition of the little book without a name (it needs a name! anyone have a suggestion?) and in general, updating stuff here and there. The office is a mess and I want to finish quilting the panel for the Alzheimer’s Names Quilt later today. It would be nice to have that done ahead of schedule.

Studio Walls:

Mine are constructed of Celotex, an insulation board with a high R value, it has foil on one side and is black on the other.

The foil and R rating make it possible to pin a piece up and iron it without melting the board. I believe the retail on this stuff is /was around $12 for a 4′ x 8′ panel. It is very light weight and can be cut to size with a utility knife.

One of my work walls is screwed into a light weight lath across permanent built-in book shelves. When we want access to those shelves, it is a simple thing to take the work wall down, and replace it as needed.

The other work wall sits in a set of L brackets (top and bottom) across a very narrow wall. This makes it possible to slide the wall out of position to access a storage area behind it.

I also have a small piece (3′x’4′) that is useful for small works, can be transported or easily stored.

To make a portable wall, we have cut the boards to size and doubled them, adhering the edges with duct tape, then covering the work side with flannel.

Some years ago I had a large commission and no place to work on it. Michael made me a folding wall, using the doubled celotex and creating the joints with duct tape – that worked very well. The wall could be folded up when not in use, and it unfolded to give me the breadth I needed.

Pink styrofoam may be more easily obtained if you live in a mild climate, it would work, but will melt if heat is applied. You could probably get around this (if it matters to you) by applying some aluminum foil on the surface before putting a piece of felt or whatever on it.

There are other boards available, but they may be too heavy for pinning into and easily transporting. Look at your local home improvement center, ask questions, see what is available.

A less desirable alternative (IMO), is using foam core. It does have the advantage of being easily procured and it is light weight but it is not sturdy, and can be expensive if you want a larger work surface.

HTH.

what day is it???

Monday, November 9th, 2009

Monday.

and  not a gov’t holiday as near as I can tell. Sunny but chill. A lot of yard and garden clean-up was accomplished yesterday but no bulbs planted yet. Must get that done this week.

I am frustrated with my electronics. Cannot seem to get things formatted and printed properly.

Maybe it’s time to get back into studio where at least the materials and repetitive hand work are their  own reward.

On the “store page” of my website: new materials and leftovers.

More to come in the next few days.

Meanwhile the proposal for the Textile Reference Book goes well. It is a slow process. We are, of course, up against the slump of the economy.

Who would buy such a big book? and so on… I am optimistic. I feel that we need this book, that the Textile/Fiber Arts are morphing slightly but not going away, that more and more people are entering the field daily. So, I persist…

of to the north room…

June 30

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

Last week was spent teaching an extended surface technique workshop . We had a group of 8 wonderful people who worked well together, challenged me and each other and in general, had a great time (as evidenced by the fact that the days simply were not long enough !). A few got started on or continued with multi-panel projects. Some focused on hands-in the-stuff production of raw materials.

We began with color work, then set up creative play stations, had some demos on working with transparency as a design element, a demo on stitch issues (using tricky threads) and concluded with a group sharing and discussion.

Here’s a small selection of interesting bits from the workshop:

AA-1 AA-2 monoprinting: a gelatin plate, and bubble wrap

AA-fusedfibers fiber fusion

AA-making-friends with thread AA-stitching

Making friends with thread

AA-sheers-2 AA-monoprints-sheers

mono-printed sheers, hanging to dry

AA-more-mono AA-print AA-more-surfaces AA-ghost

AA-combining-bits AA-3more

various bits, panels and surfaces

AA-shoes AA-shoes2

what I did on Saturday, with a little help from my friends, thanks all!

***

next post i will add more photos of the raw materials produced, and some links to special artists

For details about Artistic Artifacts, one of my favorite places to teach, please visit this page.

the end of Spring

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

peoniesThe ancient peony I dug , divided and moved two years ago is blooming profusely now. It is  fabulous. (helpful hint: peonies don’t like being moved, need full sun and when divided and replanted, need ot be very close to the surface of the soil and then left alone for about 30 years.

Tomorrow is the Summer Solstice here in the Northern hemisphere. A turning of the year, of the seasons. Days will get slowly shorter. Right now we are enjoying very long daylight hours here in Montana. it’s wonderful. Warm weather has finally settled in, the gardens are going well and color is good. My perennial beds are a riot of color and texture (I”ve decided to embrace the texture the weeds and grasses provide, since my capacity for pulling is limited right now).

The studio work goes slowly, lots of napping is taking place and that slows me down. Tomorrow I will drive up to Bozeman to see my youngest sister and her family – these are difficult times for them, I want to spend as much time with them as I can. it isn’t easy. Wednesday I fly east for a three day workshop at Artistic Artifacts – it’s going to be fun!

Home on the 29th, back to Bozeman on the 30th to see another niece.

If you do not subscribe to my museletter, here are some images I shared in the current issue.

moon-side-1 b-side-1-detail2a-side-2

It’s all experimental work in process: translucent, free form, odd materials. Definitely a departure from the work in fabric but perhaps more closely related to the older work on paper and canvas.I’m not sure. All I know is I am loving the possibilities and am having fun. As the work develops in terms of process, I am beginning to see how it can be used to explore certain ides that have haunted me for years.

there are changes afoot!

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

Little green tips are visible on the lilac branches, the daffodils are making buds, arabis (rock cress) and crocus are in bloom. Spring!

Just as the season is changing so are several other things.

I am offering Coaching again beginning next week. This go ’round it will be more structured with greater accountability. In the meantime, there will be no on-line classes for a while. I have quite a few interesting travel gigs coming up and in addition to the energy output for the teaching, need to conserve juice for the studio work – which seems to either be taking a U Turn or making a radical change. (maybe that’s the same thing ?)

The ideas in my images are still the same (they’ve been following their path for decades) but I am working more directly with mixed media, actual transparency and physical layers. The stitch and cloth are not disapearing, but are taking different forms. Drawings are making a reappearance And I am more and more obsessed with taking the imagery into 3 dimensions. I think the “raw materials” created this morning lend themselves to that exploration.

What does this mean for you?
First, I think that beginning next year sometime my workshop offerings will be even more slanted to the mixed media and paper arts.

My offerings of workshops that focus on cloth and stitch will be extremely limited – in both cases I am going to be giving priority to multi-day workshops (minimum of three full days, 4-5 preferred.) It seems less frustrating for all concerned if we have enough time together to explore multiple possibilities.

I am also very interested in the cross-pollination that can happen between paper artists and fiber artists. I don’t make a distinction in the media, but sometimes the artists do. Often their approaches to similar materials are very different . This can create a lot of excitement in the workshop. I’d love to have metal artists show up!

**
I will write about these changes in my next museletter, meanwhile would love to have your feeedback.

What would you like to see offered when my name is on a faculty list? Where would you like to see me offering workshops? How can I accommodate you?

fleur_02

“fleur” matted to 8×10

Also, I am looking for: SUSAN ERICKSON! please drop me a note! Very Important!

“Fleur”, other small matted things, the work books and my “Potluck” boxes are available at http:www.cater-woods.com/supplies.php

“prayer flags”?

Monday, March 9th, 2009

window2

This is a view through the North Window this morning. The canoe, old rusty objects, cedar posts, snow covered lilacs. Snow covered everything. I have shoveled twice in the last 20 hours and need to do so again. The odd objects in the foreground are a new project: daily visual meditations/afirmations. My parameters for the project: *smaller than 2″ x 3″ They may or may not include text, but will be made in 15 minutes or less and will set my gratitude or intention for each day AND I will find a place to hang/install them, as they are made, in office, studio or main room..

These have writing on them, the backs are intentional, and they are hanging from a wonderful gizmo a friend gave me last year: wire with alligator clips.

here are the first two.

b-side1-02a-side1_02

I’m considering this project a supplement to my daily journal and intention notebooks. I will do one every day.

No restriction as to medium. They may or may not be about my life… will you join me in this project?

*** and now back to the on-going de-cluttering interwoven with preparation for two classes later this week.

a little at a time, it all gets done.

leftovers

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

in the process of clearing out really old stuff (and actually getting rid of it!) some treasures and delights have reappeared. For example, these two small matted pieces. They were made in the 80′s, before I went back to school to finish my degrees. I don’t think these two were exhibited, but others from this series were, in multiple venues, they all live elsewhere now.

shell details, of course. That seems to be the theme emerging this week.

paper_01paper-b_01

When I update my galleries later this afternoon, I will make these clickable for larger images.

Meanwhile I am packaging up more “leftovers” and embellishment potluck boxes.

leftovers-detail

I think I have spent enough time this week in the office, clearing out and improving, that the rest can be done in small time chunks.

wwawwb

This is the high west window in my office, to my right as I sit at the desk. The hanging device is made from twisted cottonwood roots. The twirlies (fun, eh?) were the results of a dollar store shopping expedition with Judy Gula, too much fun! There are two more, but I am not sure where I want them to go. The little things, not easily seen  in the photo are ceramic chic-a-dees – completely charming. They need to hang lower.

It is time to be back in the studio! The lines and patterns of shells are calling me.

tgif?

Friday, February 27th, 2009

It is very early, dark, snowy, and cold, but the month is almost over and then we’ll have March, a month that can bring us deeper wetter snow, but also the first flowers.

In the process of clearing out and decluttering, I’ve added something new to my supplies page: boxes of trimmings from my stitched work.

leftovers-box_01

Some of them are very nice, others quite nice, and others would like to be beaded or embellished in some way. Each box is unique, contents vary. These might make nice inserts into bags or garments, patches on denim jackets, or be finished off as little gems. It’s up to you.

leftovers_02

Coming next: coordinated strips, packaged the same way.strips_02

The drawers and boxes of stored leftover bits are getting emptied out. There’s more to come <G>

just the details

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

This morning I spent time photographing, processing and uploading forgotten pieces to my website. It’s the last day of my “Gambler’s Sale”. Prices will drop a little more today, then gradually climb back to where they should be.

west-detail

It’s an interesting situation: We are always advised that “the price is the price”, that no matter the client, the price is the price. Obviously, we should NEVER undercut or compete with our galleries

At the same time, value of any given product is determined by an agreement between a willing buyer and a willing seller.

There are times when people are “flush” and have more discretionary income. There are times when things feel more pinched. There is also the concept of “scarcity”. Picasso understood this one: He slowly leaked his work into the marketplace, intentionally keeping demand and prices high. On his death, his Estate had a nightmare, dealing with his warehoused output… Well, I am no Picasso <G>.

nidary-detailI am, however, a full time artist with a prodigious output, it seems (based on the fact that all my shelves, drawers and storage units are overloaded, despite a steady sales record over the past 15 years.) Some of the work is very good, some only so-so, some has been turned into “raw materials”. Some needs to be trashed. The fact is, I am done with the work once it is finished. My thoughts and energies turn to the next exploration. It is the doing, the journey that matters to me.

new-growth-detail

My thinking right now is this: Two/three years ago I severed my gallery contracts. As a result, my sales have increased and I do not need to watch the calendar or juggle quite so much. These days I exhibit in Invitational and Gallery shows. Soon I will be ready to start applying for Percent for Art Commissions again (the last one burned me out, I have taken a break.)

It is important to me that my work live with people who will take pleasure in it. I am also interested in public situations where it eases stress, provides a diversion (Hospitals, clinics, cold, scary places where people are dealing with intense situations.).

morning-leaves-detail

As I explained to Michael lat night, times are tight for a lot of people right now.

I am an artist, but not above the realities of being a business person. Therefore, I am trying to make my work available at comfortable prices, given the current circumstances. If car dealers and clothing manufacturers do this, why shouldn’t I? I do believe that art is unique, special, capable of adding quality to a life in ways that cars, tvs and appliances do not. But I also believe that reality IS. Hence, my Gambler’s Sale. <G>

color-med-detail

Let me know what you want and what you can handle. We will work it out.