Notice Everything

I made a fire this morning 

not that it's cold outside 

I just like the glow 

and the little bit of heat 

a small fire brings 

Shibori dyed silk jacquard poncho

Shibori dyed silk jacquard poncho

It is raining 

actually more like a drizzle 

I took Highlin' for a walk 

along the path 

into the woods 

it's our regular walk

the path is worn 

wet leaves have smashed into mud 

Botanical prints,  leaves on silk

Botanical prints,  leaves on silk

I am careful not to slip 

I have fallen three times

a warning to walk more carefully 

well of course 

isn't that what we are always supposed to be doing 

walk carefully 

not as in be careful you might say the wrong thing

make the wrong move 

as in walk carefully and notice

everything

During this morning's walk

there was broken glass 

on a green, moss covered rock  

it was placed there carefully

that is not uncommon 

broken glass on the trail

I frequently place chipped or broken dishes in the woods 

a form of installation

a dinner party 

Shibori dyed silk poncho

Shibori dyed silk poncho

This glass was more shattered 

than my usual place settings 

and it was on its own earthy green rock

I don't remember placing if there 

could it have been Larry

has he taken up my recycling, upcycling, repurposing penchant

Upcycled jean jacket with felted wool and silk

Upcycled jean jacket with felted wool and silk

Could it have been a guest 

should I ask 

should I seek an answer

could it have been a stranger on our path 

that would be disturbing 

I will wait and wonder 

ponder 

enjoy its beauty 

the contrast

That was the message in Catherine's photo blog

that is her mission 

to notice everything 

just outside her door 

and photograph it 

I will notice everything

just outside my door

I will see with my words

Memory of Color

Growing up, there were always flowers, as evidenced in photos or memories.

My mother, Grace, grew red roses in front of the two bedroom, added onto to make four, ranch, on Eveningside Drive in Topeka. Purple irises bloomed on the side and pale blue bachelor buttons gathered across the back along the fence.

In Tachikawa, Japan she learned Ikibana, the art of flower arrangement.  They graced the buffet and changed weekly.

A hedge of red roses framed the front yard of the old frame house in Roaring Springs, Texas where the man who invented the cotton gin once lived. As the years passed and the hedge thickened, cars passed slowly by just to see Grace's roses.

Suddenly, my cabin is filled with orchids. It just happened. All I do is place three ice cubes in each pot, weekly. It must be the light. Our cabin is filled with light.

Everything about me, all my memories show up in my shibori art to wear.  Today in velvet I see orchids and roses and green leaves.

Vision Quest

The iridescent leaves shimmer in morning light 

moisture clinging to each dried leaf 

drizzling rain a soft serenade. 

the making of space for winter has begun 

the forest opens up 

more tall willowy tree trunks appear 

we walk deeper the dogs and I 

they ever grateful for this privilege they demand 

wagging their tails waiting as I arise 

the brandy of browns and deep burgundy 

await my vision quest for meaning of each new day 

affirming the love I have for life 

balanced between growing awareness as each day passes 

that every life has a beginning and end

a transition so subtleyet instant 

as in one day as I walk the trees are green the next Golden

how did that happen so suddenly, I ask

I must pay better attention, I warn

my footsteps are no longer spring soft on the path of grass and dirt

they crinkle, crunch a deep serenade 

the brandy of browns and deep burgundy 

await my vision quest for meaning of each new day 

You Will Love This

It may sound trite when I say I make my art for you. I don't know you personally. I do know about you. I know about your desire for passion and wisdom. To express your long earned authority. And for intimacy, those close connections you find in family and friends where you can just be you and express yourself freely with no concern for being judged or criticized or need to defend your beliefs 

In these ways we are the same. We have lived long. We have courted danger. We have loved life.

What makes us unique is our failures have not brought us down. We stand tall and walk forward knowing we have something to pass on. We have a legacy

So it is not trite when I guide my vibrant shibori silk under the needle, watch it ripple and gather graciously, marvel at its beauty, ponder how ravishing it is and know that you are going to love wearing the art I create. 

I am not praising me. I am praising the inner workings of my soul that has brought all the pieces of creating together to make this masterpiece. Yes, in that moment, when exquisite colors have found their way into my silk. I am thrilled and can't wait to share it with you.

A form of my inner life is embodied in the fabrics I take into my hands and shapes each piece. and I say, “you will love this.”

It is not trite 

You will love this!

You will love this!

You Are The Designer

How to design your wearable art collection

 

1.  Embrace Your Body

Listen to friends and Mother Nature

 

2.  Take a stand

You know who you are.  

Experience has been your teacher.

Wear a statement piece of wearable art.

 

3.  Tell your own story

Walk your talk. 

You are no longer living what you know, 

you are authoring your life in advance of living it. 

 

4. Define your principles

Repeat what you like

Be inclusive

Maintain equilibrium

Hold to a constant standard

Live the rhythm of your own drum

 Keep it simple with basic essentials

Determine your bottom line.

 

5.  Know your elements

color, value, texture, line, shape

 

What colors do you like?

Define your palette 

 

What’s your season?  

Manifest contrast, strong values, 

soft and bold, light and dark

 

What do you feel? 

Experience texture

silky and coarse

 

Shape your message  

 

 What’s your line? 

What’s my story?

Walking in the woods yesterday, I saw the brown color I am shibori  dyeing for a mother of the bride statement kimono and dress.  It was in the leaves left over from last fall; deep, rich, rusty, copper, with a touch of dark, forest green.

Even though the leaves were from last fall, now aged into late spring, they held their vibrancy. Who would think that the colors of spring would include the age of fall?  Clearly, every color can be found any season. And you can wear any color, given all the shades, tones, lights and brights to choose. How did I get on my color path, my artful path, my path of self expression?  

I let go. 

One day when I was on my lunch hour from my first office job, I stepped inside a store that sold a more expensive line of clothing than I was inclined to buy.  I was 20. I was a Sears’ girl. I decided that I would try on pants and blouses that were bright and brilliant. The pants were orange and fuchsia.  They were each paired with a floral blouse. They were not the bright and brilliant colors of summer.  They were subtly toned, as the leaves are when they slowly change.  Not my usual choice. 

It was a risky step. 

I gazed in the mirror and said to myself, “I hate this. This is not me.” I have strong opinions. I bought it, anyway. I was tired of buying the same styles and colors. I wanted to feel what it was like to wear something different.  

A relatively safe risk. 

My dad loved it! I never thought of him as a stylish person in his USAF uniform or week-end overalls. In hindsight, as I peer into his old black and white photographs, I discover he had a very strong sense of composition. His was not the only compliment I received. This began my journey, not only of exploring colors, also in taking risks with self-expression.

All colors are part of nature.  

Find yourself in the rainbow. It is very large, full and forgiving, as you are. 

You can wear any color.  It’s not about what looks good on you, it’s about what makes you feel wonderful. You are part of nature. In order to determine your place in the rainbow, remember your favorite season.  Find it by listening to your body.  To what season are you most drawn? Listen to your friends and their compliments. Write it all down.  

Are you spring where the colors are soft, or summer, where the colors are bright, bold, and brilliant? Are you sometimes a little of both? Getting to know your self through color is the exciting journey you are now poised to embark upon.  

Are you most present in the toned leaves of fall and their bright counterpart, jewels against the sky?  Are you in your element in the deep rich and luscious shades of winter, the depth of spruce, and burgundy?  

All these seasons come and go, as you do. 

You know what you like, what feels good.  

Begin with your favorite season, where memories have lived the fullest. Coffee, chocolate, semi sweet, bitter or milky? It’s the season you are drawn to that will determine your palette. 

How do you choose your palette?  

Ask, “What do I like?”  

Today I start with brown. Deep dark, aged, fall leaf, brown.  Browns emerge from all colors. The brown I am seeking emerges from yellow and purple, her compliment. They create copper and rust. As the exploration continues, many colors appear. And as you explore, they become your colors, ready to mix and match and enjoy. They will tell your story.

You can wear any color. It’s easy.  Nature has already begun to cleanse your canvas when she added grey to your hair.  If you, too, choose to add color, are you more drawn to yellow or blue based colors? If you have highlights, are they gold or ash?

Let’s collaborate?  Tell me what you feel.  This is how you will tell me who you are.  What do you like?  How tall are you?  How full are your hips?  What are the colors of your skin, your eyes, your hair, (is it dyed or natural)? The answer to these questions are the beginning of our designing your personal statement piece of wearable art.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Balance

Usually when I think of hot flash, I think red. In hindsight, I think green. It’s been awhile since I have had a hot flash, however, the things I learned during that time are tremendous.

The transition occurred naturally in my body signifying a new beginning was about to happen. A time to take care of me. The children would soon be grown and on their own. I remember that time well. It was like the color green, a time of growth and balance. A time of growth into a mature, wise woman. A time to balance past desires and future dreams. 

I remember standing in the University of Kentucky bookstore. I had just enrolled in classes, a returning student, excited to enter this mental world of thinking, studying, validating opinions, discovering new ones, making art, when suddenly my body began to heat up. Little beads of perspiration appeared. 

It was uncomfortable. My back pack was slung across my body which was covered with many layers; a vest, a sweater, a jacket, a scarf around my neck. The heat continued to rise. There was nothing I could do. 

At home I could strip down. Not here, in the bookstore. In my helplessness I saw I had no control. I saw endurance. I stood there, the heat continued rising. Within that moment I recognized an endurance I intended to embrace.  

This was the beginning of a new period of growth that I would not resist, that I would embrace fully and become the wise woman I was meant to be. It just happens. There is no avoiding it.  

I am the mother.  I told the caller on the phone seeking to speak with the mother in charge.

I am in charge. I know what I am doing. Oh what a glorious balanced path to reach. As I walk in the woods this morning I see that the green cannot get any greener.  This is the color I seek to capture.  

You Have To Have Vision

“You have to have vision,” I heard my mentor, Arturo Alonzo Sandoval, say from across the room.  He wasn’t talking to me.  He was talking to one of his students.  I was fortunate to be working on the FeltLOOM in his classroom and could listen.  

You have to have vision.  

How true, I now realize.  And vision is different than a plan.  A plan comes second.  A plan comes after the vision has been defined and chosen. We can have many visions and focus is where determination comes in. 

What vision do I want to focus on?

In the past there was the vision for the move back to Kentucky.  The transition was smooth and provided us with the amazing cabin we now live in.  Today, there is the vision from my art, each piece of shibori dyed silk using carefully chosen colors creates many versions of wearable art.  

Today, in order to keep from getting bored and to keep from repeating myself, I begin a new vision quest asking myself, “what do I want?” This becomes the quintessential question, the question most necessary to keep in the forefront of my mind everyday.

Today, I say to myself, I want each piece of art I make to become part of an intentional ensemble from the beginning of the vision.  

Since I discovered the power of gathering around me only what I like, life is easier.  While I realize it can become cluttered, I leave room for those moments when “opportunity knocks.”  These are the moments when my questions are being answered, ever so subtly. 

What do I want to explore? 

Energy.

Everything contains energy. My vision. My art. My cabin in the woods.  It’s why I surround myself with art.  Wearable art.  Art on the wall.  Art on the floor.  Art in the garden.  Art I serve my delicious food in. The art in my home, the handmade items I look at, use, wear, are closer to the maker, and the energy is more intense.  It is stronger, hence more transferable to me.

You have to have vision.

Even my Garden Girls remind me of this fact when they talk about writing.   In my creative writing I invented the Garden Girls to accompany me on my quest to take risks and live the layered life of an artist.  

“How do you find the words?” Rose asked.

“Look at your hands,” Clove said.

“I think you mean that’s really all I have to do.” Rose said.

“Of course I mean it,” Clove said. “Look at your hands, Rose it’s all in your body, in the way you walk, the way you smile, the way you think. Look at your hands and take a deep breath and you’ll find the words.”

The thought was exciting, physically. Rose felt her body move. Mentally she felt her mind churn. “Let’s write together again,” she said, “the next time we can claim a moment to own.”

In writing, Rose was seeking passion, the passion that gets you excited and keeps you awake at night. Rose was always passionate; there was no getting around it. She wasn’t ever going to give it up. To be able to create passion, that’s what freedom is, that’s what life is; just keep on writing because what else is there? Sometimes preachy thoughts showed up, talking to Rose, but she listened only when she had to. Mostly there were other sounds to consider— the voices and the quiet. When the voice was soft and the message was sweet love was all around it. Mostly when Rose heard the voice it meant listen.

When ideas were overwhelming, she’d take long hot baths, one right after another. The writing challenged her not to divert her eyes, keeping them on her vision which is to keep on moving, not stopping, except to meditate, watch her breath, while looking at her hands to find the words waiting, and believing they will come, because they’re right there in the table, the light, and window.

First I’ll make a list, a quick one, Rose decided. “Do I write it all down? Do I make notes?” She asked Clove.

“You can,” Clove said, “or you can just look at your hands. It’s in your body, Rose it’s all in there.” 

“Do you realize that you are saying there are no right answers. You are saying that whatever I say is okay, to just be me and say it. Take the risk.”

What does it take to become a Garden Girl? A desire made manifest, to discuss intimacy, passion, wisdom, and authority. And take risks.  

Today, I take a deep breathe.  What I want is in my body.  I begin a new exploration of layering fabric, color and textures creating statement wearable art ensembles. 

You Can Wear Any Color

Blue green, crepe tuniic with devore shawl

Blue green, crepe tuniic with devore shawl

Walking in the woods yesterday, I saw the same brown I am dyeing for a mother of the bride statement kimono and tank dress.  It was in the leaves left over from last fall; deep, rich, rusty, copper, with a touch of dark forest green.

Even though the leaves came from last fall, now aged into late spring, they held their vibrancy.  Who would think that the colors of spring would include the age of fall? Clearly, every color can be found any season.

How did I get on my color path, my artful path, my path of self expression?  

I let go.

One day when I was on my lunch hour from my first office job, I was drawn into a store that sold a more expensive line of clothing than I was inclined to buy.  I was 20.  I was a Sears or JC Penney girl. It was a risky step.  I decided that I would try on pants and blouses that were bright and brilliant. The pants were orange and fuchsia.  They were each paired with a floral blouse. They were not the bright and brilliant colors of summer.  They were subtly toned, as the leaves are when they slowly change. Not my usual choice.  I gazed in the mirror and said to myself,  “I hate this. This is not me.”  I have strong opinions.  I bought it, anyway.  I was tired of buying the same styles and colors over and over.  I wanted to feel what it was like to wear something different.  A relatively safe risk.  

My dad loved it.  I never thought of him as a stylish person, in his USAF uniform or week end overalls. In hindsight, as I peer into his old black and white photographs, I discover he had a very strong since of composition. His was not the only compliment I received.  This began my journey, not only of exploring colors, also in taking risks with self expression.

You can wear any color, dare I be so bold to say.  It’s not about what looks good on you, it’s about what makes you feel wonderful.  You are part of nature.  All colors are part of nature.  Find yourself in the rainbow, it is very large, full and forgiving, as you are. It’s not that you can’t wear part of the rainbow at anytime, its that some parts have blended and rearranged so the derivative is no longer recognizable.  

In order to determine your place in the rainbow, remember your favorite season.  Find it by listening to your body.  To which season are you most drawn? Listen to your friends and their compliments. Write it all down.  Are you spring where the colors are soft, or summer, where the colors are bright, bold, and brilliant? Are you sometimes a little of both?  Getting to know your self through color is an exciting journey you are now ready to embark upon.  

Are you most present in the toned leaves of fall and their bright counterpart, jewels against the sky?  Are you in your element in the deep rich and luscious shades of winter, the spruce, and burgundy?  All these seasons come and go as you do. You know what you like.  What feels good.  

Let’s begin with your favorite season, where memories have lived the fullest. Coffee, chocolate, semi sweet, bitter or milky?  It’s the season you are drawn to that will determine your palette. How to choose your palette?  Ask, what do I like?  Then break it down.  

Let me start with brown.  Deep dark, aged, fall leave brown.  Browns emerge from all color.  The brown I am seeking now emerges from yellow and purple, her compliment.  Purple and yellow are buried in my new found brown.  They create copper and rust.  As the exploration continues, many colors will appear.  And they will be your colors, ready to mix and match and enjoy.  They will tell a story.  They will tell your story.

You can wear any color. It’s easy.  Nature has already begun to cleanse your canvas when she added grey to your hair.  If you choose color to you hair, are you more drawn to yellow or blue? If you have highlights, are they gold or ash.

Shall we collaborate?  Just tell me what you feel.  This is how you will tell me who you are.  What do you like?  How tall are you?  How full are your hips?  What are the colors of your skin, your eyes, your hair, (is it dyed or natural)? The answer to these questions are the beginning of designing your personal, art to wear, composition.

 

 

First things First

As springs has arrived, new colors appear daily.  The quest for formulas has begun for my shibori silk dyeing and designing of slow fashion wearable art.  Yesterday's fashion taught me the value of art to wear.  As the models walked the runway, they truly did manifest an energy not seen in fast fashion.

Embracing liminal spaces I start where I am.

“That moment when there is nothing to hang on to is the moment when we are most present, most alive, most vulnerable, most human.” ~ Patti Digh

That moment when there is no where to go, the roads are frozen and the snow beautiful. Snowstorm Jonas has passed.   We wait while the snow lingers. 

That moment when there is no where to go,

the roads are frozen and the snow beautiful.

Snowstorm Jonas has passed.  

We wait while the snow lingers. 

And make art. The snow becomes my go to, my inspiration.

And make art. The snow becomes my go to, my inspiration.

“Possibility can only be born from the present. From what is owned. From wholeness.”

~ Jennifer Louden

needle felted and wet felted alpaca from Heartfelt Alpaca layered with soy and tussah silk roving waits for color.   I start where I am.

needle felted and wet felted alpaca from Heartfelt Alpaca

layered with soy and tussah silk roving

waits for color.  

I start where I am.

Outside, the table is still covered with snow and it is sooooo cold.   I take my shibori poles indoors to the sink.

Outside, the table is still covered with snow and it is sooooo cold.  

I take my shibori poles indoors to the sink.

shibori felt dries by the wood stove.

shibori felt dries by the wood stove.

Inside our cabin I curl up by the fire. Being ON THE NORTH SIDE OF THIS LITTLE MOUNTAIN it takes longer for the snow to melt.   That's ok.  As long as I have cream for my coffee.

Inside our cabin I curl up by the fire.

Being ON THE NORTH SIDE OF THIS LITTLE MOUNTAIN it takes longer for the snow to melt.  

That's ok.  As long as I have cream for my coffee.

Later today we will hike down the lane, retrieve our car at the bottom and head for town!

Later today we will hike down the lane,

retrieve our car at the bottom and head for town!

 

 

 

Needle Punched and Wet Felted

Time to shibori dye my new needle punched and wet felted shawl.  I like it white, however, what would it look like dyed?  The piece I'm actually working on has silk mulberry roving.

First I soaked the cotton gauze in 1# of baking soda to 2 gallons of water.  Used the drain spin cycle on the washer and dried in the dryer.  Whether or not to iron was the next question.  I like to try to eliminate as many steps as possible so for this experiment I chose not to iron the gauze.  Hence, the sixth was closer to 26” than 36”.  After following all the steps in my video, I line dried the pieces before pole wrapping them. I drizzled 3-4 colors of fuchsia and yellow green tones.  The fabric was more dense from the wet felting compared to when it was completely felted on the FeltLOOM felting machine.  At first it looked like the dye was just sitting on the fabric.  Not really flowing.  However, by the next day much movement of colors had occurred.

Art for the Breeder's Cup

Thank you, Kentucky Arts Council for taking the time to organize a gallery market for Kentucky artist to make our beautiful art available to all the amazing people that will be in Lexington for the Breeder's Cup.

I am honored to have been invited.  This lovely shibori dyed velvet devore shoulder shawl is one of the pieces I am taking to the gallery tomorrow.

Photo Shoot

Eco Topper using Shibori dyed Remnants

Eco Topper using Shibori dyed Remnants

Documenting is important.  And sometimes it has to be with our own camera or phone.  Mannequins are nice, but nothing like having a model.  Last week in M S Rezny's studio, Rupel Patel was an exquisite model bringing my newest designs to life.  Mary captured the movement, rhythm and depth of each piece.  I'm anxious to create more of these Eco Toppers. However, they are part of a long process.  First I have to felt more merino.  Then shibori dye it.  Then create a new design.  And then I will have the remnants I need to felt on top black wool and line with black crepe.  It's important that I remember my art is all part of a process that shapes itself by materials at hand, cannot be rushed and no step can be missed.