rivers for sale!

Three small rivers and a piece of beachfront are all for sale now at BigCartel – at bargain prices! Take one home today! This post brought to you by the Shameless Commerce Division of Lee Thomson art.

more rivers!

Three little ones – about 2×4″ – and one working on getting bigger – 4×8″

I’m figuring out how to draw the laser cutting lines right on the stitched material, so I am working in response to the stitching I have already done instead of carefully sewing the places I know will be cut out later. It is a small distinction, but it lets me work more fluidly in the early part of the process, with fabric and thread.

skills, materials, tools

I made this yesterday, and it took me two years, plus an afternoon.

It has been two years that I’ve been thinking about the ways I could make use of laser cutting in my work. It has been two years of getting a grip on the software and concepts, the capabilities and limitations of the tool and the materials it could cut. Each time I learned something, my vision of what I wanted to do got clearer.

And so I can make things like this now.

I feel like I am balanced at the top of whole new mountain – gathering my courage to descend into a valley full of ideas and projects.

Arabella

I distracted my father yesterday by taking him to find the people building a boat in Granby. It inspired some writing, that may or may not be poetry:

In the arch of the shed built for her
 ribs reach up, inverting and echoing the arch of the roof, 
built truth of the suggestions on paper
 each one a balance of ideal line 
 and the reality of the materials at hand
 balanced on her keel, propped by trees 
from the woodlot behind the house, 
 and more of these trees, neighborhoods felled for this 
 form the bellied center, the eager bow, the solid and comfortable stern

  planked only part way yet, the final outline is visible
 even to an untutored eye
 In answer to his questions, the man replies
 "38 feet, two masts, ketch, gaff rig"
 to my father who cannot remember if he asked, 
 or what the answer was

 From this I can sketch in the rest of this boat, 
 imagine her at sea, sails tall against the sky, 
 masthead pennant streaming
 and in one short leap I can helm her, 

 I stand there in my minds eye, confident, relaxed, delighted
 and feel some ease I had not before
 "38 feet, two masts, ketch, gaff rig" he says again, 
 a look askance at me, is this right? his eyebrows ask
 I nod, and answer in turn
 "38 feet, two masts, ketch, gaff rig"
 leaving him to return to work, to make this skeletal dream
 a floating surging reality

You can see their progress at Acorn to Arabella – they describe each step, and put out regular videos showing progress, and things they’ve learned. The person I spoke with was exquisitely kind, even though I was distracting him in the middle of something, and he was patient with my Da’s repeated questions. We admired the progress and slipped away again into the blustery day to find some lunch, but it made a huge impression on me.

over-dyed

I dip myself
  In seawater
Just like
  I dip fabric
Folded, stitched, bound
  In indigo
Over and over

things brought home home from a day at the beach: shells, sand in the car, poetry, a picture

Equinox

UMass has a Sunwheel. It is a tiny astronomical henge designed and built by Dr. Judith Young. She installed one, and it was mowed over, then she and some students installed another and it was … modified, and finally she filed paperwork and got another department onboard and chose the driest piece of swamp she could find, and installed the third, which stuck, and eventually she added much larger pieces of Goshen stone to the outside, and it is quite delightful.

In non-pandemic times, there are faculty presentations at each solstice and equinox. This year there was a filming of a presentation, and us peons milling about in the background.

The thing about an equinox that is very different from a solstice, is that the sun is changing rising and setting locations, and times, at maximum velocity. The equinox has to be attended at the date and time established or you have missed it. The place the sun will set tonight is about 4o south from where it set last night, so catching it means something.

For one 24 hour stretch, everyone around the world had the same amount of daylight and darkness. For everyone, the sun rose properly in the east, and set as precisely as possible in the west. It is nice to think about, when everything else is on fire.

Poem:

Dream Song 14

By John Berryman

Life, friends, is boring. We must not say so.   
After all, the sky flashes, the great sea yearns,   
we ourselves flash and yearn,
and moreover my mother told me as a boy   
(repeatingly) ‘Ever to confess you’re bored   
means you have no

Inner Resources.’ I conclude now I have no   
inner resources, because I am heavy bored.
Peoples bore me,
literature bores me, especially great literature,   
Henry bores me, with his plights & gripes   
as bad as achilles,

who loves people and valiant art, which bores me.   
And the tranquil hills, & gin, look like a drag   
and somehow a dog
has taken itself & its tail considerably away
into mountains or sea or sky, leaving            
behind: me, wag.

Crit group or rubber duck?

Programmers and authors know for certain that some problems that feel intractable yield readily to being described to an interested observer. When an interested observer is unavailable, they can, and do, describe the problem to an inanimate object in their vicinity – a rubber duck, a stapler, etc. This is a known phenomenon, and many people have sympathetic ducks or other (toy) creatures on their desk for exactly this reason.

I am having what I am fairly certain is a rubber duck problem – I have finished two pieces using the same palette, and the same techniques, and I think (I think) one is kind of a hot mess, and one is a really solid piece of work. OR… it could be that one is a step towards more intricate work, and the other is too simple. OR … you get the idea. They could both be doing interesting things in different ways?

The biggest issue with my rubber duck, is that she doesn’t say much.

101-200/100

Those are the second 100. 135 is AWOL but I am certain it is on my table, but shuffled under something. I have not yet gotten the pin backs on 171-200, when I do they will go on the next cork board.

I’m not certain I ever talked much about why I am making these, or why I am still making these. I started the project January 22, 2020. I have, in the past, made a fabric postcard every day for a year (2007) and five years after that a circle every day for a year (2012). I was trying to do something like that for 2017, but I simply couldn’t. Too many things were wrong, with my own life and life in general.

I continued to make things, of course, because that is a huge part of how I define myself. I built a boat (! that still surprises me, and I still love it) and continued to make art, but I couldn’t muster enthusiasm for anything every single day. I know from experience, and from encouraging others to take a piece of time to make something daily, that there have to be rules, and doing it in some kind of community helps. I have been a vocal cheerleader for Daily February projects in the last several years, for exactly that reason.

This year I signed up for the Creative Project’s 100 Day challenge. It started January 22, and I began with 1. Between numbers 1 and 100, COVID-19 shut down most of the world. When 100 came, on the last day of April, it seemed that if the pandemic was not over yet, I maybe shouldn’t be either. So I kept going. My stated project; “one small embroidery, finished and framed in a 1.5″ square frame” was easy enough to keep exploring, and I have more than enough materials and time to continue. So I did. The numbering, N/100, helps me remember that I can stop at any time, because I have fulfilled my original pledge. It also continues to amuse me.

Having reached 200, exactly double the number I originally set out to do, I still feel like I am documenting something, or keeping track in some fashion. Counting up, I realized we have less than 100 more days til the US election. So my plan now it to keep going til then. That will be another 86 pieces. I’m not sure what will happen after that, although some additional counting provides the answer that Inauguration Day happens 164 days from now, and only two days short of a full year.