One Person’s Trash….etc.

29 May

I’m drawn to discarded stuff. Not garbage exactly–but things that can maybe be reused or have some sort of intrinsic value–to me at least. This holds true for most areas of my life. For example, I don’t buy new clothes but I do upcycle/recycle old one–the discards of other’s–or I rework my own.

And this brings me to the subject of this post, which on the surface appears to be a logwood scarf printed with buckeye leaves.IMG_3524

But actually, I’m just as interested in the location of the buckeye tree itself as it sits on one of my favorite foraging lots–an urban “pit of despair”–littered with broken  bottles, an old orange sofa, poison ivy and the detritus of years of haphazard littering.  But looking a bit closer, it’s also a rich and varied ecosystem.  Tons of dock, bitter lettuce, sumac, black walnut, tree of heaven and other plants I’m beginning to identify.  In fact, yesterday when I arrived I found three bright orange California poppies begging for acknowledgment.  And though I’m loathe to pick something still attached to the earth, I did pick these three. Mainly because they were leaning so precariously into the traffic of a very busy urban thoroughfare that it’s a wonder I didn’t loose my butt bending over to pick them.

The Value of Light

28 May

I don’t have a title for this post.  Maybe it will come as I write.  Today is Sunday and I took the day off.  Not because it’s Sunday but because I was tired and decided to listen to my body.  So instead of working, I rigged up lights for an upcoming art show at the Ramsey Center, Western Carolina University–Cullowhee–in a few weeks.  Indoor shows are challenging because eco printed scarves look dull and dingy under most arena-type lighting.

Most of my shows to date have been outside.  That’s tricky sometimes, in terms of weather, but I’m under a tent and even if it rains, we’re o.k.  And always the light and wind benefit the eco printed scarves–highlights their natural beauty–a beauty I’m quick to add that I am not responsible for.  I facilitate their ability to appear on cloth.  That’s all.  A good mechanic.

But back to the indoor shows: the only show I did last year that fell below my arbitrarily established “sales goal” was indoors and dreadful.  The inside lighting was miles away from ground level.  And it was a muddy green color.  Everyone and everything looked kinda seasick.  So this show in June–a two-day event–will also be indoors–which leads me to the purpose of this blog–a solution for lighting.

Sometimes I have help setting up my booth–sometimes I don’t–but my intention is always to have a compact, easy-to-set up exhibit.  Lightweight as well.  At first I thought track lights and priced them out.  Nope.  Quite heavy and rather pricey. I asked the Lowe’s clerk if I could rig a regular fixture up and wire it to an extension cord. She said yes. I asked her if she could explain it to me. She said “no” but listened to me thinking out loud and seemed to agree with how I thought to proceed.  Buy four ceiling fixtures–bulbs included–buy four extension cords and a roll of electric tape.  Snip off the receptacle end of the cord, strip it a bit and then wire to the existing light.  There you have it.  I have four fixtures now ready to go and they put off good light. So if the scarves don’t do well, at least I’ll know lighting wasn’t the problemIMG_3519

This is a busy year for me for shows. Last count I have 11 before end of year. Last Saturday was a good event: Montford Music and Arts Festival here in Asheville. Good weather, good people, great music and very good sales. IMG_4805.JPG

Posting new scarf images at http://www.thelanguageofleaves.com but can’t do it from this iPad. Will also be listing my schedule of shows any day now.

Authenticity and Intention

21 Mar

A weeks ago I challenged myself to create a piece of slow cloth quickly.  Do you see the obvious problem with that?  Quick slow cloth is like army intelligence–oxymoronic.  And so it sat and sat and finally, gradually the pieces auditioning for inclusion were removed.  Stripped down to the bare essential underlying matrix.  This is where it was going but everything felt forced and contrived.  Looking at it now with the advantage of several weeks distancing, I see a bit where it was going.  Could have gone.

But it didn’t happen.  Because the part of my self that pays attention to intention was flashing red warning signs.  There is no picture of the stripped down cloth.  The little “cuties” are in the bucket of scrap cloth.  Why then, this morning, was I called to just revisit the scene?  I don’t know, really, but what happened was not planned and emerged effortlessly, spontaneously and almost in a “meant to be” progression.  This is the beginning.  This might also be where it stops.  But as I was contemplating the pieces I was struck by how this process parallels life.  All the pieces we accumulate.  Hopefully discarding what doesn’t work.  Then regrouping and reassembling.  Paying attention to commonalities.  The intersection of lines.  Lines representing lives.  Events.  One leading into another.  Moving between each element.  Joining paper and cloth.  Both so ephemeral.  So transient.  So destined to only last so long.  But the length of time doesn’t matter, does it?  It is only the authenticity behind intention that prevails.  The doing what feels true.  The listening to that voice which may become faint at times–but will not be silenced.

Why am I doing this?…

21 Feb

…and I’ve thought that enough to last a lifetime.  Still, lots to learn from  each one.  Fizzled out this morning after spending more than an hour arranging/rearranging.  When I finally noticed the track running through my head–“why in the world are you doing this NOW?”  and stepped away.  Now looking after many hours, my conclusion–the mind-tape had a point and I’m left with two characters from different planets.  Incongruent.  I’d add the day one and day two for comparison but can’t seem to insert anything at this point else.  Besides…..

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In the beginning… or rather… was there a beginning?

20 Feb

I see-saw between the forest and  the trees. The former is more comfortable.  I’m a big picture wanna be. Yet I’m haunted by details.  I believe what we have here is something quite pre-historic.  A velociraptor perhaps.  And something else, directly below, emerging from the void.  Part fish, part mammal?  There’s a sense of fertile potentiality, as though anything could happen.  Tomorrow I will learn more.

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Picking Up the Pieces.

19 Feb

I’m loving this time in the cycle of seasons.  Only a few plants outside are showing signs of greening up.  Leaves are nowhere to be found.  And although it’s unseasonably warm, I think we still have a month or so before the lure of new growth begs commemoration.  It’s also a slow time in terms of art & craft shows–a venue I’ve become dependent upon.

But right now I’m not thinking much about craft shows.  Instead, I’m looking at all the cloth I’ve generated from eco printing

and anticipating the process of melding together disparate pieces into whole cloth.

Marveling at the little marks left behind–
littlemiceLittle Mice?

birdbeaksHappy Birds?butterflyButterflies.butterfly2

I play the “cloud game” and imagine all sorts of things–like this hummingbird in search of nectar…hummingbird

Or this–how negative/positive space can hold both leaf tips and faces.sadcat

I love these little etchings on cloth–the last hurrah of the heroic effort on the part of a tree, shrub or flower.  A mark that will last linger long past this growing season.  Sometimes these marks commemorate an event–an occasion–a time spent in solitude in nature, or a social event with family and friends.  Times or joy.  Moments of sorrow.  Sometimes these marks recall weather patterns.  Times of drought.  Times of unseasonable rain.  And although these little imprints on cloth may look like absolutely nothing at first glance, for me they are intriguing.  Mysterious.  Beautiful.  Parts and pieces that, when combined, tell another story.

I’m going to document the birth of this next cloth–a cloth that right now comprises 8 separate scraps of botanical imprints–finding the places where lines and shapes connect–where the whole emerges from the sum of its parts–where it makes sense to me.  Where on some level I’m able to understand how the puzzle pieces can fit together –forming the big picture.

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And thank you Jude Hill.   Slow stitch and slow cloth.

the comfort of kantha

9 Feb

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Again, lulled back into the comforting rhythm of kantha. Into the near hypnotic motion of running stitch.   Waves across the surface of cloth.

Much is held here in this cloth.  Memories. Snippets and scraps.  Like the oddly arranged, seemingly incongruent events of my life– held to the light.  To be examined.  Revered.  Treasured.

Memory–like kantha– weaving the ground, holding the story, supporting the whole.

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