I Labeled Stuff

May 4, 2016

My internet is strolling through the park this morning with a dog on a leash who wants to smell every leaf. It will be a miracle if I get this posted before I have to leave. I have no interesting pictures of progress from last night…it’s not that I didn’t do anything. It’s just that all I did was iron two quilts flat and then put labels on them and sew them down. It was very exciting (not) and took more time than I thought it should. Plus I didn’t get much sleep the night before (damn bird, silly dogs, crazy cat), so I actually went to bed before midnight…barely. I don’t get much done when I’m asleep, unfortunately…at least nothing tangible. But the labels needed doing, and now I’m ready to deliver the two quilts on Saturday…well, once I dehair them and cut a dowel or two. Nothing is quick and easy.

But I labeled stuff.

I had to grade stuff first…same with every day, I guess. I just blow it off some nights. Or it’s just too exhausting to look at it again. I’m always behind. Until the last day of school. Even then sometimes. I’m realizing I don’t have a good handle on some of the stuff I have to teach next year. I’m a life-science teacher…have been for years. I didn’t take much science in college, but I worked in scientific publishing and I read a lot, so I made it through the teacher tests. But I had a teacher in high school who seemed to do everything in his power to make sure I didn’t understand anything, so some things are just mush in my head. I feel like I need to read a good college textbook, but they’re hella boring. Maybe two…maybe chemistry and physics. For old people. With pictures. Seriously, I’m a visual learner. All about molecules and nuclear fission. Maybe a short stint on atoms. OK. Maybe a longer stint on atoms. Something to think about for summer I guess.

So no artmaking for real last night…but hopefully tonight. I was even going to put up some of the Artwalk artists here today, but I can’t get them to pop up, so either my internet needs to fix itself while I’m gone, or I’ll need to restart some routers and crap when I get home. Wish that stuff really could fix itself. Or at least tell me what it needs.

I do have a piece that will be in Sandy, Utah, this weekend at the Sew Original Quilt & Creative Expo show. This is Part-Time Oasis, part of the Oasis show put on by SAQA and traveling around…

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I made it last summer and it’s been wandering around, getting lost at one point.

Ah, the internet returneth, prodigal son and all.

One of the Artwalk artists was Sue Britt…from a distance, when I was walking up to her booth, I was sure I was looking at quilts, at fabric, but her work is paper…and sculptural.

Here’s a video of her inspiration about one of her pieces and her work.

It’s short, but you can see how she makes her work. She’s local and has a studio at Spanish Village in Balboa Park.

I don’t have time for any more, but I’ll get back to them. And for me? The goal is art tonight. Stuff I can photograph and write about, instead of boring old labels.

Thank You for Continuing to Hold

May 3, 2016

Apparently I never finished this in the morning. So here it is now…I guess you really had to hold, if you’re used to reading me in the morning…

So I finished hand sewing that 17 miles of sleeve on last night. Tonight I’ll put labels on the two quilts. I didn’t grade anything, because I’m lame. I did walk two dogs (OK, I got help about halfway through, but odds are I would have survived it). While I was sewing, I had an idea for filling more of the torso, so I headed over to the drawing. I’m really close to done, so my brain is sort of in overtime. I’m writing this right now while I’m on hold with financial aid because, and this is really stupid but true, TurboTax rounds W2 numbers so the line on the 1040 is not exactly the same, and Cornell’s financial aid cannot handle that, so I have to call and explain it to them so they’ll stop sending emails that they don’t match. Because they don’t. By 49 cents. I’m willing to concede that 49 cents, but Cornell is not. So I’m on hold with the same shitty music as last year. Getting a crick in my neck…wait, put it on speaker phone.

Thank you for continuing to hold.

So I thought of an owl and fit it into the space below the ribcage…

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It’s not particularly big. Then I added violets around the owl and raccoon, daisies in the rib space above the owl, and some bits and pieces around the rest of it to balance everything out…some landscaping behind the giraffe, another grape leaf, another tree.

Julie’s asking for a piece count, but I already know this one will be a bitch. I’m not expecting it to be easy or fast, so I’m OK with that. So all I have left is the torso above the hand. I have a few more ideas of what to draw up there, but nothing’s beating me around the head and shoulders. I guess I have to sit and wait for that. No rush…I’m still trying to finish up the other quilt/art stuff for now. At some point, I’ll think it’s a rush, but not yet. As the end of school rushes towards me. Aaargh.

Nothing else cool is going on but this stuff…and I’m finally off hold and talking to a human. HOO MAHN.

It Won’t Take Long…

May 2, 2016

So here’s what I know now, after last night: at 4:35 AM, the mockingbird shuts up. Totally quiet. Asleep even. Me? Not so much. That was a clusterfuck of not sleeping. OK. It’s all right. It’s Monday…always a rough day. I’m just gonna roll with it.

Grades are due Tuesday. I spent some time this weekend dealing with stuff that needed to be graded and then filling in all the the secondary grades, behavior and effort, then all the comments. Sometimes I don’t do comments for progress reports, but I want parents to know why their kid has the grade they have. And so many of them are one or two assignments from passing, but they don’t make the effort. Frustrating on my end. Maybe on theirs too. But seriously, if I’ve been telling the parents, in one case, for 4 weeks that she has two missing assignments and what they are, and those assignments still haven’t shown up, then hell, she deserves the damn F. I just don’t understand it.

So that frustration over, I considered grading some more and then slapped myself around a bit (seriously, enough is enough), and thought about what I needed to get done this week in the art arena. I have two quilts to deliver to a show on Saturday. One needs a bottom sleeve…it’s big and I made it before I automatically started putting bottom sleeves on. Then two need labels. Huh. Well, there’s a quilt under the machine that’s almost done…I should just finish it so I don’t have to switch machine foot and thread more than once. It won’t take long.

Last words of crazy people…it won’t take long.

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Two hours later, I finally finished.

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It took about 5 1/2 hours to quilt this. I’m not even sure why it took so long. Thread breakage maybe. It needs ink, embroidery, and a binding. I might deal with that this week. I might not. I really only needed it done so I could use the machine for the other thing. But hell, if that gets it done, then so be it.

Here’s the next two things hanging around…the one on the left needs quilting. I’m cutting out the pieces for the one on the right.

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I just haven’t done anything with it since Thursday. I’ll get there.

First this beast needs a sleeve. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any more of the brown or enough of the binding fabric, which is what I used for the top sleeve, but I think the gray will do well enough.

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I only really care because we’re hanging this one in the center of the gallery, so there won’t be a wall behind it. So it’s best if the back is not too chaotic. Hence the need for the second sleeve as well…it will hang much better with weight on the bottom.

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So I made a second sleeve and pinned it on, and now I get to sew it on. Some quiet hours poking holes in my finger…unless I remember to put those plasticky protective pads on. That would be smart, wouldn’t it? Let’s hope I remember. Then labels for this one and the little one that goes with it…which also needs dowels. By Saturday. Plenty of time. Let’s hope I get more art done than that this week.

I also went to Artwalk this weekend…saw some good art and a lot of schlock, as always. I’ll post about some of it when I get my act together. Or sooner. Whichever makes sense.


Feminism? Or Not.

April 30, 2016

I started this post two years ago and was collecting links, but really, I should just let it go out into the world…as I tell you about the new show I’m in, Feminism Now. It’s not the 1st, 2nd, or the 3rd wave…it’s just what we are now, and if you’re a woman and you think you should get equal pay and not get harassed when you’re on the internet or out in the real world, for any reason…your clothes, your looks, whatever…then as Maisie Williams offered up, it’s not that you’re a feminist…”I also feel like we should stop calling feminists ‘feminists’ and just start calling people who aren’t feminist ‘sexist’ — and then everyone else is just a human. You are either a normal person or a sexist. People get a label when they’re bad.” And I don’t care if you’re male or female or identify somewhere else, if you don’t agree that it should be as equal as we can get it? Then you are sexist. You are making it worse for everyone with your attitudes. Knock it off.

Here’s the announcement for the show…the opening is May 14, 6-10 PM, at Gallery D in Barrio Logan. It’s during the Barrio Art Crawl, so there are about three galleries just within walking distance of Gallery D and others close by.

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I have two pieces in the show about being a single mom and what that looks like…one from 2011 and one from 2016…the updated version.

This is an interesting article about sexual harassment and geek culture by Dr. Nerdlove.

Here is an interesting article about the role women’s magazines played in the beginnings of feminism. Because I used to read mom’s magazines, Better Homes and Gardens, Good Housekeeping, etc. when I was growing up. And they do make you question how you’re doing it…I’m Womaning Wrong is the basic message I got out of it.

Here is an article about feminism and comics, another issue…”For me, a feminist comic is one in which female characters aren’t just a plot device providing male characters with an opportunity to react. They aren’t a thing to be rescued, fucked, killed and discarded. Feminist comics show women as people, not tits and ass whose stories are only interesting if they’re sexy.” –Casey Gilly, providing a list of 15 feminist comics. And yes, there are way more than what’s here, and I love that we are now seeing choices out there for girls and women to read…because we ARE reading comics and watching sci fi and playing games, and y’all need to get with the program and respect us.

Here is a page Lucy Knisley did about nerd girls.

Here is a BuzzFeed article by Kristen Radtke called Let’s Draw Naked about why we should have more depictions of women drawn by female comics doing things normal women do…so boys realize how normal those things are and stop calling us names for being normal. And now let’s add in ideas of sexuality and trans and gender-queer and accept those in comics and stories and gaming and movies.  And even in toys for kids. The whole Star Wars Where’s Rey? issue. Seriously people. Do you HATE us?

Here is an article about a Gender in Comics panel at San Diego Comicon 2014…and I love the comment that Laura Hudson (writer, “Wired”; former EiC, ComicsAlliance) makes,  “If you’ve grown up in a situation where everything is about you and is catered to you, I think there is a degree to which equality can be perceived as oppression,” said Hudson. “If you’re used to having everything be about you, to some degree, and then suddenly it’s not, I guess in a way you perceive that as oppression.” And in recent discussions about all the superhero movies and how they portray females…sure, some of them are STRONG, but then they’re dead. Or being saved by Thor. Or whatever. Hudson continues, “If you work in the bell factory long enough you stop hearing the bells. I think super hero comics has stopped hearing the bells for a long time, but now you have other people coming in from the outside and [the gender issues in super hero comics are] very apparent. Having the Internet, having these other perspectives that are suddenly in front of us and are not subject to gatekeepers and are far more able to be heard exposes a lot of [these issues].”

Here is a blogpost about how to figure out if you’re a feminist. If you’re still reading, you probably are. If you clicked off and are now swearing about hairy women who just need a good fucking, well, you’re gone, so I’m not talking to you anyway. That’s the problem with talking about feminism…the ones who really need to hear it aren’t listening. Well, except for the boys who THINK they’re all pro-women and talk the talk, but they don’t walk the walk. Their actions show them to be what they really are. They WANT to be feminists, but they don’t have enough empathy with women to actually BE one. By the way, this blogpost is funny. It’s not a test or anything.

Here’s an article about why feminism needs men. It’s fucking annoying, honestly, that we can’t just say, HEY, you fuckwads are doing it wrong without men having to support it for it to be real. There’s one of the major things wrong with society Right Fucking There. That said, if you’re a man and calling yourself a feminist and ACTING like it too (because you can’t just say it, you have to show it), then thanks. At least you’re not one of the bad guys.

Oh shit. Don’t accuse me of hating men. I don’t. I hate power trips and sexism and violence against anyone and I really hate that like over 60 million girls don’t have access to a decent education Just Because They’re Girls. That is truly fucked up. But I don’t hate men. Because feminism doesn’t mean hating men. It means hating privilege and inequality and violence and stereotypes and all that. Are you really gonna say you’re pro all that stuff?

Here’s an article about Anita Sarkeesian and the whole sexism in video games issue. If you’re a man who thinks there’s no problem here, wow. You need to be a woman for a month. Maybe then you’ll get it. In fact, that’s one of the things that drives me nuts. Men who don’t think there’s a problem. Way to downplay my existence, asshole. Why not speak up for women’s rights and deflect some of the rape and killing anger that has been directed at women who dare to criticize the gaming industry. Because I look at all those games and I know I don’t belong, simply because of how my people look when I log in. Even the book from Cory Doctorow, In Real Life, the young girl gamer picks an avatar who is much much skinnier than she is…and why? Because we know you don’t want to look at us any other way but cute and pretty and laughing at your jokes.

It’s not like there haven’t been new links about sexism in the last two years. I think I just got really overwhelmed by the negative vibes towards feminism…especially with politicians and tampons and Trump and pregnancy and my growing invisibility because I’m not a hot 25-year-old (wait. I never was a hot 25-year-old). Coming up next…my women’s art group is doing a show on Sexism in the Art World, and yeah, we’re going after Comicon as well. Because if we keep yelling, maybe y’all will stop. Or start making it all equal. Like it should be. So posting this now…with added content.

Bits and Pieces

April 29, 2016

I’m still plodding along on this drawing…it’s getting there. Last night, I was on a roll…I started by drawing grapes (because there aren’t enough tiny freakin’ pieces in this thing). Then I added the gecko above the hand and another tree by the giraffe to fill that empty space.

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Then I added the raccoon. Meanwhile, despite the late hour here and in Boston (AM hour really), girlchild and I had a discussion about whether raccoons are evil or not. They’re not. She says they are. Something about one that runs out in front of the van she drives for school.

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But it’s not often you see one in the same drawing as an ovary.

So I’m filling up the space, slowly. I need more ideas…

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My brain usually obliges. Give it time. It took about an hour last night to do what I did.

Before that, I had quilt class, so I started cutting out pieces for the smaller quilt I’m doing…

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On the left, that’s about 2 hours’ work. Doesn’t look like much, does it? It never does until it’s all ironed together. I’m kinda looking forward to that part…but I’m really tired right now, and I haven’t even started school. I’m not expecting a burst of energy tonight. We have an outdoors assembly today, so I need to remember sunscreen. Last weekend, I sat out in the late afternoon sun for about 20 minutes and got sunburnt. Me paleface. It didn’t even cross my mind that I might need sunscreen. I need skin that changes color with the sun, like those glasses do. So yeah, an hour in the sun for an assembly might kill me.

Anyway, looking forward to some Vitamin D. And cutting stuff out. And working on the drawing. She’s got 10 1/2 hours into her so far. Impressive. Lots of staring time though. I joked earlier this year about finishing a quilt every month in 2016, but then I blew it with the March finish by deciding three days later that it needed ink…on the 1st of April. So there was technically no March finish. Well there won’t be a late-April finish either. No way. But there should be a May finish. I guess that’s something to aim for. If I do this big one next, no way will it be done in June. I’ll aim for early July. Planning it out. Getting bits and pieces done each day.

Why Now?

April 28, 2016

Yesterday was interesting. I gave a test. I’ve given a few tests this year. I always give the kids a study guide (required) with all the test questions and then they can use an index card on the test, with anything they need on the card. I’ve had so much apathy this year, from kids and parents, that it’s truly been one of the most frustrating years for me ever. I’ve questioned everything I’ve done all year, and finally sort of gave up on them. I couldn’t persuade them to turn work in, to prepare for a test, to give a shit. Until today. And I swear, I did nothing different, but today, almost every single kid turned in a study guide, most of them complete. Almost every single kid had a card. It’s like lightning hit them and their brains lit up with “OH YEAH! That’s how you STUDENT!” I was boggled. I didn’t know whether to be ecstatic that they finally figured that shit out, or annoyed that it took them so long, or just fucking confused because WHY NOW? Why not all the other times? What was different?

I think I just input those grades and hope to heaven the test grades improved as well, and never think an entire year is a failure…know that it might happen in the 10th month of the year that they finally figure it out. This is the stuff that bugs the crap out of me when people talk about making teachers accountable. I did nothing different in the first few months of the year, then started noticing the failing trend, the inability to turn work in…and I tried to figure out how to make things work better, worked MY ass off, honestly, worried myself, stressed out, blamed myself, had a really hard year. I’m not sure anything I did made a difference. Or they just reacted to all my work so slowly that I couldn’t see it happening.

I’m boggled. Still. I hope their test scores match up with the work they did…because then they’ll see the connection.

I was exhausted when I got home though. I walked the room while they tested…you don’t think about walking all day, how tiring it is, until you get home and sit down. There were things I wanted to do, and I was just too tired. I finished up some grades on an assignment, input all the stuff from today, and then made dinner. Then I did seating charts, because it’s time to move them around again to try to deal with some behavior issues.

Next step in the artmaking process? Trimming fabric pieces or finishing the big drawing. I know I’m going to quilt class tonight, which is a good place to trim stuff, so I decided to try to fit a giraffe on the drawing instead, because it had been in my head since last week sometime.

I found a picture that worked in the space and made the decision to have her standing in front of the rib she crosses over. I’m not sure what I’ll do with the others…maybe it will be a rib-by-rib decision.

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Then I had this small blankish area to the left of the giraffe, under the uterus. Tulips! Of course. I can’t really explain how things pop into my head as I’m staring at these blank spaces, but they do.

This is actually a pretty large space to fill…even with the ribs drawn in.

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It was after midnight by then, so I stopped. I’m not sure what to draw next. I have notes about bees and lizards and cactus, although I already put a prickly pear in. I already put in a cat…there’s always a cat. I always have birds too…I think the crane counts for that, although there might be more later. I’m debating a raccoon, after watching Guardians of the Galaxy while grading last night and staring at Rory from Furiously Happy for so many days. Probably putting a furiously happy raccoon in there won’t fit, but a real one might. I’ll think about it.

Turns out my Celebrating Silver quilt Awakening the Crone will be traveling to China, once again having a way better vacation than I ever do. The whole show will be at the 2016 8th Asia Quilt Festival in Shanghai, China, from September 21-23, 2016.

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I keep waiting for the organizers to email me and say all of them are going except mine, but that hasn’t happened yet. Cool beans.

Willy Nilly

April 27, 2016

So the good news is that I finished ironing all the pieces down onto fabric on the newest quilt. It’s not a huge piece, maybe 18×26″ or so. It’s from one of my smaller sketchbooks. It’s not FOR anything, no show, no deadline. Although it technically has no nudity in it, so that’s a plus for those weird little shows that want small pieces but can’t show boobies. After the last few demanding pieces, I wanted to do something just for me, something mellow, something easy, something that didn’t have a million hours attached to it. So it took about 5 hours and 45 minutes to pick out fabrics. Next I’ll start trimming them, probably at my quilt class on Thursday. I might work on the drawing tonight, try to get it done, since it’s probably the next one I’ll work on. That perennial debate between working on what I want to work on, and trying to make work that will get into shows. Everything has a theme and this one doesn’t fit many of them. That’s why I’m doing it though. Just a break from the artistic rat race.

So I had all these cactus spikes lined up in order for ironing…

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I had misnumbered some of them (I do this all the time), so there’s double numbers with letters to tell them apart, but in the long run, it’s cactus spikes. It doesn’t matter much. I actually used three different colors of spikes. Kinda crazy there.

Here’s the fabrics I used. Shit. I usually count them.

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64 fabrics for a piece that has about 400 pieces. I needed lots of variety in the greens because she has lots of different types of plants covering her, from cactus to vines to sunflowers.

Here’s the pile, ready to be cut out…

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It’s not a very big pile. I figure cutting them out will take less than 4 hours. I do remember that I’m missing part of her eyeballs. I had the Wonder Under pieces and then they disappeared. Probably on a fluffy cat butt somewhere.

I have two other smallish drawings like this that I copied and numbered. I thought I would work on them next, but I think looking at the time available (and yes, I am already thinking about summer projects…), I need to start on the big one next. I like to have at least one big project planned for summer, since I have more free time for long bouts of standing at an ironing board without having to work the whole day before I do that. I have a job that requires a lot of standing and walking. I hardly ever sit down. So walking all day and then standing all night is pretty tiring.

Last year I did it a little differently though. I had a piece I wanted to work on that I started in May or so and finished in late June…there was a show I wanted to enter. Ironically, it didn’t get in, but another piece did. Then I wanted to enter another show at the end of July, so I finished a smallish piece for that. It’s been gone since September, I think. Some of that was a shipping issue (not mine), but it won’t come back until late October this year, I think. Then I finally worked on the big monster piece for the summer, not starting until the end of July, which honestly, is right before school starts. This year, we have to go back August 15 (oh god, way too early). So the summer is really July. I didn’t finish that big piece until right before it was due, the end of October I think. Or was it September? Can’t remember. End of September. And I forgot the other giant Earth Mother I did last year, which I finished in April. It’s strange for me to finish a big piece during the Spring. It’s so crazy at school this time of year. But I had a deadline for that one as well.

So there’s the question. Do I work better with deadlines? Yeah probably. More efficiently anyway. So I guess I have to accept their existence. If I sucked at it, I might be able to ignore them and wander willy nilly through my artmaking process, but I’m deadline-oriented and it makes me get work done. So there we are. Try to pick deadlines that make sense with my work and not just make it for the theme. Make the stuff I would make anyway.

But instead of making right now (and I would like to be, trust me…know that I leave for work most days with art screeching at me to STAY STAY!), I need to work to pay the bills. Like most of us do…


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