It's the Time and Effort That Count…

I’m not marching for women today. I didn’t even realize. Or I did and my brain was overwhelmed. It feels wrong not to be marching, because I still really care about this shit and realize that if we relax about the crap that’s going on, more of the bad crap will happen. And I don’t want that. Remembering a previous relationship where I got mansplained that it was all in my head (so easy for rich white boys to say). So I’m going to draw something…I’ve been doing lots of Earth Mothers during the years and started an Earth Daughter series (that only has two quilts in it, but there’s time for more). I had a plan to draw a few more of these for some upcoming shows that are paranoid about nudity…since the Daughters are usually just chest and up, it’s easier to hide the things that freak people out. Yes, that is a cactus…it just happens to be where nipples are. Can you see my snarky smile? So I had a list of Daughters I was planning to draw and just hadn’t gotten to yet. This morning in the shower, I came up with some more political ones…and even now, the Feminist Daughter will have two versions…with and without nudity. Is this violating how I normally make art? Well…yes and no. I’m aware of what I’m doing and of the power of getting my political/environmental work out there in a variety of venues without the nudity getting it thrown out. I might still get thrown out for politics, but then, realistically, I can’t put that stuff anywhere with stupid restrictions anyway.

Anyway, I’ll be drawing today. Drawing for women…harder to draw for everyone. I guess I pick my battles. Can I draw for everyone? Not really. I try to be more open to other issues or genders or modes of sexuality, but it’s not always obvious in what I draw.

I’m tired. I’m just gonna leave that there.

Kitten cleaning…curled up next to me while I was grading last night. Always grading…

They are related, that’s for sure. And sweet as hell.

I traced for about 2 hours…

I wasn’t very efficient. I was tired and spacey and lost two pieces for a while (didn’t really lose them…just couldn’t find them for a while…that’s a numbering issue).

I’ve mostly filled one yard and started a second one. I’m in the 200s. Hopefully I wrote that down somewhere.

Part of my tired is the puppy…barking at all the coyotes last night until probably 3 AM…and then a minor blood sugar issue around then. I was reading a chapter and eating popcorn at 3, and then finally got to sleep.

Man, I wish I were a cat…

They sleep so well. I suck so bad at sleep.

This is the tap root of the tree the boychild pulled out of a deep hole in the backyard. He’s been digging at it for at least a month, probably longer.

The tree is a volunteer/weed of sorts. Really invasive. We’ll use the hole for something that will block our view of the neighbor’s house. We have plans for planting we can finally start to implement…the trees are trimmed, solar is done and collecting precious sunlight, got the front yard marked for gas/electric and phone lines (which were in a confusing place). We have one lime tree from a friend who moved, and then are planning on a lemon and an avocado, some fencing, and some more plantings that will beautify, block overnight lighting from the neighbors, and keep UPS and Amazon from dumping packages at the wrong door. Big plans!

Still lots of cat interactions happening, all good. Makes us all happy.

OK, I have a ton of grading this weekend, doctor stuff, drawing, tracing, depressing TV (Chernobyl…good but hard to watch), hopefully some outdoors time, some art, who knows what else. Take care of the body, the mind, and Art Brain, but keep the day job from being overwhelming by tackling it and making boundaries around it. Almost a resolution there, but it’s where I’m always at, so not really.

I have two pieces in a show opening today in Ojai, California…the opening starts in 17 minutes. Whoops. No, I’m not there. It was too far. I couldn’t deal with it this weekend.

But it will be there until the end of February…debating my drive home from a trip in February that COULD go here…but it probably wouldn’t be open that day, so that would be silly. Never mind. Anyway, check it out. Beatrice Wood is open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 11-5 PM. Now I’m going to grab my sketchbook and go hang out at a winery or two with the man. Necessary stuff for relationships…time. Wine and art are good too, but it’s the time and effort that count.

How to Make It Better…

So many people already saying Happy New Year…I guess that’s legit for Australia, but all you Americans just need to wait a bit. Europe too. Chillax. We’ve got the rest of 2019 to survive.

Speaking of Australia…all the fires and the animals and the people and the crazy fire weather, which doesn’t make the news here hardly at all…my heart goes out to you. Hoping there’s a resolution soon and people can rest easy…although the future weather/drought issues there will still be a problem. I didn’t realize there was such a huge coal industry there. It’s so hard to balance the needs of the world in general in terms of slowing climate change while also making sure people still have jobs and food and homes. It’s a huge mind shift…one that America doesn’t seem to understand either. Our core job needs to be taking care of people…not making money. So many politicians are ignorant (willfully or ?) of the science behind what’s happening and how we humans are making it worse.

Also on my mind…attacks on Jewish people…I hate my current government (because it’s not just the President any more) for encouraging this environment where people are emboldened to attack anyone who is different than they are. Have we learned nothing over the years? I read a friend’s comment about how we are raised to respect others’ opinions, but she was clear in that we don’t have to respect racist or hate-based opinions. I don’t hate you because you are racist…I don’t understand you. I hate your actions toward others. I hate your speech toward others. You are human and so obviously frightened of what is different or what you perceive as taking away from your rights (such an ignorant and limited view of the world). You don’t have the right to hurt someone else because of that…even if the President says you do. This last year has been hard to watch. So much anger and wrongness.

So that’s where I’m ending 2019. Sometimes when I’m drawing or making quilts, I think “this piece of art isn’t going to fix the government or racism or climate change or hate or anything else…” and I get disheartened about what I’m making. It’s not enough. I’m using materials that are causing more pollution, I’m using electricity, my privilege allows me to create art because I’m not trying to find food for my children or clean water…I don’t have tons of money to donate to worthy causes or tons of time to volunteer in worthy places. I try to educate my students about things when I can…there are times when I can’t be political because I teach in a public school…but I can be scientific. I make art because it helps me stay sane. It’s a drive I can’t turn off. I have been trying to be more thoughtful about fabric use in the last year or so…using up weird pieces that have been around for a while. I don’t have a solution for the world right now…I just know large parts of it are messed up and need fixing.

Tomorrow will be all about Happy New Year and looking forward. Today I’m in reflection mode. Ironically, I’m doing this program to help me reduce my school work hours, and they had suggested making monthly goals for school and other stuff, and I don’t know why that sounded like a good idea, but I set up the spread in my journal (which I do use daily…the journal anyway)…

And then. Well. Realized I’m not good at setting monthly goals. I set weekly ones, even daily ones, and ones that stretch out the length of a unit of teaching science (the next one is volcanoes and earthquakes, I think). Also ones that stretch out for the length of a quilt. Sometimes for summer or winter break. Not this break so much…but this isn’t working for me. I can’t get my head around it. OK then. I think I do OK on goals in general, so I’m just going to write this up as Tried, but Didn’t Work.

I did quilt for a while yesterday, the 2nd figure. I’ll do more today, I hope…though my original goal to be quilted by now so I could trim and bind today?

Not happening. So this will be the first quilt of 2020.

I’m still grading almost every day. I prefer doing a little at a time to spending entire days working on it.

This kitten is not at all helpful. Neither is the pup.

I did finish this assignment completely, and stayed up way too late doing another one, but now all that’s left is the three hellacious assignments. I’m just going to bully through one period a day, maybe more if it makes sense. Take a day off when it makes sense. Get through as much as I can. I have 12 days before I go back, and ideally I’ll be done. Which means more than one a day, I think. Sigh. OK. Good to know.

It’s also OK to do some of it when I get back from break. No matter what I was grading, there was always a companion…

These two eventually got off my lap…with some assistance from me.

Although Nova apparently thinks she is cuter than her sister, and should be in all the photos…

Eventually she sat on Luna. It’s nice having siblings…they are amusing.

I did my daily drawing…

This type of imagery shows up often. I was tired. Couldn’t think of what to draw.

This is one of the shows my work is going to be in, coming up in January…

That’s one of my two pieces…the art center is in Ojai, California. I don’t know if I’m going to the opening…it’s a long way for one day. Thinking about it.

OK, time to stop thinking and start doing. I need to put away the Christmas stuff, pack up some boxes to ship, walk the dogs, grade some shit, quilt another person, and IDK what else. Draw. But it’s New Year’s Eve, so I’ll get time for that while having to watch crazy TV. Ugh. I’m not a fan of all the NYE television, and I don’t need to go out and party. I do need to think about how to make 2020 better. Not for me…for others.

I Like the Rock Cycle.

I was supposed to go to book club last night, but somewhere in the middle of the union meeting, where I realized it was STILL going on, I also realized how tired I was and how many essays I still had left to read, and the responsible teacher brain took over on both and said, Self…stay home and read the things, even though they might kill your brain, because that will make the next week easier. So I did. I didn’t finish a whole class, though. At some point, somewhere after the mermaid commentary (I’m not explaining it…just know that a kid went off about how one teacher is not a mermaid in the middle of his essay about what happens to the mass of a candle when it burns.), my brain said, oh hey, fuck this, you need a break. I read essays until 10:30 PM, so I don’t feel bad. I also went to the store and got stuff for lunches for next week, at least the first part of it, and ingredients for the boychild to make the cookies I need on Monday for school. We give the classified staff food because they take care of us, although there is one staff member I would like to NOT get any of the foods, but I can’t manage that and it’s a pretty petty thing to think this time of year.

I thought it. I didn’t do it.

Anyway, 6 more essays for that class, another 14 for the last one. Oh jesus. I might not finish. I WILL FINISH. Meanwhile, another student is telling me how I should be able to grade his makeup work before progress report grades are due, because all he can think about is himself and he has no idea what I’m staring at. Hopefully I do not go off on him today about his misunderstanding of teacher work loads. I worded a slightly irritable email about maybe turning it all in the FIRST time so he wouldn’t have to beg me (this is not the first time), but he won’t get it, because 12. Selfish. World revolves around me.

I wish the world revolved around me. I’d have clean floors and…wait. That’s all I can think of right now. Hmm.

My sub plans also are written now too. Mostly. I think. I had one sub cancel and another one came in. He’s a math whiz, so tomorrow that will not be helpful at all, unless he also loves the rock cycle. I hope he loves the rock cycle. I do.

Anyway, tomorrow, at this time, I will be sitting in an airport, ditching school. This is cool. I’m not very good at ditching school, as you might know. It’s easier to never be absent. I hate writing sub plans and dealing with behavior issues afterwards. I don’t get sick much, so that helps. Really, it’s only travel at this point. As I get older, I’m sure there might be other shit that makes me miss days. Hopefully I’ll get more comfortable with it. Here’s Calli warming my butt while I write sub plans.

She’s good at that.

Here’s Simba trying to persuade me to read more essays.

I almost quit so many times. Persistence!

Here’s Calli continuing to rest while I grade.

I need to write some sort of matching or Bingo game about how to write a CER to help these kids. I don’t know where to start. I’ll figure it out over break. Maybe.

After 10:30, I came in and read all the crazy stuff I got in email today, including two acceptances to shows, which is very cool. Two pieces are going to the Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts in Ojai, California, opening January 18…Climate Goddess, which has never been seen anywhere…

Part of that is because the space is small and they needed small work. I don’t have a lot of that.

The other piece is Sweet Delicious, which was made for another show and is based on a poem I wrote…

The other show I entered is called Art Quilts and is at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts, in Sebastopol, CA. You Pollute Me has been in a bunch of shows.

So that was cool news, all in one day.

Then I ironed…gave her a face and hair.

And then did the stuff in the middle and the space cat…

So now it’s all ready for a background. Except my first idea won’t work with the fabrics I picked. I went through my stash, and what I need are 4 different 26″ squares for my idea to work. But I only usually buy half yards, so that’s less than 26″. The other pieces I had were from my stash of backgrounds, so I had bigger pieces. Sigh. I think I’m going to have to go shopping. I know basically what I want. Then I can iron it all down. I can pretty much guarantee it’s not getting stitched together tonight though. So I’m behind again. Accept it. Sometimes stuff takes a long time to do, eh? I’ve done better in the last week in terms of artmaking…over 9 hours, vs the week before with only 5 and a bit, and that was with vacation time in there. I’m about 10 hours into the ironing. Almost there.

The eucalyptus trees started dropping these. They’re pretty on the mud.

Do you think my fence needs work?

Dad says it just needs a few replacement boards. Can you see how high my eyebrows are right now? I don’t think he’s seen it in this state yet. Maybe this month. Before the bushes start coming back.

OK, go to work and keep reading essays, while kids make amazing rock cycle comic pages and are totally on task and focused, and don’t flip out because I’m going to be gone tomorrow. And so is their history teacher. And in 8th period, their math teacher. It’s Friday the 13th too, so you know that’ll be a thing. Maybe Freddy Krueger will be my sub. That might motivate them. Plus I bet he likes the rock cycle.

A Plethora of Shows

I keep forgetting to post about all the shows I’m in that have just opened or are about to open…I’m too busy writing blogposts for that group to post them on my own page (sad but true). In January, the California Fibers exhibit at Soka University in Aliso Viejo, California, opened. I have two pieces in that show, Earth Mother

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And Untied

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The exhibit runs through May 8. It’s only open Monday through Friday from 9-5. I haven’t even seen this exhibit, except in photos…it does have 66 pieces in it, so it’s a fairly large exhibit.

Then just opened this last weekend is the California Fibers show in Ojai, California, at the Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts, a much smaller space. The juror for Soka liked our work so much that he invited us to put a second exhibit on in a space he works for at the same time. Here is in Ojai at the moment.

NidaHere

The Ojai exhibit runs through March 30 and will include an artists’ panel on the closing day. I don’t think I’ll be at that…it’s a long drive and girlchild’s back surgery is only about a week before that. I can’t really commit to anything right now.

Then opening this Saturday at the Visions Art Museum is Coast to Coast, a joint juried exhibit between California Fibers and a group back east, New Image Artists…my quilt Buried Under is in this exhibit…

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I will be at this opening, Saturday from 5-7 PM. This exhibit runs through April 19.

Then I also have two quilts at the Texas Quilt Museum in La Grange, Texas, as part of the People and Portraits exhibit. Both I Was Not Wearing a Life Jacket

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and Fully Medicated will be there through March 30.

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I haven’t seen photos of this exhibit in situ yet…and I’m unlikely to make it to Texas in the next 6 weeks unfortunately…so will have to imagine what it looks like in a museum setting.

Anyway, if I seem a little off my head sometimes, more than usual, it might be because I’m trying to manage a lot of shipping of quilts and posting about shows for my groups, since I seemed to end up on publicity for both. It’s been a bit much the last month or so. But being in exhibits is a good thing, so you deal with the other stuff by telling yourself that. Some people say, well isn’t that why you make the art? So you can get it into exhibits? Actually, no. I make it because I have to…because I’d go truly crazy otherwise. The exhibits are just the thing you’re supposed to do when you’re an artist. Plus sometimes it actually makes me feel good to know my work’s out there.

So there we are.

Emotional Sine Wave

I have another post I have mostly written, but I don’t feel like finishing it tonight. Maybe tomorrow morning.

Today was a numb day. I went to the gym. I managed grocery shopping (sort of a miracle these days…I forgot my reusable bags…again…the world will die because of all the plastic they gave me today). I went to one of my art group meetings (I forgot the quilt I was supposed to deliver for a new show, so I went back for that…didn’t get too far, luckily, and then I forgot the checkbook to pay my dues). Numb apparently equals forgetful.

It really does. I am so forgetful now…hence all the post-its and the calendar reminders…otherwise I’d forget my brain. Some days I don’t even know what day it is. I don’t know what month it is…I wrote a check earlier and dated it October 2013. What the hell? It’s like I’ve had some sort of stroke. My brain doesn’t like to remember stuff at the moment, so it chooses to tune out of everything. Hello, brain…feel free to join us here any time. I don’t think it’s going to get better without your involvement. Really. I know it sucks and all, but this is what we’ve got.

I finished a book, M.L. Stedman’s The Light Between Oceans

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It was a gift from my UK family. It’s her first book, about a lighthouse operator in the early 1900s in Australia. It was good; I enjoyed it, even though it was tinged with sadness.

I worked on the third bird of Month 2…

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Thought I had finished it, but turns out I was supposed to sew in the moon as well…so I started that but didn’t finish. I sewed in the car on the way up and during the meeting; it was dark on the way back down. I’ll finish it at Tuesday’s soccer game and then start on Month 3’s embellishments. Very exciting stuff. The stitching itself is relaxing. I manage to stop grinding my teeth when I’m stitching mostly. The rest of the time, grind away. I have to consciously make myself stop holding my jaw like the world is ending around me.

Still too many things on the to-do list. Started my taxes because the W-2 finally showed up and I need that for the financial aid, finished the journal for Earth Stories and got it ready to ship, along with a bunch of other stuff I have to mail. Made a new to-do list. Boychild had one college interview today, so I ironed his clothes for him. He commented that men’s button-down shirts are not made for men with long hair. Never thought of that. He has another interview next weekend. I guess it’s good that he made it past the first pass…or maybe they interview everyone. Who knows. It’s all new for him, having to talk to strangers about himself, trying to sell himself, trying not to get annoyed by stupid questions…or at least not to SHOW irritation. I feel for him, but am excited by his having to deal, to manage, to grow up. He’s a good kid…man.

Came home and girlchild had made dinner, which is always nice. She hurricaned the kitchen (yes, that is a verb now) as well, but I needed to catch up on dishwashing anyway, so it was motivation to do so. All these tasks take away from artmaking time, of course. It was pretty late before I started my lesson planning for this week…well, I did most of it last year. I’m not deviating much…can’t handle that on top of everything else. I signed up for two more hikes. I need more outside time…more physical in nature time. More open space with fresh air and sweat and exertion and letting the toxic shit in my head float away into the sky while I stomp along a dirt path.

Two of my quilts are in a California Fibers exhibit at Soka University in Aliso Viejo through May 8…the opening is this Thursday from 5:30-7:45. The weird time is because there is a performance at the university right after that, so this takes advantage of that. I won’t be able to make it up there, unfortunately, but it apparently is a really nice show (that is only open Monday-Friday). I’m hoping to go up during Spring Break, I think. We’ll see. Earth Mother is there…

NidaEarthMother small

As is Untied

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Both normally hang in my house.

Then next week, I have one quilt in another California Fibers show in Ojai, California, at the Beatrice Wood Center for the ArtsHere is hanging there…

NidaHere

ha ha ha. Here is hanging There. That’s funny. OK, not really. It will be there through March 30. There’s word that there may be an artist’s panel with some of us on March 30. I don’t think I’ll be able to make it to that, but other artists will be there.

There are three California Fibers’ shows opening in January and February…this was a great group to join to get into shows. All three have been juried, so you still have to have good work that people want, but instead of pulling from 700 people for a show with 40 pieces, they’re pulling from a group of 30. California Fibers is a juried group and the membership call is coming up in April. If you live in Southern California, are willing to commit to 4 meetings a year in Oceanside, and work in anything that qualifies as fibers, you might consider it. Check out the website and contact the membership person.

The other art group I’m a member of is doing a 2-month exhibit in September/October about the border fence. I’m in a subcommittee (I didn’t commit to leading anything…see notes about forgetfulness above) that will be doing some sort of cross-border quilt/fabric construction. This group works completely differently than the other group…but they both are trying to be actively in exhibits and marketing themselves. It’s good, because I feel like my local SAQA group has become less active, even though we had a decent show last month that will be traveling to Georgia in March. We used to meet more down here in San Diego, and now there seem to be very few meetings down here.

If this is my life, if art is my focus, if art is the thing I have right now, then I might as well make it a regular thing. I’ve been looking at life-drawing classes as well, although then I need to balance exercise and hiking and art, because they all seem to want to happen at the same time. But if I can do it once a month, that doesn’t seem like a bad thing. I miss life drawing. Yes, I miss sitting on an uncomfortable wooden bench for hours staring at a naked person and trying to make my drawing look like what’s in front of me. Sounds crazy. It’s a different head space though…not a bad one.

Anyway, I didn’t get to start on even thinking about real artmaking until about 10:30 tonight…and then it was a decision of What Next? I could draw, I could clean off the light table and set it up for tracing the next quilt, I could stitch down the smaller quilt that’s hanging in my office. I decided to finish cutting out all the pieces for the Ivy Memorial Quilt

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They’re freezer paper, not Wonder Under…yes, new and different. The quilt is mostly wool fabrics (or will be, since it currently doesn’t exist) with cotton fabric accents, and then there will be embroidery like you see on the bird blocks I’ve been doing. It’s not something I really expect to exhibit…I just want to hang it in the house, like above a doorway, so it’s wide but not high. Ivy died in May 2012 of liver cancer at the age of 6. For some reason, it was significantly more difficult to deal with her death, probably because of her young age and it happened really quickly. I guess I don’t deal well with unexpected bad stuff. Anyway, now that all the pieces are trimmed, I could start picking wool fabrics and ironing freezer paper to them…maybe tomorrow night.

I wonder if these numb forgetful days are an aftershock to the highly emotional days. I think I’m on some sort of emotional sine wave, up and down on some regular rhythm, somehow controlled by hormones or amount of sleep or exercise or something else I don’t understand (or a combination of all of those). It’s super super low and then I hit numbness…I don’t ever really get to the high point, though. It’s just less painful than some other days. Maybe the numb days are when I get enough of some combination of sleep and exercise and interaction with humans who give a shit. It’s hard to say. I have people say to me all the time, Hey, I read your blog, and then I’m like, well then you know I’m not having any fun with all this. I don’t know what to say to that. Well, then you know I’m a giant pile of depression and awful. Well, then, I guess you know that I was crying yesterday, I’ll be crying today, and tomorrow? On the menu is crying. I guess that’s OK. You won’t have particularly high expectations of me then, will you. You’ll know I can make good art but I can’t remember anything and I’m likely to dissolve into a pile of saltwater if you bring up anything that I find troubling…like really anything. Sigh.

Who the hell is googling my age, by the way? I’m 46, people. I’ll be 47 in a couple of months. I don’t know why it’s relevant. Feel free to just ask.

OK, taking the sine wave to bed…maybe I’m still on the way up…