We're fine, thank you! We had a very easy hurricane, and I am grateful for it. My heart, and some donations, go out to those who had a harder time, especially those in places that were not expecting anything much, like upstate NY and my friends in Vermont.
There were a lot of people in Irene's path, and many of them were inspired to write about it. Kate Messner invited people to contact her with links to the work they created as Irene went overhead, and she would collect them together. Her page is still being updated, but you should check it out now! You can go again later…
I'll admit to hurricane dreams last night
the trampoline took flight, the metal frame shrieking
the central black mat like a bat's black wings, held captive in the center
the whole cartwheeling itself into the neighbor's yard before flying away downwind
it looks suspiciously smug, and quite stable this morning
after its adventures in the dark of my mind
The big entertainment for this morning was throwing the goose and the gull (and later the coot) decoys over the edge of the porch, and hauling them in again.
I'm on vacation for the next two weeks; first around home, then visiting my brother and his family, including the world's best nephew. I am known as Aunty Gravity. I get to be the bad aunt. This is really much better than it sounds. It means I can feed the boy ice cream before dinner and give him loud musical instruments for presents, and generally spoil him dreadfully. Which is, of course, such wonderful fun because his parents have such a firm grip on him otherwise. Honestly, the world's best boy. Well, except for whichever one you are closest to!
A set of coordinated brown and tan hand dyes reminded me of how much I love fabric. I am grateful to the people who color it, so that I cna use it to make things from. I like the interaction of weave and color to make this thing that drapes and stretches a little and lives. I have feelings about fabric (affection, wonder, joy) that I don't get with other materials like paper or clay. It might be practice, that gives me a feel for it and then an affection for it. It might have been the other way around, that I liked fabric and worked more with it than other materials, and now I am just busy liking my own mastery.
Which ever way it goes, or if I am actually stuck in some kind of feedback loop, I love fabric.
I just ran across four things that have stacked up to provide me with a pointed reminder about creativity, and making things. The things that conspired to make me think are Kirsty Hall encouraging people to make rubbish, Kirsty again, working with kids on an art project, advice to writers (which I read obsessively because a. I can't write and I read a great deal so I am riveted by the process by which people produce these books I love and b. creativity is creativity and no advice should go unconsidered) which is worth reading the comments to as well, and this iphone wallpaper which just makes me laugh.
In 2007 I made a fabric postcard almost every day. That project started this blog. That time was transformational, in a couple of ways.
Focus: Until I started the postcard project, I had no particular focus. I had a lot of different materials, I tried many many different processes, and I never got much better at any of them. Once I'd defined my parameters (size, materials, work from stash) I realized I preferred working with fabric and thread, on the sewing machine. Having that knowledge, I started to develop my own process and vocabulary.
Practice: Daily practice makes you better. At anything. Any sport, any art, any process – if you practice, you will improve. Having improved, your range expands, and the things you can do are closer.
Making mistakes: I made 330 fabric postcards. Of those, 20 are really outstanding. Another 30 or so are pretty good. 150 are completely mediocre. 130 are truly dreadful and I have hidden them away and will not show them to anyone. And a surprising set of 15 are the sparks; those objects that started me in a particular direction that has opened out into an astonishing body of work. The most interesting thing about the sparks? They are drawn almost equally from the outstanding and truly dreadful. The best and the worst things that I did in a year. Not from the mediocre. Not from the pretty good.
I like my backgrounds. It took most of a year to refine the way I make them, which wasn't what I expected at all. I thought once I knew what I liked (raw edges, stitches that hold the pieces down and together, coordinating thread colors, a stiffish supporting) I could just bang them out and think about other things. Except, that has not been the case. I still like to experiment with variations.
This is the background for the eyeballing chicken from the previous post. I thought you might like to see it more like a landscape, and less like a background.
When I was taking pictures of Bob's chickens, this one was stalking me, and glaring at me. This is the best picture of her, in all her perplexed fury. I'll make one last chicken piece from this picture. Then it is time to think of other things. Like leaves. Or maybe fish. Or fossils.
I did sew today, but it was only some of the last batch of snakes. I seem to be paralyzed by heat and tiredness. As I picked up the snakes I realized I need another large project that I can use to work on when I have fewer braincells, because these guys are almost done.