I Recognize the Walls Inside*

October 23, 2017

Still sick…although functional. We’ll see how functional after I have to talk all day, right? And stand up for hours. Sick days are a joke. We had 3 teachers out on Friday and only one sub showed up. That’s our reality…and teaching science means even less of a chance they’ll show. I can let it be chaos in the classroom and have the kids get nothing done, or I can push on through. I think I’m better anyway…not well, just better. That’s a plus.

More stitching on the right side…realizing in two months, it will be done, so what shape do I want? I don’t think it will be square, filling the whole thing. That’s a consideration.

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Sleepy tired puppy.

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I made it into the studio for a little while yesterday, just over an hour. My parents’ dog Katie was in there too. Or is it Katey? I’m never sure. With dog names, you can never tell…my daughter’s dog is Calli, not Cali, because it’s short for Calliope, not California.

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Too much information. Here’s the fabrics I’ve used so far…

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Not as colorful as I originally planned…it will be lots of blue in the end. Blue on blue with a hint of blue.

Here’s the pile so far.

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I’m actually almost done…could easily finish tonight…so I probably will, depending on how I feel. I did get the OK to change my focus for the next quilt, so drawing that is on my list for the week…gotta get going on that one. I have a fairly free week coming up, although grading is a priority. I did a lot of that over the weekend too, although never enough. Gotta get my focus on. It helps to be well, doesn’t it? I think it might. I think I’ll try that later this week…

*Natalie Merchant, I May Know the Word


It’s Too Late to Say You’re Sorry*

October 22, 2017

Ugh. Well I’m sick again. This school year is kicking my butt. Too much work, can’t stay well…I usually get sick like once a year. It’s only October and it’s my second viral incursion. Damn immune system needs to get in gear. Makes it hard to stay caught up. Or whatever that means.

The gun quilt is at the photographer’s…will be picked up later this week. I was trying to get fabrics ironed for a small climate change quilt I started in June, just for fun…

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I’m not done. I did a little bit yesterday afternoon after grading shit, running errands, and trying to get other stuff done.

Friday night at gaming, I finished Block 15 (bottom right) on Folk Tales (I always call it Folk Tails because of all the animals).

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Block 15 is part of May, but I haven’t done April yet…so I started on that.

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There are three blocks for April, and I have a lot of embroidery to do on them. Expect to see them rolling around for a while.

Then I realized I hadn’t touched this in days. I did 4 day’s worth around the eyeball…a bunch of filler stitches.

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However interesting and challenging it’s been to work on this, and whatever bullheadedness it takes to keep working on it every day for a year, I probably won’t sustain it beyond December 31. It was an interesting experiment. No idea what I’ll do with it…maybe make it the center of a small crazy quilt in all black backgrounds. Who knows? Because I need more projects.

I emailed the woman in charge of the project I’m supposed to be working on next to see if I could change my focus. Much as climate change worries me and however many ideas about it are clamoring for my artistic attention, women’s rights are weighing much more heavily on me right now…and a new drawing for this project popped into my head last night on the way back from the Visions Art Museum opening for Interpretations. It had absolutely nothing to do with the art I saw there…but it’s in my head now. I wanted to start drawing last night, but after about 9:30, I felt like absolute crap and was in bed before 10:30. See, that’s how you know I’m sick. I can’t do anything.

Today is a fiber-related meeting…long drive and interactions with humans. I’m not always up for that. Right now I’m tired and not feeling at my best, stressed about the grading that needs to get done, worried about getting this quilt started so I can get going on it. Probably need to go take more meds. Drink more tea. Maybe nap. Who knows. No time for napping. Shit needs to get done.

*Malcolm McLaren, About Her

It’s Not a Miracle We Needed*

October 20, 2017

Better. A little more focus. I appreciate that. My brain allowing some space for artmaking, even if it isn’t the most challenging part of the process.

First I made time to hang out with friends…I took this to keep sewing down wool for the next month…

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My parents’ dog is visiting, so when I got home, I hadn’t seen one of the cats for a while. They don’t like the dog, because she’s a little too interested in them. I finally found her in a cubbyhole in my office…

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I didn’t get far on the wool piece…but the hyena(?) just needs eyeballs. I think I might need to sew something together to do the sun…

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It’s not a priority at the moment.

The next part of the quilt I was ironing down, after some fish and stuff, was the tree that makes up the majority of her lower torso. It’s intertwining roots, and it was fun to draw, but not as fun to trace, and pretty mind-boggling to pick fabrics for…

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But I did it. That puts me at about piece 175. Super slow on this…but just trying to give myself the space to draw sometime soon. I will finish picking fabrics…but I could draw at the same time. If I had the mental space. It really is too much school stress weighing on me.

I’ll get there. Here’s everything ironed so far…lots of tree parts…

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Funny, I really think of this quilt as bright, but brown is never really bright.

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Anyway. It’s progress. It’s something.

*Phoenix, 1901

I Can Do No More

October 19, 2017

Well. So. Some days you just write off. I did get some of this…

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And honestly, that’s a good thing. I tried grading (almost fell asleep doing it), I tried reading the book I’m supposed to be reading for school (more almost falling asleep), I hung out, I went to book club, but mostly just to hang out. I’m tired and stressed and cranky and overwhelmed and worried about getting the next drawing done and a whole bunch of other shit.

So today is going to be better. I’m going to hang out and do some hobby sewing and then come back and maybe grade a little and then work on the ironing of this small quilt to fabric so I can start drawing on Saturday or Sunday. Don’t look at the calendar for the next week, because it’s ugly. I’m gonna do what I can do. I can do no more.

You Paid Me Well in Memories*

October 18, 2017

Everything takes too long. Everything you don’t feel like doing or don’t want to do, it takes forever. It actively gets in the way of the stuff you wanna do. It’s like a large man in a smelly suit standing in front of the dessert menu. Seriously. Move it, dude.

I worked last night…grading stuff. I have to. It needs to get done.

But I couldn’t do it forever. I still don’t have the mental space to draw. I don’t know when I will. Soon I hope. Time is dribbling away in days. Watching the countdown on my phone. Crap! Holding onto 17 daily tasks that pop up on the phone and then I still forget to do them, slot them into the calendar for the next day. Hope I remember them eventually. I start ignoring the reminders. Not good.

So I guess my yearbook alter ego for this year isn’t quite right. Oh well.

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This is blurry. It’s not your eyes. I did some stitching under (on top of?) the eyeball.

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This is the only exercise this thing is getting right now. Me too. It doesn’t help when it’s 100 degrees out.

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So I gave up and started ironing this at 10:30 last night. I couldn’t do anything else. I figure I can iron it to fabric and then it can sit around for a while again.

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Hopefully when I get done with ironing, I’ll have a drawing brain.

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I didn’t get a lot done…remembered I had to put all the other fabrics away, and then got lost in trying to make the blues work.

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It’s something though…and that’s good.

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It’s where my brain goes when school is too stressful. I’m not even sure why it’s so bad at the moment…too much stuff to do? Pressure of being observed by someone you don’t even know (that part sucks)? Who knows.

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Midnight doesn’t. But she’s inhabiting the blue drawer.

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She waited until I found all the blues I needed before she plopped her fat butt in there. Good thing.

OK…meeting before school…maybe too many meetings is the problem? Could be.

*A Fine Frenzy, Think of You

You’re Just the Gravel on the Road*

October 17, 2017

Between quilts, there’s usually a few days, sometimes a week, of downtime, of braindeadness, of not being able to take on the next piece because my brain is still in the last one. Sometimes I have the next one right there and I’m able to jump right into it. This seems to work best when the drawing is already done. Certain parts of artmaking take more brain presence than others: drawing, picking fabrics…that might be it! Amusing. Mostly I’m a worker bee completing the task set to me, more than an artist in creation mode. I don’t mind that though. It’s meditative…it’s part of the process.

So I finished a quilt on Sunday night. I came home last night and ironed it and dehaired it for the photographer…it goes today. I have the next one started. Currently it looks like this…

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Except bigger…that’s from July 3. Yes, that long ago. I have a page in my notebook with a list of things that need to go into this quilt and I’m not sure how all that is going to happen or whether I might just have to start over (it happens), so I’m just letting it all ferment in my head for a day or too. I don’t want to start and not get it right. The last quilt…I felt really unsure about it until it went together in fabric. Then I could see it. I want to feel better about this one. It’s not about making them fast because of a theme…it’s about making them true to me. Which I do…but sometimes it’s harder than others.

I couldn’t deal with that drawing last night…so I found other ways to be creative. This is where it’s good to have some things lying around. I have some hobby sewing I do…you see it here pretty often. There’s this one…I’ve been working on it for 5-10 minutes a day since Jan 1.

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I added two nights’ worth of fern stitch in the bottom right.

Then there’s this one…the bird quilt. I spent quite a bit of time last night spacing out, watching Dark Matter and trying to get this green stem stitched down. Didn’t finish.

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And then this one…I traced the Wonder Under back in June. It’s small, less than 400 pieces. I needed something to do last night, so I sorted the pieces into 100s.

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I don’t know if I’ll pick fabrics tonight or if I’ll have the brainpower to draw the next one.

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But it’s ready to go. I do have a countdown on the next one…it has to be done and photographed in 75 days. I thought I had a ton of time on this last one, and it really stretched me…it was 14 days early, but I had a similar chunk of time, starting August 15 or so, and this next one will be more complicated. It sounds like a ton of time, but it’s not. The holidays are in there…pro: more time to create…con: more not-art shit you gotta do. So I can’t really take time out to make a whole new quilt before I start that one. But I might be able to allow myself two days to pick fabrics before I start drawing. Maybe. I’ll think about it.

Seriously, I’m harder on myself with artmaking (well, and with school) than anyone else could be. I didn’t grade last night. I should have. Oh well.

This morning’s sky. I like being able to see the sunrises…except I don’t like being up early. As the days get shorter, this is good though. Another three weeks of sunrises and then Daylight Savings Time…

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And I lose them again for a while.

*Tom Waits, Day after Tomorrow

I’m a God-Dang Rolling Stone*

October 16, 2017

Monday mornings. You know already what most of the day looks like. It’s gonna be hot. There’s a cool thing you’re doing in science, but then kids have to turn a major assignment in, and that’s always a hassle. “Did you mean TODAY? I’m not ready.” So where I worked over the weekend to make sure stuff was graded and done for YOU, you chose to do nothing, the same kids I caught trying to do their homework in class on Friday. We don’t work at home? I do. Maybe that’s a mistake (I don’t think it is), but certainly it’s something you should know how to do. Being successful in college doesn’t mean getting it all done in class…the same with many jobs. You make time for fun stuff too, true. I do that. Not as well as some of my students, ironically. Ending the day with my favorite past time…a staff meeting. Oh yeah baby.

So in good news, I finished the quilt. My photographer’s not answering email (minor issue)…but it’s ready for photography. It took almost 100 hours. Seriously, like 7 minutes short of 100 hours. I spent a good chunk of time on Saturday and Sunday sewing down binding and sleeves. Big is not fast in this instance…

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Saturday night was out and about…this had no name…but I loved it.

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Plus this sign…

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And these lights…

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Home relatively early, so I did three nights of catchup on this…

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Finishing the eyeball. Still not as free and loose as I’d like, but maybe that’s just me.

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Last night, I inked the quilt…just some additional shading and detail. Sometimes I feel like they need it…sometimes they don’t.

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And then I piled it up on the ironing board, ready for ironing and dehairing for the photographer.

It’s hard when you finish one (late, like 9:30 at night) and you have the next one ready, but you’re not ready to start it…mentally. I often don’t have a lot of down time between pieces, and the next one is a drawing that’s enlarged and ready for all the rest of it. But I needed some space from this last one. I graded for a while…was really efficient for once. But I’d been on Facebook and Instagram, and the #MeToo stuff was getting to me. For one thing, I don’t like following a lot of trendy/fad stuff online. But this was legit, in that I think most men don’t have a clue that every woman or female-identifying person around them has dealt with this…and not just once…many, many times, some violently, some so vague that you didn’t know it happened until you were processing the day in your head. Some annoying, some creepy, some downright scary. It’s harder having a daughter, because you know she’ll deal with it too, and you’re fairly sure you didn’t prepare her for it, especially because she comes home and tells you about some incident where her friend behaved the way you would have, shut it down, but your own kids thought you were just paranoid, when in reality, you’d just tried to impart years of bad experiences, and obviously didn’t say it right. Or because of that mom/daughter thing, she doesn’t listen. She has to make her own experiences, and you hope that it’s more of the mild instances and not the scary ones. The irritating, annoying, is that all you think I’m here for? instances. Instead of the ones where you’ve got your keys in between your fingers and your heart is racing and you’re evaluating all the ways out and how fast you can run. Or even worse, it’s your boss and the way out means losing your job and benefits and you can’t really afford to do that.

So I drew. It’s not an awesome drawing. It’s just a drawing. I’m a visual person. So there it is.

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And I’m lucky to have one of those men in my life who’s sitting there shocked at all the women in his FB feed who are typing out that hashtag, and who comes in and hugs me, says he’s sorry, sorry for all those assholes who don’t get it, who think they’re entitled, who may not even realize what they’re doing, because they don’t think before they act, or worse, those who have thought about it and can’t see why not. Does this hashtag rebellion reduce the impact of what Harvey Weinstein did? Fuck no…because he’s in a position of power, but even those who aren’t think this behavior is OK, and we need all those men who do NOT think it’s OK to yell about it too…because we women already know it’s all too easy to tune our voices out.

On that cheery note, happy Monday. May y’all survive the start of the work week, and maybe the catcalls and abuse will abate slightly today because of everyone putting it out there.

*The Roots, The Seed (2.0)