Daylight Licked Me into Shape*

October 25, 2016

I think that’s the longest blog break I’ve taken in a while. No real good reason except out of cell area one morning, out of time the other two days. The weekend was busy and it fell over into Monday as well. Sometimes that happens. I’m so used to writing daily, though, that it felt weird.

I think these are from Friday morning…I’m not sure…I know I found these glasses in my classroom a couple of years ago and no kid would ever claim them. Weird, right? But I think they go with the nightstand.


I had started drawing down below…all the down below stuff, ironically.


Then Friday after school, I drove in the dark to Agua Caliente to a friend’s bachelorette weekend. This was my home for 24 hours…


Cute little thing. Actually not so little. We hung out in the pool, tie-dyed, didn’t hike (WAY too hot, even in October), and napped. OK. I read. I didn’t nap. Here was my before shirt picture.


Interesting what plants are out there…


I had to drive 2 miles out of camp to get cell service to tell people I was alive and well. These guys were everywhere.


I never got a picture of the ocotillos…

We played Cards Against Humanity…always fun…although I had to wait until I got home to Google “YOU MUST CONSTRUCT ADDITIONAL PYLONS.” Because it’s from some military sci fi game I’ve never heard of…and I’m OK with that.


So then I drove back in the dark on Saturday night, worked most of Sunday on school and art stuff, and then went to see the Proclaimers. Last time I saw them was in the late 80s and I remembered their show as really good and raucous. They did not disappoint. They were still awesome, even though I realized how many albums they’d released that I’d never heard of. It was a good show.


But then I took Monday off work because. Well. Yeah. Because. Because I never take personal days and I needed one. I slept in and picked up the dogs and got stamps and voted while researching and texting back and forth with the girlchild about the 223-page booklet of propositions we have in California at the moment.

And then I graded. For hours. While texting my co-teacher, who was back at school and stuck in a staff meeting where she was supposed to be planning with me. Oh well.

I walked both dogs (the parentals are home and their dog is back with them…the cats are pleased), fully expecting to be rained on at some point, but it wasn’t until we got back that we got thunder and lightning and pouring rain. Calli hates thunder. REALLY hates it. This was an hour later, when she was either hugging my leg or the cabinets or both. Poor baby.


After dinner, I gave up on grading, plus the girlchild called.

And then I drew. This had been in my head since Friday.


I did most of the other side last night in a couple of hours…


I think it’s done. Maybe.

And then I started on the top.


It’s not done. But it’s more done than it was. So far, I have about 4 hours of drawing on this. I still need to varnish it, so I have to be sure it will be dry by Tuesday. I’m hoping to do it Friday or Saturday at the latest. It would be nice to have more than one coat on.

And then I can move on to the next set of deadlines, which are admittedly less crazy, but only slightly so. I know what I’m doing over Thanksgiving Break…let’s just say that.

*The Cure, Just Like Heaven

Lovin’ Is What I Got*

October 20, 2016

Ah my brain is fuzz. I blame the 150-pound raccoon on my property. Long story.

So I think I’m done with the quilted piece. I want to trim some of the batting away, but I think as far as the show goes, it’s really done. I may rethink it once this show is over.

So now I have to focus on the nightstand itself. Ugh. My brain. First of all, it’s hard for me to draw on something that is upright in front of me. And not flat. But I started.


I’m not sold on it yet…it needs a lot more. Seriously. This is one side and it’s not done. I kind of hate it at the moment. Artists are supposed to admit that shit. I do have more book pages I can paste on over it if I really hate it.

My brain was blanking last night, though. So I went to bed and started brainstorming other things I would draw on there. Dreams. Hopes. Nightmares. What do we write books about? Why do we read books? Pretty much that’s everything, right? I’ll work on it more tonight. Some of the things I think of aren’t easy to portray in a drawing. Oh well. Still working.

I made it to book club finally last night, after like 5 months of not being able to go. I read all the books for each month. I just couldn’t get there. Amusingly, last night it was about a book I had last read in the mid-80s. But I’ve read the whole series. So I could talk about the whole thing. I just couldn’t remember what specifically happened in the first book. I just wanted to get the hell out of the house and be with other intelligent humans. So I achieved that.

I was amused by this.


Because Calli is on Katie’s bed. Simba is way too small for Calli’s bed (can I please please sleep on the big dog’s bed?), and Katie gets nothing. Simba has to be crated because he doesn’t behave at night.

Eventually everyone got a bed. Even me.

OK. That’s all I got.

*Sublime, What I Got

I Can’t Do Much from Way out Here*

October 17, 2016

Yeah. I took the weekend off writing. It really was just that I ran out of time. I regularly take Sunday off, but Saturday started with places I had to be, things I had to do, and I never got caught up enough to write. I got a lot done, though…so I guess that’s good. I’m still a little panicked about deadlines and having too much to do this week, but I’ll survive. I’m a few steps closer to being done with what has to be done.

I had ironing to do on Saturday…but Kitten really thinks of the iron as her own space heater…


I was trying to figure out how to attach the sheet to the background fabric and keep the bottom free, but also leave the possibility of finishing the top as a wall quilt.


For this show, I want it to hang free…but I don’t know if I want that in the long term…


So I figured that out, marked the fabric, cut and washed the background, and then headed off to the Visions opening (more on that later), plus band watching. I draw in bars a lot…this because I like the music, and I do sometimes dance, but I’m often in there for 4 hours or so, and that’s a long time for someone like me to just SIT there. So I draw.


I did two drawings…I don’t think this one is done…


Nice shadows though.

Sunday, after spending most of the day dealing with household stuff and a ton of grading (I think I described it as grading until my eyes bled), I finally got back to the problem…So I didn’t want a visible stitch line, because I want it to look like the sheet is just pulled up. So I started with Wonder Under underneath…


And once I had it attached, I hand-stitched the top and the folds…


Because if I want all that to hold when it’s hung on the wall, it’s got to be more than Wonder Under…you can see the stitching on the back…


Then I laid out the pieces where they belonged. I had to put another layer of white under her butt so the sheet wouldn’t show through so badly.


And then I did the stitch down, which took less than an hour, compared to the two hours it took me to get it all on there today.


I got it all stitched down…here’s the back.


I don’t even remember what my time estimates were before, but the ironing took a lot longer than I thought, mostly because of the sheet. Hopefully tonight I can sandwich it and start quilting. This is a crappy busy week, though, and I still need to draw on the nightstand. Sigh.

I’ll figure it out. I always do. I think I’m OK on time, actually, so I should stop panicking…but this week feels tight already. Starting with today, because I didn’t prep for today’s lab AND I have before-school duty…so I really need to be at school early. I’d much rather make art…honestly.

*Freedy Johnston, Save Yourself City Girl

You Can Ponder Perpetual Motion*

October 11, 2016

Aargh. I feel like this year is going to burn me out quicker than most school years, and not because of the kids (that’s usually what does it). I’m trying to do all the things I’m supposed to do to handle that, but it doesn’t seem to be enough. Yesterday I had a ton of professional development, although honestly it just felt like another way to make me do more work than I’m already doing. It’s enough to write curriculum from scratch…but to then have to do all this supplementary stuff on the curriculum I just wrote is killing my brain. When I got overwhelmed (and irritated) in the morning, I started drawing. Unfortunately, this is on the back of some crap I’m probably going to need later (and they told me I would need yesterday, but did not).

This is what it looks like when Nida is overwhelmed in a PD…


And it’s not because what they were saying was hard…honestly, I’ve seen most of it before, but then that just irritates me, and then they assigned some really vaguely worded homework for when we next meet, and I just don’t fucking care about their little projects that I have to jump through a hoop for. Let me plan. For god’s sake, let me get some grading done, because I’m buried. Stop telling me I have to do more.

This year. Damn. There are 17 other things I need to manage today that are school-related besides the two additional things that were assigned yesterday. Bastards.

So by the time I got home, I was antsy as hell. I just needed to like RUN somewhere (and my knees don’t go along with that much). I’ve been having a person issue with one of my walking routes with the dogs, so I didn’t want to drag all three dogs through that route…but I needed somewhere close. So I drove to the ex’s house with two dogs and picked up the third dog, and walked their butts off. Mine too…we needed it. OK. I needed it more than they did.

But I came home and dealt with grades, because I lost my prep period yesterday and didn’t have time to get them done. Plus I’m constantly trying to catch up.

Then I sanded this sucker for the nightstand project…in the dark. On the deck. With the dogs. Listening to the yelling down the road from a major accident…I heard it happen and then the yelling started. Sirens. They were yelling about a rollover. Scary stuff. It’s the turn I make onto my road and once a car barely avoided my ex with both kids in the car, taking out a mailbox instead.


Tonight I’m hoping to start gluing shit on it. Not really shit. You’ll see. The holes on the bottom are a bit of an issue. Trying to decide what to do about them. Quick fix. There’s metal screens in there. I don’t want to spend a lot of time dealing with the holes. And I’m not great with a power saw. I have a piece of wood that’s too wide…but it would just be one cut.

Then I settled down with scissors. I thought I could finish cutting these out last night, but I was too damn tired.


I’m maybe halfway done. Another thing to try to get done tonight. And grades. Always grades. In fact, I should be doing more of that right now…sometimes I do feel like a perpetual motion machine…

*Creedence Clearwater Revival, Up Around the Bend

When You Come Undone*

October 8, 2016

I know what I wanted to get to last night artwise and it didn’t happen. I was just too tired. My eyes have really been bugging me…getting all watery and tired. I’m blaming the weather, since we’re back to crazy warm again. Or just overuse. Or something. But I didn’t think I could pick fabrics last night when I couldn’t see straight. Perhaps staring at a computer for hours is part of it.

I came home from work…left there late because we are out in the morning on Monday for some training that I am not trying to think of as a waste of time at the moment. Because they say things like, “We’re giving you time to PLAAANNN…” but then it’s plan for what they think we should be doing and not what we’re really doing. Because this is about language standards in science…because we don’t make our kids write their asses off? And I don’t know what I’m doing? You’re right…a Comp. Lit. degree and years of editing does not mean I can write. Or the 500+ words I write almost every day…whatever. I hate saying whatever all the time, but professional development is meant to push up and support those who need it on some general topic…and if you’ve already got that, then you’re screwed. There’s stuff I need help with and I’ll never get it out of PD. Rant over. Well. For now.

And then the errands for my parental units…lots of work in that. Fought the traffic and finally got home, and my water was off. But the guy who did it was running up the road yelling “Miss! Miss!”. Reminded me of school. Got the water back on (they have to move the pipes due to the new behemoth…house that is being built at the bottom of the road. Dealt with dogs…only two last night. Then I worked. School. For about 5 hours. Straight. Ugh. There’s more. I gotta do more. Maybe not today. We’ll see.

So at 11:22 PM, I was thinking, well…what CAN I do…because standing up and going to the studio and cleaning up enough to start picking fabrics is so totally NOT happening at 11:22 PM on a Friday night after teaching all week.

And that is why I found the big sketchbook in my hand (finally…oh my, what a relief) and I just let the pen drift across the page, and this idea of hands pulling the upper layer apart to reveal something behind, that happened.


It’s weird. And it’s not done. But it felt nice while I was doing it. And that’s the point. That’s what my head needed. And honestly it needs a shitload more of it, because if I’m leaving work on a Friday night and facing the weekend, it shouldn’t feel like I’m trying to shove down a panic attack, and that’s what it felt like. I have some big heavy things that need moving, and I can’t do it by myself…both literally and metaphysically. I need help with that. So there’s that side of it, where I feel like I’m on my own and can’t ask for or find help, and then there’s the part where my job is currently so demanding, both of time and mental energy, that I can’t find the space to make art. To relax.

Anyway. Right now I need to make a bunch of deviled eggs for a potluck/art talk thing tonight where I’ll be one of the talkers. I have my Powerpoint done but I have no fucking clue what I’m going to say. Which is fine. And I’m hanging out with a friend midday, but have stuff on both sides of that which need to get done. So off the chair, out of this room, go get shit done.

*Duran Duran, Come Undone

There Was No Penis.

August 14, 2016

So. To clarify. There isn’t an actual penis in this quilt. Surely there are other things people could freak out about, but not a penis. So my quilt was pulled from AQS Grand Rapids because of something That Is Not Actually THERE. Yup. That’s something to be significantly irritated about. No number of cover-ups would help, because it’s just not fucking there.

I’d like to thank my readers for bringing up two penile possibilities though. First, here’s the full quilt again, for those who had a blessedly relaxing Saturday without staring at blogs or Facebook (good on you!).

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This quilt is I Was Not Wearing a Life Jacket, completed in September 2010, touring with the People and Portraits exhibit since October 2013. The title comes from a radio ad I was listening to while pondering the meaning of this quilt, which came almost entirely out of a running nightmare I had for over a week, where I was losing things in the water and people were standing around not helping, and I was diving down and trying to find the things I lost, which ranged from my phone to babies, actual babies, and I’d wake up panicked and breathing fast. Here’s the official statement (which I found very difficult to write…almost as difficult to explain the piece)…

Two sisters in a strange land.
A lost life jacket.
A nasty oil spill.
No explanation needed.

My dream inhabited by strangers.

So first of all, the two people in the water are sisters. I have been told the one on the right reads as a male. OK. I don’t really mind when people interpret my work. I put it out there and sometimes there’s a clear message and sometimes there’s not. It’s a surreal collection of crap that inhabited my head. This is one of those. It’s not the first one and it won’t be the last. Take from it what you will.

I started with a bunch of smaller drawings of pieces of the nightmare…done mostly while waiting for dinner at a restaurant. The woman giving birth (except no umbilical cord in this one…think this was more about the losing a baby into the water)…

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The sister on the left in a larger drawing…

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Which in the redraw, became this (the one from which I made the quilt)…

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See any penises? No. You don’t.

This was the whole original drawing…I hated the figures on the right…but it was a start.

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This was one of the pre-drawings as well…I still like this one.

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Oh wait…there’s a shadow…under a hand. Keep that in your head…

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Here was the full sketchbook drawing for the quilt…then I enlarged it and added to the side and bottom. I don’t honestly know why…but I can check my weekly art journal for that time period.

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All it says is that I enlarged it and added stuff to bottom and right side, finished drawing in late June 2010, 1300+ pieces in it. I liked having a big piece to work on over the summer back then (well, I still do, but I’m more likely to work on big pieces all year round now). So yeah. Started drawing in May…dreaming in May…drawing done in June, quilt done in September.

So some people thought the umbilical cord on the woman/baby in the background might have been seen as a (really long, bendy) penis (that just happened to be attached to a baby’s bellybutton and in a woman’s vagina).

Kathy Nida umbilical crop

Nope. Just gonna tell her the truth. That’s not a penis. It’s a baby. Yes, some babies have penises, but they’re not long and curly and in a mother’s vagina. Seriously. Some people have criticized sex education in Michigan. OK. But I think the show folks could help the penis-imaginer with her understanding.

This is the figure some have called male (I guess because no obvious girly curves?). And someone mentioned the shadow under the hands as possibly being interpreted as a penis…

Kathy Nida woman crop

So below on the left, under the hands, you can see the shadowy bit…on the right, I outlined the entire shadow to show that is certainly not even penis-shaped. Again, something show organizers could have pointed out and/or realized.

Kathy Nida woman shadow cropKathy Nida woman shadow line crop

Seriously though, if I’m going to put a penis in a quilt, it’s gonna be pretty obvious…like in Work in Progress

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Look. It’s a penis. Clearly. I even put a red arrow pointing at it so you would not miss it.

Nida_1 penis

Some people like to accuse me of wanting attention or making art for shock value. I really don’t. I just draw. And then I make quilts out of some of them. I don’t think about what all y’all are gonna think when you see it. The making is not about you. And no, I don’t do pretty landscapes. I do stuff that’s a reaction to what’s in my head, what I dreamed about, what’s out in the world. I’m not scared or shocked by nudity and it often confuses me when other people are.

And then some people tell me to ignore the naysayers, the critics, the censors, the quilt police…but here’s the problem with ignoring it. It Doesn’t Stop. It Doesn’t Go Away. I want to live in a world where I don’t have to worry about what’s in my art because someone might be offended or censor me. Because I’m truly tired of that. I did worry a bit when they told me this exhibit was doing the AQS circuit, because that’s quilt shows. And I don’t really enter quilt shows any more because of this shit. Often when I enter a show, I don’t even know where the piece will travel. And sometimes, because I’m oldish (not really old yet, but older than I was when I started making art), I do consider just holing up, being even more of a hermit and introvert than I already have become, and ignoring everyone. But it’s not in my nature to ignore stupidity and ignorance and censorship. It’s in my nature to be the person that stands up and yells about it. Because I want it to stop for everyone. My kids. Younger artists. All of us. I don’t want to be 90 years old and still getting frustrated over this shit. I want the world to be a more accepting and tolerant place than it is right now, and it doesn’t feel that way AT ALL.

So that’s where I’m at. Surely I won’t stop making and exhibiting quilts. I even have a grand idea for a penis quilt now. You’ll laugh. Seriously. But in reality, I have a whole ‘nother quilt in process right now, school starts tomorrow, and I’m still pissed off and frustrated, but it won’t stop me. I just want AQS to realize that it was a stupid thing they did and they need to either stand up for the special exhibits in their shows or get out of the art-quilt world. I can’t change the mind of that woman who imagined a penis. I just wish the show organizers had handled it in a mature and reasonable way. They didn’t.

And here’s the thing…this is the quilt that was hanging next to it…Fully Medicated

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And that is a seriously large vulva…

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With a snake peeking out above it. And that didn’t put her panties in a wad.

Walk by it people. If you don’t like it, if it makes your heart flutter in a bad way, if you feel a need to call Fox News, just walk the fuck on by. It’s what I do when I see your bad compositions and copies of things that are overdone already and crappy color choices. I walk the fuck on by.

Still pissed. But it’s OK. It’s not going to stop me.

Just a Funky Old Shack and I Gotta Get Back*

August 11, 2016

Funny, I thought yesterday would be all about getting art done, and in reality, I got nothing done…well, except delivering three quilts for photography. That’s all. Some school stuff, lots of errands, some hanging out (not a bad thing). So today, I’m hunkering down at the light table and tracing for hours. Seriously. I am.

Part of yesterday was trying to get ready for school, so trips to Costco for toilet paper and paper towels, so I won’t have to think about that. I still need to go to the pet store…same deal, stock up on food so I don’t have to think about it for a while. I’m fully aware of how much school takes over my life in about a week. About how little brainpower I’ll have for everything else. It sucks, but it’s better to accept it and be prepared, best you can. Honestly, I should be stockpiling frozen meals in the freezer. That would be smart.

I forgot that I drew at girlchild’s birthday dinner…

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Until I got told I was being antisocial. Sigh. I think I was peopled out at that point. I am truly an introvert.

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We bought Calli a new bed, because hers is unbearably lumpy and she’s old and needs no lumps. Then Simba wanted to try it…he’s a little scared of Calli, because she schools him when he’s being an asshole. So he’s blurry because he keeps looking back at her, like is this OK? And she’s not sure about it either. Maybe when it’s cold in winter they will feel differently about it.

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And girlchild is realizing she’s leaving the animals behind again.

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So I’m not spending a lot of time writing today…I’m going right over to the light table. Because deadlines. And time is short.

*B-52’s, Love Shack