A Relatively Healthy Balance

March 2, 2015

I think I did an OK job this weekend of getting schoolwork done, but also feeding the art brain. There are only so many hours in the day, and stupid things like grocery shopping and laundry have to get done, but the remaining hours, they don’t all have to be about your job. I negotiated in my head…if I grade for the length of this TV show, then I will be able to work on art afterwards. That was Sunday. Saturday? Saturday I tried to grade, but got pissed off by some kid trying to cheat his way into a passing grade (because I’m an idiot and won’t catch him?), so I just stopped. I piled all the school stuff up, dumped my grading pens on top  of it, and walked the fuck away from it. Because when you get to the point that you’re angry about it, it doesn’t help anyone to be grading kids’ papers. And yeah, I’ll get a bunch of kids FREAKING out this morning because I didn’t update their grade (because they handed everything in late?), but I will just fix my laser glare upon them and they will instantly stop their whining.

Well, a girl can dream, can’t she?

So I made art. And it looks like I did a lot, but really, it was only about 4 1/2 hours over the whole weekend (that’s not really a lot for me).

I pinbasted the upholstered woman (wait, that’s a better title than what I’ve been using so far)…

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And then I panicked about actually quilting it. I bought some heavier thread for it, because I thought my regular quilting thread would sink into the upholstery too much, but I was worried about how my machine would handle it…so logically, I turned to something I knew I could do…the cancer hands. I outlined them first…

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Which was a piece of cake and took very little time, despite those psychotic, spiky little breast cancer cells…

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And then I was lucky to have a thread that worked with the background…seriously, I don’t have much of a thread stash…so I started doing the backgrounds as well.

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And before I knew it, they were both done and it was time to head off for my daughter’s CIF soccer game…

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They were first in their division, so they didn’t have to play earlier this week. Saturday they played in the quarterfinals…it was a tense game. I stitched a lot. I can’t show you any of it though because we’re not allowed to, which I find kind of irritating, but whatever. I do want designers to make money off their work, but we live in America, Land of We Think Everything Is Free for the Taking, so designers have to protect themselves. And then we’re back to the kid who was cheating in my class, the kid I have to deal with today, the kid who is going to deny it all.

ANYWAY. I stitched. They tied at the end, and you can’t tie, so they went into 15 minutes of overtime…all the while, it was supposed to rain on us, but it held off…

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And with 3 minutes and 20 seconds to go, we scored the winning goal. Pro: we’re going to the semifinals! Con: we’re going to the semifinals! More soccer. More cold bleachers. More tense game-watching (more stitching?). It started raining as soon as I got in the car (thank you for that reprieve).

Sunday, I finally took a deep breath (after grading for a proscribed amount of time) and threaded my machine with the heavy thread and went for it…and at first thought it was going to be a giant clusterfuck…

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The thread required many prayers to the Goddess of Unbroken Thread, although there are some interesting nests on the back of this quilt. I cleaned them up the best I could…I managed to get all the way around this beast before going to the parentals to cook dinner (girlchild was sick). Then I came back and miraculously had the right color of thread for the background…

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which was way easier to quilt, a relief honestly. No super-slow stitching to persuade the machine to go through many layers of upholstery, no swearing as the thread shredded in the needle. Here’s the back…

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I didn’t finish all the background quilting, because I remembered that going to sleep on a Sunday night at a reasonable hour makes the rest of the week easier to get through. I usually forget this by Wednesday or Thursday night, unfortunately.

So I’m hoping to trim and bind the two hands, plus finish quilting this one as well this week. I’ve also got a pile of Wonder Under to cut out (and grades for Trimester 2 to finish, but I almost have that under control). Perhaps I should thank that cheating kid for throwing my brain under the bus and forcing me to make art instead of finishing the grading. It all turned out OK, right? As long as I can stay on top of the rest of the grades this week…thanks to my teacher’s aide and my refusal to take any more makeup work, I should be fine.

My constant goal of a healthy balance between all the parts of my life…the art brain always wants more than it gets. I don’t blame it…it certainly is the first to suffer when there’s an issue like illness. But I feel pretty good about what I got done this weekend, so I think I’ll just hold on to that feeling for a while…until I need to motivate myself past the next big step.


Wonder Under Dreaming

February 28, 2015

Wonder Under dreaming…ten hours and 37 minutes of tracing Wonder Under, around 900 pieces (I didn’t number all of them, shockingly). I did the whole thing under the influence of pneumonia and rib-rattling coughing…starting February 17 and ending last night. I was obviously well and truly ill from the 19th through the 22nd, because nothing happened.

Here’s all but one yard, which I had already cut out…

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So about 5 yards…most of it is the old stuff. One and a half yards is the new stuff, so I will apparently be performing a scientific experiment comparing the old to new on this quilt. I love that. (not really.)

I only have a little over 2 hours into the trimming of the Wonder Under though. I guess that’s this week.

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It’s progress. I realized last night though that I needed one of the recycled pieces done (DONE) by April 1. Huh. That’s a month away. I can do that. I have one top ready to be sandwiched; I could do that today. And I bought some heavier black thread for the upholstery fabrics to quilt the outlining. Yes, I went to JoAnns. Hate that place. But I had a coupon. And otherwise, I have to buy Wonder Under online and ship it here. That’s expensivo. So I do the deed. I pull my numbered ticket and I stand there for-fucking-ever, waiting to tell them I want the whole bolt anyway, so they don’t have to cut anything, but I still have to wait in the fucking line. And then I go wait in the other long nasty line where they put all that crap on both sides of you, candy and shitty packages of socks and beads for Mardi Gras, just like at Michaels, and I think to myself, I hate this place, but I still go there, because it is what it is. Sales are more important than how shitty the store feels, I guess.

Then there’s this drawing that is fully realized in my head. My brain drew the whole damn fucking thing yesterday as I was driving to school. And I want to find the time and space (because you need mental space to draw) to get it out of my head, vomit it out onto the paper, but I have grading to do and I’m tired and still sick and kinda irritated today, which isn’t anyone’s fault, well except maybe the financial aid departments of all the colleges to which the girlchild applied, because why do you y’all have to be such giant pains in the ass? I mean really. This stuff makes my head hurt.

I entered another art exhibit last night. I didn’t think I’d have anything that would work for this show, even though the title and description are right up my alley…the size restrictions were part of the problem, and the rest of it is that so much of the recent stuff is already out traveling. But I found three that would work and went for it. Because why not? And then looked further out, the next 6+ months of big shows, and realized I needed to quit my stupid daytime job so I could make all the art I wanted to make.

Yeah. That’s not happening. I did ream my students yesterday for asking for MORE time to turn in late work. I said I wanted to have time with my daughter where I wasn’t grading papers. That I wanted to be able to sleep at night. That I wanted to go to her game this Saturday. That I was spending hours every night grading all their makeup work. That I was working way harder than they were. I’m done. Seriously. No more. This happens every year. There’s four weeks until Spring Break and the kids are mentally on vacation and I’m about to start the hardest unit of the year and I’m done. Another parent blows me off when their kid is doing nothing? Man. I just want to bring that kid home and feed him some real food and talk science to him, because he gets it, and then maybe after a year or so of my holding him accountable, maybe he’ll be the student he could be if he had someone around who gave a shit. And that’s what I told him yesterday when he said mom didn’t care: “You have 4 teachers right now who care, but we need you to care too. If you don’t care, we’re not going to waste our time. So you decide. Let me know.” And that’s the truth. He has that right now and it makes him alternately angry and full of hope, and he doesn’t know what to do with any of that. Neither do I, honestly. Neither do I.

That’s the reality of being a teacher. Dear politicians, y’all don’t know shit.

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Calli. Such a doofus.

Yeah, so maybe I should make some art today and fuck the school crap. Because it’s messing with my head right now. I’m so frustrated with excuses and the reality of what I can get kids to do and the parents. I just can’t face it. I tried last night. I tried this morning. Better off losing myself in that Wonder Under dream…that place where I don’t have to think about what happens tomorrow or in April or this summer. Just cutting little pieces of fusible web out to make another scary Nida picture.

Or the other bathtub drawing. Yeah. Odalisque in Bloody Bathtub. Awesome name. Won’t ever get into a show. Whatever.


I Made Art…

February 24, 2015

Hey. I made art. I know. It’s exciting. No really, it is. Being sick sucks. Being sick and being an artist really sucks, because you still have to do laundry and cook and go to work…it’s the art that suffers. And it’s the stuff that keeps you sane, so then you get less sane. And you’re already sick, so that’s already a less-sane zone. Not good.

So last night was an artmaking clusterfuck, but I did better today. I sat at school a lot instead of my typical nine miles of wandering the classroom. I didn’t do another 12-hour workday. I actually remembered to eat breakfast, even though I still am not getting hungry like a normal person.

All I’m doing is tracing Wonder Under though…most boring pictures in the world…

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But here’s the deal…I’m about 550 pieces in, so more than halfway. Only 350 to go. And I’ve been tracing for close to 7 hours, so I figure I’ve got another 4 at the most to go. So maybe by Friday night? It’s possible. I might be able to do it.

I did realize that this thing has about a million feathers…seriously, I’ve traced hundreds of feather pieces so far. There’s at least three birds, maybe more…the wings are good for filling in weird spaces. Plus birds are cool. Next, I’m tracing a cat. Can’t have a quilt without a cat in it. It doesn’t have feathers though.

See, I’m looking at Spring Break, which is now less than 5 weeks away, and my plan was to have this one ironed onto fabric and trimmed by Spring Break. PLUS, have the other recycled one at that stage too, if not further along. No, I’m not crazy…why do you ask? If you don’t make goals, you’ll never get anywhere. I don’t mind having goals that I don’t quite meet…I’ll be close (unless I get pneumonia again…remind me to get the damn shot next year).

To that end, I sat on the floor on Sunday (in my delirium yesterday, I totally forgot I had done this) and sorted blue fabrics.

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Blue was the biggest pile. I sorted them by fabric pattern…Mariah had all these long strips and weird triangles and squares of all sizes (she pieces quilts), so sometimes all I have is a bunch of 2″ squares…but I could piece those and use them as one piece, like I did with the other one. I still have a bunch of other color piles in there, but for some reason, the blue was the scariest. (It was the biggest, by far.) So I started with it. Only 10 more piles to go. Ha! Once I’ve cut out the other quilt, these will go into my regular stash to be used for a million more quilts…so that’s cool. She has some fabrics I have but in different colorways, and lots of fabrics I just wouldn’t buy, because I’m not making the same types of quilts that she is, but that’s a good thing. It stretches me…stretches my palette. I should let other people buy me fabric to make me work harder sometimes.

It’s good to do this. It gives me a place to bury my work frustration. As we near the end of the trimester, kids are panicking and trying to beg for grades. But if you blow off the entire trimester until three days before I close the gradebook? Um? There’s nothing you can do. I’m irritated by the whole process, and they know it.

And here’s how I know I’m really getting better…I had ideas for drawings today…lots of them. None of them are pretty, of course. Lots of stuff about being an old woman (I know, I’m not really old, but my body is being a brat and I wish it would lay off)…I need to find time to spend with my sketchbook and a nice black pen. It’s calling to me…the skritch scratch of the pen on the paper surface. The smear when it’s not quite dry. The look of the line, not quite not wobbly. I do love being an artist. I mean, it’s hard to be one and be everything else you have to be, but the fulfillment and satisfaction I get from making a piece, even from just completing a drawing…it’s amazing. It brings me peace. It calms the anger inside me. It curls up around me when I fall asleep. It soothes me when I’m sad. It makes me feel more…or maybe because I feel more, I am an artist…hard to say. Anyway. It’s a good thing.


Ramble Much?

February 24, 2015

I started this Sunday and then completely forgot about it.

I think the hardest thing for someone like me to do is to just stop and rest. I suck at it. I tried a little Saturday and Sunday, but I have so much stuff to do that I can’t do it for long…although I’d really like to take a nap right now. I’m writing right now in order to procrastinate going to the grocery store…because I don’t really feel up to that…and it doesn’t really matter, because I have to do it. If I were just taking care of me, I’d probably blow it off and go take that nap, but it’s never really just me, is it? So no, I didn’t take time off work, which might be why I kept getting sicker, but as a teacher, it’s really difficult to take time off work, especially if you have to come up with a lesson plan that furthers the content you’re already teaching, but that a non-science sub can actually handle, and that’s just not easy to do. So it’s a wasted day (or two or three), and then you’re behind, and I’m already behind because grades are due in about a week and a half, and I’ve spent two weeks falling asleep at inopportune moments (like right after work), which obviously I needed to do, but there’s no backup on the teacher’s job…there’s no one who’s trained to do your thing and handle your kids and take over until you get well again. You just bully through. So I’m taking my meds and coughing like a fiend and trying to boost my energy and immune system and take care of myself and feed the family and get grades done and not collapse.

Really, I should take that nap. Sigh. Or go to the grocery store and get it done and in the fridge and THEN take the nap. I don’t know. Ask for more help probably. Text the girlchild and ask her if she’ll help with the shopping. Maybe.

It’s now Tuesday. You might be wondering what happened? Well, I did nap…after the grocery store. And then I worked some more and fell asleep on the couch. Eventually made it into bed. Yesterday, Monday, I actually felt pretty good. I worked all day, went to another store for stuff they don’t have at my grocery store, then came home and worked (for hours) to get caught up. Then the toner cartridge died, and unfortunately, it was something I really needed, so I drove to the store, because my app said they had two in stock, and then they couldn’t find them. And once they found one (where some asshole had hidden it behind another one), they wanted to charge me $21 more than the website. Anyway. By the time I got home and got through all the crap that had to be done yesterday, because we have one student who is going to be gone for three weeks, so I had to plan out until Spring Break and then revise a bunch of stuff because she won’t actually be IN the classroom (oh my god), it was after 8 PM. Twelve-hour day. It’s OK. I came out of the dark dismal den that is my office (OK, it has fluorescent lights, so it’s not really dark, but it also has a very demanding cat who wants to stand in front of the computer screen and sit on the mouse, so I was beyond frustrated at that point), and I sat with the girlchild, who unfortunately has prom on her mind. I offered her my prom dress (which was my aunt’s prom dress, so circa 1956?), and she cried. OK, she didn’t. She might have if I had forced the issue. It’s a very nice dress. I can see why she doesn’t want to wear it, though, because if you look at current prom dresses, they are made for girls who are obviously going to swanky cocktail parties with the rich and famous (WTF?). I suggested more of her body might be covered than the one I saw her friend buying, which looked like a bra with suspenders holding up a long skirt. Yeah. I am so out of it.

Then I finally thought I could trace some Wonder Under.

I made 23 minutes. Pure exhaustion. OK. I’m listening. I made it to bed eventually after tracing a whopping 40 pieces (well, it’s 40 pieces I didn’t have the day before), and realized that normally I wouldn’t have put in that many work hours before…well…sometimes I do, it’s true…but it’s getting better.

Unfortunately, about 10 minutes into my trying to actually fall asleep before the dead of night (see, my body is exhausted, but my brain won’t play along), girlchild comes in to tell me about the bomb scare at their school (it’s becoming a regular occurrence in their district…no real bombs…just dumbass kids who don’t want to go to school) and how one of the coaches (who is probably now fired) sent out a text to all his players telling them about it. When she left for school this morning…yes, I am the MEAN mom who makes their child go to school with bombs…she grabbed a bunch of snacks in case they went on lockdown (she wasn’t a Girl Scout for long, but damn, I did train her well), and I told her I loved her and not to let the terrorists win. Sigh. She’s texting me from school (it hasn’t started yet), and nobody is there. Great, she can get some one-on-one instruction! Yes, I’m a little crazy. I do think we Americans panic easily though. I don’t know how on Earth our ancestors made it here and survived (well, I guess the first few batches didn’t) all the hardships here without panicking and running back to from whence we came. It seems like all the kick-ass survival instincts were bred out over the years.

So this is obviously a philosophical post. I could show another picture of the 40 pieces of Wonder Under I traced. Or not. I do have pictures from Senior Night for girlchild’s soccer…but apparently WordPress is being bitchy and won’t let me load anything…oh wait…NOW you’ll let me do it. Technology. Lame. So obviously in this picture, my ex has something derogatory to say about the coach, who is standing maybe 10 feet away…

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All the other parents and kids were weeping, but no, we were making jokes while the girlchild threatened to kill us and we set voodoo curses on the coach so he would get boils all over his ass (no, I’m not vengeful at all…why do you ask?). I have promised the girlchild that we will do nothing to burn her soccer bridges, but that doesn’t mean we don’t talk about all the things we COULD do.

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They’re in CIF now, so winding down to the end…three games more maximum. And then we go back to the relief of club soccer and a good coach and parents that only drive me half nuts instead of completely nuts. No more freezing games on bleachers…just freezing games on chairs instead (somehow it is more bearable on a chair…although I don’t have a chair…mine broke after 10 years and now I have to buy a new one for the last 4 months of soccer? Kinda lame, but I’m sure I will use it somewhere…at the beach? Huh. I’m not really a beach person. Maybe I should become one. I mean, I’m sending the last kid off to college. I can become a completely different person now. Once I’m done recovering from pneumonia. And I pick a job that doesn’t suck up all my waking…and nonwaking hours.).

AND…my doctor’s office just called to check up on my cough and make sure I’m not dead. That’s nice. “Are you taking your meds?” “No, I LIKE having pneumonia.” Yes, I’m taking my fucking meds. Duh. No, it’s nice to have them call.

My last commentary? Obviously my brain is functioning…it’s just my body that’s having issues…bows on bras? Why? I always cut them off. But what is the purpose? I do not understand. Yes, I am not a normal girl. I also don’t like pink. Except my pink fabric stash is huge…not as huge as my black and white stash, but huge nonetheless, because I do a lot of human figures, so the flesh tones run into the pinks, and they fill up a ton of drawers here. But there’s a good reason for that.

Ramble much? Yeah. Whatever.


Viral Whomp

February 13, 2015

Apparently that cute little cold wasn’t done with me. Nah, it turned around and whomped me. Probably I should have stayed home from school the last two days, especially when standing became an issue, but a statewide shortage of subs, plus my brain’s inability to plan for such contingencies meant I stayed. I sat a lot. I coughed a bit. I glared at students who had similar coughs, since they obviously gifted me with this viral beast. Then both days, I came home as soon after work as I could and went to bed, arising only briefly the first night to eat a bowl of goldfish crackers and some chicken. Protein. Yesterday I managed a bit more, feeling a tad better, but also running a fever. Aha! Nights of hot flashes and chills, and I finally get a fever. One. Briefly. OK, I’ve probably had more than one, but at some point, a hot flash, a chill, and a fever all produce similar symptoms, and if you’re sick enough, you just don’t care.

You can imagine that not much art is made under these conditions, and you would be right. In fact, there was none. Not a tiny little bit. Honestly, I’m barely more than alive. I know I’ve been feeding cats and buying more medicine, but not a whole lot more than that. Oh yeah, and apparently teaching. At some point soon, though, I’m going to have to evaluate the time left before these artistic due dates and what needs to get done by when…I think I’m OK with the smaller pieces, but the big one makes me a bit nervous because I haven’t even started it yet…the tracing is all set up, but if you can’t stand up for long periods of time, it puts a damper on tracing tiny pieces onto Wonder Under.

I do have this lovely 3-day weekend coming up though. I do want to go on a hike, probably not until Monday (and only if my respiratory system agrees, and probably I have to start eating more food so I have the energy to move faster than a sloth). I have a ton of grading (what’s new?!) to do, mostly because I haven’t been awake for much of the last few days. I have been grading at school while I wait for kids to do their presentations, but I can’t get much done in that short piece of time. I also want to get some art done, so I’ll have to find the time and energy for that at some point…maybe Sunday. Saturday will be spent running all the errands that were on my calendar for this week that I didn’t get done because…um…sick. Yeah.

But first of all, I have to go to work and a soccer game (presuming I don’t feel like collapsing at the end of the day like I have the last two days; also presuming my car doesn’t decide to die, since the ever-present Check Engine light is on again, with no backup if it fails this time). Then I’ll let girlchild cook me dinner and go to bed early again, unless I have some rush of energy heretofore unanticipated. Then hopefully I will wake up Saturday morning with most of my facilities and a tiny bit of energy to get it all done. That’s my hope anyway.


Iron out the Puckers

February 11, 2015

Whatever that fluke of physical nature that slammed me the last few days has finally settled into a normal, voice-killing cold, always good in my profession. I don’t feel uber-bad, though, despite runny nose and phlegmy cough, so I did manage some art last night. I was feeling like it had been days (it pretty much had), and that never feels good, sick or not.

I started by stitching down the two cancer hands…

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Which took no time at all. And then I sandwiched and pinbasted them, so they are ready for quilting. That also shouldn’t take long. Maybe tonight? Maybe not. Multiple meetings today. There may be nothing left of me by nightfall.

Then because the machine was already set up for stitchdown, I went ahead and decided to do the upholstery piece. It’s scary, because you know it WANTS to fray. You can see it in the edges…they’re ready to pop free and wander off somewhere.

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So I set my zigzag stitch longer and closer together (if that makes sense) to try to tame the savage beast.

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And it freakin’ worked. Mostly. And my machine went through the multiple, heavy, sometimes still sticky layers with no issue at all. The thread only broke once.

You can see it’s almost a satin stitch on the back…

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And it’s puckering like crazy…my camera is giving me trouble…the display is apparently gone. I’m sure I did something to make that happen, but I don’t know what. I am apparently very hard on cameras.

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So stitched down doesn’t look a whole lot different than ironed down. That’s good. There’s some puckering, but I was able to iron most of it out…violently and with steam, lots of it. I think the rest will come out in the quilting (knock on wood). I didn’t have the energy (it was after midnight and I am actually sick) to sandwich and pinbaste it last night, but maybe tonight. She’s kinda scary looking. It’s the neck I think.

I did finish sorting all the batiks for the other recycled piece, but they are in piles on the floor…not very conducive to picking and choosing. So I will have to sit down for a while and sort through each color pile for each piece of that color and fold them all up together, because that’s how I like to keep fabrics. Anal, I know. What can I say? Some parts of my life are utter chaos, as was apparent yesterday afternoon and evening, so I control the few things I can, and fabric appears to be one of those things.

My FFAC quilt is ready to mail…I made a label for it last night and packed it up. I didn’t have a car yesterday, though, so I couldn’t mail it, and today I am booked through 5:30…I can’t remember when the post office closes, but I think it’s 5. Because working people? I don’t know. Sometimes I wonder.

Today I start a brand-new, never-been-used assignment with my kids…seriously hoping it’s not a clusterfuck. It could be! That’s the wonder of new technology though…you have to experiment to find out what can go horribly wrong. And then you move on. Meditative breathing might come in handy there…


Go Big…or Don’t Go

January 27, 2015

My original drawings are rarely done to actual size. They start out in the smallest sketchbooks at about 6 x 9″ up to the largest one, which is 14 x 17″. I don’t usually leave them that size though, because the tiny details I love to draw will kick my ass if I try to make a quilt that small. I’ve done it…back in the day (you know, dinosaur age), but I don’t do it now if I can get away with it. The FFAC donation quilt was drawn to size. It’s the only one since the Babygirl quilt of 2013. OK, the two smaller quilts, Planting Choice, which went with the Earth Stories exhibit, and the traveling hand and uterus that is in People and Portraits…they were drawn to size. Still both in 2013.

Anyway, so the Earth Mother from Ventura (that might actually be an awesome title for it) started out in a 14 x 17″ sketchbook, and then I ran out of paper last night…and couldn’t figure out what to do next. I just knew I needed to Go Big. I often enlarge the drawings and then add stuff afterwards. In fact, the one that’s traveling with Quilt National right now, the original drawing was done in 2002. I enlarged it and added a big chunk of stuff in 2012, when I actually made the quilt.

So after the staff meeting today, the science meeting, and braving Costco on a rainy afternoon, I made my way to the Not-Kinko’s (OK, it’s FedEx Office now, but that name just sucks) to enlarge the drawing. I usually go somewhere between 200-300%, depending on what I need to end up with…this one is for a largish space, and honestly, they’re only gonna get one entry out of me, because I can only make one non-violent, non-political, non-nude piece on purpose…not that I don’t like what I’ve drawn so far, but I don’t have a ton of time, and I’ve drawn a lot of pieces. So let’s be realistic. Stop. You’re not drawing the whole body…not on this one.

Kitten has been venturing out into the living room to sit with us and be sociable…she’s afraid of Babygirl (the cat, not the quilt), so this is strange for her, but she does it every few months or so. She likes to play with all the offcuts from my taping the copies together…

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This was not easy to tape together…it took over an hour and there were some fussy bits. It was not a perfect copier. But it was $4.50 to copy it my way, instead of $30+ to do a full-size copy. Maybe when I’m rich and famous, I will do the full-size copies. Ha!

I think girlchild is still in here at this point…hunkered down on the couch directly in front of the light table. Here’s the drawing at 250%…

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So she started watching Gilmore Girls, which I never saw the first time around. It is funny at times, but it’s a massive contrast to The Walking Dead, which is what I’ve been watching late at night. Sometimes I imagine the zombies taking over Rory and Lorelai. That is also amusing.

So I knew I wanted to add to the bottom for the torso and to the side for the heron wing, so I taped on more paper (yes, I have the 50-yard roll from some educational supply house that I could barely carry out to the car)…

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And then I stared at it for a long time. Kitten occupied the space and stared back when I tried to move the paper so I could actually draw on it (now girlchild is in bed, because that’s the asshole Governor in the background from The Walking Dead. I swear, if Rick doesn’t kill him, I will. Actually, no. Michonne needs to kill him.).

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I did actually draw the wing and stuff at the bottom in pencil first…just to make sure it looked the way I wanted it to. Most of the time, I just wing it (ha ha, wing it) with Sharpie or some other black pen that feels better on the paper, but doesn’t dry as fast as the Sharpies do. If I fuck it up, there’s liquid paper. The drawings are not the end product. You can see here that I added Earth, Wind, and Fire. Yup. I did that.

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Reads right to left. I can’t explain it. Well, I can. And the water is already in her hair…I considered that. I considered a volcano as well…but having her emerge phoenix-like was not what I wanted…and having her planted in a pot or in the earth, I wanted her to be an Earth Mother, so she needed to have all the parts of Earth…the four classical elements. I left out the fifth, aether. I figured then I would be dealing with spirituality or religion, and if that’s not politically violent, I don’t know what is.

Plus I didn’t know what to draw for that. Well, that’s not true either. But again…politics and violence = religion. Stay away.

I’m not done. There’s the lower torso under the arms and filling down into the elements to do…filling it with plants and animals. So I have to pick an animal or more than one to go in that space. I drew for a good hour and a half tonight, maybe longer. Oh yeah, I did the heron wing too…

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Much better. The bird just looked fucking weird without the wing. And something needs to fill the lower left space…but maybe I will know what that is later this week.

I made a list of shows to enter that are coming up too…some are easier to find stuff for than others. Stupid size requirements or themes that I just don’t cover.

Drawing puts me at peace in my head. It was a rough day. Nothing was working in the morning. Everything was frustrating, and I had come to some sort of peace with all the frustration early during prep period, but I could still feel it in me, like I was holding it struggling in a tight towel, like you hold a recently bathed cat, and it was uncomfortable and annoying, clawing at me. And then all of a sudden, it wasn’t. Because I solved like 17 problems in 20 minutes. And although the rest of the day still had annoying moments (it rained and I had the first day of duty and didn’t bring a coat), I came home and it was OK. I had achieved things. I felt OK with it all. But then the girlchild showed up and that was an issue…and maybe it was the start of the day still looming over me or maybe it’s just stupid old lady hormones, but that was enough to throw me off. I thought I was mostly past all the crying, but today…in fact, the last week…but who knows what that is? All these college apps and the girlchild’s stress just remind me that she will be gone in 8 months, and that will be incredibly difficult on one level and a relief on another. I love her, but she needs to go out there and be on her own and realize that the dishes don’t clean themselves. Seriously. But then I’m coming home to an empty house. And that feels OK when you know someone is showing up later, and sometimes a relief when that person is always just irritated with you or yelling at you, but still hugs you when she remembers you’re her mom and you’re not Satan. Yeah. Raising teens. Messy crap.

So all that. All that throws itself into a drawing of an Earth Mother covered in plants and animals. You see why it’s so hard to explain my stuff when I’m at an opening and someone who doesn’t know me says, “So what were you thinking when you made this?” Holy crap. What WASN’T I thinking? Yeah. Go big. Or don’t go.


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